Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Carbon Monoxide in USA Packaged Meats

Found this interesting article on the FoodUSA website:

In 2003, the EU prohibited the use of carbon monoxide for meat and tuna products. In its decision, the European Commission's food safety regulator stated that "the stable cherry-colour can last beyond the microbial shelf life of the meat and thus mask spoilage."

Several countries including Japan, Canada and Singapore also ban the use of carbon monoxide in tuna.

Carbon monoxide when used in the modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) technique makes meat appear fresher than it actually is by reacting with the meat pigment myoglobin to create carboxymyoglobin, a bright red pigment that masks any of the natural aging and spoilage of meats, according to a petition filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Michigan-based Kalsec.

"At the very least, the public has a right to know about the use of carbon monoxide in their food," states Don Berdahl, Kalsec's vice president and technical director. "If the FDA won't prohibit it, the government should require a label that informs consumers about the presence of carbon monoxide and the health dangers it presents."

You can read the rest of the article here.

Personally, I think new meat labelling laws are urgently required so all consumers can make informed choices about the food they buy. For example, maybe a label indicating whether the meat came from a factory-farm (and may contain antibiotic residue and/or other other basteria/pathogens) ...and even WHICH FARM the meat is coming from, for point of origin traceback in the event that any serious outbreak occurs. Just my humble thoughts on the subject.

Food Safety, Chrons Disease, and More

The views expressed in this article are the author's and do not imply they are the views of this website, nor any other related website referenced through this article.

With that said, let's dive in...

While the FDA keep pulling the reins on food and supplement producers, in effect preventing most consumers from finding out anything truly useful regarding "natural" sources of highly health beneficial foods, they appear to be rather "friendly" in their support of the pharmaceutical giants and the large factory-style farming operations spreading like an uncontrolled virus across the USA.

Additionally, the USDA for their part are very supportive of large factory-style farming operations ...in fact, part of their mandate is to open up new markets and increase trade for the "agricultural" industries here at home.

But when it comes to food safety, I'm sorry to say that I have to give BOTH the FDA and the USDA a giant F.

The recent "final ruling" that requires all manufacturers to register with the FDA was designed to ensure that the country's food supply remains safe from possible attack. Bio-terrorism is their big motto, protecting their citizens using the tired and worn "war on terror" motto while safety from terror still remains high in the populations' eyes.

While this new law goes into effect, they seem to be ignoring threats already circulating in our Food Supply. For example, take a look at all the mounting E. coli and salmonella contamination occurring in the USA meat supply. I'm thinking both the FDA and the USDA might be turning a "blind eye" to the many clinical studies that are revealing problems here at home in regards to Food Safety ... and the problems are getting worse, not better.

Even the FDA's very own study shows there is a problem:

"From March 2001 to June 2002, a total of 981 samples of retail raw meats (chicken, turkey, pork, and beef) were randomly obtained from 263 grocery stores in Iowa and cultured for the presence of Enterococcus spp. A total of 1,357 enterococcal isolates were recovered from the samples, with contamination rates ranging from 97% of pork samples to 100% of ground beef samples."

Meanwhile a new study conducted at the University of Minnesota found that corn, cabbage, and green onions absorbed antibiotics from manure fertilizer obtained from pigs, and one has to wonder how many antibiotics exist in retail meat products -- something not ordinarily tested for during USDA inspections BEFORE meat reaches our tables.

There have been plenty of studies completed in the last 7 years or more proving E. coli and salmonella can in fact be absorbed by vegetables (such as lettuce, spinach, even radishes) ...and yet, nothing seems to get done about it until an outbreak happens -- or someone dies.

Why is that?

Take for instance, the Johne's Disease/Chrons Disease link to a certain little bacteria called M. paratuberculosis often found (when tests actually look for it) in lakes and streams near large livestock operations -- and showing up in tap water, and even pasteurized milk!

The dramatic rise in Chrons Disease in Europe (a non-reportable disease here in the USA) has spurred a flurry of new studies on the issue in countries such as Ireland, the UK, Czech Republic and even Australia.

But here in the good ol' USA, both the FDA and USDA refuse to do such a study claiming their first study completed a few years back proves it's not a problem. There are many experts and scientists in other parts of the world who strongly disagree, and some experts who actually claim that particular USA study was highly flawed.

A properly conducted study would prove things one way or the other, right? So why aren't either the FDA or the USDA doing what's necessary to confirm or deny the possibility?

Yes, it might hurt the dairy industry in the short term.

But in respect to human health, and the often agonizing effects of Chron's disease, I think the benefits of knowing and possibly stopping a problem far outweigh the economic considerations. Also, in my humble opinion, thorough screening/testing for the disease in cattle and culling from the herds now, could potentially save our dairy industry 15 years from now. Doing nothing hurts both the industry and the public.

Here's a thought...

Now, wouldn't it be something if citizens took matters into their own hands and hire scientists to study how much bacteria is really leaching into our soils, our waters and our food supply from current farming practices being encouraged (and often subsidized) by our Federal Government.

Is this what it will take?

A wise man once said, "When science and business conflict, ethics must prevail."

Let's hope so -- for all our sakes.

Packaging Chemical Dangerous to Developing Young Brains

Bisphenol A (BPA), a packaging chemical, works by disrupting the important effects of estrogen in the developing brain, according to a new clinical study completed at the University of Cincinnati.

The research adds to a growing body of scientific evidence indicating that BPA should not be used for food contact materials. BPA shows negative effects in brain tissue "at surprisingly low doses" researchers say in two articles in the December 2005 edition of the journal Endocrinology.

"In the face of more than 100 studies published in peer-reviewed journals showing the detrimental effects of BPA, the chemical industry and federal regulatory agencies have resisted banning BPA from plastics used as food and beverage containers, despite the fact that plastics free of BPA and other toxic chemicals are available," states Scott Belcher, head of the University of Cincinnati research team.

"While plastics are typically thought of as being stable, scientists have known for many years that the chemical linkage between BPA molecules was unstable, and that BPA leaches into food or beverages in contact with the plastics," adds Belcher.

FoodProductionDaily/Europe reports:
Scientific research has often implicated BPA in disease or developmental problems. The chemical has long been known to act as an artificial estrogen, the primary hormone involved in female sexual development.

BPA has already been shown to increase breast cancer cell growth. In the January 2005 edition of the journal Cancer Research, another University of Cincinnati research team reported that it increased the growth of some prostate cancer cells as well.

Warnings about other possible long-term health risks associated with fetal exposures to BPA have also been discussed in recent scientific literature.

They also report, "BPA is used in the production of epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastics. The plastics are used in many food and drink packaging applications. Resins are commonly used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, milk container linings, bottle tops, water supply pipes and dental sealants."

Like I've mentioned many times before, this is just one more IMPORTANT reason supplement manufacturers NEED to step up on the side of health and wellness and start using pharmaceutical grade bottles/containers.

Monday, November 28, 2005

WAHM Diary: Hog Sewage From Factory Farms - Would You Eat It?

WAHM Diary: Hog Sewage From Factory Farms - Would You Eat It?

Urgent Letter From Scientists Calls for Immediate GM Food Ban

An urgent letter went out today from the Institute of Science in Society to several high ranking officials in governments around the world calling for an immediate ban on Gentically Modified (GM) food and feed.

How serious is it?

VERY serious!

If the studies they've referenced come anywhere close to actual consequences on a wider scale, it's very possible a massive amount of damage to public health has already been done, particularly in developed countries such as Canada, USA and the UK to mention a few.

When I discovered on one statistic site that the USA ranks 1st in the entire world for mortality (deaths) from combined immunodeficiencies, and next learned how much GM food is grown and distributed here in the USA, it lends a considerable amount of credence to what ISIS is stating.

The "Emerging Diseases" reports coming out would also appear to support ISIS's theories.

An even bigger threat is currently underway that has been kept quiet -- hushed up by multi-billion-dollar corporations and the politicians who support them -- dropped like a ticking time bomb into rural communities by mega corporations across several countries with the full support of top government officials.

I'll be bringing a Special Report on this subject to you soon.

Stay safe, be well ...and stay tuned!


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Salmonella on the Rise in USA Fresh Produce Owing to Livestock Manure

A new report is out regarding salmonella in fresh produce in the USA:

Last week a University of Minnesota study showed that antibiotics given to livestock can end up in vegetables and pose a health threat to consumers.

The Minnesota study examined the use of animal manure as a fertilizer for vegetable crops.

The new CSPI study indicates produce-related outbreaks tend to be larger than poultry-related outbreaks, and sicken more people, sometimes hundreds at a time, CSPI stated.

Fresh produce triggered 554 outbreaks, sickening 28,315 people. Of those 554 outbreaks, 111 were due to Salmonella. Although poultry has historically been responsible for far more Salmonella infections, produce seems to be catching up, CSPI stated.

From 1990 to 2001 poultry accounted for 121 Salmonella outbreaks and produce accounted for 80. But in 2002 to 2003, produce accounted for 31 Salmonella outbreaks and poultry accounted for 29.

The figures were gathered from CSPI's alert database, which contains information on 4,500 infection outbreaks related to food between 1990 and 2003.

CSPI's database includes only outbreaks where both the food and the pathogen are identified, so its data represents only a fraction of the total burden of foodborne illnesses.

It's just one more nail in the coffin of large livestock factory-style farming, in my personal opinion. Later this month, I'll have a Very Special Report available regarding hog farm factories in general, and one very specific factory currently under construction in Jasper County, Indiana. This is one shocking report you definitely will want to read. Stay tuned!

Source: Fresh produce an increasing source of Salmonella, group says - FoodUSA ProductionDaily 24/11/2005

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Need for Further Study in Genetically Modified Seeds

After the failure of a stringent risk assessment this month on regarding research to create genetically modified peas that resist insect attack and reduce the use of chemical sprays, it proves once again that extreme care and thorough research should be conducted BEFORE GM seeds flow into the agricultural process.

In regards to the GM pea study, research led by immunologists Dr. Simon Hogan and Professor Paul Foster at the John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) showed that the GM peas caused an immune response in mice.

What is important to note about this study is that, for years, humans have already been eating beans which also have the same alpha-amylase inhibitor that was to be used in the GM peas, without evidence of an immune response.

Sidenote: Forgive me for being a weee bit skeptical here, but what "evidence" are they referring to in regards to the beans?

On a different note, countries such as Canada, USA and Australia have been very enthusiastic and supportive of embracing GM seeds/crops in agriculture -- maybe too eager?

Perhaps the GM pea risk assessment should be ringing a few cautionary warning bells.

“This work strongly supports the need for case-by-case examination of plants developed using genetic modification and the importance of decision-making based on good science,” said deputy chief of CSIRO Plant Industry, Dr TJ Higgins.

Source: GM pea study discontinued after assessment failure - FoodNavigator/Europe

Nestlé baby milk recall in 4 European countries

Two million litres of baby milk in four European countries were recalled by Nestlé due to a packaging problem.

"The company had originally been informed in September that traces of the chemical IsopropilThioXantone (ITX) had been found in some cartons of its Nidina and Latte Mio brands. Tetra Pak, the container's maker, removed ITX from the cartons in October.

When Italian regulators this week began seizing about 30 million litres of the milk from stores and trucks this week, Nestlé decided to extend its original recall to a wider range of the product in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal."

Apparently, the problem occurred during a "routine" test for other substances by an Italian laboratory. The laboratory found the traces of ITX in the milk products and regulators told Nestlé about the problem. ITX was subsequently discovered to leak from the carton to any fatty products like milk when it is exposed to sunlight's ultraviolet rays. In a press statement, Tetra Pak said it switched its carton printing processes in October once it discovered the problem.

Once again, it brings up my point on the importance of packaging.

Now you see why we use pharmaceutical grade bottles for Goji Juice... This way there is no leaching of plasticizers nor any other potentially harmful toxins into the juice and no loss of nutrients out of the juice (ie such as sun can degrade phytochemicals in some products through glass bottles).

When I say Dr. Mindell is a perfectionist when it comes to the formulation, processing and packaging of all his products, I certainly mean it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Important New USA Health Legislation

On May 24, 2005, Mr. BROWN of Ohio introduced the following bill -- HR 2562 IH -- to the 109th Congress, first session, which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce:

Short Title- This Act may be cited as the `Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2005'

The bill's intent is, "To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to preserve the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics used in the treatment of human and animal diseases."

There was a very long list of "findings" presented in the act, only a few of which I include here:

- the task force determined that antibiotic resistance is a growing menace to all people and poses a serious threat to public health

- the task force cautioned that if current trends continue, treatments for common infections will become increasingly limited and expensive, and, in some cases, nonexistent

- antibiotic resistance, resulting in a reduced number of effective antibiotics, may significantly impair the ability of the United States to respond to terrorist attacks involving bacterial infections or a large influx of hospitalized patients

- any overuse or misuse of antibiotics contributes to the spread of antibiotic resistance, whether in human medicine or in agriculture

The bill contains far more than just the 4 points above. To read more about the bill, and the New legislation, visit through this link.

Meanwhile, stay safe and be well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Tainted Meat - Factory Farming

Although I live in "farm country" even I was blissfully unaware of how the process of rearing farm animals in the US has changed dramatically from the family farms of yesteryear. You see, I live in an area where some cattle is actually still grazed, like "the old days" ... where beef is actually beef ...and where I thought pork was actually pork.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered the sickening rise in factory farming in this part of Northern Indiana -- indeed, throughout the USA.

A special town meeting on Monday (Nov 14/2005) truly opened my eyes, and I was shocked, disgusted, even horrified by new discoveries I've made since the meeting while researching the facts not presented by the owners of a proposed new hog factory farm planned for erection on land adjoining one of the most precious wildlife reserves in the USA ...a resting ground for tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes each year on their annual migratory path.

For starters, here's a few statistics on factory farming I uncovered:

Amount of waste produced annually by US livestock in confinement operations which is not recycled: 1 billion tons

Where feedlot waste often ends up: In our water

Gallons of oil spilled by the Exxon-Valdez: 12 million

Gallons of putrefying hog urine and feces spilled into the New River in North Carolina on June 21, 1995, when a "lagoon" holding 8 acres of hog excrement burst: 25 million

Fish killed as an immediate result: 10-14 million

That's enough to get any environmentalist steaming mad... and yet, it doesn't stop there. The hidden dangers that we all face at the supermarkets each day are far more serious. For example:

Antibiotics administered to people in the US annually to treat diseases: 3 million pounds

Antibiotics administered to livestock in the US annually for purposes other than treating disease: 24.6 million pounds

Antibiotics allowed in cow's milk: 80

Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin in 1960: 13%

Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin in 1988: 91%

Reason: Breeding of antibiotic resistant bacteria in factory farms due to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock

Response by entire European Economic Community to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: Ban

Response by American meat and pharmaceutical industries to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: Full and complete support

Are you getting just a little bit concerned about the meat we're buying yet? Well... it gets worse.

A report by the USDA estimates that 89% of US beef patties contain traces of the deadly E. coli strain. Reuters News Service 8/10/00

US pigs raised in total confinement factories where they never see the light of day until being trucked to slaughter: 65 million (total confinement factories are banned in Britain)

US pigs who have pneumonia at time of slaughter: 70%

Primary source of Campylobacter bacteria: Contaminated chicken flesh

People in the US who become ill with Campylobacter poisoning every day: More than 5,000

American turkeys sufficiently contaminated with Campylobacter to cause illness: 90%

Americans sickened from eating Salmonella-tainted eggs every year: More than 650,000

Americans killed from eating Salmonella-tainted eggs every year: 600

Increase in Salmonella poisoning from raw or undercooked eggs between 1976 and 1986: 600%

90% of US chickens are infected with leukosis -- chicken cancer -- at the time of slaughter.

Average lifespan of a dairy cow - 25 years; average lifespan when on a factory dairy farm - 4 years.

The situation of factory farming is far worse than you might have possibly imagined. EarthSave came out with some alarming news in their article titled -- "Factory Farm Alarm" -- published on their website. Here's a short quote:

Known to scientists as Pfiesteria (feast-eer-ee-ah) piscicida (Latin for "fish killer"), the microscopic organism was demonstrating its propensity for turning rivers and estuaries into death traps for immense schools of fish. Pfiesteria's powerful nerve poison was also being blamed as the likely cause for sickening scores of fishermen, coastal residents and tourists. Pfiesteria leaves fish and people with ugly lesions. Human contact can also result in memory loss, dizziness, fatigue and asthmatic problems.

Seven years after being first identified by North Carolina State University (NCSU) aquatic botanist JoAnn Burkholder, Pfiesteria remains today largely an enigma. What is known, says Burkholder, is that we are dealing with a vicious and mysterious microorganism that can masquerade as a plant, lie dormant for years and undergo at least 24 changes in its life cycle. Pfiesteria is also decidedly predacious, a first among dinoflagellates, the family of typically placid single-cell phytoplankton to which it belongs. Because of its bizarre knack for hunting down fish, some call Pfiesteria the "T-Rex of the dinoflagellates." Others liken its inexplicably aggressive behavior "to grass feeding on sheep."

There's at least one other thing that's well-understood about Pfiesteria: it is most at home and multiplies tremendously in polluted, over-enriched waters.

Burkholder believes that Pfiesteria has always dwelled in coastal North Carolina but that something in the past decade has altered the natural ecology there to foster its growth. In early 1995, Burkholder uncovered what she believed that "something" was. That's when she read 'Boss Hog,' a Pulitzer prize-winning exposé in Raleigh's News and Observer. In just a few short years, the newspaper revealed, a virtual revolution has transpired in eastern North Carolina—where once there were only hog hamlets, now there are pork metropolises disposing of millions of tons of putrid waste. The implications for water quality are mind-boggling.

The first paragraph of 'Boss Hog' made such an impression on Burkholder that she can recite it from memory: 'Imagine a city as big as New York suddenly grafted onto North Carolina's Coastal Plain. Double it. Now imagine that this city has no sewage treatment plants. All the wastes from 15 million people are simply flushed into open pits and sprayed onto fields. Turn those humans into hogs, and you don't have to imagine at all. It's already here.'

And the sad part is, here's a lady steeped in credentials who does her research thoroughly, digs deep into the problem and traces the growing dangers ...and her findings went largely ignored. In fact, her research, her credentials and even her outspokenness were openly challenged by government officials whose job was to safeguard environmental and public health.

For years, these officials, perhaps acting to protect North Carolina's powerful agricultural industry, refused to accept even the existence of Pfiesteria. Yet, about 140 North Carolina physicians petitioned then Vice President Al Gore for federal help in dealing with Pfiesteria.

Even sadder -- those very officials are not protecting an agricultural industry at all... farm factories don't even earn the right to be called farms. Few have even enough experience to be capable of running a real farm -- and animal husbandry, phooey. They only understand mass production, genetic manipulation, drugging animals to keep them barely alive, long enough to reach the slaughterhouses and packing plants in order for the neatly wrapped meat to appear in our own homes. Calling them farms is an insult to true farmers everywhere. By rights, such factories should be bound by industrial laws, not farming regulations, with a responsibility to protect their workers and regulations in place that force them to be accountable for the environmental damages they incur everywhere they spring up.

(And when you find out about the animals that don't make it to the end of the line -- ugh!! -- it's enough to make you swear off meat altogether.)

Meanwhile, back here in a sleepy residential area of Jasper County tucked away in a small section of Indiana, just a few hours drive from Perdu University (one of the largest animal research universities in North America) ...a hog factory farm with 2,496 heads has been approved by the Board of Zoning --- and it's being parked right next to one of the largest game reserves/sandhill crane resting areas in the State.

Why 2,496 head of hogs? Because 2,500 heads would mean they'd have to meet Federal regulations instead of State or County regulations.

How did they slip their foot in the door? By setting up a land deal where they would purchase 20 acres contained inside another 20 acres held by the seller of the land ...but they made a mistake. The land deal didn't go through in time -- and area residents found out... albeit too late to stop the special exception permit, but maybe --- just maybe --- in time to present an appeal case.

Now if they can only afford and hire a competent lawyer.

The deck is stacked against area residents, because many of the lawyers in the region cite "conflict of interest" and are scared to touch the case.

What happens next? Stay safe, be well, don't buy factory farm meat --- and stay tuned as we bring you more on this story...

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Younger Doctors Better Than Older Doctors?

The New England Journal of Medicine posted a GREAT article today, titled "How'm I Doing?"

One paragraph lept off the page:

"Time-limited certification is now a reality for all boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, and since all boards will be requiring some measurement of performance in practice, more of us are going to get the kind of population-based picture of our practices that I got with my diabetes exercise. Many have greeted the requirement of recertification with skepticism and hostility, offering a variety of arguments against it:
- it's not relevant to my practice;
- it takes too much time and costs too much money;
- I'm a mature professional and don't need anybody looking over my shoulder;
- doctors who are older and perhaps less capable than I are grandfathered in and don't have to do it, so why should I have to?"

Hmmmmmm.... it kind of makes you wonder if those "older doctors" referenced in this article are really as qualified as they need to be in today's world, doesn't it?

Deaths By Food Poisoning

Foodborne disease concerns are on the rise in the EU, ever since one company got shut down after an E. coli outbreak spread to 161 people (affecting mostly school children) ...killing one young boy.

John Tudor & Sons, which supplied schools, retirement homes and retail outlets, has been closed down since the firm's cooked meat products were linked to the E coli 0157 outbreak, which occurred throughout south Wales, most of them at 42 schools.

"The firm, based in Bridgend, South Wales, closed down voluntarily when the food poisoning outbreak occurred. Local officials later issued an emergency notice stopping the company from trading. The company contested the decision and is waiting for a court decision on the matter. Police sealed off the plant on 7 October and launched a criminal investigation into the firm's disinfection procedures and its vacuum packing process at its plant in South Wales." source - FoodProductionDailyEU

The new EU regulations covers controls at all stages of production, processing and distribution. It covers controls on feed and food produced within the EU and that are exported to or imported from outside the bloc.

New rules on imports will require systematic checks of documentation with additional random identity and physical checks for foods and feeds of animal origin, plus imported "high-risk" foods are slated to get the same intense scrutiny.

However, with about 700 unfilled food safety posts in the UK -- even with tougher legislation and random spot-checks, will there be enough Food Safety inspectors to go around?

The tighter control legislation comes at a time when food safety concerns are on the rise throughout the world ...but few general consumers are even aware of these concerns.

For example, in the USA many people might perceive the quality of our food to be quite high -- right? Guess again. According to one source, the death rate extrapolations for USA for food poisoning is estimated at 5,000 per year.

That's 416 deaths per month, 96 per week, 13 per day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Too much Arsenic in bottled water?

Bottled water has always seemed to me to be just that -- water in a bottle.

Apparently, I was wrong. Sometimes, even I feel naive about some of the products circulating out there in our world. Check out this News article from BeverageDaily posted last Saturday:

Britain's Food Standards Agency (FSA) warned that Zam Zam water, which is sacred to Muslims, is being fraudulently sold with almost three times the permitted level of arsenic – thought to be a cancer-causing substance.

The batches were seized in London's Borough of Westminster, but the FSA said that “other brands of Zam Zam water are thought to be on sale in the UK and could be contaminated”.

It is illegal to export Zam Zam water from its native Saudi Arabia for commercial sale, although it can be brought into the UK by returning pilgrims for personal use.

The local authorities in Westminster have now ordered the importer, Amazon Communicate, to stop importing its Natural Zam Zam water.

Yes, I'll be doing more digging into this story, as well as the bottled water industry, to find out what is really going on.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

All About Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

A few fun facts on Vitamin C of which you may not be aware.

  • Is your vitamin C made in China?

  • How is vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) made?

  • What is vitamin C and what are the Health Benefits of vitamin C?

  • What are some natural food sources of vitamin C?

  • What food products normally contain vitamin C additives? (Enriched/Fortified)

  • How can you preserve vitamin C content in your fruits and vegetables?

All of the above questions and more are answered in our NEW article: All About Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Fish Oils - Hidden Dangers

Most of our regular readers already know the background on Goji Juice and why it took Dr. Earl Mindell so long to bring it to the world. The key holdup was a small (read HUGE) thing called: STANDARIZING

In other words, until Dr. Mindell could be 100% certain every single bottle of his Himalayan Goji Juice contained all 4 master molecules in the right balance from the original bloodline of goji berry quoted in Ancient text, he refused to produce the final product.

It took years of research, some very special tools and highly unique manufacturing practices before success resulted in a fully STANDARDIZED juice.

Well, scientists are now reporting how extremely important the little thing called STANDARDIZING can be in manufacturing health supplements -- particularly in the area of fish oil supplements.

Fish oil is easily oxidised -- and when this takes place, potentially toxic oxidation byproducts can be the result.

In other words, some fish oil supplements could be doing more harm than good.

Dr. Carlene McLean, New Zealand's Crop & Food Research institute's oils expert, says that she has tested many fish oil samples from the UK and Asian markets and found them to contain oxidation byproducts, despite being within the sell-by date.

"Oxidised oils and fats of other types have been shown to increase the risk of atherosclerosis and thrombosis in a small number of human trials. These effects have been seen with relatively low levels of oxidised product – similar to a regular dose of fish oil capsules," said scientist Rufus Turner.

Fish oil at a late stage of oxidization will smell rancid but the initial breakdown products, which are still harmful, have little aroma, according to the researcher.

"It is very worrying because nobody has really put this together yet they are doing large trials using high dose supplements," added Dr Carlene McLean, the institute's oils expert. "But they don't consider the level of oxidation in the supplements."

Fish oil is a highly unstable product and as soon as it is extracted from fish, and exposed to oxygen, metals, light and heat, it begins to oxidise. Most fish oil producers remove many of the oxidation products during the purifying process but this is not enough, says McLean.

"Many fish oil supplements have a best-before date of three to four years. But fish oil starts to go off within days," according to McLean.

Additionally, the products are often encapsulated in a gelatine shell making it difficult for the consumer to notice.

Some manufacturers of fish oil supplements may also add vitamin E, an antioxidant, to prevent further oxidation but many producers use the more readily available form, alpha-tocopherol, which is not such a potent antioxidant as another more expensive form, gamma-tocopherol.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Sure -- you can go out there and purchase your supplements based on the lowest cost -- but this example reveals clearly that you could be doing more harm to your health than good.

My advice, make sure you know the quality of all supplements you are taking -- and equally important -- let your health care provider know what you are taking. Not all supplements are created equal, but I'm betting you already know that, right?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Polio Rises Up Again

Just when you think it's gone for good -- new outbreaks of polio show up.

Reported in the London Free Press:

"Minnesota health officials announced last week that four children, members of an Amish community, had the polio virus. Two weeks earlier, a seven-month-old infant from the community was diagnosed with polio, the first such case in the U.S. in five years."

Canada was declared polio-free in 1994, however Canadian authorities were alerted because Ontario is home to several Amish communities. Travel back and forth from Amish communities in the U.S. is common.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (in Canada) found some Amish members in Middlesex had travelled to central Minnesota, the area with the polio cases, and are now on heightened aleart.

Bariatric Surgery Studies Highlight Dangers

Several new studies in the Oct. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association point out some of the real risks associated with bariatric surgery.

We wrote about some of the dangers in our first article on the subject a couple years back, in our article: "The Dangers of W-eight L-oss Surgery"

In fact, shortly after writing and posting the above article, a friend of mine had stopped by for coffee and related a story about how one of her own co-workers had died following bariatric surgery.

At the time of writing the article, death rates on the operating table were high -- estimated at 1% ...but I didn't have estimates for death rates FOLLOWING the operation. Now, in the recent studies that have come out, as reported by Forbes.com it appears the estimate is almost 5% for medicare recipient patients ...meaning approx. 5 in every 100 patients will die??

Whew! That's a very high number when talking about fatalaty rates relating to any medical procedure.

Here is a sampling of the list of dangers, as reported in Forbes.com's article -- "Studies Highlight Risks of Bariatric Surgery":

1. One study found rehospitalization rates within a year following the surgery were as high as 19 percent.

2. And another study looked at death rates for Medicare recipients following gastric-bypass surgery, and discovered the mortality rate was almost 5 percent after a year. (see below)

3. A third study examined trends in bariatric surgery, and found the number of bariatric surgeries have increased dramatically, from 13,365 in 1998 to an estimated 102,794 in 2003.

Regarding item 2 above, among those with public insurance and the mortality rates for those on Medicare who undergo bariatric surgery:

"They found the death rate after 30 days was 2 percent for Medicare recipients. After 90 days, that rate was 2.8 percent and after a year, the death rate for bariatric surgery patients receiving Medicare benefits was 4.6 percent. This study also found the death rate was 1.6 times higher when done by a surgeon who performed a low volume of bariatric surgeries."

Considering it's "predicted that more than 100,000 people will soon have the procedure annually" --- it begs the question: Isn't there a better way??

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

New FDA Ruling Has Food Makers Scrambling

Beginning 1 January 2006, the FDA will require all food companies to label the amount of trans-fat in their products allowing consumers to have additional information to make healthier food choices that could lower their intake of trans fat as part of a heart-healthy diet.

And according to ACNeilson, US citizens have already woken up to the health dangers trans fats present. US sales of products already labeled "no trans fat" increased 12 percent to $6.4 billion for the 52 weeks ended October 2, 2004, compared with the previous 52-week period.

Trans-fats have been negatively linked to raising blood cholesterol levels and promoting heart disease, and food companies have been looking for ways of reducing trans-fat content without affecting taste.

Cargill has already indicated that they intend to ramp up production of Vistive, a low-linolenic soybean-based oil, following the growing interest in trans-fat reduced products. According to the company, low-linolenic soybeans will reduce the need for partial hydrogenation of soybean oil, helping food companies reduce the presence of trans fatty acids (trans fats) in their products.

Another small manufacturer in North Carolina has taken it one GIANT step further in a very positive direction...

Carolina Soy Products have patented a new process which they claim is also environmentally friendly (in that it does not use Hexane gas to produce soy-based oil), a process that also retains the nutritional benefits of soy in a pure, culinary grade cooking oil. Their "Whole Harvest" products contain all naturally occurring Omega-3 fatty acids, are cholesterol free and contain no Trans Fatty acids!

I give Carolina Soy Products the big KUDOS this month.

Isn't it nice to see the little guy win for a change?

Stay tuned, as I'm sure the trans-fats oil scene will be heating up in the months ahead.

P.S. Click to learn more about the benefits of soy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

PAH - Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of over 100 different chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil and gas, garbage, or other organic substances like tobacco or charbroiled meat. PAHs are usually found as a mixture containing two or more of these compounds, such as soot.

Some PAHs are manufactured. These pure PAHs usually exist as colorless, white, or pale yellow-green solids. PAHs are found in coal tar, crude oil, creosote, and roofing tar, but a few are used in medicines or to make dyes, plastics, and pesticides.

However, you also might be exposed to PAHs by eating grilled or charred meats, contaminated cereals, flour, bread, vegetables, fruits, meats as well as processed or pickled foods, and drinking contaminated water or cow's milk... to name just a few.

Longterm or delayed health effects include:
1) This chemical is likely to cause cancer. It is considered a Probable Carcinogen.
2) Reproductive Toxicant = Can harm reproductive system
3) Development Toxicant = Can interfere with normal development of a fetus or child
4) Suspected Endocrine Disruptor = May interfere with, mimic or block hormones

And this is why Europe's food agency is calling on scientists across the food industry to contribute data on the potentially carcinogenic compounds, because they have been increasingly pinpointed by consumer organisations as a food safety issue in the food chain.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 466/2001 as amended by Regulation 208/2005 sets maximum levels for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), specifically benzo[a]pyrene, in certain foods. But in view of remaining uncertainties on levels of carcinogenic PAH in foods, especially on those PAHs identified by the former EC Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) to possess both genotoxic and carcinogenic properties, the rules have provided for a review by April 1, 2007.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has developed a database, on the Commission's recommendation 2005/108/EC, to investigate the levels of PAHs in certain foods.

"Data from all kind of laboratories are needed; official food control, research, and the food industry," says EFSA.

I'm certain we will be hearing more on this subject in future.


1. Agency For Toxic Substances And Disease Registry
2. Europe's food agency investigates harmful PAHs in food
3. CHEC's Health House - Chemical Summary PAH
4. Department of Health and Family Services - Wisconsin

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Nobel Prize Winners May Help Stamp Out Stomach Ulcers

Over 25 million Americans will suffer from an ulcer at some point during their lifetime, according to the Center for Disease Control.

If you think, like many medical experts once thought, that bacterium cannot live in the acidic juices of the stomach, think again.

Drs. Barry Marshall and Robin Warren of Australia discovered that helicobacter pylori could actually survive, and thrive, in the lining of the stomach as well as the upper duodenum... and more important, this tiny bacteria could be the "trigger" for an ulcer -- not stress, anxiety, low immune system or diet as once believed by the medical community.

After much ridicule from the scientific and medical community, both doctors perservered in proving their findings and have finally received the top award -- the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Their work has stimulated research into microbes as possible reasons for other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and atherosclerosis, the Nobel assembly said in its citation.

What Is Helicobacter Pylori?

Here is some general information from the Helicobacter Foundation Website

Helicobacter pylori is a spiral shaped bacterium that lives in the stomach and duodenum (section of intestine just below stomach). It has a unique way of adapting in the harsh environment of the stomach.

The inside of the stomach is bathed in about half a gallon of gastric juice every day. Gastric juice is composed of digestive enzymes and concentrated hydrochloric acid, which can readily tear apart the toughest food or microorganism. Bacteria, viruses, and yesterdays steak dinner are all consumed in this deadly bath of chemicals. It used to be thought that the stomach contained no bacteria and was actually sterile, but Helicobacter pylori changed that.

The stomach is protected from its own gastric juice by a thick layer of mucus that covers the stomach lining. Helicobacter pylori takes advantage of this protection by living in the mucus lining.

Urea hydrolysis: urea is broken down to ammonia and carbon dioxide

Once H. pylori is safely ensconced in the mucus, it is able to fight the stomach acid that does reach it with an enzyme it possesses called urease. Urease converts urea, of which there is an abundant supply in the stomach (from saliva and gastric juices), into bicarbonate and ammonia, which are strong bases. This creates a cloud of acid neutralizing chemicals around the H. pylori, protecting it from the acid in the stomach. The reaction of urea hydrolysis is important for diagnosis of H.pylori by the breath test.

Gram stain of H. Pylori

Another defense H. pylori has is that the body's natural defenses cannot reach the bacterium in the mucus lining of the stomach. The immune system will respond to an H. pylori infection by sending white cells, killer T cells, and other infection fighting agents. However, these potential H. pylori eradicators cannot reach the infection, because they cannot easily get through stomach lining. They do not go away either, though, and the immune response grows and grows. Polymorphs die, and spill their destructive compounds (superoxide radicals) on stomach lining cells. Extra nutrients are sent to reinforce the white cells, and the H. pylori can feed on this. within a few days, gastritis and perhaps eventually a peptic ulcer results. It may not be H. pylori itself which causes peptic ulcer, but the inflammation of the stomach lining; i.e. the response to H. pylori.

H. Pylori causing a neutrophil reaction (active chronic gastritis) in the lining (mucosa) of the stomach

H. pylori is believed to be transmitted orally. Many researchers think that H, pylori is transmitted orally by means of fecal matter through the ingestion of waste tainted food or water. In addition, it is possible that H. pylori could be transmitted from the stomach to the mouth through gastro-esophagal reflux (in which a small amount of the stomach's contents is involuntarily forced up the esophagus) or belching, common symptoms of gastritis. The bacterium could then be transmitted through oral contact.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Food Recall Alerts

Three food recalls top the list this month, as follows:

USA - Minnesota - Ready-Made Dole Salad Packs (3 types)

A potential outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in Minnesota has resulted in three of the popular Dole Salads landing on the food recall list -- Classic Romaine, American Blend and Greener Selection, all of which contained three common ingredients: romaine lettuce, carrots and red cabbage.

And in the UK - Two Confectionary Products

Bassett's was forced to recall all of its milky babies confectionery range after small pieces of plastic were found in some packs. With the product being aimed at young children, the company saw no option other than a total recall due to the potential choking hazard. (This recall does not affect other Bassett's products.)

Meanwhile, Sainsburys is recalling its Basics plain chocolate owing to undeclared milk proteins that were found. The recall was essential because of the risk to anyone allergic or intolerant to milk who might have inadvertently bought the chocolate.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Nutrition News - brain food, learning power, tasty food wraps and more

It's time for some great news on the nutrition front. Here's a short collection of news items that have surfaced recently in areas of nutrition:

Keeping Our Brains Sharp Through Aging
Friedman Nutrition Notes - September/October 2005:

According to a recent report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, folate, a B vitamin found in foods like leafy green vegetables and citrus fruit, may protect against cognitive decline in older adults. The research team, led by Katherine L. Tucker, PhD, was conducted by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

Tucker and her colleagues found that men who obtained more folate in their diets showed significantly less of a decline in verbal fluency skills over the course of three years than did men with lower dietary folate intake. High folate levels, both in the diet and in the blood, also appeared to be protective against declines in another category of cognitive skills known as spatial copying.

Enhance Your Learning Power With -- Breakfast!
Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, September 9, 2005:

What simple practice seems to have one of the greatest effects on how well children do in school? The answer is: Eating breakfast.

Study after study has shown that children and adult students who eat breakfast do more and better work in school than those who don't. Those who don't eat breakfast tend to tire more quickly, be more irritable and react less quickly than those who do eat breakfast.

In a recent study conducted in the United Kingdom, school children were randomly given one or four breakfasts on four consecutive days, then tested for cognitive skills (attention, working memory and episodic memory) throughout the morning. The breakfasts consisted of wheat cereal and milk, oat cereal and milk, a sugar-based beverage or nothing at all. The children scored significantly better on the days following the two cereal-based breakfasts than when they had no breakfast or only a sugar-based beverage for breakfast.

USDA Adding New Zing To Sushi-Style Delicacies?
USDA Website - July 2005 News

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at Albany, Calif., and research partner Origami Foods, LLC, based in Pleasanton, Calif., are experimenting with dozens of delicious, attractively colored wraps made from familiar vegetables and fruits. For example, they've tested a bright-orange carrot-based wrap to encircle a cucumber, garlic and rice filling, and a deep-red tomato and basil wrap to hold a spicy tuna and rice filling.

Wholesome, colorful sushi wraps made from vegetables, fruits and spices enhance the flavor of traditional and novel sushi fillings, according to Origami Foods and ARS. In addition to two spinach sushi-style wraps, nine others were being tested in July of this year, including: apple-cinnamon, red bell pepper, mango-orange, carrot-ginger, tomato-basil, broccoli, soybean, strawberry and peach.


It's Pumpkin Season -- And Check Out How GREAT They Are!
Pumpkin Power! Calculating the Carotenoids in a Fall Favorite - ARS Oct. 2005

With the exception of pure juice made from a certain strain of goji berry (believed to be the most dense source of carotenoids on the planet) -- those cans of cooked, pureed pumpkin on your pantry shelf probably have more of a healthful phytonutrient called beta-carotene than any other food in your cupboard.

Our bodies can convert beta-carotene, a carotenoid and antioxidant, into vitamin A -- a nutrient essential for good eyesight and proper growth, according to ARS. Until now, there hasn’t been a fast, simple, and environmentally friendly way to precisely measure the beta-carotene and other carotenoids in pumpkin, but a new study may change this.

Why do we need to measure carotenoids more precisely?

These natural plant compounds, responsible for the orange hues of pumpkins and carrots and the deep reds of tomatoes, continue to capture the attention of nutrition and public health researchers worldwide. That's because these specialists are eager to discover more about carotenoids' health benefits.

"Some carotenoids are thought to help reduce incidence of cataracts, cardiovascular disease, and particular kinds of cancer," explains ARS chemist Betty J. Burri. And although beta-carotene is still the most studied type, the importance of other carotenoids, such as cryptoxanthin, lutein, and lycopene -- and the amounts in which they occur -- may become clear as more is learned about them.

Today, the exact sequence of steps that our bodies use to take up beta-carotene and convert it to vitamin A remains mostly mysterious. But it's thought that other carotenoids may play a role.

Besides being the star of that traditional pie dessert favored by many at Thanksgiving dinners, pumpkin can add a pleasing taste and texture to everything from appetizers to soups, stews, and even chili.

Enjoy it with zest, knowing how much it could be doing for YOU!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Troubles Rising For The UK's FSA Profiling

The UK's Food Standards Agency's (FSA) profiling proposal, developed at the end of July, used zero as a benchmark, with positive scores indicating unhealthy products and minus scores pointing to healthier options, according to NutraIngredients/Europe.

Using this benchmark process has lumped some foods/drinks formerly believed to be quite healthy into the unhealthy category...

For example, using the new FSA benchmark, whole, semi-skimmed and flavoured milk have the same health value as diet fizzy drinks -- they would be no better for you than drinking a Diet Coke. All got a score of zero.

In another example, olive oil is portrayed through this new profiling, to be less healthy than a range of potato crisps, chocolate biscuits and cakes. Olive oil received a score of 20, despite a number of studies showing that a so-called Mediterranean diet, with a high ratio of monounsaturated fatty acids (mostly olive oil) to polyunsaturated fatty acids, has a protective effect on the heart.

The current profiling scheme means that even breast milk would fall into the bad-health category of 'high in saturated fat, salt or sugar' and the positioning of cheese on the 'scorecard' would result in being similarly unsuitable.

Dairy UK was reported to have serious concerns about the FSA's profiling. "We question the omission of micronutrients such as protein quality, minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium, as well as vitamins A and B," said Ed Komorowski, Dairy UK's technical director, as part of an FSA consultation period that ended this week.

Don't feel too bad. When the USDA came out with it's ORAC testing/rating system to rate the antioxidant power of foods/juices... the test didn't even acknowledge carotenoids.

Methinks both groups should go back to the drawing board ...but that's just my humble opinion.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Top 5 Children's Menu Items As Surveyed By Mintel

In 2002, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) cited that 16 percent of children aged 6-11 were overweight, with the same percentage holding true for 12-19 year olds, according to a recent report by NutraIngredients.

In a recent survey by Mintel, more than 77 percent of adults surveyed cited that parents are to blame for the national crisis -- indicating that most parents/families are time-starved, spending more time commuting from jobs, to schools and activities leaving less and less time for sitting down to well-balanced home-cooked nutritious family meals. Approximately 42 percent of Mintel's respondents surveyed identified someone in their households as being overweight.

However, a whopping 93% of surveyed respondents felt that junk food continues to play a strong role in childhood obesity issues.

"Children's eating habits are suffering due to the lack of structured meal time, and this is as big a challenge as the lack of balanced meals," said Amanda Archibald, analyst and registered dietitian for Mintel. "Compressed schedules and cramped time availability for both children and parents may play a more important role than previously thought in making healthy food choices."

Then, when you add television into the mix -- of the estimated 40,000 television commercials children view a year, 32 percent are for candy, 31 percent for cereal, and 9 percent for fast food.

According to Mintel's Menu Insights, a menu-tracking system, more than 47 percent of children's menu items were fried. Here's a look at the top five menu items (listed in order of most often eaten) for what most children are eating these days:

1. Chicken fingers
2. Grilled cheese sandwiches
3. Burgers
4. Macaroni and cheese, and
5. Hot dogs

Any of those items sound familiar on your child's menu?

I have a confession to make -- they also top the list of our son's favorite foods. Our family doesn't get home-cooked well-balanced meals as often as we should -- even though both my husband and I only work part time, not commuting like many other parents, but from home running our businesses by phone and through the Internet. I can't even imagine how poor our diets would be if we had to commute like so many other parents are forced to do these days.

It's one of the main reasons we go through 3 cases of Goji Juice per month in our home... because I know our 5 year old son is at the very least, getting the benefits of the 4 "master" LPB polysaccharides and the nutritional value from the juice that we can't get through our irregular eating schedule.

Considering the poor condition of "fresh" produce in our area, it's doubtful a well-balanced meal could even give us what we need.

Both my son and I are quite slim ...and my husband's large frame maybe could stand to lose a pound (or three)... but it isn't anywhere near the weight problems that seem to exist in our area.

It's not our diets keeping us slim. Is it the Goji Juice?

Who knows for certain. I'm just happy our son prefers Goji Juice way above any of the sugary soda's and other far inferior juice products flooding the market these days. The convenience of grabbing a delicious glass of goji whenever we feel the need for a boost in our day also makes it so easy to fit into our often hectic unstructured lifestyle. For us, at least, it appears to be working well.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Three Interconnected Crises Facing Our World

It's no secret. In our world today there are 3 interconnected crisis facing us:

  1. the crisis in water security,

  2. the crisis in energy security, and

  3. the crisis in food security.
I ran across some startling statistics today from ISIS regarding the water supply on our tiny planet which might lend a sense of urgency to #1 above.

"In terms of water, within the 20th Century, global water consumption increased six fold -- twice the rate of population growth.

There's a fair majority of people who will expect, within reasonable circumstances, to still be alive in 2025. Many will have children of their own by 2025 that they don't have now.

But the figures for global water crises suggest that by 2025, in twenty years time, the proportion of people on the planet who will be living in areas of 'significant water stress' will rise from 34% to 63%.

In absolute numbers it's a total sum of about six billion people, which is the entirety of today's world population."

When you stand back and look at the BIG picture of where we are now in our history, and where we will be twenty years from now, the above numbers do NOT look promising.

Consider this: water in its pure form is essential to all known forms of life and is known also as the most universal solvent.

The percent water that makes up the human body (by weight) varies with age, sex, and physical conditioning -- but generally speaking, about 72% of the fat free mass of the human body is made of water. To function properly the body requires between one and seven litres of water per day to avoid dehydration, the precise amount depending on the level of activity, temperature, humidity, and other factors.

Wikipedia states: "Water that humans consume is called potable water. This natural resource is becoming more scarce in certain places as human population in those places increases, and its availability is a major social and economic concern."

When you also consider how important water is to plant life -- specifically agriculture and our food supply -- the picture that is forming shape based on ISIS statististics should cause concern for all of us.

If you are on our customer-only newsletter mailing-list, you'll be receiving your copy in the mail (no, not by email -- by snail-mail) early next week with some additional informtion on this thought-provoking subject.

Until then, stay well and be healthy.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bird Flu Has Scientists On Alert Around The World

Every now and then I like to take a "virtual trip" around the world to find out what health concerns are floating about. The latest threat isn't floating... it's flying... and it's called Influenza A (H5N1) -- better known as avian influenza or bird flu.

On Sept. 21, 2005 environment and health authorities in Abu Dhabi have placed a large order of four million pills for victims of bird flu, according to Gulf News, a news service in the Middle East. "Ali Al Marzouqi, head of preventive medicine at the General Authority for Health Services (GAHS), said that an order of four million pills for bird flu has been placed to cover 400,000 citizens."

And if you think that's a rather high "prevention" measure, the USA Government has ordered 2 million doses of a new vaccine (which has seemed to have positive results fighting this flu strain) from Sanofi-Aventis (from France) for a national stockpile and is negotiating with the company to order more, according to a Reuters, Washington news release reported in USAToday in August. The vaccine is grown in chicken eggs and production can take months.

U.S. scientists say they have successfully tested a human vaccine against H5N1, but it could be several more months before it is approved for manufacture and distribution here.

On August 30, 2005, "Voice Of America" reported that Vietnam, the country hardest hit by bird flu, is starting to target the virus at its source by vaccinating its entire poultry population.

The outbreak of avian flu in Vietnam has forced the country to slaughter some 50 million chickens and ducks.

A few months back, the World Health Organization stated that since 2003, at least 112 people have contracted the bird flu in four Southeast Asian countries, and 90 of them have been Vietnamese. The majority of human deaths have occurred in Vietnam.

Other cases have occurred in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. Tens of millions of chickens and other birds have died or been culled in Asia because of the virus.

The epidemic devastated Vietnam's chicken farmers last year. The government ordered the culling of chickens in infected areas so they could not pass the virus on to humans, and the economic cost has been estimated at more than 200 million dollars. Vietnam is seeking to control avian flu at the source by injecting chickens and ducks throughout the country with vaccines imported from China.

"The head of the program, Van Dang Ky, chief of epidemiology at the Ministry of Agriculture, says the goal is to have all chickens vaccinated before the winter flu season starts." -- according to the Voice of America article

What health officials around the world fear most is that the H5N1 virus may change to a form that can spread as easily among people as it now does among poultry. If that happens, health experts say, the result could be as deadly as the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which killed between 20 and 40 million people. That virus was a highly infectious avian flu much like H5N1.

H5N1 quickly destroys a patient's lungs. Most flu has a fatality rate of less than five percent, but H5N1 has so far killed half the people who contracted it in Southeast Asia.

Public health experts say the virus is mutating and could develop the ability to spread easily from person to person and kill millions in a flu pandemic. The "Nature Weekly Journal of Science" reported in May of this year that the spread of avian flu to, and probably between, humans, has already started across Asia.

There are conflicting reports as to how many people the H5N1 flu has killed ... some sources state more than 60 people have died from it in Asia since 2003, but the actual numbers could be far higher since exact figures have not been fully reported in China, according to "recombinomics" ...however, they have an unofficial report that estimates over 8,000 birds AND ANIMALS have already died from the virus in China. They indicated in June of this year that the machine translated list of animal deaths linked to H5N1 bird flu in and around the Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve in Gangcha County is more than 10 fold higher than the official report of May 21 by China to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Since the reserve is a breeding ground for bar-headed geese (Anser indicus) that migrate over the Himalayas, scientists warn the birds could carry the virus to India, Australia, New Zealand and eventually Europe.

"The occurrence of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus infection in migrant waterfowl indicates that this virus has the potential to be a global threat," Jinhua Liu of China Agricultural University and colleagues wrote in the journals Science and Nature.

One rumor claims that as many as 120 people have already died of the avian flu in China alone... but this is just a rumor at this time.

About Bird Flu:
(Adapted from The Center For Disease Control Website)

Influenza A (H5N1) -- better known as avian influenza or bird flu -- occurs naturally among wild birds worldwide. The virus is very contagious among birds and can be deadly to them -- especially to domesticated birds like chickens.

15 subtypes of influenza A virus are known to be circulating in bird populations. Many forms of avian flu virus cause only mild symptoms in the birds, or no symptoms at all. However, some of the viruses produce a highly contagious and rapidly fatal disease, leading to severe epidemics, such as the H5N1 strain. These virulent viruses are known as "highly pathogenic avian influenza" and are cause for concern.

About Bird Flu Infection:

The virus doesn't typically infect humans. But in 1997, the first instance of direct bird-to-human infection resulted in six deaths in Hong Kong. Since then, there have been other instances of bird flu infection among humans. Since January 2004 at least 53 people are known to have died of the virus - in Cambodia, Vietnam or Thailand.

Meanwhile, bird flu has claimed the lives of four Indonesians since July of this year, and three children who died this week are suspected of having had the disease. Laboratory test results are expected within days, doctors said, noting that 13 other patients were under observation, according to an Associated Press report earlier today. "With the high human population density, we can expect to see more cases here, more perhaps than even in Vietnam and Thailand," says WHO representative Georg Petersen. Currently Tamiflu tablets are the only treatment so far proven effective against bird flu in humans.

About How Bird Flu Spreads:

Infected birds shed H5N1 in their saliva, nasal excretions and feces. Bird flu viruses spread among birds when the animals come into contact with contaminated excretions. Scientists believe most cases of human (and other animal) infection have resulted from contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces.

The virus kills chickens but rarely ducks, according to one source. At the Chinese reserve, it infected wild brown-headed gulls (Larus brunnicephalus) and great black-headed gulls (Larus ichthyaetus), causing symptoms in birds such as tremors, diarrhea, head tilt and paralysis.

Bird flu can cause a range of symptoms in humans. Some patients report fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches. Others suffer from eye infections, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress and other severe and life-threatening complications.

Athough the World Health Organization claims that so far humans have only contracted bird flu after coming into contact with infected animals, many experts agree that it is possible that H5N1 could merge with a human flu virus and create a new virus that could be easily passed between humans with catastrophic consequences.

There are 2 ways the virus could easily mutate, according to BUPA...

In humans - if a person who already has flu is comes into close contact with birds who have highly pathogenic avian flu, there is a tiny chance that the person could become infected with the avian flu virus. If this happens, the person would now be carrying both the human flu virus and the avian flu virus. The two viruses could meet in the person's body and swap genes with each other. If the new virus had the avian flu's genes that made it rapidly fatal and the human flu's genes to allow it to be passed from person to person, a flu pandemic could result.

In pigs - pigs are susceptible to both human and bird flu viruses. If a pig became infected with both viruses at the same time, it could act as a "mixing vessel", allowing the two viruses to swap genes and produce a new virus.

There is no evidence that H5N1 has mutated yet, however every time an avian flu virus jumps from a bird to a person or animal, the risk of a new flu virus being produced increases.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Postmenopausal Women Have One More Reason To Cheer About Soy

Other studies have shown a link between soy products and bone mineral density but a new research study conducted by Dr Xiao-Ou Shu and colleages published Sept. 12, 2005 in the "Archives of Internal Medicine" (vol 165, pp1890-1895) is the first large study to investigate the association between soy consumption and the risk of fracture.

Even after accounting for age, calorie intake, socioeconomic status, other nutrients, and osteoporosis risk factors, higher soy protein consumption was significantly associated with lower risk of fracture in postmenopausal women participating in the Shanghai Women's Health Study.

They added that the inverse association was more pronounced among women in early menopause. For women within ten years of menopause onset the risk of fracture was reduced by 48 per cent among those with the highest intake of soy protein intake compared to those in the lowest consumption. For women who had been menopausal for more than ten years, the risk reduction was 29 per cent.

Ladies ... are you ready to find out how great Ultimate Soy Shakes taste?

Have a healthy and happy day!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Resigning From The FDA For Ethical Reasons?

The latest resignation from the FDA comes as quite a surprise when the reasons for resigning were stated. Before I go into the details and an excerpt from the actual resignation letter, I'd like to state for the record:

1. I'm not really a total fan of the OBGYN website (where I found the news article) mainly because they do seem to push a LOT of drugs and don't seem too concerned with "natural" alternatives for women in many cases, or at least that's my perception based on all the links to buy drugs on their site. (Kinda makes me wonder if the drug companies are sending them royalties/kickbacks too, like many doctors across our nation are getting.)

2. Let's face it, the more women that require OBGYN medical help, the more money they make... so I'm not entirely positive that all their research is really in the best interests of women's health since there are other potential motives here. I mean it's not like asian healers who get paid if you stay healthy... here, healers get paid if you get sick. I'm not being skeptical --- just realistic that there may be other motives at play and considering the high incidence of unnecessary historectomies in the USA, it's possible my skepticism is justified. Who knows for sure?

However, they have been strong supporters of moving women's health issues forward through science and research ... so my skepticism might be unjustified.

With that being said, here's the scoop on the latest resignation at the FDA.

Susan Wood, Ph.D., resigned yesterday as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assistant commissioner for women’s health and director of the FDA’s Office of Women’s Health. Her resignation was prompted by the FDA’s recent decision to delay action on deciding whether to approve the Plan B emergency contraceptive for over-the-counter use. Below is a copy of Dr. Wood’s resignation letter (as posted on the OBGYN website).

“Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I regret to tell you that I am leaving the FDA, and will no longer be serving as the Assistant Commissioner for Women's Health and Director of the FDA Office of Women's Health. The recent decision announced by the Commissioner about emergency contraception, which continues to limit women's access to a product that would reduce unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions is contrary to my core commitment to improving and advancing women's health. I have spent the last 15 years working to ensure that science informs good health policy decisions. I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled. I therefore have submitted my resignation effective today.”

What is the Plan B emergency contraceptive referred to in her letter and above?

I'll do some serious digging and see what I come up with. Be sure to stay tuned to BLV Health Watch for subscriber-only future editions.

Until then... have a wonderful healthy day!

PS: we've fixed the AOL subscriber problem by changing newsletter services. If you subscribed to the old service, you might not be getting new editions. You might want to hop over to our subscribe page to renew your subscription now.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Shocking Info from the Sustainable World Conference

On July 14-15/2005, a quiet gathering took place in the UK Parliament in Westminster, London. Independent scientists from four continents joined national politicians and many interested individuals and groups to discuss strategies for changing agriculture worldwide to a diversity of locally-based sustainable systems that can provide food sovereignty and security to all and protect the earth from the ravages of global warming.

It was the Sustainable World Global Initiative's first-ever International Conference, organised by the Institute of Science in Society [ISIS].

The first shocking info was about WATER:

Alan Simpson MP warned that by the year 2025, 6 billion people will suffer water stress, causing ‘water wars' ...and he states decades of overproduction by agribusiness is a major cause of water depletion.

I didn't have to search very far online to uncover some startling evidence that would appear to support his claims. Check out this article regarding nitrate contamination of an Aquifer in Southwestern Spain.

The article starts out with the statement: "Inappropriate farming techniques and 4 years of drought (1992–1995) produced conditions for high nitrate concentration in an aquifer located in the Province of Seville (Southwest Spain)." And it's backed by an 8.9 Mb .pdf clinical study document following a thorough study of the problem.

The second piece of shocking info was about WEATHER:

Sure, many have heard about the value to our ecosystem that the Amazon rainforests present, but here's something I didn't know.

"The Sahara and Amazon Basins are connected by weather systems that are the inverse of each other and the circulation is recharged by the Amazon, which is now failing, turning it into a carbon source instead of a sink. The oceans are losing the ability to regulate terrestrial temperature, and that too, will affect climate irreversibly."

And then I read the shocking info about NUTRITION:

Quoted From Sustainable World Coming:

Hywel Davies MD of Weston A Price Foundation from Switzerland gave an account of the relationship between early coronary artery disease and the lack of nutrient dense food in the western diet.

Autopsies on children who died of accidents showed thickening of tissue inside arterial muscle laminae due to multiplication of cells and large deposits of calcium phosphate. These, he said, derived from an excess of vitamin D and other additives present in large quantities in babies' feeding formula and many common foods. They contain supplements to compensate for nutrition removed by food processing, but cause problems that can only be remedied by understanding the importance of natural nutrients to our health and well being.

For this reason, we must grow the food that meets these requirements.

There's more... much more. Maybe it's time for all of us to take another look at the BIG picture. Go ahead, check out the notes from the Conference here.

Also, our new articles will be up at BLV Health Watch Online by midnight tonight. You can check them out on Friday here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Confusion Surrounding Clinical Studies

Before I dive into this article, keep in mind that I'm not a fan of the flimsy ORAC scale --- a relatively inexpensive test performed by some manufacturers on their own products in order to elevate their products' perceived health benefits (anti-oxidant content).

You see... if the manufacturers have no way of standardizing their product, meaning they can't guarantee the same health values/content in each and every bottle/package (like we do with our Goji Juice), then the results of their testing remains suspect at the very least --- and completely unreliable at worst --- since results will vary depending on the quality/nature of the sample used to perform the test. (Added to the fact, that the ORAC test itself is weak in what it is capable of reporting, but that's another full-length article coming your way soon.)

Scientists only really respect studies published in peer-reviewed journals. There are 65 such peer-reviewed published studies completed thus far on goji (lycium barbarum) following rigorous clinical testing by independent 3rd parties (not our company)... with many more such studies underway.

Essentially, there is nothing wrong with companies carrying out their own research and communicating their findings in their marketing efforts....


Companies should never take advantage of their target audience's respect for science by using poor methodology or over-emphasizing/tweaking unremarkable results. Rather, they need to carry out the research as rigorously as if the consumer had all the know-how of the leading scientist in their field.

For example, Connecticut-based beverage company SoBe - South Beach Beverage Company - paid a $219,000 penalty earlier this year for falsely claiming that its drinks protect against colds and other illnesses and increase energy levels. SoBe, which was bought by PepsiCo in 2001, was pulled up by the Connecticut attorney general's office and department of consumer protection over the claims on advertising and packaging.

In a separate incident, PepsiCo also had to change the labeling on two of its fruit-flavored Tropicana beverages to reflect the fact that they actually contain little or no fruit juice.

In another example, PepsiCo-owned Tropicana Products reached a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission earlier this year over claims that its Healthy Heart orange juice could reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and homocysteine levels. The FTC alleged that there was no clinical data to back up these claims.

What surprises me is that the company could even make those claims in the first place, with the current FDA legislations regarding marketing and advertising. After all, there are 34 known and clinically proven health benefits for the lycium barbarum bloodline we use in Goji Juice, and yet only 4 of them are we legally entitled to use in our advertising with links to their related peer-reviewed clinical studies.

Chances are... based on the historical evidence in our industry... if we were to advertise publicly all 34 health benefits for goji, we'd be shut down in a heart-beat. However, the soft-drink industry giant gets away with a relatively small fine/settlement (in comparison to revenues and percieved "healthy image" publicity this form of advertising was able to generate for them).

It's a juice --- far better than orange juice with a much wider range of nutrition and health benefits and far more delicious, too in my personal humble opinion --- and yet, I can't tell anyone what the full 34 third-party peer-reviewed clinically proven health benefits are for the berry we use to make Goji Juice, unless someone asks me. (Sure, go ahead and ask me through our contact form at BestLiquidVitamins.com. I'll be happy to send a list of the 34 benefits to you.)

So, ummmmm... what's up?

Is it because we're a supplement supplier producing products designed to help everyone live longer, healthier, happier lives ... and NOT a multi-billion-dollar general food or soft-drink producer?

If you are a subscriber to our "customer-only private newsletter" you'll be finding out some of the answers soon.

Until then, live long and be healthy!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

What's The Weather Like On The Moon?

On Wednesday, September 7/2005, the sun unleashed one of the largest solar flares on record, according to CNET News.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) said the powerful flare that emerged from region 808 on the sun Wednesday afternoon rated the fourth-largest in the last 15 years. Intense radio emissions were associated with the flare.

Here on earth, our planet's thick atmosphere and magnetic field protects us from protons and other forms of solar radiation coming at us from the sun when larger solar flares occur.

The Moon is a different story.

"The Moon is totally exposed to solar flares," explains solar physicist David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center. "It has no atmosphere or magnetic field to deflect radiation." Protons rushing at the Moon simply hit the ground --- or whoever might be walking around outside.

If an astronaut were to be caught outside on the moon's surface when such a storm hits, at first he'd feel fine, but a few days later symptoms of radiation sickness would appear: vomiting, fatigue, low blood counts. These symptoms might persist for days.

One rem, short for Roentgen Equivalent Man, is the radiation dose that causes the same injury to human tissue as 1 roentgen of x-rays. A typical diagnostic CAT scan, the kind you might get to check for tumors, delivers about 1 rem [ref].

To die, you'd need to absorb, suddenly, 300 rem or more.

The key word is suddenly, according to NASA. You can get 300 rem spread out over a number of days or weeks with little effect. Spreading the dose gives the body time to repair and replace its own damaged cells. But if that 300 rem comes all at once ... "we estimate that 50% of people exposed would die within 60 days without medical care," says Francis Cucinotta, NASA's radiation health officer at the Johnson Space Center.

Such doses from a solar flare are possible. For example, the large solar storm of August 1972. A large sunspot appeared on August 2, 1972, and for the next 10 days it erupted again and again... Researchers have been studying it ever since.

Cucinotta estimates that a moonwalker caught in the August 1972 storm might have absorbed 400 rem.

An Apollo command module with its aluminum hull would have attenuated the 1972 storm from 400 rem to less than 35 rem at the astronaut's blood-forming organs. That's the difference between needing a bone marrow transplant ... or just a headache pill, according to Cucinotta.

Back in January 20th of 2005, a giant sunspot named "NOAA 720" exploded. The blast sparked an X-class solar flare, the most powerful kind, and hurled a billion-ton cloud of electrified gas (a "coronal mass ejection") into space. Solar protons accelerated to nearly light speed by the explosion reached the Earth-Moon system minutes after the flare --- the beginning of a days-long "proton storm."

A powerful solar flare on July 14/2000 triggered an ongoing radiation storm around our planet. The eruption also sent a fast-moving coronal mass ejection toward Earth.

As for last Wednesday's solar flare, what happened here on earth?

"This event created a complete blackout of high-frequency communications on the day-lit side of Earth, which included the entire U.S. and basically anywhere the sun was shining at this time," Larry Combs, solar forecaster at the NOAA Space Environment Center, said referring to Wednesday's solar flare in a prepared statement.

"Communications used by emergency services along the Gulf Coast may have experienced problems due to this flare. Low-frequency navigation systems may also have experienced a period of significant degradation," he added.

It rated an R-4, or severe, on NOAA's space weather scale for radio blackouts.

Who faces the most health risk when solar flares/storms occur? Both astronauts and high-altitude airline pilots/crew. Airline pilots that fly at great altitude, and especially near the poles, are exposed to more radiation from solar storms reaching our atmosphere. The same goes for astronauts. This results in a higher incidence of cancer among airline pilots and cabin crew. Astronauts have even reported seeing flashes of light because of high energy protons hitting their eyes.

Last Wednesday's solar flare is not the end for this year... more are expected. Click this link to see the current Space Weather Alerts directly from NOAA.

CNET News Trackback

Friday, September 09, 2005

Benefits of Soy Protein in the News Again - New Study!

By now we all know about the benefits of soy protein for the heart and cholesterol... but a new study appears to suggest it may also have benefits for the liver.

In a new study conducted at the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición in Mexico and published in the Journal of Lipid Research, the researchers set out to investigate whether soy protein may also regulate the transcription factors involved in lipid metabolism, and thus prevent the development of fatty liver.

Although further research is needed on the subject, particularly insofar as it relates to humans since the study was conducted using rats, the researchers believe that their results indicate that consumption of soy protein could reduce insulin resistance, renal damage and fatty liver.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information presented in our news articles and elsewhere on this website are presented for educational purposes.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

He Who Controls The Food Supply, Controls The Earth?

Gravity existed before Newton "discovered" it and the Earth revolved around the sun for hundreds of thousands of years before Galileo.

And plants on our tiny blue planet 3rd from the sun have existed for... well, that would depend on which theory of "existance" you subscribe to... but certainly it's somewhere near the beginning of life on our planet, right?

Then it makes enquiring minds like mine wonder why, in recent years, certain companies have been acting like they invented the process of growing plants.

The investigations I've been doing to uncover who owns what in the food supply chain has all the ingredients of a fiction thriller novel ...filled with conspiracy theories, hype, half-truths, lies, and even bribery.

You don't want to miss this first article in a serious of articles:

Who Controls The Food Supply, Controls The Earth?

Be sure to subscribe to BLV News for more on this subject. You might be as shocked as I was at some of the information I've been uncovering.