|Posted by Marisa Kimble on May 31, 2013 at 4:25 PM||comments (0)|
(NaturalNews) An undated article discussing the invention of genetically-modified (GM) human beings that was published by the U.K.'s DailyMail at least 10 years ago is gaining fresh attention from the online community these days. And even though the heinous practice, which is known as cytoplasmic transfer, is technically illegal in the U.S., the current regulatory framework offers little in the way of enforcement capacity against those that breach this moratorium.
Because the DailyMail article is not dated, some have mistakenly taken it to be current, and have adopted the position that GM babies may potentially become the next big thing in reproductive medicine. But it appears as though this is not actually the case, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) apparently banned this form of genetic manipulation back in the early 2000s after declaring it to be under its regulatory jurisdiction.
According to the original DailyMail article, Jacques Cohen, a former employee at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine & Science of Saint Barnabas in New Jersey, came up with a way to blend the genes of multiple mothers into a single egg that can then be fertilized with sperm from a male. The end product is a child with a genetic blueprint from three different parents, a process of human manipulation known as "germline" alteration.
This unscrupulous discovery, which only further taints the natural order of life with man-made genetic modifications, reportedly led to the development of at least 15 GM babies at that time, which are presumably still alive and now progressing through their adolescent years. And according to the original report, any children born to these GM individuals will also bear these modified GM traits, as they are inherently passed down from generation to generation.
"The fact that the children have inherited the extra genes and incorporated them into their 'germline' means that they will, in turn, be able to pass them on to their own offspring," wrote Michael Hanlon for the Daily Mail back at that time. "Altering the human germline - in effect tinkering with the very make-up of our species - is a technique shunned by the vast majority of the world's scientists."
GM babies are a 'biological product,' which puts them under FDA jurisdiction
This is admittedly a very frightening development, as it has the potential to unleash untold horrors on the human genome. But what is not clear from the original DailyMail article is when it was actually written, and if the procedure is still taking place today. As explained in a later paper published by the Washington Monthly in 2002, it appears as though GM babies did not necessarily take off as some believe, and this is due to FDA prohibitions.
"Since 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has argued that genetically manipulated embryos are a 'biological product,' and therefore subject to regulation, just like medical devices and drugs," wrote Shannon Brownlee for the Washington Monthly. "FDA sent warning letters to six fertility centers threatening 'enforcement action,' and asserting its regulatory power over 'therapy involving the transfer of genetic material by means other than the union of [sperm and egg]'."
But some of the biotechnologists working in the field have since challenged the FDA's authority on the matter, arguing that the agency's perceived dominance is "a stretch." Does this mean that GM babies will soon become mainstream? It is difficult to say, but at this time, there does not appear to be any clinics in the U.S. actively performing such procedures in violation of the FDA's orders.
Sources for this article include:
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on April 24, 2013 at 1:10 PM||comments (0)|
Antibiotics in Organic Tree Fruit Production — Simple Questions/Answers
by The Cornucopia Institute
Is the Use of This Material a Threat to Human Health?
There is no debate that low level, chronic dietary exposure to antibiotics is deleterious to human health. This is especially important in light of the disproportionate intake of apples and apple products by children.
There’s certainly also legitimate concern in terms of occupational exposure to antibiotics in the workplace (farmers and farmworkers).
Is the Use of This Material a Threat to the Environment?
There is no doubt that applying broad-spectrum antibiotics in pear and apple orchards, using air blast sprayer technology, will have an impact on microbial life and the biodiversity of the farm. I do not know if the exact extent of this has been measured. There’s not much science on this question at this point as most of the antibiotics in food production are used on conventional farms. However, the federal law governing organics mandates that negative impacts to biodiversity be considered.
Is This Material Essential in Organic Production?
It was reported by Washington researchers, at the National Organic Coalition meeting Monday, April 8, that last year, a “bad year” for fire blight in Washington, that only a minimal number of organic producers used antibiotics. Growers producing fruit for export to Europe don’t use antibiotics (they are banned from use under organic regulations in every other country).
The Cornucopia Institute surveyed all certified organic apple and pear growers in the United States. The majority, 56%, have never used oxytetracycline or streptomycin in their orchards. Even in the giant apple producing state of Washington, 54% had never used antibiotics on their trees/fruit.
Obviously, the majority of farmers have proven, by using more conservative cultural practices (not crowding trees, using resistant cultivars and rootstock, etc.) and naturally-based remedies, that the use of antibiotics is not essential in apple production.
Pears are generally much more susceptible to fire blight and more research is necessary before making conclusions about successful alternative production practices.
Read the Full Story Here: http://www.cornucopia.org/2013/04/antibiotics-in-organic-tree-fruit-production-simple-questionsanswers/
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on April 8, 2013 at 1:20 PM||comments (0)|
Over 5 million children ages four to 17 have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States, and close to 3 million of those children take medication for their symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But a new study reported in The Lancet last month found that with a restricted diet alone, many children experienced a significant reduction in symptoms. The study’s lead author, Dr. Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Center in the Netherlands, said in an interview with NPR, “The teachers thought it was so strange that the diet would change the behavior of the child as thoroughly as they saw it. It was a miracle, the teachers said.”
Dr. Pessler’s study is the first to conclusively say that diet is implicated in ADHD. In the NPR interview, Dr. Pessler did not mince words, “Food is the main cause of ADHD,” she said adding, “After the diet, they were just normal children with normal behavior. They were no longer more easily distracted, they were no more forgetful, there were no more temper-tantrums.” The study found that in 64 percent of children with ADHD, the symptoms were caused by food. “It’s a hypersensitivity reaction to food,” Pessler said.
This is good news for parents and children who would like to avoid many of the adverse side effects associated with common stimulant drugs, like Ritalin, used to treat ADHD — and bad news for the pharmaceutical industry. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that common side effects from the drugs are sleeplessness (for which a doctor might also prescribe sleeping pills), headaches, stomachaches, decreased appetite, and a long list of much more frightening (yet rarer) side effects, including feeling helpless, hopeless, or worthless, and new or worsening depression. But Pessler’s study indicates that up to two-thirds — or 2 of the 3 million children currently medicated for ADHD — may not need medication at all. “With all children, we should start with diet research,” Pessler said.
There are also questions about the long-term effects of stimulant drugs and growth in children. After three years on Ritalin, children were about an inch shorter and 4.4 pounds lighter than their peers, according to a major study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 2007. A 2010 study in the Journal of Pediatrics disputed these findings, but all the study’s authors had relationships with drug companies, some of which make stimulants. According to Reuters, “The lead author, Harvard University’s Dr. Joseph Biederman, was once called out by Iowa Senator Charles E. Grassley for the consulting fees he has received from such drug makers.”
This is just one example of how the powerful billion-dollar drug industry designs and interprets studies to suit their interests. Since the 1970s, researchers not tied to drug companies have been drawing connections between foods, food additives, and the symptoms associated with ADHD but many have been dismissed or overlooked by conventional medicine. One of the earliest researchers in this field was Dr. Benjamin Feingold who created a specific diet to address behavioral and developmental problems in children. The Feingold diet, as it is now called, recommends removing all food additives, dyes, and preservatives commonly found in the majority of industrial foods.
There are a multitude of credible scientific studies to indicate that diet plays a large role in the development of ADHD. One study found that the depletion of zinc and copper in children was more prevalent in children with ADHD. Another study found that one particular dye acts as a “central excitatory agent able to induce hyperkinetic behavior.” And yet another study suggests that the combination of various common food additives appears to have a neurotoxic effect — pointing to the important fact that while low levels of individual food additives may be regarded as safe for human consumption, we must also consider the combined effects of the vast array of food additives that are now prevalent in our food supply.
In Pessler’s study the children were placed on a restricted diet consisting of water, rice, turkey, lamb, lettuce, carrots, pears, and other hypoallergenic foods — in other words, real, whole foods. This means that by default the diet contained very few, if any, food additives.
As I see it, there are two factors at work in this study: One being the allergic reaction to the actual foods themselves and the second being a possible reaction to food additives, or combinations of food additives, found in industrial foods. Both certainly could be at play in the results of this study, although the discussion of Dr. Pessler’s study thus far hasn’t addressed the latter issue.
One theme in the discussion of the story has been skepticism from mainstream media — the recent Los Angeles Times article (the only major daily newspaper to cover the study) was very skeptical, if not dismissive. The author writes, “Previous studies have found similar effects, but, like this one, they all had fundamental problems that made it easy for doctors to dismiss them.” NPR interviewer Guy Raz asked a question invoking this tone as well, “Now, you’re not saying that some children with ADHD should not be given medication, right?” Pessler does say that there are some children and adults who might benefit from pharmaceuticals but her research indicates that far too many are being medicated unnecessarily — and this is the crux of the story.
The Los Angeles Times article ends on this note: “‘To be sure, the prospect of treating ADHD with diet instead of drugs would appeal to many parents,’ Dr. Jaswinder Ghuman, a child psychiatrist who treats ADHD says. But parents who want to give it a try should be sure to consult their child’s physician first, she warned: ‘It’s not that simple to do appropriately.’”
Call me old-fashioned, but changing your child’s diet seems a lot “simpler” than altering his or her brain chemistry with a daily dose of pharmaceuticals. It does takes patience, trial and error, and commitment to complete an elimination diet — taking a pill to target symptoms certainly requires less effort on the part of the doctors, family, and child. No one is denying that ADHD is a complicated web of symptoms with potentially many contributing factors. But why not start by examining the most basic and fundamental cornerstone of our health — the foods (and non-foods) we put into our bodies?
A version of this post first appeared on Civil Eats.
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on March 29, 2013 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
Chemicals in the everyday products we use in our homes may be negatively affecting our hormones, says a newly-released study by WHO, the World Health Organization. The study, titled "State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals," says pesticides, plasticizers and product additives contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). They act like synthetic hormones, throwing off the body's natural hormonal system. A hormone is a chemical messenger produced in the glands in our endocrine system and released in our blood and affects everything from mood to metabolism.
One of the chemicals investigated in the study is BPA, or bisphenol A, which mimics estrogen if it's introduced into your body. It can get there by leaching out of hard plastic bottles, especially if they are heated (in microwave ovens or dishwashers) or exposed to acidic solutions (tomato sauce). BPA is also found in plastic reusable food containers, canned soup, soda cans, and cash register and ATM receipts.
Frederick vom Saal, a biology professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia and one of the leading BPA researchers in the country, says that in studies of laboratory animals BPA changes play behavior, weakens gender differences, decreases sperm count, stimulates prostate cancer and causes ADHD symptoms.
BPA Is Also Making Us Fat
A study of nearly 3,000 children and teens in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found a significant association between levels of BPA in kids' urine and obesity. The report said that kids with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were over 2.5 times more likely to be obese compared to those with low levels of the chemical.
BPA might also be responsible for another disturbing effect. "I saw lots of 10- and 11-year-old boys with breasts," said Michelle Perro, M.D., during an interview, referring to what she observed while on a recent beach vacation. "I also am seeing a number of them in my office, and I'm convinced it's partially due to BPA in plastic that's acting as an endocrine disruptor," said Dr. Perro, a Marin County, Calif. pediatrician who's been practicing medicine for 30 years.
Kids Are at Risk
Children are exposed especially from eating canned foods. In a new report by the Breast Cancer Fund, dangerous levels were found in a wide variety of canned foods specifically marketed towards kids. Some of the highest levels were found in Campbell's Disney Princess and Toy Story soups as well as from "healthy" companies like Annie's Homegrown and Earth's Best Organic.
BPA Is Everywhere and Inside Almost Everyone
We are repeatedly being exposed to BPA on a daily basis and it's showing up in our bodies. Nearly 93 percent of people aged 6 or older had detectable levels of BPA in their urine, according to a 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination survey. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also found BPA in umbilical cord blood, indicating that this chemical starts polluting babies in the womb. Infants then are exposed to BPA from their formula cans, baby bottles, sippy cups and mother's milk (if the nursing mom eats canned foods).
Toxic shell Game
Last year the FDA finally banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, but in some instances BPA is being replaced with BPS, which lacks scientific research. "When they replace BPA with chemicals that are less well known and less well studied it's simply a toxic shell game," said Michael Green, executive director of the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) in Oakland, Calif., during a recent interview. "They don't know the health impacts of these new chemicals and in my opinion, they don't want to know the health impacts, because if they know, they may have some liability or responsibility," he added. According to Green, the solution is to create and enforce new regulations on toxic chemicals. "We need to change the rules that govern what chemical companies can and cannot use in products, especially those designed for small children to put in their mouths."
Things You Can Do to Drastically Cut Down on BPA Exposure
•Limit canned foods.* If you do eat from cans, seek out companies that claim not to use BPA. These include Trader Joe's, Eden Foods, Westbrook Farms and Bionaturae.
•Choose foods in glass jars whenever possible.
•Opt for fresh or frozen food. Every can you pass up means less BPA in your body.
•If you use infant formula, choose the powdered variety in non-steel cans.
•Give your baby breast milk (Check out Honeysuckle breast milk storage bags, which are BPA-free.
•Replace plastic baby bottles with glass bottles.
•Stop using plastic food containers in the microwave -- heat it in glass instead.
•Deny receipts whenever possible.
*Note: BPA levels in different canned foods varies wildly, but a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association detected shocking levels. The levels of BPA in participants skyrocketed 1,000 percent after eating a can of Progresso soup. Dangerously high levels have also been detected in popular brands of kids' canned foods.
For More Information on BPA Safety
Breast Cancer Fund, CEH, CHE, EWG
Beth Greer, Super Natural Mom®, is author of the bestseller "Super Natural Home," endorsed by Deepak Chopra and Ralph Nader. She's former President of The Learning Annex, and an environmental health advocate who eliminated a sizable tumor in her chest without drugs or surgery. Beth is also an inspiring speaker and popular media guest having appeared on CNN, ABC and NBC. She designs Working Healthy corporate wellness programs and personalized in-home detox audits nationwide. www.BethGreer.com
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on March 2, 2013 at 12:10 AM||comments (1)|
So There You Are . . .
Dressed to the nines, full belly caressed by the silky feel of an empire dress, reveling in the crisp delight that is lambs lettuce. An eight course dinner in Monet’s favorite garden is not where you imagined you’d be at 35 weeks pregnant, but you’re not complaining. Except there is this one thing:
So. much. staring. You try to catch your reflection in the polished marble . . . could the light be playing a dirty trick with the fabric of your dress? Tricks that make it see-through, or turn it the exact shade of chartreuse your mother told you never to wear?
Put down the plate and walk away, honey. They’re staring at your salad.
You see, in France eating raw vegetables while pregnant is a big no-no, while a daily glass of red bordeaux is considered beneficial. Head across the pond to the good ole U.S. though, and you’ll see a ton of this.
And none of this!
So who’s right? In her new book, Beautiful Babies, Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade separates fact from fiction. Before we get to that, though, I have to tell you about something that is too good to pass up.
I took the class last year – it was ahMAZing. Totally worth the $199, but for the price of a paperback book it’s a steal (plus you get the book!!). If you want to give a gift that’s hundreds of times more valuable than a package of diapers at the next baby shower, now’s your chance. If you’re thinking about having a baby or you are a mom of grown children who wants the best for your future grandbabies, this book is an invaluable resource.
The average pregnant woman is inundated with rules. Don’t eat soft cheese. If you eat lunchmeat, reheat it to kill the listeria. Don’t change your cat’s litter. You absolutely must not drink any alcohol at all. Don’t eat fish; you risk exposure to toxic levels of mercury. Avoid raw milk and raw cheeses. Don’t drink more than a cup of coffee per day. Don’t lie on your back. Don’t eat more than 30% of your calories as fat. And, the list goes on.
Indeed it does. Let’s see what Kristen has to say about a few of these taboo foods, shall we?
Will I Really Get Listeria from That Sushi or Raw Cheese?
Did you know that pregnant women regularly eat sushi in Japan? According to Kristen, “If they had a sweeping epidemic of listeria because of this habit, surely eating sushi would be taboo there, too?”
Indeed. While Kristen does not at all try to downplay the seriousness of Listeria poisoning, she points out that aside from raw meats and cheeses, deli meats, hot dogs, and even raw vegetables and fruits can be sources of listeria. From there she makes several other good points:
•Raw seafood is one of the most nutrient-dense animal foods on the planet, not to mention a sacred food for fertility and pregnancy in almost all traditional cultures.
•Women regularly eat sushi in Japan (I know I already mentioned that, but I think it’s very important!)
From there she describes the criteria she used for sushi consumption during her pregnancy.
I decided to set my limits. Since I didn’t really know what went into the safe handling of raw, sushi-grade fish, I decided not to eat sushi I prepared at home. I’d only eat fresh sushi from a source I trusted, a source with an impeccable kitchen that would answer my questions.
After taking such reasonable precautions, I indulged
It felt amazing. My body was craving it, and I gave it what it wanted with a clean conscience.
Kristen goes on to talk about how vital knowing your source is. Regarding another taboo food, raw egg yolks, here’s what she had to say.
When asked about the relative safety of pastured-poultry operations in the wake of a nationwide egg recall for salmonella, Joel Salatin said, “So far, not one case of foodborne pathogens has been reported among the thousands of pastured poultry producers, many of whom have voluntarily had their birds analyzed. Routinely, these home- dressed birds, which have not been treated with chlorine to disinfect them, show numbers far below industry comparisons. At Polyface, we even tested our manure and found that it contained no salmonella.
Pastured poultry farms exhibit trademark lush pastures and healthy chickens with deep-colored egg yolks and fat. As with any movement, some practitioners are excellent and others are charlatans. Knowing your product by putting as much attention on food sourc- ing as you do on planning your next vacation is the way to insure accountability.”9
Once you know your farmer, weigh the risks. I ate raw egg yolks from pastured hens routinely during all three of my pregnancies with no fear of salmonella. Even among conventional battery hen eggs, the risk of contract ing salmonella is one in 10,000. From pastured hens? The risk is almost non- existent.
Unfortunately for you brie lovers, Kristen gave soft raw cheeses the axe, saying “Soft cheeses run one of the largest listeria risks even among the cleanest of cheese making facilities. The risk greatly diminishes as the cheese ages, so I heartily pampered myself with aged raw hard cheeses like Gruyere or cheddar from grass fed cows instead.”
Will a Glass of Red Wine Really Harm My Baby?
Until recently, there has never been a study measuring the effects of light or even moderate drinking during pregnancy. The studies only addressed heavy drinking—defined as “five drinks or more per day”—or no drinking at all. . . Then, in 2010, a large study on light drinking during pregnancy was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. It studied 11,513 children whose mothers reported on their drinking habits while pregnant. The study followed the mothers through their pregnancy, birth, and the first five years of the child’s life. For the purpose of the study, “light drinking” was defined as two units of alcohol no more than once or twice per week, when a standard unit is 7.9 grams—approximately one small glass of wine. The British research found no negative effects—at all—of such light drinking on five year olds. In fact, the children were slightly less likely to have behavioral problems and performed somewhat better on cognitive tests than children whose mothers had abstained. ¹
In 2012, a series of five Danish studies were published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. They also monitored alcohol consumption in pregnant mothers and studied the children of those mothers again at age five. These studies defined low consumption as one to four drinks per week and moderate consumption as five to eight drinks per week. Heavy consumption was nine or more per week, and binge drinking was defined as having more than five drinks in a single sitting on any single occasion. A drink is defined as 12 grams of alcohol.
Not only did this series of studies find no negative cognitive, emotional, or neurological effects in the children of light to moderate drinkers, but it also found no harm to children from binge drinking!² Heavy drinking, of course, resulted in the typical and well known alcohol side effects—behavioral problems, lower attention spans, learning disabilities, etc.’
Y’all, I am so thrilled about this. Though the studies do carry some weight with me, what really puts me at ease is that the taboo against wine is not universal. This little quote from the book really resonated with me:
The ancients knew of both the benefits of light consumption, as well as the risks of excess. Some of the oldest Ayurvedic texts we have called it a ‘medicine’ if drunk in moderation and a ‘poison’ if abused.
This is true with just about everything we consume – even water in excess is risky to a pregnant woman! I always crave red wine when I’m pregnant and I have never indulged. Obviously, I won’t go overboard, but I think I’ll take my hints from the French and Japanese and not restrict myself entirely.
Kristen explores raw eggs, iron supplements, saturated fat and other hot topics in her myth-busting chapter. I highly recommend you check it out along with the other chapters on increasing your odds for conception, preventing morning sickness, having a gloriously healthy pregnancy, and starting your baby of right with nutrient-dense foods.
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on February 20, 2013 at 2:05 PM||comments (0)|
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) A Plymouth, Mass., teen could be awarded as much as $109 million after losing most of her skin and her vision following a massive allergic reaction to Children's Motrin when she was seven years old.
The award against the over-the-counter drug's manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, was granted to Samantha Reckis and her family, reports said, after she suffered a rare but potentially fatal side effect from taking the ibuprofen product that caused her to go blind and have 90 percent of her skin fall off.
Jurors in the case found that Reckis developed Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) after taking the product. The condition, though rare, occurs as a severe allergic reaction to drugs and medications like barbiturates, penicillin and sulphonamides. It causes the top layer of skin, the epidermis, to slough off after detaching from the lower layers. As many as 40 percent of those who are diagnosed with TEN die of complications from infections.
'It's like having your skin burned off'
According to reports at the time, Reckis was forced to undergo 19 surgeries in 2003, when she contracted the condition.
In an interview with the Boston Globe, the family's attorney, Bradley Henry, described his client's condition as excruciatingly painful.
"It's like having your skin burned off you," he said. "Imagine your worst sunburn times a thousand. It's an absolutely devastating condition."
He added that the bottle of Children's Motrin had only a small technical warning on its label that did not contain information about potential side effects.
In mid-February, a Plymouth court awarded Reckis $63 million after finding that Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn consumers about the potential dangers of taking the children's ibuprofen product. But she may wind up being awarded even more, including interest, Britain's Daily Mail reported.
Reckis was given the popular pain reliever after showing signs of a fever around Thanksgiving in 2003. But as she continued taking the drug, her condition only worsened, to the point that her family did not know whether she would survive.
Within days; however, doctors determined she was suffering from TEN, the most severe form of a more common skin disorder known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, for which there is no known test to detect.
You can't hide behind the FDA
Reckis was in and out of the hospital for months following her initial treatment. She had multiple surgeries and lost nearly all of her skin, the Globe reported. Besides being legally blind, she has also suffered permanent lung and liver damage. She could not walk more than 150 yards without becoming exhausted, the family said. She is now 16.
The court determined that the company did not provide sufficient warnings about the potential side effects of Motrin, which might have alerted the family or her doctors to stop using the drug as her condition worsened.
"Drug companies like Johnson & Johnson can no longer hide behind an approval by the overworked FDA as an excuse not to warn consumers about known, devastating drug reactions" such as those Samantha Reckis experienced, the family said in a brief statement released following the verdict. "Parents like us have a right to know."
The drugmaker said that, while it sympathized with the family, it nevertheless disagreed with the verdict and is considering legal options, said the Globe.
'A severe allergic reaction'
"Children's MOTRINR (ibuprofen), when used as directed, is a safe and effective treatment option for minor aches and pains and fever," the company said, "and we believe the medicine is labeled appropriately."
Henry said that, in 2003, the prescription version of Motrin contained a brief warning about Stevens-Johnson syndrome, but that the over-the-counter version for children did not contain any warning whatsoever.
"We are not saying they should take it off the market. They just need to warn people," Henry said.
Currently, the medication's label contains an FDA-recommended warning that the medication could cause "a severe allergic reaction" and that symptoms could include hives, facial swelling, rash, and blisters.
Only about 300 cases of Stevens-Johnson syndrome occur in the U.S. annually.
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on February 11, 2013 at 2:55 PM||comments (0)|
By Dr. Mercola
When you get out of the shower in the morning, you probably don’t pay much attention to your vinyl shower curtain, except to maybe note when it needs a cleaning.
And if your home contains soft, flexible plastic flooring, such as vinyl or those padded play-mat floors for kids (often used in day cares and kindergartens, too), you probably don’t give them much thought either...
You might know that plastic is hard and very rigid and the only way to make these flexible plastics is to use plasticizers such as phthalates, and one of the phthalates is a particularly pernicious one called tributyltin.
Tributyltin is not only a common phthalate in PVC, it’s also found in marine paints, where it acts as a biocide to discourage the growth of barnacles, bacteria, algae and other organisms on ship and boat hulls.
Although now phased out in marine paint, its former use comes at a steep price, as the chemical is known to leach into waterways and accumulate in marine life, including in the seafood you may eat. PVC piping used for drinking water and sewer systems are another reason why tributyltin is now pervasive in the environment. It’s also used as a wood preservative.
Even Low-Dose Exposure to Tributylin Might Make Future Generations Fat
If you or your children are exposed to a small amount of tributylin (TBT), you probably won’t know it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not having an effect.
New research has shown that pregnant mice exposed to low doses of the chemical (similar to amounts found widely in the environment) had children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with increased body fat, liver fat and fat-specific gene expression.1 The researchers stated:
“Prenatal TBT exposure produced transgenerational effects on fat depots and induced a phenotype resembling nonalcoholic fatty liver disease through at least the F3 generation. These results show that early life obesogen exposure can have lasting effects.”
What makes the study results all the more concerning is that TBT is commonly detected in household dust, which is easily ingested by young children who crawl and play on the floor. This isn’t surprising considering how pervasive PVC is in most homes. Aside from plastics, shower curtains and flooring, PVC may also be found in wallpaper, vinyl window blinds, handbags and countless other “everyday” items.
According to one study, TBT and related organotin compounds were found in all of the house dust samples analyzed, and dust ingestion by children was estimated to account for, on average, up to 18 percent of the tolerable daily intake of such chemicals proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO).2 It was also found that the rate of organotin ingestion among children due to household dust was, on average, eightfold higher than the intake rates calculated for adults.
It would also be prudent to be concerned about ANY flexible plastic, as odds are there is some toxic additive to induce the flexibility that makes the plastic product more usable but more than likely has never been tested for toxicity.
Obesogens: Are We Being “Programmed” to be Fat?
As we see rising rates of obesity around the world, among both adults and children, it’s imperative that exposures to obesogens like TBT be taken seriously. The term “obesogen” was first coined by Bruce Blumberg, a biology professor at the University of California, Irvine, who also authored the above study. It refers to a growing group of environmental chemicals linked to obesity. Among his early work on TBT, Blumberg noted that exposure to TBT caused stem cells to become predisposed to becoming fat cells.
“The insidious thing is that our animals are exposed in utero to TBT, then never again, yet TBT caused a permanent effect,” he noted ... “If you give tributyltin [TBT] to pregnant mice, their offspring are heavier than those not exposed ... We’ve altered the physiology of these offspring, so even if they eat normal food, they get slightly fatter.”3
Upwards of 20 environmental chemicals, most of them known as “endocrine-disrupting chemicals,” have been shown to cause weight gain when exposure occurs during fetal and infant development, although some are also linked to adult exposures. Along with TBT, this includes:
Atrazine and DDE (a DDT breakdown product)
Certain drugs, such as the diabetes drug Avandia
The soy phytoestrogen genistein
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Phthalates (found widely in PVC plastics, laundry products, personal care products, air fresheners and more)
Diethylstilbestrol (DES, a synthetic estrogen prescribed to pregnant women through the 1970s
Bisphenol-A (BPA, pervasive in certain plastics, canned foods, cash register receipts and medical devices
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, used in non-stick cookware, stain-resistant clothing/upholstery, mattresses, microwavable food packaging, etc.
Low Doses May be Worse Than High Doses
It’s often assumed that because we’re only exposed to small amounts of one chemical or another that the doses are too low to cause any significant effects. On the contrary, it appears that your body may be primed to respond to low doses even more so than higher ones. For instance, studies have shown that BPA had an impact on rodent fat cells at doses 1,000 times below the dose regulatory agencies say causes no effect in humans. Yet, higher doses appeared to have no impact.
As written in Environmental Health Perspectives:4
“Receptors typically respond to very low levels of hormone, so it makes sense that they may be activated by low levels of an endocrine mimic, whereas high levels of a chemical may actually cause receptors to shut down altogether, preventing any further response. This is known as “receptor downregulation.” As a result, some endocrine disruptors have greater effects at low than at high doses; different mechanisms may be operating.”
Can You Fight Back Against Environmental Obesogens ... and Win?
Chemicals in your environment can certainly have an impact on your health, and probably your weight. Some of these exposures may even occur before you’re born, which means it’s out of your control to some extent ... but not entirely. Not even close. As Blumberg noted, exposure to obesogens doesn’t necessarily “doom you to be fat”:5
“I would not want to say that obesogen exposure takes away free will or dooms you to be fat,” he says. “However, it will change your metabolic set points for gaining weight. If you have more fat cells and propensity to make more fat cells, and if you eat the typical high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet we eat [in the United States], you probably will get fat.”
Blumberg postulates that the effects of early-life exposure are irreversible, and those people will fight a life-long battle of the bulge. However, if such people reduce their exposure to obesogens, they will also reduce health effects that may arise from ongoing adulthood exposures. Blumberg believes it’s good to reduce exposure to all kinds of endocrine-disrupting chemicals. “Eat organic, filter water, minimize plastic in your life,” he says. “If there’s no benefit and some degree of risk, why expose yourself and your family?””
In other words, do a quick check of your home and work environment to determine where your greatest exposures may be coming from. Simple changes such as these that follow can significantly reduce your risks:
•Avoid flexible plastics if at all possible
•Eat organic foods as much as possible
•Rather than eating conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury, supplement with a high-quality purified krill oil, or eat fish that is wild-caught and lab tested for purity.
•Filter your home’s water
•Avoid using plastics, especially for use with food or beverages, or in children’s toys
•Choose glass jars instead of storing your food in plastic containers
•Use natural toiletries and personal care items, cleaning supplies, laundry detergents and other household products
•Look for natural, chemical-free clothing, furniture, flooring, paint and other building supplies to use in your home
•Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware or a safe nonstick pan
•Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made of fabric, or install a glass shower door
|Posted by Marisa Kimble on December 13, 2012 at 12:50 AM||comments (0)|
Eating poorly during pregnancy can increase your children's and your grandchildren's risk of cancer, even if they themselves eat healthily, a new study on rats suggests. The risk associated with high-fat diets, especially those high in omega-6 fatty acids, "can be passed from one generation to another without any further exposure," said lead researcher Sonia de Assis of Georgetown University.
While done in rats, the diets used by the study mirrored some typical American eating habits, and so the researchers suspect the results could hold for humans as well.
The research was presented last week at the American Association for Cancer Research's annual meeting in Washington D.C. During the study, some pregnant rats were fed a diet high in omega-6 fat while others received standard fare. After the babies were delivered, all the mothers, their children and their eventual grandchildren ate healthy moderate-fat diets.
Granddaughters of the rats that gobbled excess fat during pregnancy had a 30-percent greater chance of developing breast cancer than those with grandparents who ate healthfully. When only one grandmother, on either the mother's or father's side, had indulged, the granddaughter's disease risk was 19-percent higher. For the high-fat diet, the study used a chow that was 43-percent fat, predominantly from omega-6 rich vegetable oil. Most recommendations for a healthy diet include keeping fat intake at 25 to 30 percent, de Assis told LiveScience, "but with fast foods and everything, a lot of people eat more than that each day." Fat gone rogue, this should not imply that fat causes cancer — many fats are quite good for you, after all. But it is more bad news for omega-6 fatty acids, found in corn oil and most non-grass-fed meats. Omega 6s, while essential to a healthy diet, should be balanced with omega 3s. The optimum ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is likely between 4:1 to 1:1, but in the typical
American diet the ratio is more like between 20 and 16:1. This imbalance has previously been linked to a host of health problems, including depression, infertility, heart disease and, yes, cancer. In the new study, the researchers theorize the increased cancer risk might be a result of the epigenetic effects of omega-6 fats. (Epigenetics refers to the idea that even if genes themselves aren't altered, how they function can change.) Omega 6s may indirectly turn off genes that slow cell apoptosis (normal cell death). Cells can then proliferate and lead to tumors, which are essentially a bundle of multiplying cells gone wild. Somehow, the fat must also be affecting the "germ line," the pathways that lead to viable sperm and eggs, for the effect to be crossing multiple generations. DNA is not in the driver's seat. Epigenome, which literally means "on top of the genome," refers to all the factors that control how a gene is expressed. The new study potentially adds to the growing body of research suggesting the epigenome may be at the root of many health problems.
"People think there is nothing you can do (about your disease risk)," said researcher Rod Dashwood of Oregon State University, who gave a lecture this afternoon on epigenetics at the Experimental Biology 2010 conference in Anaheim, Calif. "But you are not just what your genes are." (Dashwood has conducted separate research from de Assis.) Rather, you are your genes under the influence of your epigenome, which, during critical periods, is shaped by your environment, your lifestyle, your life experience — and those of your immediate ancestors. "Genes only account for 5 to 10 percent of the familial risk of breast cancer," said de Assis, by way of illustration. Something inherited in the epigenome could account for the rest. Take hold of the steering wheel. For decades, studies have been associating diet with disease risk. Now, research on the epigenome may be revealing the mechanism at play.
For example, Dashwood's work indicates that many whole foods — including broccoli sprouts, onions, garlic, radishes, wasabi, daikon, horseradish and wheat bran — may help prevent epigenetic processes that lead to degenerative diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and even aging.
|Posted by Grayson Graham on February 14, 2012 at 9:20 PM||comments (0)|
Article clip from BestOfYouToday.com:
“We are what we eat.” We’ve all heard that cliché before and it turns out, it’s completely true. In fact, according to an emerging state-of-the-art science called Epigenetics, we’re also what our parents, grandparents and great grandparents ate.
What we eat literally impacts our genes, which not only affects us as individuals, but our children and our grandchildren as well. If you’re eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet, this is very good news. But if not, there can be serious consequences to you AND your offspring.
The good news is that the right lifestyle choices, particularly around food, can reset those genes in the short term and the long term. If you want good health, then following these ten essential principles for activating the food-gene-health link is the best way to start:
Check out their full article including my 10 green-gene guidlines along with their explinations over at BestOfYouToday.com!
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Of course as an author I'd like to sell a million copies of my book, but even more important to me is for millions of people to understand the epigenetic consequences of the modern diet.
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