|Home||Chiropractic||Auriculotherapy||"I Didnít Know That!"|
|Biography||Applied Kinesiology||Personal Health Assessment||Resources and Links|
|Office Philosophy||Functional Medicine||The Perfect Diet||Contact Us|
Topics on this page:
Drugs and the Pharmaceutical Industry
The Overuse of Antibiotics
Too Many Cattle
Too Many Toxic Chemicals
Too Many Toxic Metals
Sugar Blues and Caffeine Highs
The Skinny of Fats
The American Medical Association
Heroes on the Front Line
Links on This Page
Recently, a patient was talking to me about jello. I asked her if she knew that jello (gelatin) was a collagen product made from the skin, connective tissue and bones of animals. When I mentioned that some of the animals might not be the healthiest, she responded with disgust and surprise, "I didnít know that!" She then told me that she would no longer eat jello.
There are many statistics and facts that do not make the prime time news shows or, if they do, do not get the attention they should. When I learn this information it strikes me the same way as it does my patients: "I didn't know that!" It's inconceivable to me that we can continue to pollute and poison our environment and ourselves despite the overwhelming evidence of the potential risks. The following information is intended to open your mind to why we become sick and to help you understand some of the politics of healthcare in this country. The information I mention here is only the tip of the iceberg. There are books and articles and other websites that can be investigated to learn more on these subjects. I will list some of them in the content of this page and again at the end of the page, along with some websites that you might find informative.
In 2000, the National Academy of Sciences reported that 98,000 Americans are killed every year by medical errors. In 2004, a report by HealthGrades in an article by Medical News Today, estimates that it is closer to 195,000 deaths per year attributed to medical errors. This article can be viewed here. The vast majority were killed from mistakes in prescribing or administering drugs. The report put the cost of these errors at nine billion dollars! This information was corroborated by a 1998 report in the New England Journal of Medicine that each year 106,000 patients die and 2.2 million are injured by adverse reactions to prescription drugs. Even more shocking are the deadly side effects of common pain killers. It has been estimated that every year 16,000 people die from the side effects of pain medications such as aspirin, Advil and ibuprofen - a class of drugs called NSAIDS (that is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). This makes the use of prescription drugs the third leading cause of death behind heart disease, number 1, and cancer, number 2. Americans spend more money on healthcare that any other country, yet we are ranked 37th among all countries in overall health.
Millions of people are taking
medications every day. For example, every day over 30 million Americans
take antidepressants. The sale of prescription drugs is big business. Sales
were $73 billion in 1994 and $84.4 billion in 1996. Fortune magazine
ranked the pharmaceutical industry as the most profitable of all industries
when measured by return on equity, sales and assets. These profits are being
made predominately by sales to Americans. For example, the allergy drug
Claritin costs almost two dollars a pill in the United States but only forty
one cents in Great Britain. In countries that have national health insurance,
the price of prescription drugs can be forced down. In the United States,
we insure the pharmaceutical industry's profits by paying more and subsidizing
lower drug costs for the rest of the industrialized world.
In March 2008, the associated press reported that the U.S. water supply contained trace amounts of an array of pharmaceuticals. These included antibiotics, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and sex hormones. Although they showed up in trace amounts of parts per billion or trillion, scientists and the general population are concerned about the long term consequences of these findings. The five month study analyzed the water supplies of 24 metropolitan areas. While water treatment facilities are able to filter most of the drugs out of the water, the present system obviously has its shortcomings. Benjamin Grumbes, assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said “we recognize it is a growing concern and we’re taking it very seriously.” Let’s hope they do.
An article in a recent issue
of New York magazine (May 15, 2000) discussed the role of sales representatives
of drug manufacturers and their influence on doctors. According to the article,
US pharmaceutical companies spent about 10 billion dollars last year on
drug promotions. Most of this money went toward marketing to doctors (about
$12,000 for each doctor in the United States). Drug makers command an army
of 68,000 salespeople, one for every eleven doctors in the United States.
While pharmaceutical companies justify high drug prices by pointing to astronomical
research and development costs, many who study the industry say drug companies
spend more money on marketing and promotions in the form of free lunches,
free entertainment, and free gifts, such as clocks, coffee mugs, pens, etc..,
with the drug's name on it. Many physicians openly admit that they decide
which drugs to dispense based on the information provided by drug representatives.
One doctor, Robert Goodman at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York
City, sees a pharmaceutical/medical system in need of change. His website,
www.nofreelunch.org, is a compendium
of facts and research about the influence of drug companies on medicine.
(Back to top of page.)
The issue of antibiotics is particularly disturbing to me. Penicillin became available in 1942 and saved thousands of people during in World War II who would have otherwise died of infections from wounds. Antibiotics cured other illnesses that were previously extremely hard to treat. Antibiotics seemed like miracle drugs. But their remarkable reign has all but ended. The overuse of antibiotics during the past 50 years has caused bacteria to evolve that are antibiotic resistant. Resistance has occurred because 30-40 million pounds of these potent drugs are used every year just in the United States. Over 90 percent of this total is given to livestock to make them grow faster without the chance of dying from infection. This preserves profits for the beef, pork and chicken industries but greatly contributes to the problem of antibiotic resistance. And if we consume these animal products, then the antibiotics get passed along to us.
According to Dr. Stephen Ostroff of the National Center for Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, "antibiotics are very rapidly slipping away as a strategy to combat infectious diseases." Because antibiotics do not differentiate between good and bad bacteria in our gastrointestinal system, they kill both. Some doctors have said that it may take six months for the level of good bacteria in the gut (lactobacillus) to return to normal after just one round of antibiotics. We need the good bacteria to maintain good health. Without them we are left in a weakened state that leaves us susceptible to infection. The infection most common from too much exposure to antibiotics is the yeast infection. Candida albicans and other forms of yeast can be linked to myriad health problems. Dr. Crook discusses these problems in depth in his book The Yeast Connection.
Beneficial bacteria such as
lactobacillus and bifidobacterium are important for gastrointestinal function
as they are involved in vitamin synthesis, natural antibiotic production,
immune defense, digestion, detoxification of pro-carcinogens and a host
of other activities. Imbalances in bacterial flora can be profound and can
lead to dermatologic, rheumatologic and other systemic complaints including
gastrointestinal disturbances. Imbalances are common with poor nutrition,
maldigestion and exposure to pathogenic microbes. The populations of the
bacteria in our gut exist in numbers that are mind boggling. There are more
bacteria living in our intestinal system than there are stars in the universe!
This is why some researchers think the flora collectively function as an
organ in its importance in maintaining our internal homeostasis.
(Back to top of page.)
The use of antibiotics in livestock is only one small part of how we are affected by this industry. According to a paper published in 1996, there are approximately 1.3 billion cattle on earth at any one time. They exist "artificially" in these vast numbers to satisfy the excessive human demand for their meat and byproducts. It takes an average of 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of meat. According to Newsweek magazine, "the water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer could float a destroyer." In contrast, it takes only 25 gallons of water to produce one pound of wheat.
are other harmful effects of the beef industry on the environment. Methane
is one of the four greenhouse gasses that contributes to the environmental
trend known as global warming. The 1.3 billion cattle produce one fifth
of all the methane emitted into the atmosphere. It is estimated that 200
years ago, American farmland had topsoil that averaged 21 inches in depth.
Today, only about 6 inches remain. Every year in the United States, an area
the size of Connecticut is lost to topsoil erosion - 85% of which is associated
with livestock production. The statistics go on and on. The issue of living
conditions and methods of slaughter is also disturbing and worth investigating
if you desire.
(Back to top of page.)
Livestock is not the only food source that has been compromised. Today, genetically engineered foods are becoming more and more common. You have already consumed genetically altered food if you shop at a supermarket because many foods are genetically engineered and not labeled as such . Bioengineering may have some intriguing applications in the medical field, but in the food area, there are a number of issues that need to be given greater concern.
Genetic engineering (GE) is a technology that allows the mixing of genes of non-related species; for example, inserting genes from a fish into a raspberry. The genetic information from the fish is first attached to the genes of a virus or bacteria which is then inserted into the raspberry. The virus or bacteria will insert the fish genes into the genes of the raspberry permanently altering its genetic code. These genetic changes can then pass to the offspring of the permanently altered raspberry (or, perhaps, better called "fishberry").
Genetic engineers at are now actively snipping, inserting, recombining, rearranging, editing, and programming genetic material. Animal genes and even human genes are randomly inserted into the chromosomes of plants, fish and animals creating new transgenic life forms. Why? The "new and improved" foods can be patented and sold for profit. Major corporations, such as Monsanto, are using this approach to monopolize agriculture. They are producing genetically engineered seeds that grow infertile plants. In the past, farmers would save seeds from the crops they grew to plant next year. Now, the genetically engineered plants produce seeds that won't grow new plants, forcing farmers to purchase increasingly expensive genetically engineered seeds from a handful of global corporations.
The hazards of GE foods and crops fall basically into three categories: human health hazards; environmental hazards; and socioeconomic hazards. Already, we are seeing real threats in these areas. Up to 500,000 dairy cows are being injected regularly with Monsantoís recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). The FDA approved this GE hormone in 1994 despite findings that cows injected with rBGH have increased utter infections and produce milk with higher antibiotic residues. Another warning that went unheeded was the potential cancer hazard from rBGH. Subsequent to this revelation in 1999, Canada banned the use of rBGH. rBGH continues to be injected into 4-5% of US dairy cows even though no other industrialized country has legalized its use.
In 1999, at Cornell University researchers made a startling discovery. They found pollen from genetically engineered corn (corn that was genetically engineered with a pesticide called Bt inside of it) was poisonous to Monarch Butterflies. The study adds to a growing body of evidence that GE crops are adversely affecting a number of beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and bees, as well as beneficial soil microorganisms, and possibly birds.
GE crops may have lower nutritional value. A study by Dr. Marc Lappe published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 1999 found that concentrations of beneficial phytoestrogens, compounds thought to protect against heart disease and cancer, were lower in GE soybeans than in conventional soybeans. According to researchers at the University of Copenhagen and the United Kingdom's Soil Association (the largest organic farming organization in the UK), organic produce has higher levels of nutrients compared to conventional produce. In addition, the organic produce has many more metabolites, chemicals that seem to lower the risk of cancer and heart disease in humans. The metabolites are also beneficial to the plants themselves by helping to immunize them from external attack by insects, fungus, etc... While not entirely the fault of GE technology, an analysis by the British Food Journal concluded that 20 conventional vegetables between 1930-1980 showed a calcium content dropped of 19%, iron 22% and potassium 14%.
There is some good news to report. According to 1999 information, the European consumers and farmers are slowly but surely driving GE foods off the market as major food processors, supermarkets and fast food chains ban GE soy or soy derivatives in animal feeds.. US corn exports to Europe have fallen from 360 million dollars per year to near zero, while soybean exports have fallen from 2.6 billion dollars per year to 1 billion dollars and are expected to continue falling. In addition, Canadaís export of GE canola oil have fallen from 500 million dollars per year to almost zero. Brazilian exporters report doing a brisk business selling GE free soybeans to European buyers. On May 18, 2000 the Tokyo Grain Exchange soy futures market for the first time offered wholesale traders a choice between non-GE soybeans and GE soybeans. On the first day of trading non-GE buyers committed to 914,000 tons compared to 364,000 tons for GE soy futures.
According to The New York Times, US farmers have sustained a serious financial blow because they adopted genetically engineered crops so rapidly. In 1996, the US sold $3 billion of corn and soybeans to Europe. In 1999, those exports had shrunk to $1 billion - a $2 billion decline and loss to the farmers.
more countries becoming concerned about the dangers of GE foods, the US
is becoming increasingly isolated in its policy of no labeling and no safety
testing. Since July 1999, major corporations such as Gerber, Heinz, Mead-
Johnson (infant formula), Iams (pet food), Frito Lay, Wild Oats and Whole
Foods (two national, natural foods retailer) have agreed to go GE free!
Monsanto has also agreed to stop producing the Bt potato. American and Canadian
farmers are reducing their reliance of GE crops. In 2000, American farmers
will produce 25% less GE corn, 13% less GE cotton and 9% less GE soy. Yet,
sadly, only 15% of consumers are aware that the majority of supermarket
foods already contain GE ingredients. Hopefully, with greater awareness,
the day will come when there are labels and warnings on food packages so
we can make informed choices. I think this is needed to put the final nail
in the coffin of GE foods.
The demand for organic foods
is rapidly growing and is now a six billion dollar a year industry. The
advantages of organic farming are enormous. However, the increase in GE
foods by the biotech food industry may threaten the purity of organic foods.
I suggest the following website for more information: www.purefood.org
(Back to top of page.)
The incidence of breast cancer has increased at an alarming rate. In 1950, one in twenty women got breast cancer. In 1960, one in fifteen women got breast cancer. Now, itís one in eight! There is a strong connection between toxic chemicals and breast cancer. A breast cancer study in Israel showed the concentration of toxic chemicals was higher in the malignant breast compared to the normal breast. After release of this study, Israel banned some of the chemicals found in highest concentrations including DDT and PCB. As a result, the breast cancer rates decreased. And the rate of breast cancer decreased even in women that had an increase in other risk factors, such as high alcohol and fat consumption, and low fruit and vegetable consumption.
According to this information written by Thorne Research, we are all toxic! Unfortunately there are studies showing this to be true. Each year chemical companies in the U.S. manufacture over 6.5 trillion pounds of 9,000 different chemicals and release over 7.1 billion pounds of 650 different chemical pollutants into the atmosphere and water. The Enviromental Working Group (EWG), along with Mt. Sinai Medical School, conducted a study that assessed levels of 219 industrial chemicals in nine adult volunteers with no known toxic exposure. A total of 167 chemicals (with an average of 91) were found in the blood and urine of the participants, including 76 carcinogens, 94 chemicals known to be toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 79 that can cause birth defects or abnormal development. Another EWG study found an average of 200 industrial compounds, pollutants, and other chemicals in umbilical cord blood of ten newborn babies. Chemicals found included the organochlorine pesticides DDT and dieldrin, perfluorochemicals, brominated fire retardants, PCBs, polychlorinated and polybrominated dioxins and furans, polychorinated naphthalenes, and mercury.
In a study of 2540 individuals who participated in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers looked specifically for urinaty phthalates and their metabolites. Phthalates are commonly used in the manufacture of plastics. Over 75 percent of the participants in the study had detectable levels of four phthalate metabolites, suggesting widespread exposure. Researchers at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recently detected bisphenol-A, a chemical used in plastics, in 95 percent of nearly 400 U.S. adults.
Chlorine is considered basically safe. It is used primarily in paper manufacturing to break down lignans that hold the wood fiber together and to make paper white. Chlorine breaks down, however, into organochlorines and dioxins which are part of the wastewater that is dumped into streams and waterways. Once in the water, they come into contact with other organic materials and surfactants and combine to form a host of extremely toxic organic chemicals, one of which is dioxin. The EPA has found that dioxin is 300,000 times more potent as a carcinogen than DDT! (Remember, DDT is banned in the US) Dioxin residue is also found in white paper products. Studies show that 40-70% of the dioxin in bleached coffee filters can leach into your coffee. Dioxin in paper, milk cartons, paper towels and toilet paper can also leach into the body when we use these products. There are alternatives to chlorine. Hydrogen peroxide and ozone are two substitute processes that should be given greater attention. Until then, buy non-bleached paper whenever possible. Obviously all these chemicals are not only in humans. They are in wildlife, our rivers, oceans and air. Could environmental exposure to these chemicals be a reason why Minnesota frogs are being born with third legs growing out from their stomachs and eyes inside their mouths? Or why in Canada, Beluga whale populations are dying from cancer. Scientists are concerned with signs such as these because it may indicate a potential for adverse changes in the human population as well, and in my opinion already has.
According to the Pesticide
Action Network, a staggering 4.6 billion pounds of pesticides are used
each year in the United States. Another 700 million pounds are exported.
Some of the exported pesticides have been banned in the US but are legal
to manufacture here and export. Ironically, these chemicals return to us
anyway through the global circulation of air and water. Pesticide use has
increased at an alarming rate. Consider California: The use of cancer causing
pesticides increased 127 percent between 1991 and 1998. Rachel Carsonís
landmark book Silent Spring (1962) warned of the imminent danger of pesticide
use and led to a ban of a handful of pesticides including DDT. The bigger
message has apparently been lost.
In the scientific community there is a growing concern that exposure to small amounts pesticides can build up and remain with us for years and affect people in varying adverse ways. These concerns are now revealing themselves in the scientific observance of animal and insect changes over the past 50 years. Bees, birds and insect populations have been affected it seems from mans use of pesticides.
According to a March 30 2008 Op-ed article in the NY Times called “Did your Shopping List Kill a Songbird?” by Bridget Stuchbury, pesticides are being linked to diminishing populations of various North American Songbirds. Bobolinks, (also called skunk blackbirds) have reduced by fifty percent in the past four decades. In many cases it is when birds are migrating to their winter homes that exposure to pesticides increases.
Since the 1980's pesticide use has increased fivefold in Latin America to help expand production of non-traditional crops to fuel the demand for fresh produce in North America and Europe. Rice farmers use Monocrotophos, Metamidophos, and Carbofuran, agricultural chemicals rated as class I toxins by the World Health Organization as highly toxic to birds. In the mid 1990's Biologists were able to track the death of Swainsons Hawks to Monocrotophos poisoning.
Since Latin American countries are three times more likely to violate E.P.A. standards for Pesticide residues, migrating birds are at high risk.
According to the article being bird friendly would mean buying organic and this list should include coffee and bananas. While sprayed bananas are minimally toxic to the consumer, Banana trees have one of the highest pesticide loads of any crop. Nontraditional Latin American crops like melons, green beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, and strawberries should also be avoided.On a CBS 60 minute show broadcast on October 28, 2008, a segment highlighted a potential agricultural disaster, the disappearance of millions of honeybees throughout North America. Honeybees are crucial to about one third of all food that we eat. Presently it hasn’t been determined why they are disappearing but some theories include pesticides, or cell phone towers. Whatever the reason it is clear that there is a problem and if it continues, it could threaten our food supply.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a class of toxic chemicals. VOCs have been found in the adipose tissue of all US residents and have been linked to a variety of problems of the nervous system, hormonal system, genital/urinary system and blood. In 1985, the FDA looked for the sources of VOCs. Surprisingly, the results showed that the greatest source of these toxic compounds was not from outside air but indoor air. VOCs are released inside buildings and homes from building supplies, fabrics and common household furnishings. The problem has been made worse by a change in building methods. Ever since the oil shortage in the 1970ís, buildings have been constructed as airtight, energy efficient enclosures. Without adequate ventilation, VOCs build up inside the structure. Building materials have changed also. Flooring changed from hardwood to plywood with padding and carpeting, all of which outgas VOCs. The use of chipboard, a less expensive substitute for plywood, has increased. Chipboard is made with formaldehyde, a VOC, which is slowly released into the air. Furnishings such as sofas contain polyurethane foam, polyester fiberfill and upholstery fabrics, all of which outgas formaldehyde.
The air circulation system itself
is often a problem. Poorly designed and poorly operating heating, ventilation
and air conditioning systems have condensers which provide fertile ground
for the proliferation of biological agents that contaminate the air. An
infamous example is "Legionnaire's Disease," which was first noted
in 1976 when 221 attendees at an American Legion conference in Philadelphia
In 2007 former Vice President Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth, brought a lot of attention to the subject of Global Warming that has long been discussed with varying amounts of controversy. His Nobel prize for the movie and his work to bring more attention to this subject is an important cause, and the suggested solutions he proposes are good for the planet regardless of whether humans are the cause of global warming or not. I suggest viewing his website: www.climatecrisis.net or www.algore.com
(Back to top of page.)
Another area of great concern
to alternative healthcare practitioners is the burden of toxic metals on
the human body. Toxic metals are substances such as lead, mercury, chromium,
cadmium, etc... Some have been linked to debilitating neurological and autoimmune
diseases. It is believed that high levels of cadmium can accumulate from
air pollution and cigarette smoking. Humans can be exposed to high levels
of lead due to lead pipes in old buildings, canned foods, or even newsprint.
Mercury toxicity occurs primarily from dental fillings. Dental fillings
usually contain 50% mercury, 35% silver, along with tin, copper, and zinc.
In 1981, the American Dental Association (ADA) publicly admitted that mercury
leaches from dental fillings but they continue to insist that the amount
of mercury vapors released into the body is not medically significant and
is not harmful. A growing number of clinicians would dispute this. Research
from Canada that appeared in NeuroToxicology (1997) linked mercury
toxicity with the onset of brain lesions commonly found in Alzheimerís patients.
Dr. Hal Huggins, a dentist in Colorado, evaluated the blood in 28 patients
who had anywhere between 3-10 mercury amalgam fillings. The before and after
results of mercury removal showed a decrease in white blood cells in 91%
of the patients. Levels of bilirubin, an liver function indicator, dropped
in 13 out of 18 patients who had high bilirubin. Dr. Huggins is a leader
amongst a growing number of dentists who, despite the ADAís position, are
practicing Biological Dentistry. Biological Dentistry is a system of dentistry
that utilizes specially developed bonds to replace mercury fillings. One
could only imagine the legal, moral and ethical repercussions to the ADA
that would come from recognition that mercury fillings could be hazardous
to our health.
Another person who is devoted to making mercury fillings a thing of the past is Charles Brown of www.toxicteeth.org His website is a treasure trove of information about the dangers of mercury fillings and what it is doing to us. A long time political activist Charles Brown is another hero on the front lines battling the powers that be to restore common sense to dentistry.
(Back to top of page.)
The increased consumption of sugar in the US parallels the overall decline in the health of its citizens. In 1900, the average person consumed approximately 15 lbs. of sugar per year. Today, it is estimated that the average person consumes 150 lbs. of sugar per year. It is also estimated that 20% of all adult calories are derived from sugar. Sugar consumption has been linked to a variety of health problems such as colitis, mood swings, heart disease, hyperactivity, obesity and dental cavities. The manufacturing or refining process of sugar is believed to contribute to the negative effects of sugar on our bodies. Because natural sugar cane contains materials that can spoil, sugar cane juice is purified, filtered, concentrated and boiled down until the sugar crystallizes out of the syrup. Brown sugar is as devoid of nutrients as white sugar: It simply has a little molasses added back in for color. As a purified sugar, the refined white sugar becomes a "naked carbohydrate" because it has been separated from all its natural co-factors such as water, minerals, proteins, vitamins and fiber. When we ingest sugar in this form (also refined white flour), our bodies must use their own resources of these materials to utilize the sugar and maintain a homeostatic balance. We may lose B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and iron from our reserves with continued exposure to sugar. These minerals can be pulled from our teeth, which would weaken them and increase the likelihood of dental caries. It is a well accepted fact that sugar can be addictive. Even small amounts on a daily basis can lead to withdrawal symptoms if discontinued. An excellent book on the subject of sugar is Sugar Blues by William Duffy.
Soft drinks are a major source of sugar. Each soda contains an average of seven teaspoons of sugar. Experts are now saying that children and adolescents who drink sodas are at higher risk for bone fractures and obesity. How many soft drinks do Americans consume?
Another issue linked to soft
drinks is caffeine. Caffeine is added to 70% of soft drinks sold in the
United States. In 1981, a proposal by the Food and Drug Administration to
delete caffeine from cola type beverages was rebuffed by a claim by soft
drink manufacturers that caffeine is added as a flavoring agent. One study
showed that only 8% of the participants were able to detect the caffeine
in the beverages tested. In fact, in studies where increased amounts of
caffeine were tested, participants reported a bitter aftertaste. This casts
some doubt on the manufacturers' motives for adding caffeine. No doubt children
and adults can become physiologically and psychologically addicted to the
effects of sugar and caffeine, and suffer withdrawal symptoms if its use
is terminated. Perhaps if the mood altering, addictive, and nervous-system
stimulating effects of sugar and caffeine were discussed more publicly,
things would change. In the late 1970's the Department of Agriculture tried
to impose restrictions prohibiting the sale of soft drinks and other foods
with "minimal nutritional value" throughout schools from the beginning of
the day until 30 minutes after the end of the last lunch period. The National
Soft Drink Association challenged the regulation, and in 1983 the US Court
of Appeals struck down the USDA prohibition. As it stands now, school districts
are raising money by selling soda machine rights to the likes of Coca Cola
and Pepsi. With all the facts just discussed, is it any coincidence that
in the last two decades Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder is becoming
increasingly apparent? For further information, I recommend Center
for Science in the Public Interest at www.cspinet.org.
It is estimated that ¼ of the 45,000 items in the average supermarket contains corn in the form of high fructose corn syrup. The shift from sugar to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) started in the 1970’s by companies looking to substitute cane sugar or sucrose from beets with another sweetening agent. This cheaper (and sweeter) form of sweetener has increased profits for big business but has devastated the average unsuspecting American’s health. The increased use of high fructose corn syrup has been linked by many researchers to the rise in type II diabetes in this country in the past 40 years. Additionally it is linked to increased LDL cholesterol, elevated Triglyceride levels, Insulin Resistance (a prediabetic syndrome), along with Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Cancer and other health problems. A newer more potent form of HCFS, called Crystalline Fructose, is now seen in food products such as soft drinks and products like Vitamin Water. Reports show that HFCS also contains heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury. Chemically fructose is metabolized differently than sucrose from cane sugar. Fructose must be converted in the liver to glycogen and either used later for sugar or converted to fat. Not surprisingly the food industry uses this information to claim that because of its slower breakdown it is less likely to cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and is less aggravating to diabetics. However this point no longer holds water when we consume fructose in the amounts we are seeing today. According to Nancy Appletown Ph.D. the consumption of fructose has risen from 39 pounds of fructose and 84 pounds of sucrose in1980 to an average of 66 pounds of fructose and 83 pounds of sucrose by 1994. This 149 pounds represents 19% of the calories eaten in the average persons diet. These statistics are alarming.
A recent documentary by the name of King Corn details the political turn of events that gave birth to the situation we find ourselves in now, and our agricultural dependence on corn.
Also known as Nutrisweet, Equal, Crystal Light, is an artificial sweetener that is believed to cause many unhealthy symptoms that researchers are beginning to identify as causally related to this product. One reaction to Aspertame is that by consuming it with carbohydrates, it will interfere with Tryptophan (an amino acid) absorption in the body. Tryptophan is a precursor for a neurotransmitter called Serotonin. Healthy levels of Serotonin are necessary for maintaining feelings of happiness. Aspertame consists of 50 percent Phenylalanine (an amino acid), 40 percent Apartic Acid (another amino acid) and 10 percent methyl ester which after it is ingested becomes methanol, methyl alcohol, or wood alcohol which is a poison. A small percentage of wood alcohol is metabolized into Formaldehyde, which we know is a poison as well. In fact, formaldehyde is probably on the order of 5000 times more poisonous than methyl alcohol and we store it because we lack the enzymes to break it down. The business concerns that regard Aspartame as “GRAS” (generally regarded as safe) point out that the amino acids aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methyl esters appear in our food when we eat nuts, fish, or fruit. This is true. However, it is impossible to find a food in nature that has only two amino acids in the concentrations that our population is consuming when we drink diet sodas, and other products with Aspartame. In addition, methyl esters in fruit are bound up by pectin and our bodies are incapable of splitting the methyl esters from the pectin. Fruit also contains ethanol, and ethyl alcohol which helps counteract methyl alcohol so the danger from exposure to methyl esters in fruit is essentially nil.
It is a common misconception that margarine is a superior choice to butter because margarine is made from vegetable oil and vegetable oil is lower in cholesterol than animal fat such as butter. This is only half the story. Natural vegetable oil may be lower in cholesterol than butter but margarine is toxic to the body and can cause high cholesterol.
Margarine is a hydrogenated vegetable oil. This means that vegetable oil, which is normally liquid at room temperature, has undergone an artificial process to make it solid at room temperature. Going from liquid to solid may seem like an innocuous change. However, chemists and researchers are increasingly understanding the chemistry of this change and how it creates a false fat that (1) cannot be absorbed by the body and (2) causes internal damage. In nature, the molecules of vegetable oil have a certain shape known as "cis." This is a chemistry term that describes the three dimensional shape of the oil molecules. When vegetable oils are hydrogenated, the shape of the molecules is changed to "trans," which is the mirror image of the natural "cis" form. The "trans" form is considered unnatural by the body and cannot be metabolized by the human liver - that is, the human body cannot use it. But the problem is worse. The "trans" form causes oxidative stress to the body just like the damage from cigarette smoke, air pollution, chemical toxins, etc... To repair the damage, the liver produces cholesterol. Thus, margarine actually increases cholesterol in the body. Therefore, any food that contains margarine, hydrogenated oil or fat, or trans-fatty acids is to be avoided. Be wary of recommendations of using margarine to replace butter. The cure may be worse than the disease.
The other common
recommendation that we hear is to use canola oil. Canola oil is a bioengineered
oil from the rapeseed. It is an artificial oil developed in Canada, hence
the name "Can" (Canadian) "ola" (oil). Rapeseed oil
has always been used for industrial purposes. Although there has been a
history of Chinese and American Indians using rapeseed oil, they used an
unrefined, non-genetically engineered variety - not the type that is presently
consumed. There are reports that the FDA accepted payment of 50 million
dollars from the Canadian government to put canola oil on its list of safe
foods - that is, the FDA listed canola oil as "generally recognized
as safe" (GRAS). My feeling is that it would be best to avoid this
(Back to top of page.)
our best interests are secondary to profits. The worst offenders are industries
that made lots of money and use it to lobby support in the government. Many
organizations that fight for the social good are trying to get their message
out, but with limited funds the task is difficult. The chiropractic profession
has a long history of fighting the powers that be. In 1992, after a 16 year
legal battle, five chiropractors finally settled a federal antitrust suit
against the American Medical Association (AMA). This original suit filed
in 1976 accused the AMA of willfully trying to undermine the credibility
of Chiropractic and eliminate it as a profession. The AMA was found guilty
in the US Court of Appeals in 1987. The verdict
was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 1992. What does this mean?
The American Medical Association has been found to be a criminal organization.
As part of the settlement some penalties were not revealed publicly, but
the AMA had to cease from its public policy of undermining the chiropractic
profession. Additionally, the AMA ended its policy of not allowing medical
doctors from associating with chiropractors or sending patients to chiropractors.
This was a major victory for the chiropractic profession. Since the settlement,
the chiropractic profession has been depicted more favorably in the media
than ever before. I believe this is a direct outgrowth of this legal victory.
(Back to top of page.)
When reading statistics such as those above, we can easily become pessimistic, especially because there are many more equally unsettling statistics and stories that I did not discuss. I feel, however, that there are reasons to be hopeful and signs that there is a growing sentiment in society to see a change in how we live. Today, many of us are trying to take steps to live more naturally. The natural foods industry is growing rapidly. Each year statistics are showing people are buying more organic food. In 1999, six billion dollars was spent on organic foods and fourteen billion dollars was spent vitamins and herbal supplements. This is up from 8 billion dollars spent on supplements in 1994. People are looking for natural remedies to supplant the need for prescription medications. Many of us are looking at our diets and deciding that changes need to be made. Legislative changes are slowly but surely being made to limit pollution to the external environment. Most importantly, young people are being taught the importance of recycling and how our health is preserved by limiting the damaging effects of our industrialized society. Our bodies are remarkably resilient if we give them good nutrition and proper nerve flow and we have a good mental attitude.
In addition to chiropractic, there are other medical professionals - naturopaths, dentists, concerned scientists and researchers - who are on the front lines dedicating themselves to making the change happen. One day they will hopefully gain greater recognition for the heroic work they do. One of these physicians is Dr. Stanislaw Bryzinski of Houston, Texas. Dr. Bryzinski has developed an alternative treatment for many cancers utilizing chemicals from a sick person's urine. The chemicals are called antineoplastons and are the result of the bodies natural defense system to combat cancer. Dr. Bryzinski isolates these chemicals and puts them back in the body intravenously to assist the body's own recuperative abilities. Dr. Bryzinskiís exemplary success with his cancer patients and his willingness to share his research with the American Cancer Society has so far been met with resistance. Dr. Bryzinski eventually won a lawsuit brought against him by the Federal Drug Administration after his clinic was raided and shut down. This lawsuit was won at a great personal cost to Dr. Bryzinski. We are left asking why the FDA would seek to shut down and destroy an inexpensive, effective cancer treatment.
Dr. David Perlmutter in Naples, Florida is a neurologist who specializes in the treatment of neurological diseases such as Parkinsonís disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's and stroke. Dr. Perlmutter utilizes antioxidant therapy to combat many of these health problems. His protocols have been used to reverse symptoms in many cases that were considered hopeless. All of his recommendations are based on scientific studies from around the world in the past 20-30 years. Unfortunately these studies never get the attention from mainstream medicine usually because they utilize therapies that do not include prescription drugs. Dr. Perlmutter has a web site called www.brainrecovery.com and a book by the same name if you want to read about his protocols.
There are too many researchers,
scientists, studies, and statistics to mention within the context of this
section. I merely intended to open the door for your own investigation into
the validity of alternative medicine. I suggest you explore and continue
to learn more information that might leave you saying..."I didnít know
(Back to top of page.)
about the influence of drug companies on medicine
www.purefood.org about the threat to organic foods by genetically engineered foods
www.panna.org Pesticide Action Network monitors pesticide use
www.cspinet.org Center for Science in the Public Interest
www.brainrecovery.com Dr. David Perlmutter's protocols for reversing neurological disease
Books on This Page
The Yeast Connection,
1986 Crook, William
Silent Spring, 1962 Carson, Rachel
Brainrecovey.com, 2000 Perlmutter, David
Sugar Blues, 1993 Duffy, William
For a complete list of links and recommended reading, go to the Resources and Links page.