Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do Vitamins Kill ?

No Deaths from Vitamins - None at All in 27 Years

Commentary by Andrew W. Saul and Jagan N. Vaman, M.D.
Taken from the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, June 14, 2011 http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtm
(OMNS, June 14, 2011) Over a twenty-seven year period, vitamin supplements have been alleged to have caused the deaths of a total of eleven people in the United States. A new analysis of US poison control center annual report data indicates that there have, in fact, been no deaths whatsoever from vitamins . . . none at all, in the 27 years that such reports have been available.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) attributes annual deaths to vitamins as:
2009: zero
2008: zero
2007: zero
2006: one
2005: zero
2004: two
2003: two
2002: one
2001: zero
2000: zero
1999: zero
1998: zero
1997: zero
1996: zero
1995: zero
1994: zero
1993: one
1992: zero
1991: two
1990: one
1989: zero
1988: zero
1987: one
1986: zero
1985: zero
1984: zero
1983: zero

Even if these figures are taken as correct, and even if they include intentional and accidental misuse, the number of alleged vitamin fatalities is strikingly low, averaging less than one death per year for over two and a half decades. In 19 of those 27 years, AAPCC reports that there was not one single death due to vitamins. [1]
Still, the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service Editorial Board was curious: Did eleven people really die from vitamins? And if so, how?

Vitamins Not THE Cause of DeathIn determining cause of death, AAPCC uses a four-point scale called Relative Contribution to Fatality (RCF). A rating of 1 means "Undoubtedly Responsible"; 2 means "Probably Responsible"; 3 means "Contributory"; and 4 means "Probably Not Responsible." In examining poison control data for the year 2006, listing one vitamin death, it was seen that the vitamin's Relative Contribution to Fatality (RCF) was a 4. Since a score of "4" means "Probably Not Responsible," it quite negates the claim that a person died from a vitamin in 2006.

Vitamins Not A Cause of DeathIn the other seven years reporting one or more of the remaining ten alleged vitamin fatalities, studying the AAPCC reports reveals an absence of any RCF rating for vitamins in any of those years. If there is no Relative Contribution to Fatality at all, then the substance did not contribute to death at all.

Furthermore, in each of those remaining seven years, there is no substantiation provided to demonstrate that any vitamin was a cause of death.
If there is insufficient information about the cause of death to make a clear-cut declaration of cause, then subsequent assertions that vitamins cause deaths are not evidence-based. Although vitamin supplements have often been blamed for causing fatalities, there is no evidence to back up this allegation.

1. Download any Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers from 1983-2009 free of charge at http://www.aapcc.org/dnn/NPDSPoisonData/NPDSAnnualReports.aspx The "Vitamin" category is usually near the very end of the report.
Most recent year: Bronstein AC, Spyker DA, Cantilena LR Jr, Green JL, Rumack BH, Giffin SL. 2009 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System (NPDS): 27th Annual Report. Clinical Toxicology (2010). 48, 979-1178. The full text article is available for free download at http://www.aapcc.org/dnn/Portals/0/2009%20AR.pdf
The vitamin data mentioned above will be found in Table 22B.

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine
Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org or http://orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html to subscribe.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Balance Blood Sugar with Cinnamon

In 2003, a small clinical trial found that an extract equivalent to 1 g of cinnamon powder significantly reduced glucose level, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. In June 2006, the European Journal of Clinical Investigation published a study involving 79 patients with diagnosed diabetes type 2, who took either a placebo or an extract equivalent to 1 g cinnamon powder three times daily for four months. The group taking cinnamon experienced a 10% reduction in fasting glucose levels, whereas the glucose levels of those in the placebo group changed only by 3%. The researchers found that diabetics with higher fasting glucose levels had greater benefit from using the herb.

It is thought that the naturally occurring polyphenols in cinnamon are responsible for moderating glucose levels. Not surprisingly, the cinnamon extract did not cause any side effects.

These studies indicate that adding cinnamon may be beneficial in reducing the risk factors associated with diabetes. It may also suggest that cinnamon may benefit the non-diabetic population by preventing and controlling elevated glucose and blood lipid concentrations.

You can add more cinnamon spice to your diet (as long as it isn’t associated with pastries!) but it may be difficult to reach the one gram dosage on a daily basis. I recommend taking a cinnamon extract supplement, such as New Chapters Cinnamonforce to ensure healthy blood sugar levels. Take the supplement twice a day to keep blood sugar steady.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

High-Dose Vitamin D Supplements May Reduce Inflammation

The current study evaluated inflammatory markers in patients with congestive heart failure. Patients took 500 mg of calcium, plus either a placebo or 2000 IU of vitamin D, daily for nine months. Researchers measured cytokines (chemical messengers of the immune system), such as pro-inflammatory TNF (tumour necrosis factor) and anti-inflammatory IL-10 (interleukin 10).

It was found that people who took the vitamin D supplement showed a 43% increase in the anti-inflammatory IL-10 cytokine, whereas the placebo group showed no change. The vitamin D group also maintained levels of the inflammatory TNF cytokine, where the placebo group had a 12% increase in the inflammatory marker.

Previous research suggests that vitamin D may also improve muscular function, control blood pressure, and improve glucose tolerance. Inflammation is an underlying cause in those conditions, and in cardiovascular diseases, such as congestive heart failure.

In recent past, physicians recommended 400 IUs of vitamin D daily. Evidence is mounting that supplementing 2000 IUs of vitamin D is necessary for optimal health. Sunshine stimulates vitamin D production via the intestinal tract, however fears of skin cancer causes many Americans to avoid sun exposure, leading to increased incidences of vitamin D deficiency.

I personally feel that it is best to take a vitamin D supplement that is in an oil base, since vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. This can be in a softgel form or in a dropper bottle. Vitamin D Drops from Carlson in a coconut oil base are an easy way to get 2000 IUs per drop!

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 83 (4), 2006; pp 754 -759.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book Review: Strategies for Surviving Chemical Sensitivity: The Basics

By Shannon Morehouse, MA, CHHC

Don’t let the title of this book fool you. While this book does detail basic steps that chemically-sensitive individuals need to take in order to manage their exposure in and out of their homes, this book is a comprehensive guidebook that offers solutions even for those who have been battling chemical sensitivity for decades.

The author, Dr. Mayer, Ph.D., practiced pharmacy throughout his 20s. During that time, he owned two drug stores and numerous dry cleaning stores. He believes that the highly toxic chemicals used in the dry cleaning industry caused him to develop Chemical Sensitivity. After selling his businesses, he went on to earn a doctoral degree in history and a post-doctoral degree in Psychoanalysis. Dr. Mayer truly knows the struggles of the chemically-sensitive individual as he has had the struggles himself. He even had to leave New York City after trying to make four homes safe to dwell in. The strategies that Dr. Mayer, Ph.D lays out in this book are based on the trial and error experiences in successfully managing his own chemical sensitivity as well as experiences he gathered from over 1,000 individuals who responded to the question, “What works?”

Dr. Mayer explains how to find doctors and dentists who understand the needs of those who are chemically sensitive. He also describes various treatment options, including the following:

• Avoidance of Chemicals and Substances that Cause Reactions. According to Mayer, over 94 % of those surveyed felt better by avoiding chemical exposure. He defined avoidance as living in a chemical-free space, working in a chemically-free environment, and eating chemically-free, organic food.

• Clean Air. Many folks found that air filtration helped them.

Sauna Therapy. Dr. Mayer discusses the option of sauna therapy at many treatment centers in the United States or using a home sauna. He specifies that for those who are sensitive to EMFs, infrared saunas are said to be better.

• Liver Support. According to environmental physicians, self-administered glutathione in conjunction with an assortment of vitamins and minerals, including the Hydroxocobalamin form of B12 can be helpful.

After outlining general treatment options, Dr. Mayer offers helpful suggestions to aid you in every area of your life. He offers hundreds of suggestions on how to avoid exposure in all rooms in your home; these suggestions are nicely bulleted out.

Dr. Mayer’s chapter on personal care products is particularly useful. For soaps, he recommends Magick Botanicals products, among others. He also discusses cosmetics, mentioning facts like black mascara has fewer ingredients than color mascara. He also recommends using apricot kernel oil or almond oil for a moisturizer.

Dr. Mayer’s suggestions extend far beyond your home. He gives you tips on purchasing an automobile, buying a new home, and even reveals exact locales that will be better for those with chemical sensitivities to reside. His chapter on managing chemical sensitivity when traveling is helpful. One recommendation is that if you smell something bothersome, rinse your nose with saline solution. He also recommends taking 1,000 mg of vitamin C to bowel tolerance, wearing a face mask, and keeping yourself hydrated.

In conclusion, you will find this book as useful of a resource as those by Dr. Sherry Rogers. This is a must-read for the chemically-sensitive person and those who love them!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Go Green and Clean…with Steam!

Over the years, our sensitive NEEDS customers have been asking us to help them find a completely non-toxic, no-odor method to do some serious cleaning. After searching far and wide, we are happy to announce the arrival of the Steamboy T1 steam floor mop. NEEDS tested and approved, this mop uses only water, and no other cleaning products. In the long run, you will save money on expensive cleaning products. The steam created by this mop is a great, effective, and eco-friendly way to remove dirt and kill bacteria and germs naturally. The Steamboy uses a powerful 1500W heating element to deliver 248ยบ F steam to floor and carpet surfaces, sanitizing as it cleans. It can be used safely on ceramic tile, vinyl, linoleum, carpet and remarkably, even hardwood floors.

The Steamboy is easy to use- simply fill the reservoir with water, plug it in, turn it on, and it will quickly heat up and be ready to use. You can regulate the amount of steam released so there are no worries about making a dripping mess. The reservoir holds 3.3 cups of water and provides 30 minutes of continuous steam. The Steamboy can easily handle tight corners with its ergonomically designed handle and angled head with swiveling ability. The swivel head covers an eleven inch cleaning path. The cleaner comes with two washable microfiber pads; when dirty, simply throw it in the wash and hang to dry. To use on carpets, attach the carpet glide under the swivel head to easily convert it to a carpet sanitizer.

We love how simple and eco-friendly this new cleaning tool is. When it’s this easy and safe, cleaning isn’t so bad after all!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Ancestral Diet: Putting Healthy Nutrition in Context

By Linda Lizotte, R.D., CDN

As a nutritionist who has counseled hundreds of clients, I have to say that Americans could be a whole lot healthier. Autoimmune diseases are on the rise along with obesity, diabetes, and cancer. These present-day illnesses were barely seen thousands of years ago. You are the genetic equivalent of a caveman, yet the environment in which you live is vastly different from that which your ancestors evolved. For millions of years, our ancestors lived in a state of complete connectedness with the natural world. They woke with the sun and slept with the moon. They had no choice but to eat what they could forage from the woods, or kill in the fields.

The poor health of humans today is directly related to our modern diet. Evolutionary, historical, anthropological, and observational studies of past and present hunter gatherers show they had/have little heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic degenerative diseases. Modern-day hunter gatherers enjoy good health just as our ancestors did, not because of better genes, but because of better eating habits and ways of living.

How did our food consumption go wrong? The beginning of grain cultivation marked the time when humans were exposed to much higher dietary levels of simple carbohydrates and sugars, in amounts they were not designed to handle. The 19th and 20th centuries brought the advent of additional never-seen-before food processing techniques, leading to an escalating dietary insult on human genetics. As a result, many people today have intolerances and allergies to many of these “new” (evolutionarily speaking) foods.

Unintended consequences from these dietary changes abound. For instance, modern methods process whole wheat flour, stripping out its fiber, minerals and vitamins, including natural folates. Low and behold, soon after this processing method became common, many more birth defects occurred. Governments identified at least one cause being that of missing natural folate in the diet, which lead to mandates of adding folic acid (a synthetic form of folate) into processed grain foods such as breakfast cereal, white bread and white pasta. Since this change, incidents of spina bifida in countries making the change have dropped dramatically. Unfortunately, recent research points to evidence of a growing number of cancers in the US, which have been linked to excessive consumption of this synthetic folic acid.

As the president of Designs for Health, I am active in product development decisions, including the decision to keep folic acid out of our formulations. Instead we use NatureFolate™, a 100% natural folate blend that mimics what is found in foods such as spinach. NatureFolate™ contributes to preventing birth defects by lowering levels of homocysteine in the body. This homocysteine modulation also can prevent heart disease, while not contributing to the increase in cancer seen from folic acid consumption.

In an attempt to go back to nature’s intended roots, Designs for Health has formulated convenient products that mimic the diet of Paleolithic man including PaleoGreens, PaleoReds, PaleoBars, PaleoMeal and PaleoFiber. PaleoGreens comes from organic green vegetables; it is in a powdered form for easy and fast consumption. Some people do not enjoy the taste of vegetables and therefore have a difficult time forcing themselves to eat them. PaleoGreens is available in both lemon-lime and mint flavors; it is a great way to get the required daily intake of vegetables. PaleoReds is a combination of various organic fruits in powdered form; it is loaded with naturally-occurring vitamins and phytonutrients such as polyphenols. PaleoFiber is made from 12 fiber-containing ingredients found in nature, including carrot, apple, and citrus fiber; it is free of grain fibers. It aids healthy bowel movements because it contains both soluble and insoluble fibers. PaleoBars contain essential amino acids and added nutrients. This perfect snack food does not contain hydrogenated vegetable oils, sugar, or any form of fructose, which exist in other common snack options. A paleolithic approach to diet is the closest thing we have to matching that with which our genes evolved. It is a great starting point in the quest for an optimal diet. Go Paleo!