Banned in Europe but Allowed in the US ..

Posted by: Stef605  /  Category: Health

9 Dangerous Practices Banned in Europe but Allowed in the US

Many Americans believe the US is at the forefront of technology and advancements to protect its citizens’ health. But, time and again we’re seeing that Americans are actually less healthy than their peers overseas.

In fact, despite spending twice the amount per capita on health care, the US recently ranked last in a health and mortality analysis of 17 developed nations.1

In many cases, adhering to government-sponsored health and dietary guidance has led Americans astray but so, too, has exposure to harmful substances and practices that continue to receive the “green light” in the US while being banned in Europe.

Thanks to a largely industry-beholden government and regulatory system, Americans are simply not being afforded the same protections given to Europeans.

9 Dangerous Practices Banned in Europe but Allowed in the US

Mother Jones recently highlighted seven dodgy practices banned in Europe but allowed in the US,2 and I added in a couple of my own. In terms of looking out for your safety, this list gives an eye-opening perspective on where US regulatory agencies’ true interests lie.

1. Atrazine

Banned in Europe in 2003, Syngenta’s weed killer Atrazine is a potent endocrine disruptor that, according to UC Berkeley Professor Tyrone Hayes, “chemically castrates and feminizes wildlife and reduces immune function in both wildlife and laboratory rodents.” The chemical has also been found to induce breast and prostate cancer, retard mammary development and induce spontaneous abortion in lab animals, with studies in humans suggesting similar risks.

In the US, Atrazine is widely used and has become a common drinking water contaminant. Syngenta already had to pay $105 million to settle a class-action lawsuit in which water utilities in the Midwest claimed Atrazine had contaminated their drinking water.3

Atrazine has been banned in the European Union—including Switzerland, where it’s manufactured—as well as several Wisconsin counties in the US. However, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still allows its use and is only going to begin conducting a registration review, “EPA’s periodic reevaluation program for existing pesticides,” in mid-2013.4

2. Arsenic in Chicken, Turkey and Pig Feed

Arsenic-based drugs are approved for use in animal feed in the US because they make animals grow quicker and make the meat appear pinker (i.e. “fresher”). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated these products are safe because they contain organic arsenic, which is less toxic than the other inorganic form, which is a known carcinogen.

The problem is, scientific reports surfaced stating that the organic arsenic could transform into inorganic arsenic, which has been found in elevated levels in supermarket chickens. The inorganic arsenic also contaminates manure where it can eventually migrate into drinking water and may also be causing heightened arsenic levels in US rice.

In 2011, Pfizer announced it would voluntarily stop marketing its arsenic-based feed additive Roxarsone, but there are still several others on the market. Several environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the FDA calling for their removal from the market. In the European Union, meanwhile, arsenic-based compounds have never been approved as safe for animal feed.

3. Poultry Litter in Cow Feed

Chicken litter, a rendered down mix of chicken manure, dead chickens, feathers and spilled feed, is marketed as a cheap feed product for cows. The beef industry likes it because it’s cheaper than even corn and soy, so an estimated 2 BILLION pounds are purchased each year in the US.

However, any cow that eats chicken litter may also be consuming various beef products intended for chickens – raising concerns about Mad Cow Disease. And it’s not only the spilled feed that’s the problem; the infectious agent can also be passed through the chicken manure as well. In the US, the use of poultry litter in cow feed is unrestricted. Europe banned all forms of animal protein, including chicken litter, in cow feed in 2001.

4. Chlorine Washes for Poultry Carcasses

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is rolling out new rules that would permit poultry producers to put all the poultry through an antimicrobial wash, using chlorine and other chemicals to kill pathogens. We already have a problem with antibiotics causing antibiotic-resistant ”super germs” when used in the animals’ feed, and this could likely make the problem even worse.

Workers in the plants have also reported health problems from the chemical washes, including asthma and other respiratory problems. In the European Union, the use of chlorine washes is not only banned, but they won’t even accept US poultry that’s been treated with these antimicrobial sprays.

5. Antibiotics as Growth Promoters on Livestock Farms

Agricultural uses account for about 80 percent of all antibiotic use in the US, so it’s a MAJOR source of human antibiotic consumption. Animals are often fed antibiotics at low doses for disease prevention and growth promotion, and those antibiotics are transferred to you via meat, and even via the manure used as crop fertilizer. Feeding livestock continuous, low-dose antibiotics creates a perfect storm for widespread disease proliferation — and, worse yet, antibiotic-resistant disease.

The FDA has long held — since 1977 in fact — that administering low doses of antibiotics to livestock, as is common among Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), was inappropriate, yet they continue to pander to the drug industry and are allowing the practice to continue.

The FDA says it will focus its efforts on voluntary reform in the realm of antimicrobial use, which means the industry would have to decide to stop using low-dose antibiotics in animal feed on their own — a measure they have been vehemently opposed to because the antibiotics make the animals grow faster, which increases their profit margins. In Europe, all antibiotics used in human medicine are banned in agriculture, and no antibiotics can be used for growth-promoting purposes.

6. Ractopomine and Other Pharmaceutical Growth Enhancers in Animal Feed

Ractopamine is banned in 160 countries, including Europe, Taiwan and China. If imported meat is found to contain traces of the drug, it is turned away, while fines and imprisonment result for its use in banned countries. Yet, in the United States an estimated 60-80 percent of pigs, 30 percent of ration-fed cattle, and an unknown percentage of turkeys are pumped full of this drug in the days leading up to slaughter because it increases protein synthesis.

In other words, it makes animals more muscular … and this increases food growers’ bottom line. Adding insult to injury, up to 20 percent of ractopamine remains in the meat you buy from the supermarket, and this drug is also known to cause serious disability, including trembling, broken limbs and an inability to walk, in animals.

It’s also killed more pigs than any other animal drug on the market. While Europe has remained steadfast on its Ractopamine ban, including refusing imported meat treated with it, the US is actively trying to get other nations to change their minds and accept Ractopamine-treated pork.

7. Gestation Crates

Gestation crates are two-foot-wide cages where breeding pigs spend nearly their entire lives, unable to even turn around. Commonly used on CAFOs, the crates are the definition of inhumane and cause severe stress to the animals, who in some cases will resort to chewing the bars of the cages incessantly, causing them become covered in blood.

While several US pork producers, including Smithfield, Cargill and Hormel, have pledged to phase the crates out, and fast-food chains including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Subway have promised to stop buying from pork producers who use them, the practice remains widespread in the US. Europe, however, banned gestation crates entirely, effective this year.

8. Water Fluoridation

Many do not realize that fluoride is a drug that is available only with a prescription. Yet it’s added to municipal water supplies used by more than 180 million Americans, including infants and the elderly without any attention to personalized dosing or potential interactions.

Swallowing fluoride has been shown to cause weakened bones, bone cancer, hyperactivity and/or lethargy, lowered thyroid function, lowered IQ, dementia, kidney issue, arthritis and more, while studies have failed to show benefits for preventing cavities when taken internally. Cities around the US spend millions adding fluoride to communal water supplies each year, yet most European countries do not fluoridate their water.

9. Genetically Modified (GM) Foods

The European Union has historically taken a strict, cautious stance regarding GM crops, much to the chagrin of biotech giant Monsanto and in stark contract to the US. For instance, while GM crops are banned in several European countries, and all genetically modified foods and ingredients have to be labeled, the US has recently begun passing legislation that protects the use of GM seeds and allows for unabated expansion, in addition to the fact that GM ingredients do not have to be labeled.

Virtually all of the claims of benefit of GM crops – increased yields, more food production, controlled pests and weeds, reductions in chemical use in agriculture, drought-tolerant seeds — have not materialized while evidence pointing to their serious risks for human health and the environment continues to grow.

Do You Want REAL Food for Your Family?

The list above is only a partial one. There are, unfortunately, many other examples where the US has sold out to industry at the expense of its citizens’ health, while other countries have chosen to take a much more precautionary or ethical stance. For instance, food additives banned in other countries yet allowed in the US include various food dyes, the fat substitute Olestra, brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate (aka brominanted flour), Azodicarbonamide, BHA, BHT, rBGH and rBST. Europe has also recently banned animal testing for cosmetics and personal hygiene products, a practice that is still allowed in the US.

If you want to avoid these questionable ingredients, additives and unethical practices and you live in the US, ditching processed foods entirely is the best option. If you live in Europe you may have more options than Americans, as you may be able to find some processed foods that do not contain any synthetic additives (although non-processed is still highly preferable). About 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food is spent on processed foods, so there is massive room for improvement in this area for most people.

Swapping your processed-food diet for one that focuses on fresh whole foods is a necessity if you value your health. For a step-by-step guide to make this a reality in your own life, whether you live in the US or elsewhere, simply follow the advice in my optimized nutrition plan, starting with the beginner plan first.

If you like what you read, please consider donating to help support my blog, even as little as $5 will help.




Manipulate Public Opinion About Junk Food…

Posted by: Stef605  /  Category: Food, Health

Front Groups Exposed—50 Industry Groups Form a New Alliance to Manipulate Public Opinion About Junk Food, GMOs, and Harmful Additives

If you think it’s tough sorting truth from industry propaganda and lies, get ready for even tougher times ahead. More than 50 front groups, working on behalf of food and biotechnology trade groups―Monsanto being the most prominent―have formed a new coalition called Alliance to Feed the Future.

The alliance, which is being coordinated by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), was created to “balance the public dialogue” on modern agriculture and large-scale food production and technology, i.e. this group will aim to become the go-to source for “real” information about the junk being sold as “food.”

The groups comprising this new alliance represent multi-national food companies, biotech industry, and chemical companies that generate hundreds of billions of dollars worth of revenue from food related sales every year.

On the upside, this alliance and many other industry-sponsored front groups masquerading as non-profits and consumer protection organizations are becoming increasingly exposed for what they really are, and I will point out several of them in this article.

Michele Simon, JD, MPH, policy consultant with Center for Food Safety recently published a report titled: Best Public Relations Money Can Buy: A Guide to Food Industry Front Groups1 also reveals how the food- and agricultural industry hide behind friendly-sounding organizations aimed at fooling the public, policymakers and media alike.

Many Industry Front Groups are Created to Dominate Codex Discussions

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, conceived by the United Nations in 1962, was birthed through a series of relationships between The World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as the American FDA and USDA.

The Codex Alimentarius itself is a compilation of food standards, codes of practice and guidelines that specify all requirements related to foods, whether processed, semi-processed, genetically engineered, or raw.

Its purported purpose is to “protect consumers’ health, ensure fair business practices within the food trade, and eliminate international food trade barriers by standardizing food quality.”

There are a number of different working groups that meet regularly to establish food standards of every imaginable kind. For example, the Physical Working Group on Food Additives recently held meetings in Beijing, China. The 45th session of the Codex Committee on Food Additives (CCFA) ended on March 22.

On the agenda were discussions about aluminum-containing food additives. Are they safe or should they be eliminated from the worldwide Codex standards? The National Health Federation (NHF), the only health-freedom group allowed to speak at the meeting, dished out harsh criticism on the additives, calling for their removal. In a Facebook update, the NHF wrote:2

“The usual Codex suspects (the delegations of Australia, the United States and Canada) plus the trade organizations of the International Food Additives Council (IFAC) and the International Council of Grocery Manufacturers Associations (ICGMA) were the industry apologists for keeping aluminum in food additives.

In dishing out scorching criticism of aluminum’s proponents, NHF came under return fire from Australia, IFAC, and the Chairman.

IFAC – which does not seem to disclose any of its members… along with its sidekick ICGMA, cried out constantly that the ‘Industry’ just could not make it without aluminum food additives. Their members spraying equipment ‘might overheat and catch fire,’ IFAC lamented.

When NHF suggested that this was a not a genuine issue; that the industry could easily innovate its way out of this ‘problem’ and create non-overheating equipment, NHF was criticized by the Chairman for suggesting that IFAC might not be telling the truth.

By the end of the day, the success of the EU and NHF could be tallied by numerous uses of aluminum food additives that the Working Group will suggest be discontinued to the full Committee meeting… although there were also many food-additive uses that stayed in place (albeit usually at reduced levels), no thanks to the interventions of Australia, the U.S., Canada, IFAC, and ICGMA.”

Who’s Behind the International Food Additives Council (IFAC)?

The International Food Additives Council (IFAC) is “an international association representing companies that produce high quality substances used worldwide as food ingredients in traditional and organic products.” The group is very active in Codex. But how do you know who they are, and who they represent, when it’s almost impossible to find out who their members are?

As the NHF noted above, it’s virtually impossible to locate a list of its members (which naturally would indicate sources of funding, and potentially reveal behind-the-scenes agendas).

But here, I’m making public IFAC’s list of officers and board members as of 2011. It wasn’t easy to find this list, primarily because IFAC isn’t a regular 501(c)(3). In fact, it isn’t a 501(c)(3) at all. Actually, it’s a 501(c)(6)―an IRS classification for nonprofit “commercially oriented” organizations such as football leagues, chambers of commerce and, apparently, groups like IFAC. Once you know its non-profit classification, you can find its 990 forms―which all non-profits must file, complete with lists of officers and directors. I obtained IFAC’s 990s for the years 2004-2011. And there I learned the truth.

Except for two, who I couldn’t find any information at all on, all of IFAC’s officers and directors are linked to processed foods and additives in some way, with at least six of them having direct or business links to Monsanto and/or DuPont. That’s right. Six of IFAC’s governing board members are linked to the largest GMO producers in the world.

If you look up these board members’ contact information, you’ll find that all contacts for IFAC3 go to a corporation called The Kellen Company. Kellen “provides the essential services to advance associations to the next level of their evolution.” Such services include management, administration, accounting, meeting planning, membership marketing and strategic advice. According to the company’s website:

“Kellen takes the mission and message of each association client and brings it to audiences large and small, internal and external, domestic and international. Utilizing communications tools that are customized for each association, Kellen identifies the audiences, develops the strategies, defines the tactics and executes a planned and carefully reasoned communications plan.”

“Our consulting expertise enables us to reorganize association governance and assets, optimize association resources, extend reach for U.S. associations into Europe and Asia… Kellen’s team is expert in all strategic and tactical elements of associations and can provide insightful analysis and guidance on industry alignment… establishing new legal entities and building consensus. “ [Emphasis mine]

Additionally, if you look up IFAC’s origins in Internet business profiles, you’ll find that it was formed in 1980 by Patrick M. Farrey, who just so happens to be The Kellen Company’s group vice president. In short, The Kellen Company not only is linked to the formation of IFAC, but also serves as the managing entity behind IFAC. And its members, although a proper members list has not been obtained, are bound to be like their governing body― manufacturers of food additives, including but certainly not limited to manufacturers of artificial sweeteners and glutamate (i.e. MSG).

This association is clearly spelled out in the Council’s name. But what’s troublesome about it is that IFAC represents companies that create food ingredients in organic products as well, although there’s not a shred of evidence that any person, company or organization dedicated to organics is actually represented by IFAC. If that is the case, this means IFAC probably does NOT have any incentive at all to ensure such ingredients are appropriate for organic products, and most likely, they will just do what needs to be done to ensure its members’ ingredients are allowed to be used in organics no matter what.

You need look no further than its board members―and their links to Monsanto and DuPont, and their managing entity, Kellen―to see what I’m talking about, because Kellen tells you plainly on its website where the organization it represents stand when it comes to organics. Boasting that Kellen and its members joined the “Say No to Proposition 37” movement in California, Kellen explains right on its website how they defeated the bill that would have mandated that all GMO products be labeled as such:

“Almost all of Kellen Company’s food clients would have been negatively affected by Prop. 37, but no single association was in a position to lead opposition efforts to GMO labeling. A coalition was a perfect solution; our team decided to join the ‘No on 37 Coalition,’ a multi-stakeholder group that led opposition efforts and helped to educate Californian voters about the shortcoming of Prop. 37. And that story has a happy ending – the proposition was not passed and food companies in California are not required to include potentially misleading labeling.”

The site goes further, detailing the steps to “success” of this campaign, advising site visitors: “With proposed ballot initiatives beginning to be certified and many states opening their 2013 legislative sessions this month, now is the time to think about your association’s plans should state legislation or a ballot initiative affecting your industry be introduced in 2013.”

Finally, if you have any doubt about what IFAC’s goals are, you need look no further than a PowerPoint presentation4 that the group is currently giving at symposia and conventions around the world. One of the slides on this presentation states that IFAC promotes “independently determined” studies of safety in its members’ products. By “independent,” they explain that this means: “experts chosen and employed by the manufacturer.” This is the same procedure that gets Monsanto’s products to market: Monsanto gets to do its own safety studies and submit them to the FDA as “proof” that their products won’t harm you.

Front Groups Working to Keep Harmful Food Additives Hidden and on the Market

The Kellen Company has ties with other major industry players. According to a 2011 press release,5 one of the Kellen Company executives was honored as president of the Calorie Control Council, a non-profit association that represents manufacturers and suppliers of low-calorie, sugar-free and reduced sugar foods and beverages. It’s also closely tied to the International Council of Grocery Manufacturers Associations (ICGMA), which, along with IFAC, urged the Codex working group to keep aluminum in food additives, despite the many known health risks associated with aluminum.

According to Truthinlabeling.org,6 there are a number of front groups for the glutamate and artificial sweetener industry in the US. In an article titled: Meet the people who get the job done so effectively, they write:

“In the United States, the glutamate industry has two arms. Both work to keep MSG hidden in food. One is the International Hydrolyzed Protein Council… The second and more active arm is spearheaded by Ajinomoto’s International Glutamate Technical Committee (IGTC) and its American subsidiary, The Glutamate Association (TGA), with representative organizations throughout the world.”

Now here’s where it gets interesting, as it again shows the intricate ties of the glutamate industry with the Kellen Company:

“In 1977, the IGTC spun off The Glutamate Association, with both organizations accommodated under the umbrella of The Robert H. Kellen Company… a trade organization and association management firm, specializing in the food, pharmaceutical, and health care industries. [Editor’s note: although not covered in this article, this is a clue that there are many front groups operating in the drug and health care industry as well, under the careful management of the Kellen Company. Such front groups ensure you will NOT get the truth about drugs and health care issues where corporate profits are at stake.]

The Encyclopedia of Associations (The Glutamate Association, 1990) listed Robert H. Kellen as president of The Glutamate Association. Richard Cristol, executive director of The Glutamate Association, was also Vice President of The Kellen Company. Cristol assumed management of the Washington, DC operations of The Kellen Company and its subsidiary, HQ Services, in 1993…

In 1992, and still in 1998, Andrew G. Ebert, Ph.D., Chairman of the International Glutamate Technical Committee (IGTC), was also Senior Vice President of The Kellen Company. Membership in The Glutamate Association is secret. However, a source from within the glutamate industry, who asked to remain anonymous, told us that besides Ajinomoto, Archer Daniels Midland, Campbell, Corn Products Corporation, McCormick & Company, Pet Foods, Pfizer Laboratories, and Takeda were among its members; and Nestle was a former member.”

The fact that membership is a secret is telling in and of itself, and it’s quite ironic, considering the Glutamate Association is ardently working to keep the presence of glutamate in foods and other products, such as fertilizers and growth promoters, hidden from the consumer… But there’s more. I’ve often discussed the revolving door between the US Food and Drug Administration, and here we see the door swinging yet again. According to another article by TruthInLabeling.org:7

“Influence of the International Glutamate Technical Committee (IGTC) can be felt at every level. [Andrew G.] Ebert has served the Grocery Manufacturers of America; the National Food Processors Association; the Institute of Food Technology; the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences Assembly of Life Sciences; the American Medical Association; the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Food Standards Program as an Industry Observer; and the International Food Additives Council (IFAC) as Executive Director. In 1992, FDA appointed both Andrew G. Ebert, Ph.D., IGTC chairman, and Kristin McNutt, Ph.D., paid spokesperson for the IGTC, to the FDA Food Advisory Committee.” [Emphasis mine]

At this point, it would appear The Kellen Company is instrumental in creating and managing front groups for the processed food and chemical industries. These front groups are specifically created to mislead you about the product in question, protect industry profits, and influence regulatory agencies. This amount of collusion simply is not necessary for a food or product that is truly safe and has great intrinsic value, but it must be done for inferior and/or dangerous products that cannot stand up to closer scrutiny by truly independent sources.

What’s more, it appears all these front groups (there are many others not specifically mentioned in this article) have been created in order to have more seats at the Codex meetings, essentially giving chemical companies and major food manufacturers a much louder voice, in order to control the decisions made.

Front Man Steven Milloy, and Other Non-Profit Front Organizations with Ties to Industry

Steven Milloy, author of Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them, and owner and operator of junkscience.com8 — a site dedicated to denying environmental- and health concerns related to pollutants and chemicals, including those used in agriculture and food production — appears to have been registered as a lobbyist with The EOP Group, a lobbying firm based in Washington, DC. Clients of the firm have included the American Crop Protection Association, the Chlorine Chemistry Council, and Edison Electric Institute.9

Milloy’s clients10 included both Monsanto and the International Food Additives Council (IFAC). Milloy has denied ever being a lobbyist, claiming that he was “a technical consultant” for the lobbying firm.

“However, Milloy shows up in federal lobbyist registration data for 1997 as having lobbying expenditures on his behalf, indicating his firm, the EOP Group, believed him to be an active lobbyist, “technical” or otherwise,” TRWNews11 states in its expose of the industry front man.

Milloy also headed up the now defunct corporate front group, The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC). According to TRWNews,12 TASSC and the Junkscience.com site were one and the same. Integrity in Science,13 which lists non-profit organizations with close ties to industry, reports that TASSC received financial support from hundreds of corporations, including the likes of Procter & Gamble, Exxon, Dow Chemical, and Philip Morris. I’ll leave it up to you to guess what kind of “sound science” was advanced by those sources…

“Its objective is to act as a speakers bureau to deliver the corporate message that environmental public policy is not currently based on ‘sound science,’ and to counter excessive regulations that are based on what it considers ‘junk’ science,” Integrity in Science states. [Emphasis mine]

Other non-profit organizations that are in actuality doing the bidding of various industry giants include:
•Air Quality Standards Coalition, “created specifically to battle the clean air proposals, the coalition operates out of the offices of the National Association of Manufacturers, a Washington-based trade group. Its leadership includes top managers of petroleum, automotive and utility companies”
•Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, while sounding like it would work for your benefit, actually gets “unrestricted grants” from a long list of pharmaceutical companies
• Alliance to Save Energy, which “supports energy efficiency as a cost-effective energy resource under existing market conditions and advocates energy-efficiency policies that minimize costs to society and individual consumers,” was founded by, among others: BP…
•American Academy of Pediatrics receives $1 million annually from infant formula manufacturers. Other donors include (but is not limited to) the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products, both Wyeth’s and Merck’s vaccine divisions, the Food Marketing Institute, the Sugar Association, and the International Food Information Council (IFIC) — which you will see below, is not only a front group for the glutamate industry; it’s also the coordinating agent for a new alliance of over 50 industry groups aimed at directing the dialogue and altering public opinion about large-scale, genetically engineered and chemical-based food production
•American Council for Fitness and Nutrition. This one takes the cake with a member list that includes the American Bakers Association, the American Meat Institute, the Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers Association, Chocolate Manufacturers Association, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, National Confectioners Association and many others that are FAR from suited to devise appropriate “comprehensive, long-term strategies and constructive public policies for improving the health and wellness of all Americans”

IFIC Created ‘Crisis Management’ Protocol in Case Truth Would Be Exposed

Although their names may differ, many of the functions of these groups overlap, as they’re really serving the same industry. TruthInLabeling explains how front groups such as these serve the distinct interests of the industry, not your or your children’s health, even when their well-chosen name may mislead you to think otherwise.14 Take the International Food Information Council (IFIC) for example:

“In 1990, faced with the threat of a ’60 Minutes’ segment… that might expose the toxic potential of monosodium glutamate, IFIC became actively involved in representing the interests of the glutamate industry. The IFIC represents itself as an ‘independent’ organization. It sends attractive brochures to dietitians, nutritionists, hospitals, schools, the media, and politicians, proclaiming the safety of monosodium glutamate. In 1990, an anonymous person sent us a copy of a ‘Communication Plan’ dated July-December 1991, that detailed methods for scuttling the ’60 Minutes’ segment on MSG, or, failing that, provided for crisis management.

…Depending on the roles they play, researchers might be considered agents of the glutamate industry. In addition, there are those who promote the products of those they work for, just as public relations firms do, but these organizations highlight the fact that they are nonprofit corporations, while minimizing the fact that they promote the products of those who financially support them. The International Food Information Council (IFIC) and the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) are examples of such glutamate-industry agents.”

50+ Industry Front Groups Form New Alliance to ‘Balance Public Dialogue’ on Food Production

As reported by Sustainable Food News15 on March 17, more than 50 of these front groups, working on behalf of food and biotechnology trade groups, have formed a brand new alliance called Alliance to Feed the Future. Again, the alliance is being coordinated by the glutamate-protecting International Food Information Council (IFIC). The stated aim of the alliance is to “balance the public dialogue on modern agriculture and large-scale food production.”

“The Alliance to Feed the Future said “in an effort to meet the world’s increasing food needs responsibly, efficiently and affordably,” its members want to “tell the real story of” and dispel “misperceptions about modern food production and technology,” the article states.16

The groups comprising the alliance represent multi-national food-, biotech-, and chemical companies that generate hundreds of billions of dollars-worth of revenue each year. Some of the most notable of these 50 industry groups include the very players already mentioned in this article. For the full list of all 50+ groups that are part of the alliance, please see the original article:17

American Soybean Association

Biotechnology Industry Organization (which represents biotech crop giants Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta)

Calorie Control Council (which represents the artificial sweetener industry)

Council for Biotechnology Information

Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)

International Food Additives Council (IFAC)

According to the featured article:18

“When asked by Sustainable Food News what misperceptions the group seeks to dispel, Dave Schmidt, CEO at the International Food Information Council, who coordinates the alliance, said the most common misperceptions – perpetuated by what he calls ‘a large popular culture’ that can be found in recent ‘books and movies’ – are that ‘technology is bad and we need to go back to a time when there was less technology. Or, food processing or large-scale food production is bad.’

…The alliance’s aim is to educate who he called ‘opinion leaders,’ including those in the university sector, professional societies, journalists and government officials. However, another target demographic is the ‘informed consumer,’ who he expects will find the group’s information online.

The Alliance’s effort appears to be an attempt to squelch the growing consumer perception that modern food production can have a negative impact on the health of humans and the environment as espoused by the organic and sustainable food movement.” [Emphasis mine]

Meanwhile, close to a dozen of the members of this new industry alliance have resigned from the Leonardo Academy’s National Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee,19 which is currently developing a national standard for sustainable agriculture under the rules of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). According to Russell Williams of the American Farm Bureau Federation, this exodus occurred because:

“…the committee is dominated by environmental groups, certification consultants, agro-ecology and organic farming proponents. Based on their recent actions, it is apparent that these groups have neither the vision nor desire to speak for mainstream agriculture or the 95 percent of farmers who will be materially affected by any resulting standard.”

Is the Information You’re Given Created by a Front Group Pretending to Be ‘Independent’?

As TruthInLabeling points out, the industry has manipulated public knowledge using innocent-sounding front groups for a very long time. As I’ve already shown, the International Food Additives Council (IFAC) is a perfect example of how industry giants can masquerade as a so-called non-profit, independent organization. While their membership still remains secret, the directors and officers on the IFAC board show quite plainly who’s running the show when it comes to food additives―and IFAC is obviously NOT a group of consumer advocates.

Another example can be shown through the distribution of information about MSG, which has been completely directed by the industry itself, through The Glutamate Association:

“Present FDA practice includes distributing unsolicited copies of an FDA Medical Bulletin that assures physicians that MSG is safe; and distributing similar material to food service people. In the January-February, 2003 FDA Consumer magazine, the FDA’s Michelle Meadows, in an article titled: MSG: A Common Flavor Enhancer, spewed out paragraphs that look like they came right off The Glutamate Association or the International Glutamate Information Service Web pages. Trying to convince us that MSG is ‘safe’ while saying nothing.”

The same goes for genetically engineered crops, prescription drugs, artificial sweeteners and a whole host of other harmful substances used in food production and medicine. You can bet if there’s a harmful substance out there that makes money, there are at least one or more front groups, posing as independent non-profit organizations, disseminating anything but independent safety reviews and information pertaining to it…

As for the Codex meetings, and the Group on Food Additives in particular; they’re being shrewdly manipulated by multiple front groups, which ensures that their side comes across as the strongest and most vocal. It also creates the illusion of consensus, when in fact it’s nothing but collusion… It’s high time to pull back the curtain and see who’s really pulling the strings and levers. And whenever you hear the talking points from Alliance to Feed the Future or the International Food Additives Council (IFAC), you now know exactly who is talking, and why. It’s an alliance of multi-national food-, biotech-, and chemical companies that are hell-bent on protecting hundreds of billions of dollars-worth of annual revenue in the face of a burgeoning organic and sustainable food movement. Believe what they tell you at your own risk…

Keep Fighting for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

While California Prop. 37 failed to pass last November, by a very narrow margin, the fight for GMO labeling is far from over. The field-of-play has now moved to the state of Washington, where the people’s initiative 522, “The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” will require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. As stated on LabelitWA.org:

“Calorie and nutritional information were not always required on food labels. But since 1990 it has been required and most consumers use this information every day. Country-of-origin labeling wasn’t required until 2002. The trans fat content of foods didn’t have to be labeled until 2006. Now, all of these labeling requirements are accepted as important for consumers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says we must know with labeling if our orange juice is from fresh oranges or frozen concentrate.

Doesn’t it make sense that genetically engineered foods containing experimental viral, bacterial, insect, plant or animal genes should be labeled, too? Genetically engineered foods do not have to be tested for safety before entering the market. No long-term human feeding studies have been done. The research we have is raising serious questions about the impact to human health and the environment.

I-522 provides the transparency people deserve. I-522 will not raise costs to consumers or food producers. It simply would add more information to food labels, which manufacturers change routinely anyway, all the time. I-522 does not impose any significant cost on our state. It does not require the state to conduct label surveillance, or to initiate or pursue enforcement. The state may choose to do so, as a policy choice, but I-522 was written to avoid raising costs to the state or consumers.”

Remember, as with CA Prop. 37, they need support of people like YOU to succeed. Prop. 37 failed with a very narrow margin simply because we didn’t have the funds to counter the massive ad campaigns created by the No on 37 camp, led by Monsanto and other major food companies. Let’s not allow Monsanto and its allies to confuse and mislead the people of Washington and Vermont as they did in California. So please, I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can, regardless of what state you live in.
•No matter where you live in the United States, please donate money to these labeling efforts through the Organic Consumers Fund.
•If you live in Washington State, please sign the I-522 petition. You can also volunteer to help gather signatures across the state.
•For timely updates on issues relating to these and other labeling initiatives, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
•Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the Washington initiative.

If you like what you read, please consider donating to help support my blog, even as little as $5 will help.




Biotech Industry Ups Propaganda Efforts..

Posted by: Stef605  /  Category: Health

Biotech Industry Ups Propaganda Efforts with Undercover Ambassadors

By Dr. Mercola

For years now I’ve warned of the many potential dangers of genetically engineered (GE) foods, pointing out that such crops might have wholly unforeseen consequences.

In recent years, such suspicions have increasingly proven correct, forcing the biotech industry to up the ante of their propaganda campaign.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Monsanto: Battered, Bruised, and Still Growing”1 sets the stage for the discussion that follows. The dark heart of Monsanto has been exposed in recent years, and they’re in dire need of an image makeover.

I bet they probably have the best and brightest propaganda experts on speed dial these days. In the featured article, the company is lauded for “fending off” California Proposition 37 last November, as labeling foods containing genetically engineered ingredients would be “befuddling” to consumers.

“I’d be up for the dialogue around labeling. Maybe we’ll look back and say [Prop 37] was the start of a more reasonable debate. But it was a confusing proposition,” Monsanto Chief Executive Hugh Grant tells the Wall Street Journal.

Grant goes on to talk about how the company is now going “back to the basics of reconnecting” with their customers, and how consistency in messaging and predictable pricing is helping turn the tide that has threatened to engulf them over the past three years.

Biotech Industry Ups Propaganda Efforts with Undercover Ambassadors

Part of this makeover program appears to be the recruitment of seemingly independent “ambassadors” to covertly lobby the GE agenda. The appearance of being an independent voice is imperative for the role to be effective, SpinWatch2 said in a recent article.

According to an October 2011 article in the Guardian, leaked emails from a PR company working with EuropaBio listed potential candidates for the role3, including Lord Patten, chancellor of Oxford University and BBC Trust chairman; Sir Bob Geldof; former Irish EU commissioner and attorney general David Byrne; former UN secretary general Kofi Annan; and Mark Lynas, an environmentalist and writer who claims to have helped create the anti-GE movement back in the mid-1990’s. According to the Guardian:

“The 10 or more ambassadors will not be paid directly, but the lobbyists have offered to write, research and place articles in their names, arrange interviews and speaking engagements with the Financial Times and other international media, and secure for them what could be lucrative speaking slots at major conferences.

In addition, EuropaBio says it will introduce them to the highest-level European bureaucrats and MEPs in order for them to make the case for GM within EU institutions.”

In 2011, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas responded to the news by saying:

“This brazen attempt by EuropaBio to recruit covert ‘ambassadors’ to ‘change the debate’ on GM is yet further proof that the powerful GM lobby will stop at nothing to push its hugely unpopular and unnecessary products onto European citizens. We need far stronger regulation on corporate lobbyists across the EU to prevent this kind of insidious behind-the-scenes maneuvering from seriously undermining our democratic system.”

The Art of Spin, and the World of ‘War Craft’

When confronted, the above named candidates denied knowledge of EuropaBio4, known as “the voice for the biotech industry at the EU level.” Most, including Mark Lynas, also claimed they’d reject the offer to peddle GMO policy should they be asked.

What a difference a year makes. While Lynas suddenly began writing about his “conversion” in 2010, he recently took to the stage as a veritable born-again proselytizer of genetically engineered crops at the January 3 Oxford Farming Conference5.

What better ambassador for the tattered and bruised Monsanto than a “former foe” having “seen the light of science” and, of his own free will (supposedly), deciding to mend his ways and right the wrongs he’s done against the biotech industry?

“I want to start with some apologies,” Lynas says. “For the record, here and upfront, I apologize for having spent several years ripping up genetically modified (GM) crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonizing an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.

As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely.

So I guess you’ll be wondering – what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.”

Gimme a break… If you believe the conversion of Lynas was based on scientific enlightenment, I have a religion of my own you might be interested in. To me, this has all the hallmarks of a carefully crafted propaganda campaign. People have likened Lynas’ opening statements to Martin Luther King apologizing for the civil rights movement, or the Pope renouncing Catholicism. Indeed.

But while many choose to see his new stance as evidence that concerns about genetically engineered foods have been unfounded and overblown, all I see is someone who has sold their soul to the proverbial Devil. You can tell that this is part of a spin campaign for the sheer fact that Lynas goes to great lengths to take as much credit as possible for founding and steering the anti-GM movement. This way, his conversion becomes far more powerful.

Spin and Propaganda Techniques — Are You Still Deaf and Blind to Them?

As SpinWatch points out in its revealing article6, concerns about genetically engineered foods began decades before Lynas entered the scene. Crediting him as “the mastermind of the anti-biotechnology campaign” is PR talk. It’s the jargon of propaganda. And it has one sole purpose — to build up Lynas as a trustworthy independent voice on issues relating to genetically engineered foods.

“… while Lynas says he co-founded the anti-GM movement in 1995, the first wave of resistance to the possible uses of genetic engineering in food and farming began two decades earlier in the mid-1970s,” SpinWatch notes.

“By the early 1980s concerned US scientists and academics had founded the Council for Responsible Genetics, and by the late 1980s a US network called the Biotechnology Working Group was meeting regularly to plan joint strategies and actions regarding the new technology. It was composed of approximately 20 national and local NGOs, and included regular participation by representatives of the European Greens and an Australian NGO, GenEthics. By the early 1990s the Consumers Union and the Union of Concerned Scientists were also on the case.

Concern over GMOs had also begun to appear on the international policy agenda in the years running up to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which called for the establishment of a Biosafety Protocol. It was also at Rio that the first international workshop on GMOs took place. Among those addressing it was Vandana Shiva. This is worth noting because Lynas implies in his speech that it was the movement that he supposedly co-founded in the UK in 1995 which “exported” GM opposition worldwide. In reality, concerns over GM in food and farming were already well established on the world stage.”

… After hearing how Lynas was portraying himself, Sue Mayer contacted him7 to say, ‘I think I can lay claim to having been one of the leaders of the campaign in the UK thoughout the 1990s and until 2007 when I left GeneWatch. It’s strange that although we did speak on the phone once in the late 90s we never met and I missed the fact that you helped start the anti-GM movement!!’ Mayer added, ‘I think this is a very misleading claim and you should feel ashamed of yourself. I wouldn’t normally worry about people puffing themselves up like this but I am concerned that you are letting this be used to promote yourself and the biotech industry.’

Mayer is not alone. Nobody we have spoken to among the many leading figures of the 1990s counts Lynas as either a founder or a leader. Indeed, if he was even involved in the grassroots actions of 1995-1996, then nobody we spoke to remembers it.

Beware: Front Groups with an Aim to Mislead You

Now that Washington State has been confirmed with enough signatures to allow voters to take a stand on GMO labeling, Monsanto and their henchmen are revving up their propaganda campaign, which also includes friendly-sounding front groups8 paid to spead misleading information and industry propaganda, while pretending to serve you.

“We think labeling is really intended to frighten people away from a technology,” said Healther Hansen of Washington Friends of Farms and Forests. “It’s implying that there is something wrong with the food and we think that’s misleading to the consumer,” Komo News writes9. Who is Heather Hansen? She’s a contract lobbyist from the William Ruckelshaus Center at WSU10. And, William Ruckelshaus11 was a board member for — you guessed it — Monsanto…

Why GE Crops are NOT the ‘Most Tested’ Product in the World

Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant claims genetically engineered crops are “the most-tested food product that the world has ever seen.” What he doesn’t tell you is that:
a.Industry-funded research predictably affects the outcome of the trial. This has been verified by dozens of scientific reviews comparing funding with the findings of the study. When industry funds the research, it’s virtually guaranteed to be positive. Therefore, independent studies must be done to replicate and thus verify results
b.The longest industry-funded animal feeding study was 90 days, which recent research has confirmed is FAR too short. In the world’s first independently funded lifetime feeding study, massive health problems set in during and after the 13th month, including organ damage and cancer
c.Companies like Monsanto and Syngenta rarely if ever allow independent researchers access to their patented seeds, citing the legal protection these seeds have under patent laws. Hence independent research is extremely difficult to conduct
d.There is no safety monitoring. Meaning, once the GE item in question has been approved, not a single country on earth is actively monitoring and tracking reports of potential health effects

All in all, if their genetically altered seeds have something wrong with them that potentially could cause consumer illness, Monsanto would rather NOT have you find out about it. Not through independent research, nor through a simple little label that would allow you to opt out of the experiment, should you choose not to take them on their word.

Why don’t they want labeling? Because you might sue them for putting your health in danger! Doesn’t this remind you of the public health debate that went on for decades over another multi-billion dollar industry — cigarettes?

For decades the companies producing this cancer-causing product denied they caused any harm, denied nicotine was addictive, and even ran advertisements featuring doctors claiming cigarettes were good for your cough. They produced study after study by their own scientists claiming there was no health threat whatsoever from cigarettes. Executives from every major cigarette company even lied to Congress under oath, claiming they had no knowledge cigarettes were addictive, when in fact they did know — they even manipulated the nicotine content12 of cigarettes to keep you hooked! Bet you didn’t know that, did you?

Genetically engineered foods are just another wolf in the same old sheep’s clothing. The propaganda and the fraud have worked so well for so long, why bother changing something that works so well? Don’t fall for the same old scheme! Instead, read what the few independent researchers are really saying about the science behind genetically engineered foods. You can find all previous articles on this topic on my dedicated GMO News page.

Keep Fighting for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

While California Prop. 37 failed to pass last November, by a very narrow margin, the fight for GMO labeling is far from over. The field-of-play has now moved to the state of Washington, where the people’s initiative 522, “The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” will require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. As stated on LabelitWA.org:

“Calorie and nutritional information were not always required on food labels. But since 1990 it has been required and most consumers use this information every day. Country-of-origin labeling wasn’t required until 2002. The trans fat content of foods didn’t have to be labeled until 2006. Now, all of these labeling requirements are accepted as important for consumers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says we must know with labeling if our orange juice is from fresh oranges or frozen concentrate.

Doesn’t it make sense that genetically engineered foods containing experimental viral, bacterial, insect, plant or animal genes should be labeled, too? Genetically engineered foods do not have to be tested for safety before entering the market. No long-term human feeding studies have been done. The research we have is raising serious questions about the impact to human health and the environment.

I-522 provides the transparency people deserve. I-522 will not raise costs to consumers or food producers. It simply would add more information to food labels, which manufacturers change routinely anyway, all the time. I-522 does not impose any significant cost on our state. It does not require the state to conduct label surveillance, or to initiate or pursue enforcement. The state may choose to do so, as a policy choice, but I-522 was written to avoid raising costs to the state or consumers.”

Remember, as with CA Prop. 37, they need support of people like YOU to succeed. Prop. 37 failed with a very narrow margin simply because we didn’t have the funds to counter the massive ad campaigns created by the No on 37 camp, led by Monsanto and other major food companies. Let’s not allow Monsanto and its allies to confuse and mislead the people of Washington and Vermont as they did in California. So please, I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can, regardless of what state you live in.
•No matter where you live in the United States, please donate money to these labeling efforts through the Organic Consumers Fund.
•If you live in Washington State, please sign the I-522 petition. You can also volunteer to help gather signatures across the state.
•For timely updates on issues relating to these and other labeling initiatives, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
•Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the Washington initiative.

If you like what you read, please consider donating to help support my blog, even as little as $5 will help.




Leading Scientists Disprove GMO Safety…

Posted by: Stef605  /  Category: Food, Health

Who better to speak the truth about the risks posed by genetically modified (GM) foods than Thierry Vrain, a former research scientist for Agriculture Canada? It was Vrain’s job to address public groups and reassure them that GM crops and food were safe, a task he did with considerable knowledge and passion.

But Vrain, who once touted GM crops as a technological advancement indicative of sound science and progress, has since started to acknowledge the steady flow of research coming from prestigious labs and published in high-impact journals; research showing that there is significant reason for concern about GM crops – and he has now changed his position.

Former Pro-GMO Scientist Cites GM Food Safety Concerns

Vrain cites the concerning fact that it is studies done by Monsanto and other biotech companies that claim GM crops have no impact on the environment and are safe to eat. But federal departments in charge of food safety in the US and Canada have not conducted tests to affirm this alleged “safety.”

Vrain writes:1

“There are no long-term feeding studies performed in these countries [US and Canada] to demonstrate the claims that engineered corn and soya are safe. All we have are scientific studies out of Europe and Russia, showing that rats fed engineered food die prematurely.

These studies show that proteins produced by engineered plants are different than what they should be. Inserting a gene in a genome using this technology can and does result in damaged proteins. The scientific literature is full of studies showing that engineered corn and soya contain toxic or allergenic proteins.

… I refute the claims of the biotechnology companies that their engineered crops yield more, that they require less pesticide applications, that they have no impact on the environment and of course that they are safe to eat.”

“The Whole Paradigm of Genetic Engineering Technology is Based on a Misunderstanding”

This misunderstanding is the “one gene, one protein” hypothesis from 70 years ago, which stated that each gene codes for a single protein. However, the Human Genome project completed in 2002 failed dramatically to identify one gene for every one protein in the human body, forcing researchers to look to epigenetic factors — namely, “factors beyond the control of the gene” – to explain how organisms are formed, and how they work.

According to Vrain:

“Genetic engineering is 40 years old. It is based on the naive understanding of the genome based on the One Gene – one protein hypothesis of 70 years ago, that each gene codes for a single protein. The Human Genome project completed in 2002 showed that this hypothesis is wrong.

The whole paradigm of the genetic engineering technology is based on a misunderstanding. Every scientist now learns that any gene can give more than one protein and that inserting a gene anywhere in a plant eventually creates rogue proteins. Some of these proteins are obviously allergenic or toxic.”

In other words, genetic engineering is based on an extremely oversimplified model that suggests that by taking out or adding one or several genes, you can create a particular effect or result. But this premise, which GMO expert Dr. Philip Bereano calls “the Lego model,” is not correct. You cannot simply take out a yellow piece and put in a green piece and call the structure identical because there are complex interactions that are still going to take place and be altered, even if the initial structure still stands.

Serious Problems May Arise From Horizontal Gene Transfer

GE plants and animals are created using horizontal gene transfer (also called horizontal inheritance), as contrasted with vertical gene transfer, which is the mechanism in natural reproduction. Vertical gene transfer, or vertical inheritance, is the transmission of genes from the parent generation to offspring via sexual or asexual reproduction, i.e., breeding a male and female from one species.

By contrast, horizontal gene transfer involves injecting a gene from one species into a completely different species, which yields unexpected and often unpredictable results. Proponents of GM crops assume they can apply the principles of vertical inheritance to horizontal inheritance, but according to Dr. David Suzuki, an award-winning geneticist, this assumption is flawed in just about every possible way and is “just lousy science.”

Genes don’t function in a vacuum — they act in the context of the entire genome. Whole sets of genes are turned on and off in order to arrive at a particular organism, and the entire orchestration is an activated genome. It’s a dangerous mistake to assume a gene’s traits are expressed properly, regardless of where they’re inserted. The safety of GM food is based only on a hypothesis, and this hypothesis is already being proven wrong.

Leading Scientists Disprove GMO Safety

Vrain cites the compelling report “GMO Myths and Truths”2 as just one of many scientific examples disputing the claims of the biotech industry that GM crops yield better and more nutritious food, save on the use of pesticides, have no environmental impact whatsoever and are perfectly safe to eat. The authors took a science-based approach to evaluating the available research, arriving at the conclusion that most of the scientific evidence regarding safety and increased yield potential do not at all support the claims. In fact, the evidence demonstrates the claims for genetically engineered foods are not just wildly overblown – they simply aren’t true.

The authors of this critical report include Michael Antoniou, PhD, who heads the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King’s College at London School of Medicine in the UK. He’s a 28-year veteran of genetic engineering technology who has himself invented a number of gene expression biotechnologies; and John Fagan, PhD, a leading authority on food sustainability, biosafety, and GE testing. If you want to get a comprehensive understanding of genetically engineered foods, I strongly recommend reading this report.

Not only are GM foods less nutritious than non-GM foods, they pose distinct health risks, are inadequately regulated, harm the environment and farmers, and are a poor solution to world hunger. Worse still, these questionable GM crops are now polluting non-GM crops, leading to contamination that cannot ever be “recalled” the way you can take a bad drug off the market … once traditional foods are contaminated with GM genes, there is no going back! Vrain expanded:3

“Genetic pollution is so prevalent in North and South America where GM crops are grown that the fields of conventional and organic grower are regularly contaminated with engineered pollen and losing certification. The canola and flax export market from Canada to Europe (a few hundreds of millions of dollars) were recently lost because of genetic pollution.”

American Academy of Environmental Medicine Called for Moratorium on GM Foods FOUR Years Ago

In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine called for a moratorium on GM foods, and said that long-term independent studies must be conducted, stating:

“Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. …There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation…”

Despite this sound warning, GM foods continue to be added to the US food supply with no warning to the Americans buying and eating this food. Genetic manipulation of crops, and more recently food animals, is a dangerous game that has repeatedly revealed that assumptions about how genetic alterations work and the effects it has on animals and humans who consume such foods, are deeply flawed and incomplete. Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant claims genetically engineered crops are “the most-tested food product that the world has ever seen.” What he doesn’t tell you is that:
1.Industry-funded research predictably affects the outcome of the trial. This has been verified by dozens of scientific reviews comparing funding with the findings of the study. When industry funds the research, it’s virtually guaranteed to be positive. Therefore, independent studies must be done to replicate and thus verify results
2.The longest industry-funded animal feeding study was 90 days, which recent research has confirmed is FAR too short. In the world’s first independently funded lifetime feeding study, massive health problems set in during and after the 13th month, including organ damage and cancer
3.Companies like Monsanto and Syngenta rarely if ever allow independent researchers access to their patented seeds, citing the legal protection these seeds have under patent laws. Hence independent research is extremely difficult to conduct
4.There is no safety monitoring. Meaning, once the GM item in question has been approved, not a single country on earth is actively monitoring and tracking reports of potential health effects

It Might Take More Than One Bite to Kill You …

“One argument I hear repeatedly is that nobody has been sick or died after a meal (or a trillion meals since 1996) of GM food,” Vrain said. “Nobody gets ill from smoking a pack of cigarettes either. But it sure adds up, and we did not know that in the 1950s before we started our wave of epidemics of cancer. Except this time it is not about a bit of smoke, it’s the whole food system that is of concern. The corporate interest must be subordinated to the public interest, and the policy of substantial equivalence must be scrapped as it is clearly untrue.”

Remember, Vrain used to give talks about the benefits of GM foods, but he simply couldn’t ignore the research any longer … and why, then, should you? All in all, if GM foods have something wrong with them that potentially could cause widespread illness or environmental devastation, Monsanto would rather NOT have you find out about it. Not through independent research, nor through a simple little label that would allow you to opt out of the experiment, should you choose not to take them on their word. As Vrain continued:

“The Bt corn and soya plants that are now everywhere in our environment are registered as insecticides. But are these insecticidal plants regulated and have their proteins been tested for safety? Not by the federal departments in charge of food safety, not in Canada and not in the U.S.

… We should all take these studies seriously and demand that government agencies replicate them rather than rely on studies paid for by the biotech companies … Individuals should be encouraged to make their decisions on food safety based on scientific evidence and personal choice, not on emotion or the personal opinions of others.”

At present, the only way to avoid GM foods is to ditch processed foods from your grocery list, and revert back to whole foods grown according to organic standards.

Keep Fighting for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

While California Prop. 37 failed to pass last November, by a very narrow margin, the fight for GMO labeling is far from over. The field-of-play has now moved to the state of Washington, where the people’s initiative 522, “The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” will require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. As stated on LabelitWA.org:

“Calorie and nutritional information were not always required on food labels. But since 1990 it has been required and most consumers use this information every day. Country-of-origin labeling wasn’t required until 2002. The trans fat content of foods didn’t have to be labeled until 2006. Now, all of these labeling requirements are accepted as important for consumers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says we must know with labeling if our orange juice is from fresh oranges or frozen concentrate.

Doesn’t it make sense that genetically engineered foods containing experimental viral, bacterial, insect, plant or animal genes should be labeled, too? Genetically engineered foods do not have to be tested for safety before entering the market. No long-term human feeding studies have been done. The research we have is raising serious questions about the impact to human health and the environment.

I-522 provides the transparency people deserve. I-522 will not raise costs to consumers or food producers. It simply would add more information to food labels, which manufacturers change routinely anyway, all the time. I-522 does not impose any significant cost on our state. It does not require the state to conduct label surveillance, or to initiate or pursue enforcement. The state may choose to do so, as a policy choice, but I-522 was written to avoid raising costs to the state or consumers.”

Remember, as with CA Prop. 37, they need support of people like YOU to succeed. Prop. 37 failed with a very narrow margin simply because we didn’t have the funds to counter the massive ad campaigns created by the No on 37 camp, led by Monsanto and other major food companies. Let’s not allow Monsanto and its allies to confuse and mislead the people of Washington and Vermont as they did in California. So please, I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can, regardless of what state you live in.
•No matter where you live in the United States, please donate money to these labeling efforts through the Organic Consumers Fund.
•If you live in Washington State, please sign the I-522 petition. You can also volunteer to help gather signatures across the state.
•For timely updates on issues relating to these and other labeling initiatives, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
•Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the Washington initiative.

If you like what you read, please consider donating to help support my blog, even as little as $5 will help.




No Flu Shots? No Employment…

Posted by: Stef605  /  Category: Health

By Barbara Loe Fisher

These are desperate times for those denying vaccine risks. We know it because we are witnessing so many acts of desperation being committed by doctors determined to shut down the public conversation about vaccination and health.

Vaccine risk deniers are working overtime to restrict public access to information, cover up vaccine injuries and deaths and violate the human right to informed consent to medical risk-taking.

No Flu Shots? No Employment

2013 was only a few days old when public health agencies and medical trade groups called for veteran nurses and other health care workers to be fired for refusing to obey orders to get annual flu shots – no exceptions and no questions asked.1

It did not matter that the risky and notoriously ineffective influenza vaccine turned out to be almost useless in preventing infection with the most prevalent influenza strains circulating in the US this year.2

Proposed State Legislation to Force Vaccine Use

This was followed by the introduction of legislation backed by public health officials and Pharma-funded medical trade groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics in states like Texas, Oregon, Arizona and Vermont.3

Their goal is to remove or restrict non-medical vaccine exemptions in state laws so doctors have more power to force vaccine use by children and adults – no questions asked and no exceptions.

Institute of Medicine Report: Where Is the Good Vaccine Science?

In mid-January came the eye-opening Institute of Medicine committee report acknowledging that only 37 scientific studies have examined the safety of the current US vaccine schedule for newborns and children under age six,4 which now totals a stunning 49 doses of 14 vaccines5 compared to 23 doses of 7 vaccines recommended in 1983.6

The lack of enough good scientific studies meant the committee could not determine whether the number of doses and timing of government recommended vaccinations is – or is not – associated with development of chronic health problems like seizures, autoimmunity, allergies, learning disabilities and autism in the first six years of life.7

New U.S. Autism Prevalence Statistic: 1 Child in 50

In March, a report was issued by the National Center for Health Statistics estimating that among children attending school in America, today 1 child in 50 has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).8 In 2004, that number was 1 child in 150. In 1992, it was 1 child in 500 and in 1986 it was 1 child in 2000.9

By April, which is Autism Awareness Month in the US, there was a full court press by doctors inside and outside of government to dismiss any association whatsoever between steep increases in the numbers of vaccinations given to children during the past 30 years and corresponding steep increases in the numbers of children developing autism.

Those doctors know, but a lot of young parents today don’t know, that the public conversation about vaccine-induced brain inflammation and chronic brain and immune system dysfunction, including autism, began 16 years before a study was published in The Lancet in 1998 examining the potential association between the MMR vaccine and autism.10, 11

CDC Study Fails to Confirm Offit’s Claim 10,000 Vaccines Safe for Babies

On Good Friday, April 1, during Easter and Passover observances, a study conducted and funded by the Centers for Disease Control was released by the Journal of Pediatrics declaring that “increasing exposure to antibody stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism” and, therefore, vaccines don’t cause autism.12

It was a pathetic attempt to validate a Machiavellian hypothesis forwarded in 2002 by pediatric vaccine developer Paul Offit claiming that an infant could safely respond to 10,000 vaccines given at any one time.13

However, an eighth grade science class student with an elementary understanding of health research methods,14 the bioactivity of various vaccine ingredients15, 16, 17, 18 and the difference between naturally acquired and vaccine acquired immunity,19 could figure out that the absence of an unvaccinated control group meant the study was fatally flawed. It proved absolutely nothing about the potential relationship between administration of multiple vaccinations in early childhood and the development of autism among genetically diverse children with and without increased biological susceptibility to adverse responses to vaccination.20

Pediatricians Label Social Networking Parents ‘Nonconformers’

On April 15, Pediatric News published an online survey stating the obvious: a person’s knowledge, values and beliefs, as well as the opinions of friends and families in social networks, strongly influences decisions about vaccination.21 Parents, who expressed doubts about vaccine safety and used alternative vaccine schedules for their children, were pejoratively labeled as “nonconformers.”

Pediatricians commenting on the survey suggested that nonconforming parents did not base their vaccine decisions on “rational logic” and “scientific evidence” because they were influenced by nonconforming friends and misleading information on nonconforming websites.22 Apparently, there was no consideration given to the fact that nonconforming parents found the poor science and empty rhetoric buttressing one-size-fits-all vaccine policies entirely unconvincing.23

Journalist and Magazine Attacked for Article Questioning Gardasil Safety

April was also the month that a veteran journalist and radio show host was personally attacked by pediatricians and public health officials in Buffalo, New York for daring to write an article questioning the safety of the Gardasil vaccine and urging parents to make informed vaccine choices.24 Outraged doctors threatened to financially ruin the magazine that published the article by destroying the magazine’s paid advertising base unless the article was retracted.25

Offit Plays Class and Race Card to Demonize Smart Nonconforming Parents

By the end of April, a CNN reporter quoted doctors blaming outbreaks of whooping cough, measles and mumps on unvaccinated people in developed nations, who spread their vaccine safety doubts on the Internet and jeopardize the health of people around the world.26 Crassly playing both the class AND race card, the magical thinking, attention seeking Dr. Offit offered the opinion that “It is the upper middle class, well-educated Caucasian parents who are shunning vaccines. They have generally gone to graduate school, are in positions of management and are used to being in control,” he said flatly.

Doctors playing the blame game apparently disagree about whether nonconforming parents asking questions about vaccines are simply stupid and irrational or are just over-educated, rich white folks refusing to acknowledge the intellectual superiority and infallibility of those with M.D., PhD or MPH written after their names regardless of the color of their skin or how much money they make.

Doctors like Offit,27 Halsey,28, 29, 30 Plotkin,31, 32 Omer33, 34, 35, 36 and others denying vaccine risks are blaming everyone but themselves for the miserable statistic that 1 child in 50 in America develops a type of brain and immune dysfunction labeled autism when it used to be 1 child in 2000 before they dumped three times as many vaccinations on babies.

Regression into Poor Health After Vaccination: A Universal Experience

What doctors drowning in denialism37 refuse to accept is that, today, everybody knows somebody who was healthy, got vaccinated and was never healthy again.38 That pattern of regression into poor health,39 that universal experience of suffering after use of a pharmaceutical product that has a long, well documented history of risks40, 41, 42 and failures,43, 44 is why the public conversation about health and vaccination in the 21st century must and will continue. It will continue until doctors, who are pushing more and more vaccines on children and adults already more highly vaccinated and sicker than ever, come up with a much better explanation than it’s “bad genes,” “better diagnosing” or all “a coincidence.”

Vaccine Makers and Doctors Shielded from Liability Have Ethical Duty

In the US, vaccine manufacturers are shielded from product liability in civil court and doctors promoting and administering vaccines are also shielded from vaccine injury lawsuits.45, 46 Doctors without legal accountability have an even greater ethical duty to encourage patients and parents of minor children to become educated about all risks and honor the vaccination decisions patients or parents make, even if the doctor does not personally agree with the decision made.47, 48

Freedom of thought, speech and conscience are deeply valued and constitutionally protected rights in America.49 The public trust in the integrity of public health policies is destroyed when defensive doctors unwilling to share decision-making power fail to respect the human right to informed consent to medical risk taking and behave like schoolyard bullies instead of compassionate healers committed to, first, doing no harm.

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Really? Never Go Shopping on an Empty Stomach

Posted by: admin  /  Category: Health

Do you struggle at the grocery store to stick to your list instead of giving in to junk-food temptations? There’s a simple trick that may help: eating a healthful snack before you shop.

The advice to avoid grocery shopping on an empty stomach has been around for some time, but researchers have now proven that shopping while hungry does influence what you buy …

Why You Should Avoid Grocery Shopping When You’re Hungry

In a two-part study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,1 researchers first asked participants to shop for food in a simulated grocery store, choosing between healthful foods like vegetables and chicken breasts or junk foods. Half of the group had been given a snack first, and while both groups purchased a similar amount of food, those who hadn’t eaten first picked higher-calorie foods.

The second part of the study involved shoppers in an actual grocery store, and there, too, those shopping at times when they were most likely to be hungry purchased more calorically dense foods.

So it appears that shopping when you’re hungry may, in fact, make it more difficult for you to avoid all the junk-food choices lining the shelves. Cardiologist Dr. Rita Redberg wrote in an accompanying editorial:2

“I think all diet guides include the advice to “never go grocery shopping when you are hungry”—and when I had young children, I added “and never with young children”—because either of these factors seem to lead to less wise food choices.”

Grocery Stores Want You to Fail

…On your diet, that is. Supermarket chains go to great lengths to get you to buy what they want you to buy, which is the products that make them the most money, not necessarily those foods that are good for your health. The truth is, you’ll need to prepare yourself mentally before you even enter the store, committing to buying only what’s on your list. Otherwise, you’re likely to succumb to the psychological traps inside, which are designed to influence your food choices.

If you’re hungry on top of it, you’re even less likely to succeed at your shopping trip, which is why it is a good idea to grab a handful of nuts or drink a glass of fresh veggie juice before you head to the store.

You’re probably aware of the brightly colored displays, product samples, and prominent aisle endcaps trying to entice you to buy, but the marketing tricks used inside many popular supermarkets do not end there. Nor are they all this simple

When one Time Magazine author and marketing consultant got a glimpse inside a grocery store sales laboratory (yes, there is such a thing), he described a large “control room” reminiscent of NASA’s operations area, with rows of people intently observing shoppers on hundreds of screens, evaluating their behaviors and reactions to various displays and signage.

He wrote:3

“Take a careful look at this lady,” said one of the monitors, pointing to a middle-aged woman on the screen. “She’s about to enter our latest speed-bump area. It’s designed to have her spend 45 seconds longer in this section, which can increase her average spend by as much as 73 percent. I call it the zone of seduction.

The sign in front of the display read: “1.95. Maximum three cans per customer.” Before the shopper slowly sauntered off, she had carefully selected three cans for her cart.

… The next time you go grocery shopping, take a look at the signs, the type of floor, and even the carts. Everything has been designed with an eye towards getting you to grab those three cans of something that was not on your list. The more attention you pay to the details, the more aware you’ll become of how you’re being manipulated.”

Common Psychological Traps Intended to Change the Way You Shop

Through sophisticated trials such as those described below, marketers have determined that:
•During lean times, primitive survival instincts kick in, prompting you to purchase items that appear to be “limited” in some way. Using signage that restricts the sale to three cans per customer triggers the shopper’s subconscious drive to hoard.
•Displaying a dollar sign on the display decreases the likelihood of you making a purchase, because it’s instinctively equated with “cost” or “spending.”
•Larger shopping carts equate to increased spending.
•The quality of the flooring can increase or decrease your speed when shopping. Flooring that makes a “clickety-clac” sound tends to automatically slow down your pace, which increases the likelihood that some well-crafted sign will catch your attention and lead you to make a purchase you had not originally planned.

While this may sound simplistic, these tactics can be profoundly effective. In one instance, by simply changing the flooring in one section of a store, removing the dollar sign, and adding a three-cans-per-customer restriction, the sale of one particular canned food increased sevenfold4! Some grocers even pipe in artificial scents to entice you to buy more …

It’s Not Only the Grocery Stores That are After Your Money …

Processed food manufacturers are also vying for their piece of the proverbial pie, and they’ve got marketing budgets that number in the billions to do it. Often, this starts in your own home, as 75 percent of US food manufacturers’ advertising budgets are allocated for television. There is one food commercial in every five minutes of television viewing, often involving popular TV and movie characters that kids recognize, or promising a free toy with the food purchase.5

So, your kids see the junk-food ads on TV, then they go with you to the grocery store where these products are carefully displayed in prominent areas. Which items do your kids usually want? The bag of cookies or breakfast cereal with their favorite cartoon character on the front of the box? Or a fresh, ripe tomato or an organically grown carrot?

The food manufacturers have primed your child (and in you) to emotionally respond to their processed food products, so you feel good about buying cookies, chips and sugary cereal, even though you know it’s not good for your family’s health. Because fresh organically grown vegetables have no marketing budget to speak of (compared to processed food manufacturers), you have to rely on your intelligence and your rational thought, not your emotions, to purchase these kinds of fresh foods.

Of course, the grocery store is in on the act, placing high-revenue processed products in areas that you’re most likely to walk by and see … they may even put a “speed bump” in to make sure you slow down when you pass by the junk food. This is why you’ve got to shop smart when you go into the grocery store …

Arming Yourself With a List is Grocery-Shopping 101

If you’re not planning your meals (up to a week in advance, preferably), and if you’re not keeping an accurate shopping list that corresponds to your planned meals, then you need to seriously consider starting this valuable practice for several good reasons:
•It helps you avoid “emotional” purchases at the grocery store
•It focuses your meals on freshly prepared, nutritionally viable choices not empty-calorie processed food meals
•It helps you avoid fast food impulse purchases
•It helps you take control of your health

If you are truly ready to take the time to prepare fresh and healthy food, and serve the kind of meals for your family that will give you health and not health issues, then you need to get serious about meal planning and making a shopping list focused on whole, fresh, organic foods. Then, stick to your list when you shop. This is the “secret” that can help you avoid falling prey to many supermarket marketing tactics.

12 Tips for Making the Most of Your Grocery Trip

It may seem silly to “prepare” yourself for a trip to the grocery store, but doing so can make a difference in the food choices you make. And if the tips that follow help you to come home with several bags of fresh whole foods versus processed junk, it will make a world of difference for your family’s health.

Some of the top tips to abide by include:
1.Forget the end caps: The spots at the ends of each aisle often contain “sale items” that aren’t very cheap — but which are conveniently placed.
2.Scan top and bottom shelves: The most expensive products are often deliberately placed at eye level. Take a moment to scan the entire shelf.
3.Appreciate the plain stuff: Product packaging is usually exceptionally bright. Less-gaudy house brands may be cheaper for the same quality.
4.Don’t fall for hyped numbers: Signs may say “10 for $10,” or “2 for $5,” but you’ll usually get the same price if you buy only one, so do the math! Also avoid marketing gimmicks like that put limits on the number of items you can buy (shoppers will usually buy the maximum allotted, even if they don’t need it).
5.Shop with a list: Preparing a list will help keep you focused—ideally on fresh, whole organic foods. Only buy what you need.
6.Shop the store’s perimeter: The outermost edge of the supermarket contains the healthier, non-processed foods. Once you become serious about healthy eating, you’ll rarely have to venture into the aisles.
7.Focus on fresh vegetables: The deeper and more vibrantly colored produce is packed with the most nutrients. They’re also usually less expensive than canned versions.
8.Check the nutrition labels: The label helps you to identify ingredients, maximize nutrients and compare products.
9.Do your own math, and check the per unit price: Bring a calculator with you to the store or use your smartphone. As previously stated, signs boasting “2 for $5″ may not be an indication of a bargain at all. Check the individual price to determine whether buying two is really cheaper than just one. Also remember to compare sizes when evaluating the price of competing brands.

Additionally, manufacturers of various products have begun tinkering with the pricing formula for multi-packs. It used to be that multi-packs were cheaper per unit than smaller or individual packs, but today you’ll frequently find that smaller packages are cheaper per unit! Again, it can pay to pay attention to the details…
10.Leave your kids at home: Many will buy a product they’ve never purchased before simply because their kids request it. Leaving them home, if possible, will help you avoid unhealthy temptations.
11.Eat before you go: As mentioned, it will likely help you to resist junk-food options and instead buy healthier food items.
12.Use a basket, not a shopping cart: A larger shopping cart has been shown to increase shoppers’ purchases by up to 40 percent.6 A basket gives you enough room for the staples you need for your meals without extra room for impulse buys.

Expand Your Food Shopping Beyond the Grocery Store

Conventional grocery stores are only one option for where to buy your food, and, often, they’re not the best choice in terms of finding fresh, healthful, sustainably and humanely grown food.

If you haven’t yet, try branching out to shop at farmer’s markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs or food co-ops in your area. You’ll get access to the freshest foods available, without any of the temptation from processed-food manufacturers or grocery marketers trying to sabotage your whole-foods-based diet.

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A Few Extra Pounds Linked to a Longer Life

Posted by: admin  /  Category: Health

Provocative new research involving data from nearly 3 million adults suggests that a having an overweight body mass index (BMI) may be linked to a longer life than one that puts you within a “normal” weight range.

The research, which analyzed 97 studies in all, found that people with BMIs under 30 but above normal (the overweight range) had a 6 percent lower risk of dying from all causes than those who were normal weight, while those whose BMIs fell into the obese range were 18 percent more likely to die of any cause.1 The researchers wrote:

“Relative to normal weight … overweight was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality.”

Do a Few Extra Pounds Make You Healthier?

The study results imply, at least superficially, that carrying some extra weight may help you live longer … or at the very least may not be as unhealthy as it’s made out to be. In a JAMA editorial, Steven Heymsfield, M.D. and William Cefalu, M.D. highlighted this notion:2

“The presence of a wasting disease, heart disease, diabetes, renal dialysis, or older age are all associated with an inverse relationship between BMI and mortality rate, an observation termed the obesity paradox or reverse epidemiology.

The optimal BMI linked with lowest mortality in patients with chronic disease may be within the overweight and obesity range.

Even in the absence of chronic disease, small excess amounts of adipose tissue may provide needed energy reserves during acute catabolic illnesses, have beneficial mechanical effects with some types of traumatic injuries, and convey other salutary effects that need to be investigated in light of the studies … ”

Indeed, it is quite possible to be overweight and healthy, just as it’s possible to be normal weight and unhealthy. But for the vast majority of those who carry around extra pounds, health problems will often result.

The study has been heavily criticized for painting an overly simplistic picture of a very complex situation. For instance, it doesn’t tell you whether those living longer were afflicted with more chronic disease or whether their quality of life was otherwise impacted. And even more importantly, it used only BMI as a measure of body composition, and this is a highly flawed technique.

Many studies, such as one published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology,3 have actually found that a high BMI was associated with a lower risk of death, a phenomenon known as the “obesity paradox.” But these findings are typically only examples of how BMI is such a flawed measurement tool …

Why BMI is a Flawed Measurement Tool

If you’d like to know how much body fat you have and whether or not your levels put you into a weight category that might lead to health problems, most public health agencies, and therefore most physicians, promote the use of the BMI, which gauges weight in relation to height. But this method is quite flawed, as research suggests it may underestimate obesity rates and misclassify up to one-quarter of men and nearly half of women.4 According to lead author Dr. Eric Braverman, president of the nonprofit Path Foundation in New York City:5

“Based on BMI, about one-third of Americans are considered obese, but when other methods of measuring obesity are used, that number may be closer to 60%.”

One of the primary reasons why BMI is such a flawed measurement tool is that it uses weight as a measure of risk, when it is actually a high percentage of body fat that makes a person have an increased disease risk. Your weight takes into account your bone structure, for instance, so a big-boned person may weigh more, but that certainly doesn’t mean they have more body fat.

Athletes and completely out-of-shape people can also have similar BMI scores, or a very muscular person could be classified as “obese” using BMI, when in reality it is mostly lean muscle accounting for their higher-than-average weight. BMI also tells you nothing about where fat is located in your body, and it appears that the location of the fat, particularly if it’s around your stomach, is more important than the absolute amount of fat when it comes to measuring certain health risks, especially heart disease.

Do You Know Your Body Fat Percentage?

This is another useful tool that is leaps and bounds ahead of BMI as far as gauging your weight-related health risks is concerned. It is FAR better to monitor your body fat percentage than it is your total weight, as the body fat percentage is what dictates metabolic health or dysfunction – not your total weight.

Too much body fat is linked to chronic health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, while too little body fat is also problematic and can cause your body to enter a catabolic state, where muscle protein is used as fuel.

Body fat calipers are one of the most trusted and most accurate ways to measure body fat. A body fat or skinfold caliper is a lightweight, hand-held device that quickly and easily measures the thickness of a fold of your skin with its underlying layer of fat. Taken at three very specific locations on your body, these readings can help you estimate the total percent of body fat within your entire body.

You can also use a digital scale that determines body fat, which is what I use personally. I use an Eat Smart Precision GetFit Body Fat Scale that I picked up from Amazon for around $50. Although many body fat measurements can be inaccurate, they are nearly all more accurate than BMI, and are particularly useful to determine whether you are gaining or losing fat. Although the absolute value may be off, the direction you are going (whether your body fat is going up or down) will be very accurate, and this is an incredibly useful measure of whether you’re nearing your health goals or not. A general guideline from the American Council on Exercise is as follows:6

Classification

Women (percent fat)

Men (percent fat)

Essential Fat

10-13 percent

2-5 percent

Athletes

14-20 percent

6-13 percent

Fitness

21-24 percent

14-17 percent

Acceptable

25-31 percent

18-24 percent

Obese

32 percent and higher

25 percent and higher

Overweight Often Leads to Obesity…

It is quite clear that the more overweight you are, the greater the health risks become. So even if it were true that a few extra pounds are actually good for you, if you’re on a path of weight gain you’re on a slippery slope that could easily lead to obesity.

The most recent health report card issued for the United States predicts that half of all American adults will be obese by 2030. Obesity-related illness is predicted to raise national health care costs by $48 billion annually over the next two decades by adding another 7.9 million new cases of diabetes, 5 million cases of chronic heart disease and stroke, and 400,000 cancer cases…7 If you want to avoid becoming one of these statistics, I suggest you start to look at your weight as less a product of “calories in vs. calories out” and more the result of a faulty “fat switch.” According to Dr. Richard Johnson of the University of Colorado, author of The Fat Switch:

“Those of us who are obese eat more because of a faulty ‘switch’ and exercise less because of a low energy state. If you can learn how to control the specific ‘switch’ located in the powerhouse of each of your cells – the mitochondria – you hold the key to fighting obesity.”

Here are some highlights that Dr. Johnson explains in detail in his book:
•Large portions of food and too little exercise are the result of your fat switch being turned on
•Metabolic Syndrome is the normal condition that animals undertake to store fat
•Fructose-containing sugars cause obesity not by calories but by turning on the fat switch
•Effective treatment of obesity requires turning off your fat switch and improving the function of your cells’ mitochondria

I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book, which has been described as the “Holy Grail” for those struggling with their weight. Dietary sugar, especially fructose, is a significant “tripper of your fat switch,” which is why, if you are serious about losing weight, you’ll need a comprehensive plan that includes:
•Eliminating or strictly limiting fructose in your diet, and following the healthy eating program in my comprehensive nutrition plan. You can also use intermittent fasting strategically with this program to greatly boost your body’s fat-burning potential.
•Engaging in high-intensity Peak Fitness exercise to burn fat and increase muscle mass (a natural fat burner).
•Addressing the emotional component of eating. For this I highly recommend the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which helps eliminate your food cravings naturally.

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The Scientific 7-Minute Workout..

Posted by: admin  /  Category: Health

Exercise is a key factor of optimal health; it’s particularly important for controlling your blood sugar and normalizing your insulin levels. I often recommend viewing exercise as a drug that needs to be properly prescribed and “taken” at a proper dosage.

When done correctly, exercise can oftentimes act as a substitute for some of the most common drugs used today for things like diabetes, heart disease and depression.

All of these conditions will improve with exercise and the help of an experienced natural health care clinician. High intensity interval training (HIIT), which is a core component of my Peak Fitness program, is key for reaping optimal results from exercise.

There are many versions of HIIT, but the core premise involves maximum exertion followed by a quick rest period for a set of intervals.

My Peak Fitness routine uses a set of eight 30-second sprints, each followed by 90 seconds of recovery, as taught by Phil Campbell who is a pioneer in this field. Also, while I typically recommend using an elliptical machine or recumbent bike, you can just as easily perform a high intensity routine without any equipment at all.

The Scientific 7-Minute Workout

A recent article in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal1 shows how you can fulfill the requirements for a high intensity exercise using nothing more than your own body weight, a chair, and a wall.

Best of all, this science-backed routine only requires a seven minute investment, as the program calls for as little as 10- to 15-seconds of rest between each 30-second exercise, which should be performed in rapid succession.

As reported by the New York Times2:

“’There’s very good evidence that high-intensity interval training provides “many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time,’ says Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla., and co-author of the new article.”

The health benefits of high intensity interval training are well-established at this point, and include:

Significantly improving your insulin sensitivity, especially if you’re on a low-processed food-, low-sugar/low-grain diet

Optimizing your cholesterol ratios, when combined with a proper diet

Boosting fat metabolism and optimizing your body fat percentage (as a result of improved conservation of sugar and glycogen in your muscles)

Virtually eliminating type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure

Naturally boosting your levels of human growth hormone (HGH)

Increasing your aerobic capacity

One of the added boons of this 7-minute program is that since you don’t need any equipment, you can easily take this routine with you when traveling. You’d be hard-pressed to find a hotel room that doesn’t at least have a chair in it. When done at the appropriate intensity, which should hover around 8 on a scale of 1-10, the following 12 exercises, which are outlined in the report, equate to doing a long run and a weight-training session.

The exercises are ideally done in the following order, as this allows for opposing muscle groups to alternate between resting and working in each subsequent exercise.

Contraindications

I believe most people can perform high intensity exercises, provided you listen to your body and work out according to your current level of fitness and ability. I personally modified the Peak 8 to a Peak 6 this year as it was sometimes just too strenuous for me to do all eight repetitions. So by listening to my body and cutting it back to six reps, I can now easily tolerate the workout and go all out. That said, the authors stress that there are some contraindications for their program:

“Because of the elevated demand for exercise intensity in high intensity circuit training protocols, caution should be taken when prescribing this protocol to individuals who are overweight/obese, detrained, previously injured, or elderly or for individuals with comorbidities.

For individuals with hypertension or heart disease, the isometric exercises (wall sit, plank, and side plank) are not recommended. The isometric exercises can be substituted with dynamic exercises.

For all individuals, the Valsalva maneuver should be avoided, particularly for the isometric exercises. Proper execution requires a willing and able participant who can handle a great degree of discomfort for a relatively short duration. It is also essential that participants in an HICT understand proper exercise form and technique. As with all exercise programs, prior medical clearance from a physician is recommended.”

I firmly believe that most people would benefit from high intensity exercises but the key is to start very slowly if you have any of the risk factors listed above. You might actually require several months to work up to a high intensity level. But as long as you start at a safe level and continue to push yourself to progressively higher levels, you will eventually reach a level of intensity that will provide the benefits.

Remember, while your body needs regular amounts of stress like exercise to stay healthy, if you give it more than you can handle your health can actually deteriorate. So it’s crucial to listen to your body and integrate the feedback into your exercise intensity and frequency. When you work out, it is wise to really push as hard as you possibly can a few times a week, but you do need to wisely gauge your body’s tolerance to this stress.

Why High Intensity Interval Training May Be Ideal for Most

Contrary to popular belief, extended extreme cardio, such as marathon running, actually sets in motion inflammatory mechanisms that damage your heart. So while your heart is indeed designed to work very hard, and will be strengthened from doing so, it’s only designed to do so intermittently, and for short periods—not for an hour or more at a time. This is the natural body mechanics you tap into when you perform HIIT.

Repeatedly and consistently overwhelming your heart by long distance marathon running, for example, can actually prematurely age your heart and make you more vulnerable to irregular heart rhythm. This is why you sometimes hear of seasoned endurance athletes dropping dead from cardiac arrest during a race. I ran long distance for over four decades. So please learn from my experience and don’t make the same mistake I did.

Compelling and ever-mounting research shows that the ideal form of exercise is short bursts of high intensity exercise. Not only does it beat conventional cardio as the most effective and efficient form of exercise, it also provides health benefits you simply cannot get from regular aerobics, such as a tremendous boost in human growth hormone (HGH), aka the “fitness hormone.”

What Makes HIIT so Effective?

Your body has three types of muscle fibers: slow, fast, and super-fast twitch muscles. Slow twitch muscles are the red muscles, which are activated by traditional strength training and cardio exercises. The latter two (fast and super-fast) are white muscle fibers, and these are only activated during high intensity interval exercises or sprints. The benefit of activating these fibers is that they will produce therapeutic levels of growth hormone, which many athletes spend over a $1,000 a month to inject themselves with. So there is no need to pay the money or take the risks when your body can produce growth hormone naturally through high intensity exercises.

Getting cardiovascular benefits requires working all three types of muscle fibers and their associated energy systems — and this cannot be done with traditional cardio, which only activates your red, slow twitch muscles. If your fitness routine doesn’t work your white muscle, you aren’t really working your heart in the most beneficial way. The reason for this is because your heart has two different metabolic processes:
•The aerobic, which requires oxygen for fuel, and
•The anaerobic, which does not require any oxygen

Traditional strength training and cardio exercises work primarily the aerobic process, while high intensity interval exercises work both your aerobic AND your anaerobic processes, which is what you need for optimal cardiovascular benefit. This is why you may not see the results you desire even when you’re spending an hour on the treadmill several times a week. So when it comes to high intensity exercises, less really is more…

For Optimal Health, Add Variety to Your Exercise Program

In addition to doing HIIT a couple of times a week, it’s wise to alternate a wide variety of exercises in order to truly optimize your health and avoid hitting a plateau. As a general rule, as soon as an exercise becomes easy to complete, you need to increase the intensity and/or try another exercise to keep challenging your body. I recommend incorporating the following types of exercise into your program on days when you’re not doing high intensity anaerobic training:
•Strength Training: If you want, you can increase the intensity by slowing it down. You need enough repetitions to exhaust your muscles. The weight should be heavy enough that this can be done in fewer than 12 repetitions, yet light enough to do a minimum of four repetitions. It is also important NOT to exercise the same muscle groups every day. They need at least two days of rest to recover, repair and rebuild.

For more information about using super slow weight training as a form of high-intensity interval exercise, please see my interview with Dr. Doug McGuff.
•Core Exercises: Your body has 29 core muscles located mostly in your back, abdomen and pelvis. This group of muscles provides the foundation for movement throughout your entire body, and strengthening them can help protect and support your back, make your spine and body less prone to injury and help you gain greater balance and stability.

Exercise programs like Pilates, yoga, and Foundation Training are great for strengthening your core muscles, as are specific exercises you can learn from a personal trainer.
•Stretching: My favorite type of stretching is Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) developed by Aaron Mattes. With AIS, you hold each stretch for only two seconds, which works with your body’s natural physiological makeup to improve circulation and increase the elasticity of muscle joints. This technique also allows your body to repair itself and prepare for daily activity. You can also use devices like the Power Plate to help you stretch.

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This Test Can Give Healthy People Cancer ..

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Doctors Prove This Test Can Give Healthy People Cancer
The Nordic Cochrane Center has put out a leaflet that every woman should read, explaining the potential benefits and potential harms of mammographyi.

They point out that recent studies suggest mammography screening is not effective in reducing your risk of dying from breast cancer.

And in fact, screening creates breast cancer patients out of healthy women who would never have developed symptoms.

Treatment of these healthy women increases their risk of dying from heart disease and, yes, cancer itself.

According to the Nordic Cochrane Center:

“It therefore no longer seems reasonable to attend for breast cancer screening.

In fact, by avoiding going to screening, a woman will lower her risk of getting a breast cancer diagnosis.”

I highly recommend reading the report in its entiretyii, as it contains a number of enlightening tidbits that may help you make a more informed decision.

For example, after systematically reviewing the randomized trials of mammography, the authors concluded that:

“If 2,000 women are screened regularly for 10 years, one will benefit from screening, as she will avoid dying from breast cancer because the screening detected the cancer earlier.

Since these trials were undertaken, treatment of breast cancer has improved considerably.

Women today also seek medical advice much earlier than previously, if they have noted anything unusual in their breasts…

Because of these improvements, screening is less effective today and newer studies suggest that mammography screening is no longer effective in reducing the risk of dying from breast cancer.”

… Since it is not possible to tell the difference between the dangerous and the harmless cell changes and cancers, all of them are treated.

Therefore, screening results in treatment of many women for a cancer disease they do not have, and that they will not get. Based on the randomized trials, it appears that:

If 2,000 women are screened regularly for 10 years, 10 healthy women will be turned into cancer patients and will be treated unnecessarily. These women will have either a part of their breast or the whole breast removed, and they will often receive radiotherapy, and sometimes chemotherapy. Treatment of these healthy women increases their risk of dying, e.g. from heart disease and cancer.”

So, to recap, in order for mammographic breast screening to save ONE woman’s life:
•2,000 women must be screened for 10 years
•200 women will get false positives, and
•10 will receive surgery and/or chemotherapy even though they do not actually have cancer

Cochrane Conclusions Confirmed…

A couple of researchers at the University of Southampton set out to “assess the claim in a Cochrane review that mammographic breast cancer screening could be doing more harm than good.”

Their findings were published in the British Medical Journal in December last yeariii. By combining life years gained from screening with losses of quality of life from false positive diagnoses and surgery, the authors agreed with the Cochrane assessment, concluding that mammograms may indeed have “caused net harm for up to 10 years after the start of screening.”

ABC News reported on this findingiv:

“The default is to assume that screening must be good; catching something early must be good,” said James Raftery, professor of health technology assessment at the University of Southampton, U.K., and lead author of the review. “But if a woman has an unnecessary mastectomy, or chemotherapy or radiation, that’s a tragedy.

… “It’s difficult to balance the gain of one life against 200 false positives and 10 unnecessary surgeries,” said Raftery… The alternative is watchful waiting: delaying treatment until it’s clear whether a lump is truly a life-threatening tumor. But for woman faced with the words, “breast cancer,” watchful waiting is easier said than done…”

Have Dangerous Cancer Screening Devices Been Approved?

Based on information straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were, the answer to that question appears to be yes. Doctors and scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Device Evaluation have in fact warned Congress that the agency was approving medical devices that posed unacceptable risks to patients. As early as 2007, concerned employees in this department began making internal complaints about a dozen different radiological devices about to be approved despite lack of proof of effectiveness.

They stated they were concerned that millions of patients’ lives would be put at risk from these devices.

This included three devices that risked missing signs of breast cancer, and several colon cancer screening devices that employed such heavy doses of radiation they risked causing cancer in otherwise healthy people. In the case of a computer-aided imaging device for breast cancer screening, the scientists recommended against approval no less than three times, but after the third rejection, a senior manager, Donna-Bea Tillman, suddenly approved the device.

Subsequently, over the course of two years, the FDA secretly monitored the personal e-mail of nine whistleblowers within the department of device evaluations, and tried to launch an investigation against them, accusing them of “undermining the integrity and mission of the FDA” and illegal disclosure of trade secrets. Six of the monitored scientists and doctors recently filed a lawsuit against the FDA, charging that the agency violated their constitutional rights to privacy by monitoring lawful activity in personal email accounts, and using that information to harass and ultimately relieve some of them of their positions.

One of the key players in this ongoing drama is Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, who has repeatedly requested action be taken against the employees in question. Shuren is also the official who oversees mercury dental fillings, which they have been fraudulently referring to as ‘silver fillings.’ Shuren promised to make an announcement about dental amalgam by the end of 2011, but with just minutes left in the work year, the FDA conceded that no announcement was forthcoming, and maybe never will…

The FDA’s own doctors and scientists have called for a complete overhaul of the agency due to “deep-rooted systemic corruption at the highest levels.” There’s no doubt they know what they’re talking about. And there’s a lot of damning information out there that can, and eventually will, be used to call for a congressional hearing on the mammography cover-up.

Mammograms Often Lead to Unnecessary Treatments

In 1974, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) was warned by professor Malcolm C. Pike at the University of Southern California School of Medicine that a number of specialists had concluded that “giving a women under age 50 a mammogram on a routine basis is close to unethical.”

The warning fell on deaf ears, and the long-held conventional medical advice has been for women to get an annual mammogram once they hit 40. A couple of years ago, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force decided to alter their mammogram recommendation, advising women under the age of 50 to avoid mammograms, and limit them to every other year after the age of 50. The revision caused outrage among many cancer organizations. What was overlooked, however, was the reasoning behind the Task Force’s decision to change their recommendation.

The prior advice was given in 2002, before a host of new research came out showing the problems of over diagnosis, including false positives. And as discussed above, it’s really hard to justify harming 10 women with surgery and toxic chemotherapy treatment, just to save the life of one woman…

Part of the problem is that cancer diagnosing is not really a cut and dry process. If a mammogram detects an abnormal spot in a woman’s breast, the next step is typically a biopsy. This involves removing a small amount of tissue from the breast, which is then looked at by a pathologist under a microscope to determine if cancer is present. However, early stage cancer like ductal carcinoma in situ, or D.C.I.S., can be very hard to diagnose, and pathologists have a wide range of experience and expertise. There are actually NO diagnostic standards for D.C.I.S., and there are no requirements that the pathologists doing the readings have specialized expertise…

Increase in Breast Cancer Actually Found to be Due to Over-Diagnosis!

In other recent news, a Norwegian follow-up study that looked at 14 years of mammography screening in Norway concluded that the increased incidence of breast cancer observed in that period was, again, simply due to over-diagnosis.v According to the authors:

“In 2004 we wrote in Tidsskriftet that mammography screening resulted in massive over-diagnosis and over-treatment of breast cancer. Our study was criticized because we had only five years of follow-up time and did not take account of the fact that increased use of hormone replacement therapy could lead to more breast cancer.

We have now been screening women for 14 years, and during a period when the use of hormones has fallen by 70 percent.

… The number of new cases of breast cancer in the period increased from around 2,000 to 2,750. About 300 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) were also diagnosed. Today a total of some 1,050 more women have been diagnosed than before screening started. Our calculations indicate that in the absence of screening, around 800 of these women would never have become breast cancer patients. The figures from 14 years of mammography screening indicate that all increase in the incidence of breast cancer is due to over-diagnosis: findings of tumors that in the absence of screening would never have given rise to clinical illness.”

When it Comes to Cancer, Getting Second and Third Opinions is Advisable…

Once you delve into the research, you find that the issue of mammography is not as clear-cut as conventional medical wisdom would have you believe. There are many risks, and according to some studies, these risks will outweigh the potential benefits for many women. And, it appears very clear that more women are harmed by it than are saved…

In the event you do receive a mammogram and a biopsy and are diagnosed with D.C.I.S. or another form of early stage breast cancer, I recommend getting a second, and possibly third and even fourth, opinion. I cannot stress this enough, as the false positive rates are so high, and the diagnostic criteria so subjective. Before you make any decision on treatment, and definitely before you decide to have surgery or chemotherapy, make sure your biopsy results have been reviewed by a breast specialist who is knowledgeable and experienced in the field.

How to Dramatically Cut Your Breast Cancer Risk

There are a number of lifestyle changes that can help prevent breast cancer from ever becoming a reality for you. For starters, we cannot discuss breast cancer without mentioning the importance of vitamin D. Vitamin D, a steroid hormone that influences virtually every cell in your body, is easily one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. Receptors that respond to vitamin D have been found in nearly every type of human cell, from your bones to your brain. Your liver, kidney and other tissues can convert the vitamin D in your bloodstream into calcitriol, which is the hormonal or activated version of vitamin D.

Your organs then use it to repair damage, including that from cancer cells.

Vitamin D is actually able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis or cancer cell death. When JoEllen Welsh, a researcher with the State University of New York at Albany, injected a potent form of vitamin D into human breast cancer cells, half of them shriveled up and died within days! vi

The vitamin D worked as well at killing cancer cells as the toxic breast cancer drug Tamoxifen, without any of the detrimental side effects and at a tiny fraction of the cost.

It is my impression that it is criminal malpractice not to recommend vitamin D and aggressively monitor a breast cancer patient’s vitamin D level to get it between 70 and 100 ng/ml. Vitamin D works synergistically with every cancer treatment I am aware of and has no adverse effects. According to one landmark study, some 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers could be prevented each year if vitamin D levels among populations worldwide were increased. And that’s just counting the death toll for two types of cancer (it actually works against at least 16 different types)!

So please do watch my one-hour free lecture on vitamin D to find out what your optimal vitamin D levels should be … and how to get them there. This is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself from cancer.

Other Breast Cancer Prevention Musts

A healthy diet, regular physical exercise, appropriate sun exposure and an effective way to manage your emotional health are the cornerstones of just about any cancer prevention program, including breast cancer. But for breast cancer, specifically, you can take it a step further by also watching out for excessive iron levels. This is very common once women stop menstruating, and the extra iron works as a powerful oxidant, increasing free radicals and raising your risk of cancer. So if you are a post menopausal woman or have breast cancer you will certainly want to have your Ferritin level drawn. Ferritin is the iron transport protein and should not be above 80. So if it is elevated you can simply donate your blood to reduce it.

Further, the following lifestyle strategies will help to further lower your risk:
•Improve Your Insulin Receptor Sensitivity. The best way to do this is to cut as much sugar, fructose and grains as possible from your diet, and make sure you have an optimized exercise program. Please don’t make the mistake of focusing on cardio to the exclusion of everything else. You can get some ideas from reviewing my video on exercise. (Although I did not mention stretching and flexibility work, such as yoga, in the video, it is a very important part of your exercise program. It will not affect insulin receptors but it will help prevent you from getting injured and stopping your other exercise.)
•Maintain a healthy body weight. This will come naturally when you begin eating properly and exercising. It’s important to lose excess weight because estrogen, a hormone produced in fat tissue, may trigger breast cancer.
•Get plenty of high quality animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. Omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for cancer.
•Avoid drinking alcohol, or limit your drinks to one a day for women.
•Breastfeed exclusively for up to six months. Research shows this will reduce your breast cancer risk.
•Avoid synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Breast cancer is an estrogen-related cancer, and according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer rates for women dropped in tandem with decreased use of hormone replacement therapy. (There are similar risks for younger women who use oral contraceptives. Birth control pills, which are also comprised of synthetic hormones, have been linked to cervical and breast cancers.)

If you are experiencing excessive menopausal symptoms, you may want to consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy instead, which uses hormones that are molecularly identical to the ones your body produces and do not wreak havoc on your system. This is a much safer alternative.

•Avoid BPA, phthalates and other xenoestrogens. These are estrogen-like compounds that have been linked to increased breast cancer risk
•Make sure you’re not iodine deficient, as there’s compelling evidence linking iodine deficiency with breast cancer. Dr. David Brownsteinvii, author of the book Iodine: Why You Need it, Why You Can’t Live Without it, is a proponent of iodine for breast cancer. It actually has potent anticancer properties and has been shown to cause cell death in breast and thyroid cancer cells. For more information, I recommend reading Dr. Brownstein’s book. I have been researching iodine for some time ever since I interviewed Dr. Brownstein as I do believe that the bulk of what he states is spot on. However, I am not at all convinced that his dosage recommendations are correct. I believe they are too high. I hope to publish some articles on this later this year with my recommendations.

References:

——————————————————————————–
i SCREENING FOR BREAST CANCER WITH MAMMOGRAPHY (PDF), The Nordic Cochrane Center 2012
ii WITH MAMMOGRAPHY (PDF), The Nordic Cochrane Center 2012, SCREENING FOR BREAST CANCER
iii Possible net harms of breast cancer screening: updated modelling of Forrest report, BMJ. 2011 ;343:d7627
iv ABC News December 8, 2011
v Tidsskrift for den Norske Laegeforening. 2012 Feb 21;132(4):414-417
vi Is This the New Silver Bullet for Cancer?
vii Dr. Brownstein – Holostic Familt Medicine

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Are Women Being Misled…..

Posted by: admin  /  Category: Health

Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer and Radical Mastectomy—Are Women Being Misled into a False Sense of Security?

Some days I wonder if this is all a bad dream. How on earth have we come to this craziness? The latest and greatest “preventative” strategy for women genetically predisposed to breast cancer is amputation, which puts the wheels in motion for this type of “preventive surgery” to be covered by health insurance.

I’m referring, of course, to Angelina Jolie’s recent and very public decision to undergo a double mastectomy as a prophylactic measure. While she admits this is a very personal decision, the impacts to the public could be quite significant based on her celebrity influence.

Her mother died from ovarian cancer at the age of 56, and Jolie carries a hereditary gene mutation associated with both breast- and ovarian cancer. According to Jolie, who revealed her decision in an op-ed in the New York Times:1

“My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.

Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average.

Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. … I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made.

My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”

It is nearly incomprehensible to me how any researcher can give such precise predictions of future cancer risk based on genetics. The only explanation is near complete ignorance of the science of epigenetics and the power we all have to change the expression of our genes.

Why Does US Recommendations Place Women with Gene Defects at Even Greater Risk?

The genetic test to check for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (the BRCA stands for ‘breast cancer susceptibility genes’) costs about $4,000 in the US, when not covered by insurance.2

Ironically, if you discover that you carry the mutated BRCA gene, the standard recommendation in the US is to get a mammogram and an MRI scan at least once a year thereafter, even if you’re under the age of 40. This is unconscionable, in my opinion. If anything, should you have genetic susceptibility for breast cancer, it would be wise to avoid ionizing radiation as much as possible, not the other way around!

Several European countries including Britain, the Netherlands and Spain, have already altered their screening recommendations for women with BRCA mutations, advising them to get MRIs (which do not emit ionizing radiation) instead of mammograms before the age of 30.

Research has demonstrated that women with these genetic mutations are more sensitive to radiation, and because the genes in question are involved in repairing DNA, radiation damage to these genes will subsequently raise your cancer risk. For example, a study3 published just last year in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), found that women with faulty BRCA genes are more likely to develop breast cancer if they’re exposed to chest X-rays before the age of 30. According to Cancer Research UK:4

“[W]omen with a history of chest radiation in their 20s had a 43 percent increased relative risk of breast cancer compared to women who had no chest radiation at that age. Any exposure before age 20 seemed to raise the risk by 62 percent.”

In response to these findings, Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society was quoted as saying:5

“This will raise questions and caution flags about how we treat women with (gene) mutations.”

And Anouk Pijpe of the Netherlands Cancer Institute, one of the authors in the above-mentioned study, told CBS News:6

“We believe countries who use mammograms in women under 30 should reconsider their guidelines. It may be possible to reduce the risk of breast cancer in (high-risk) women by using MRIs, so we believe physicians and patients should consider that.”

Genetic Defects Are Not a Major Contributor to Breast Cancer

A key point for women to remember is that while women with BRCA defects have a 45-65 percent increased risk of breast cancer, only about TWO PERCENT of diagnosed breast cancers are caused by BRCA faults. So this genetic defect is nowhere close to being a primary cause of breast cancer. Clearly, other non-genetic factors play a far more significant role.

As pointed out by H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and a co-author of “Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health,” Angelina Jolies personal story is completely irrelevant to 99 percent of all women because they simply do not have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. In a recent CNN article, he writes:7

“Let’s be clear, the BRCA1 mutation is a bad thing… It is a powerful risk factor for these cancers…When people are at very high risk for something bad to happen, preventive interventions are more likely to be a good deal… When people are at average risk, the deal changes… It is a fundamental precept of medicine… Patients with severe abnormalities stand to gain more from intervention than patients with mild ones. Patients with mild abnormalities are more likely to experience net harm from intervention, simply because they have less opportunity to benefit.

The vast majority of women don’t have the BRCA1 mutation. They are at average risk for breast cancer… They should not have a preventive mastectomy.

…But there is a second question for women raised by Ms. Jolie’s piece: Should I be tested for BRCA1?

She seems to believe the answer is yes, pointing to the half-million women who die from breast cancer worldwide each year. But she neglects to point out that 90 percent of these deaths have nothing to do with the BRCA1 mutation. That’s because most women don’t have the mutation and because most breast cancer is sporadic.”

Furthermore, it’s also important to understand that even if you do carry a defective gene, that in and of itself does not mean that the gene in question is destined to be expressed. In other words, having the BRCA defect is by no means an automatic death sentence. As you will see below, there are many things you can do to dramatically decrease your cancer risk through the lifestyle choices you make, which have a profound impact on your genetic expression.

What Do Gene Patents Have to Do with It?

Since the mid-1940’s, genomics and the patenting of genes has grown exponentially. At present, nearly 20 percent of the entire human genome, or some 4,000 genes, are covered by at least one US patent. These include genes linked with Alzheimer’s disease, colon cancer and asthma. Myriad Genetics8 owns the exclusive patent for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. As explained by The New Yorker:9

“Anyone conducting an experiment on them without a license can be sued for infringement of patent rights. This means that Myriad can decide what research is carried out on those genes, who can do that research, and how much any resulting therapy or diagnostic test will cost.”

Needless to say, this has profound implications for medicine. As stated by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):10

“Through its patents, Myriad has the right to stop anyone from using these genes for clinical or research purposes. It has therefore locked up a building block of human life.”

In her op-ed Jolie states that is “has got to be a priority to ensure that more women can access gene testing and lifesaving preventive treatment,” pointing out that the cost of genetic testing is an obstacle for many. The root of that problem lies with our current patent laws, which allow for the patenting of human genes and other life forms. According to the ACLU, which is the plaintiff in another gene patent lawsuit heard by the Supreme Court in April,11 Myriad recently raised the price of their genetic test from $3,000 to over $4,000, even though gene testing technologies have advanced to the point where you can sequence ALL of your genes, about 23,000 or so, for as little as $1,000.

The Supreme Court will decide in a matter of weeks whether human gene patents will continue to be allowed or not, and if they are, you can expect prices for gene-related medicine to continue to skyrocket and become increasingly monopolized.

This is a Flash-based video and may not be viewable on mobile devices.

It’s Starting to Look Like a Coordinated Yet Cleverly Designed PR Campaign…

When looking at a number of different yet related events, this whole thing is starting to look like a well-coordinated PR push where a number of companies and industries stand to gain. The only real loser in this game appears to be women in general… First, as we predicted would happen months ago, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Monsanto in the Monsanto vs. Bowman case12 on May 13, thereby affirming that a patent holder can control the use of its patent through multiple generations of seed. Alas, the implications of this ruling go far beyond agriculture. It will also have implications for other businesses such as vaccines, cell lines, and human genes.

What this ruling does is grant ownership of genetic material in perpetuity. A silly but simple analogy would be that if you own the patent to a dog trait, and your dog with that trait impregnates all the neighbors’ dogs, all the pups would be yours, as would the pups of those pups, and so on. As we predicted, the Supreme Court only took this case to protect the biotech industry by setting precedent. There is very little morality left in our fascist federal government, and that includes most of its agencies, including the IRS, FDA, and FTC. They’re all operating for political and industrial gains.

In Monsanto vs. Bowman, Justice Kagan justified the unanimous decision to allow living, self-replicating organisms and their offspring to be licensed property of the patent owner due to financial interests. “A patent would plummet in value after the first sale of the item containing the invention,” she said. And just seconds into Bowman’s attorney’s opening arguments, Chief Justice Roberts interrupted him by asking “why anyone would ever patent anything if Bowman were to prevail?”

That and more indicated that it was a closed case right from the start… Justice Breyer went so far as referencing the infamous law13 Buck vs Bell14 (that still stands in the US to this day, which legitimizes government forced sterilization and vaccination) when he said: “There are three generations of seeds. Maybe three generations of seeds is enough.” This was a spin on Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s statement:

“It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

It’s a chilling thought when you consider the potential implications this case can have on the trend of patenting of human genes and other life forms. Over 20% of the human genome is already patented, and the old eugenics movement has a lot in common with the burgeoning anti-choice movement when it comes to vaccinations and other medical treatments, including cancer treatment for minors. Children have been taken from their parents for refusing to follow the conventional cut-poison-burn cancer treatment plan for their ailing children, even though statistics and research clearly shows that chemotherapy is typically what ends up killing the patient, even when the cancer itself is conquered!

GMO Opponents Are ‘Elitist’ and Insensitive to World’s Needs, Monsanto CEO Says

If the idea of a new eugenics movement is not enough, Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant was recently quoted15 stating that opponents who want to block genetically modified foods are guilty of “elitism” and fail to consider the needs of the rest of the world. Thank goodness the CEO of a $58 billion multinational corporation, which last year paid him over $14 million, is ready to stand up to the selfish elitists opposing his plan to save the world…

But I digress… On May 14, one day after Big Biotech was granted patent rights to genetic material in perpetuity, Angelina Jolie’s op-ed comes out, and the very next day, biotech stocks took a jump.16 Then on the 16th, Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Bioethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, pens a CNN op-ed17 applauding Jolie’s “brave message.” Chillingly, he ends his article with:

“As the U.S. pushes forward into health reform, Jolie’s story reminds us that we need to adjust our health care system from one that pays for treatment to one that also covers prevention.”

“Prevention” here meaning a $4000 test that if positive results in amputation of a non-diseased organ… According to reports,18 Jolie is also planning to remove her ovaries to limit her risk of ovarian cancer—a decision that leads to ‘surgical menopause,’ which requires careful hormone replacement and monitoring.

Truly, we need to drive home the message that testing is NOT prevention. Testing is a diagnostic tool that has nothing to do with actually preventing disease. True prevention requires taking a close hard look at lifestyle choices, as well as making some radical changes to a wide range of industries that don’t want to change the way they do business. Toxic chemicals are oftentimes far cheaper to use than all-natural ones. And toxins drive cancer processes in your body…

The Angelina Effect—Don’t Be Swayed…

Deception by the agricultural, food, biotech, chemical, and personal care product industries are primary drivers of most of the chronic and deadly diseases plaguing our modern society They’re poisoning you from all angles, and then pretend to have the solutions… Parallel with this mockery of a “science-based” health care system, federal agencies have been cleverly manipulated by highly leveraged lobbying to force you to pay for most of this by tax subsides, and federal regulatory agencies limiting your choices.

Within days of her “coming out,” Jolie again graced the cover of TIME magazine with the words: “The Angelina Effect—Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy puts genetic testing in the spotlight. What her choice reveals about calculating risk, cost, and peace of mind.”

I have no special insights about what this woman has been thinking but I certainly don’t blame her. To me she is merely a victim of sophisticated and clever techniques that have successfully twisted common sense on its head. She has learned to trust and believe in the system that has created this insanity. The PR campaign that catalyzed her decision is clearly aimed at deceiving naïve and preoccupied people into an utterly flawed system motivated primarily by corporate greed not by any compassion or desire to decrease human suffering.

I don’t fault Jolie for any of it. She, like everyone else, made the best decision she could based on the information she was given or sought out. Few people have enough time to study and understand the complexity of system that has evolved for over a century..

In this case, the goal is not to empower you to make proactive decisions about your health. It’s about herding you into the fold of the most profitable industries in the world. Myriad Genetics alone rakes in approximately half a billion dollars in revenue each year.19 Genetic testing for breast cancer accounts for 85 percent of their total revenue, and again, they have complete and total control of this niche since they own the patent for the BRCA genes. Salon magazine recently wrote an article titled: How One Company Controls Your Breast Cancer Choices.20

“Myriad’s monopoly over BRCA1 and BRCA2 not only means showing that it can charge whatever it wants for the test; it also means that further research on the genes is restricted, and that women who take the test and get an ambiguous result can’t get a second opinion, only take the test again. An ambiguous result can mean the difference between removing breasts or ovaries or leaving them intact.

The economic and racial implications of all this are major, both for how the research has been done and who gets access to it. In a video on the case, the ACLU points out, ‘Initial gene studies focused on white women. And now the patents make it more difficult to learn what some mutations mean in women of color, because Myriad has total control over researchers’ access to those mutations. … Myriad’s patent on the genes expires in two years, but the Supreme Court’s ruling21 will set the broader principle going forward. For now, Jolie’s Op-Ed has apparently made Myriad’s stock price rise 4 percent, its best level in years.’”

Nearly Every Part of the Human Genome Is Now Owned by Corporations

Ironically, just as we’re entering the age of individualized medicine, doctors’ ability to actually employ such advancements for the benefit of their patients is being profoundly undermined and restricted. As recently stated by Christopher E. Mason22 of Weill Cornell Medical College: “You have to ask, how is it possible that my doctor cannot look at my DNA without being concerned about patent infringement?”

Mason recently published a study in the journal Genome Medicine, in which he and his co-author, Jeffrey Rosenfeld, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, show that when you include both genes and DNA sequences inside the genes, nearly the ENTIRE human genome is covered by patents! What this does is render medicine prohibitively expensive. Under the Affordable Care Act, BRCA genetic testing is classified as preventative care, which means no out-of-pocket cost for those deemed eligible. But as stated by Policymic:

“Affordable Care Act money should be used to provide medical care that is expensive for a reason, not to prop up an unfair and anti-competitive monopoly.”

Tissue Trauma and Surgery Can Actually Increase Your Risk of Cancer

There’s much yet to be learned about cancer development and progression. For example, research23, 24, 25 has shown that trauma to the breast itself can cause cancer. According to the authors:

“Models of epithelial cell generation indicate that a causal link between physical trauma and cancer is plausible. A latent interval between cancer onset and presentation of under 5 years is also plausible. The most likely explanation of the findings is that physical trauma can cause breast cancer.”

And, as reported by Science News in 2011: 26

“The slightest scratch can cause cancerous cells to crawl to the wound and form tumors in mice, a new study finds. The work may explain why certain kinds of cancers seem to cluster around burns, surgical scars and other injuries. ‘This work says that if you have a predisposition to getting cancer, wounding might enhance the chance that it will develop,’ says cell biologist Anthony Oro of Stanford University School of Medicine.”

This raises questions about the possibility of developing cancer in the remaining or surrounding chest tissue following a radical surgery as double mastectomy. Needle biopsies have also been fingered as sources of cancer that otherwise might not have occurred.27

Epigenetics—The Answer for Those Seeking Cancer Prevention

The paradigm-shattering research now referred to as epigenetics proves your genetic code is not nearly as predeterministic as previously thought. You actually have a tremendous amount of control over how your genetic traits are expressed. As it turns out, your genes will express or suppress genetic data depending on the environment in which it finds itself, meaning the presence or absence of appropriate nutrients, toxins, and even your thoughts and feelings, which unleash hormones and other chemicals in your body.

Dr. Susan Love, a breast cancer surgeon and president of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation commented on such research back in 2009, saying:28

“It’s exciting. What it means, if all this environmental stuff is right, is that we should be able to reverse cancer without having to kill cells. This could open up a whole new way of thinking about cancer that would be much less assaultive.”

Physician Discovers What It’s Like to Be ‘Sold’ Preventive Mastectomy

An article by Dr. Daniela Drake titled, Why I’m Not Having a Preventive Mastectomy29 presents the other side of the preventive mastectomy argument, and highlights the problems of our current paradigm:

“Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS)… increases my odds of developing cancer from 12 percent to 30 percent. But still, my options, my doctor explained, include immediate bilateral mastectomy… She tells me that my chances of developing cancer are 80 percent and that if she were in my shoes she would ‘just have them both removed.’ …Her offhand manner suggests something deeply unserious—like a manicure…

Although I used to be a vociferous advocate for aggressive medical interventions, my perspective changed radically when I began working as a house-call physician. My patients are too debilitated to go to the doctor’s office—and many were disabled by botched surgeries… I’m concerned about my surgeon’s flippancy and I suggest alternatives: ‘There’s growing data that this is a lifestyle disease. You know the Women’s Health Initiative shows exercise can greatly decrease risk.’

‘I don’t know. That may be true,’ she shrugs. ‘If we don’t do surgery, then we’ll just do mammograms every six months.’ When I object, saying that LCIS doesn’t show up on mammogram, she responds, ‘I know. It doesn’t make sense to me either.’ It becomes evident that we don’t know how to deal with my condition. The medical system does not tolerate ambiguity well, so breast amputation has become the answer…

Now I know why patients are so mad at us. This is supposed to be patient-centered care. But it feels more like system-centered care: the medical equivalent of a car wash. I’m told incomplete and inaccurate information to shuttle me toward surgery; and I’m not being listened to. I came to discuss nutrition, exercise and close follow-up. I’m told to get my breasts removed—the sooner the better.

Mastectomy may be appropriate in some cases, like in those where your risk of cancer is virtually 100 percent. But the risk of surgery—operative complications, infections, device and graft complications—remains significant. It’s callous and irresponsible to elide the risks to the public.”

The Case Against BRCA Testing

In the research paper titled, The Case Against BRCA1 and 2 Testing, published in the journal Surgery30 in June 2011, the four authors from the Department of Surgery, University of California explain what many oncologists don’t want to hear:

“It turns out that, like a book, a gene can be ‘read’ both backward and forward. Small sections (or chapters) within a big gene can be ‘read’ alone. The three-dimensional structure of DNA controlled by site-to-site methylation prevents many chapters from being “read” at all. In addition, short segments of RNA (22 base pair micro-RNA) can cycle back to control DNA transcription.

So, DNA is just the starting point, and like flour, you do not know whether the chef is going to cook a croissant or a tortilla with it… Are BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 unique? Or just like other genes, is their expression controlled by the inner cellular attitudes (both epigenetic and environmental) of the individual patient?

BRCA 1 and 2 code nuclear proteins, also known as tumor suppressor genes, capable of repairing damaged DNA… Both mutations increase the lifetime risk of breast cancer in a woman. Less than 5% of women diagnosed with either ductal carcinoma in situ or invasive ductal cancer are a result of inherited BRCA genes…

But BRCA 1 and 2 may speak with many voices. Polymorphisms are naturally occurring single nucleotide variations of a gene present in more than 1% of the population. Polymorphisms and other single-nucleotide variants have been identified within the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes. Indeed, more than 500 mutations in BRCA 1 alone have been documented and most render their proteins inactive—so, some BRCA genes seem to be shooting blanks. And a single nucleotide polymorphism, albeit only a single nucleotide change, can have a formidable influence on protein expression.

Sequence variant S1613G, for instance, results in increased mutational risk of BRCA 1 neoplastic expression, whereas a variation in K1183R is related inversely to cancer risk. It seems that some polymorphisms may actually have a protective effect.”

In summary, the authors state that for screening and therapeutic purposes, BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genetic testing is really little more than an expensive way of “determining what can be accomplished more expeditiously by speaking with your patient,” since:
•The DNA base pair sequence in all humans is 99.6% identical
•Epigenetic factors influence substantively the RNA processing and translational requisition of the initial DNA message
•There are thousands of sequence variants of the BRCA1 and BRCA 2 genes
•Family history trumps BRCA 1 and 2 status

Breast Cancer Prevention Strategies

So in summary, it’s important to realize that even though many well intentioned physicians and media will seek to convince you of the value of cancer screening, it does NOT in any way equate to cancer prevention. Although early detection is important, recently a number of very popular screening methods have been shown to cause more harm than good.

In terms of genetic testing, ask yourself what you would do with the information, should it turn out you’re a carrier of the breast cancer gene. Ideally, such a test result would spur you to take real prevention seriously. But even if you don’t have the mutation, lifestyle factors are still a much larger risk factor overall. Remember the percentage of diagnosed breast cancer cases that have the mutated gene is in the low single digits. Something else, primarily your lifestyle, accounts for the remainder.

In the largest review of research into lifestyle and breast cancer, the American Institute of Cancer Research estimated that about 40 percent of U.S. breast cancer cases could be prevented if people made wiser lifestyle choices.31, 32 I believe these estimates are far too low, and it is more likely that 75 percent to 90 percent of breast cancers could be avoided by strictly applying the recommendations below.
•Avoid sugar, especially fructose. All forms of sugar are detrimental to health in general and promote cancer. Fructose, however, is clearly one of the most harmful and should be avoided as much as possible.
•Optimize your vitamin D. Vitamin D influences virtually every cell in your body and is one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. Vitamin D is actually able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis (cell death). If you have cancer, your vitamin D level should be between 70 and 100 ng/ml. Vitamin D works synergistically with every cancer treatment I’m aware of, with no adverse effects. I suggest you try watching my one-hour free lecture on vitamin D to learn more.

Remember that if you take high doses of oral vitamin D3 supplements, you also need to increase your vitamin K2 intake, as vitamin D increases the need for K2 to function properly. See my previous article What You Need to Know About Vitamin K2, D and Calcium for more information.

Please consider joining one of GrassrootsHealth’s D*Action’s vitamin D studies to stay on top of your vitamin D performance. For more information, see my previous article How Vitamin D Performance Testing Can Help You Optimize Your Health.
•Get plenty of natural vitamin A. There is evidence that vitamin A also plays a role in helping prevent breast cancer.33 It’s best to obtain it from vitamin A-rich foods, rather than a supplement. Your best sources are organic egg yolks,34 raw butter, raw whole milk, and beef or chicken liver.
•Lymphatic breast massage can help enhance your body’s natural ability to eliminate cancerous toxins. This can be applied by a licensed therapists, or you can implement self-lymphatic massage. It is also promotes self-nurturance.
•Avoid charring your meats. Charcoal or flame broiled meat is linked with increased breast cancer risk. Acrylamide—a carcinogen created when starchy foods are baked, roasted or fried—has been found to increase breast cancer risk as well.
•Avoid unfermented soy products. Unfermented soy is high in plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, also known as isoflavones. In some studies, soy appears to work in concert with human estrogen to increase breast cell proliferation, which increases the chances for mutations and cancerous cells.
•Improve your insulin receptor sensitivity. The best way to do this is by avoiding sugar and grains and making sure you are exercising, especially with Peak Fitness.
•Maintain a healthy body weight. This will come naturally when you begin eating right for your nutritional type and exercising. It’s important to lose excess body fat because fat produces estrogen.
•Drink a half to whole quart of organic green vegetable juice daily. Please review my juicing instructions for more detailed information.
•Get plenty of high quality animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. Omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for cancer.
•Curcumin. This is the active ingredient in turmeric and in high concentrations can be very useful adjunct in the treatment of breast cancer. It shows immense therapeutic potential in preventing breast cancer metastasis.35 It’s important to know that curcumin is generally not absorbed that well, so I’ve provided several absorption tips here.
•Avoid drinking alcohol, or at least limit your alcoholic drinks to one per day.
•Breastfeed exclusively for up to six months. Research shows breastfeeding can reduce your breast cancer risk.
•Avoid wearing underwire bras. There is a good deal of data that metal underwire bras can heighten your breast cancer risk.
•Avoid electromagnetic fields as much as possible. Even electric blankets can increase your cancer risk.
•Avoid synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Breast cancer is an estrogen-related cancer, and according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer rates for women dropped in tandem with decreased use of hormone replacement therapy. (There are similar risks for younger women who use oral contraceptives. Birth control pills, which are also comprised of synthetic hormones, have been linked to cervical and breast cancers.)

If you are experiencing excessive menopausal symptoms, you may want to consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy instead, which uses hormones that are molecularly identical to the ones your body produces and do not wreak havoc on your system. This is a much safer alternative.
•Avoid BPA, phthalates and other xenoestrogens. These are estrogen-like compounds that have been linked to increased breast cancer risk
•Make sure you’re not iodine deficient, as there’s compelling evidence linking iodine deficiency with breast cancer. Dr. David Brownstein,36 author of the book Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, is a proponent of iodine for breast cancer. It actually has potent anticancer properties and has been shown to cause cell death in breast and thyroid cancer cells.

For more information, I recommend reading Dr. Brownstein’s book. I have been researching iodine for some time ever since I interviewed Dr. Brownstein as I do believe that the bulk of what he states is spot on. However, I am not at all convinced that his dosage recommendations are correct. I believe they are too high.

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