Friday, April 29, 2011

The Amazing Nutrient that Lowers Your Blood Pressure

Vitamin D SupplementsResearch has recently found that vitamin D has a protective effect against arterial stiffness and impaired blood vessel relaxation.

Study participants with reduced levels of vitamin D had increased arterial stiffness and vascular function impairment. However, among those whose vitamin D levels were normalized over a six month period, vascular health improved and blood pressure measurements declined.

Science Newsline Reports:

"The results add to evidence that lack of vitamin D can lead to impaired vascular health, contributing to high blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease."

In related news, researchers have also found that high level of vitamin D could be protective against the development of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in adults.

In women younger than 75, those who had 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations lower than 38 nanomoles per liter were more likely to have age-related macular degeneration than women with concentrations greater than 38 nanomoles per liter.

This isn't the first time vitamin D has been linked to improved heart health. In fact, there's overwhelming evidence that this nutrient is essential for your heart and cardiovascular system.


Science Newsline April 4, 2011

Archives of Ophthalmology April 2011; 129(4): 481-489

MSNBC April 27, 2011

Science Daily March 21, 2011

Journal of General Internal Medicine April 21, 2011 [Epub ahead of print]

Diabetes Care May 2011;34(5):1133-8

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Stiffer Arteries and High Blood Pressure

Even if you're considered generally "healthy," if you're deficient in vitamin D, your arteries are likely stiffer than they should be, and your blood pressure may run higher than recommended due to your blood vessels being unable to relax. That's the conclusion researchers from the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute has reached. Their findings were recently presented at the annual American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans.

According to researcher Dr. Al Mheid:

"We found that people with vitamin D deficiency had vascular dysfunction comparable to those with diabetes or hypertension."

That's a truly profound statement!

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are severely deficient in vitamin D, regardless of race or nationality. In the United States, the late winter average vitamin D is only about 15-18 ng/ml, which is considered a very serious deficiency state. Overall, it's estimated that 85 percent of the American public are deficient, and as much as 95 percent of U.S. senior citizens.

Another recent study also confirms the link between vitamin D deficiency and high blood pressure. Published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the study found that the disproportionately higher rates of hypertension among African Americans compared to Caucasians appears to be due to higher incidence of vitamin D deficiency. Life Extension Magazine quotes researcher Dr. Fiscella, professor of Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center:

"Our study confirms that vitamin D represents one piece of the complex puzzle of race and blood pressure, and since black-white differences in blood pressure represent thousands of excess deaths due to heart disease and stroke among blacks, we believe that simple interventions such as taking vitamin D supplements might have a positive impact on racial disparities."

The link between vitamin D status and heart health becomes even more apparent when you consider that only ONE out of 1,900 people evaluated meet the American Heart Association (AHA) definition of ideal cardiovascular health!

The AHA's definition of ideal cardiovascular health is the combination of the following seven factors:

  1. Nonsmoking
  2. body mass index less than 25
  3. goal-level physical activity
  4. healthy diet
  5. untreated cholesterol below 200
  6. blood pressure below 120/80
  7. fasting blood sugar below 100

And out of 1,900 people, only one single person could claim this health status. Is it any wonder heart disease is one of the top killers in the US?

Raise Your Vitamin D Status to Improve Your Cardiovascular Health

Fortunately, it's been repeatedly shown that by increasing your vitamin D levels, you can improve your cardiovascular health and lower your blood pressure, and this latest research confirms this. Forty-two of the participants who raised their vitamin D to normal levels had an average drop in blood pressure of 4.6 millimeters mercury.

Keep in mind that "normal" is not the same as optimal, so increasing your levels to the recommended optimal levels as indicated in the chart below will undoubtedly impart an even more beneficial effect—not just for your cardiovascular health but also your health in general, from improving your immune function to cutting your risk of cancer in half.

But just how does vitamin D work in respect to your vascular health?

Science Newsline explains::

"Throughout the body, a layer of endothelial cells lines the blood vessels, controlling whether the blood vessels constrict or relax and helping to prevent clots that lead to strokes and heart attacks.

"There is already a lot known about how vitamin D could be acting here," Al Mheid says. "It could be strengthening endothelial cells and the muscles surrounding the blood vessels. It could also be reducing the level of angiotensin, a hormone that drives increased blood pressure, or regulating inflammation."

Vitamin D also improves your cardiovascular health through a number of other mechanisms, such as:

  • Increasing your body's natural anti-inflammatory cytokines
  • Suppressing vascular calcification
  • Inhibiting vascular smooth muscle growth

A previous study found women who take vitamin D supplements lower their risk of death from heart disease by one-third, and other researchers have found that people with the lowest average vitamin D levels had a 124 percent greater risk of dying from all causes and a 378 percent greater risk of dying from a heart problem.

Beware: 100 Million Americans May Be Unnecessarily Labeled as Having Abnormal Blood Pressure

As a side note, I want to quickly touch on two related items here here.
First, according to a study published in March in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, as many as 100 million Americans may currently be misclassified as having abnormal blood pressure! Looking at data for nearly 13,800 people who were followed for two decades, the researchers examined and compared the independent contributions of diastolic- (DBP) and systolic blood pressure (SBP) on mortality.
In those over the age of 50, having systolic blood pressure above 140, independent of DBP, significantly increased their risk of premature death. Meanwhile, in those underthe age of 50, diastolic blood pressure above 100 was linked to significant increases in premature death. As a result, the authors strongly suggest revising the definition of "normal" blood pressure (i.e. below 120/80), using these alternative cut-off points.
Science Daily quotes lead researcher Dr. Taylor:

"Our findings highlight that the choice of approach used to define normal blood pressure will impact literally millions of Americans. If we cannot reliably see an effect on mortality in a large group of individuals followed for nearly 20 years, should we define the condition as abnormal? We believe considering this kind of approach represents a critical step in ensuring that diagnoses are given only to those with a meaningful elevation in risk, and targeted towards individuals most likely to benefit."

This is definitely important, because not only are tens of millions of people taking unnecessary blood pressure medication as a result, but it has now become more or less standard practice to also prescribe an antidepressant along with that blood pressure reducer! The thought is that high blood pressure is the result of stress, which is oftentimes the case.

However, antidepressants have no benefit on this kind of stress and can only put your health at even greater risk... so please, AVOID making the mistake of taking an antidepressant for high blood pressure! If your doctor recommends or prescribes one for your high blood pressure and not your depression, REFUSE it, as there is simply no justification for ever using these dangerous drugs for this purpose.

Vitamin D May Prevent Diabetes, and Helps Reduce Heart Disease Risk if You're Diabetic

Vitamin D is also an important factor in diabetes. First, having lower levels of vitamin D has been linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. After following more than 5,000 people for five years, the Australian research team found that those with lower than average vitamin D levels had a 57 percent increased risk of developing diabetes, compared to those within the recommended range. According to lead researcher Dr. Claudia Gagnon:

"Studies like ours have suggested that blood levels of vitamin D higher than what is recommended for bone health may be necessary to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes."

Low levels of vitamin D are also known to nearly double your risk of cardiovascular disease if you already have diabetes. A 2009 study shed light on why vitamin D has such a significant impact on diabetics' heart health.

Diabetics who are deficient in vitamin D cannot process cholesterol normally, so it builds up in their blood vessels, hence increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Vitamin D inhibits the uptake of cholesterol by cells called macrophages. Macrophages are dispatched by your immune system in response to inflammation and are often activated by diseases such as diabetes.

When you're deficient in vitamin D, your macrophage cells absorb more cholesterol, and can't get rid of it. The macrophages then get clogged with cholesterol and become what scientists call "foam cells," which are one of the earliest markers of atherosclerosis.

So, if you're diabetic it's even more important to maintain therapeutic levels of vitamin D.

High Vitamin D Status also Improves Survival Rates in Heart Failure Patients

Patients with heart failure also have reduced survival rates if they're deficient in vitamin D, according to a study from last year.

The study, conducted at the University Medical Center in the Netherlands, also suggested that low levels of vitamin D are associated with activation of the Renin Angiotensin System (RAS – a pivotal regulatory system in heart failure) and an altered cytokine profile.

According to the researchers, patients with lower concentrations had a higher risk of death or required re-hospitalization, whereas patients with higher concentrations had lower survival risks for these endpoints.

How Much Vitamin D do You Need to Decrease Arterial Stiffness?

In March of last year, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism looked at the effect of different dosages of vitamin D in relation to arterial stiffness in African American teens.

Forty-four participants were randomly assigned to receive either 400 IU of vitamin D per day (which is the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics) or 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day.

Those who took 400 IU's a day did not achieve vitamin D sufficiency while those who took 2,000 IU's a day did, and consequently had a decrease in central arterial stiffness. As demonstrated in this study, there's no doubt that the current daily recommended allowances (RDA) for vitamin D are FAR too low to achieve optimal health benefits!

As of right now, the conventional RDAs are only:

  • 400 IU for infants, children and adolescents
  • 200 IU for adults up to age 50
  • 400 IU for adults aged 51 to 70
  • 600 IU for seniors over 70

Research has repeatedly shown you may need as much as ten times these amounts, depending on your current status!

According to vitamin D experts, the ideal vitamin D levels are actually far higher than the conventional "normal," so when you get your levels checked, don't be satisfied with a simple, "You're within the normal range." Instead, make sure your levels are within these ideal therapeutic ranges:

Vitamin D Levels

As you can see, anything below 50 ng/ml is now believed to be a deficiency state, and the optimal range to treat heart disease is between 70-100 ng/ml. Meanwhile, conventional medicine still considers 32 ng/ml to be the threshold for "optimal health." Please do not be fooled by that conservative recommendation!

Please note that levels over 100 ng/ml are likely only a problem if they are obtained by swallowing oral vitamin D3. If you raise your level to over 100 by sun exposure it is unlikely to be problematic. In the winter I live in the sub-tropics on the beach and typically get two hours of sun every day, which raises my levels to over 100 ng/ml. This is also typical for many healthy lifeguards in the summer.

Vitamin D Status and Your Vision

Another recent study has also implicated vitamin D deficiency in the development of macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in the US.

In women younger than 75, having vitamin D levels below 38 nanomoles per liter equated to higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. Those whose vitamin D intake was among the top one-fifth of participants had a 59 percent lower risk of developing AMD compared to women whose intake was among the lowest fifth.

Take Action Before it's Too Late

Unfortunately, the most common symptom of heart disease is sudden death, so you simply MUST be proactive.

Typically, there are absolutely no indications of a problem, no signs like chest pain or shortness of breath. You simply have NO symptoms at all before getting struck by the chest pain that kills you. Sudden cardiac death strikes more than 300,000 people every year in the US alone.

This is a tragedy made even more upsetting as heart disease, just like type 2 diabetes, is one of the easiest diseases to prevent and avoid, if you're proactive! For example, vitamin D deficiency is incredibly easy to diagnose and fix, and can dramatically reduce your risk.

One of the first steps you should take is to watch my one-hour free lecture on vitamin D, which will tell you what your optimal vitamin D levels should be along with how to safely get them there.

Next, assess your heart disease risk factors.

Keep in mind that your total cholesterol level is just about worthless in determining your risk for heart disease unless it's close to 300 or higher. And, perhaps more importantly, you need to be aware that cholesterol is not the CAUSE of heart disease. If you become overly concerned with trying to lower your cholesterol level to some set number, you will be completely missing the real problem.

The ratios you need to be concerned with when evaluating your heart disease risk are:

  • Your HDL/Cholesterol ratio
  • Your Triglyceride/HDL ratios

Your HDL percentage is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol. That percentage should ideally be above 24 percent. Below 10 percent, it's a significant indicator of risk for heart disease.

You can also do the same thing with your triglycerides and HDL ratio. Simply take your triglyceride level and divide it by your HDL level. That percentage should be below 2.

Fasting Insulin Levels: Another Important Risk Factor for Heart Disease

There's a reason why diabetes significantly raises your risk of heart disease. The factor that links these two diseases is insulin, so naturally, keeping your insulin levels low is imperative for preventing and treating both.

Further, studies have shown that people with a fasting blood sugar level of 100-125 mg/dl had a nearly 300% increase higher risk of having coronary heart disease than people with a level below 79 mg/dl.

Normal fasting blood glucose is below 100 mg/dl, but for optimal health it should be closer to 80.

Any meal or snack high in unhealthy carbohydrates like sugar and refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose, followed by insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar. The insulin released from eating too many carbohydrates promotes fat and makes it more difficult for your body to lose fat, particularly around your belly, and this is one of the major contributors to heart disease.

Reducing your intake of fructose and grains, including corn-based foods and potatoes is perhaps THE most important strategy to help you lower your blood glucose and prevent insulin resistance, diabetes, and heart disease.

Helpful Supplements for Heart Disease and Macular Degeneration

Emerging research is pointing to L-arginine, an amino acid, as a powerful player in your cardiovascular health. In the latest research, supplementation with L-arginine resulted in multiple beneficial vascular effects in people with multiple risk factors for heart disease.

L-arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide and is actually the only known nutritional substrate in your vessel lining available to endothelial cells (a layer of cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels) for nitric oxide production. In other words, the lining in your vessels (endothelium) need L-arginine to create nitric oxide, which acts as a cellular signaling molecule in your body to help promote healthy blood vessel flexibility and dilation.

This is why a high-quality L-arginine supplement may be a simple way to enhance your body's supply, especially if you know you have risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, excess weight, or high insulin levels (diabetes).

You can also find L-arginine in dietary sources and may be able to somewhat enhance your levels by eating more:

  • Nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews and peanuts)
  • Sesame and sunflower seeds
  • Coconut
  • Raisins
  • Dairy and meat

Additionally, chronic inflammation is a hallmark of everything I've covered in this article—diabetes, heart disease, and macular degeneration. A potent supplement to helpkeep inflammation in check is astaxanthin. This potent antioxidant exhibits VERY STRONG free radical scavenging activity, and protects your cells, organs and body tissues from oxidative damage.

What to Do if You're at Risk

If you find that you are at risk for heart disease, I urge you to get your vitamin D levels checked, and if you are deficient, take steps to increase your levels to the therapeutic range.

Then simply apply the Take Control of Your Health program. This will virtually eliminate your risk -- sometimes quite rapidly-- because it helps to significantly reduce inflammation in your body. And, keeping your inflammation levels low is key if you want to reduce your risk of heart disease.

An added boon of applying this program is that it will automatically also help you to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes.

Related Links:

7 Simple Steps for a Healthy Heart

Does High Cholesterol REALLY Cause Heart Disease?

Heart Attack Triggers You Should Know

Source:  Dr. Mercola

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Your Tuna is Getting More Toxic


tuna, sushi

The rate of mercury contamination in tuna and other Pacific fish has increased 30 percent since 1990. The increase is a direct result of China’s rapid industrialization, and the mercury content is expected to increase another 50 percent by 2050 if China continues to build more coal-fired power plants.

The data comes from a new study by the U.S. Geologic Survey.

About 40 percent of all U.S. exposure to mercury comes from eating contaminated tuna from the Pacific. Roughly 75 percent of all human exposure to mercury in general comes from eating fish. Mercury poisoning early in life, even in very small amounts, can lead to permanent developmental effects.

Mercury becomes toxic when it is converted by bacteria into a form called methylmercury. Scientists have long known how this conversion takes place in freshwater lakes, reservoirs and rivers, but this study is the first to document how that conversion takes place in the ocean. It shows that methylmercury is produced in mid-depth ocean waters by bacteria decomposing settling algae.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

1,147,271 Words of Obamacare Regulations Published So Far—270% as Long as the Text of the Statute

By John Vinci – Last year Congress passed the 906-page “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” followed by the 55-page “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.”[1] Together, they form what is better known as Obamacare.

If you thought that Obamacare was long, it is only a fraction of the length of the regulations.

Obamacare contains over 700 directives for HHS and other agencies to implement Obamacare.[2]

We went through and counted all of the Obamacare regulation documents published so far.[3] We found that the number of pages in regulations are already 114 percent as long as the number of pages in the Obamacare statutes! The statutes contain 961 pages compared to 1,093 pages of regulations.

But regulations published in the Federal Register are published in small font, three columns wide.

What is more telling is the word count comparison. The Obamacare statutes together contain 425,116 words. Compare that to 1,147,271 words published so far in Obamacare regulation documents. The regulations are 270 percent as long as the statute itself.

The 1.1 million words in Obamacare regulations published so far are only a fraction of the regulations yet to come.

Now, more than ever, conservatives need to get involved in the regulatory process by submitting comments on these regulations. Take a look at the regulations currently open for comment. Then, tell the Obamacare Administration what you think by submitting your own comment.

John Vinci is an Assistant Director of Research at Americans for Limited Government.

[1] You may have heard that Obamacare is 2,000+ pages in length. Technically it is, or better, it was. While in bill form, the Obamacare statutes were a total of 2,471 pages long. Congressional bills have wide margins and are double spaced. The page counts in our first paragraph are more conservative as they are based on the number of pages in the Government Printing Office’s version of the Obamacare Statutes available at and

[3] This includes 49 documents such as requests for information, advance notices of proposed rulemakings, proposed rules, interim final rules and final rules, and some notices. We excluded, however, many regulation documents which were only in part affected by the Obamacare statues.

Urgent Petition:  Repeal and Replace ObamaCare


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Obama calls GOP Medicare, spending plans 'radical' (Obama's plan, your medical records on Facebook)… Really?

Is this really where you want your medical records stored… on Facebook… the social network that works hand in hand with the government and retains the right to keep any information that you post there… photos, posts, etc, even after you close your account?  This is beyond frightening!!

Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg

Pablo Martinez Monsivais  /  AP  -  Members of the audience listen to President Barack Obama and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a town hall meeting to discuss reducing the national debt, Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California

PALO ALTO, California — President Barack Obama said Wednesday that congressional Republicans are pushing a radical plan to trim Medicare and Medicaid, ramping up the rhetoric as he and Congress approach crucial decisions on spending and the nation's debt.

"I think it's fair to say that their vision is radical," Obama told a town hall gathering at the headquarters of Facebook, the huge social network company.

"I don't think it's particularly courageous," he said of the GOP plan to convert Medicare to a voucher program and make big cuts to the federal-state Medicaid program for the poor.

"Nothing is easier than solving a problem on the backs of people who are poor, or people who are powerless, or don't have lobbyists, or don't have clout," Obama said.

The president wants to be friends on Facebook

Other Democrats have called the GOP plan radical, but the president generally has used less pungent language. Even as he sharply criticized the Republicans' spending

proposals Wednesday, he said he believes the two parties can reach an accord on long-range plans to cut deficits by about $4 trillion over the next decade.

Obama made the comments in a friendly environment — one with 19 million friends, in fact. He told Facebook employees and others watching online the nation must invest vigorously in education, clean energy and research that are vital to future jobs and a strong economy.

Making the case for his own deficit-cutting plans, Obama said that one way to trim health care costs could involve doctors sharing medical information on Facebook, the hugely successful social network.

Obama's 2008 campaign used Facebook and other social networks to reach voters, volunteers and donors, especially among young adults. Such outlets will play even bigger roles in next year's campaigns.

The president shared the stage with Facebook's youthful founder, Mark Zuckerberg, whose company noted that 19 million network users have electronically "liked" Obama's White House Facebook site.

Obama, beginning a three-day Western tour pitching his budget plans and raising re-election cash, said trimming $4 trillion from the nation's deficits over the next 12 years sounds like a lot but can be done.

He will hold another session Thursday in Reno, Nev., with his message that his approach to cutting deficits is more balanced and less painful than a rival House Republican plan.

The president has proposed cutting spending, raising taxes and squeezing federal health care programs. The Republican plan rules out tax cuts and would achieve nearly $6 trillion in savings from spending cuts and overhauling Medicare and Medicaid.

The Associated Press 2011

 **  Seniors… Please do not fall for the hype and misinformation!!  Anyone who is now on Medicare or Social Security, or is 55 or older, will not be affected by any of the upcoming changes proposed by the GOP, including Paul Ryan’s Plan.  And if people under 55 want to have some safety net for themselves and generations to come we must make some changes, or they will have nothing! The greatest thing you have to fear that ObamaCare will go into full implementation.  That is your nightmare!  And unfortunately, it will not happen until after the 2012 Election, just like the inflation and Wall Street are being manipulated, until the day after election, when all our worst nightmares will be unleashed.  Do your own homework.  Read the ObamaCare Bill that was passed or seek information that is coming from neutral sources… which is not AARP or the mainstream media news coverage.  Like Facebook, NBC especially, is practically a subsidiary of the White House.   **

Urgent Petition: Repeal ObamaCare!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

New Study - Seniors can literally shake their way to better bone health

NaturalNews) It has long been known that exercise helps build bone density and prevent age-related bone loss and fractures. Now, a new study has found that an age-old exercise that dates back around 200 years can help seniors literally shake their way to better bone health and prevent bone density loss, fractures, disability and death.

In the new study just published in the journal Bone, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) found that 12 weeks of daily 30-minute vibration improved bone density around the hip joint, femur and long leg bone in mature mice equal to humans aged 55 to 65. All of the improved density measurements reduce the likelihood of a hip fracture, one of the most common causes of disability in the elderly. The researchers also found a reduction in a biomarker that indicates bone breakdown and an increase in the surface area involved in bone formation in the vibrating group.

The scientists theorize that the rhythmic movement of body vibration exercises cells so they work better. Vibration prompts movement of the cell nucleus, which is suspended by numerous threadlike fibers called filaments. In addition, the movement releases transcription factors that spur new osteoblasts, the cells that make bone. With age, the balance of bone production versus bone loss and destruction tips to the loss side.

"The filaments get all deformed like springs and then they spring back," reported lead researcher Dr. Karl H. Wenger, biomedical engineer in the MCG Schools of Graduate Studies and Medicine.
Doctor Wenger also reported that the vibration technique worked even better on people with slow-healing fractures. In the case of an injury, vibration acts on stem cells, the master controllers of the healing process.

"We think that in fracture healing, you get a more dramatic response. We don't know exactly why it affects the biology differently but it's likely because of the extent to which stem cells invade the injured area," Wenger said.

Osteoporosis affects an estimated 75 million people in Europe, USA and Japan, including over 10 million cases in the United States, and the incidence is rising rapidly due to our aging population. Between 1990 and 2000, there was nearly a 25% increase in hip fractures worldwide. By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture in men is projected to increase by 310% and 240% in women.

A 10% loss of bone mass in the vertebrae can double the risk of vertebral fractures, and similarly, a 10% loss of bone mass in the hip can result in a 2.5 times greater risk of hip fracture. Nearly 75% of all hip fractures occur in women and about 25% of hip fractures in people over 50 occurs in men. The combined lifetime risk for hip, forearm and vertebral fractures coming to clinical attention is around 40%, equivalent to the risk for cardiovascular disease
In addition to bone shaking, there are many other natural ways which can help prevent bone density loss, build stronger bones and prevent fractures - and that includes avoiding fluoride and dangerous bone drugs. To find out more about how a healthier diet and lifestyle and key natural foods items, vitamins, minerals and other supplements can help, see:

"How to Beat and Prevent Osteoporosis Naturally"

"Calcium Alone is not Enough for Healthy Bones"

"Bone Drugs: The Latest Skeletons in Big Pharma's Closet"

Though it lacks the cardiovascular benefit of other forms of exercise, studies have shown that whole body vibration can also improve muscle strength and weight loss. For example, one study found that women who dieted and used a vibration machine three times a week lost almost twice as much weight as those who did more conventional exercise, especially stomach weight.

[Editor`s Note: NaturalNewsis strongly against the use of all forms of animal testing. We fully support implementation of humane medical experimentation that promotes the health and wellbeing of all living creatures.]

Sources included:

About the author

Tony Isaacs, is a natural health author, advocate and researcher who hosts The Best Years in Life website for those who wish to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Mr. Isaacs is the author of books and articles about natural health, longevity and beating cancer including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and is working on a major book project due to be published later this year. He is also a contributing author for the worldwide advocacy group "S.A N.E.Vax. Inc" which endeavors to uncover the truth about HPV vaccine dangers.
Mr. Isaacs is currently residing in scenic East Texas and frequently commutes to the even more scenic Texas hill country near Austin and San Antonio to give lectures and health seminars. He also hosts the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs - featuring Luella May" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and he serves as a consultant to the "Utopia Silver Supplement Company".

Source:  Natural News

Articles Related to This Article:

Bone density sharply enhanced by weight training, even in the elderly
How to Beat and Prevent Osteoporosis Naturally
Stronger Bones - Without Drugs
FDA Approves New Bone Drug which may Lead to Bone Death
Osteoporosis remains undiagnosed in millions of Americans; here's how to beat the disease with nutrition, exercise and sunlight
Strong Body, Strong Bones - Six Steps to Prevent Osteoporosis

Friday, April 15, 2011

Margarine Verses Butter

For many years people have debated the merits of guns versus butter as symbols of spending on military might or domestic comfort.  Since 1869, another political debate has gone on, this one concerning the merits of margarine versus butter.  In that year, a French food chemist succeeded in making a cheap substitute for the real thing, which had become scarce and expensive in the wake of a European cattle plague.

The word margarine came from the Greek for "pearl," because the original version was hard, white, and glossy.  It also must have been less than appetizing, since it was made from beef fat, milk, and chopped sheep's stomachs and cows' udders, all treated with heat, lye, and pressure.

In its early years, margarine was a meat product which was dependent on the beef and dairy industries and whose main appeal was its low cost relative to butter.  In this period, it was exclusively a food of the poor.  In the early 1900s, food chemists discovered how to harden liquid oils by reacting them with hydrogen in the presence of metal catalysts and heat.  Vegetable and fish oils then became raw materials for margarine, weakening its ties to the meat industry.  Manufacturers bought up the cheapest oils they could find throughout the world, reduced them all to bland neutrality through chemical processing, and hardened them into margarine, which remained a food of the poor.

By the 1920s only vegetable oils went into the product, and over the next 30 years, busy food chemists using a host of chemical additives greatly improved the spreadability, appearance, and especially the flavor of margarine, always working toward the goal of greater resemblance to butter.

The improved margarine's appeal was still its lower cost, but now its sales increased enormously, seriously threatening the butter industry.  The butter people responded with a bitter and dirty political fight to hamper sales of margarine, but in the end, they were to lose out because of an unforeseen change in consumer perceptions.  In our lifetimes, people have come to see margarine not simply as a cheap substitute for butter, but as a healthy alternative to it, and this change has occurred particularly among the educated and affluent.  For example, when I look in the refrigerators of fellow physicians, I find margarine instead of butter more often than not.

This new view of margarine, which North Americans now consume four times as much of as butter, developed along with an awareness of the role of saturated fat and cholesterol in producing atherosclerosis, the degenerative condition of arteries that predisposes us to heart attacks, strokes, and other circulatory diseases.  Butterfat is the most saturated animal fat in the American diet, and butter contains a lot of cholesterol as well.  As doctors became convinced of the dangers of saturated fat and cholesterol, they began to recommend margarine to patients, and the margarine industry capitalized on this development by emphasizing new formulations made exclusively from polyunsaturated vegetable oils, like safflower, corn, and soy.  Producers also stressed that margarine contains no cholesterol.  So it is that doctors, like other health-conscious Americans, tended to switch from butter to margarine.  Many of these people will admit that they prefer the taste of butter but consider margarine better for them.

I do not share this view, and I predict that over the next decade, medical research will demonstrate clear health hazards of eating margarine.

In the first place, it is total fat in the diet that correlates with risk of premature death and disability from the major killing diseases in our society.  If there is one undisputed fact that emerges from the confusion of modern nutritional research, it is that typical high-fat diets are killing us.  Most people will live longer, feel better, and have less risk of early death from heart disease, stroke, and cancer if they keep their fat intake to well below 30 percent of calories in the diet, preferably in the range of 20 percent.  This is much less than most Americans eat.  One way to cut down on fat is to avoid both butter and margarine, especially as spreads for bread, and toppings for potatoes and other vegetables.  It is easy to learn to like good bread without anything on it and to enjoy fresh vegetables plain or with low-fat sauces.

Second, although the danger to our hearts and arteries from saturated fat in the diet is clear, many people do not understand that the process of hardening vegetable oils by artificial hydrogenation creates saturated fat.  In fact, the chemical term "saturation" refers to the percentage of carbon atoms in fats that are bonded fully with hydrogen atoms.  The more saturated a fat, the higher the temperature at which it will liquefy.

When stored in the refrigerator, polyunsaturated vegetable oils remain clear and still pour easily.  Saturated fats like beef suet, bacon grease, and butter become opaque and hard in the cold.  No matter how unsaturated the oils are that go into margarine, they are made more saturated by the very process that turns them into a harder spread.  Most brands of margarine do not disclose the percentage of saturated fat they contain, and even though they contain no cholesterol, they still stimulate your body to make cholesterol when you eat them.  So the "heart-friendly" advantage of margarine over butter is not so great as advertised.  Butter, unless it is certified as "organic," is likely to contain residues of drugs given to cows.

Butter may also contain residues of pesticides and other environmental toxins.  All of these compounds tend to concentrate in fat, making high-fat dairy products more dangerous than lowfat or, especially, nonfat ones.  Of course, butter is the ultimate high-fat dairy product.  Margarine should be free of drugs, but depending on where its oils come from, it may contain pesticide residues and other toxins.  It may also have dozens of chemical additives.  So on this score, butter and margarine probably rate about the same.

The most significant area of comparison is the different chemical structures of the component fatty acids of the two.  Butter is basically a natural product, and its fatty acids are structurally similar to the fatty acids in our bodies.  The heat and chemicals used to transform vegetable oils into margarine change fatty acids into unnatural forms that may be most unhealthy to eat.

Unsaturated fatty acids have points of molecular strain, where carbon atoms are connected to each other by double or triple bonds instead of being fully occupied by hydrogen atoms.  These strain points determine the three-dimensional configurations of molecules.

In nature, all of these molecules have a curved shape that allows them to fit neatly into the membranes that enclose all cells and many of the structures within them.  Chemists call this natural shape the cis-configuration.  Heat and harsh chemical treatment can cause unsaturated fatty acids to spring open into a different shape called the trans-configuration, which looks jointed instead of curved.

The body cannot incorporate trans-fatty acids into membranes, and if it tries to do so, deformed cellular structures may result.  Eating trans-fatty acids in margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils probably increases cancer risks, promotes inflammation, and accelerates aging and degenerative changes in tissues.  I am convinced enough of these possibilities to try to eliminate those fats from my diet.

Many people ask me whether I think it is better to eat butter or margarine.  They should be asking whether it is worse to eat butter or margarine, because both are concentrated fats that contribute to the unhealthy excess of fat calories that most of us consume.  I don't keep either of them in my house.  But if I were forced to make a choice, I'd take the real thing in modest amounts, and I recommend that choice to you as well.

By ANDREW WEIL who teaches at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, has a private medical practice, and is the author of Natural Health, Natural Medicine (Houghton Mifflin, 1990) .

Postsed at NaturoDoc and Cross-Posted at TrueHealthIsTrueWealth

NaturoDoc's Take:  Many researchers and physicians have a problem with the recent dietary fad of low-calorie, low-fat dietary advice.  Significant physical effects are created by different types of oil and fat.  This article correctly identifies major problems with commercial handling of fats and oils.  But most low-fat products are high in simple carbohydrates, and the quickly elevated blood sugar from eating these creates even more misery and disease than a high-fat diet.

More ...

Pass The Butter, Please!

--Author unknown, but good truthful information

Did you know that the hydrogenated fat they use in fast food restaurants in the deep-fat fryers was originally designed as candle wax?  When it didn't work as planned, they looked for a new use for
it, and found it worked great for frying foods and never going bad.
Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys.  When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback, so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back.
It was a white substance with no food appeal, so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter.  More recently, they have come out with some clever new flavorings.

DO YOU KNOW... the difference between margarine and butter?

Both have the same amount of calories.  Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats, at 8 grams compared to 5 grams.  Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a Harvard Medical School study.
Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.  Butter has many nutritional benefits, where margarine has a only few, because they are added.  Butter tastes much better than margarine, and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.  Butter has been around for centuries, where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.

And now, for margarine, which...

  • Is very high in trans-fatty acids.
  • Triples the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Increases total cholesterol and LDL (the bad cholesterol), and lowers HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).
  • Increases the risk of cancers up to fivefold.
  • Lowers the quality of breast milk.
  • Decreases the immune response.
  • Decreases the insulin response.

And here's the most disturbing fact...

Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC.  This fact alone is enough to make you want to avoid margarine for life, as well as anything else that is hydrogenated.  (This means that hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance.)

You can try this yourself:

Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or a shaded area. Within a couple of days, you will note a couple of things:
No flies, not even those pesky fruit flies, will go near it.  (That should tell you something.)  It will not rot or smell differently, because it has NO nutritional value.  Nothing will grow on it.  Even tiny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow on.  Why?  Because margarine is nearly plastic.

Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

You'd butter believe it: Margarine consumption is linked to lower IQs in children

It became popular as a healthier alternative to butter.

But children who ate margarine every day had lower IQs than those who did not, a study has found.

At the age of three-and-a-half, they scored three points lower on intelligence tests than other youngsters.

Margarine has been linked to lower IQs in children

Healthy alternative: But margarine has been linked to lower IQs in children

Importantly, the link held even when parental occupation and other factors affecting wealth and class were taken into account, the study of children born in the mid-1990s showed.

By the age of seven, scores were six points lower – but only in children that had been underweight when born, suggesting that diet is particularly important for brain development in the more vulnerable.

Writing in the journal Intelligence, the researchers from New Zealand’s Auckland University said it is unclear what lies behind the link.

However, trans fats may be to blame. The fats have been linked to memory problems in animal tests and may make it harder for the body to process healthier fats.

In the mid-1990s, trans fats formed up to 17 per cent of the mix of some margarines.

Today, however, levels are around 1 per cent – significantly lower than some butters.

The discovery in recent years that the fats clog up the arteries, raising the risk of heart disease, has led to concerted efforts to cut levels in food.

However, the high amounts in the past may have hampered the development of today’s adults.

The researchers, whose study showed that eating fish and cereal boosted intelligence, said: ‘We found a number of dietary factors to be significantly associated with intelligence measures.

The association between margarine consumption and IQ scores was the most consistent and novel finding.’

The researchers said that more work was needed to confirm if trans fats, which are formed when vegetable oil is solidified, were at fault, or if something else was to blame. They said: ‘Children who ate margarine daily had IQ scores that were up to six points lower compared to children who did not.

‘The impact of regular margarine consumption on intelligence now warrants further investigation in order to replicate these findings and to identify possible mechanisms that may underlie this association.’

Sian Porter, of the British Dietetic Association, said that margarine is generally healthier than butter but the high fat content means that both should be used sparingly.

A spokesman for the Food Standards Agency said that trans fat consumption in the UK is now below the recommended levels.

Source:  Mail Online

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Splenda - safer than aspartame but is it really safe?

Residents File Suit Over Splenda

Chronic cough is typically defined as a cough that persists for longer than 8 weeks. Chronic cough is not a disease, it’s a symptom and has become a recurring symptom in many people having reactions to the sweetener Splenda.

I have a friend who switched from drinking regular soda to soda’s with Splenda.  I ended up doing this research for him because he developed a cough that was so severe that he had his doctor review all his medications, was taking breathing treatments several times a day and even considered giving his beloved dog to a relative because he thought he had developed a severe allergy.  He was not sleeping and could barely eat or talk without going into a coughing fit. 

Only one week after he stopped drinking soda’s with Splenda, his cough is almost completely gone.

The Potential Dangers of Sucralose

By Dr. Joseph Mercola. D.O. - - reprinted by kind permission of author (see copyright notice below)
There's a new artificial sweetener on the block and it is already in a wide range of products, some even sold in health food stores and manufactured by nutritionally-oriented companies. But is it proven safe? Does it provide any benefit to the public? Does it help with weight loss? Are there any long term human studies? Has it been shown to be safe for the environment? The answer to all of these questions is unfortunately a resounding NO.

The artificial sweetener sucralose, which is sold under the name Splenda™, is one of the up-and-coming "next generation" of high-intensity sugar substitutes. It is non-caloric and about 600 times sweeter than sucrose (white table sugar), although it can vary from 320 tp 1,000 times sweeter, depending on the food application. The white crystalline powder tastes like a lot like sugar, but is more intense in its sweetness.
How it is Manufactured

Sucralose is produced by chlorinating sugar (sucrose). This involves chemically changing the structure of the sugar molecules by substituting three chlorine atoms for three hydroxyl groups.

Sucralose was discovered in 1976 by researchers working under the auspices of Tate & Lyle Ltd., a large British sugar refiner. In 1980, Tate & Lyle arranged with Johnson & Johnson, the world's largest health care company, to develop sucralose. Johnson & Johnson formed McNeil Specialty Products Company in 1980 to commercialize sucralose.

In 1991, Canada became the first nation to approve the use of sucralose.

In April, 1998 the US Food and Drug Administration granted approval for sucralose to be used in a variety of food products (CLICK HERE for complete list of products using sucralose). Diet RC cola was the first US product with sucralose, introduced in May 1998.

Sucralose is not yet approved for use in most European countries, where it is still under review.

Safety Concerns

Few human studies of safety have been published on sucralose. One small study of diabetic patients using the sweetener showed a statistically significant increase in glycosylated hemoglobin (Hba1C), which is a marker of long-term blood glucose levels and is used to assess glycemic control in diabetic patients. According to the FDA, "increases in glycosolation in hemoglobin imply lessening of control of diabetes.

Research in animals has shown that sucralose can cause many problems in rats, mice, and rabbits, such as:

Shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage)
Enlarged liver and kidneys.
Atrophy of lymph follicles in the spleen and thymus
Increased cecal weight
Reduced growth rate
Decreased red blood cell count
Hyperplasia of the pelvis
Extension of the pregnancy period
Aborted pregnancy
Decreased fetal body weights and placental weights

According to one source (Sucralose Toxicity Information Center), concerning the significant reduction in size of the thymus gland, "the manufacturer claimed that the sucralose was unpleasant for the rodents to eat in large doses and that starvation caused the shruken thymus glands.

[Toxicologist Judith] Bellin reviewed studies on rats starved under experimental conditions, and concluded that their growth rate could be reduced by as much as a third without the thymus losing a significant amount of weight (less than 7 percent). The changes were much more marked in rats fed on sucralose. While the animals' growth rate was reduced by between 7 and 20 percent, their thymuses shrank by as much as 40 percent. (New Scientist 23 Nov 1991, pg 13)"

A compound chemically related to sucrose, 6-chloro-deoxyglucose, is known to have anti-fertility and neurotoxic effects, although animal studies of sucralose have not shown these effects.

According to the FDA's "Final Rule" report, "Sucralose was weakly mutagenic in a mouse lymphoma mutation assay." The FDA also reported many other tests as having "inconclusive" results.

Just how few studies currently exist on sucralose is an issue. Endurance News provides the following table illustrating this fact:

Sweetener # of Studies*
Saccharin     2374
Aspartame   598
Cyclamates 459
Acesulfame-K 28
Sucralose      19

*Number of studies determined by MEDLINE search.
In terms of safety, it is not just the original substance (sucralose) that one needs to worry about. As the FDA notes, "Because sucralose may hydrolyze in some food products...the resulting hydrolysis products may also be ingested by the consumer."
Is There Any Long-Term Human Research?

None. According to the Medical Letter on Drugs & Therapeutics, "Its long-term safety is unknown." According to the Sucralose Toxicity Information Center, the "Manufacturer's '100's of studies' (some of which show hazards) were clearly inadequate and do not demonstrate safety in long-term use."
Is Sucralose Absorbed or Metabolized?

Despite the manufacturer's claims to the contrary, sucralose is significantly absorbed and metabolized by the body. According to the FDA's "Final Rule" report, 11% to 27% of sucralose is absorbed in humans, and the rest is excreted unchanged in feces. According to the Japanese Food Sanitation Council, as much as 40% of ingested sucralose is absorbed.

Plasma sucralose has been reported to have a half-life of anywhere from 2 to 5 hours in most studies, although the half-life in rabbits was found to be much longer at about 36 hours.
About 20% to 30% of absorbed sucralose is metabolized. Both the metabolites and unchanged absorbed sucralose are excreted in urine. The absorbed sucralose has been found to concentrate in the liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract. According to The Sucralose Toxicity Information Center, sucralose is broken down "into small amounts of 1,6-dichlorofructose, a chemical which has not been adequtely tested in humans."

Chlorinated Pesticides

According to Consumers Research Magazine "Some concern was raised about sucralose being a chlorinated molecule. Some chlorinated molecules serve as the basis for pesticides such as D.D.T., and accumulate in body fat. However, Johnson & Johnson emphasized that sucralose passes through the body unabsorbed."
Of course, this assertion about not being absorbed is complete nonsense. As shown above, a substantial amount of sucralose is absorbed, so the argument is not valid.

According to the HAD, "The manufacturer claims that the chlorine added to sucralose is similar to the chlorine atom in the salt (NaCl) molecule. That is not the case. Sucralose may be more like ingesting tiny amounts of chlorinated pesticides, but we will never know without long-term, independent human research."

The FDA acknowledges that sucralose "is produced at an approximate purity of 98%." While that may sound pretty pure, just what is in that other 2%? It turns out that the final sucralose product contains small amounts of potentially dangerous substances such as:
Heavy Metals (e.g., Lead)
Triphenilphosphine Oxide
Chlorinated Disaccharides
Chlorinated Monosaccharide

Although manufacturing guidelines do specify limits on these substances there is no guarantee that such limits will always be met.

Environmental Concerns

Despite the fact that a portion of sucralose is metabolized into some chemicals of questionable safety, a majory of the consumed sucralose is excreted unchanged in the feces and urine. While that may be good for the person using the product, it may not be so great for the environment.
Although sucralose is being flushed down toilets wherever sucralose is approved for sale, what happens to it next is simply a matter for speculation. I know of no studies showing what happens to the chemical when the raw sewage is treated and then released back into the environment.
Does it remain stabile or react with other substances to form new compounds?

Is the sucralose or any resulting chemicals safe for the environment?

How will this chemical affect aquatic life such as fish, as well as other animals?

Will sucralose begin to appear in our water supplies, just as some drugs are beginning to be found.

Of course, we will likely not know the answers to these questions for many years, if at all. One of the main reasons for this is that the FDA did not require an Environmental Impact Statement for sucralose, because in their words, "the action will not have a significant impact on the human environment."

One study did find that sucralose is metabolized by microrganisms in both the water and soil (Labare 94). However, the ecological impact of this new chemical being introduced into the environment is unknown.

Is There a Benefit for Consumers?

According to Consumers' Research Magazine, sucralose provides some benefits for the corporations making and using it, but not for consumers. They state:

"But are such foods truly beneficial and desirable? Diabetics, weight watchers, and the general public might make better food choices by selecting basic, rather than highly processed foods; for example, apples, rather than turnovers; or plain, rather than sweetened, dairy foods. "

They note that non-caloric artificial sweeteners are not replacing, but rather supplementing conventional sweeteners. They note that as of 1990 Americans were consuming an average of 20 pounds (sugar sweetness equivalency) of artificial sweeteners, and as consumption of sugar-substitutes has risen so too has consumption of sugar.
Does Sucralose Help with Weight Loss?
According to Consumers' Research Magazine "There is no clear-cut evidence that sugar substitutes are useful in weight reduction. On the contrary, there is some evidence that these substances may stimulate appetite."
Where is Sucralose Found?
In the United States, the FDA has granted approval for the use of sucralose in 15 food and beverage categories: (For a complete list of products containing sucralose CLICK HERE)
Baked goods and baking mixes
Chewing gum
Confections and frostings
Fats and oils (salad dressings)
Fruit and water ices
Jams and jellies
Processed fruits and fruit juices
Sweet sauces, toppings and syrups
Beverages and beverage bases
Coffee and tea
Dairy product analogs
Frozen dairy desserts and mixes
Gelatins, puddings and fillings
Milk products
Sugar substitutes
Comparison to Other Sweeteners

Its promoters cite several benefits over other sweeteners, such as:

Unlike saccharin, sucralose leaves no bitter aftertaste.
Unlike other artificial sweeteners, it remains stable at high temperatures.
Unlike sugar, it does not raise blood glucose levels

As a comparison to sucralose's 600-fold sweetness increase over sugar, consider the other artificial sweeteners on the market:

Saccharin (Sweet-and -Low) - 300 to 500 times sweeter
Aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal) - 150 to 200 times sweeter
Acesulfame K (Sunette) - 200 times sweeter.
Big Business
A 1998 report in Chemical Week states that the high-intensity sweetener market is about $1.5-billion/year. About 70%-80% of that market is made up of soft drink sweeteners, of which aspartame has a near monopoly. They note that although sucralose is 50% sweeter than aspartame, it will be difficult to persuade many soft drink producers to give up NutraSweet (aspartame) since it is widely accepted by consumers.
Is Anyone Monitoring Post-Approval Reactions?

Apparently not. With no established system for monitoring and tracking post-approval adverse effects, how can it ever be established whether large-scale and long-term consumption of sucralose is safe?
Technical Information

Sucralose is made from sucrose by substituting three chlorine atoms for three hydroxyl groups to yield 1,6-dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-BETA-D-fructofuranosyl-4-chloro-4-deoxy-alpha-D-galactopyranoside. This is accomplished in a five-step process.
Prolonged storage, particularly at high temperatures and low pH, causes the sucralose to break down into 4-chloro-4-deoxy-galactose (4CG) and 1,6-dichloro-1,6-dideoxyfructose (1,6 DCF),
The Chemical Abstracts Service Registry number (CAS Reg. No.) for sucralose is 56038-13-2.
Should Sucralose be Avoided?

The Holistic Medicine Web Page cites the following reasons to avoid sucralose:

Pre-approval tests indicated potential toxicity of sucralose.

There are no *independent* controlled human studies on sucralose (similar to 15 years ago for aspartame).
There are no long-term (12-24 months) human studies of sucralose's effects.
There is no monitoring of health effects. It took government agencies decades to agree that there were countless thousands of deaths from tobacco. Why? Simply because there had been no monitoring or epidemiological studies. Without such monitoring and studies, huge effects can easily go unnoticed.

Do Products with Sucralose Carry Any Warning Labels Or Information Statements?

No. The regulatory agencies and scientific review bodies that have endorsed the safety of sucralose have not required any warning information to be placed on the labels of products sweetened with sucralose.

The Sucralose Toxicity Information Center concludes that:

While it is unlikely that sucralose is as toxic as the poisoning people are experiencing from Monsanato's aspartame, it is clear from the hazards seen in pre-approval research and from its chemical structure that years or decades of use may contribute to serious chronic immunological or neurological disorders.

The Consumer's Research Magazine concludes that:

"As Americans continue to choose ever-increasing amounts of such foods and beverages, sweeteners may soar to higher consumption levels. The long-range health effects from such escalation need careful evaluation. Do additional approved sweetening agents truly contribute to good health? Do they really meet special dietary needs? Or, do they merely further encourage poor dietary choices? "

Recent Examples of What Splenda Can Do To You

Dear Dr. Mercola,

I wanted to thank you for posting your article regarding sucralose, and to inform you of my reaction to eating it today.
I bought a low-carb bar called "Ultimate Lo Carb" by Biochem at a local health food store. I have been eating foods low in starchy carbs and thought this might be a good snack bar. Well, almost immediately after eating eat I became nauseous. Then my stomach starting cramping and I began dry heaving.
I wondered what could have caused this and decided to try and read the label. The only ingredient I did not recognize was "sucralose".

So, I jumped on the internet and did a search for it and found your article. In the meantime I was heaving and feeling even worse. Well, I am allergic to chlorine, as well as having a liver that doesn't function very well (I take a natural supplement called "Lipogen" for liver support as prescribed by my ND), and when I saw what you had to say about sucralose, I figured that was what was causing it.

I kept feeling worse, and I decided I needed to get it out of my system and took some ipecac (maybe not the best move, but the only thing I could think of). By the time the syrup got into my stomach the heaving was getting worse and intestinal distress was setting in. It was like eating bad seafood. I nearly died of food poisoning by crab legs a number of years back, and this was the closest thing to that feeling.

Finally everything in my system started coming out, and my body didn't stop until my entire digestive tract was cleared out. I have never reacted this violently to anything I have eaten except for when I have had food poisoning.

Something needs to be done to get this product off the market.
I can't help but be convinced that the FDA takes payoffs. No ethical person could approve the use of things like MSG (another thing I cannot tolerate eating), which is classified by the FDA as an excitotoxin and is known to be harmful to the central nervous system. I will do everything to get people to read your article and get the word out on the FDA's latest blunder.

Best, Shelley Flis
Dear Dr. Mercola,
THANK YOU so much for your informative site! I am currently "detoxing" from using sucralose after a terrible reaction. It all began with purchasing a box of Splenda. The changes (in my opinion) were subtle.

However, my family and friends noticed immediately. I became withdrawn and disinterested in my usual hobbies. Everything became a "chore." I was tired during the day, but couldn't sleep at night either. I play flute which requires a quick mental process and fingering skills to match but suddenly I was struggling to play. Typing is difficult, as well.

During the past three weeks I noticed myself "zoning out." I'd become forgetful and moody. I thought perhaps it was the Splenda, because that was the only thing different in my daily habits.

I quickly dismissed the thought - despite having experienced a similar situation with Equal a few years back. I called it "Jekyl v. Hyde Syndrome." But it seemed I noticed the changes much quicker with Equal than with Splenda.

I really suffered yesterday. I was an emotional wreck. I cried and cried. I felt like I was losing my mind. My husband and son discussed my disturbing behavior while I was in the shower. Our son, Tim, recalled that the changes began with that little yellow box. Steve, (my husband,) mentioned it to me. Little by little, things fell into place, including the unexplainable accident I recently had in our truck.

I had just stopped at a stop sign and the trooper said that I couldn't have been going over 15 miles an hour when I nearly rolled our truck. Even he said that I narrowly escaped injury. I nearly had a second accident last week.

My senses had become SO dulled, I could barely function.
I could not focus on anything. Even playing my flute was so hard. I normally stand to play, but for the past two weeks at practice, I sat a lot. I felt "dazed."

This morning, I feel MUCH better than I have in the recent weeks. Not quite "normal," but much better. Even the acne (on my otherwise clear skin) is fading away. Yep! I had a patch of acne, which appeared when I began using Splenda!

How many people are suffering from what appears to be diseases - or even acne, when it is simply a reaction to a chemical they are ingesting? If companies were forced to list the ingredients of these products, such as arsenic, they'd sure be a lot more careful! I mean, who would intentionally poison themselves?

Debby Fazekas
Dear Dr. Mercola,

Four years ago I began to have panic attacks and was on BuSpar for about a year. I started reading about aspartame and consumed the product daily -- mostly in diet drinks and was a big consumer of Diet Rite. After learning about problems other people were having I quit completely consuming the stuff. And have been panic free for 3 years.

In December I started using splenda and at the same time started having a great deal of anxiety and had a couple of panic attacks but didn't think about the link of Splenda and the anxiety until about a week ago. I also had my mom visiting and introduced her to Splenda -- guess what -- she started having panic attacks during her visit and actually cut her visit short due to her feeling bad.

I haven't consumed anymore of it for a week but am still having problems. Oh, I also was having an irregular heart beat which I did see my doctor about. He assured me that my blood pressure was excellent and cholesterol also good and I shouldn't worry about my heart.

I consume very little to no caffine. Local doctors don't put much faith in the idea that Nutra Sweet caused problems. I'm sure my new theory about Splenda would carry even less weight. By the way, I have a very stess-free life-style. I run my own little business and set my own hours. I don't believe my environment is causing any irregular stress.
I found this website while researching the new sweetener SPLENDA, a sweetener included in the DIET ICE BOTANICALS drink made by Talking Rain Beverage Co., Preston WA. 98050 Ph. 1-800-734-0748, WWW.TALINGRAIN.COM, currently sold at SAMS warehouse club.

The shocking thing I read at the end of your article on this is the Food Poisoning like symptoms. I've probably drank about 30 -16oz bottles of the stuff, which supposedly contains St, Johns Wort, Kava-Kava, and Ginseng, among other "good" things for you. My son has been sneaking a few bottles to past Mom, despite my apprehension.

We both came down with a similar food poisoning which lasted nearly 10 days for him, and is going on day 3 for me, and I'm throwing the stuff out today.
Thanks for your information,
Dear Dr. Mercola:

Thank you so much for your webpage. I recently drank my first bottle of Virgin Diet Cola, and experienced a mind-numbing headache. I was literally seeing spots. I read the label, thinking there must be something crazy in the cola. The one ingredient I didn't recognize was "Sucralose." My husband, a doctor, said he'd never heard of the ingredient either.

After having read your site, I've cleaned my cupboards of Pure Protein bars, which I had no idea contained this deadly chemical, and, needless to say, will NOT be purchasing any of the other products you've listed. Thank you for your thorough research and intelligent, accessible data.

Dr. Mercola,

I was horrified to read some of the letters on your website. I was excited at first to find an artificial sweetener that did not give me Migraines like Aspartame (which also caused some depression). Although I did not use it a lot, after about 6 months of OCCASIONAL use, I detected a pattern in my Splenda use and severe altered emotional state. I became irate, impatient, hyper-sensitive to noise, clutter and children. I really thought this was a mental breakdown, or spiritual attack of some sort. These episodes only came periodically, but they really scared me. Then I noticed a pattern - use of sucralose, followed in hours (or the next morning) by one of these events (lasting 3 to 5 hours). What a relief! I'm not really going nuts - and I can fix this, by never using the product again. What really upsets me is that how many people are suffering and will NEVER make any connection.

How many doctors are treating these people with anti-depressants? How many body-conscious teenagers are committing suicide because of this severe alteration of emotional function? I realize that not all people have the same symptoms, but I would really like to join a support group, or get involved in a chat room or join a campaign and GET THE INFORMATION OUT!!!
I also would be interested in knowing if there is any information on exactly what component of Sucralose affects the brain/nervous system and causes altered emotional states.

Thank you,
I was looking up the sweetener Sucralose which is in ACTII kettle corn. I was trying to find out if it was the same as nutra sweet or aspertine. Whenever I eat anything that has that in it, I get pains in my leg and knee. I can not sleep because of the pain, it hurts to walk up the stairs and so on. The pain will go away when I stop eating anything with that in it, within one to two weeks. I had a friend who got pain all over her body after drinking diet soda.
I wish to share with the medical field the terrible reactions I experienced after eating the product "splenda".

I do not know who to tell, but I do feel it is important.
I am not diabetic; however, I had two good friends come to dinner, and they brought this big "yellow box of Splenda" life, my health was so messed up for the next week I didn't know what was wrong.

I am healthy. I am 44, in great health, 125 pounds, no medicine presc. at all...and yet the morning after I ate this product "Splenda" I was in terrible, terrible pain.
I only ate it, because I cooked two pies for my diabetic friends.
The next 6 days were full of such excruciating pain, I hated to have to go to a doctor but I had to. I cried, the pain in my chest hurt so much.

I want someone that is doing research on this product to understand it really can hurt healthy people, without their knowing it.

I thought I had a heart problem. Fortunately it was a reaction to this product; yet the doctor I saw that ran all kinds of tests, never asked me if I had "ate" anything new!!!!

If I can provide you with anything else I would be pleased to; I don't want anyone else to have to experience the terrible pain in the chest that I did. It was "EXCRUCIATING" doubt about it.

You can add me to the list of people who have had a bad experience with sucralose. I purchased and ate a bag of jelly beans yesterday afternoon.
No carbs sounded wonderful, and they really did taste great, so I grabbed another bag on my way home
Unfortunately, a couple of hours later, I started experiencing food poisoning-like symptoms. It was clear to me that my system is trying to rid itself of something, so I looked at the packaging of the only thing I ate last night and found your web page. I was up all night and my normally flat and trim tummy is distended to the point that, when I lay on my back, I look seven months' pregnant!
I am grateful I now know what is causing my discomfort -- I will definitely avoid this product at all costs when shopping for my family!! Thank you for an informative article!!

Dear Doctor Mercola,

I'm not expecting an answer to my email, however I do want to say thank you. After reading your site I am certain now that I was poisoned by Splenda. I knew I was poisoned and I knew it wasn't "food poisoning" from a bacteria. The pain in my body was definitely neurological. I am still experiencing some of the pain and am flushing my Splenda down the drain today. The pain was excruciating, in every part of my body. I am a nurse and I knew instantly that I was experiencing neurological symptoms. I had diarrhea for 3 days also. I came very close to calling 911. I am a 53 year old female in excellent health. These symptoms hit me like a brick very quickly. My blood pressure sky rocketed and I almost fell on my face in a parking lot. I'm on my way now to whole foods to purchase some granular vitamin c to detoxify my body. You saved my life. Thank you again for your information.
G., RN

I've just been reading up on sucralose because I realized just this past week that I've been having a bad reaction to a product I've been using since December - Splenda. I started using Splenda in my coffee and tea since late December and shortly after I began itching in various place on my body and bright red rashed and welts appeared as well. It seemed to be the worst in the evening and only a little in the day. I didn't relate it to the Splenda at all, but I had my coffee in the morning, two cups, the second I rarely finished, and I would have two to three cups of hot tea in the evenings. I finally saw my doctor in March and after seeing my rash and how badly I itched and hearing what I described, he told me that I was allergic to something I was ingesting. I still didn't put it together, at least I didn't want to.
I knew that Splenda was the only thing I had changed and had still been using since the itching started, but I didn't want to go back to sugar and the other substitutes weren't options for me because of the aspertame. Splenda "had" to be alright since it was made from sugar, I thought. The doctor put me on some medication to stop the itching and clear up the rash. While I took it for a week and½, the itching stopped. The rash would still be visible, but now it just looked sort of like it was underlying the skin, as if it were just dormat. Two weeks after my first doctor visit, I had a follow-up and the doctor said I looked fine and to see him again in three months just to make sure, unless, of course, it started again.

Well, it did start again, that very night, in fact. I itched and itched. I waited a few days, but the itching got so bad, I took some of the medication that I still had, since I hadn't used it up. I would just take it at night so I could sleep and then only every two or three days so the pills would last until I could get to the doctor again. The rash would still appear and it would be that very bright red color, different size spots and some odd shapes as well. Sometimes I would get streaks. One day last week I had two streaks going up my neck side by side, each almost as wide as my finger and at the base of my neck a large red splotch.

Wednesday night the itching was terrible again and I finally gave in to the inescapable fact that Splenda had to be the root of this problem, so I stopped using it in my tea that night, and have not used it in anything since. I have still had the rash appear periodically as before, but not as often and not so bright red, no welts appear, and I have not been itching nearly as much or as badly. I'm guessing that it may take time for the stuff to get out of my system completely. I guess I am writing this to you to have my experience with Sucralose documented in some way, even if it's just an email. I would love to know, though, if you know of anyone else who has had a similar experience. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Don't let these large companies fool you. There is no magic alternative to sugar when it comes to sweeteners. You simply can not have your cake and eat it too when it comes to this area. It is far too early to tell, as not enough people have consumed this product to observe large numbers of adverse effects.

However, I have had a number of patients in our Wellness Center who have had some severe migraines and even seizures possibly from consuming this product.

My advice?

AVOID Sucralose.
I am fond of telling people that if something tastes sweet you probably should spit it out as it is not likely to be to good for you. This of course, is a humorous exaggeration, but for most people who struggle with chronic illness, it is likely to be a helpful guide.
PLEASE note this article is being written in 2000. This is one of the first comprehensive clear investigative reports and warnings on sucralose on the Internet.

Related Articles:

The Dangers of Chlorine and Issues With Sucralose

Food and Drug Administration "Final Rule " for Sucralose, 21 CFR Part 172, Docket No. 87F-0086.
Lord GH, Newberne PM. Renal mineralization -- a ubiquitous lesion in chronic rat studies. Food Chem Toxicol 1990 Jun;28:449-55.
Labare MP, Alexander M. Microbial cometabolism of sucralose, a chlorinated disaccharide, in environmental samples. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 1994 Oct;42:173-8.
Hunter BT. Sucralose. Consumers' Research Magazine, Oct90, Vol. 73 Issue 10, p8, 2p.
Maudlin RK. FDA approves sucralose for expanded use. Modern Medicine, Oct99, Vol. 67 Issue 10, p57, 1/9p
Sucralose -- a new artificial sweetener. Medical Letter on Drugs & Therapeutics, 07/03/98, Vol. 40, Issue 1030, p67, 2p.
Q&A: Is newly FDA approved sweetener sucralose good for you? Executive Health's Good Health Report, Nov98, Vol. 35 Issue 2, p6, 1p, 1c. Gain B. FDA approves J&J Sweetener. Chemical Week, 04/15/98, Vol. 160 Issue 14, p27, 1/4p.

Sucralose Toxicity Information Center:

Splenda Product Web Site

Dr Mercola's qualifications:

Copyright 2003 Dr. Joseph Mercola. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Dr. Mercola is required.

Disclaimer - The entire contents of this article are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola. They are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and they are not intended as medical advice. They are intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

Drinking more water and using sugar (natural or brown are better than white overly refined) sparingly are great options. Molasses, natural maple syrup, agave and honey are good alternatives but stevia, xylitol an honey crystals are great natural alternatives when a a granulated sugar type sweetener is called for. 

**However… xylitol, safe for human consumption, can be fatal for dogs and other animals**


The 76 Dangers of Sugar

Thursday, April 7, 2011

15 Most Dangerous Drugs Big Pharma Don't Want You to Know About

November 19, 2010 (

In the pharmaceutical industry’s rush to get drugs to market, safety usually comes last. Long studies to truly assess a drug's risks just delay profits after all -- and if problems do emerge after medication hits the market, settlements are usually less than profits. Remember, Vioxx still made money.

The following drugs are so plagued with safety problems, it is a wonder they’re on the market at all. It's a testament to Big Pharma's greed and our poor regulatory processes that they are.

Lipitor and Crestor

Why is Lipitor the bestselling drug in the world? Because every adult with high LDL or fear of high LDL is on it. (And also 2.8 million children, says Consumer Reports.) No one is going to say statins don't prevent heart attack in high-risk patients (though diet and exercise have worked in high-risk groups too). But doctors will say statins are so over-prescribed that more patients get their side effects -- weakness, dizziness, pain and arthritis -- than heart attack prevention. Worse, they think it's old age!

"My older patients literally do without food so that they can buy these medicines that make them sicker, feel bad, and do nothing to improve life," says an ophthalmologist web poster from Tennessee. "There is no scientific basis for treating older folks with $300+/month meds that have serious side-effects and largely unknown multiple drug interactions."What kinds of side effects? All statins can cause muscle breakdown (called rhabdomyolysis) but combining them with antibiotics, protease inhibitors drugs and anti-fungals increases your risks. In fact, Crestor is so highly linked to rhabdomyolysis it is doubly criticised: Public Citizen calls it a Do Not Use and the FDA's David Graham named it one of the five most dangerous drugs before Congress.

Yaz and Yasmin

It sounded too good to be true and it was. Birth control pills that also cleared up acne, treated severe PMS (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder or PMDD) and avoided the water retention of traditional birth control pills.

But soon after Bayer launched Yaz in 2006 as going "beyond birth control," 18-year-olds were coming down with blood clots, gall bladder disease, heart attacks and even strokes. Fifteen-year-old Katie Ketner had her gallbladder removed. Susan Gallenos had a stroke and part of her skull removed. College student Michelle Pfleger, 18, collapsed and died of a pulmonary thromboemboli from taking Yaz, says her mother Joan Cummins.

While TV ads for Yaz in 2008 were so misleading that FDA ordered Bayer to run correction ads, Yaz sales are still brisk. In fact, financial analysts attribute the third quarter slump in the Yaz "franchise" of 28.1 percent to the appearance of a Yaz generic, not to the thousands of women who have been harmed.

Why is Yaz sometimes deadly? It includes a drug that was never before marketed in the U.S. -- drospirenone -- and apparently causes elevated potassium, heart problems, and a change in acid balance of the blood. Who knew? But not only is Bayer still marketing it, women do not receive "test subject" compensation for using it either.

Lyrica, Topomax and Lamictal

Why would you take an epilepsy seizure drug for pain? The same reason you'll take an antipsychotic for the blues and an antidepressant for knee pain: good consumer marketing. In August FDA ordered a warning for aseptic meningitis, or brain inflammation, on Lamictal -- but it is still the darling of military and civilian doctors for unapproved pain and migraine. Lamictal also has the distinction of looting $51 million from Medicaid last year despite a generic existing.

All seizure drugs increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors according to their mandated labels. An April article in JAMA found seizure drugs linked to 26 suicides, 801 attempted suicides, and 41 violent deaths in just five years.

All three drugs can make you lose your memory and your hair, say posters on the drug rating site Topamax is referred to as "Stupamax" in the military -- though evidently not enough to ask, "Why am I taking this drug again?"

Humira, Prolia and TNF Blockers

If you think pharma is producing a lot of expensive, dangerous injectables lately, you're right. Yesterday's blockbuster pills have been supplanted with vaccines and biologics that are more lucrative and safer...from generic competition, that is. The problem is, not only are biologics like Humira and Prolia creepy and dangerous -- they're made from genetically engineered hamster cells and suppress the actual immune system -- the diseases they treat are "sold" to healthy people.

Recently, thousands of college students in Chicago found inserts in their campus newspapers hawking Humira for Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. ("Hate psoriasis? Love clearer skin," says an ad on the Humira Web site featuring a pretty woman.) And earlier this year Prolia was approved by the FDA for postmenopausal osteoporosis with a high risk of fracture. Do healthy people really want to suppress their body's tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and invite tuberculosis, serious, possibly lethal infections, melanoma, lymphoma and "unusual cancers in children and teenagers" as the Humira label warns? Nor is it clear these drugs work. The Humira label warns against developing "new or worsening" psoriasis -- a condition it is supposed to treat.


How unsafe is the anti-smoking drug Chantix? After 397 FDA cases of possible psychosis, 227 domestic reports of suicidal acts, thoughts or behaviors and 28 suicides, the government banned pilots and air traffic controllers and interstate truck and bus drivers from taking Chantix in 2008. Four months later, some military pharmacies banned the drug, which reduces both cravings and smoking pleasure. In addition to Chantix' neuropsychiatric effects (immortalized by New Bohemians musician Carter Albrecht, who was shot to death in 2007 in Texas by a neighbor after acting aggressively), Chantix is linked to angioedema, serious skin reactions, visual impairment, accidental injury, dizziness, muscle spasms, seizures and loss of consciousness.

In defending an increasingly indefensible drug, Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation said last year, "Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States and we know these products are effective aids in helping people quit." True enough -- but if you smoke cigarettes you can still drive an interstate truck.


Sleeping pills like Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata and Rozerem only decrease get-to-sleep time by 18 minutes according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

But Ambien has additional cachet compared to its soporific brethren: it is the drug Tiger Woods reportedly used when cavorting with his consorts; and former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy was taking it when he crashed his Ford Mustang while driving to Capitol Hill in the middle of the night to "vote" in 2006.

In fact Ambien's legendary somnambulism side effects -- people walk, drive, make phone calls and even have sex while sleeping -- has increased traffic accidents say law enforcement officials, with some drivers not even recognizing arresting police. Thanks to bad Ambien press, Sanofi-Aventis has had to run ads telling the public to get in bed and stay there if you are going to take Ambien. (Or you'll break out in handcuffs, as the joke goes.) Ambien has also increased the national weight problem as dieters wake up amid mountains of pizza, Krispy Kreme and Häagen-Dazs cartons consumed by their evil twins.


Is it a coincidence that Tamoxifen maker AstraZenaca founded Breast Cancer Awareness Month and makes carcinogenic agrochemicals that cause breast cancer? Both the original safety studies of Tamoxifen, which causes cancer, birth defects and is a chemical cousin of organochlorine pesticides, and its original marketing were riddled with scientific error. In fact, FDA objected to AstraZeneca's marketing claim of breast cancer prevention and the casting of endometrial cancer as an "uncommon" event 10 years ago.
Yet today pharma-linked doctors still tell women to take Tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer even though an American Journal of Medicine study found the average life expectancy increase is nine days (and Public Citizen says for every case of breast cancer Tamoxifen prevents there is a life-threatening case of blood clots, stroke or endometrial cancer). A Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation study shows an example of Tamoxifen's downside: 57.2 percent of women on continuous Tamoxifen developed atrophy of the lining of the uterus, 35.7 coexisting hyperphasia and 8.1 percent uterine polyps. We won't even talk about eye and memory problems -- or the Tamoxifen cousin, Evista, that pharma is also pushing which has a "death from stroke" warning on its label.


Why is the bisphosphonate bone drug Boniva available in a convenient, once-monthly formulation? Could patients balk at the fact that after you take it you have to avoid lying down for at least 60 minutes to "help decrease the risk of problems in the esophagus and stomach," wait at least 60 minutes before eating or drinking anything except water, never take it with mineral water, sparkling water, coffee, tea, milk, juice or other oral medicine, including calcium, antacids, or vitamins, and of course, "do not chew or suck"? Nor should you take Boniva, say the warnings, "if you have difficult or painful swallowing, chest pain or continuing or severe heartburn, have low blood calcium or severe kidney disease or if severe bone, joint and/or muscle pain."

Bone drugs like Boniva, Fosamax and Actonel are a good example of FDA approving once-unapprovable drugs by transferring risk onto the public's shoulders with "we warned you" labels. The warnings are supposed to make people make their own safety decisions. Except that people just think FDA wouldn't have approved it if it weren't safe.

Prempro and Premarin

You'd think Pfizer's hormone drugs Prempro and the related Premarin and Provera would be history in light of their perks: 26 percent increase in breast cancer, 41 percent increase in strokes, 29 percent increase in heart attacks, 22 percent increase in cardiovascular disease, double the rates of blood clots and links to deafness, urinary incontinence, cataracts, gout, joint degeneration, asthma, lupus, scleroderma, dementia, Alzheimer's disease and lung, ovarian, breast, endometrial, gall bladder and melanoma cancers -- pant pant. But you'd be wrong. Even as we speak, Pfizer-linked researchers are testing the cognitive and cardiovascular "benefits" of hormone therapy, in some cases with our tax dollars, at major universities. Even though the cancer rate in the U.S. and Canada fell when women quit hormone therapy in 2002 (as did the U.S. heart attack rate in women), pharma is rolling out HT "Light" for women who suffer from the "ism" of incredibly short memory.