Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Can Chinese Food Cause Cancer?

Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a common ingredient in Chinese food, may cause stomach cancer, according to a study by researchers at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute.

Their analysis of 134 patients found that nearly half of those with stomach, rectal and colon cancer were regular consumers of Chinese food from middle- or low-end restaurants. Most of them also had ulcers, which were also linked to MSG.

In 2004, the World Health Organization declared MSG unsafe for human consumption, but it is still widely used.
• Sources: Times of India December 31, 2007
Dr Mercola Comment
Chinese food is usually the first cuisine that comes to mind when anyone mentions MSG, and this is because it was commonly added to Chinese dishes to enhance flavors and make foods taste fresher. Even MSG Symptom Complex, which is a term used to describe short-term reactions to MSG, was called “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” for some time in the United States.
It is, however, completely unfair to only point the finger at Chinese restaurants when it comes to MSG.
This food additive, which I can confidently say is one of the absolute worst on the market, is used in canned soups, crackers, meats, salad dressings, frozen dinners and much, much more. It’s found in your local supermarket and restaurants, in your child’s school cafeteria and, amazingly, even in your baby’s food and infant formula (another reason why breastfeeding is vastly superior).
One of the best overviews of the very real dangers of MSG comes from Dr. Blaylock, author of the highly recommended Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills. He explains that MSG is an excitotoxin, which means that it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, acting as a poison.
Aside from harming your brain, MSG has also been linked to:
• Obesity
• Eye damage
• Headaches
• Fatigue and disorientation
• Depression
Is There MSG in YOUR Food?
Food manufacturers are not stupid. They’ve caught on to the fact that people like you want to avoid eating this nasty food additive. As a result, do you think they responded by removing MSG from their products? Well, a few may have, but most of them just tried to “clean” their labels. In other words, they tried to hide the fact that MSG is an ingredient.
How do they do this? By using names that you would never associate with MSG. Fortunately, you can get a full list of ingredients that contain MSG at For instance, the ingredients below all contain MSG:
• Gelatin
• Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
• Yeast Extract
• Malted Barley
• Rice Syrup or Brown Rice Syrup
In general, if a food is processed you can assume it contains MSG. So if you stick to a whole, fresh foods diet like the one in my nutrition plan, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll avoid this toxin.
The other place where you’ll need to watch out for MSG is in restaurants. You can ask your server which menu items are MSG-free, and request that no MSG be added to your meal, but of course the only place where you can be entirely sure of what’s added to your food is in your own kitchen.
But to be on the safe side, here is a list of ingredients that ALWAYS contain MSG:
Autolyzed Yeast Calcium Caseinate Gelatin Glutamate Glutamic Acid
Hydrolyzed Protein Monopotassium Glutamate Monosodium Glutamate Sodium Caseinate Textured Protein
Yeast Extract Yeast Food Yeast Nutrient
And a list of ingredients that OFTEN contain MSG:
Barley Malt Bouillon Broth Carrageenan Enzyme- modified Substances Flavoring
Flavors / Flavoring Malt Extract Malt Flavoring Maltodextrin Natural Flavor / Flavorings Natural Pork / Beef / Chicken Flavoring
Pectin Protein- fortified Substances Seasonings Soy Protein Soy Protein Isolate or Concentrate Soy Sauce and Soy Sauce Extract
Stock Vegetable Gum Whey Protein Whey Protein Isolate or Concentrate

Related Articles:
Why You do NOT Want to Eat Processed Foods
The Shocking Dangers of MSG You Don’t Know
The Danger of MSG and How it is Hidden in Vaccines

Source Dr Mercola Newsletter #1056 – 17 January 2008
Contact me Marilyn Vine

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Top 10 Scientific Developments of 2007

This is a post I read from TeamSizzle forum, postded by Marilyn Vine.


FAN Bulletin 925: Fluoride: Top 10 Scientific Developments of 2007 - January 17, 2008

Dear Supporter,

Today, the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) posted a new review of the "Top 10 Scientific Developments" in 2007. To access a copy of the review, click here.

As detailed in the review, 2007 was another important year in fluoride research, with studies not only questioning long-held views about fluoride's purported benefits, but raising new concerns about its impact on human health. We have posted an excerpt of the review below, detailing some of the new research on fluoride's effect on the brain. (Our review does not include the 19 Chinese studies on fluoride's brain effects that FAN translated in 2007. Many of these will be appearing in an upcoming volume of the journal Fluoride sometime later this year.)

While some toxicologists might be willing to ignore such a large body of literature if they were looking at an additive to motor oil, or dealing with a drug designed to prolong the life of someone with a terminal illness, it would be utterly reckless, in our view, to do so when dealing with a substance added to the drinking water of every man, woman and child. And yet, that is what is happening with water fluoridation. Those who do not have an invested interest in defending fluoridation can see this and that is why so many are signing the Professionals' Statement calling for an end to water fluoridation worldwide.

Paul Connett

p.s. If you know of a science or medical professional who may be interested in signing the Professionals' Statement, please send them the Statement and FAN's latest review of the research.

1) New Evidence on Fluoride & the Developing Brain
In 2007, the question of how fluoride affects the developing brain gained renewed attention from researchers around the world. Research teams from Brazil, China, India, Italy, Mexico, and the United States conducted important new analyses, including 3 new studies investigating fluoride's impact on childhood IQ (1a,b,c), and several new animal studies investigating fluoride's effects on learning, memory, and behaviour (1d,e). The studies, which strengthen the concerns expressed by the US National Research Council in 2006, further highlight that it's not just the teeth, but the brain, that may be impacted by too much fluoride during infancy and childhood. As noted in a review presented this fall by Harvard scientists Philippe Grandjean and Anna Choi:
"In humans, only five substances have so far been documented as developmental neurotoxicants: lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene. From this evidence, including our own studies on some of these substances, parallels may be drawn that suggest that fluoride could well belong to the same class of toxicants, but uncertainties remain" (1f). While uncertainties remain -- as is common in science -- several of the studies published this year made important advances in addressing some of the shortcomings of previous research. In particular, a study (1a) linking high-fluoride (5 ppm) water to reduced IQ among a group of Mexican children made important steps in the right direction by simultaneously controlling (via multiple regression analysis) for other key factors known to affect IQ, including parent's education, income, and childhood lead exposure. In addition to controlling for these factors the Mexican researchers helped eliminate a source of bias by "blinding" the psychologist conducting the IQ tests so that the examiner did not know which children had, or did not have, high fluoride exposures.

According to the authors:
"We found that exposure to F (fluoride) in urine was associated with reduced Performance, Verbal, and Full IQ scores before and after adjusting for confounders. The same pattern was observed for models with F in water as the exposure variable.... The individual effect of F in urine indicated that for each mg increase of F in urine a decrease of 1.7 points in Full IQ might be expected."

In addition to assessing the effect of fluoride on IQ, the Mexican team studied the effect of arsenic as well and found similar results. Based on their data, the authors conclude that
"fluoride and arsenic in drinking water have a potential neurotoxic effect in children. It is urgent that public health measures to reduce exposure levels be implemented. Millions of people around the world are exposed to these pollutants and are therefore potentially at risk for negative impact on intelligence. This risk may be increased where other factors affecting central nervous system development, such as malnutrition and poverty, are also present. The risk is particularly acute for children, whose brains are particularly sensitive to environmental toxins. Furthermore, it would be advisable to re-examine the benefits of fluoride given the documented health risks."

While some pro-fluoride supporters may attempt to dismiss the results of this study -- since the levels of fluoride in the water (~5-6 ppm) are higher than the levels added to water in fluoridation programs (0.7-1.2 ppm) -- it would be short-sighted to dismiss such important findings on this basis. After all, the study was able to detect a statistically significant effect within a rather small (n=155) group of children. Since individuals vary widely in their sensitivity to chemicals, it is plausible, and indeed likely, that -- if fluoride can cause IQ loss at 5 ppm in a small group of children (e.g. hundreds) -- it could also cause IQ loss at lower levels in a much larger group of children (e.g. many millions).

Moreover, as noted by Dr. Kathleen Thiessen, a panelist from the National Research Council's review of fluoride, there is "almost certainly overlaps" in the daily doses ingested by some of the Mexican children in the study and the daily doses ingested by some American children - especially when considering the myriad other sources of fluoride exposure now available in the US.


1a) Rocha-Amador D, et al. (2007). Decreased intelligence in children and exposure to fluoride and arsenic in drinking water. Cadernos de Saude Publica 23(Suppl 4):S579-87.
1b) Wang SX, et al. (2007). Arsenic and fluoride exposure in drinking water: children's IQ and growth in Shanyin county, Shanxi province, China. Environmental Health Perspectives 115(4):643-7.
1c) Trivedi MH, et al. (2007). Effect of high fluoride water on intelligence of school children in India. Fluoride 40(3):178-183.
1d) Bera I, et al. (2007). Neurofunctional effects of developmental sodium fluoride exposure in rats. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences 11(4):211-24.
1e) Chioca LR, et al. (2007). Subchronic fluoride intake induces impairment in habituation and active avoidance tasks in rats. European Journal of Pharmacology Oct 25; [Epub ahead of print]
1f) Choi A, Grandjean P. (2007). Potentials for developmental fluoride neurotoxicity. XXVII Conference of the International Society for Fluoride Research, October 9-12, 2007, Beijing, China.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies are Widespread in Europe

By Paul Anthony Taylor

So why is the European Commission planning to ban thousands of supplements when it has already admitted that most of them are safe?

Evidence increasingly suggests that vitamin and mineral deficiencies are widespread in the European Union. A recent report, for example, suggests that up to 3.6 million people in the UK now suffer from malnutrition. As a result, according to the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, malnutrition currently costs the UK's National Health Service more than £7.3bn (€10.8bn / US $14.8bn) a year.

With the estimates suggesting that up to 6% of the UK population could be suffering from serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and UK hospital figures showing malnutrition to be found in all age groups, including newborn babies, one has to question the wisdom of an upcoming proposal from the European Commission – the European Union's executive body – that threatens to ban thousands of vitamin and mineral supplements from being sold in Europe.

After all, it's not as if the problem of nutritional deficiencies was only confined to the UK.
In 1997, for example, a report by the European Commission into nutrient intake in European Union Member States concluded that "for almost all vitamins, minerals and trace elements, there exist one or more population groups with intakes below nationally recommended levels." People thought to be particularly at risk included: women; adolescents or children (particularly "picky" ones); the elderly; women during the peri-conceptual period; people on a diet for losing weight; people on vegetarian diets; people having allergies to foods; persons eating a high proportion of "fast foods" or "junk foods" and others.

The nutrients found to be most often deficient included iron, iodine and vitamins B2, B6 and D; and this despite the fact that in many cases, with the exception of iodine, they were already being added to some foods as mandatory fortificants.

Restrictions on permitted nutrient levels in supplements

Given the widespread nature of nutrient deficiencies in Europe, naturopathic doctors, natural health experts and millions of consumers are currently up in arms over the fact that the European Commission is preparing to propose, before the end of this year, restrictions on the maximum permitted levels of vitamins and minerals in food supplements.

Ignoring independent studies showing that the nutrient content of our food has fallen substantially over the past few decades, as well as an abundance of knowledge and scientific data on vitamins and nutrition that has been available for 50, 60, 70 even 80 years, it is widely expected that the levels the Commission is planning will be highly restrictive and far below those that are necessary to achieve and maintain optimum health. If these expectations are correct, therefore, the legal enforcement of such levels will result in the enactment of Europe-wide bans upon literally thousands of food supplement products, some of which have been sold and consumed safely for decades.

European Commission admits that most supplements are safe

Not for the first time, however, the European Commission's plans are openly at odds with some of its previous assurances.
In 2002, for example, during the run-up to the adoption by the European Parliament of the controversial Food Supplements Directive, the then European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, David Byrne, published a message on the internet, on behalf of the Commission, in which he claimed that "The aim is not to ban food supplements, as some have alleged."

Byrne's message was published in response to the large number of letters that the Commission had received from citizens who were concerned about the Directive and who were opposed to its adoption. Notably, therefore, Byrne specifically stated in this message that: "There is no doubt that most of the products marketed today are safe and of the expected quality."

As such, if the maximum levels for vitamins and minerals that the Commission proposes turn out to be as low as some observers are claiming they will be, many consumers of food supplements will quite reasonably conclude that the Commission knowingly intends to ban products that it considers to be safe.

Perhaps mindful of the large numbers of European citizens who oppose the Food Supplements Directive, Byrne chose to end his message as follows: "I can assure you that your interests and those of consumers in general were at the top of our concerns when we proposed the Directive. I believe that you have every right to have a wide choice of safe and appropriately labelled food supplements available, to buy if you so wish. And I remain convinced that the Directive that will be shortly formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers will ensure that."

When the maximum levels are eventually announced, therefore, European citizens will finally discover whether Byrne and the Commission were telling the truth, or whether – as some have alleged – their real aim was to ban supplements and they were lying all along.

© 2007 by Dr. Rath Health Foundation
Source Alliance Health Freedom Australia – 30 October 2007

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Dangerous Chemical Found in Plastic - Dr Mercola

An oestrogen-like compound widely used in plastic products is thought to be causing serious reproductive disorders, according to a statement by several dozen scientists, including four from federal health agencies. The compound, bisphenol A (BPA), is one of the most-produced chemicals in the world, and almost everyone has traces of it -- or more -- in their bodies.
After reviewing about 700 studies, the scientists concluded that people are exposed to levels of BPA in excess of those that have harmed lab animals. Among the most vulnerable are infants and foetuses, who are still developing.

BPA is used to make hard plastic that’s used in numerous products including:
• Polycarbonate plastic baby bottles
• Large water-cooler containers and sports bottles
• Microwave-oven dishes
• Canned-food liners
• Some dental sealants for children
The statement appeared alongside five accompanying scientific reviews and a new study by the National Institutes of Health that found newborn animals exposed to BPA suffered from uterine damage. The damage could indicate that the chemical causes reproductive disorders in women ranging from fibroids to endometriosis to cancer.

While studies have yet to be conducted to directly examine BPA’s influence on humans, past animal studies have found low doses of the chemical to be associated with early-stage prostate and *** cancers and decreased sperm count.

No governmental agency worldwide has restricted the use of BPA, but a U.S. expert panel is meeting to discuss whether the chemical should be declared a human reproductive toxin, which could lead to regulatory action.

The chemical industry maintains that BPA is safe, and has called the scientists’ statement “alarmist and biased.”
Reproductive Toxicology July 2007
Seattle Times August 3, 2007

Dr Mercola Comment
The use of BPA has clearly spiralled out of control, and now we are having to face the dire consequences. The scientists found that 95% of the people tested had levels of BPA in their bodies that could be harmful.

Perhaps the biggest victims in all of this are foetuses and infants, who may be exposed to the chemical in utero or quite literally “fed” the chemical via plastic baby bottles and toys (which they often put in their mouths).

The problem with BPA is that it doesn’t stay in the plastic. It leeches into whatever food or beverage you put in a plastic container, canned good, or plastic baby bottle. And if you microwave the containers or bottles, you are likely increasing the amount of BPA that leaches into your food.

Another point worth noting is that BPA supposedly does not hang around in your body long after you’re exposed. Yet, this chemical is so pervasive that the scientists think people are simply being continually exposed to it from food, air, dust, and even just by touching items that contain BPA.

BPA mimics the sex hormone estradiol, which can trigger major changes in your body. The problems associated with even small amounts of BPA include:
• Structural damage to your brain
• Hyperactivity
• Abnormal sexual behaviour
• Increased fat formation and risk of obesity
• Early puberty and disrupted reproductive cycles

The potential risks of BPA have been being debated for years. Meanwhile, people just keep on ingesting this toxin -- at levels that are anyone’s guess.

Several readers have commented that, even if BPA does eventually get restricted, there are countless other dangerous chemicals still out there. This is, sadly, very true. The EPA approves new chemicals to the tune of some 700 every year! Still, every step you take toward eliminating a toxin from the products you use is a good one.

Of course, I personally would not wait for a government restriction to begin reducing my exposure to this toxin. The evidence that has amassed thus far is enough to convince me. To be fair, you probably can no longer completely eliminate your exposure to BPA (since it’s likely in our air, water, and food, too) but you can certainly reduce it. The following tips will not only reduce your exposure to BPA, but also to many of the other dangerous plastics chemicals as well.

Ten Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to BPA
1. Only use glass baby bottles and dishes for your baby
2. Give your baby natural fabric toys instead of plastic ones
3. Store your food and beverages in glass -- NOT plastic -- containers
4. IF you choose to use a microwave, don’t microwave food in a plastic container
5. Stop buying and consuming canned foods and drinks
6. Avoid using plastic wrap (and never microwave anything covered in it)
7. Get rid of your plastic dishes and cups, and replace them with glass varieties
8. If you opt to use plastic kitchenware, at least get rid of the older, scratched-up varieties, avoid putting them in the dishwasher, and don’t wash them with harsh detergents, as these things can cause more chemicals to leach into your food
9. Avoid using bottled water; filter your own using a reverse osmosis filter instead
10. Before allowing a dental sealant to be applied to you, or your children’s, teeth, ask your dentist to verify that it does not contain BPA

In the event that you do opt to use plastic containers for your food, be sure to avoid those marked on the bottom with the recycling label No. 7, as these varieties may contain BPA.

Containers marked with the recycling labels No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 do not contain BPA (however they may contain other unsavoury chemicals that you’re best off avoiding by using glass instead).

Related Articles
Common Plastics May Increase Your Child's Obesity Risks
How Safe is Your Food Container?
Our Oceans are Turning Into Plastic

Source: Dr Mercola Newsletter #994, 25 August 2007