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12 Food Additives to Avoid

Including something new in a food isn’t always a good idea, especially when it comes to your health. Here are 12 additives to subtract from your diet:

1. Sodium Nitrate (also called Sodium Nitrite) This is a preservative, coloring, and flavoring commonly added to bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, smoked fish, and corned beef. Studies have linked eating it to various types of cancer.

2. BHA and BHT

Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydrozyttoluene are used to preserve common household foods. They are found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. They are oxidants, which form potentially cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.

3. Propyl Gallate

Another preservative, often used in conjunction with BHA and BHT. It is sometimes found in meat products, chicken soup base, and chewing gum. Animals studies have suggested that it could be linked to cancer.

4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and restaurant food. It can cause headaches and nausea, and animal studies link it to damaged nerve cells in the brains of infant mice.

5. Trans Fats

Trans fats are proven to cause heart disease. Restaurant food, especially fast food chains, often serve foods laden with trans fats.

6. Aspartame

Aspartame, also known by the brand names Nutrasweet and Equal, is a sweetener found in so-called diet foods such as low-calorie desserts, gelatins, drink mixes, and soft drinks. It may cause cancer or neurological problems, such as dizziness or hallucinations.

7. Acesulfame-K

This is a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baked goods, chewing gum, and gelatin desserts. There is a general concern that testing on this product has been scant, and some studies show the additive may cause cancer in rats.

8. Food Colorings: Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; Yellow 6

Five food colorings still on the market are linked with cancer in animal testing. Blue 1 and 2, found in beverages, candy, baked goods and pet food, have been linked to cancer in mice. Red 3, used to dye cherries, fruit cocktail, candy, and baked goods, has been shown to cause thyroid tumors in rats. Green 3, added to candy and beverages, has been linked to bladder cancer. The widely used yellow 6, added to beverages, sausage, gelatin, baked goods, and candy, has been linked to tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney.

9. Olestra

Olestra, a synthetic fat found in some potato chip brands, can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and gas. Olestra also inhibits healthy vitamin absorption from fat-soluble carotenoids that are found in fruits and vegetables.

10. Potassium Bromate

Potassium bromate is used as an additive to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls. It is known to cause cancer in animals, and even small amounts in bread can create a risk for humans.

11. White Sugar

Watch out for foods with added sugars, such as baked goods, cereals, crackers, sauces and many other processed foods. It is unsafe for your health, and promotes bad nutrition.

12. Sodium Chloride

A dash of sodium chloride, more commonly known as salt, can bring flavor to your meal. But too much salt can be dangerous for your health, leading to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Americans spend about 90 percent of their food budget on processed foods, which contain a staggering number of artificial food additives, preservatives, colors and flavor enhancers. That your health suffers as a consequence of this assault should come as no surprise.

To review each of the mere dozen mentioned here could fill several books, and would still only be the tip of the iceberg. As you may already know, I wrote an entire book just on artificial sweeteners, called Sweet Deception. The book is currently out of print as we sold out of the last edition, but we hope to have it back in print by the fall.

However, when it comes to food additives, perhaps one of the most important aspects is the health ramifications they have on your children.

New Study Confirms What Astute Parents Have Known for Years

The issue of whether or not food additives such as artificial colors contribute to behavioral problems in children has been disputed for many years. Fortunately, this may soon change.

A carefully designed randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal The Lancet last year may have finally shifted the tide (for a free PDF of the full study see this link).

It concluded that a variety of common food dyes, and the preservative sodium benzoate – found in many soft drinks, fruit juices and salad dressings – do cause some children to become measurably more hyperactive and distractible.

The seven ingredients tested in the study included:

  • Sodium benzoate (E211)
  • Sunset yellow (E110)
  • Quinoline yellow (E104)
  • Carmoisine (E122)
  • Tartrazine (E102)
  • Ponceau 4R (E124)
  • Allura red AC (E129)

The results of this study have already prompted the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) to issue an immediate advisory to parents, warning them to limit their children's intake of additives if they notice an effect on behavior.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the U.S. has not issued any similar warnings.

The worst behavioral responses from the additives were seen in the three-year-olds, compared to the older children in the study. But even within each age group, some children responded very strongly, and others not at all, indicating there are individual differences in how well your body can tolerate the assault of artificial additives. One theory is that the additives may trigger a release of histamines in certain sensitive kids.

Still, I believe that food additives such as preservatives, sweeteners and colorings should be avoided as much as possible, regardless of whether they have a marked effect or not as they clearly have no redeeming nutritional value, and can carry major long-term health risks.

Food Colors May be as Damaging as Lead in Gasoline on Children’s Brains

Another recent article, published in the British magazine The Independent on April 5 2008, reported that artificial food colors (but not the preservative sodium benzoate) are now set to be removed from hundreds of products in the UK because the results of the study mentioned above also indicate that the E-numbers do as much damage to children's brains as lead in gasoline, resulting in a significant reduction in IQ.

The lead author, Professor Stevenson, and his three colleagues have stated:

"The position in relation to AFCs [Artificial Food Colors] is analogous to the state of knowledge about lead and IQ that was being evaluated in the early 1980s ... Needleman [a researcher] found the difference in IQ between high and low lead groups was 5.5 IQ points ... This is very close to the sizes obtained in our study of food additives."

Officials at the British FSA are advising the food industry to voluntarily remove the six food dyes named in the study by the end of 2009, and replace them with natural alternatives if possible.

True to form, the food industry claims the additives are used in a mere “handful” of products, but the website ActionOnAdditives.com has already identified more than 1,000 food products that contain them – most of which are targeted at children.

BEWARE -- Already Banned Food Additives Still Found in Children’s Medicines

Another thing you need to be aware of, as a parent, is that when an ingredient is banned for use in food, it is not automatically banned for use in other areas such as medicine.

According to an expose’ by the British Food Commission last year, food additives that have already been banned for use in food and beverages are still used in a majority of pediatric over-the-counter medicines.

Their survey found that ALL BUT ONE medicine out of 41 contained an additive that had been banned.

The additives found in these drugs included:

The justification for using these toxic compounds is what you'd typically expect from an over-the-counter pharmaceutical trade group: Unlike foods, additives in medicines are used in small quantities and are only taken for a short time.

Does that make you feel any better?

This is just one more reason why it’s so important to question what your doctor or any other health professional may prescribe or recommend for your child, no matter what side of the counter it comes from, as many pediatric drugs can certainly be harmful, if not downright toxic to your child’s health.

Sugar and Salt

White sugar is named in the list above but I would have to disagree and identify high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as far more problematic than white cane sugar. HFCS is the number one source of calories in the U.S. and causes far more damage than white sugar.

Salt is another challenge, as it can and is a health food for many, but it needs to be the right type of salt. Nearly all commercial salt is highly processed and heated to very high temperatures and has many additives added, which are also potentially toxic. So it would be wise to avoid processed foods with conventional salt added.

However, unprocessed salts, like unrefined sea salts and Himalayan salt can be an important part of a healthy diet. Personally, it is uncommon for a day to go by in which I don’t use Himalayan salt. I am a protein nutritional type and tend to do better with high quality salt.

Are You Allergic to Wireless Internet?

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS) is a condition in which people are highly sensitive to electromagnetic fields. In an area such as a wireless hotspot, they experience pain or other symptoms.

People with EHS experience a variety of symptoms including headache, fatigue, nausea, burning and itchy skin, and muscle aches. These symptoms are subjective and vary between individuals, which makes the condition difficult to study, and has left experts divided about the validity of such claims.

More than 30 studies have been conducted to determine what link the condition has to

exposure to electromagnetic fields from sources such as radar dishes, mobile phone signals and, Wi-Fi hotspots.

Sources:

ABC News May 28, 2008

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS) is still viewed with skepticism by most scientists and medical professionals. The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a workshop in Prague in October 2004 to review the more than 30 studies on the topic. The editors of the workshop stated:

"There are also some indications that these symptoms may be due to pre-existing psychiatric conditions as well as stress reactions as a result of worrying about believed EMF health effects, rather than the EMF exposure itself." But added, "Whatever its cause, EHS is a real and sometimes a disabling problem for the affected persons."

So is it real, or is it just another problem in your head?

With everything I know about the health dangers associated with electromagnetic fields (EMF) and information-carrying radio waves from cell phones, WiFi routers and cell phone towers, I’m convinced EHS is a real and looming health disaster.

Sweden is leading the pack in acknowledging and dealing with this issue, mainly due to the progress made by FEB - The Swedish Association for the ElectroSensitive. The association produces and distributes educational literature that has helped raise awareness about the phenomenon around the world.

Mast Action UK is doing similar work in Great Britain, as well as the Electromagnetic Radiation Alliance in Australia.

There are signs that acceptance is spreading, especially in Europe. Just last week, the French magazine Connexion reported that four libraries in Paris have turned off the WiFi connections they installed at the end of 2007 after staff claimed they were causing health problems.

Why is WiFi Potentially Worse than Other Radiation?

Electomagnetic fields are all around us, no matter where you live these days. They emanate from power lines, televisions, household electrical wiring, appliances and microwaves. Then you have the information-carrying radio waves of cell phones, cell phone towers and wireless internet connections.

WiFi is a kind of radio wave that operates at either 2.4 or 5 gigahertz – slightly higher than your cell phone. Since they’re designed to allow for transmission of very large amounts of data, WiFi radio waves also emit greater amounts electromagnetic radiation.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of EHS?

Lucinda Grant, director of the U.S. support group Electrical Sensitivity Network, and author of two books: The Electrical Sensitivity Handbook and Workstation Radiation, compares electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) to that of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), which is an apt comparison as both groups are environmental canaries.

Chemical sensitivity was also once thought to originate in the minds of hysterical housewives.

Many times, those suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity will also be highly sensitive to chemicals or suffer from MCS. Other at-risk groups for developing EHS include those with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and people experiencing mercury toxicity from dental amalgams.

This makes logical sense since your nervous system is a primary site impacted by both chemicals and electromagnetic fields. And if your nervous system has been damaged from toxic exposures you may also be more susceptible to EHS as well.

The five most common symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity are:

1. skin itch/rash/flushing/burning, and/or tingling

2. confusion/poor concentration, and/or memory loss

3. fatigue and weakness

4. headache

5. chest pain and heart problems

Less commonly reported symptoms include:

nausea

panic attacks

insomnia

seizures

ear pain/ringing in the ears

feeling a vibration

paralysis

dizziness

Electomagnetic Fields Produce More Potent Mycotoxins

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, in which we discussed the impact of electromagnetic fields and radio waves on your body (among other things. The complete audio interview and transcript is available to all my Inner Circle members).

Dr. Klinghardt reminded me that Dr. Robert Becker -- in his second important book Cross Currents that came out in the late 80s or early 90s -- found that when you expose a bacterial culture to abnormal electromagnetic fields, the bacteria believe they are being attacked by your immune system and start producing much more virulent mycotoxin as a protective mechanism.

Klinghardt believes that it’s possible that some 50 percent of chronic infections are caused, and/or aggravated, by electromagnetic field exposure, leading to syndromes like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes.

Why Your Laptop May be More Harmful than Your PC

Another fascinating tidbit of information gleaned from my interview with Dr. Klinghardt is that laptops are far more hazardous to your health than desktops. As they heat up, the circuitry board out-gasses metals such as beryllium, and as the plastic warms it out-gasses flame retardants like PBDE, all of which adds to your toxic load.

It would be prudent to only use your laptop short-term, such as when traveling, and using a desktop for your day-to-day work. Preferably positioning your hard drive as far away from you as possible, with fans blowing air away from where you sit.

Heavy Metal Toxicity Increases Your Risk of Electromagnetic Sensitivity

Last but not least, the issue of heavy metal toxicity in relation to electromagnetic and radio wave exposure may be one of the most significant and convincing pieces of the EHS puzzle.

Dr. Yoshiaki Omura’s research shows that the more your system is contaminated with heavy metals from silver amalgam fillings, eating contaminated fish, living downstream from coal burning power plants and so forth, the more your body becomes a virtual antenna that actually concentrates radiation, making it far more destructive.

But there’s also an additional overlap that can influence and increase the risk of damage to your health.

If you have accumulated toxic metals in your brain, your brain becomes like an antenna, picking up more cell phone radiation, which in turn can cause the microbes in your system to overreact and create more potent mycotoxins. This can create a never-ending vicious cycle between the microbes and metals in your body and your exposure to electromagnetic fields, which can lead to hypersensitivity.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family?

First, you need to understand that your nutrition and your daily lifestyle can make you either accumulate more toxic metals or help you excrete them over time.

Eating a healthy diet tailored to your nutritional type and maintaining a regular exercise regimen, as well as detoxing on a regular basis, forms the foundation of optimal health, and can help reduce your toxic load.

Two other factors that play a vital role here are: sleeping well and getting plenty of appropriate sun exposure.

Why?

Because sleep and sunlight have a direct impact on your melatonin levels, and melatonin is actually one of the most potent detox agents that eliminate metals from your brain naturally.

Increasing your melatonin production can be done in three ways:

1. Sleeping in absolute darkness

2. Getting at least an hour of exposure to bright daylight each day

3. Reducing the electro-pollution in your sleeping quarters (i.e. remove electrical alarm clocks, cordless home phones and wireless phones from your bedroom)

Melatonin is not only the most important detox agent for your brain; it is also a very important anti-inflammatory. And as I stated earlier, electromagnetic radiation can make inflammation worse by creating more potent mycotoxins, so reducing inflammation is vital.

And, although you can certainly take melatonin as a supplement, I’m not at all convinced that swallowing it provides the same benefit as having your brain produce it the way it was designed to.

A 1997 Australian Senate Discussion Paper also confirms the importance of reducing

electro-pollution in your bedroom, as researchers found that even low level (12 milliGauss) exposure to 50-60 hertz electromagnetic fields can significantly reduce your melatonin production.

For other recommendations on how to protect yourself and your family from cell phone radiation, please review my list of guidelines from last week’s article, Now Half the World Has a Cell Phone - - Why That is a Brain Tumor Epidemic Waiting to Happen.

MY ASPARTAME EXPERIMENT

Όλοι μας πρέπει να ξέρουμε ότι οι βιολόγοι επιστήμονες και αυτοί που δουλεύουν σε εργαστήρια για να δημιουργήσουν νέα φάρμακα για τους ανθρώπους, πρώτα τα χρησιμοποιούν στα ποντίκια, σίγουρα οι δόσεις που τους δίνουν είναι μικρότερες σε αναλογία αναλόγως της μάζας του σώματος, όπως συμβαίνει με τους ανθρώπους, στα μωρά κάτω των 12, εφήβους και ενήλικες, ειναι τρεις διαφορετικές δόσεις.

Μια Αμερικανίδα γυναίκα επειδή δεν πίστευε στα αφτιά της με το τι πραγματικά γίνεται με την ουσία ασπαρτάμη ή διαφορετικά Ε951# (όπου # μπορεί να βάλουν κάποιο γραμμα ή αριθμός στην θέση του) διότι άλλοι υποστήριζαν ότι δεν βλάπτει λόγω συμφερόντων και άλλοι ήταν εναντίον της ξέροντας της βλαβερές παρενέργειες που μπορεί να προκαλέσει στον άνθρωπο όταν χρησιμοποιείτε σε καθημερινή βάση (μια φορά τον μήνα δεν πειράζει εφόσον δεν είμαστε αλλεργικοί ή ευαίσθητοι σε αυτήν την ουσία αλλά καλύτερα να την αποφεύγουμε), έτσι και μια συνετή αμερικανίδα ξέροντας ότι είναι κάτι που μπορούσε να ελέγχει έκανε τα εξής πειράματα σε ποντίκια.

Παρακάτω βλέπουμε φωτογραφίες για το τι προκάλεσαν στα ποντίκια η ασπαρτάμη και τα διάφορα προϊόντα που την περιέχουν, όγκους!!

A FEMALE RAT DEVELOPED A MAMMARY TUMOR SO LARGE SHE OFTEN USED IT AS A PILLOW

BY
VICTORIA INNESS-BROWN, M.A.

Introduction by author Carol Guilford

“In any such study of even a few hundred test animals, it takes no more than a dozen or so of them to exhibit a particular lesion… to associate with the test agent, i.e., aspartame or its related chemicals.”

Dr. Adrian Gross, FDA toxicologist in a letter to Senator Howard Metzenbaum, Oct. 30, 1986.

When Victoria Inness-Brown contacted me about “explosive information” concerning aspartame (Equal,NutraSweet) the controversial, artificial, chemical sweetener, I didn’t know what to expect. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence of aspartame’s danger to human health (tires have been recalled for less) it remains in 6,000 food, drink and medicinal products.

Who could imagine a private citizen would do an aspartame experiment with 108 rats for 2 years and 8 months?

The late Dr. Adrian Gross explained that rodent experiments are the means to find out what a particular substance will do to human beings.

Look at Victoria’s pictures of her animals that ingested the equivalent amount of aspartame (in human terms) of less than one diet coke a day, until their spontaneous death. Importantly, the control groups, those fed no aspartame were free from visible effects. (1)

The artificial sweetener, Aspartame, was approved by the FDA, in 1981. By the 1990’s, the FDA had a list of 92 symptoms reported to them by 10,000 consumers, a list revealed to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. (2)

Personally, I have read thousands of cases from aspartame victims, many who post on Yahoo’s Aspartame Victim Support Group list, but Victoria’s photographs, the first ever to be released from any study, give meaning to the hypothesis, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Following is Victoria’s gutsy account of why she did her experiment, the protocol she used to conduct it and the remarkable pictures of the rats. Victoria says--

I WANTED VISUAL PROOF

I did my aspartame experiment because my family was addicted to diet soda. After researching the effects of aspartame, I strongly believed the artificial sweetener might one day lead to their illness and even early death.

Most influential in my research on the aspartame molecule was The Bressler Report. (3) Dr. Jerome Bressler, M.D., led an FDA task force to attempt to validate the authenticity of a study done by G.D. Searle, the pharmaceutical company that held the patent to the “sweetener.”

Dr. Bressler’s team did the Searle audit between April 25, 1977 and August 4, 1977 of study PT #988S73, a 115 Week Oral Tumorigenicity Study in the Rat. The rat study was supposedly done by Searle to examine the adverse effects of the crystalline form of aspartame’s breakdown from phenylalanine, 50% of the chemical’s composition to SC-19192, diketopiperazine (DKP).

Bressler’s force found irregularities in Searle’s experiment-- missing raw data, errors and discrepancies in available data, exclusions of animals, and animals that had masses removed and were then returned to the study.

It is clear Searle misrepresented the carcinogenicity of DKP and hid incriminating data from the FDA.

One unreported tissue mass in Searle’s study measured 5.0 X 4.5 X 2.5 cm. Equivalent to 2 in. X 1.75 in. X 1.0 in. —a significant sized tumor that should be visible to the naked eye, hard to miss.

I was convinced I would see tumors and possibly other harmful effects to convince my family and friends to avoid aspartame.


DIET PEPSI, ASPARTAME OR NUTRASWEET?

Because my family members were addicted to diet soda, at first I wanted to put Diet Pepsi in my rat’s water bottles. That idea was short lived. After turning a filled bottle upside down and attaching it to a cage, the liquid immediately started flowing out—carbonation pressurizes the bottle—so diet Pepsi wouldn’t work. It was just as well, because the cost of the soda would have been prohibitive over the course of the experiment.

I did not want to mix dry NutraSweet with rat food for several reasons. First, I wanted to simulate the effects of diet soda—a liquid. Next, NutraSweet is sold as powdered crystals that are tiny compared to the grains and alfalfa pellets comprising the food I fed my rats. I knew the powder would fall to the bottom of the food bowls, allowing the rats to avoid it.

I also knew from personal experience it would be hard to calculate the dosage, because so much food ends up in the trays under their cages. Finally, aspartame crystals may clump, allowing rats to avoid them. In The Bressler Report, the FDA task force reported the rats learned to eat around the DKP crystals.

I decided to mix pure aspartame in their water. In an Internet search for an aspartame supplier, I found only food and beverage manufacturers are permitted to purchase aspartame. Dr. Ralph Walton, a respected researcher, in the mid-90’s, experienced the same problem. No aspartame for sale for his study. (4)

The National Institute of Health evaluates a packet of aspartame-based sweetener such as NutraSweet contains 40 mg of aspartame.

I decided on putting the NutraSweet in their drinking water, at the rate of two packets—a total of 80 mg of aspartame–per each 8 oz of water.

A 12-oz diet soda has about 180 mg of aspartame, 15 mg of aspartame per oz., the amount in approximately 4.5 packets of NutraSweet.

According to the industry-run Aspartame Information Center website, a conservative estimate of the maximum dose of aspartame for humans per day, the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI), as set by the FDA, is 50 mg/kg, approximately twenty cans of 12-ounce diet soda for a 150 lb. adult and six 12-ounce cans for a 50-pound child. Tabletop sweetener ADI is 97 packets for an adult and 32 packets for a child.

The animals in my study weighed on the average of 1 pound for males and 0.66 pounds for females. The ADI for the males was 16.9 mg and for the females 13.5 mg

To put these numbers into perspective, the aspartame received by my rats daily, was equivalent to two-thirds the aspartame contained in 8-oz of diet soda.

My masters degree is in mathematics.

RAT STRAIN

Most studies are done on rats that are genetically identical. According to a friend who runs a rabbit and mouse lab for a local bio-tech company, “Some vendors sell strains of rats that have gone through 30 generations of brother and sister in-bred mating.”

This concept seemed counter-intuitive to me. How do these strains of rats represent the general population? In “Mean Genes”, Jay Phelan and Terry Burnhan write: “Almost all animals avoid mating with close relatives because it makes for bad babies. From mice to monkeys, animals are reluctant to have offspring with siblings.

I bought my rats at PetCo and bred them for my experiment. I purchased rats of different colors, to get a genetic verity. I also attempted to breed rats that were not brothers and sisters, to avoid in-breeding mutation.

I found most of the observable symptoms occurred during the last third of the rat’s life-span, illuminating the information that the adverse effects of aspartame are cumulative.

I chose to allow my rats to live out their natural lives. I honor them for their sacrifice and for showing the way for the rest of us.

I put NutraSweet in their water starting in March, 2002, and the last of them died in November 2004. The experiment lasted a total of two years, eight months.

Even though I had read the Bressler Report, I was struck by the number and size of the growths. Eleven females and one male developed tumors. That’s 37% of the females on aspartame.

During the audit of Searle’s DKP study, pathologist Dr. Charles H. Frith spent three days with the FDA task force to review 145 animals. Sufficient slides substantiated 73 female animals with grossly observed masses.


THREE ASPARTAME FEMALES WITH TUMORS


για περισσότερες πληροφορίες και φωτογραφίες στο: http://myaspartameexperiment.com

Vitamin E Linked to Lung Cancer?

vitamin E, supplements, lung cancer, antioxidants, pro-oxidantTaking high doses of vitamin E supplements can actually increase the risk of lung cancer.

A study of 77,000 people found consuming 400 milligrams of vitamin E per day increased cancer risk by 28 percent. Smokers were at particular risk.

An expert writing in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine said that people should get their vitamins from fruit and vegetables rather than supplements.

Vitamin E is known to be an antioxidant that protects cells from molecules called free radicals. But in high doses, it may also act as a pro-oxidant, causing oxidation and damage to cells.

At first glance this article may appear to be nothing but another attempt to assassinate a natural health-promoting agent. However, there is some truth to these findings, which is why it’s important to weed through it to discern what’s what.

Vitamin E: Healer or Killer? Two Sides of the Same Coin

There have been numerous studies pointing out the two sides of vitamin E.

On the one hand vitamin E has been found to have strong health promoting influences by protecting against damaging free radicals – because it is a very effective antioxidant for many fats.

On the other, it has been found that it can also increase, rather than reduce, oxidation and speed up the onset of both heart disease and cancer if you smoke and eat a diet high in polyunsaturated fat.

According to one such study, vitamin E can induce heart disease through “reductive stress.” Reductive stress is a condition caused by excessive levels of reduced glutathione, which is one of your body’s most powerful antioxidants. When your cells work properly, they produce just the right amount of reduced glutathione, which is healthy for your body. However, in some people, a mutated gene can disrupt the fine balance, causing the cells to produce too much.

Additionally, vitamin E should not be given to certain brain injured children, such as those with some types of autism. In these cases, accumulations of long chain fats require oxidation to remove them, which is impaired by vitamin E, actually making the disease worse.

On the other hand, one classic NEJM study found that vitamin E can reduce your risk for heart disease by up to 80 percent.

Another study published in Life Extension Magazine came to the same conclusion, stating that vitamin E reduces high levels of the inflammation-causing proteins C-reactive protein (CRP) and IL-6, which are likely contributors to heart disease. (Blood levels of both CRP and IL-6 are often elevated in patients with heart disease, indicating an increased risk for heart attack.)

And other studies have shown that vitamin E:

So as you can see, there’s plenty of evidence for both sides of the argument. Vitamin E may lower the risk of disease in some people, and raise the risk in others.

But what’s most likely at the heart of this discrepancy?

All Vitamin E are Not Created Equal

Ever since its discovery in 1922 there has been much discussion over what type of vitamin E is best. Many do not know that the term “vitamin E” actually refers to a family of at least eight fat-soluble antioxidant compounds, divided into two groups of molecules: tocopherols (which are considered the “true” vitamin E) and tocotrienols.

Each of the tocopherol and tocotrienol subfamilies contains four different forms:

  • Alpha-
  • Beta-
  • Gamma-
  • Delta-

Each one of these subgroups has its own unique biological effects.

Ideally, vitamin E should be consumed in the broader family of mixed natural tocopherols and tocotrienols, (also referred to as full-spectrum vitamin E) to get the maximum benefits.

And there’s the main problem: the vitamin E most often referred to and sold in most stores is a synthetic form of the vitamin, which really should NOT be used if you want to reap any of its health benefits.

You can tell what you’re buying by carefully reading the label.

  • Natural vitamin E is always listed as the “d-“ form (d-alpha-tocopherol, d-beta-tocopherol, etc.)
  • Synthetic vitamin E is listed as “dl-“ forms

When vitamin E is stabilized by adding either succinic acid or acetic acid, the chemical name changes from tocopherol to tocopheryl (as in d-alpha-tocopheryl succinate, for example).

Your body can easily distinguish between natural and synthetic vitamins, and several studies have shown that natural vitamin E is between two and three times as bioactive as the same amount of synthetic vitamin E.

And that brings us to the best source of natural vitamins…

Food, Not a Supplement, is Your Best Source of Vitamin E

Free radicals are a natural byproduct of breathing; antioxidants such as vitamin E mop up the excess, and leave the rest of the free radicals to fulfill their other functions, which include things like turning air and food into chemical energy, and aiding your immune response by attacking foreign invaders and bacteria.

This fine balancing act can be easily tipped to the point of either too much or too little. Eliminating or dramatically reducing free radicals could actually lead to more problems than are solved.

The Goldilock's equation, meaning you need just the right amount to achieve optimal health -- not too much and not too little, is the answer here.

And your body can do a phenomenal job of self-regulating many of these levels if you supply it with wholesome, healthy foods and dramatically limit your intake of processed foods, which are loaded with artificial chemicals.

Tocopherol and its subgroups are found in certain nuts and green leafy vegetables. Sources of tocotrienols include palm oil, rice bran and barley oils. However, many Americans do not get nearly enough of dietary vitamin E due to their poor dietary choices.

So yes, vitamin E is a wonderful antioxidant with powerful health benefits, but you need to make sure you’re getting them from the right sources -- from the food you eat. A diet rich in fresh vegetables and nuts will usually supply you with the whole nutrients needed to walk this fine line.

Always remember that not only are nuts and leafy greens rich in vitamin E, they also contain hundreds of other natural chemicals that create a synergistic effect where the total benefit is far greater than the sum of its parts.

When buying vegetables, I strongly recommend you try to find locally grown, organic produce, as they often contain greater concentrations of vital nutrients.

Remember also that the Take Control of Your Health program, which includes the entire program of eating the healthiest foods in all the right proportions for your nutritional type, can help you solve most of the problems with “too much” versus “too little” when it comes to essential nutrients.

If you are not eating properly according to your nutritional type -- by far the most important step you can take to improve your health -- no supplement will "save" you.

Related Articles: Do You Need Vitamin E? Find Out Seven Benefits Now Could Too Many Antioxidants be as Bad as Too Few? Get Your Vitamins From Foods Not Supplements

The Terrifying Side Effects of Prescription Drugs

The side effects of prescription medication can be horrific. Is it really worth taking medication if the cure is worse than the disease?

Here 26 side effects that come with many prescription drugs currently on the market.

  1. Drainage, crusting, or oozing of your eyes or eyelids
  2. Swollen, black, or "hairy" tongue
  3. Changes in the shape or location of body fat
  4. Decrease in testicle size
  5. Sores or swelling in your rectal or genital area
  6. Blue lips or fingernails
  7. Purple spots on your skin
  8. White patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips
  9. Irregular back-and- forth movements of your eyes
  10. Enlarged breasts in males.
  11. Unusual risk-taking behavior, no fear of danger
  12. Extreme fear
  13. Hallucinations, fainting, coma
  14. Fussiness, irritability, crying for an hour or longer
  15. Paralysis
  16. Thoracic Hematoma (bleeding into your chest)
  17. A blood clot in your lung
  18. Liver damage
  19. Kidney damage
  20. A lump in your breast
  21. Decreased bone marrow function
  22. Congestive heart failure
  23. Shingles
  24. Nerve pain lasting for several weeks or months
  25. Bleeding that will not stop
  26. Coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds

One drug on the market, EvaMist -- a treatment for menopause symptoms such as hot flashes -- has possible side effects that include cancer, stroke, heart attack, blood clots, and dementia!

But this is only a partial list of the potential side effects of prescription drugs. There are, unfortunately, many more out there.

Every year, more than 2 million Americans suffer from serious adverse drug reactions. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these reactions cause about 100,000 deaths per year, making prescription drugs the fourth-leading cause of death in the country. Compare this to the death toll from illegal drugs -- which is about 10,000 per year -- and you begin to see the magnitude of the problem. However, if you dig a little deeper you find that these reported reactions only skim the surface of what’s really going on. You see, drug side effects are not always recognized as such. Doctors often attribute them to other causes, people downplay them or do not report them altogether. And when you add in other medical errors, unnecessary procedures, and surgery-related mishaps, well the modern health care system actually becomes the LEADING cause of death in the United States. Consider, for instance, that:

  • The recorded error rate of ICU’s is like the post office losing more than 16,000 pieces of mail every hour of every day, or banks deducting 32,000 checks from the wrong bank account every hour, 24/7.
  • The recorded medical errors and deaths equate to six jumbo jets falling out of the sky each day, 365 days a year.
  • Since 2001, a recorded 490,000 people have died from properly prescribed drugs in the United States, while 2,996 people died on U.S. soil from terrorism, all in the 9/11 attacks; prescription drugs are therefore 16,400 percent more dangerous than terrorism. If deaths from over-the-counter drugs are also included, then drug consumption leaps to being 32,000 percent more dangerous than terrorism. And conventional medicine viewed as a whole is 104,700 percent deadlier than terrorism
Your Body is Not a Petri Dish How can it be that clinically tested, FDA-approved drugs that are supposed to “cure” diseases are ending up hurting, and in some cases killing, so many people? Because even under the BEST circumstances, such as a drug going through unbiased, stringent, long-term testing, when it is released into an uncontrolled environment (your body), anything can happen. You may be taking another drug that interacts badly with it. Or perhaps a food you eat causes an unforeseen reaction. There are countless possibilities, and only a tiny fraction has been “tested for” in a lab. And that is under the best circumstances. Often, studies are biased, results are skewed, and drugs are put on a fast-track to be approved before anyone really knows whether they’re safe. In a sense, it is all a gamble, and there are no 100-percent safe drugs. This is why just about every time you open a newspaper or skim the news online, there is a new headline about another drug disaster: an unforeseen side effect that has harmed innocent people. It’s YOUR Body The take-home message from all of this is to remember that, ultimately, it’s your body, and your decision what to put in it. If your doctor suggests you take a drug, do some research before you take it, because once you do, it could be too late. Make sure you are aware of the potential side effects of the drug, read the package insert, and remember that even if it lists a side effect as rare, it can still happen to you. Many, many drugs are vastly over-prescribed and unnecessary. So make sure that you make drugs a last option, not a first choice. For example, all of the following conditions can be treated or prevented with LIFESTYLE CHANGES, yet if you go to a typical doctor, you will likely be prescribed a potentially dangerous drug instead: I realize that it takes a massive shift in thinking to realize that your body can heal itself, and that often drugs only hinder the process. But I believe that you, and society as a whole, are ready for it. But here’s the thing: don’t wait until you’re sick or slowing down to make healthy changes. Do them NOW. Become an active participant in your health, and leave the horrific drug side effects behind for good. Related Articles: Why Doctors Often Dismiss Drug Side Effects Two Million Americans Plagued by Drug Side Effects Each Year Recreational Drugs FAR Less Likely to Kill You than Prescribed Drugs!

Unintentional Overdoses are Common in Children

dangerous drugs, pediatric, emergency, pharmaceuticals, drugsIn 2004 and 2005, adverse drug events were the third leading cause of nonfatal injuries among infants treated in hospital emergency departments. They were also the sixth leading cause of nonfatal injuries among children 1 to 4 years old.

Over 158,500 patients younger than 18 visited emergency departments for adverse reactions to prescription and non-prescription medications, vaccines, vitamins and dietary supplements in that two year period.

Children between 1 and 4 years old were nearly 10 times more likely to be hospitalized for these adverse drug events. Almost half of the adverse drug events were unintentional overdoses, mostly from pain relief and respiratory medications.

As often as drugs are administered to infants and young children, it’s easy to forget that 75 percent of all prescription drugs do NOT have labeling instructions for children, leaving their use in children up to your doctor’s discretion.

The Dangerous Play of Pediatric Drugs

Since so little information is available on the pediatric use of drugs, physicians frequently prescribe drugs for off-label uses in children, which can lead to disasters of the worst kind. In hospital settings, almost 80 percent of children get drugs that are NOT approved for pediatric use.

A 2005 British study found that when a "suitable alternative" did not exist, doctors used unlicensed or "off label" medicine in:

  • 90 percent of babies in neonatal intensive care units
  • 70 percent of children in pediatric intensive care units
  • Two-thirds of children on general medical and surgical pediatric wards in the UK

The rampant use of drugs, both for children and adults, is a very serious one. And, although this study focuses solely on non-lethal injuries to children, medications clearly claim the lives of thousands of children each year. In-hospital medical errors alone account for about 4,500 pediatric deaths every year in America.

Another study, published in 2002, found that medications given to children and mothers during pregnancy, labor or while breast-feeding, played a role in 769 deaths and close to 6,000 side effects in children under 2 years of age between 1997 and 2000 in the U.S.

73 Percent of Off-Label Drug Uses Lack Evidence of Effectiveness

That’s right. 73 percent of off-label drug uses in children lack evidence of clinical effectiveness. It’s like throwing darts in the dark. It’s pure guesswork.

Perhaps even worse, the greatest disparity between supported and unsupported off-label uses is found among prescriptions for psychiatric uses, where only 4 percent of drugs have strong support, versus 96 percent having very limited or no support whatsoever from medical studies! Considering the fact that the use of psychiatric drugs in children as young as two has skyrocketed in the past decade, it’s nothing short of an uncontrolled mass-experiment.

Since information on how to prescribe medications to children is so scarce, doctors often rely on the flawed assumption that children are simply smaller versions of adults. In reality, however, drugs act much differently in children. Among the limited number of drugs that have been tested for pediatric safety and effectiveness, it has been found that:

  • One-fifth of drugs that work in adults are ineffective in children
  • One-fifth of the drugs were being prescribed at the wrong dosage
  • One-third of the drugs caused unexpected side effects, some of which were potentially fatal

Another alarming factor discovered is that children process drugs more quickly than adults do, and because children are still developing, drugs could stunt physical growth or impair emotional and cognitive development.

A classic example of the dangers surrounding medications for kids was highlighted recently concerning children’s over-the-counter cold medicines. These drugs were over prescribed to well-intentioned parents looking to soothe their children, despite the fact that there was very little evidence that they worked. In fact, there was growing evidence that many of these drugs were fraught with side effects.

How Many Drugs Are Your Kids Taking? The sad reality is that kids in the United States are being vastly overmedicated, both with drugs meant for pediatric use, and those that have yet to be tested. According to the Journal of Pediatrics study above, 56 percent of children and adolescents younger than 18 take at least one medication each week! 19 percent take at least one prescription drug.

Also consider these sobering facts:

Are All Natural Remedies Safe For Kids?

Please realize that nearly all of the problems for which kids are given drugs can be resolved using natural methods. However, do not substitute with dietary supplements and herbal formulas willy-nilly. Just because something is natural does not automatically render it 100 percent safe…

Vitamins, minerals, herbals and other complementary supplements are also listed in the study above – even though they are still far safer than drugs.

For the sake of comparison, here’s a condensed version of their listing of drugs implicated in adverse events in children treated in 63 U.S. emergency departments, from 2004 to 2005:

Drug Number of Cases
Antimicrobial Agents (incl. antibiotics) 1511
Analgesic agents (incl. aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen) 880
Respiratory agents (incl. anti-asthmatic drugs, cough and cold formulas) 644
Vaccines 490
Neurologic agents (incl. sedatives, hypnotics, anticonvulsants) 466
Psychotropic Agents (incl. antidepressants, antipsychotics, stimulants) 451
Cardiovascular agents (incl. beta-blockers) 298
Vitamins and Minerals 124
Herbal, complementary and alternative agents 79

The top four non-lethal adverse reactions were:

  1. Unintentional overdoses
  2. Allergic reactions
  3. Adverse effects
  4. Vaccine reactions

How to Prime Your Child for a Lifetime of Optimal Health It’s quite common for parents – especially first-time parents -- to rush their children to a doctor for every minor ailment. It’s important to remember that in the first year or two of life, your child's immune system is still being formed, and their experiences during this time can often predict whether or not they will have life-long health problems.

Scientific studies continually support the wisdom of limiting exposures to "foreign" substances for children, including synthetic chemicals -- which includes drugs.

Along with immune system development, your child's nervous system continues to develop well into their seventh year of life. With the recent epidemic increase in the rates of autism, attention deficit, and hyperactivity disorders, it would seem prudent to nurture and protect your child’s health in every way possible.

It’s also important to remember that your child’s immune system is most influenced by diet, not by drugs or supplements.

Here are some common sense strategies that will help prime your child for a lifetime of optimal health:

  • Breast feedingFeeding your child breast milk and avoiding baby formulas (especially soy formulas, which can be deadly) is perhaps one of the best things you can do to nurture your child’s inherent immune system, setting the stage for optimal health.

  • Reconsider vaccinations – Please, before you go along with the standard protocol, do your homework on childhood vaccinations, and opt out of any vaccination where the risks are greater than the potential benefit. Definitely do not give your child a yearly flu shot, as now recommended.

  • Treat fevers the right way -- A fever is actually a good thing. High fevers are especially good as they are far better than any immunization at building an authentic, life-long immune response. When you suppress these fevers with Tylenol or another medication, you can cause far more harm than good. (I advise avoiding most all of the anti-fever medications unless your child is absolutely miserable or the fever is over 104 degrees F.) A tepid bath can be a soothing and effective alternative.

  • Avoid antibiotics – Many common infections -- such as ear infections, colds and flus -- for example, are still treated with antibiotics even though we now know antibiotics CANNOT treat those kinds of infections! This kind of antibiotic abuse will only be a detriment to your child’s health in the long run.

  • Proper diet – So many people, including health professionals, do not pay enough attention to diet. I recommend determining your child’s nutritional type from an early age to avoid many common ailments and chronic diseases later on. My book Generation XL also specifically addresses issues related to creating optimal childhood health. Additionally, common behavioral problems can also be treated entirely without drugs. Kids with ADHD, for instance, often improve greatly by taking these simple steps:

    • Eliminate grains and sugars from their diet

    • Replace soft drinks, fruit juices and pasteurized milk with pure water

    • Increase their omega-3 fats by giving them krill oil

I would strongly encourage you to do the research before giving your child any medication, and only do so if there is truly no other option (you may need to seek out the opinion of a doctor who is knowledgeable about natural medicine). If you are still skeptical about the toxic effects drugs have on kids, I urge you to invest some time to watch The Drugging of Our Children, a documentary by Gary Null. It is a powerful testimony to the urgent need for change.

Source: Mercolla.com

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