Search Term: " Farmers "
Chitosan: A more environmentally friendly food packaging materialthan plastic
April 12, 2019 04:08 PM
Itsaso Leceta, an academic researcher from the University of Basque Country has developed a biodegradable polymer, hoping to change packaging standards. Chitosan, made from crustacean chitins, prevents fungi and bacteria from infecting whole foods. It does not, however, block gas, water, or vapor. On the plus side, this new environmentally conscious food packaging is completely biodegradable, even edible. Everyone can make a difference, and consumers can start by choosing alternative means in their lives, like Chitosan.
"It is a biodegradable, biocompatible (not harmful to living tissue) polymer that can be used to wrap vegetables and fruits. Its purpose is to prevent bacteria and fungi from infecting whole foods, and prolonging their shelf life."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-17-chitosan-environmentally-friendly-food-packaging.html
Congress Finally Frees Hemp From Jail: Big News For Farmers and CBDIndustry
January 06, 2019 04:20 PM
The Farm Act that was recently passed by Congress allows farmers across the nation to freely grow hemp as they please. Unfortunately, there are still restrictions set on the production of CBD products, which leaves a grey area in terms of what is acceptable and unacceptable. CBD oil is becoming more and more prevalent in treating psychological symptoms without the psychoactive effects that marijuana has. Industry leaders suspect that this bill passing is the first step in the CBD industry ultimately exploding.
"At any rate, the passing of the Farm Bill is sure to have implications on the growing CBD industry."
Read more: https://www.thealternativedaily.com/congress-frees-hemp-from-jail-news-farmers-cbd-industry/
Hemp growing in midstate after outlawed for decades
August 06, 2018 05:53 PM
Pen State Extension is performing groundbreaking research into the cultivation of five varieties of hemp, marking the first legal cultivation in the area for 80 years. Hemp is a close relative of marijuana, and this was enough to get it banned even though it does not contain psychoactive THC and has a wide variety of legitimate uses. However, a 2014 Farm Bill legalized growth of industrial hemp for research purposes. Penn State Extensions’s researchers will look at how well different varieties will grow, although they note there is not yet a robust supply chain in place for farmers to sell their hemp.
"For the first time in 80 years, industrial hemp is growing legally in Lancaster County."
Read more: http://www.witf.org/news/2018/08/hemp.php
5 Things You Didn't Know about the Hemp Plant
June 12, 2018 09:16 AM
Hemp is a nonpsychoactive but extremely useful variant of the same plant, Cannabis Sativa, that produces marijuana. It is a highly versatile plant that produces extremely durable, tough fiber that can be used to make textiles or ropes, as well as nutritious seeds rich in protein and other nutrients that may be one of the world’s most nutritious foods. It also contains compound called CBD whose diverse array of medical applications are just starting to be explored and understood.
"From June 4-10, grassroots organizers, farmers, producers, and hemp advocates are working together to educate consumers, industry associations, and government bodies about the benefits of hemp and the current regulatory landscape for industrial hemp in the U.S."
Read more: http://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/herbs-botanicals/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-hemp-plant
CBD can improve overall health and wellness, reduce inflammation, fight anxiety!
7 Health Benefits of Matcha You Should Know About Before Brewing a Cup
November 24, 2017 03:59 PM
Can you match the health benefits of Matcha? This one of a kind drink is like green tea on steroids. Whatever green tea can do Matcha can do better. Farmers use a different process to create this trendy drink. Matcha comes in powdered form which makes it super concentrated. Matcha has three times the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of tea. With all that caffeine, you can wake up with it or burn the midnight oil. It also may help with weight loss and reduce your risk of developing cancer. However, one must use caution when consuming this potent drink. Too much of a good thing always causes trouble. An overdose of Matcha can lead to pro-oxidative stress. So drink up to reap Matcha's wonderful benefits, just not too much.
"Here's the deal: If you're regularly drink soda, juice and sugary beverages, making the switch to unsweetened matcha will absolutely help!"
Read more: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a46901/health-benefits-of-matcha/
Research pilot explores industrial hemp
September 07, 2017 12:14 PM
Although the Washington state legislature has allowed hemp to once again be grown in the state, there are still some questions and uncertainties about growing the product. For now, those growing hemp are doing it for research purposes to monitor what the future growers will need it to do in order to create an industrial hemp harvest. Despite the four different types of licenses being granted, there is still some caution because of the plants close relationship it to marijuana. Hopefully some restrictions will change and beneficial aspects of the hemp can be produced, such as CBD oil.
"Hector Castro, Olympia-based communications director for the WSDA, says although the program is new, it’s generated a lot of interest from farmers and others who see potential in harvesting hemp."
Read more: https://www.spokanejournal.com/local-news/research-pilot-explores-industrial-hemp/
Finding a market for hemp: More than 2000 acres of industrial hemp planted in Minnesota this year
August 31, 2017 04:14 PM
Growing industrial hemp to harvest for food, fiber and other uses is becoming more common especially in Canada. Now Minnesota wants to begin allowing the cultivation of Hemp. Thanks to legislations, Hemp crops have doubled in Minnesota in the last few years and are continuing to grow. The Ag and Renewable Energy Committee of the Kandiyohi County as well as the City of Willmar Economic Development Commission have been working hard to increase production to help farmers while assuring the public that there is no danger from getting high off this particular type of crop.
"According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, there is a 101-acre field of hemp being grown in Chippewa County."
Read more: http://www.wdaz.com/news/4318205-finding-market-hemp-more-2000-acres-industrial-hemp-planted-minnesota-year
Hemp 101: What It Is, And How It Can Save The World
August 11, 2017 12:14 PM
Many people believe that hemp and marijuana are the same substance, but they are more like cousins than brother and sister. This is important to note since the uses of hemp are many and the effects on our environment and economy could be great. In the attached article, the author provides an overview of the historical and current uses of the hemp plant, describes the misunderstanding of its properties and details the legal and political obstacles its use has met. The author recommends that US farmers and manufacturers continue to work toward removal of growing restrictions and increased use of hemp in industrial and commercial applications.
"Hemp won’t get you high, after all, but it seems to carry the same controversy as weed does."
Read more: http://weeddaily.net/hemp-101-save-world/
Editorial: How Republicans came to love hemp
August 05, 2017 09:14 AM
Republicans came to love hemp very much. Hemp looks just like marijuana but it does not make you high. The world appears to be turned upside down now because there are republicans that are supporting hemp. But, not just any kind of cannabis. The kind that has been endorsed in known as industrial hemp. Hemp is a very strong thing. The seeds can actually be eaten or turned into many different things. They have been used to create beauty products.
"The United States imports upwards of $600 million worth of hemp-based products each year — so American law allows hemp products, it just doesn’t make it easy for American companies to make them."
Read more: http://www.roanoke.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-how-republicans-came-to-love-hemp/article_b9116c36-a706-536e-9c0c-e9f0fa3cacee.html
Did You Know Americans Could Pay Taxes in Hemp for Over 150 Years?
April 26, 2017 08:44 AM
The taxes we pay every year are rising. The more we progress in the evolutionary era the more we build and spend as a nation together, we spend our lives paying taxes on almost everything we do now, the job world has pretty much consumed the social world along with all its endevoures. When you look back to check on the hemp and the production of it all, it's shown that a 159 year timelasr of taxes could be paid off in hemp for the American public.
"In 2016, seven states replaced archaic laws with new legislature, breaking down barriers that previously stood in the way of industrial hemp farming."
Read more: https://www.marijuana.com/news/2017/04/did-you-know-americans-could-pay-taxes-in-hemp-for-over-150-years/
Bill Would Legalize Hemp Farming
April 17, 2017 03:44 PM
There are theories out there that various other industries have squeezed the marijuana and help industry from legitimate business interests, such as building rope or clothes from their raw materials to the medical industry. Marijuana is sometimes though to cure cancer and we know about its affects on pain. Now, in these looser times, we have a wave of support to legalize the farming of both marijuana and hemp. And it is about time in my opinion!
"A bill being considered in the House would legalize hemp in Arkansas."
Read more: http://www.nwahomepage.com/news/bill-would-legalize-hemp-farming/676866957
2 colleges join New York's industrial hemp farming program
April 01, 2017 10:59 AM
Binghamton University and SUNY Sullivan have been approved to join in New York's program to explore the industrialization of hemp. Under the program, farmers partner with universities to research hemp. The partnership launched last year and has already produced a crop. Hemp does not have the levels of THC as other breeds of cannabis, meaning it lacks the psychoactive ingredients as others. It can be used in a wide range of products from clothing to food supplements. The schools joining are interested in studying the medical components.
Read more: 2 colleges join New York's industrial hemp farming program
Cops block Kansas farmers' hemp bonanza
March 12, 2017 02:59 PM
Since other states are allowed to use hemp for farming, Kansas farmers feel they should be allowed to as well but that is not the case. Since hemp is closely related to marijuana, the police officers in Kansas feel that should be illegal as well. Plus, who is to say they are only going to use it for agricultural reasons. However, if it can be allowed in one state for farming it should be allowed in the others and should only have repercussions if it is abused.
"You could smoke a bale of industrial hemp and never want a single Dorito."
Read more: https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ottawaherald.com%2Fopinion%2Fcolumns%2Fcops-block-kansas-farmers-hemp-bonanza%2Farticle_75e939ee-f22c-5d27-8513-faed41ff1ef6.html&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGmMzNTEwZjgyOWIxNGI2ODg6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNGfHWs52Qy4baEOPu-5dbxg-cH8EQ
Trace minerals, supporting the immune system
February 27, 2017 07:59 AM
There has been a crackdown on the use of antibiotics to treat cattle in recent years. In order to overcome the restrictions put on antibiotics to treat diseases in animals, many Farmers are turning to other additives that can help fend off disease in their livestock. Hubbard Feeds in Mankato, MN is one leader in organic alternative options for their cattle. They opt to use trace minerals to boost the immune system. This works because your body usually breaks down when it doesn’t get what it needs from the diet. If cattle ingests the needed nutrients, they are healthier.
""Trace minerals are a key part to maintaining animal health.""
Top 5 Selenium Foods to Fight Selenium Deficiency
February 07, 2017 02:59 PM
You may have never heard of the mineral Selenium, but did you know it does wonders for our body? Selenium can be used for making electronic devices and some glass products but a small amount of this mineral can help keep our bodies healthy. Some people may have deficiency to the mineral which can cause many problems. You can find out more about selenium and how is works for us in this article
"It is important to include selenium in an appropriate amount in the diet."
Demand for CBD still outstrips supply despite production expansion, hemp grower says
January 19, 2017 10:59 AM
Industrial hemp is an industry that is apparently booming both in supply and demand. A grower based company in Kentucky reported that about two million dollars was paid to growers for the 2016 crop. But despite this, the demand for industrial hemp still far exceeds the supply, according to an officer from the company.
"Potential efficacy of the cannabinoids, which have been researched for a variety of benefits including as analgesics and in seizure amelioration"
America is about to realize just how poisoned conventional food really is ... Lab testing for glyphosate about to go 'viral'
November 24, 2016 08:59 AM
Do you ever really stop to think about what goes in your food and what you're putting in your body? Chances are that you probably don't, although there's a small minority of Americans that seems to. "America is about to realize just how poisoned conventional food really is ... Lab testing for glyphosate about to go 'viral'" talks about what's wrong with the food the average American eats, and how science has found a means to prove this.
"There is no safe level that can be consumed, even though it's regularly found in American food and water."
I eat Good, Do I Need Trace Minerals?
July 17, 2014 08:49 PM
A few carbs, a slice of bacon or two, a glass of milk and later a bottle of mixed tropical fruit juice. Sounds like quite a balanced meal. A good meal most definitely doesn’t lack the chemical elements or minerals that are in abundance in the human body. These major elements in order of profusion are calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, chlorine and magnesium. But are these the only minerals we require?
While the above are the main ones, there are other minerals that are essential to good health but are required in very small quantities. These minerals include iron, copper, zinc, molybdenum, cobalt, iodine, bromine and selenium; collectively known as trace minerals. Though in small amounts, they are crucial for immune system function, metabolism and antioxidant protection. A number of health complications such as senility, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and depression have been linked to trace mineral deficiency.
Despite society having more nutritious than ever before, the quality of food has declined as seen in the dwindling quantities of these trace elements in our diet. This can be mainly attributed to lack of these nutrients in the soil due to years of erosion and aggressive farming embraced by Farmers in order to meet the demands of the population. Soils have become depleted, resulting in deficiency of trace elements in our meals. So much for modern practices working against mankind.
All is not lost though. There are supplements readily available to tackle this need and come recommended for preventing and managing a number of conditions. They can be taken to address ailments such as Osteoporosis, a disease that causes weakening of bones. Copper, iron, magnesium zinc and manganese help increase bone mass and density and reverse such bone deterioration. Iron also happens to be important in making blood components. The benefits of these supplements can therefore not be underestimated.
What is Red Marine Algae And What Are Its Health Benefits?
June 01, 2011 04:21 PM
Red Marine Algae And Your Health.
Red marine algae refer to a large group of seaweeds that contain phycobiliproteins, which give them their red coloration. They are simple organisms in that they do not have complex tissues in contrast with terrestrial plants. Many species of red marine algae plays an important role in the formation of coral reefs as they secrete calcium carbonate as well as provide nutrition for other marine species. Like plants, they are capable of making their own food by way of photosynthesis. And like most other seaweeds, they are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and other healthy organic compounds.
Rhodophyta is the taxonomic classification of all red marine algae. It is oftentimes considered a part of the plant kingdom, but more recent definitions of plant suggest red algae belong to a kingdom of their own. Rhodophyta is one of the largest groups of algae, second only to green algae. It consists of up to 6000 aquatic species that are widely distributed in the tropical, temperate, and even frigid zones. These species usually take up residence along the coastal regions and significantly contribute to the distribution, abundance, and ecology of organisms found in the extended perimeter of each continent.
Seaweeds have become a part of the staple diet of many communities throughout history, and red marine algae are one of the best sources of human nutrition among all seaweeds. For thousands of years, different species of red algae have enjoyed significant presence in cuisines from all over the world. It is often consumed uncooked or added to salads. It is also an important ingredient in soups and stews. Ocean Farmers have learned different techniques of domesticating crops of algae, and cultivation has been the solution to the growing demand of red marine algae in the past few decades.
Red marine algae have steadily grown in economic value since the 20th century. In addition to their historical culinary uses, their application now extends to medical science. Several organic compounds have been isolated from different species of red marine algae are now in wide use in the food and drug industries. For example, gelatinous substances are derived from agarophytes, any species of seaweeds that belong to rhodophyta. These substances are used in the production of beer, food preserves, ice cream as well as papers, fabrics, lubricants, and other personal care products.
Red marine algae have a special place in antiviral research. Many species are now identified to contain organic compounds that are of medicinal value against several viruses. Decades-long studies have come to a conclusion that sulfated polysaccharides derived from red marine algae have an inhibitory effect on replication of herpes simplex virus (HSV). There is good evidence that one class of sulfated polysaccharides called carrageenan offer some protection against transmission of herpes. Furthermore, recent studies have revealed that sulfated polysaccharides are potent inhibitors of HIV-1 in cell culture.
Red marine algae is an excellent source of nutrients found in the sea. Get some red marine algae and reap the benefits of this nutrient rich food today!
Hops and St. John's Wort
July 15, 2009 12:17 PM
St. John’s wort has emerged recently as an herb that is known to assist the nervous system. Quite a few naturopathic physicians rank kava kava, valerian, St. John’s wort, passionflower, and hops as the most effective herbs for treating insomnia. A study that took place in 1994 and was published in the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology proved that St. John’s wort extracts increased deep sleep during the total sleeping period of the patients. This study also makes an interesting connection between sleep and depression. It was found that many standard antidepressants and MAO inhibitors used to treat those people who suffer from depression cause a decrease in deep sleep. St. John’s wort has demonstrated the ability to treat both insomnia and depression.
Hops, an herb that is commonly found throughout the world, was originally used as a food. The tips of the food were both cooked and eaten. The young plants were the ones eaten because the older plants were too tough. A famous herbalist, Gerarde, recommended using the buds of these plants in salads, while the Romans anciently used hops as a food and Native American tribes found hops to be of great value. Hops have been appreciated for a long time for its nervine properties. A hop was first used as a beer ingredient in England around 1500. At this point, hops Farmers noticed that their farmhands often seemed tired and easily fatigued. With time, the herb gained a huge reputation as a natural sedative. Pillows were filled with hops to promote rest and relaxation during the reign of King George when people were recovering from an illness.
Lupulin is a compound that is found in hops. It is described as a sedative and hypnotic drug. Certain parts of the plant have been found to have sedative and hypnotic effects. This herb is known to be fast-acting, soothing, and calming to the nervous system. Additionally, it is another nervine herb that assists in promoting sleep. It is mainly used to alleviate nervous tension and promote restful sleep. Also, hops is used for antispasmodic effects. Its relaxing effect has the potential to calm the nerves and muscles in cases of muscle spasms. This herb has also been shown to contain appetizing and tonic properties. It acts as a stimulant to the glands and muscles of the stomach, while calming the hyperexcitable gastric nerves. Hops also has a relaxing influence upon the liver and gall duct, and a laxative effect on the bowels.
Along with other uses, hops is also used for its antibiotic properties. It is very helpful for sore throats, bronchitis, infections, high fevers, delirium, toothaches, earaches, and pain. A hops remedy is a great way to help with inflammation, boils, tumors, and swelling. Hops is extremely high in B-complex vitamins, which are known for their calming effect on the nervous system. B vitamins also promote energy and aid in problems of depression, anxiety, nervousness, and memory. Additionally, hops is extremely rich in potassium, which is necessary for nerve transmission, contraction of muscles, and hormone secretion. Low levels of potassium are often found in those people who have high blood pressure. Additionally, hops contains magnesium, zinc, copper, iodine, manganese, iron, sodium, and fluoride.
Hops and st. johns wort are a wonderful herb that has many therapeutic uses. Hops and st. johns wort come in tea bag, capsule, and tablet forms at your local or internet health food store. For more information on St. John’s wort and hops, contact your local health food store.
Cherry Fruit Extract
April 28, 2008 02:45 PM
Cherry fruit extract contains organic compounds known as flavanoids, which is a form of phytochemical frequently found in highly colored fruits and vegetables. If you eat a fruit such as pomegranate, blueberry, blackberry or cherry, or if you eat red peppers, aubergines and broccoli, you are eating foods that are rich in flavanoids.
Such foods provide you with remarkable health benefits that your ancestors knew about but did not understand. They ate these highly colored foods because they knew they helped prevent certain medical conditions, and to help others get well faster. They knew nothing about phytochemicals – chemicals contained in plants – or flavanoids, but knew about the results of eating them.
In fact, flavanoids are very powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, and each of these require more detailed explanation since between them, oxidants and inflammation are responsible for most of the non-infectious common ailments of the human body. First, let’s have a look at antioxidants.
In chemical terms oxidation is the removal of an electron from an atom or molecule. There are species within your body known as free radicals whose sole purpose in their short life is to steal an electron from the nearest molecule to them. This is almost instantaneous, and most free radicals are very short lived. The concept of free radicals roaming your body and your bloodstream waiting to pounce on the first unwary molecule is a fairy tale. In fact the vast majority react as soon as they are formed.
When they do react, they remove an electron from a stable molecule, render it unstable and thus destroy it. If that molecule is part of a cell, and enough of them are robbed of their electrons, then the cell is destroyed. One result in visible terms is wrinkling of your skin, as your skin cells become destroyed, and hence you age quicker. In terms that you are not immediately aware of, oxidation can lead to many unwanted changes in your body.
For example, the low density lipids, that carry the cholesterol in your blood to areas of the body where it is needed, are oxidized by free radicals which causes the LDL to deposit along with their cholesterol on the walls of your arteries as a layer of plaque. Eventually that will build up to constrict the artery and cause a condition known as atherosclerosis – the arteries become blocked, and you can suffer from heart attacks and strokes.
These free radicals are formed by the normal metabolism of the body when energy is created in the cell mitochondria, by pollutants such as pesticides, cigarette smoke and traffic fumes, and by radiation such as excessive exposure to the UV radiation in sunlight.
Flavanoids, contained in cherry fruit extract, are antioxidants, which prevent this oxidation of body cells from taking place. They do so by being in the right place at the right time. If a flavanoid molecule is close to a free radical when it is generated, then the antioxidant will reduce the free radical and neutralize it.
If you eat a lot of cherries, or drink cherry fruit extract, you will be consuming a massive amount of flavanoids molecules that are ready and willing to destroy these free radicals. However, that is not all that flavanoids do. They are also, as has already been stated, anti-inflammatories.
The inflammatory response is the reaction of the body to a foreign presence such as bacteria. The tissues around the infected area receive an increased blood supply, and the cell walls produce gaps allowing the large immune system blood cells, or macrophages, to pass through. The temperature around the area increases due to the concentration of blood, and this itself is controlled by the body since bacteria die off after a certain body temperature has been reached, hence the reason for fever in the immune response.
The area swells up due to the concentration of fluid and protein, and becomes painful due to pressure on nerve endings. Anti-inflammatories, such as the flavanoids, work to relieve the symptoms of inflammation without interfering with the way the immune system deals with infection.
Many inflammatory conditions occur without any apparent reason, and while anti-inflammatories might not be used to suppress the immune system, it is used in such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis where the inflammation is a mis-firing of the immune system. Cherry fruit extract can be used to alleviate many similar conditions such as gout, and osteoarthritis where its use is well known and recorded.
It can also be used to help reduce the effects of atherosclerosis through its anti-oxidant properties, and cherries contain, not only a good supply of flavanoids, but also anthocyanins, another group of powerful antioxidants. They also contain vitamin C which is also a strong antioxidant.
Another property of flavanoids is their collagen strengthening properties, which they achieve by cross-linking the fibers to form a string fibrous network. That can be used to strengthen the walls of veins, and render them less liable to stretch or expand, thus providing them with the rigidity needed to prevent varicose veins caused by the puddling of blood below weak valves. They have the same effect on arteries, providing increased strength and a reduction in the blood pressure needed to pump blood round the body.
A good intake of cherry fruit in your diet will help to improve the condition of your cartilage and other connective tissue in addition to your veins and arteries, and is particularly appropriate for athletes who place great stresses on connective tissues such as the tendons that transfer muscular energy to the levers – the long bones.
In summary, then, cherry fruit extract and the flavanoids and anthocyanins it contains, posses properties to help relieve the symptoms of gout, and various forms of arthritis, to reduce the likelihood of cholesterol oxidation that leads to heart disease and strokes, to help strengthen the walls of veins and arteries and to improve the strength of connective tissue such as cartilage and tendons.
In other words, to improve the quality of life of the majority of the population that suffers from one or more of these conditions. After learning about the health benefits of cherries and all the mounting evidence in research, my question to you is why did the FDA make cherry Farmers pull the health benefits of cherries from their websites with threats of legal action if not removed? Makes a person wonder who is on our side and who isn’t?
Genetically Engineered Foods May Cause Rising Food Allergies
January 21, 2008 02:14 PM
Arguments made by the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates plant produced pesticides, tell us not to worry about the thought of consuming toxic pesticides. Instead, they say that the pesticides used, Bt, are produced naturally from a soil bacterium which has a history of safe use by organic Farmers who have used the solution for yeas as a method of insect control. Genetic engineers simply remove the gene that produces Bt and insert it into the DNA of corn and cotton plants, making the plant do the work, instead of the farmer. They also say that the Bt toxin is quickly destroyed in our stomach, and even if it survived would not harm humans or any other mammals. However, these arguments are solely that, arguments, which are unsupported and refuted according to a lot of research.
When a study was done, spraying natural Bt over areas in Vancouver and Washington State for months, about 500 people reported reactions, mostly those being allergy or flu-like symptoms. Six of those people had to go to the emergency room, while workers who applied the Bt sprays reported that their eyes, nose, and throats were irritated. Similarly, Farmers who were exposed to liquid Bt said that they had reactions such as infection, ulcers on the cornea, skin irritation, burning, swelling, and redness. One woman even reported fever, altered consciousness, and seizures when she was accidentally sprayed with Bt. This proves that the statements of Bt doing no harm on humans is extremely false. As for being destroyed in the digestive system, studies on mice disproved this as well. Results of these, and other, studies showed that plant-produced Bt is always active and much more likely to trigger an immune response than the natural version.
Additional studies in 2005 reported by medical investigators in India found that hundreds of agricultural workers are developing severe allergic reactions when they are exposed to Bt cotton. This exposure includes picking cotton, loading it, cleaning it, or simply leaning against it. Some people that work at ginning factories must take antihistamines daily in order to go to work. These reactions are only trigger with the Bt varieties and the symptoms are virtually identical to those that were described by the 500 people in Vancouver and Washington who were sprayed with Bt.
Another study was done on the basis that Bt-toxin is produced in GM corn and can be eaten intact. It is also in pollen which can be breathed in. Therefore, a village of Filipino people were studied in 2003 when an adjacent Bt cornfield was pollinating. 100 of these people were stricken with disease which included symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, extreme stomach pain, vomiting, chest pains, fever, and allergies, along with respiratory, intestinal, and skin reactions. The symptoms first appeared in those that were living closest to the field and then progressed to those further away. When the same corn was planted in four other villages the following year, the same symptoms returned in all four areas only during the time of pollination.
All of these studies confirm that GM crops engineered to produce built-in pesticides provoke a great variety of immune responses. Allergic reactions are a defensive and often harmful reaction from the immune system to an external irritant that occur when the body interprets something foreign as harmful and offensive and acts accordingly. Since all GM foods have something foreign and different, it is easy to see why the body would react in such ways. As the GM foods arise on the market place make sure you scan each label to make sure you are not buying a GM vegetable of fruit. Check every label this way you will not be stricken with debilitating symptoms that may prevent you from going to work. Always say NO to GM foods and support your organic foods store.
Addiction Recovery With Chinese Herbs Like Kudzu
November 28, 2007 12:04 PM
Kudzu is Chinese herb that has been identified for the treatment of alcoholism. Anybody who has even had an addiction will tell you that addiction recovery is one of the most difficult of the tasks that life throws at us. Whether it is an addiction to tobacco or to heroin or anything in between is not easy, and those that join the ‘self-afflicted’ lobby do not help, but for the Grace of God...
Alcohol addiction is now potentially the most prevalent addiction in the world. There are now more that drink alcohol than smoke, and alcohol related problems are more than just a social problem, but cause the deaths of over 100,000 annually in the USA. One shudders at the thought of the world-wide death toll. It has been suggested that chemical addictions, as opposed to physical habits, can have chemical cures. Although the jury is still out on this one, there have been some positive results achieved in the treatment of addicts with natural remedies.
One of these natural remedies is the Chinese herb, kudzu. Kudzu is a climbing vine that can grow just about anywhere: in fields, lightly forested land and mountains. It is found throughout China, and also in the south eastern states of the USA. The reason for this strange distribution is that the plant was introduced to the USA by Japan at the 1876 Centennial Expo in Philadelphia.
The large blooms attracted gardeners who propagated them, and when it was discovered that the plant made good forage for animals, Florida nurserymen grew it as animal feed. Its effect in preventing ground erosion rendered it popular during the 1930s and 40s when Farmers were paid up to $8 an acre for growing kudzu. Fodder and groundcover were the original uses of this vine in the USA irrespective of its medicinal uses on the other side of the Pacific.
Prior to it being recognized as a useful treatment for alcoholism, the vine had been used in China for generations for the treatment of such conditions as headaches, flu, high blood pressure symptoms, dysentery, muscular aches and pains and the common cold. It is still used to treat digestive complaints and allergies, and find use in modern medicine in the treatment of angina.
It is the root that is mainly used, which at up to six feet tall provides a plentiful supply of its active ingredients. These include isoflavones including daidzein and isoflavone glycosides, mainly puerarin and also daidzin. However, it is in its application in the treatment of alcohol addiction that the root is currently creating interest.
Studies in the 1960s on animals bred with an alcohol craving indicated that daidzein and daidzin reduced their consumption of alcohol when offered it, and further studies have indicated that the mechanism of this was by inhibition of enzymes necessary for metabolizing alcohols. This has not yet been successfully repeated in humans, but the effects on animals cannot be just coincidental. Or can it? That question can only be answered by those for whom kudzu has been found effective, although many laboratory studies have shown that it certainly reduces the alcohol consumption of those with a habitual heavy intake of the substance.
Of all the other substances that have been used in an attempt to reduce the extent of alcoholism in the Western world, none have been found truly effective. The three recognized treatments of Campral (Acamprosate Calcium), approved by the FDA in July, 2004, Naltrexone (Revia) and Antabuse work in three different ways. Campral is useful only once you have stopped drinking and have detoxed, Naltrexone interferes with the pathway in the brain that ‘rewards’ the drinker and Antabuse gives unpleasant side effects that are meant to put the drinker off drinking.
Although all have side effects of one type or another, they have been approved by the FDA, and must therefore be assumed safe if used as recommended. However, none are natural, and kudzu has been found to have no known side effects. It is a type of pea, and did you know that it grows about one foot a day? Luckily it only grows to about 20 feet!
It is kudzu’s lack of side effects that renders it so attractive as a treatment for alcoholism, although more tests are needed before the evidence for its effectiveness can be declared cast iron. Most of the tests to date have been carried out on heavy drinkers rather than true alcoholics, but they have all found the plant effective in reducing the amount that each member of the study drank, even though no limitations were placed on them.
Future studies should probably be designed to determine if the treatment is safe for such groups as pregnant women, young people and those with specific medical complaints such as liver problems. Naltrexone should not be used by anybody with serious liver problems, and even campral is only suitable if you have no more than a moderate liver problem. Since alcoholics can reasonable be expected to also suffer from liver disease, then a treatment that is safe for such people would be very welcome.
A 2002 meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in San Francisco named kudzu and St. John’s Wort as being the two most promising treatments for alcoholism. The mention of St. John’s Wort raises an interesting point, and one that must be discussed. That is the question of standardized doses, and what can happen if doses of natural products are not standardized with respect to the identified active constituent.
The reason for the importance of this is that not all sources of a particular herb are equally well endowed with active constituents. Although, for example, a dose of 2.5 grams daily of kudzu root might be recommended, how does the percent content of isoflavones in different roots vary. That variation will mean that the amount of active ingredient taken in one 2.5g dose will differ from that in another, unless there is standardization.
The reason St. John’s Wort brought this to mind is that with this herb, used for some psychological problems such as depression, the active ingredient content was standardized. It was standardized to 0.3% hypericin, a napthodianthrone that causes an increase in dopamine levels. However, standard doses of St. John’s Wort gave inconsistent results and the reason for this could not be identified. It now has been. The active ingredient is now known to be not hypericin, but hypeforin, what is known as a prenylated phloroglucinol. The herb is now standardized on this substance.
This is a demonstration of the importance of identifying the active ingredients in a herbal treatment accurately, and also of standardizing doses. Kudzu doses must be standardized if their effect is to be consistent. There is now little doubt that addiction recovery is possible with Chinese herbs like kudzu, and who knows what else the ancient civilizations such as the Chinese have to offer us.
Supplements to Fight Prostate Cancer
July 29, 2007 11:41 AM
Prostate Cancer and Nutritional Supplements
Years of research have discovered that the foods a man chooses to eat (or doesn’t eat) can have a profound impact on the health of his prostate gland. Because of this close nutritional link, prostate cancer may be the most preventable type of cancer (after smoking-related lung cancers).
Recently, there has been an incredible amount of research and investigation of prostate cancer. Many of these studies have explored the use of certain nutrients to prevent and actually treat prostate cancer. These nutrients, calcium D-glucarate selenium, broccoli, green tea, maitake, and lycopene are powerful prostate cancer fighters. All are available as nutritional supplements that men can take every day as an important part of a healthy diet.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss prostate cancer and how men can actually prevent it with the use of these six nutrients. Plus, if men already have prostate cancer, these nutrients can be an important part of their treatment regimen in fighting their disease.
Q. What does the prostate gland do?
A. The prostate is a gland in a man’s reproductive system. It makes and stores seminal fluid, the milky fluid that nourishes sperm. This fluid is released to form part of the semen. The prostate is about the size of a walnut and it is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate actually wraps around the upper part of the urethra, the tube that empties urine from the bladder through the penis.
Q. What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
A. Early prostate cancer often does not cause any symptoms. However, many symptoms of prostate cancer are also symptoms of other problems with the prostate, such as an infection or benign prostatic hyperplasia, a prostate enlargement associated with age-related changes.
A man who has any of these symptoms should see his health care practitioner for evaluation:
-A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
-Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
-Inability to urinate
-Painful or burning urination
-Difficulty in having an erection
-Blood in urine or semen
-Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.
Q. Are certain men more prone to get prostate cancer?
A. Age is the biggest risk factor: most prostate cancers occur in men over 65 years of age. A man’s risk for developing prostate cancer is higher if his father or brother has had the disease. African-Americans are at higher risk for the disease. Mechanics, Farmers, sheet metal workers, and workers exposed to cadmium have also had high rates of prostate cancer.
Q. How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
A. A man who has any of these risk factors may want to ask his health care professional whether to begin screening for prostate cancer (even though he does not have any symptoms), what tests to have, and how often to have them.
The usual prostate tests include: Digital rectal exam: the doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and feels the prostate through the rectal wall to check for hard or lumpy areas.
Blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA): a lab measures the levels of PSA in a blood sample. The level of PSA may rise in men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland), or an infection in the prostate.
These tests will only determine if there is a problem with a man’s prostate gland. They cannot determine if the problem is cancer. Only a biopsy of a sample of prostate tissue can reveal the presence of actual prostate cancer.
Q. What nutrients help prevent or treat prostate cancer?
A. The prostate health nutrients, calcium D-glucarate, selenium, broccoli, green tea, maitake, and lycopene, each work in unique ways. Some help men’s bodies’ work more effectively some keep cancer cells from growing, while others actually kill prostate cancer cells. Let’s discuss each nutrient and how it works.
It is a troubling fact of modern life that we are continuously exposed to cancer-causing chemicals and toxins. These toxins come in part from contaminants in the food we eat and pollutants in the air we breathe. There are also “natural” toxins that are produced in our bodies. Excess hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, can cause cancer when they are no longer needed. Cancer causing chemicals not only initiate cancer, but exposure to them can also cause existing cancers to grow bigger, stronger, and more deadly.
Our bodies do a fairly good job of eliminating some of these toxins before they can cause us harm. In the liver, the toxin is bound or attached to a chemical called glucuronic acid. The bound toxin is then excreted in bile and eventually eliminated as a waste product in the stool. However, yet another chemical, an enzyme called glucoronidase, can break this bond between the toxin and glucuronic acid. When this happens, the hormone or toxin is released back into our bodies, capable of causing us harm once more. The longer the toxins and excess hormones are in our bodies, the greater the chances they can make us seriously sick. Scientists have discovered that increased glucuronidase activity in the body is strongly associated with prostate cancer.
Fortunately, scientists have also discovered that a natural substance found in foods, calcium D-glucarate, can greatly reduce the activity of glucuronidase. Calcium D-glucarate helps our bodies keep the harmful toxins and chemicals bound to glucuronic acid. While CDG is found in fruits and vegetables, the amounts may not be sufficient to maintain effective levels to stop beta-glucuronidase. CDG has been shown in many experimental studies to significantly stop prostate cancer growth. Studies have shown that by taking calcium D-glucarate, our bodies and get rid of the toxic chemicals and excess hormones that might stimulate cancer formation.
Selenium is an essential trace mineral fund in the soil. Both plant foods like oatmeal and meats that we eat, such as chicken and beef, contain selenium. How much selenium, however, is difficult to determine. This is because the amount of selenium in soil, which varies by region, determines the amount of selenium in the plant foods that are grown in that soil. Animals, too, will have varying levels of selenium in their muscle, depending on the amount of selenium in their feed. The actual selenium level in the grasses and grains that make up animal feed reflect the amount of the selenium in the soil where they grew.
A major antioxidant, selenium slows down aging, keeps our skin supple, and helps prevent dandruff. Selenium also keeps our blood vessels healthy and protects us from heart disease. However, some of selenium’s most powerful effects are on the prostate gland.
In a recent study, researchers recruited 974 men to take part in a large clinical trial to determine if selenium could prevent cancer. Half of the men were given selenium supplements and half were given a placebo. Researchers, who did know which group got the placebo, watched and recorded the men’s progress. The researchers were amazed to learn that selenium cut the rate of prostate cancer by 63%!
The results of this study were so impressive that it has led to many other studies of selenium and prostate cancer. In fact, researchers at the
Scientists have observed over for a long period of time, that men who eat lots of broccoli have a lower risk of getting prostate cancer. It seems that sulforaphane, a compound abundant in broccoli, is the secret ingredient responsible for this connection. Sulforaphane increases certain enzymes in the body, called phase 2 enzymes, which deactivate cancer-causing chemicals. In lab experiments, prostate cancer cells that were exposed to sulforaphane, the compound inhibited the growth of the cancer cells up to 80 percent.
There is a potent plant substance in green tea that is a very effective killer of prostate cancer cells. A recent study tested four common components of green tea and determined that one of these compounds, epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, has a special affinity for prostate cancer cells. Scientists discovered that EGCG can stop the growth of prostate cancer dead in its tracks. The chemical structure of EGCG is very similar to substances in red wine and cruciferous vegetables, known cancer killers.
For many years, maitake mushrooms have been linked to good health in those who eat them. Called “dancing mushrooms” (possibly due to their wavy, rippling appearance or possibly due to the little dance of joy mushroom hunters perform when they find them in the woods), maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction.
A recent study at
Some of the most exciting nutritional news in relation to prostate health involves lycopene. This carotenoid is found primarily in tomatoes, and men who eat lots of cooked tomatoes have very low rates of prostate cancer. Because promising preliminary reports demonstrate that lycopene can actually kill prostate cancer cells, there has been an explosion of lycopene and prostate cancer studies.
In one of these studies, 32 prostate cancer patients ate a pasta meal covered with three-fourths cup of tomato sauce every day for three weeks. Results showed their PSA levels dropped two points. Even signs of DNA damage dropped sharply. The ability of lycopene to drop these levels in just three weeks has impressed researchers and scientists worldwide.
Q. Do I have to take each nutrient separately?
A. While you can purchase each one of these nutrients and take them separately, all of these nutrients are available in prostate health formulas. Make sure the formula you buy contains calcium d-glucarate, lycopene, and selenium, broccoli standardized to contain a minimum of 125 mcg sulforaphane, green tea, and maitake mushroom extract. Standardized ingredients provide consistently effective nutrients.
Q. What else can men do to prevent prostate cancer?
A. Adopting a healthy diet, including eating 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, eating several servings of whole grain cereals and bread, and reducing red meat consumption to 2 or 3 servings per week has been shown to reduce the risk of all kinds of cancer. In addition, the recent lycopene studies suggest that a diet that regularly includes tomato-based foods may help protect men from prostate cancer.
Men 50 years and older should have a digital rectal exam (DRE) and PSA test each year. African-Americans and those at higher risk should begin at age 40. Talk with your health care professional to determine how frequently the test should be done.
This year doctors expect to find 180,000 new cases of prostate cancer is the
More cancers are caught early and new treatments might help make it possible for men to live long and healthy lives following their diagnosis. By taking a few simple steps, men diagnosed with prostate cancer can take charge of their lives and overcome much of the fear and anxiety that accompany a cancer diagnosis.
The next logical step
June 26, 2007 02:04 PM
When you examine the minerals involved, it is not surprising that remineralization is so much more effective for healthy plants than current methods. “Agriculture in the last several decades has mainly relied on three minerals—nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, known as NPK,” says Joanna Campe. “Lately they’ve begun to add more minerals, maybe up to twelve, but that’s still nothing compared to the broad spectrum of a hundred or so minerals provided naturally by mineralized soil.”
Another great aspect to mineralization is that it can help eliminate our heavy reliance on petrochemicals (oil-based products). Modern farming relies on chemical fertilizers that are petrochemical based. “We can shift from an economics of scarcity to an economics of abundance by switching from reliance on chemical fertilizers to remineralizations.” Campe says. “Fossil fuels are quickly disappearing, and rocks are the most abundant resource on the earth.”
This kind of economic effectiveness should come as great news to the organic food industry. According to current statistics, the U.S. buys nearly half of all the organic food produced in the world, and only 0.2 percent of its farmland is dedicated to organic growing. Much of the food produced is also of suspect quality. The reason for this scarcity and lack of quality lie partially in the expense and difficulty of growing organic food due to the poor soil. Such problems would be easily remedied by the next logical step in natural food production—remineralization—making it possible for Farmers everywhere to grow natural food easily and within economic boundaries.
Organic growers are starting to take notice and participate in remineralization. For example, the largest carrot farmer in the world is turning over its acreage to remineralization, and remineralized carrots can now be purchased from cal-organic at whole food markets. World-renowned Chef Alice Waters, inventor of what has become known as California Cuisine, is also an advocate of remineralization and has up to 70 remineralized fruits and vegetables grown for her famous restraint, Chez Panisse, by Bob cannard.
A toxic by-product of industrial waste.
April 21, 2006 04:34 PM
Imagine a government permitting industry to dump toxic waste products into the drinking water supply, denying the public the right to make an informed choice by censoring the press and dissenting experts. Meanwhile, influential leaders disseminate misinformation and hoodwinked people demand community acess to the dangerous chemical.
Although it might seem like science fiction, this scenario has been playing in America since 1940’s. the toxic chemical? Fluoride. Today, 170 million Americans, approximately two thirds of the population, have fluoridated drinking water issuing from their taps.
A 1998 Gallup poll showed that the majority of Americans—a whopping 70% --support water fluoridation. Dissenters are seen as crackpots and conspiracy theorists.
EPA Unions Call for a Moratorium
In august 2005, eleven Environmental Protection Agency employee unions under the umbrella of NTEU Chapter 280, primarily scientists, researchers, doctors, submitted a request to Congress for a moratorium on drinking water fluoridation, based on scientific evidence that fluoride is a proven carcinogen.
Dr. William Hirzy, Vice President of Chapter 280, explains that the biggest misperceptions about fluoridated water are “that its safe and effective, that basically there are no adverse effects, and that it does this magic of lowering dental decay rates.”
A Profitable By-Product
Although the American Dental Association explains that fluoride is a naturally occurring compound, the form used in drinking water, hydrofluorosilicic acid is, in fact, a product of man.
Today’s fluoride is a by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry. Air filtration vents, called “Wet-Scrubbers,” trap fluoride, which is a gaseous by-product of manufacturing. For many years, the gas was vented into the sky, where it caused lawsuits by Farmers for burnt crops and sickened animals. Now, the fluoride is sold to American communities as well as developing countries, Dr. Hirzy calculates the fertilizer industry makes about 100 million a year from their toxic by-product.
Fluoride’s Tainted History
Fluoride’s effect upon teeth was first observed in children who were overexposed to ingested fluoride. Their teeth turned pitted and brown, a condition recognized as dental fluorosis. According to the American Dental Association, fluoride damages only the body’s tooth-forming cells, buy many scientists are concerned that other cells are damaged as well.
According to Phyllis Mullenix, Ph.D., a prominent toxicologist, animal research shows that fluoride crosses the blood-brain barrier, causing defects in the brain region devoted to memory and learning. In humans, the behavior evidenced in rats would qualify as motor dysfunction, deficits or learning disabilities.
Is Fluoride Good for Poor People?
Many argue that fluoridation is needed by economically disadvantaged populations with inadequate access to dental care. In fact, these are the people at greatest risk from fluoride, which wreaks its most hazardous effects on those who are malnourished. Calcium deficiency, in particular, is linked with fluorosis.
Is It Good For Anything?
Ironically, many dental authorities acknowledge that ingested fluoride has little to no effect on preventing cavities in the pits and fissures of the teeth, where most cavities occur. Many researchers acknowledge that only topical fluoride can stop cavities. The largest nation wide study, conducted in 1989 by the national institute of Dental Research, showed that children in fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities have approximately the same cavity rate.
Fluoridation and the Wellness Revolution
The Fluoridation controversy is another example of our health care system’s approach of throwing chemicals at problems, rather than solving them through improved public hygiene and better nutrition. In addition, calcium and vitamin D supplementation can help build strong teeth, while vitamin C is essential for healthy gums.
Source: www. Fluoridealert .org, www. Fluoridedebate .org, www. Nteu280 .org/issues/fluoride/fluoridesummary.htm
Feds Subsidized Poor Nutrition
October 29, 2005 01:54 PM
Feds Subsidized Poor Nutrition
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this year issued a new food pyramid aimed at convincing Americans to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins such as dairy, meat and beans. While the USDA publicizes its pyramid with much fanfare, the agency implements policies that subsidize the consumption of nutrition-poor, high fat and processed foods, while offering no incentive to Farmers to grow healthful crops.
The Pyramid Versus Farm subsidies
A recent Associated Press (AP) article* contrasted the pyramid recommendations with a breakdown of this year’s $17 billion in direct subsidies to Farmers.
Overproduction Leads to Lower Prices
U.S. farm policy leads to the overproduction of nutrition-poor, fat and starch-laden foods. As a result, the prices of these foods go down, while healthy food remains less affordable.
A related AP story describes the barriers faced by poor families who would prefer a more nutrition’s diet but end up eating cheap, unhealthy food. Adam Drewnowski, director of the University of Washington’s Center of public Health Nutrition is quoted: “Energy-dense foods rich in starch, sugar or fat are the cheapest option. As long as the healthier lean meats, fish and fresh produce are more expensive, obesity will continue to be a problem for the working poor.”
Food Policy and the wellness Revolution
With obesity and related health problems at a crisis point, some consumer advocates are trying to change our government’s food policies. An effective response to the current dietary crisis requires political charge as well as education about healthy lifestyles. Meanwhile, it is a wise strategy for individuals to develop a personal, nutritional supplement regimen. The centerpiece of this program should be a scientifically advanced and comprehensive multiple such as Source Naturals Life Force.
Cultivation and Export
June 25, 2005 01:01 PM
Cultivation and Export
Ginseng is difficult to cultivate and requires a large capital investment. The plants need shade to thrive and are often grown among forest shade trees or under artificial shade. The Asian countries are not able to keep up with the demand for ginseng because of its popularity. The soil has been cultivated for so many years that some believe the nutrients have been depleted. This has increased the value of the American ginseng. The American variety is found growing wild in cool wooded areas with rich soil in the eastern United States.
Ginseng is grown commercially in Wisconsin, Michigan and even as far south as northern Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Most of the commercial ginseng is grown in Marathon County, Wisconsin and cultivated under artificial shade. Marathon County seems like an ideal place for ginseng to grow as many serious athletes and marathon runners use ginseng to enhance their overall performance. In fact, many Olympic athletes take ginseng routinely. The soil in this area is welldrained acidic soil beneficial for growing ginseng. It is grown using fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals to ensure adequate production and cultivation. Organically grown plants are available but may be hard to find. Wild ginseng grows in isolated patches in some areas of the country but most sources have been depleted. Some ginseng Farmers in Wisconsin have been growing the plants for 90 years. Ninety-five percent of the American grown ginseng is sold to foreign markets, with most of it going to Hong Kong and then into China, Korea and Japan.
About 45,000 kg. of the dried ginseng root and about the same amount of the wild root is exported annually.13 The American variety sells for about twice as much as the Asian variety because it is thought to be of a higher quality. The Americans import a large quantity of the Asian and Siberian ginseng, which seems ironic. Wild ginseng of any variety is not as common now, because it has been foraged in its wild state and huge quantities exported for large profits. A special license is now required to dig the wild roots.
CLA and Cows
June 22, 2005 09:52 PM
CLA and Cows
Nutritional developments like that of CLA couldn’t come at a better time. America is a nation obsessed with weight, but successes in battling weight seem harder and harder to come by. Is there a nutritional reason for this? Have we been barking up the wrong tree in recent years, starving ourselves for fear of gluttony rather than looking at broader nutritional reasons for fat accumulation? For example, Dr. Cook says that modern nutritional dogma is that fat is bad. “I’m not sure the dogma’s right. We need to get down to very specific fatty acids.”51 One of the most exciting developments coming from CLA research is that modern animal-raising techniques may be partially responsible for those of us who eat meat getting fat around the middle, even though our consumption of meat may have declined or, at least, stayed about the same in recent years.
CLA has been declining in our diet. This one nutrient’s lack may mean many of us are gaining fat, despite eating less overall fat.52
This desire to simply eliminate fats without looking at the broader nutritional picture has its roots deep in our culture. The desire to starve ourselves to lose weight goes back centuries. We have often thought weight gain came solely from lacking self-control when, often, nothing could be further from the truth.
Take for example the experiences of conscientious objectors during World War II. These men who chose, for religious reasons, not to fight in the war, contributed in other ways. One group at the University of Minnesota underwent forced starvation to help scientists learn ways to help concentration camp victims recover after liberation.
Science learned many useful things, but one thing stands out. The objectors grew more hungry as they recovered and ended up weighing five percent more after they recovered than before the experiment began. (The same can be said for refugees and concentration camp victims, who also weighed more, on average after their ordeals than before.)53 This idea of dieting being the full answer to weight loss still persists, often tragically. Many have died of anorexia, obsessed with self-image. Others have died directly from ill-conceived meal replacement programs.54 In the 1980s, Americans spent $15 billion on diet soft drinks alone,55 but consumers weighed more on average when the decade was over than when it began. You’d think all of this energy and dieting spent on the effort would have helped people lose weight. (Thankfully, many people have succeeded in losing weight and keeping it off. According to Dr. Pariza, this may well be the most significant part of CLA, not so much in losing the weight, but in helping people keep it off.56)
To drive the point home further, consider your parents. They ate a diet that was likely higher in fat than yours. They never saw “lite” versions of snacks in the store. Yet they, in general, weighed less than we do. Why? Surely exercise may have had something to do with it, but, no one has the complete answer. It seems likely that nutrition too played a role. CLA itself may hold part of the reason. As we have seen, CLA nutrition means less fat and more protein in our bodies. Recent research is showing that the amount of CLA in cows has dropped substantially since the times of our parents. In 1963, scientists found that CLA was as much as 2.81 percent of milkfat. The amount of CLA in the milk products varied with the seasons. At some times during the year, cows ate grass. At other times, they ate feed. However, in 1992, Pariza and his colleagues did a large food survey and found that this variation in CLA is no longer occurring. Furthermore, the amount of CLA in dairy products rarely gets above 1 percent of the milkfat. 57
In another research paper in 1994, scientists noticed that Australian cows have as much as three or four time the amount of CLA in the meat from similar American animals. Why? These differences probably “reflect different feeding conditions.” 58
Today, Farmers use more efficient feeding methods that rely less heavily on natural grasses. This means less CLA in the meat we eat, and less CLA can mean a higher percentage of fat on our bodies. Consider too that skim milk contains virtually no CLA with its no fat content. This lack of CLA may actually hinder some people’s efforts to lose weight.
The lesson here seems to be that gluttony guilt would be better focused on balanced living. Healthy lifestyles coupled with the right supplementation can make a difference. CLA, though no magic bullet, adds to this lifestyle and could be the key that finally opens many weight (and fat) management doors. It could help many people keep the weight off.
June 18, 2005 09:11 AM
Mushroom Miracles by Bert Hoffman Energy Times, April 12, 2004
Mention mushrooms and few people immediately recognize these humble fungi as important tools that can be used to boost well-being. More often, folks identify mushrooms as food with a peculiar appeal. But mushrooms' potential impact on health far surpasses their culinary reputation.
You don't have to stretch your imagination too far to understand why mushrooms have been much neglected in the modern, Western medical search for plants that can boost health.
Unable to make chlorophyll, often dependent on the kindness of other nutrient-producing organisms for their survival, these humble fungal denizens of dark, damp spaces seem to prefer an anonymous existence that is out of sight and out of the consciousness of the scientific mind.
However, mushrooms have now assumed a spot in the center of the research spotlight. Because of their potent content of natural chemicals that appear to have a strong influence on human health and well-being, during the past decade mushrooms have been the subjects of intensive studies on how they can be used to reduce the risk of cancer and to treat these diseases.
Appropriately, this recent round of research began in a place that has long revered these diminutive organisms: Japan. Japan and other Oriental countries have traditionally recognized the immense value of mushrooms as both food and medicine.
Food and Medicine
As an ancient Chinese saying notes, "food and medicine share a common origin." And one of the very earliest Chinese medical books, Shen Noug's Herbal (Shen Noug Pen Ts'ao Jing), first noted the extraordinary beneficial effects of eating mushrooms 2,000 years ago, back in the first century.
More recently, but still well ahead of Western medical experts, in 1575, Pen Ts'ao Kang Mu (a Chinese compendium of medicinal therapies), written by Li Shi Zhen, outlined the medical benefits of about 20 mushrooms.
Nowadays, modern researchers believe mushrooms' usefulness stems from the fact they contain a wealth of antioxidants. But these aren't just any antioxidants. Scientists think that some of these chemicals can potentially drop your risk of cancer, significantly lower blood pressure, help the body fight diabetes, offer protection for the liver, alleviate some of the ill effects of inflammation, lessen the chance of blood clots and help the body's immune system fend off viruses and other microbes. Quite a collection of benefits for these lowly beings!
The 10,000-Year Mushroom
Through the ages, the reishi mushroom (also known variously as the Mannetake, or 10,000-year mushroom, and the Immortality Mushroom) has been the most popular mushroom in Chinese, Korean and Japanese cultures. The reishi mushroom is frequently depicted in a wide variety of traditional Oriental artwork and even puts in an appearance in Chinese royal tapestries.
To some, reishi's power goes beyond the natural and include the supernatural. Originally grown on aging plum trees, reishi is also sufficiently well regarded to be employed by the Japanese as a good luck charm. But you don't have to believe in the supernatural to be superbly impressed with reishi. The beneficial natural substances in reishi include steroids, lactones, alkaloids, triterpenes and polysaccharides.
Of these chemicals, polysaccharides (complex chains of sugars) in particular have intrigued researchers looking into the way mushrooms help health. These polysaccharide macromolecules are very large (for molecules) and complex, a complexity that leads researchers to believe they are capable of conveying a huge amount of biological information that help the immune system stop cancer in its early stages. The differences in the benefits of various polysaccharides stems from their intriguing geometrical shapes.
Even though two distinctive polysaccharides may contain the same number of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms, their three-dimensional differences-the way they are structured and branch off in different directions-can endow them with very different health benefits.
Though they all share a basic structure (usually, these molecules consist of a main chain of atoms with various side chains), the slight variations of the side chains changes their effects.
By deciphering the microscopic structures of these molecules, scientists think they are beginning to uncover which ones are most effective against cancer. For instance, in isolating a particularly useful polysaccharide called beta-D-glucan from reishi, researchers have found that this substance fights tumors in lab experiments (Chem Pharm Bull 1981; 29: 3611).
Meanwhile, beta-D-glucan and other extracts taken from the maitake mushroom have also been shown to possess powerful anti-cancer effects in lab experiments (Immunopharm Immunotox; 19:175).
In one instance, researchers in the laboratory who were trying out various substances on prostate cancer cells found that applying extracts of maitake results in a kind of programmed self-destruction (apoptosis) of these undesirable cancer cells (Molec Urol; 4:7). In addition, another substance known as maitake d-fraction has been shown to strongly fight cancer in lab animals-in one study, their liver cancer growths were reduced by up to 90% (Ann NY Acad of Sci; 833:204).
At the same time, research in China on people has demonstrated that maitake may help reduce tumors and alleviate the effects of leukemia (Alter Comp Ther 12/98; 420).
According to A.S. Daba and O.U. Ezeronye (Afr Jrnl Bio 12/03; 672), "Mushroom polysaccharides offer a lot of hope for cancer patients and sufferers of many devastating diseases.
" [These substances support]...a fundamental principle in Oriental medicine...[they help] regulate homeostasis of the whole body and... bring the diseased person [back] to his or her normal state."
The Activity of Active Hexose Correlated Compound Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC), an extract taken from shiitake and other mushrooms, is a relatively new substance that is also being researched for its anti-cancer benefits.
Studies on AHCC began in Japan in the 1990s when scientists looked at how it could potentially help people recovering from liver cancer. In those tests, researchers found that giving people AHCC apparently helped them survive longer.
In the future, scientists feel certain that they will uncover even more anticancer uses for mushrooms and the chemicals they contain. A key advantage to these natural substances is their lack of side effects. For instance, in research on an anti-cancer chemical called lentinan, taken from shiitakes, investigators have found that less than one percent of people experience the kind of discomfort that make them discontinue treatment. (This chemical has been used to treat stomach cancer.)
But a long list of beneficial mushroom substances are probably still waiting to be discovered. More evidence of mushrooms' benefits: A study of mushroom workers in a part of Japan called the Nagano Prefecture found that these Farmers enjoyed a significantly lower cancer rate than other inhabitants of that part of the country.
In the rest of Japan, about one in six hundred people dies of cancer. But that rate death rate drops to about one in a thousand for mushroom raisers who eat a diet heavy in mushrooms.
John Smith, PhD, from the University of Strath-Clyde, notes that "...increasing evidence [shows] mushrooms offer a remarkable array of medicinally important compounds that have yet to be evaluated by Western medical scientists." Mushrooms offer the best of both worlds: good health that tastes great.
Your Healthy Harvest
June 14, 2005 11:05 AM
Your Healthy Harvest by Marjorie Flakowitz Energy Times, August 15, 2004
Once frowned on by conventional Farmers, organic food has won respect from everyone concerned about the health of both the earth and the people who inhabit it.
Today, organic farming is considered one of the most rapidly growing areas of American agriculture. Organic foods sales topped $9 billion in 2002 and grew about 20%, up to almost $11 billion in 2003 (Organic Trade Association).
So when you buy organic, you join an expanding market that takes advantage of great-tasting, good-for-you food. Long ago, when the practice of farming was first devised, all farming was organic farming. So today's organic movement is bringing farming back to its roots.
But, safe to say, that is not what's motivating most consumers. A main reason for the popularity of organic food derives from the reassurance that organic foods, raised without artificial chemicals and pesticides, cut your exposure to toxic residues. A growing body of research shows organic food is richer in beneficial natural substances, too.
" Organic food and organic farming represent a philosophy that goes beyond just the quality of the food," says Steve Meyerowitz in The Organic Food Guide (Globe Pequot). "It strives to maintain the integrity of the entire food chain-plants, soil, air, water, animals and people. We are all part of the same ecosystem."
By eating organic, you eliminate pollution both from your body and the earth. Because our bodies are made of the animal and plant products we consume, our internal, physiological ecosystem and the earth's environment are inexorably entwined.
Chilling Arctic Evidence
As evidence of this connection, consider what's happened in the Arctic. Researchers who have analyzed Arctic water, ice, snow, soil and plants have found that chemicals used in farming and industry in other parts of the world have traveled north and accumulated in alarming quantity. How and if these chemicals break down depends on sunlight and the amount of organic matter contained in Arctic waters (American Chemical Society, 9/11/03).
" Once pollutants enter the water column, their behavior is poorly understood-particularly the processes that govern their lifetime and concentrations," says Amanda Grannas, PhD, a researcher at Ohio State University. "Such pollutants are now being found in wildlife, from fish to seals to whales, and even in people living in the Arctic."
Dr. Grannas and others looked at the pesticides lindane and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), two chemicals that have migrated to Arctic waters. Lindane is used by American Farmers to treat seeds before they are planted. HCB, banned in the US in 1984, is still used in other countries to protect wheat from fungus.
The scientists found that sunlight at the top of Arctic waterways can help break down some pesticides. At lower depths, however, cut off from the sun's rays, pesticides can remain largely intact. In this research, lindane proved to persist much more readily than HCB.
" Lindane is one of the most persistent of pollutants," warns Dr. Grannas. "This could be because it's photochemically inert, whereas pollutants like HCB degrade relatively quickly. The main message is that pollutants can behave quite differently. These pollutants already affect local ecosystems, and could have repercussions for human health."
Organics Means More Benefits
Researchers are also finding that organic produce contains larger quantities of beneficial natural chemicals. For instance, one study (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2/26/03) showed that berries and corn grown organically can have almost 60% more polyphenolics. Polyphenolics are antioxidants plants use for protection against disease and which are good for humans. Researchers believe that when crops are grown conventionally, protected by pesticides and herbicides, they produce fewer of these substances. " This really opens the door to more research in this area," says Alyson Mitchell, PhD, assistant professor of food science at University of California at Davis, who led the research.
These scientists compared levels of total polyphenolics and vitamin C content in marionberries (a type of blackberry) and corn grown organically, sustainably or conventionally, and also looked at chemicals in strawberries grown either sustainably or conventionally. (Sustainable farming falls between the organic and conventional methods, and concentrates on farming that's self-sufficient-for example, feeding cows hay you've grown yourself, and then using the cows' manure to fertilize another crop.) They found that organic marionberries and corn had 50% to 58% more polyphenolics. The sustainably grown strawberries had 19% more polyphenolics. And all the organic produce contained more vitamin C.
Self-Defense for Plants
According to Dr. Mitchell, the organic crops contained the high levels of polyphenolics you'd expect to find in wild plants, suggesting that, on conventional farms, pesticides reduce the necessity for plants to make these protective, natural chemicals. " If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend itself," she says. "[P]henolics guard the plant against these pests."
Pesticides kill insects like aphids and thereby reduce the antioxidants produced by the plant. " This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food," Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently.
" We know [polyphenolics] are beneficial [to human health], but we don't know what types of polyphenolics are beneficial, or in what quantities," Dr. Mitchell notes. " Originally, the question was just really intriguing to me. I found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, and it's definitely changed the way I think about my food."
Vitamin C in Oranges
Meanwhile, nutritional research on the vitamin C in oranges turns up similar results: organic oranges are richer in this antioxidant nutrient than conventionally grown oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, American Chemical Society, 6/2/02).
The more common supermarket oranges are significantly larger than organically grown oranges, and they have a deeper orange color. Because of their larger size, "we were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges," says Theo Clark, PhD, chemistry professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
But when he isolated the chemicals in the oranges and further refined his search with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), spectroscopy demonstrated that organically grown oranges possess 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they are only about half as large.
Dr. Clark isn't sure why organic oranges are richer in vitamin C, but he says, "...[W]e speculate that with conventional oranges, [Farmers] use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and does not have as much nutritional value.
" However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration." Along with analyzing oranges, Dr. Clark and his research team questioned about 70 people to measure their concept of the nutritional value of organic oranges. In this survey, 85% of the respondents thought that organic oranges have a higher nutritional content than conventionally grown fruit.
Dr. Clark's laboratory work shows that "they were right on." In Dr. Clark's view, these issues are important because consumers have a right to know the real nutritional content of organic produce, and the fact that analyses show that organic fruit has much more vitamin C validates the benefits of eating organic.
Both plants and animals protect themselves from disease with many of the same chemicals. The natural substances that, in a farmer's field, defend vegetables from insects and microbes before they are harvested for your dinner go to work defending your body after you eat and digest them.
When you eat organic you bolster your health with more of these natural wonders. No wonder organic is becoming so popular!
Home on the Range
June 13, 2005 03:52 PM
Home on the Range
by Janis Jibrin, RD Energy Times, September 5, 1999
Got chicken? Americans can't seem to get enough of this bird. Last year each of us ate, on average, just about 80 pounds of chicken, a whopping increase over the 49 pounds we each devoured in 1980 and an eight-pound increase from 1995. Part of this food's popularity comes from its lean image as a healthier, less fatty alternative to red meat (don't forget to take the fatty skin off). Chicken's also a cheap protein source: At many popular supermarkets you'll find weekly specials at about a dollar a pound.
But at health food markets, chicken can cost upwards of $1.69 a pound. These birds may be touted as raised in an organic, stress-free environment and on a vegetarian diet, free of antibiotics. For many people, this poultry is a better buy.
The Alternative Chicken
Most of the supermarket chicken you pick up in grocery refrigerated cases are broilers, birds bred to mature in about eight weeks. In comparison, in the '60s, chickens needed 14 weeks to become adult poultry. Conventionally-raised broilers eat grain mixed with whatever's cheapest on the market, such as recycled cooking oil that's been used to fry fast foods and animal parts.
These birds reside in chicken coops the size of football fields and don't see the light of day until transported to the slaughterhouse. On the other roost, alternatively raised chickens are brought up in a variety of ways (see box), but usually enjoy a more relaxed life and diet.
Chickens on the farm receive antibiotics for two reasons: To fight off the diseases that can run rampant through a crowded chicken coop and to encourage faster growth.
Antibiotics Stimulate Growth
Mark Cook, PhD, professor of animal science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, explains, "Gut bacteria trigger an immune system assault, which makes chickens a little feverish, suppresses appetite and slows growth. Antibiotics stimulate growth indirectly, by keeping bacteria levels down, and preventing the immune reaction." When birds get sick, they often get dosed with even more antibiotics.
This widespread antibiotic use has come home to roost and may contribute to the growth of bacteria that, frequently exposed to chemicals, have evolved ways to keep from being killed by pharmaceuticals.
This development threatens human health. Bacterial infections that people contract, once easily cured by penicillin or other drugs, are now tougher to eradicate. For instance, campylobactor, a common bacteria found in chicken, and responsible for some food poisonings, now demonstrates signs of resistance to drugs like floroquinolones. A powerful class of antibiotics, floroquinolones used to dependably conquer this infection.
"Floroquinolones are an extremely important class of antibiotics, used to treat many types of infections such as urinary tract infection, a wide variety of gastrointestinal illnesses, pneumonia, almost everything," says Kirt Smith, DVM, PhD, epidemiologist, acute disease epidemiology section, Minnesota Department of Health.
A study by Dr. Smith, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (340, 1999: 1525-32), showed that the percent of floroquinolone-resistant campylobactor appearing in infected people in his state-Minnesota-climbed from a little over 1% in infected people during 1992 to 10.2% in 1998. He and other scientists strongly suspect that the rise is a direct consequence of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to allow floroquinolones in poultry feed beginning in 1995.
Although it was nearly impossible for Dr. Smith to trace the precise origin of campylobactor poisoning, he believes chicken was usually the source-and not just U.S. chicken. Many of the infected people had returned from Mexico and other countries.
"Sales of floroquinolones for poultry use in Mexico has increased dramatically," notes Dr. Smith.
Many alternative chicken producers do not use any antibiotic-laced feed at all. Other Farmers adjust the feed to lower gut pH, making it more acidic and lowering chances of bacteria. At the U. of Wisconsin, Dr. Cook is developing antibodies to suppress the immune response to bacteria so chickens won't need antibiotics to spur growth. Buying and dining on chicken raised with little or no antibiotics could beneficially lower your risk of contracting a hardy bacterial infection. Better to catch campylobactor from an antibiotic-free chicken than a conventional chicken, speculates Dr. Cook. "There's less likelihood the bug will be resistant, and a better chance your problem can be cured with antibiotics," he explains.
And, looking beyond your own immediate health risk, buying antibiotic-free chicken makes a small contribution to stopping the spread of antibiotic resistant bugs. A Matter of Taste Conventionally raised chickens get little exercise and live only eight weeks, so they're tender but bland.
"There's not much taste in a modern chicken. Free range or organically grown, older birds usually have more taste," notes Dr. Cook.
The days of barnyard chickens happily clucking and strutting around in picturesque nature have disappeared with the family farm. Today, chickens lead a meager existence. After hatching, baby chicks are tossed into a gigantic hen house that is home to up to 30,000 birds. Their short lives are lived within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandated 3/4 square foot per chicken. In that squeeze, birds can catch "chicken influenza," especially in winter when it's too cold to let in much fresh air.
Laying hens don't experience much more of a peaceful existence. These birds live their years with about five other hens, so crowded they can't flap their wings. Cages, suspended in the air, let eggs roll into a holding area. So they don't peck each other, hens are often debeaked, a painful process that can cause infection.
Hens go through natural laying and "dry" cycles. Growers manipulate this cycle by "forced molting," depriving hens of food for four to 14 days to keep them constantly laying. By the end of two years, hens are worn out. Their inactivity weakens their bones enough that electrical stunning, the usual method for knocking chickens out before slaughter, shatters their bones. So some wind up being plucked and boiled alive, according to Mary Finelli, program director for farm animals and public health at the Humane Society of the United States. The meat from these hens, tougher than other birds, was probably in your deli lunch sandwich. It's also used in the school lunch program or may end up in dog food.
"Generally, organically-grown broilers and hens have it better because room to move is part of the organic certification process," says Finelli. Finelli suggests visiting chicken suppliers to find out how chickens are treated. Or, she advocates a Humane Society book listing reliable firms. For a local producer call the society: 202-452-1100. According to a Consumer Report report, some growers force chickens out the last week of their lives to brand them "free range." So free range isn't a prime standard for choosing a decently raised chicken. However, turkeys thrive outdoors, so choosing free-range turkey is often a good idea for better tasting poultry.
In any case, organic is your best bet for chicken without pesticides. Make it your main choice for your 80 pound yearly consumption!
To fight cruel treatment of poultry:
• Forced Molting Ban. Forced molting is shocking hens for more eggs. To support petitions banning forced molting write: Docket Manage-ment Branch, FDA, Dept. Health & Human Serv-ices, 12420 Parklawn Drive, Room 1-23, Rock-ville, MD 20857. Include docket # 98P-0203/CP
• Downed Animal Protection Bill (House Bill 443, Senate Bill S515) spares some animals from the tortuous journey from chicken house to slaughterhouse. Mandates humane euthanization.
June 12, 2005 01:59 PM
Certified Foods by Glenda Olsen Energy Times, July 13, 2003
What's in your food, and where does it come from? To most American consumers, that question may seem unimportant. But the answers might surprise you. Your food's origin and processing can make a big difference in its nutritional value, for better and for worse. Increasingly, concern over the quality of food and its influence on health are persuading shoppers to take a greater interest in their food. The result: More visits to natural food stores and more sales of organic food.
Once upon a time, food used to be just food. Crops were grown on family farms, and animals were raised in barnyards. But today, corporations have conquered food production in a big way. Agribusiness is just that-a big business in which animals and plants are treated like assembly-line items and raised on factory farms.
While the term "organic" gets tossed around endlessly in the media, the term is often misconstrued. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), "Organic food is produced by Farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones."
In addition, organic Farmers generally do not use pesticides, sewage sludge or synthetic fertilizers. This type of food is also produced without genetically modified organisms and is not subject to radiation used to zap the bugs on food. Today, USDA-approved certifying agents inspect the farms where organic food is raised to ensure organic standards are followed. In addition, the companies that process food and handle organic food have to be USDA-certified. Meeting these standards allows companies to use the USDA's organic label on foods that are at least 95% organic in origin. Labels for foods that contain between 70% and 95% organic content can use the words "Made With Organic Ingredients," but cannot use the seal.
While the debate over the nutritional benefits of organic food has raged for decades, recent research is beginning to turn up evidence that organically grown fruits and vegetables may contain extra helpings of vitamins and other nutrients. A study at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, found that organically grown oranges contain more vitamin C than conventional supermarket oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 6/02).
Theo Clark, PhD, the Truman State professor who investigated the organic oranges, says that when he and his students began their research, "We were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges" because they are larger than organic oranges. To his surprise, chemical isolation combined with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy revealed that the organically grown oranges contained up to 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they were only about half the size. "We speculate that with conventional oranges, (Farmers) use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and doesn't have as much nutritional value," Dr. Clark says. "However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration."
If you want to avoid pesticide residues in your food, research shows that going organic can make it much less likely that you or your family consumes these unwanted chemicals. Research, for instance, into the diets of children (Enviro Hlth Persp 3/03) shows that dining on organic fruits and vegetables, and organic juice, can lower kids' intake of pesticides.
These scientists took a look at the organophosphorus (OP) pesticide breakdown products in the blood of kids ages two to five who ate conventional supermarket produce and compared it with the OP found in organic kids.
The children on the organic diet had less OP in their blood than the other kids. As a matter of fact, the children on the conventional diet had six times the dimethyl metabolites, dimethyl being a pesticide suspected of affecting nerve function and growth. "Consumption of organic produce appears to provide a relatively simple way for parents to reduce their children's exposure to OP pesticides," note the researchers. "Organic foods have been growing in popularity over the last several years," says Jim Burkhart, PhD, science editor for the journal that published the study. "These scientists studied one potential area of difference from the use of organic foods, and the findings are compelling."
On the way to tonight's dinner, researchers have created genetically modified organisms (GMO), plants and animals that have been transgenically engineered. In the food world, that means organisms containing genes inserted from another species. Chances are if you eat food purchased at the typical supermarket, those comestibles contain GMO ingredients. In the United States, food companies are not required to label for GMO content.
A growing number of American consumers are upset about not being told about the GMO products in their food. But industry scientists, worried that informed consumers may someday turn their back on GMO foods, consider consumer ignorance to be an acceptable state of affairs.
For instance, the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) is fighting regulations that would require GMO labeling. According to ASPB President Daniel Bush, PhD, of the University of Illinois at Urbana, "The language...(in these types of regulations) is based on a system of beliefs of what is 'natural,' rather than a scientifically defined set of criteria focused on content and nutritional value. This is a radical departure from food labeling up to now, which is designed to maximize useful information for consumers concerning what is in the food they are buying."
Dr. Bush continues, "There are, of course, examples of voluntary labeling standards in the food industry that reflect how foods are processed, such as organic foods. The voluntary organic labeling standards were sought by the organic food industry. Kosher foods are also labeled as having been produced in accordance with specific beliefs. However, mandatory labeling of targeted production methods has never before been required and we believe would obscure rather than clarify important issues of food safety."
In other words, Dr. Bush opposes GMO labeling because he feels it would unnecessarily stigmatize GMO food items. Others are not so sanguine about the safety of GMO foods.
The arguments against GMO foods include:
These types of risks have motivated industry groups to urge more regulation of GMO crops. The Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) and the National Restaurant Association, plus seven other food groups, are worried that GMO plants grown to produce pharmaceutical drugs could contaminate the food supply and destroy consumer trust in food.
Mary Sophos, a vice president of GMA, warns, "To minimize the possible risks, a clear system of regulatory enforcement and liability needs to be in place. Until then, no permits for new field trials or for commercialization should be issued because there is no room for trial and error."
These food industry groups have voiced their concerns to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the USDA. Last year, the USDA forced ProdiGene Inc., a biotech firm, to dispose of 500,000 bushels of soybeans contaminated with a drug meant to treat diabetes. What are the chances of more GMO accidents? No one knows. But if you buy and eat organic, you minimize your risk and maximize your chances of dining on safer food.