FDA Essentially Bans Trans Fats

June 18, 2015

small_food_packageNaturopathic Physicians have been educating the public and their patients on the dangers of trans fats (also known as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) for 30 plus years based on studies from the 1970’s showing a link between these artificial fats and heart disease.

Finally, the FDA, in an effort to prevent heart attacks and deaths, finalized its determination that the main sources of artificial trans fat are not safe. FDA gave food manufacturers until June 2018 to remove partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) from their products after concluding that the oils are not so-called GRAS, or generally recognized as safe.

It’s hopeful that our government is finally taking action and acknowledging the SIGNIFICANT impact that our food supply has on the state of health of our citizens, and the major economic burden the US shoulders to manage chronic illnesses that can easily be prevented by removing artificial chemicals, excess sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and the like from our food supply.

Research identified a relationship between folic acid deficiencies and birth defects as early as 1965. It was not until 1992 that the United States Public Health Service shared this critical knowledge with the country and recommended that all women of childbearing age, capable of becoming pregnant, consume 400mcg of folic acid per day. It took the scientific community almost 30 years to accept that a nutrient deficiency might cause a gross distortion in human neuronal development and to recommend supplementation. Tens of thousands of children were born during this time with preventable birth defects.

Let’s use common sense, and consider listening to the doctors who pay attention to the research as it comes available rather then waiting 30 years to act on it, and who are tirelessly working to educate the public on the importance of quality food and the power of nutritional medicine to prevent and treat disease.

In health,
Dr. Gina


Do Vitamins Cause Cancer?

November 30, 2009

Weighing the benefits of nutritional supplements

I am reprinting a press release from the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service that discusses a newly published study, sure to get press, that implies that a simple folate supplement increases cancer rates in patients who are diagnosed with heart disease.  This press release does an excellent job of helping readers read between the lines when articles are released that are biased against natural health products.  I encourage you to read and listen to all health related discussions and advertisements through a similar, more well-informed lens.

Yours in health,

Dr. G

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, November 29, 2009
 

Does Everything Cause Cancer, Even Vitamins?
Folate, B-12 and Cigarettes: Guess Who the Real Culprit Is

(OMNS, November 29, 2009) A newly released study suggests that folate supplements can increase cancer rates in patients who have heart disease [1]. But the data for the study was not collected to test the effect of supplemental folate on cancer, and appears to be biased by the high fraction of smokers and by the low levels of supplements given. All of the groups in the study had high rates of cancer, whether or not they took a folate supplement. The suggested increase in cancer risk is very small, only 1.6%. Because of these problems, the report appears to be biased by uncontrolled factors in the data collection and analysis.

The study combined the data from two recent trials performed in Norway that tested the effect of folate and vitamin B-12, two closely related B vitamins, on the homocysteine levels in the blood and on overall mortality [2,3]. The rationale for these trials was that high levels of homocysteine are known to be a risk factor associated with atherosclerosis, and are sometimes associated with low folate levels [4,5]. Folate and vitamin B-12 are important for growth because they involved in the synthesis of DNA. Folate is crucial for the prevention of spina bifida and other developmental defects in babies. Folate is also known to prevent the occurrence of cancer, and to reduce atherosclerosis and related heart problems [6,7].

Another reason to be cautious about the conclusion of the study is that most of the cancers detected were slow-progressing and would not be expected to be initiated by a relatively low dose of an essential vitamin, such as folate, over the 3-year period of the study. It would appear much more likely that the vitamin supplements actually reduced new cancer incidence as shown in previous studies [7], but that any cancers that showed up later were already initiated but undetected at the start of the study [8]. The real cause of cancer may be connected to the heart disease in these subjects because of their long history of smoking and ill health.

In these two trials, the subjects were selected for having heart disease and were therefore quite ill. The vitamin amounts were small: 0.8 milligrams/day of folic acid; 0.4 mg/day of vitamin B-12, and 40 mg/day vitamin B-6. These amounts are low by comparison with other studies, where commonly much larger amounts of folate and vitamin B12 are given (40 mg/day folic acid, 2 mg/day of vitamin B12) [9]. Orthomolecular (nutritional) physicians maintain that larger nutrient doses are more effective in preventing illness than are small doses.

Indeed, the data from the two trials showed a cancer increase that was non-significant. That’s right, it could be merely random variation. This is important. One reason this is likely is that the point where a subject stopped being considered as part of the statistical significance was either any cause of death, or a heart-related event, or a stroke [2,3]. Thus subjects who died of unrelated causes were tallied in the statistics, which would tend to obscure any effects of the treatment. Other uncontrolled factors, for example the general ill health of the subjects, or behavioral factors like the amount of smoking, very likely contributed to the variability. In an attempt to give more statistical significance the study combined the data from both trials to double the number of subjects. A claimed increase in cancer due to increased folate levels is not borne out by statistics for the population of the US where folate levels have increased recently , because the cancer rates have significantly dropped [7].

Interestingly, health was actually improved in the subjects that received folate plus vitamin B-12, because for them the rates of acute hospitalization for angina and the incidence of stroke were lower by about 4% than for the placebo group.

In conclusion, any apparent increase in cancer risk is close to the expected random variability in the cancer rate, implying that much or all of any alleged “vitamin problem” is purely due to chance.

Findings due to chance are not scientific findings. Isn’t it interesting that a major journal (Journal of the American Medical Association) would publish this research? Perhaps nonsignificant data are acceptable if you have an anti-vitamin orientation. Researchers previously found that in major medical journals, more pharmaceutical company advertising resulted in the journal having more articles with “negative conclusions about dietary supplement safety.” [10] JAMA carries a large number of pharmaceutical ads.

Bottom line: vitamins do not cause cancer. Smoking does.

References:

[1] Ebbing M, Bonaa KH, Nygard O, Arnesen E, Ueland PM, Nordrehaug JE, Rasmussen K, Njolstad I, Refsum H, Nilsen DW, Tverdal A, Meyer K, Vollset SE (2009) Cancer incidence and mortality after treatment with folic acid and vitamin B12. JAMA 301: 2119-2126.

[2] Bonaa KH, Njolstad I, Ueland PM, Schirmer H, Tverdal A, Steigen T, Wang H, Nordrehaug JE, Arnesen E, Rasmussen K; NORVIT Trial (2006) Homocysteine lowering and cardiovascular events after acute myocardial infarction. N Engl J Med. 354:1578-88.

[3] Ebbing M, Bleie O, Ueland PM, Nordrehaug JE, Nilsen DW, Vollset SE, Refsum H, Pedersen EK, Nygard O.(2008) Mortality and cardiovascular events in patients treated with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins after coronary angiography: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 300:795-804.

[4] McCully KS. (2009) Chemical pathology of homocysteine. IV. Excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, and inflammation. Ann Clin Lab Sci. 39:219-232.

[5] Terwecoren A, Steen E, Benoit D, Boon P, Hemelsoet D. (2009) Ischemic stroke and hyperhomocysteinemia: truth or myth? Acta Neurol Belg. 109:181-188.

[6] Imamura A, Murakami R, Takahashi R, Cheng XW, Numaguchi Y, Murohara T, Okumura K. (2009) Low folate levels may be an atherogenic factor regardless of homocysteine levels in young healthy nonsmokers. Metabolism. 2009 Nov 13. [Epub ahead of print]

[7] Drake BF, Colditz GA (2009) Assessing cancer prevention studies: a matter of time. JAMA 302:2152-2153.

[8] Kim YI. (2008) Folic acid supplementation and cancer risk: point. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 17:2220-2225.

[9] Jamison RL, Hartigan P, Kaufman JS, Goldfarb DS, Warren SR, Guarino PD, Gaziano JM; Veterans Affairs Site Investigators. (2007) Effect of homocysteine lowering on mortality and vascular disease in advanced chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 298:1163-1170.

[10] Pharmaceutical advertising biases journals against vitamin supplements. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, February 5, 2009. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v05n02.shtml

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org

The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

Editorial Review Board:

Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.
Damien Downing, M.D.
Michael Gonzalez, D.Sc., Ph.D.
Steve Hickey, Ph.D.
James A. Jackson, PhD
Bo H. Jonsson, MD, Ph.D
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D.
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D.
Erik Paterson, M.D.
Gert E. Shuitemaker, Ph.D.

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D., Editor and contact person. Email: omns@orthomolecular.org

OMNS free subscription link http://orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html OMNS archive link http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml


The Potential of Resveratrol-is it Worth Adding to your Health Regimen?

August 20, 2009

grapeResveratrol is a naturally occurring chemical found in the skins and seeds of red grapes, peanuts and in Polygonum, a popular and well respected herbal medicine from the Far East.  Currently, the research on Resveratrol is promising as a protective chemical against the damaging effects of toxins, synthetic estrogen and xenoestrogens, inflammation, and the process of aging.  It has specific actions on the brain, immune system, and heart.

In my practice I will use between 200 and 500 mg per day of Resveratrol as part of a treatment protocol. This typically is added to a protocol after a patient has been tested to determine if he or she has a deficiency of antioxidants or an imbalance of free radicals relative to antioxidants in the body.  All too often patients come into my practice with a huge bag of supplements, with no idea of what is working, what is not working and still battling the same symptoms that led him or her down the path of supplementation.

You know your body better then anyone else… you have been living in it your entire life!  You may have a sense of what is causing your symptoms and you also may have a sense for what medicines are helping or harming you.  To help confirm that sense, and develop a balanced approach to solving your health challenge, I encourage getting lab testing completed through a qualified Naturopathic Medical Doctor who has access and has experience with taking objective measured to get to an underlying biochemical cause for your symptoms.  And at that point, adding a powerful antioxidant such as Resveratrol to your protocol, and then re-testing after 3-6 months, this will let you know for certain if what you are taking is actually helping to balance your body!

In health,

Dr. Gina


First of PBS Series Airs April 8, 2009 on KOCE

March 30, 2009

The first of seven Naturopathic Medicine segments will air on KOCE on April 08, 2009 in southern California.  Healthy dietTune in for valuable information from licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctors and their patients.

It is sure to be an educational and inspiring seven part series where you can gain a greater understanding for the power of Naturopathic Medicine, practiced by licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctors. If you would like to learn more about the difference between licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctors and natural health practitioners that are not licensed to practice medicine in California click here.

For more information on the PBS Special click on this previous blog post.

In health,

Dr. G


Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise

November 17, 2008

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Food allergies are on the rise in the US, and are highly prevalent in children.  The most common allergies that I see in my practice are delayed food hypersensitivity reactions which means that you could eat a suspect food one day and not experience symptoms from that food for 48 hours.  Eggs, pasteurized cow’s milk products (e.g. pasteurized cheese, yogurt, milk derived from cows)  wheat, and shellfish are among the most common foods that cause reactions in the body. These food allergies can cause or aggravate asthma symptoms, susceptibility to colds and the flu, mood disorders including depression, anxiety, and Attention Deficit Disorder, and chronic conditions including Autism Spectrum Disorder, arthritis, joint pain, chronic fatigue syndrome and eczema.

There are several ways to determine if you have a food allergy.  The first way is a little complicated but involves an elimination diet where you remove all traces of the most common food allergens from your diet. Then, over time, you reintroduce one of those foods at a time and note if you experience symptoms. I highly recommend working with a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor if you are interested in treating yourself or your child for food allergies.

I test the blood for food allergies and find that this is an accurate, more specific, and simpler way to know what foods to avoid.

So why are food allergies on the rise?  One reason is that we are living in a more sterile environment then ever before. The overuse of disinfectants, the overuse of antibiotics when they are not really necessary, and the tendency to work and study indoors in rather sterile environments where there is limited exposure to sunlight (a natural disinfectant) are some of the reasons why children’s immune systems are not up to par.  Food allergies tend to be caused by an imbalance in immune function.

Some natural ways to balance out immune function are to get tested for food allergies and avoid them for 3-6 months, get your blood tested for vitamin A and vitamin D3 and supplement these nutrients if necessary, and take a high quality probiotic on a regular basis to keep the healthy bacteria present in your gut.  Other options to consider that I often use in practice to boost immune function include Oregacillin, Allimed, and Berry Well Immune Support. I also like the Candida Cleanse Pack which treats candida but also serves as a powerful immune supportive protocol, and for optimal foundational support for our children I recommend the Children’s Foundation Pack.

In health,

Dr. G


“Doctors” Practicing Natural Medicine without a License

February 5, 2008

Just yesterday in my naturopathic medical practice I had a patient come in, literally in tears, because she had just visited a man falsely claiming to be a “board certifiedstethescope_keyboard.jpg Naturopathic Physician” and telling her that he would not continue to give her Nature’s Thyroid (a prescription medication) unless she also purchased $600 worth of nutritional supplements . I hear stories like this regularly. As it turns out, this guy was NOT a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor but rather got a degree through a mail order school and is practicing medicine without a license. He hands out prescription medications to his “patients” that he acquires somehow and then threatens not to continue providing the medication to the victim unless they also take hundreds of dollars worth of supplements.

These people will have have all sorts of “certifications” listed, including “Board certification” and member of the “American Naturopathic Medical Association.” This association is not the same as the “American Association of Naturopathic Physicians(AANP).” The AANP is the only national organization for LICENSED Naturopathic Medical Doctors in the country, who attended 4 years of Naturopathic Medical education through a CNME approved medical school and passed national Naturopathic Medical Boards.

One way to ensure that you are seeing a qualified, licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor, who has gone through proper medical training and who is licensed to practice medicine is to visit the California Naturopathic Doctors Association (if you live in California-I am currently the president of this association) or www.naturopathic.org and search for a qualified physician who specializes in natural medicine.


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