How Safe are your Nutritional Supplements?

January 6, 2011

Below is a press release from the Orthomolecular Medicine Society regarding the safety of the nutritional supplements our patients, family and friends rely upon every day to stay healthy and free of disease.

In health,

Dr. G

Zero Deaths from Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids or Herbs

Poison Control Statistics Prove Supplements’ Safety Yet Again

There was not even one death caused by a dietary supplement in 2009, according to the most recent information collected by the U.S. National Poison Data System.

The new 200-page annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, published in the journal Clinical Toxicology, shows zero deaths from multiple vitamins; zero deaths from any of the B vitamins; zero deaths from vitamins A, C, D, or E; and zero deaths from any other vitamin.

Additionally, there were no deaths whatsoever from any amino acid, herb, or dietary mineral supplement.

Two people died from non-nutritional mineral poisoning, one from a sodium salt and one from an iron salt or iron. On page 1139, the AAPCC report specifically indicates that the iron fatality was not from a nutritional supplement. One other person is alleged to have died from an “Unknown Dietary Supplement or Homeopathic Agent.” This claim remains speculative, as no verification information was provided.

60 poison centers provide coast-to-coast data for the U.S. National Poison Data System, “one of the few real-time national surveillance systems in existence, providing a model public health surveillance system for all types of exposures, public health event identification, resilience response and situational awareness tracking.”

Over half of the U.S. population takes daily nutritional supplements. Even if each of those people took only one single tablet daily, that makes 155,000,000 individual doses per day, for a total of nearly 57 billion doses annually. Since many persons take more than just one vitamin or mineral tablet, actual consumption is considerably higher, and the safety of nutritional supplements is all the more remarkable.

If nutritional supplements are allegedly so “dangerous,” as the FDA and news media so often claim, then where are the bodies?


Bronstein AC, Spyker DA, Cantilena LR Jr, Green JL, Rumack BH, Giffin SL. 2009 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS): 27th Annual Report. Clinical Toxicology (2010). 48, 979-1178. The full text article is available for free download at

The data mentioned above are found in Table 22B, journal pages 1138-1148.

For Further Reading:

Download any Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers from 1983-2009 free of charge at

Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness.

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Food Safety Bill Update..Positive News!!!

November 30, 2010

Below is a report by the Natural Products Association regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act.  The Senate passed the bill with language that was largely debated and in support of the Natural Products Industry and small farmers.

Here’s to positive changes happening in America!

Dr. G

Food Safety Bill Passes the Senate

This morning the Senate passed S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, by a vote of 73-25. It is still expected that the House will approve the bill as passed by the Senate, and send it on to the President for his signature. Enactment will complete a long legislative journey spanning several Congresses, and is a significant win for the NPA and the industry; as provisions negatively impacting natural products retailers and suppliers were modified or kept out of the bill, and measures supported by the industry were included.

As noted in earlier updates, the bill includes the language negotiated between industry champion Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), which prompted McCain to withdraw his support for S. 3002. There also are provisions protecting supplement makers from duplicative safety regulations, and language clarifying that nothing in the bill promotes adoption of CODEX by the United States. These provisions were supported by NPA. The bill also includes a recent amendment offered by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) to protect small farmers, as well as several other provisions. Not included in the revised package is the penalties amendment proposed by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that the Natural Products Association opposed.

The final version of this bill is a demonstration of the impact of the strong grassroots voice of NPA members and others in the industry, and the hard work by the NPA staff and lobbying team.

The NPA will remain vigilant for the rest of the lame duck session of Congress to ensure the interests of the industry are protected.

LTP Natural Medical Center and Dr. Gina Cushman are members of the Natural Products Association and support their efforts to make positive change happen in America’s Natural Healthcare Industry.

Protect America’s Family Farmers Today!

November 16, 2010

In the next 24 hours, the Senate is voting on a crucial and controversial bill (Food Safety Modernization Bill) that compromises the health and well being of America’s local farmers.  Please call or email your local representatives to encourage them to include the Tester-Hagan Amendment and the Manager’s Amendment , which offers some protection for farmers that have gross sales of less than $500,000 and sell within 400 miles of their farm.

Click here to read more and take action now!

In health,

Dr. G


Fish Oils Reduce Inflammation and Treat Diabetes

November 11, 2010

Finally, a study has identified the mechanism by which omega-3 fatty acids appear to effectively fight chronic inflammation, insulin resistance and diabetes. The study found that there is a key receptor in obese body fat and that omega-3 oils – specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – activate this receptor, which results in broad anti-inflammatory effects and improved systemic insulin sensitivity. (There is a strong connection between obesity and diabetes.) The effect of fish oil was powerful, according to the researchers, and, “The omega-3 fatty acids switch on the receptor, killing the inflammatory response.” The study team warned that more study is required to determine how much fish oil constitutes a safe and effective dose. Researchers suggested that the study could eventually lead to a natural dietary remedy for the more than 23 million Americans who suffer from diabetes. This study was published in the journal, Cell. The full-text version is now available online by clicking here.

In health,

Dr. G

Natural Antiviral Treatment for Herpes

November 9, 2010

Below is a reprint from an article written by Alliance for Natural Health, on the benefits of Vitamin D and other effective antiviral treatments for herpes, beyond the conventional medical approach.  Approximately 60% of patients we see at LTP Natural Medical Center have a history of being diagnosed with herpes.  And most of these patients are low when we test their Vitamin D3 blood levels, confirming what ANH is purporting, which is the use of vitamin D as an antiviral agent in treating herpes.  Please consider donating to the efforts of ANH. They are a powerful, and balanced, force in the natural healthcare industry.

In health,

Dr. G

Search the mainstream medical journals, even search the Internet, and you won’t find this undeniably simple answer.

Everywhere you look, conventional medicine is singing the same tune: the Mayo Clinic [1], the Berkeley Wellness Letter [2], the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [3], and the National Institutes of Health [4] all say that even though there is no cure for  herpes, the best way to prevent or treat the symptoms is with antiviral medications like acyclovir (sold under the trade name Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), or valacyclovir (Valtrex).

They recommend one of two basic approaches: episodic therapy (that is, taking the medicine whenever you experience an outbreak) or suppressive therapy (taking the medicine daily to minimize the chances of recurrent or future outbreaks). Suppressive therapy for herpes means huge profits for drug companies, particularly since these medicines are expensive—there is no generic version for Acyclovir as yet, and a one-month supply of Valtrex costs around $200. There is also the small problem that these drugs do not work very well—and antiviral drugs tend to lead to drug-resistant superbugs.

But conventional medicine ignores the obvious natural prescription: get a vitamin D test!

Vitamin D is a powerful natural antiviral, which is why we bang the drum about vitamin D therapy [5] for colds and especially flu every chance we get. Research from the University of Copenhagen [6] shows that vitamin D activates the immune system by arming T-cells to fight off infections. Without vitamin D, the immune system’s T-cells remain dormant, offering little or no protection against invading microorganisms and viruses. But with vitamin D in the bloodstream, T-cells begin seeking out invaders, which are then destroyed and carried out of the body. You may recall the Japanese study we told you about in June [7] which found that vitamin D was more effective than a vaccine in preventing flu, including pandemic flu. The report [8], published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that school children taking vitamin D were 58 percent less likely to catch influenza A. By contrast, antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) reduced rates of infection by only 8 percent. Even vaccines had success rates significantly lower than the 58 percent achieved by vitamin D.

Our vitamin D–mediated immune response has been with us through more than 60 million years of pre-human and human evolutionary selection, as research from Ohio State [9] demonstrates. Vitamin D is critical to our survival.

The problem is that a whopping 59 percent of the population is deficient in vitamin D, according to research [10] published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Moreover, nearly 25 percent of the study subjects were found to have critically low levels of vitamin D.

According to John Cannell, MD, founder of the non-profit Vitamin D Council [11], “Current research has implicated vitamin D deficiency as a major factor in the pathology of at least seventeen varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more.” All of this is in addition to viral and bacterial infections.

Type 1 herpes (cold sores) is thought to afflict a majority of the US population, genital herpes perhaps a quarter. For anyone plagued by herpes, and for everyone as we head into flu season, it’s essential that you are getting enough vitamin D. So please get your vitamin D level checked! If it is less than optimal—levels should be between 50–80 ng/ml, year-round [12]—take a vitamin D supplement (be sure it’s D3—cholecalciferol), get your blood retested to verify that you’re taking the proper dosage [13], and get sufficient exposure to the sun. (Such exposure may not produce vitamin D in the winter, depending on where you live, or if you sunbathe too early or too late in the day.)

Besides vitamin D, there are a number of other natural ways to increase the odds of avoiding herpes outbreaks:

  • Eliminate sugar and white flour from your diet. They interfere with your immune system’s ability to fight outbreaks and new infections.
  • Identify any food allergies or sensitivities, and adopt an allergy-free diet.
  • Avoid foods (like cashews) that contain L-arginine, because this amino acid may facilitate outbreaks. (This is too bad, because L-arginine may also increase sexual arousal!)
  • Take natural vitamins and minerals: lysine (another amino acid, and a longtime favorite to control herpes), vitamin C, selenium (inhibits the ability of all “herpes-family” viruses to reproduce), lithium (slows down formation of the viral capsid), zinc (boosts the infection-fighting capability of immune system), and vitamin A.

Among natural treatments for active herpes lesions are vitamin C powder and propolis, a natural product found in beehives. The two can be combined. This is somewhat more realistic than the often-mentioned peppermint oil and tea tree oil, because their pungent odor announces their presence—not something you want during a herpes eruption. Lemon balm oil also has some research behind it.

Article printed from Welcome to the Alliance for Natural Health – USA:


URL to article:

URLs in this post:

[1] Mayo Clinic:

[2] Berkeley Wellness Letter:

[3] the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

[4] National Institutes of Health:

[5] vitamin D therapy:

[6] Research from the University of Copenhagen:

[7] we told you about in June:

[8] The report:

[9] research from Ohio State:

[10] research:

[11] Vitamin D Council:

[12] levels should be between 50–80 ng/ml, year-round:

[13] the proper dosage:

Please Tell Congress to Pass the Child Nutrition Bill TODAY!

September 29, 2010

Tell congress to pass the child nutrition bill today!

In the next 36 hours, the House is set to vote on the much anticipated Child Nutrition Re-authorization Act (CNR). Tomorrow, on September 30th, the bill will expire if Congress does not act. If that happens, our kids will lose out on the best shot they’ve got at improving the quality of their school lunches.

Click here to take action now.

Below is more information, provided by the good folks at Food Democracy Now!

Please consider a donation as well to support their continued and focused efforts to protect our food supply. It is a powerful way to say “Thank You!” for working on our behalf.

In health,

Dr. Gina (Nick) Cushman

Urgent: Can you take a moment today for children?

In the next 36 hours, the House is set to vote on the much anticipated Child Nutrition Re-authorization Act (CNR). For over a year now, America’s children have been waiting on this vote, and tomorrow, on September 30th, the bill will expire if Congress does not act. If that happens, our children will lose out on the best shot they’ve got at improving the quality of their school lunches, and along with it, their health.

Although this bill has been at the heart of much criticism, it is our last best hope to address childhood hunger, set limits on junk food in the schools and provide mandatory funding for farm to school programs this year. [1]

It is so urgent that we are asking you to not only sign a letter to your Representative in congress, but also to make a call today urging them not to ignore this important bipartisan piece of legislation. Can you take a moment for America’s children right now?

Click here to send an urgent email to your U.S. Representative.

What does Child Nutrition Act provide?

  • Mandatory funding for grants to assist in establishing Farm to School programs. ($40 million over 8 years)
  • Establishes national nutrition standards for all foods sold on school campuses (including vending machines)
  • Improves access for low income and poverty level students to school nutrition programs
  • Expands the after school meal program, including authorizing Summer Food Grant Support
  • A 6 cent increase per school meal
  • $10 million for an Organic Food Pilot Program that authorizes competitive grants for lower income school districts to purchase organic food for their menus

The Child Nutrition Act is important legislation that we can no longer afford to deny our children. First Lady Michelle Obama has recognized this from the beginning of her husband’s presidency, working as a powerful advocate to end childhood obesity within this generation. [2] It’s no wonder. According to The Centers for Disease Control, one-third of all children born in the year 2000 will be overweight, obese or contract diabetes. Even worse, these children will be the first in our nation’s history to die at a younger age than their parents, if we don’t reverse this disturbing trend. [3]

There’s no better reason than that to advocate for better school lunch programs, which not only build children’s health and address hunger, but also create opportunities for new and beginning farmers through Farm to School programs.

Farm to School

Farm to School programs provide children the opportunity to eat seasonal and local fruits and vegetables, creating the potential to enhance children’s overall health and lifelong dietary habits. With current Farm to School programs in place, giving access to farm fresh food, schools have reported a 3 to 16% increase in school meal participation among students, giving them a connection to where their food comes from and improving academic performance.

In addition, Farm to School programs keep local dollars in the community, provide jobs, and market opportunity for small and midsized farmers; something Food Democracy Now! advocated for in February 2009 when we were the first organization in the sustainable food community to sit down with Secretary Vilsack in his office at the USDA in Washington DC.

Now is the time to enact this important measure, which builds healthy kids and healthy rural communities.

Click here to send an urgent email to your U.S. Representative.

The Tale of Two Bills

A great deal of concern has been raised over the incremental but crucial differences between the House and Senate bills for the re-authorization of the Child Nutrition Act. One hotly contested difference is that the Senate version takes $2.2 billion in funding away from the SNAP or Supplemental Nutritional Access Program (formerly known as food stamps). [4] While this is an area of deep concern, leaving one to question the integrity of every U.S. Senator, it is, at this point, a politically unavoidable reality.

Those in favor of the House bill are also extremely discouraged at the cut in funding for the breakfast program from the Senate version, not to mention the dramatic reduction in funds budgeted for the Farm to School program. The House version grants $10 million per year for Farm to School programs over 5 years, while the Senate version of the bill only allows $5 million per year over 8 years. Also, notably absent from the Senate version is the expansion of food safety requirements. Worth noting is the appallingly low figure that both the House and Senate granted in the bill at a mere 6 cents per meal for America’s school children. [5]
With 12 percent of children ages 2 to 5 already obese, not to mention the fact that food insecurity is at it’s highest rate since the USDA starting keeping stats in 1995, certainly, we could do better. [6]

The Child Nutrition Act has held much promise for our nation’s children, let’s not fail them any longer. Our kids deserve better than the status quo that has brought them obesity and malnutrition.

We know that we can no longer afford to wait to give our children the nutrition they deserve. For many, this is the main meal of their day and it’s time that Congress treat America’s children like the precious national resource for our future that they are.

Even though this bill enjoys broad support from NGO’s, the First Lady, military generals and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack [7], it could go down in flames alongside other vital pieces of legislation this year, such as the climate change bill, if you don’t take action today.

Today, we need to say, “Not on our watch!”

Don’t fail kids today. Please take a moment and join us!

Be a Hero today to our kids by clicking here to send a letter to your Representative in Congress, then make a quick call.

The next generation thanks you for participating in food democracy  –

We need your help to keep the pressure on! Please donate to Food Democracy Now today – as little as $7 can make a big difference. Every bit helps!

We rely on folks like you to keep us going. Thanks again for your support.


1. Senate bill S. 3307 – 111th Congress, The Library of Congress.

2. “Healthy, and Safe, School Lunches”, Michelle Obama; Editorial New York Times; April 4, 2010.

3. P”revalence of High Body Mass Index in US Children and Adolescents, 2007-2008″ The Journal of the American Medical Association, January 20, 2010.

4. “Critics call child nutrition bill counterproductive”, NPR, September 29, 2010.

5. “A modest proposal for congress: Ditch the extra spending for school lunch, Ed Bruske, Grist, September 28, 2010.

6. “Food insecurity rising in America”, Newsweek, August 8, 2010.

7.”100 Retired Generals and Admirals, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Urge Congress to Pass Child Nutrition Bill As Matter of National Security”, Mission Readiness, September 21, 2010.

Proper Zinc Levels Cut Your Pneumonia Risk in Half!

September 24, 2010

A study of 600 nursing facility residents has found that those with adequate zinc levels were about fifty percent less likely to develop pneumonia than those with low body concentrations of zinc. Also, those with sufficient levels of zinc received fewer prescriptions for antibiotics, had shorter durations of pneumonia and had lower mortality rates. The researchers suggested that zinc supplementation for zinc-deficient elderly persons may result in a lower incidence of pneumonia and that further study is required to determine whether zinc supplements may be an effective and low-cost intervention to reduce pneumonia deaths among vulnerable populations who already have low zinc intakes. (An earlier analysis of the same data had shown that those who consumed 200 international units (IU) of vitamin E were less likely to get upper respiratory infections, such as colds.) The study was released August 10, 2010 and will be published in a future issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In the meantime, it can be read online at by subscribers to the journal or those who pay the article access fee.

The evidence is mounting that proper nutrient levels keep us well.  In general licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctors will not, however, advise that everyone run out and buy a high potency vitamin and mineral supplement. We are all unique, and what we have discovered at our office is that one person may have toxic levels of zinc in their body, while another may have a deficiency.  That is why we are strong proponents for testing to discover what your unique nutrient, amino acid and fatty acid needs are. Armed with objective information on your body, we can then create a plan for you of what supplements to take, in what form, how often, and what dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to keep you healthy, well and safe!

Dr. G

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