Wednesday, July 20, 2011

If You Know what's Good for You ... (Part 6)

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The Risks of Treating Diabetes with Drugs Are FAR Worse than the Disease
Posted By Dr. Mercola
September 07 2011
24,100 views
Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, and up to 95 percent of these cases are type 2 diabetes.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease that shuts down your body's insulin production, type 2 diabetes is directly caused by lifestyle. Whereas type 1 diabetics need to inject insulin several times a day to stay alive, type 2 diabetics do NOT need drugs. In fact, taking drugs for type 2 diabetes can be far worse than the disease itself!
Diabetes Drugs Increase Your Risk of Death
Drugs are widely prescribed for type 2 diabetics to help lower blood sugar levels, but a new meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials involving more than 33,000 people showed that this treatment is not only ineffective, it's dangerous as well. Treatment with glucose-lowering drugs actually showed the potential to increase your risk of death from heart-related, and all other causes.
Researchers noted:
"The overall results of this meta-analysis do not show a benefit of intensive glucose lowering treatment on all cause mortality or cardiovascular death. A 19% increase in all cause mortality and a 43% increase in cardiovascular mortality cannot be excluded."
Lessons Learned from Avandia: Diabetes Drugs Can be Deadly
Avandia (rosiglitazone) is the poster child for what is wrong with the drug treatment of type 2 diabetes. After hitting the market in 1999, a 2007 study in the New England Journal of Medicine linked it to a 43 percent increased risk of heart attack, and a 64 percent higher risk of cardiovascular death, compared to patients treated with other methods!
Avandia works by making diabetes patients more sensitive to their own insulin, helping to control blood sugar levels. In fact, most conventional treatments for type 2 diabetes utilize drugs that either raise insulin or lower blood sugar. Avandia, for example, reduces your blood sugar by increasing the sensitivity of your liver, fat, and muscle cells to insulin.
Millions of people have taken Avandia and have been exposed to these unacceptably high-risk side effects, for a drug that in no way treats the underlying causes of diabetes. More than 80,000 diabetics have suffered from strokes, heart failure or other complications including lethal heart attacks from this dangerous drug.
It took nearly 10 years of the drug being on the market for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action and restrict access to this dangerous drug, whereas the European Medicines Agency banned it altogether.
Since that 2007 NEJM study, data from various trials, studies and meta-analyses have consistently confirmed the dangers of this drug, and based on the evidence amassed over the past three years, the European Medicines Agency is now recommending the withdrawal of rosiglitazone-containing diabetic drugs due to the increased risk of ischemic heart disease.
The only thing rosiglitazone drugs like Avandia do is to help lower blood glucose, which has virtually no influence on the long-term damage due to type 2 diabetes. Most of the damage is caused by elevated insulin levels, which can be remedied with an optimal diet and exercise program alone, if you're compliant.
And Avandia is only one example. Other studies have also confirmed that most drugs given to type 2 diabetics are at best worthless and at worst harmful or even deadly. Last year the New England Journal of Medicine featured not one, not two, but FOUR studies backing up the conclusion that the path of conventional medicine is leading diabetics astray, and doing far more harm than good. The studies revealed:
Using antihypertensives to lower systolic blood pressure below a 120 mm Hg does nothing to lower a diabetic's risk of heart complications
Diabetics receive no health benefit from adding a drug to raise HDL "good" cholesterol levels if they're already taking a statin to lower their LDL cholesterol levels
There were no heart benefits associated with two different drugs given to lower high blood sugar levels
Lowering Blood Sugar is Not the Correct Strategy to Overcome Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is not a blood sugar disease. So, drugs that focus on the symptom of elevated blood sugar, rather than addressing the underlying cause, are doomed to fail in most cases. Rather, as explained in this classic article by Dr. Ron Rosedale, type 2 diabetes is a disease caused by insulin resistance and faulty leptin signaling (leptin is a hormone produced in your fat cells), both of which are regulated through your diet.
As Dr. Rosedale states:
"Much more appropriate names for type 1 and type 2 diabetes would be insulin-deficient or insulin-resistant diabetes respectively, stressing the importance of insulin signaling in this disease. And in this case, the progression and deterioration of so-called type 1 and type 2 diabetes into one another should more appropriately be called Doctor Induced Exacerbation or DIE, stressing the significance of current medical treatment as the cause of … double diabetes."
For the last 50 years or so, Americans have followed the dietary recommendations of a high complex carbohydrate, low saturated fat diet—the exact opposite of what actually works for preventing and reversing diabetes! High complex carbohydrates include legumes, potatoes, corn, rice and grain products. Aside from legumes, you actually want to AVOID all the rest to prevent insulin resistance.
"Conventional wisdom" also states that table sugar is okay for diabetics, as long as you readjust your medications to compensate appropriately. But if you have diabetes, I recommend limiting or even eliminating sugar from your diet, especially in the form of fructose.
Fructose does not stimulate a rise in leptin, so your satiety signals are suppressed. It also raises your insulin and your triglycerides, which effectively reduces the amount of leptin crossing your blood-brain barrier. This interferes with the communication between leptin and your hypothalamus. Your brain senses starvation and prompts you to eat more.
Dr. Rosedale adds:
"I have been incensed about the [conventional] medical treatment of diabetes for decades. Diabetics have been told that they can eat meals multiple times daily that turn into sugar and even sugar itself, as long as they take enough insulin to lower their blood sugar. The importance of limiting the intake of sugar and foods that turn into sugar has been almost totally ignored.
There has been virtually no recognition that high levels of insulin are at least as much of an insult to a person's health as high levels of sugar."
Conventional nutritionists also recommend using toxic artificial sweeteners like aspartame in lieu of sugar for diabetics, despite the evidence showing it rapidly stimulates the release of insulin and leptin (which diabetics need to avoid), and actually leads to greater weight gain than sugar...
When you add drugs to this harmful mix, your pancreas is actually stimulated to produce even more insulin, and this is the last thing that a type-2 diabetic, whose pancreas has been producing excess insulin for some time to try to compensate for being insulin resistant, needs. Dr. Rosedale states:
"With blinders on, drugs have been and are still being given to lower blood sugar, even though they essentially whip the islet cells of the pancreas to produce more insulin. These unfortunate, overstressed islet cells have been producing excess insulin for years and often decades to try to compensate for the insensitivity, the resistance of the body's cells to insulin's signal.
This is much like whipping a horse to run faster at the end of a race; it runs faster for a little while, but if you keep doing it, it collapses and dies. So too do the islet cells that manufacture insulin in the pancreas die when drugs, nay doctors, whip them to keep producing more insulin when they are tired and sick.
At this point, a diabetic, who originally had plenty of insulin being produced, and whose problem was merely one of insulin resistance that is easily remedied via proper treatment and diet, now starts losing the ability to produce insulin and becomes, in addition to insulin resistant, insulin deficient; a much more serious and problematic disorder caused by DIE."
Leptin May be Even More Important Than Insulin
In terms of diabetes, leptin may even supersede insulin in importance, for new research is revealing that in the long run glucose and therefore insulin levels may be largely determined by leptin.
Dr. Rosedale explains:
"It had been previously believed that the insulin sensitivity of muscle and fat tissues were the most important factor in determining whether one would become diabetic or not. Elegant new studies are showing that the brain and liver are most important in regulating a person's blood sugar levels especially in type 2 or insulin resistant diabetes.
It should be noted again that leptin plays a vital role in regulating your brain's hypothalamic activity which in turn regulates much of a person's "autonomic" functions; those functions that you don't necessarily think about but which determines much of your life (and health) such as body temperature, heart rate, hunger, the stress response, fat burning or storage, reproductive behavior, and newly discovered roles in bone growth and blood sugar levels.
Another very recent study reveals leptin's importance in directly regulating how much sugar that the liver manufactures via gluconeogenesis.
Many chronic diseases are now linked to excess inflammation such as heart disease and diabetes. High leptin levels are very pro-inflammatory, and leptin also helps to mediate the manufacture of other very potent inflammatory chemicals from fat cells that also play a significant role in the progression of heart disease and diabetes. It has long been known that obesity greatly increased risk for many chronic diseases including heart disease and diabetes, but no one really knew why."
This is an important distinction but the take-home message remains the same, because both insulin resistance and leptin resistance are caused by the same thing: poor diet. Dr. Rosedale continues:
"High blood glucose levels cause repeated surges in insulin, and this causes one's cells to become "insulin-resistant" which leads to further high levels of insulin and diabetes. It is much the same as being in a smelly room for a period of time. Soon, you stop being able to smell it, because the signal no longer gets through.
I believe the same happens with leptin. It has been shown that as sugar gets metabolized in fat cells, fat releases surges in leptin, and I believe that those surges result in leptin-resistance just as it results in insulin-resistance.
The only known way to reestablish proper leptin (and insulin) signaling is to prevent those surges, and the only known way to do that is via diet and supplements.
As such, these can have a more profound effect on your health than any other known modality of medical treatment."
This is why many type 2 diabetics become worse by following current medical recommendations and treatment. If your physician has not talked to you about the importance of limiting sugars, fructose and grains, and only wants to give you drugs, your diabetes will get worse, not better. Dr. Rosedale adds:
"Your body's cells become desensitized to insulin (and importantly to leptin and other hormones) by being overexposed to these hormones by eating food that causes excessive secretion. This is much like being overexposed to an odor in a room; soon you can't smell it. If you eat a diet high in sugar-forming foods, the excess insulin that is being produced each time causes your cells to eventually become unable to properly "smell" the insulin."
So remember, type 2 diabetes is a perfect example of a health problem best treated without drugs; lifestyle changes are the ticket to wellness you're really looking for. This is a disease that is reversible, and in many cases curable, by paying attention to decades of metabolic science!
Beware of New Statin-Fish Oil Pill Coming to Market
Aside from drugs to lower blood sugar, many physicians will advise diabetics to take a statin cholesterol-lowering drug to lower your heart disease risk. This is wrong on many levels (not the least of which is the fact that cholesterol is NOT the cause of heart disease!), including the fact that statin drugs may actually cause diabetes. A meta-analysis, published in JAMA in June, concluded that those taking higher doses of statins were at increased risk of diabetes compared to those taking moderate doses.
What this means is that the higher your dose, the higher your risk of developing diabetes.
Statins appear to provoke diabetes through a few different mechanisms, the most important being that they increase your insulin levels, which can be extremely harmful to your health. Statins also increase your diabetes risk by raising your blood sugar and robbing your body of certain valuable nutrients, which can also impact your blood sugar levels. Two nutrients in particular, vitamin D and CoQ10, are both needed to maintain ideal blood glucose levels.
It's important that you're aware of this connection because GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of the new prescription-strength fish oil medication, sold under the name Lovaza, has a new combination statin-fish oil drug in the works, which has reportedly already passed the required FDA tests.
While high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats are essential for preventing type 2 diabetes, prescription-strength fish oil combined with a statin drug is not. So don't be fooled by this new "wolf in sheep's clothing" that's part of Glaxo's "all-natural" PR campaign.
You Can Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
Please don't let anyone tell you that type 2 diabetes has no cure, as this is not true. Type 2 diabetes is not terminal; you don't have to live with it forever! Nearly 100 percent of type 2 diabetics can be successfully treated -- eliminating the symptoms of diabetes, or the high risk of developing health complications -- if you are willing to implement the lifestyle changes discussed below. These same changes will also drastically reduce your risk of the disease, so you can avoid developing it in the first place.
Severely limit or eliminate grains and sugar from your diet, especially fructose, which is far more detrimental than any other type of sugar. This is extremely important! Drinking just one sweetened drink a day can raise your diabetes risk by 25 percent compared to drinking one sugary drink per month, so you really need to evaluate your diet and look for hidden sources of sugar and fructose. Artificially sweetened food and drinks should be avoided as well.
This also means avoiding most processed foods, as they are loaded with fructose. You may even need to avoid fruits until your diabetes is under control.
Following my nutrition plan will help you do this without much fuss. It’s important to realize that nearly all type 2 diabetics need to swap out their grains for other foods, such as healthy sources of protein or vegetable-only carbohydrates.
Exercise is an absolutely essential factor, without which you're highly unlikely to get this devastating disease under control. It is clearly one of the most potent ways to lower your insulin and leptin resistance. Make sure to incorporate high-intensity Peak Fitness exercises. These types of exercises boost fat loss, promote muscle building, and help your body produce human growth hormone (HGH) naturally. Typically, you'll need large amounts of exercise until you get your blood sugar levels under control. You may need up to an hour or two a day. Naturally, you'll want to gradually work your way up to that amount, based on your current level of fitness.
Avoid trans fats as they will actually worsen insulin resistance.
Consume saturated fats, such as grass-fed organic meat, raw dairy products, avocados, and coconut oil. These saturated fats provide a concentrated source of energy along with the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances. When you eat healthy fats as part of your meal, they slow down absorption so that you can go longer without feeling hungry. In addition, they act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
There are more than a dozen different types of saturated fat, but you predominantly consume only three: stearic acid, palmitic acid and lauric acid. It’s already been well established that stearic acid (found in cocoa and animal fat) has no effect on your cholesterol levels at all, and actually gets converted in your liver into the monounsaturated fat called oleic acid.
The other two, palmitic and lauric acid, do raise total cholesterol. However, since they raise “good” cholesterol as much or more than “bad” cholesterol, you’re still actually lowering your risk of heart disease.
Get plenty of omega-3 fats from a high quality, animal-based source such as krill oil.
Monitor your fasting insulin level. This is every bit as important as your fasting blood sugar. You'll want your fasting insulin level to be between 2 to 4. The higher your level, the worse your insulin receptor sensitivity is. The recommendations mentioned above are the key steps you need to achieve this reduction.
Get enough high-quality sleep every night.
Optimize your vitamin D levels. Maintaining your vitamin D levels around 60-80 ng/ml can significantly help control your blood sugar. In addition, recent studies have revealed that getting enough vitamin D can also have a powerful effect on normalizing your blood pressure, and reduces your risk of heart disease.
Having optimal vitamin D levels can also prevent type 1 diabetes in your children if you are pregnant. It's also vital for infants to receive the appropriate amounts of vitamin D in their early years for the same reasons. Ideally, you'll want to do this by exposing a large amount of your skin to appropriate amounts of sunshine (or a safe tanning bed) on a regular basis, year-round. Your body can safely create up to 20,000 units of vitamin D a day this way. Just remember to get your levels tested regularly by a proficient lab to make sure you're staying within the therapeutic range.
Address any underlying emotional issues and/or stress. Non-invasive tools like yoga, journaling and meditation can be extremely helpful and effective.
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What They NEVER Want You To Find Out About Real Butter
By Brian St. Pierre, CSCS, CISSN
If you want to talk about much-maligned foods, butter is right up there at the top of the list. Health authorities have been telling us for years that foods like butter, rich in saturated fat, are clogging our arteries and causing heart disease. So they told us to replace them with trans-fat laden margarine, and how did that turn out? Then came polyunsaturated vegetable oils, and new research is linking these omega-6 rich fats to all sorts of health problems, including potentially increased risk of cancer.
The real question is, was there ever a problem with butter in the first place? The answer just might surprise you.
There is actually a good amount of research, in several populations, that shows that full-fat dairy consumption is associated with lower BMI, lower waist circumference, and lower risk of cardiovascular disease (especially stroke). Low-fat or fat-free dairy is actually often associated with increased BMI and waist circumference.
In fact, Dr. Ronald Krauss, one the world’s leading lipid researchers, directly showed that while saturated fat from dairy does raise LDL, it is an increase in large, fluffy, and benign LDL – not the small, dense, and atherogenic LDL. This actually decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease!
Now there is a clear difference between butter and dairy from grain and corn fed cows on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations that are milked nearly year-round, given growth hormones and antiobiotics, and live in their own waste, compared to cows on small farms that eat grass, get exercise, fresh air and sunshine, and are only milked based on their seasonal reproductive cycle. The quality of life and, therefore, quality of milk and dairy products is vastly different.
Butter from grass-fed cows contains a boatload of powerful vitamins and healthful fatty acids. These vitamins are fat-soluble and they are bonded to the fatty acids in the dairy, and are, therefore, nearly non-existent in fat-free dairy. The fat is where vitamins A, D, E, and K2 are, as well as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), butyric acid, omega-3 fatty acids, and medium chain triglycerides.
CLA is present in human body fat in proportion to dietary intake, and has been shown to be a powerful ally in the fight against cancer. Meat and dairy from grass-fed animals provide the richest source of CLA on the planet, containing three to five times more CLA than feedlot-raised animals. CLA has been found to greatly reduce tumor growth in animals, and possibly in humans as well.
In a Finnish study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diet had a 60% lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels. Simply switching from conventionally-raised grain-fed meat and dairy to pasture-raised grass-fed versions, would have placed all the women in the lowest-risk category. A good grass-fed butter will contain about 110mg of CLA per tbsp.
Vitamin D is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread and any time you can get some from food is always a good thing. Low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with lowered immunity, increased risk of 17 cancers and counting, increased risk of heart disease, psychological and neurological disorders including ADD and depression, diabetes, stroke, hypertension, bone loss, loss of muscle mass, and strength as we age and more.
Omega-3s are absolutely amazing, as they may improve nerve, brain, eye, heart, and cardiovascular function, as well as decreasing inflammation, joint pain, arthritis, psychological disorders, and risk of breast cancer and heart disease, all while improving mood and body composition! Unfortunately grain-fed butter contains only about 40mg, but a good grass-fed butter will contain about 120mg per tbsp!
Medium chain triglycerides are unique fatty acids that are more readily utilized as fuel rather than stored as energy. Particular ones like lauric acid contain anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. Vitamins A and E are powerful antioxidants. Butyric acid may help with bodyweight regulation, and is a primary fuel source for our intestinal flora.
Notice that I didn’t mention vitamin K2 yet? That is because I was saving what might be the best for last. Several studies have found that a higher vitamin K2 (mostly from vitamin K2-MK4) intake is associated with a lower risk of heart attack, ischemic stroke, cancer incidence, cancer mortality and overall mortality. Men with the highest vitamin K2 consumption had a 51% lower risk of heart attack mortality and a 26% lower risk of all cause mortality compared to men consuming the lowest amount!
One of the ways vitamin K2 improves cardiovascular health is its ability to decrease arterial calcification by 30-40%. And, this only speaks to vitamin K2’s effects of cardiovascular health; it is also crucially important for proper fetal development and bone health, to name a few additional benefits.
Vitamin K2-MK4 is only found in animal products and the best known sources are grass-fed butter and foie
gras (fatty goose liver).
Butter Might Prevent Diabetes?
Yes, it is true. Recently Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian and colleagues at Harvard found that blood content of
trans-palmitoleate was associated with a smaller waist circumference, higher HDL cholesterol, lower serum triglycerides, lower C-reactive protein, lower fasting insulin, and lower calculated insulin resistance.
In fact, people with the highest trans-palmitoleate levels had one-third the risk of developing diabetes over the three years of the study!
Want to know what the dietary sources of trans-palmitoleate are? Dairy fat and red meat are virtually the only sources of this fatty acid. In this study, most of the trans-palmitoleate came specifically from dairy fat.
Conclusion
Well, it seems that consuming butter from grass-fed cows will make your LDL larger, fluffier, and less likely to cause heart disease. It will also provide you with cancer-fighting CLA, as well as artery-clearing vitamin K2-MK4. To top it all off, it might also decrease your risk of diabetes. Sounds like a pretty good food to me!
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The Orwellian Truth - Raw milk under attack precisely because it is safer and healthier than pasteurized
Friday, August 19, 2011 by: Nathan Batalion, Global Health Activist
(NaturalNews) Thanks to a survey performed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) we now have sufficient data to evaluate raw milk's safety, and it turns out it's safer than most any other food!
In a talk given at the International Raw Milk Symposium, Dr. Ted Beals outlined the history of the pasteurization scam. This was justified by an industry desperately in need of pasteurization for its economic survival. The proposed health hazards of raw milk were fabricated to support pasteurization. Dr. Ted Beals also examined a compilation of published reports on illnesses attributed to raw milk from 1999 to 2010. These illnesses averaged 42 per year. The CDC's survey showed that 3.04 percent of the population consumed raw milk or 9.4 million people, and this translates into raw milk-attributed illnesses being more than rare. According to Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Dr. Beals has shown you are about 35,000 times more likely to get sick from other foods than you are from raw milk.
Why then did the CDC, FDA, Department of Agriculture hire guns this year to confiscate raw milk products and arrest and jail proprietors of Rawsome, a California raw organic buying club? Also earlier this year a raw-milk buying club in Kentucky had its products quarantined by local officials. Additionally an armed pre-dawn raid was conducted against an Amish farmer in PA whose crime was the selling of raw milk. So there is a consistent national pattern. Why again do we see such intense efforts to criminalize raw food sellers?
The True Problem With Raw Milk
According to findings of Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the average shelf-life of pasteurized milk held under proper refrigeration - defined as less than 45 degrees F - is 12-16 days.
Like raw vegetable juices, raw milk stays fresh for either just a handful of days or as long as a couple of weeks. This shelf-life uncertainty spells economic disaster for any large dairy operation that culls milk from diverse local dairies. Pasteurization nullifies this differential by creating a more uniform and profitable end product. Freezing will keep milk fresh for a month. However, the flavor and texture will change, so this is not a viable option.
Why Only Raw Milk Was Targeted By Combined Federal Agencies.
Why aren't government agencies also coming together to ban raw meat, fish or eggs? Raw eggs can stay fresh for roughly 3-10 weeks. [viii] Meat can stay fresh in a freezer for 1-2 months and fish for up to 6 months! But unpasteurized milk can sour in as little as a few days (barely enough time to profitably transport at a distance and to stock shelves). If consumers found out the truth - that the real reason for pasteurization had nothing to do with health or safety advantages (and actually denatures milk to form an inferior product), it would spell economic disaster for large corporate dairies. How to resolve this threat? The industry worked to convince the public that raw milk alternatives were scientifically unhealthy and unsafe to drink! The best way to accomplish this public deceit was to engage corruptible scientists and government officials to pronounce the age-old drinking of raw milk to be somehow dangerous. Is there a final follow up step? It is to criminalize and eliminate the competition by governmental force.
Welcome to the new food police state.
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Foodborne Illnesses in America
Complex Factory Foods pose the Highest Risk
By Rady Ananda
Global Research, August 14, 2011
A close look at the people behind the raw milk scare, and the actual numbers of foodborne illness, reveals that politics more than science drives the food safety agenda in the U.S.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack just appointed Susan Vaughn Grooters to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF), which is also served by Dr. Wafa Birbari of junk food giant, Sara Lee Corp.
Lacking a PhD, Grooters will serve her two-year term on NACMCF as a “consumer representative.” She currently works with STOP Foodborne Illness (formerly Safe Tables Our Priority), an organization that condemns raw dairy and urges broad expansion of federal control over food.
Grooters hopes to federalize state reporting of contaminated food, as explained to Center for Science in the Public Interest:
“States’ systematic differences in response to foodborne illness case reporting may also explain variations in rates,” said S.T.O.P’s public health specialist, Susan Vaughn Grooters. “Time differences in surveying cases of foodborne illness and lack of integrated data collection may also affect how well states accurately capture data.”
In a playful charade calling for stricter controls on food, she recently tweeted:
“Really??? Really? I would beg to differ Sec. Vilsack! ..unless of course you’re proposing a change to policies... ;-) http://usat.ly/kceLEY
With these opinions, it’s almost a joke to say she represents consumers.
Though the Food Safety Modernization Act is characterized as promoting “science-based” food control driven by “risk-based” analysis, instead, under FSMA authority, the FDA has claimed power to seize food without evidence of contamination.
Evidence is the foundation of science and law; removal and destruction of evidence is anti-science and fraudulent. (See Victor Rawls’ well-argued essay on this.)
Contrary to “risk-based” control, the FDA continues to seize and destroy food that sickened no one, while knowingly allowing tainted meat on the market and doing nothing about it until someone died, as in Cargill’s 36-million-pound turkey recall.
Seizing food without evidence of contamination also violates the Fourth Amendment.
Ranking Foodborne Risks
Statistics tend to put people to sleep, but three important reports were published this year that deserve attention: one by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one by the University of Florida (UF) to which Grooters contributed, and one by retired pathologist and raw milk drinker, Dr. Ted Beals.
Let’s agree that numbers can be massaged to prove just about anything. However, when opponents of raw milk make outrageous claims about its dangers, and when millions of state and federal dollars are spent eliminating it as a food choice thru armed raids – and yet their own statistics belie the stated risk – we ought to shout that from the rooftop.
How Bad It Is(n’t)
As the Director of Research and Education, Grooters is responsible for the STOP Foodborne Illness page, “Fact vs. Myth.” As if unable to distinguish the two, SFI repeats unsubstantiated, fear mongering propaganda. We’ll start with an easy one:
“There are no documented health benefits associated with ingestion of unpasteurized milk or milk products.”
Quite the opposite is true. In 2006, researchers reported the “competitive exclusion” effect of good bacteria found in raw milk, observing that:
“Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis C-1-92 and Enterococcus durans 152 ... are bactericidal to Listeria monocytogenes or inhibit the growth of L. monocytogenes both in vitro and in biofilms.”
Listeria monocytogenes is responsible for 1,591 illnesses a year, according to the 2011 CDC report (at Table 2). That’s for all foods, not just milk. Dr Beals described it this way:
“Listeria monocytogenes is the most serious and deadly of the contemporary foodborne pathogens. Yet it is also ubiquitous in our environment.”
Based on Dept of Health and Human Services (DHS) data covering 1999 thru 2010, Dr Beals determined, “there have been no cases attributed to drinking raw milk in the last twelve years.”
On the other hand, Lactococcus lactis, a probiotic bacterium found in raw milk of pastured cows, was legislated as Wisconsin’s state microbe last year. Microbiology professor Kenneth Todar explains that Lactococci are associated with grasses, which pastured cows ingest, and which then show up in their milk.
Not only are Lactococcus deadly to pathogenic bacteria, but they are vital to making certain cheeses and other fermented products. And, they have to be added back in when starting with pasteurized milk.
Grooters also advises that:
“Pregnant women, young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems should avoid unpasteurized products.”
It’s a wonder the human species survived 200,000 years before the food police came along! We know for certain that humans have been drinking unpasteurized animal milk for at least ten thousand years. Human population certainly hasn’t decreased since then.
The enzymes and “friendly” bacteria destroyed by pasteurization boost our immunity. We know this based on the scientifically accepted “competitive exclusion” principle – the more friendly bacteria you have, the fewer pathogenic ones that survive. Friendly bacteria compose part of our immune system, and competitive exclusion is what the entire probiotics food industry is based on.
Pasteurized Milk Contaminations
Grooters also stated at the Myths and Facts page:
“Raw or unpasteurized milk can transmit many serious infectious diseases to children.”
Then why doesn’t it? Statistics from the UF report to which she contributed show dairy to be the safest of all foods, accounting for 1/100th of a percent of all foodborne illnesses annually. (More on this below.)
In fact, raw milk is much safer than pasteurized. According to Dr Beals, in 2010, DHS reported 90,771 confirmed foodborne illnesses for the period 1999 thru 2010. Based on DHS data, Beals reports you are 35,000 times more likely to get sick from any food other than raw milk.
Beals calculated that 42 people become ill from contaminated raw milk each year, a figure which includes “both ‘confirmed’ and ‘presumed’ cases.”
Yet, in a single case of contaminated pasteurized milk, over 16,000 people became ill in Illinois and several other Midwest states. Later, up to 5 of them died. That 1985 calamity was called the “worst outbreak of Salmonella food poisoning in U.S. history.” It even beats last year’s half-billion egg recall with just over1,900 confirmed cases of salmonella poisoning.
In a 1983 Massachusetts milk contamination case, 49 people became ill. Later, 14 of them died. An inspection found the pasteurization process up to snuff, leading scientists to question relying on pasteurization to kill listeria.
70% of all foodborne illnesses come from factory foods; Dairy is safest of all food
Here is where a political agenda drives scientific reporting. The 2011 UF report sought to determine which pathogens and which foods pose the highest risk. “Complex foods” (defined as non-meat factory foods with a host of additives) accounts for a whopping 70% of the 3,861,128 annual foodborne illnesses UF considered. (p.9)
Dairy, on the other hand, accounts for 434 illnesses. That’s about 1/100th of a percent, “almost all” of it “due to soft-ripened cheeses” – mostly queso fresco, a soft cheese made from raw milk favored in the Hispanic community. (p.43)
UF developed a ranking system based on various factors including “quality of life,” a term used by DHS. This is where numbers can be massaged to show an increased risk that wouldn’t be obvious from raw numbers. This probably explains how UF ranked dairy risk #5 in a field of 10, despite that factory foods sickened 2,689,877 people and dairy sickened only 434.
Ignoring their qualitative factors and using just the UF numbers of illness and death for each food category, the following charts show which foods sicken or kill people the most:
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From UF’s own data, dairy is the safest food on the market, with the least number of illnesses – a number so small (1/100th of a percent of all foodborne illnesses) that it can be ignored when talking about risky food.
Of the 3.8 million incidents of foodborne illnesses UF considered, only 765 people died. That’s one death per five thousand illnesses. You are more likely to die in a car crash – a risk most of us take every single day of our adult lives.
So, fully grasping the minute scale we’re zooming in on now, of the eight food categories, dairy ranks #6 in risk of death. You’re twice as likely to die from a foodborne illness traced to factory foods (18% of all deaths) than you are from dairy (9%).
Keep in mind that “almost all” of those dairy deaths are from soft-ripened cheese, not raw milk. Though made with raw milk, no one knows where in the cheesemaking process the cheese became contaminated. It could have occurred at any of several stages and have had nothing to do with the milk itself.
It takes a pretty strong imagination to justify ranking dairy the fifth riskiest food in the nation when it only accounts for 1/100th of a percent of all foodborne illnesses. But that’s what UF did.
Given Grooters’ fear mongering against raw dairy despite CDC evidence proving otherwise, she is not at all a surprising choice for Secretary Vilsack to have made. But it is rather disingenuous to characterize her as representing consumers, when, clearly, she represents corporate aims to shut down natural dairy.
If Obama truly wanted to develop a science-based food safety policy driven by risk-based analysis, raw dairies would be promoted rather than criminalized. Instead, what we see is support for factory-processed foods adulterated with genetically modified organisms, drugs, chemicals, nanomaterials, rat droppings, and wood – all permitted by the FDA.
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Without This, Vitamin D May Actually Encourage Heart Disease
Posted By Dr. Mercola
July 16 2011
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/16/fatsoluble-vitamin-shown-to-reduce-coronary-calcification.aspx
Vitamin K2 is thought to reduce coronary calcification, thereby decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. However, studies have reported inconsistent results -- possibly because of the different effects of vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone or MK). Few studies have included both.
At least one study, however, has investigated the association of intake of phylloquinone and menaquinone with coronary calcification. The intake of both forms of the vitamin was estimated using a food-frequency questionnaire. It was found that K2 had an effect on coronary calcification, but K1 did not.
According to the study:
"This study shows that high dietary menaquinone [Ks] intake, but probably not phylloquinone [K1], is associated with reduced coronary calcification. Adequate menaquinone intakes could therefore be important to prevent cardiovascular disease."
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Vitamin K is an extremely important vitamin to have in your diet; it may very well be the next vitamin D in terms of the numerous health benefits it may provide. But, according to Dr. Cees Vermeer, one of the world's top researchers in the field of vitamin K, nearly everyone is deficient in vitamin K -- just like most are deficient in vitamin D.
Most people get enough vitamin K from their diets to maintain adequate blood clotting, but NOT enough to offer protection against health problems like arterial calcification and cardiovascular disease. Yet, as the study above showed, adequate amounts of the right type of vitamin K may offer immense benefits to your heart health, including reducing coronary calcification and thereby decreasing your risk of heart disease.
Which Type of Vitamin K May be Best for Your Heart?
Vitamin K comes in two forms -- K1 or K2 -- and it is important to understand the differences between them.
Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone): Found in green vegetables, K1 goes directly to your liver and helps you maintain a healthy blood clotting system. (This is the kind of vitamin K that infants are often given at birth to help prevent a serious bleeding disorder.) It is also vitamin K1 that keeps your own blood vessels from calcifying, and helps your bones retain calcium and develop the right crystalline structure.
Vitamin K2 (menaquinone, MK): Bacteria produce this type of vitamin K. It is present in high quantities in your gut, but unfortunately is not absorbed from there and passes out in your stool. K2 goes straight to vessel walls, bones, and tissues other than your liver. It is present in fermented foods, particularly cheese and the Japanese food natto, which is by far the richest source of K2.
Vitamin K3, or menadione, is a third form that is synthetic and manmade, which I do not recommend. Each type of vitamin K has different roles in your body, and emerging research is showing that vitamin K2, not K1, may be especially important. For instance, research published in Atherosclerosis found that high dietary intake of vitamin K2 is associated with reduced coronary calcification (hardening of the arteries), a result that should also lessen your risk of heart disease.
What made this study unique was that it compared dietary intakes of both vitamin K1 and K2, and only K2 showed a benefit. Vitamin K1 was NOT associated with reduced coronary calcification. This is consistent with separate research also showing superior health benefits from vitamin K2, including:
The Rotterdam Study, the first study demonstrating the beneficial effect of vitamin K2, showed that people who consume 45 mcg of K2 daily live seven years longer than people getting 12 mcg per day.
The Prospect Study, in which 16,000 people were followed for 10 years. Researchers found that each additional 10 mcg of K2 in the diet results in 9 percent fewer cardiac events, whereas vitamin K1 did not offer a significant heart benefit.
Why Might Vitamin K2 be so Beneficial for Your Heart?
Vitamin K engages in a delicate dance with vitamin D; whereas vitamin D provides improved bone development by helping you absorb calcium, there is new evidence that vitamin K2 directs the calcium to your skeleton, while preventing it from being deposited where you don't want it -- i.e., your organs, joint spaces, and arteries. A large part of arterial plaque consists of calcium deposits (atherosclerosis), hence the term "hardening of the arteries."
Vitamin K2 activates a protein hormone called osteocalcin, produced by osteoblasts, which is needed to bind calcium into the matrix of your bone. Osteocalcin also appears to help prevent calcium from depositing into your arteries. In other words, without the help of vitamin K2, the calcium that your vitamin D so effectively lets in might be working AGAINST you -- by building up your coronary arteries rather than your bones.
This is why if you take calcium and vitamin D but are deficient in vitamin K, you could be worse off than if you were not taking those supplements at all, as demonstrated by a recent meta-analysis linking calcium supplements to heart attacks.
This meta-analysis looked at studies involving people taking calcium in isolation, without complementary nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K, which help keep your body in balance. In the absence of those other important cofactors, calcium CAN have adverse effects, such as building up in coronary arteries and causing heart attacks, which is really what this analysis detected. So if you are going to take calcium, you need to be sure you have balanced it out with vitamin D and vitamin K.
Vitamin K2 Helps Produce Heart-Protective Protein MGP
Another route by which vitamin K offers heart-protective benefits is through the Matrix GLA Protein (or MGP), the protein responsible for protecting your blood vessels from calcification. When your body's soft tissues are damaged, they respond with an inflammatory process that can result in the deposition of calcium into the damaged tissue. When this occurs in your blood vessels, you have the underlying mechanism of coronary artery disease -- the buildup of plaque -- that can lead you down the path to a heart attack.
Vitamin K and vitamin D again work together to increase MGP, which, in healthy arteries, congregates around the elastic fibers of your tunica media (arterial lining), guarding them against calcium crystal formation.
According to Professor Cees Vermeer:
"The only mechanism for arteries to protect themselves from calcification is via the vitamin K-dependent protein MGP. MPG is the most powerful inhibitor of soft tissue calcification presently known, but non-supplemented healthy adults are insufficient in vitamin K to a level that 30 percent of their MGP is synthesized in an inactive form. So, protection against cardiovascular calcification is only 70 percent in the young, healthy population, and this figure decreases at increasing age."
Four More Reasons to Make Sure Your Diet Includes Vitamin K2
Vitamin K not only helps to prevent hardening of your arteries, which is a common factor in coronary artery disease and heart failure, it also offers several other important benefits to your health.
[1] Fight Cancer …
Vitamin K has been found beneficial in the fight against non-Hodgkin lymphoma, liver, colon, stomach, prostate, nasopharynx, and oral cancers, and some studies have even suggested vitamin K may be used therapeutically in the treatment of patients with lung cancer, liver cancer, and leukemia.
[2] Stave off Varicose Veins …
Inadequate levels of vitamin K may reduce the activity of the matrix GLA protein (MGP), which in turn has been identified as a key player in the development of varicosis, or varicose veins.
[3] Improve Bone Density …
Vitamin K is one of the most important nutritional interventions for improving bone density. It serves as the biological "glue" that helps plug the calcium into your bone matrix.
Studies have shown vitamin K to be equivalent to Fosamax-type osteoporosis drugs, with far fewer side effects.
[4] Lower Your Risk of Diabetes …
People with the highest intakes of vitamin K from their diet had a 20 percent lower risk of diabetes compared with those with the lowest intakes, according to the latest research from University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. Past studies have also shown vitamin K to help reduce the progression of insulin resistance.
How Much Vitamin K2 do You Need?
How many people have adequate vitamin K2? Just about zero, according to Dr. Vermeer and other experts in the field. But at this time there is really no commercial test that can give you an accurate measure of your levels. Vitamin K measurements in blood plasma can be done accurately, but the results are really not helpful because they mainly reflect "what you ate yesterday," according to Dr. Vermeer.
Dr. Vermeer and his team have developed and patented a very promising laboratory test to assess vitamin K levels indirectly by measuring circulating MGP. Their studies have indicated this to be a very reliable method to assess the risk for arterial calcification -- hence cardiac risk. They are hoping to have this test available to the public within one to two years for a reasonable price, and several labs are already interested. They are also working on developing a home test that would be available at your neighborhood drug store.
In the meantime, since nearly 100 percent of people don't get sufficient amounts of vitamin K2 from their diet to reap its health benefits, you can assume you need to bump up your vitamin K2 levels by modifying your diet or taking a high-quality supplement.
As for dietary sources, eating lots of green vegetables, especially kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, will increase your vitamin K1 levels naturally. For vitamin K2, cheese and especially cheese curd is an excellent source. The starter ferment for both regular cheese and curd cheese contains bacteria -- lactococci and proprionic acids bacteria -- which both produce K2.
You can also obtain all the K2 you'll need (about 200 micrograms) by eating 15 grams of natto daily, which is half an ounce. It's a small amount and very inexpensive, but many Westerners do not enjoy the taste and texture.
If you don't care for the taste of natto, the next best thing is a high-quality K2 supplement. Remember you must always take your vitamin K supplement with fat since it is fat-soluble and won't be absorbed without it.
Although the exact dosing is yet to be determined, Dr. Vermeer recommends between 45 mcg and 185 mcg daily for adults. You must use caution on the higher doses if you take anticoagulants, but if you are generally healthy and not on these types of medications, I suggest 150 mcg daily.
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Also See:
If You Know what's Good for You
(Part 1)
19 February 2009
and
(Part 2)
01 August 2009
and
(Part 3)
02 March 2010
and
(Part 4)
28 September 2011
(Part 5)
15 March 2011
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