2 Toxic Fats to Avoid at All Costs

Two Toxic Fats in Almost Every Processed Food, Deli and Restaurant You Want To Avoid At All Costs:  Soybean Oil and Canola Oil

By Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, NTP, BCHN

I consider both of these forms of oil to be trash oils that no one in their right mind should be consuming under any circumstances. Ever.

Why, you ask?

The reasons are multifold:

  • All commercial canola and soybean oils, are partially hydrogenated/interesterified as part of their deodorization process.[1]
  • The extraction of oil from soybeans is commonly achieved using toxic hexane solvents, typically also at high heat.[2] [3]
  • Both these oils are lacking in any meaningful, quality essential fatty acid content, particularly since their plant-based omega-3’s (poorly utilized by humans anyway[4]) are typically hydrogenated out of the product, or become quickly rancid following extraction.
  • Even if it is “organic and expeller pressed” the canola seed is naturally abnormally low in vitamin E as compared to other seeds for some unknown reason.  Vitamin E is needed and usually naturally present to help stabilize and preserve the delicate polyunsaturated oils contained within seeds.  This unusually low E level in canola seeds both makes canola oil more prone to rancidity but also can both deplete and increase one’s internal need for vitamin E and lead to deficiencies of this important vitamin and enhanced free-radical damage and inflammation.[5]
  • Canola oil on its own is toxic enough that it can even be used as an effective pesticide[6], with all the accompanying cautionary warning labels (except on the stuff they expect you to consume).[7] Soybean oil, too has shown effectiveness as an insecticide and repellant.[8]

The labels on these products go on to explain “CAUTION: Avoid contact with skin or clothing. If you get it on yourself, you are directed to take off all your contaminated clothing, take a 15-20 minute shower to rinse the canola or soybean oil off your skin, and then “Call a poison control center or doctor for treatment advice.”

But hey—it’s great in egg salad! 

And let’s not forget the healthy benefits of soybean oil:

  • Canola oil (for these and so many other reasons) should absolutely never be used for cooking.  It simply lacks the stability and safe smoking point –particularly the non-hydrogenated form (you’re sort of screwed either way).   The higher ALA (alpha linolenic acid) content (coupled with inherently depressed vitamin E levels) of organic, expeller pressed canola oil cause it to readily rancidify when exposed to air or (God forbid) heat.
  • Canola and other highly refined soybean vegetable oils are highly inflammatory, due to their high omega-6 content (and proneness to rancidity). Inflammation, as you know, is at the root of most disease processes.  –That canola also contains more oleic acid than, say, sunflower oil does not mean it is anywhere near as high in oleic acid as olive oil, nor does it negate the presence of highly significant rancidity-prone polyunsaturate content.
  • The rape seed, from which canola was bred contained high levels of a fatty acid known as erucic acid which was originally believed to be the source of heart lesions found in rats fed rapeseed oil.[9]  In canola oil most of the erucic acid has been bred out, which scientists initially assumed would simply fix the problem.  Unfortunately, subsequent studies done with canola feeding experiments showed the same damaging results in experimental animals.  This may well be due to the depleting effects (some scientists believe) of canola on vitamin E and the damage sustained by exposure to rancid, mutagenic fats and a high level of inflammatory omega-6’s.
  • Canola and soy are among the most prevalent genetically modified crops (GMO) there is (canola was actually the very first genetically modified seed oil).
  • There are other, more traditionally used plant-based oils (like coconut oil, quality extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil) that have a long and comparatively safe track record.  As such there is literally no reason to ever consume canola oil.  That said, it is SO dirt cheap to produce that it is more economical to food manufacturers and deli owners.  This is why you see it everywhere.  What it says to me loud and clear when I find it being used is that a food manufacturer or restaurant/deli owner is more concerned with their bottom line than with the health of anyone consuming their product.  Its somewhat significant oleic acid content prompts industry to present canola as a “heart healthy alternative to olive oil” (even as it is extremely high in inflammatory omega-6’s and has shown evidence of increasing proneness to stroke).[10] [11] It is no such thing.  Ever. 

 

A Sad Word of Caution About Olive Oil…

Despite the inherent superiority of extra virgin olive oil as a culinary oil, however, it is a sad truth and an important caveat that olive oil is among the most commonly adulterated foods. Even supposedly “extra virgin” olive oil is often diluted with other less expensive oils, including soybean and canola. The University of California, Davis, conducted its own investigation back in 2010 revealing that 69 percent of imported and 10 percent of California-based olive oils are fake, failing to pass International Olive Council and Department of Agriculture guidelines for extra-virgin olive oil.[12] There are certainly class action suits underway for some of these crooked manufacturers[13], but unfortunately the marketplace is still overrun with these “fake” and frequently rancid olive oil products.

In order for an olive oil to truly be “extra virgin,” it must come from fresh, crushed olives, and not be cut with any other oils or additives. It also has to pass certain chemical tests, including sensory evaluations, taste profiles and smell. Of the five best selling imported extra virgin olive oils (Bertolli, Colavita, Filippo Berio, Star and Pompeian), 73 percent failed to meet the IOC sensory standards for extra virgin olive oils. The failure rate ranged from 94 percent to 54 percent, depending on the brand and panel. Eleven percent of the top-selling Italian brands failed both testing panels. Sensory defects indicate that the oil is either oxidized, of poor quality, or that the oil has been mixed with a cheaper, refined oil. Ugh. Yep—it’s one greasy business and consumers would do well to be extra cautious when choosing any cooking oil. By the way, Dr. Mary Enig personally cautioned me against one particular brand of cooking oils: Spectrum Naturals, due to what she said were frequent signs of adulteration across the board in her lab testing.

For quality extra virgin olive oil (the REAL stuff) I personally like Oliflix and Bariani brands. But never cook with any olive oil (except maybe on the lowest heat settings). Its smoking point is simply too low to avoid rapid peroxidization. It is far better and safer to use olive oil on your salads or poured over freshly steamed vegetables, instead. For cooking stick to quality animal fats (I love the Fatworks® brand) and/or coconut oil.

THE MORAL OF THIS STORY? It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature! Avoid highly processed fats and oils like the plague they are—particularly soybean and canola oil. Always avoid over heating your fats, never use them if rancid and stick to organic and high quality natural foods that would have been recognizable as food to our primitive ancestors!  

~ Nora

Check out my latest program, Primal Power 52!

References:

[1] Enig MG, “Trans Fatty Acids in the Food Supply: A Comprehensive Report Covering 60 Years of Research,” 2nd Edition, Enig Associates, Inc., Silver Spring, MD, 1995.

[2] Eldridge AC. “Organic solvent treatment of soybeans and soybean fractions.” In Soybeans: Chemistry and Technology, Volume I, Proteins. Allan K. Smith and Sidney J. Circle, eds. Avi. (1972) 150

[3] Sipos, Andre, Szuhaj, Bernard F. Chapter 11, Soybean Oil. In YH Hui, ed. Bailey’s Industrial Oil and Fat Products, (NY Wiley-Interscience, Fifth Edition, 1995) Volume 2, 527-528.

[4] Gerster H. “Can adults adequately convert alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) to eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3)?” International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research 1998;68(3):159-73.

[5] Sauer FD, et al. “Additional vitamin E required in milk replacer diets that contain canola oil.” Nutrition Research. 1997;17(2):259-269

[6] http://www.rakuten.com/prod/lilly-miller-32-oz-worry-free-vegol-year-round-pesticidal-oil/227417731.html

[7] http://www.neudorffpro.com/fileadmin/user_upload/Labels/Vegol-19-11-12.pdf

[8] NSRL Bulletin, 2, 295. National Soybean Research Laboratory. University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign. www.nsrl.uluc.edu.

[9] Vles RO, et al. “Nutritional Evaluation of Low-Erucic-Acid Rapeseed Oils: Toxicological Aspects of Food Safety.” Archives of Toxicology, Supplement 1, 1978:23-32

[10] Ratnayake WMN, et al. “Influence of Sources of Dietary Oils on the Life Span of Stroke-Prone Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats.” Lipids, 2000;35(4):409-420.

[11] Wallsundera MN. “Vegetable Oils High in Phytosterols Make Erythrocytes Less Deformable and Shorten the Life Span of Stroke-Prone Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats.” Journal of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences. May, 2000;130(5):1166-78

[12] http://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu/research/files/report041211finalreduced.pdf

[13] http://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/47263-bertolli-olive-oil-class-action-lawsuit-escapes-dismissal/

Beet Kvass – A Tasty Fat Digestion Promotor and Health Tonic!

Beet Kvass Shooters with whipped almond cheese at the Primal Fat Burner book launch event

Beet kvass is thought to have originated in the Ukraine. This is a cultured/fermented beverage occasionally sold in upscale natural foods stores and health food stores (typically at a premium) but can be easily made at home with a minimum of time or difficulty. Still, if you want to simply purchase some to try, Zukay makes an excellent one, along with numerous other delicious and innovative cultured beverages.

Although beets themselves are typically high in sugar (in fact, most table sugar is actually made with GMO sugar beets and not sugar cane), the fermentation process removes all or most of the sugar from the finished product and is otherwise used to feed the healthy probiotic bacteria in it that are generated the process. The result is a healthy, low sugar/no sugar probiotic beverage with all the inherent benefits associated with beets, themselves. It’s a win-win!

Beets (especially in the form of kvass, sans the sugar) have been purported and demonstrated to have a wide range of benefits.[1] Among them includes cardiovascular benefits (lowering systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points)[2], improved high intensity exercise tolerance and muscular contractile efficiency during exercise[3], positive cholesterol/lipoprotein modifying effects[4], hepato-protective effects[5], anti-inflammatory effects[6], numerous unique antioxidant benefits[7] [8], brain-boosting benefits[9], the enhancement of phase II hepatic detoxification[10], impressive anti-microbial effects[11] and even anti-cancer benefits[12] [13] [14] [15]. The cardiovascular, brain-boosting, some of the anti-inflammatory and exercise intensity tolerance benefits seem to be associated with enhanced nitrous oxide (NO) activity following its consumption. In one study, just 500 ml of beet juice generated a significant drop in blood pressure associated with increased plasma nitrate (NO) concentrations![16] It can also help improve methylation and reduce homocysteine levels. [17] Beetroot (Beta vulgais L.) has even shown promise in the neutralization of calcium oxalate (oxalic acid), thereby helping to inhibit the formation of oxalate crystals associated with kidney stones![18]

The presence of betaine in beets (found most concentrated at the part of the bulb that connects to the stems, at the very top—always include this part of the beet in your kvass recipe), has a few different health benefits. It can help improve digestion and the flow of digestive juices, it can help thin sluggish or congestive bile in a way that can improve its flow and function digesting fats[19], and it also has unique anti-inflammatory benefits.[20] A report from ‘World’s Healthiest Foods’ stated the following:

“[Betaine’s]… presence in our diet has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers, including C reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As a group, the anti-inflammatory molecules found in beets may eventually be shown to provide cardiovascular benefits in large-scale human studies, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits for other body systems.”

Beets are also considered an excellent blood tonic and it has been used to help cleanse the liver, promote regularity, improve systemic alkalization and even help treat kidney stones.

What’s not to love?

Beet kvass can be made in a couple of different ways (using a starter culture or simple “wild fermentation”, relying on naturally occurring bacteria from the soil and surrounding environment). Other ingredients could also technically be added. Purchasing a starter culture isn’t absolutely necessary, but there can be significant benefits gotten from a really good one. Dr. Joseph Mercola sells one in particular that has some rather exciting benefits. Called “Kinetic Culture”, this probiotic culture is specifically formulated to boost vitamin K2 production from bacterial fermentation![22] Using a culture can also promote a bit more piece of mind, ensuring that only beneficial bacteria end up in your kvass.

This beverage is then strained off from the beet and imbibed in small amounts as a daily tonic.

Serving Ideas:

  • Drink a small glass (just a few ounces) daily.
  • Add to salad dressing
  • Use as the base of a cold soup (such as my Medicinal/Probiotic Lithuanian Šaltibarščiai (cold beet) Kvass Soup)

My favorite beet kvass recipe is in my new book, Primal Fat Burner!

~ Nora

PS. Check out my NEW online program, Primal Power 52!

REFERENCES:

[1] Ninfali P, Angelino D. “Nutritional and functional potential of Beta vulgaris civla and rubra.” Fitoterapia. Volume 89, September 2013, Pages 188–199

[2] Coles LT, Clifton PM. “Effect of beetroot juice on lowering blood pressure in free-living, disease-free adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.” Nutr J. 2012 Dec 11;11:106. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-106.

[3] Bailey SJ, Winyard P, Vanhatalo A, et al. “Dietary nitrite supplementation reduces the O2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans.” J Appl Physiol. 2009 Oct;107(4):1144-55.

[4] Bobek P, Galbavý S, Mariássyová M. “The effect of red beet (Beta vulgaris var. rubra) fiber on alimentary hypercholesterolemia and chemically induced colon carcinogenesis in rats.” Nahrung. 2000 Jun;44(3):184-7.

[5] Krajka-Kuźniak V, Szaefer H, Ignatowicz E, et al. “Beetroot juice protects against N-nitrosodiethylamine-induced liver injury in rats.” Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Jun ;50(6):2027-33.

[6] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=49

[7] Xiaoling L, Wang Y, Zhang Z. “Radioprotective activity of betalains from red beets in mice exposed to gamma radiation.” Eur J Pharmacol. 2009 Aug 1;615(1-3):223-7.

[8] Song W, Derito CM, Liu MK et al. “Cellular antioxidant activity of common vegetables.” J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Jun 9;58(11):6621-9. 2010.

[9] Wightman EL, Haskell-Ramsay CF, Thompson KG, et al. “Dietary nitrite modulates cerebral blood flow parameters and cognitive performance in humans: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover investigation.” Physiol Behav. 2015 Oct 1;149:149-58. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.05.035.

[10] Lee CH, Wettasinghe M, Bolling BW et al. “Betalains, phase II enzyme-inducing components from red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) extracts.” Nutr Cancer. 2005;53(1):91-103.

[11] Prahoveanu E, Eşanu V, Anton G, Frunzulică S. “Prophylactic effect of a Beta vulgaris extract on experimental influenza infection in mice.” Virologie. 1986 Apr-Jun;37(2):121-3.

[12] Kaspadia GJ, Azuine MA, Rao GS, et al. “Cytotoxic effect of the red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) extract compared to doxorubicin (Adriamycin) in the human prostate (PC-3) and breast (MCF-7) cancer cell lines.” Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2011 Mar ;11(3):280-4.

[13] Szaefer H, Krajka-Kuźniak V, Ignatowicz E, et al. “Evaluation of the Effect of Beetroot Juice on DMBA-induced Damage in Liver and Mammary Gland of Female Sprague-Dawley Rats.” Phytother Res. 2013 Mar 1. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

[14] Kapadia GJ, Tokuda H, Konoshima T, Nishino H. “Chemoprevention of lung and skin cancer by Beta vulgaris (beet) root extract.” Cancer Lett. 2008 Jan 18;259(1):39-49. Epub 2007 Oct 29.

[15] Reddy MK, Alexander-Lindo RL and Nair MG. “Relative inhibition of lipid peroxidation, cyclooxygenase enzymes, and human tumor cell proliferation by natural food colors.” J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Nov 16;53(23):9268-73. 2005.

[16] Webb AJ, Patel N, Loukogeorgakis S, et al. “Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective and antiplatelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrite.” Hypertension. 2008 Mar;51(3):784-90.

[17] Craig SAS. “Betaine in human nutrition.” Am J Clin Nutr September 2004
vol. 80 no. 3 539-549

[18] Saranya R, Geetha N. “Inhibition of calcium oxalate (caox) crystallization in vitro by the extract of beet root (beta vulgais l.).” International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2014. Vol. 6, suppl. 2. ISSN-0975-1491

[19] ibid

[20] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=49

[21] Stronger S. “Beet Kvass: An easy fermented tonic you can make at home.” Health Impact News. November 15, 2015

[22] http://shop.mercola.com/product/kinetic-culture-30g-1-bottle,1275,0,0.htm

[23] http://shop.mercola.com/product/kinetic-culture-30g-1-bottle,1275,417,0.htm

Ötzi The Ice Man: Agriculture Didn’t Do Him Any Favors

5,300 years ago in what is now the Oetzal Alps between Austria and Italy, a man that researchers today decided to name “Ötzi” lived and also met an untimely and suspicious death.  His frozen and mummified body was discovered at nearly 11,000 feet of altitude melting from glacial ice in 1991 by a pair of German hikers.  Archaeologists considered this the discovery of the century—an intact, frozen semi-prehistoric man.  His body and possessions were almost perfectly preserved.  He was about 46 years of age, 5’2” (fairly average height for his day) and evidently a person of some higher status due to the quality of his possessions.  His likeliest cause of death, as forensic researchers determined, was actually murder…but his health was anything but stellar the day he died.

Even though he lived several thousand years ago, Ötzi was already quite clearly a neolithic (agricultural era) human, even as he may have also hunted for some of his food along the way.  Let’s just say that agriculture didn’t do Ötzi any favors.  For starters, he apparently suffered severe tooth decay and even had the grains that helped cause that still stuck in his teeth when they discovered his body.  Along with lousy oral health he also showed signs of suffering arteriosclerosis and advanced arthritis.  He may be portrayed by the media as a prehistoric human, but his state of health was decidedly forged by the dietary pitfalls of an agricultural-based society.  According to his stomach contents, bread was part of his last meal.  Despite whatever hunting and gathering he may have done along the way he clearly wasn’t “Paleo” in many of his dietary choices.  He was basically modern enough to have suffered some of the earliest diseases of modern civilization.  In short, Ötzi was an agriculturally-influenced, medical mess.

His shorter stature and ill health was actually typical of many post-agricultural societies.  Early agriculturalists commonly suffered mineral deficiency-associated diseases like rickets, stunted growth and bone mineral disorders. Osteoporosis, skeletal abnormalities, malnutrition, birth defects, dental malocclusion and degenerative disease also became much more commonplace once we adopted the widespread consumption of grains (yes–including whole grains).  Cereal-based diets also commonly led to numerous other vitamin and mineral deficiencies not typically shared by their more Stone Age ancestors; such as pellagra, scurvy, beriberi, as well as vitamin A, iron and zinc deficiencies (the minerals contained in grains are actually poorly available to us, if at all, due to the presence of a substance known as phytic acidsomething never mentioned by proponents of the government “food pyramids”, or the commercial purveyors of supposedly “healthy whole grains”).  According to the researchers analysis, Ötzi’s dental problems show the results of switching from a strictly hunter-gatherer to an agricultural one.

Grain consumption has been linked with allergies, food sensitivities, autoimmune disorders (now numbering in excess of 100 that have been identified thus far, and 40 additional diseases thought to have an autoimmune component), numerous cancers, pancreatic disorders, mineral deficiencies, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, celiac disease, epilepsy, cerebellar ataxia’s, dementia, degenerative diseases of the brain and central nervous system, peripheral neuropathies of axonal or demyelinating types, and myopathies as well as autism and schizophrenia, to name a few of our more common modern day health-related issues.

Contrast this with the primary cause of death in more Stone Age hunter-gatherers:  accident and infection.  That’s about it.  As long as we survived that, we stood pretty good odds of making it to old age without the chronic degenerative diseases that plague the elderly and not so elderly today.  Fast-forwarding to today— as we continue to follow this slippery slope of embracing products and byproducts of Monoculture Agriculture and the ever-powerful Food Industry, according to new findings, people today are being diagnosed with disease 33 percent (15 years) faster than their grandparents.  Age 30 has become the new 45 in reference to on-setting disease.  This is all relatively new—and NOT because we suddenly began consuming more animal-based foods or fats (which our ancestors have eaten consistently for close to 3 million years)!

Certain popular books today encourage those of us that have been smart enough to shed non-essential and highly problematic grains from our diet, to actually bring wheat back into our diets again.  Really?  Do we really want this (even as it may be telling some folks what they want to hear)?  So much is wrong with this idea that it isn’t even funny….but I’ll save the rest for another article.

Even as an agricultural lifestyle allowed us to live in better protected, safer and controlled environments, an agricultural lifestyle wasn’t exactly our fast track to optimal health and longevity.  Even as human populations exploded (ultimately leading to planetary overpopulation issues we face today), life expectancy actually declined by half—relative to our supposedly short-lived Paleolithic forebears–early on into the agricultural revolution.  In fact, between the Neolithic Revolution and the late 18th century human life expectancy never exceeded roughly 25 years! What basically improved longevity in more modern times sure as heck wasn’t our back-breaking, nutrition- and health-compromising agricultural lifestyle, but instead (apart from protection from the elements and predators) better technology, sanitation, and modern economic growth.

When researchers compared the health of farmers versus hunter-gatherers they found that the farmers suffered much higher rates of infection due to the concentration of stationary human populations in farming communities, much poorer nutrition due to their increased cereal grain intake and reduced meat/fat intake and problems with mineral absorption due to the effects of the cereal-based diet (Cohen, 1989).  Neolithic farmers were shorter, had many more health-related issues and a lower life expectancy relative to Mesolithic hunter-gatherers.   We also became much more vulnerable to famine; not to mention the oppression and control (and the other delightful things) that come with concentrated population centers and opportunistic ruling class hierarchies, not the least of which has been an unending and unprecidented pattern of full scale wars.

Agriculture also served to shift our macronutrient content from a focus on dietary fat and protein to a diet based far more upon carbohydrate intake.  The impact on human health in this regard has not been trivial.  Only in modern times, for instance, have we humans developed an emergency need to lower blood sugar through the unnaturally chronic and metabolically dysregulating release of insulin.  We were never designed to tolerate being marinated in a caustic and inflammatory mix of glucose (and other sugars) and insulin 24/7.  This is a modern-day development and one we need to rethink if we are ever to reclaim our primal birthright as a species of foundational health.

Agriculture cost us as a species, big time.  We’ve spent the last 500 generations—or less, less than 0.4% of our evolutionary history —after we spent more than 100,000 generations (99.9+%) on a mostly meat and fat diet—eating a diet that is demonstrably and increasingly unnatural to our species.  Pre-agricultural paleolithic hunters and gatherers derived most of their calories from about 100-200 different species of wild animals (meat and fat being as much as 90% of their dietary economy)…and to a lesser degree fibrous vegetables, greens and nuts/fruits.

Suddenly, all of about 17 species of plants today, most of which are entirely new to the human diet—are providing 90 percent of the world’s food supply.  That’s an insanely huge flip-flop, and it has NOT been a healthy one. The toll this has taken upon our health, not to mention the health of the planetary environment is immeasurable and tragic.

The energy and nutrient value of starch-based foods we have come to rely upon in modern times are considerably inferior to animal foods, even after cooking.  Sugar-based foods in particular have led to an epidemic of metabolic disorders, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and a huge variety of sugar-hungry cancers.

And these foods aren’t just problematic in today’s world.  They have been problematic from the beginning of their widespread consumption. They were literally never the cornerstone of optimal health.

Grains and legumes, much less refined carbohydrates weren’t necessarily all to blame for poor health related to starch consumption in pre- (and post-) agricultural humans.  An interesting study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January of 2014 revealing that pre-agricultural starchy carbohydrate consumption led to ill health and dental disease in prehistoric hunter-gatherers from time to time, as well.  In other words, we can’t blame it all on farming.  The research by a team from Oxford University, the Natural History Museum, London, and the National Institute of Archaeological Sciences and Heritage (INSAP) in Morocco actually showed that widespread tooth decay occurred in a hunter-gathering society in Morocco several thousand years before the dawn of agriculture.  The team analyzed 52 sets of adult teeth from hunter-gatherer skeletons found in Taforalt in Morocco, dating between 15,000 and 13,700 years ago. Unexpectedly, they found evidence of decay and abscesses in more than half of the surviving teeth, with only three skeletons showing no signs of cavities.  Excavations revealed evidence of the systematic harvesting and processing of wild foods, including sweet acorns, pine nuts and land snails.  The guilty food?  Sweet (starchy) acorns, apparently.  In other words, even naturally occurring starch in its whole food, wild state wasn’t an optimal food for our ancestors, either.

Dental abnormality such as malocclusion and dental crowding (attractive as they are) first became common among the world’s earliest farmers some 12,000 years ago in Southwest Asia, according to findings published (04 Feb 2015) in the journal PLoS ONE.  Pre-agricultural, paleolithic hunter-gatherers, on the other hand had almost no malocclusion and dental crowding demonstrated in any research to date.  In a Science Daily article illuminating highlights of this PLOS ONE study, interviews with the research scientists behind the study revealed that, “Our analysis shows that the lower jaws of the world’s earliest farmers in the Levant, are not simply smaller versions of those of the predecessor hunter-gatherers, but that the lower jaw underwent a complex series of shape changes commensurate with the transition to agriculture,” says Professor Ron Pinhasi from the School of Archaeology and Earth Institute, University College Dublin, the lead author on the study.

“Our findings show that the hunter gatherer populations have an almost “perfect harmony” between their lower jaws and teeth,” he explains. “But this harmony begins to fade when you examine the lower jaws and teeth of the earliest farmers.”

In the case of hunter-gatherers, the scientists from University College Dublin, Israel Antiquity Authority, and the State University of New York, Buffalo, found a correlation between inter-individual jawbones and dental distances, suggesting an almost “perfect” state of equilibrium between the two. While in the case of semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers and farming groups, they found no such correlation, suggesting that the harmony between the teeth and the jawbone was disrupted with the shift towards agricultural practices and sedentism in the region. This, the international team of scientists say, may be linked to the dietary changes among the different populations.

The diet of the hunter-gatherer was based on “hard” foods like wild uncooked vegetables and meat, while the staple diet of the sedentary farmer is based on “soft” cooked or processed foods like cereals and legumes. With soft cooked foods there is less of a requirement for chewing which in turn lessens the size of the jaws but without a corresponding reduction in the dimensions of the teeth, there is no adequate space in the jaws and this often results in malocclusion and dental crowding.

The link between chewing, diet, and related dental wear patterns is well known in the scientific literature. Today, malocclusion and dental crowding affects around one in five people in modern-world populations. The condition has been described as the “malady of civilization.”

In short, we humans were fundamentally designed by our evolutionary selective pressures and earliest dietary preferences to be fat-heads, not potato-heads (or acorn-heads), much less grain-brains.  

Ketones, the basic energy units of fat, along with free fatty acids are an extremely abundant, reliable, stable and steady source of fuel, even in the absence of regular meals.  Furthermore, brain cells (and delicate brain tissue) are more vulnerable than just about any other tissue to the ravages of glycation and the oxidation or free radical activity that glucose and glycation attracts.  The brain actually prefers ketones (or, more specifically, BOHB) to glucose as it’s primary source of fuel (from the standpoint of being non-damaging, as well as being a “superfuel”, yielding even more ATP than either glucose or free fatty acids).  Interestingly, acetoacetate (another form of ketone body) is the preferred source of energy in our heart muscle and renal cortex… but your brain can also use that if it needs to, and it adds needed balance to BOHB in those who may be seizure-prone.  Nature was beyond wise to design us this way, but unfortunately most people today fail to take advantage of this incredibly elegant and efficient design, instead diverting away from the energy we were mostly meant to rely upon and forcing an unnatural and enslaving dependence upon carbohydrates as a primary source of fuel.

Think about what we’ve been mostly eating for the last 10,000 years while our brains have been progressively shrinking and our collective health increasingly deteriorating…

The most obvious and far-reaching dietary change during the last 10,000 years is, of course, the enormous drop in consumption of high-energy, fat-rich foods of animal origin which formed easily 90% of our diet in Paleolithic times, to as little as 10% today, coupled with a large rise in less energy-dense grain consumption. This switch—this literal flip-flop to a carbohydrate-based diet embraced by the corporately controlled USDA Food Pyramid (and other nearly identical guidelines offered in Europe/UK and Australia/New Zealand) is far from optimal and far from benign in its effects.

In fact, more recently, there has been a long overdue, detailed analysis of the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, which has been measuring dietary trends, caloric consumption and the body heights and weights of americans for nearly 50 years.  What it revealed is both shocking and telling:

It turns out that Americans HAVE been following the rules and taking the mainstream government guidelines to heart in their dietary choices (all the while the health of the public has been deteriorating).   –And even more shockingly,  It seems the more obediently we have followed the rules, the sicker and more obese we have become as a society.  Trading animal source foods for carbs and animal fats for vegetable oils has effectively pushed the collective health of Americans (and others following similar guidelines the world over) to the brink of collapse.

It’s well past time we take the USDA Food Pyramid and turn it upside down.  I think even Ötzi would agree.

~Nora

(Check out my new weekly online program: Primal Power 52)


References:

1 Rollo, F.U. et al., “Ötzi’s last meals: DNA analysis of the intestinal content of the Neolithic glacier mummy from the Alps.” PNAS October 1 vol 99 no 99 (2002)

2 L Hallberg, et al. “Phytates and the inhibitory effect of bran on iron absorption in man.” Am J Clin Nutr. 1987; 45(5): 988.

3 Seiler R, Spielman AI, Zink A, Rühli, F. “Oral pathologies of the Neolithic Iceman, c. 3,300 BC”. European Journal of Oral Sciences (2013) 1-5

4 http://www.livescience.com/28608-otzi-iceman-had-bad-teeth.html

5  Cordain, L. Cereal grains: humanity’s double-edged sword.  World Rev Nutr Diet. 1999; 84:19-73.

6 Hulsegge G, Susan H, Picavet J , et al. Today’s adult generations are less healthy than their predecessors: generation shifts in metabolic risk factors: the Doetinchem Cohort Study. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Published online April 10 2013  (http://cpr.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/04/08/2047487313485512.abstract)

7 Angel JL. Health as a factor in the changes from hunting to developed farming in the eastern Mediterranean. In: Cohen MN, Armelagos GJ, editors. Paleopathology at the origins of agriculture. New York: Academic Press, 1984:51–73

8 Fogel RW. The fourth great awakening and the future of egalitarianism. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press, 2000:48,137–75.) and (Kuznets S. Modern economic growth: rate, structure, and spread. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1966:8–16.

9 Acsa’di, G.Y., and J. Nemeskeri, (1970), History of Human Life Span and Mortality, (Akademiai Kiado, Budapest).

10 Cohen M. N.,(1989),Health and the Rise of Civilization (Yale Uni. Press: New Haven).

11 Diamond, J. (1997),.Guns,Germs,andSteel:TheFatesofHumanSocieties.(Norton, New York).

12  Wesidorf, J. L. (2006) “From Foraging to Farming: Explaining the Neolithic Revolution,”Journal of Economic Surveys,19, 561-586

13 Humphrey LT, De Groote, I, Morales J, Barton N, Collcutt S, Bronk Ramsey C, Bouzouggar A. “Earliest evidence for caries and exploitation of starchy plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from Morocco.“Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1318176111

14 Pinhasi R, Eshed V, von Cramon-Taubadel N.  “Incongruity between Affinity Patterns Based on Mandibular and Lower Dental Dimensions following the Transition to Agriculture in the Near East, Anatolia and Europe.” PLOS ONE, 2015; 10 (2): e0117301 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117301

15 Malocclusion and dental crowding arose 12,000 years ago with earliest farmers.” Science Daily.  February 4, 2015.

16 Cahill GF Jr, Veech RL. “Ketoacids? Good medicine?” Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc. 2003;114:149-61; discussion 162-3

17 John L. Tymoczko, Lubert Stryer and Jeremy Berg. Biochemistry 7th Edition. W. H. Freeman; Seventh Edition edition (December 24, 2010), Chapter 22 (Fatty Acid Metabolism).

18  Eaton, S Boyd, Eaton, Stanley B III. Evolution, diet and health. Presented in association with the scientific session, Origins and Evolution of Human Diet. 14th International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Williamsburg, Virginia, 1998.

19 Cohen E, Cragg M, deFonseka J, et al. “Statistical review of US macronutrient consumption data, 1965-2011: Americans have been following dietary guidelines, coincident with the rise in obesity.”  Nutrition J. 2015. 31: 727-732.

LOW-CARB ON TRIAL (GALILEO HAD IT EASY)

Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition

Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition

A recent exposé in the New York Times[1] revealed massive and pervasive fraud and collusion between the sugar industry and certain medical authorities in the 1960’s designed to erroneously promote saturated fat as the culprit behind heart disease. Effectively diverting attention from the real source of the problem (the increasing consumption of dietary sugar), the food industry conspired with key authorities within the medical establishment to serve their own best interests at the expense of public health.  Historic documents showed that they were intentionally concealing the fact that sugar, instead of fat, was knowingly to blame.  These historic documents were discovered by a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco and were recently published in the journal, JAMA Internal Medicine this year.  The researchers who evaluated the data concluded that, “Together with other recent analyses of sugar industry documents, our findings suggest the industry sponsored a research program in the 1960’s and 1970’s that successfully cast doubt about the hazards of sucrose while promoting fat as the dietary culprit in CHD [coronary heart disease].”[2]  In the NY Times piece, one of the study’s authors, Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at The University of California San Francisco was quoted as saying, “They were able to derail the discussion about sugar for decades.”  The fact is that government dietary policies throughout the industrialized world are still being influenced by this fraud. It is far from over.

By the way…am I the only one who thinks this should qualify as a prosecutable offense?

The fact that the criminal behavior of the sugar industry executives concealing the even then known dangers of their own products, which have resulted in the deaths of countless millions since, has now finally been exposed in no way implies that the global mainstream medical or dietetic establishment is any wiser or even inclined to alter their stale and disproven dietary recommendations. The fact that this is all coming out now leads many to complacently believe that such nefarious scandals and clandestine activities are somehow a thing of the past.  A mere historic footnote, as it were.

Au contraire.

The New York Times article went on to say that, “Even though the influence-peddling revealed in the documents dates back nearly 50 years, more recent reports show that the food industry has continued to influence nutrition science.”  Indeed… and not only at the expense of public health, but also at the expense of certain conscientious medical and nutritional practitioners, as well.   Those still wed to an antiquated nutritional paradigm or to multinational corporate profiteering are pulling out the stops these days to make an example of anyone daring to question the old, shaky, crooked (and still profitable) status quo.

In fact, any medical practitioner deviating from the traditional (low-fat, ‘carbophilic’ dietary recommendation-based) party line on this matter may still— to this very day– be subject to extreme harassment, ridicule, investigation, intimidation, discipline, loss of employment, and even loss of licensure.  We all-too often forget that medicine basically ceased to be an altruistic profession it once was (then inspired by the honorable dictates of the Hippocratic oath and with the best interests of patients in mind) close to a century ago, and particularly after World War II.  It has since burgeoned into a predominantly profit-based, full-fledged Industry, driven by the interests of mainly pharmaceutical cartels motivated by one primary equation:

Sickness (and fabricated sickness) = BIG profits.

The long-term reciprocal economic relationship between multinational industry interests of all kinds (including the food industry, of course) and the medical industry are well known and well documented. The pharmacologically based hegemony of mainstream medicine dominates and controls the nation’s definitions of so-called “healthcare” while handsomely profiting from disease management instead.  After all, a patient cured (or prevented from getting disease in the first place) is a customer lost. Does it really matter WHO pays for our so-called healthcare today (government programs or insurance companies) in a corrupt and broken system where illness = profitability? Mind you, emergency medicine is a genuinely lifesaving and often-heroic branch of western medicine. But when it comes to chronic or even terminal conditions, much less psychiatric care, where is the institutional incentive to truly heal anything? And even among caring physicians with a genuine passion for helping their patients, having both a conscience and a clear awareness of the problem (a number of whom I consider friends and greatly admire), their caring hands are repeatedly tied by so-called established “standards of care” and the profit-based dictates of the institutions through which they may be employed. They are forever under threat of investigation or worse should they deviate from the party line. I even know those who ultimately elected to leave the mainstream medical profession in futility and disgust.

Even peer-reviewed research these days is becoming a hall of mirrors. If there is major pharmacologic profit to be made, then the questionability of published research results begins to correspondingly mushroom. The all-too common phenomenon of industry-sourced, ghost-written “scientific” articles supporting various profit-driven motives within peer-reviewed journals has been a well exposed scandal in recent years, and has not remotely gone away simply because such growing and obvious improprieties were exposed to the light of day.[3]

WHAT WE NOW KNOW, BASED ON NON-INDUSTRY DRIVEN SCIENCE  

The fact is that metabolic diseases, in general, have literally skyrocketed over the last century with the promotion of carbohydrate-based foods/diets and government dietary guidelines promoting low-fat diets. The first comprehensive analysis of the NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) data documented how macronutrient consumption patterns and the weight and body mass index in the US adult population have shifted since the 1960’s.  Here’s what the analysis of NHANES data had to say in the resulting peer reviewed journal analysis:  “Americans in general have been following the nutrition advice that the American Heart Association and the US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services have been issuing for more than 40 years: Consumption of fats has dropped from 45% to 34% with a corresponding increase in carbohydrate consumption from 39% to 51% of total caloric intake. In addition, from 1971 to 2011, average weight and body mass index have increased dramatically, with the percentage of overweight or obese Americans increasing from 42% in 1971 to 66% in 2011.”  And their conclusions based on all the available data?  “Since 1971, the shift in macronutrient share from fat to carbohydrate is primarily due to an increase in absolute consumption of carbohydrate as opposed to a change in total fat consumption. General adherence to recommendations to reduce fat consumption has coincided with a substantial increase in obesity.” [4]  I write about some of this in my upcoming new book, Primal Fat Burner.

Heart disease is but one metabolic disease on the long list of high carbohydrate-based dietary casualties.   When it comes to type II diabetes, it is abundantly clear that this is a disease caused primarily by diet and evidence has repeatedly shown that diet is, in fact, the best and only true means of successfully managing and even reversing it.  In fact, many of the most common medications used to treat diabetic conditions (including insulin and other medications used to enhance its activity) have demonstrated an overwhelming tendency to only deepen the problem over time and shorten lives. Erroneously treated as a “disease of blood sugar” (supposedly brought on by genetic factors), diabetes is instead clearly a disease of insulin resistance brought on by chronic excess carbohydrate (sugar/starch) consumption.  Fructose, in particular, and the overwhelming prevalence of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) added to most processed foods has proven to be an especially lethal potentiator of all forms of metabolic disease (clearly including diabetes and obesity).

LOW CARB ON TRIAL (IN A KANGAROO COURT)

Evidence for the considerable safety and long-range benefit of low-carbohydrate dietary approaches is replete in a large number of published, objectively written peer reviewed research studies in medical journals over the last few decades; yet in Australia one medical doctor—Dr. Gary Fettke, is facing the wrath of those threatened by this much needed paradigm shift. Using the available valid evidence provided in medical journals designed to educate doctors in order to help his patients has resulted in both an indictment and now literally a “permanent silencing” by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority from ever so much as mentioning nutritional approaches to diabetes ever again to anyone, in any format.  Never mind the fact that many of Dr. Fettke’s patients flourished as a result of his advice, which essentially promoted a low carbohydrate and higher fat approach to eating.[5] By even so much as admonishing his patients to eat less sugar (in alignment, by the way, with current NIH standards) Dr. Fettke incurred the relentlessly destructive wrath of his establishment peers.

Mind you, these allegations were not a result of so much as a single complaint from any of his patients.  The allegations emerged entirely from industry-based interests (and were mercilessly pursued by their well paid political minions), which currently dominate the whole of Australia’s mainstream health and medical system to an embarrassing— and one could even argue, criminal degree.

Gary Fettke, MD was recently at last called before Australia’s Senate and asked to testify on his own behalf (after 2 1/2 years of extreme harassment by colleagues and officials, and hostile investigation by medical authorities).  Within a mere 3 1/2 hours of delivering his testimony, the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority (AHPRA) offered their dismissive, ill-considered (read: pre-determined) and final ruling on the matter. As of November 1st of 2016, Dr. Fettke has been permanently forbidden from openly discussing the role of diet in the prevention or management of any disease for the remainder of his entire medical career, under any and all circumstances. No chance for appeal.

It begs the question of “who’s next?” and “where is all this going?”

Mind you, had Dr. Fettke been promoting the standard (read: failed) government dietary guidelines–all a by-product of industry-driven interests, not science– he would never have been given a second glance by the establishment for doing so.  Ironically, in their prosecution of Fettke, the Australian Medical Board insisted that there is “nothing associated with medical training or education that makes a doctor an expert or authority in the field of nutrition.” I can’t exactly argue with that given the deplorable state of nutrition education in medical schools.  But the official statement in this regard seems only to apply to those medical providers exercising deviation from the antiquated “low fat” party line.  Nonetheless, the evidence for the advice Dr. Fettke was offering his patients WAS, in fact, based upon solid peer-reviewed evidence found in medical journals, not to mention widespread clinical evidence.

The following represents a minute, cursory handful of research studies (a mere sampling of what is actually out there) for purposes of illustrating the medically researched evidence in support of the low carbohydrate (and higher fat) dietary approaches to addressing diabetes, as promoted by Dr. Gary Fettke (and as denied by the DAA and Australian, UK and many US medical authorities):

Allick G, Bisschop PH, Ackermans MT, Endert E, Meijer AJ, Kuipers F, Sauerwein HP, Romijn JA.  “A low-carbohydrate/high-fat diet improves glucoregulation in type 2 diabetes mellitus by reducing postabsorptive glycogenolysis.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2004, 89(12):6193-6197.

Boden G, Sargrad K, Homko C, Mozzoli M, Stein TP. “Effect of a low carbohydrate diet on appetite, blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance in obese patients with type 2 diabetes.” Ann Intern Med 2005, 142(6):403-411.

Dashti HM, Mathew TC, Khadada M, Al-Mousawi M, Talib H, Asfar SK, Behbahani AI, Al-Zaid NS. “Beneficial effects of ketogenic diet in obese diabetic subjects.” Mol Cell Biochem 2007.

Daly ME, Paisey R, Paisey R, Millward BA, Eccles C, Williams K, Hammersley S, MacLeod KM, Gale TJ. “Short-term effects of severe dietary carbohydrate restriction advice in Type 2 diabetes–a randomized controlled trial.” Diabet Med 2006, 23(1):15-20.

Gannon MC, Nutgall FQ. “Control of blood glucose in type 2 diabetes without weight loss by modification of diet composition. Nutr Metab (Lond) 2006, 3:16.

Vernon M, Mavropoulos J, Transue M, Yancy W, Jr, Westman E. “Clinical Experience of a Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet: Effect on Diabetes Mellitus.” Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders 2003, 1:233-237.

Yancy WS, Jr., Vernon MC, Westman EC. “A Pilot trial of a Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes.” Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders 2003, 1(3):239-243.

Reaven GM. “Effect of dietary carbohydrate on the metabolism of patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.” Nutr Rev 1986, 44(2):65-73.

Garg A, Bantle JP, Henry RR, Coulston AM, Griver KA, Raatz SK, Brinkley L, Chen YD, Grundy SM, Huet BA et al. “Effects of varying carbohydrate content of diet in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.” JAMA 1994, 271(18):1421-1428.

Westman EC, Yancy Jr. WS, Haub MD, Volek JS. “Insulin Resistance from a Low-Carbohydrate, High Fat Diet Perspective.” Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders 2005, 3:3-7.

Nielsen JV, Jonsson E, Nilsson AK. “Lasting improvement of hyperglycaemia and bodyweight: low-carbohydrate diet in type 2 diabetes–a brief report.” Ups J Med Sci 2005, 110(1):69-73.

Feinman RD, Fine EJ. “Thermodynamics and Metabolic Advantage of Weight Loss Diets.” Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders 2003, 1:209-219.

Volek JS, Feinman RD. “Carbohydrate restriction improves the features of Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome may be defined by the response to carbohydrate restriction.” Nutr Metab (Lond) 2005, 2:31.

Yancy WS, Jr., Foy M, Chalecki AM, Vernon MC, Westman EC. “A low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes.” Nutr Metab (Lond) 2005, 2:34.

Westman EC, Feinman RD, Mavropoulos JC, Vernon MC, Volek JS, Wortman JA, Yancy WS, Phinney SD. “Low-carbohydrate nutrition and metabolism.” Am J Clin Nutr 2007, 86(2):276-284.

Foster GD, Wyatt HR, Hill JO, McGuckin BG, Brill C, Mohammed BS, Szapary PO, Rader DJ, Edman JS, Klein S. “A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet for obesity.” N Engl J Med 2003, 348(21):2082-2090.

Samaha FF, Iqbal N, Seshadri P, Chicano KL, Daily DA, McGrory J, Williams T, Williams M, Gracely EJ, Stern L. “A low-carbohydrate as compared with a lowfat diet in severe obesity.” N Engl J Med 2003, 348(21):2074-2081.

Volek JS, Forsythe CE. “The case for not restricting saturated fat on a low carbohydrate diet.” Nutr Metab (Lond) 2005, 2:21.

Forsythe CE, Phinney SD, Fernandez ML, Quann EE, Wood RJ, Bibus DM, Kraemer WJ, Feinman RD, Volek JS. “Comparison of low fat and low carbohydrate diets on circulating Fatty Acid composition and markers of inflammation.” Lipids 2008, 43(1):65-77.

Volek JS, Sharman MJ, Gomez AL, Judelson DA, Rubin MR, Watson G, Sokmen B, Silvestre R, French DN, Kraemer WJ. “Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women.” Nutr Metab (Lond) 2004, 1(1):13.

Le KA, Tappy L. “Metabolic effects of fructose.” Curr Opin Nutr Metab Care 2006, 9:469-475.

Rutledge AC, Adeli K. “Fructose and the metabolic syndrome: pathophysiology and molecular mechanisms.” Nutr Rev 2007, 65(6):S13-S23.

WHO SHOULD REALLY BE ON TRIAL HERE?

Australia’s DAA (Dietitians Association of Australia)—long known to have a questionable relationship with the processed food industry (corporate representatives of which actually provide portions of DAA “education”[6]), have also been persecuting and ousting low-carb proponents within their ranks in recent years.[7]  Apparently dietitians seem additionally to be ‘unqualified’ to provide nutritional advice to the public based on updated clinical and peer reviewed evidence and stand to face similar consequences for following more up-to-date, clinically proven and non-industry driven science.  Conventionally trained nutritionists and dietitians in the US are likewise subject to pressures from the same profit driven market forces and receive much of their so-called “education” from these interests.[8]

In December of 2013, the Public Library of Science Medicine published a research article titled “Financial Conflicts of Interest and Reporting Bias Regarding the Association between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain: A Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews.”[9]  The findings included (among other things) that, “The researchers identified 18 conclusions from 17 systematic reviews that had investigated the association between SSB [sugar-sweetened beverages] consumption and weight gain or obesity. In six of these reviews, a financial conflict of interest with food industry was disclosed. Among the reviews that reported having no conflict of interest, 83.3% of the conclusions were that SSB consumption could be a potential risk factor for weight gain. By contrast, the same percentage of reviews in which a potential financial conflict of interest was disclosed concluded that the scientific evidence was insufficient to support a positive association between SSP consumption and weight gain, or reported contradictory results and did not state any definitive conclusion about the association between SSP consumption and weight gain.”  The big bottom line?  “[…] systematic reviews with financial conflicts of interest were five times more likely to present a conclusion of no positive association between SSB consumption and obesity than those without them.”  In other words, hidden interests, profit and not wellness has reigned supreme in the realm of (quasi) science and resulting official nutritional policy.

Dr. Marcia Angell, the former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine had the following to say:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

 

She went on elsewhere in the same article to say,
“Consider the clinical trials by which drugs are tested in human subjects. Before a new drug can enter the market, its manufacturer must sponsor clinical trials to show the Food and Drug Administration that the drug is safe and effective, usually as compared with a placebo or dummy pill. The results of all the (there may be many) are submitted to the FDA, and if one or two trials are positive-that is, they show effectiveness without serious risk-the drug is usually approved, even if all the other trials are negative.”

 

AND:

 

“In view of this control and the conflicts of interest that permeate the enterprise, it is not surprising that industry-sponsored trials published in medical journals consistently favor sponsors’ drugs-largely because negative results are not published, positive results are repeatedly published in slightly different forms, and a positive spin is put on even negative results. A review of seventy-four clinical trials of antidepressants, for example, found that thirty-seven of thirty-eight positive studies were published. But of the thirty-six negative studies, thirty-three were either not published or published in a form that conveyed a positive outcome.”

 

~Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine

 

Many supposedly independent medical “experts” and even some state officials publicly supporting certain mainstream treatment approaches are actually very much on Big Pharma’s payroll.  As reported by The American Scholar back in 2011, “Today, medical-journal editors estimate that 95 percent of the academic-medicine specialists who assess patented treatments have financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, and even the prestigious NEJM [New England Journal of Medicine] gave up its search for objective reviewers in June 1992, announcing that it could find no reviewers that did not accept industry funds.”[10]

Overwhelming peer reviewed and clinical evidence points to the fact that diabetes is at its core a disease of insulin resistance driven by diets that are dominated by carbohydrate-based foods—particularly refined carbohydrates.  Anyone saying different either has no idea what they’re talking about or they are taking money under the table from some corporate interest. Period.  Or both. And anyone who insists upon recommending a carbohydrate-based diet to anyone having a diabetic diagnosis should be automatically culpable to charges of medical fraud.

Dr. Gary Fettke is far from alone in his unjust persecution, however. Dr. Timothy Noakes in Cape Town, South Africa has also been standing trial this year for similar allegations that involved offering scientifically validated dietary advice, in which he was amply versed, to those that needed it. In this case the uproar was related to advice given by Noakes to a nursing mother over Twitter, where he suggested she eventually “wean [her] baby onto a low carb, high fat diet”.  South Africa’s regulatory body for health professionals has been holding a series of tribunal-type hearings against Noakes and threatening to revoke his medical license over his support of a more high-fat and low carbohydrate dietary approach.  Much as with the case of Dr. Gary Fettke, the allegations are being leveled by mainstream authorities’ objection to non-mainstream dietary recommendations— but not as any result of so much as even one single patient complaint or any claimed harm.

His trial can be virtually likened to the trial of Galileo by the Catholic Church during the Inquisition in 1633 (for promoting the evidence for a heliocentric vs. earth-centric solar system).  As we know, things didn’t work out so well back then for Galileo…  But hey, close to 500 years later the Catholic Church has finally come around to officially conceding to the inconvenient notion that the earth does, indeed revolve around the sun after all (and not vice versa), and they have at last issued a conciliatory (albeit tardy) posthumous apology to poor Galileo.

Similarly antiquated notions of a “carbo-centric” dietary model drive these modern day witch-hunts.  Only this time, instead of the Catholic Church preserving its own vested interests at the expense of honest science, humanity faces a cataclysmic deterioration in health and burgeoning metabolic diseases due to the vested interests of Monsanto and other facets of Big Agribusiness (Big Oil’s #1 customers), the Food Industry (which still includes the nefarious sugar and HFCS industry), various chemical industries (supplying herbicides and pesticides), phosphate strip-mining industries (through which synthetic fertilizers…and unconscionably profitable, “fluoride” (hydrofluorosilicate) are also produced as a toxic waste product of the industry and forcibly sold to municipalities the world over for “water treatment” purposes), Big Pharma, the profit driven mainstream Medical Industry as a whole, and more.  Every one of these multinational corporate interests (and others) would have every profit-based reason to want to see every man woman and child on planet Earth dependent on a carbohydrate-based diet and metabolism.  Sugary and starchy foods are, after all, dirt cheap to produce, highly profitable and basically keep the population perpetually hungry.  What’s not for the food industry, et al to love?  And the health-related problems generated by a world-wide, modern day unnatural dependence on carbohydrates as a primary source of food/fuel (a unique dietary deviation in human evolutionary history) are only going from bad to worse:  Over 95% of the world population currently suffers health-related issues, with more than a third struggling with more than five ailments, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2013, published in The Lancet.[11] One can reasonably surmise things have not been improving since 2013.  Currently, the #1 source of bankruptcy in the US is due to a bad health diagnosis.

Still think that those medical authorities prosecuting people like Gary Fettke and Timothy Noakes are really motivated by wanting to protect the rest of us?

 

“Six years ago, John Ioannidis, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, found that nearly half of published articles in scientific journals contained findings that were false, in the sense that independent researchers couldn’t replicate them. The problem is particularly widespread in medical research, where peer-reviewed articles in medical journals can be crucial in influencing multimillion- and sometimes multibillion-dollar spending decisions. It would be surprising if conflicts of interest did not sometimes compromise editorial neutrality, and in the case of medical research, the sources of bias are obvious. Most medical journals receive half or more of their income from pharmaceutical company advertising and reprint orders, and dozens of others [journals] are owned by companies like Wolters Kluwer, a medical publisher that also provides marketing services to the pharmaceutical industry.”

 

Here’s another quote from the same article:

 

“The FDA also relies increasingly upon fees and other payments from the pharmaceutical companies whose products the agency is supposed to regulate. This could contribute to the growing number of scandals in which the dangers of widely prescribed drugs have been discovered too late. Last year, GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug Avandia was linked to thousands of heart attacks, and earlier in the decade, the company’s antidepressant Paxil was discovered to exacerbate the risk of suicide in young people. Merck’s painkiller Vioxx was also linked to thousands of heart disease deaths. In each case, the scientific literature gave little hint of these dangers. The companies have agreed to pay settlements in class action lawsuits amounting to far less than the profits the drugs earned on the market. These precedents could be creating incentives for reduced vigilance concerning the side effects of prescription drugs in general.”

 

~Helen Epstein, “Flu Warning: Beware the Drug Companies”. The NY Review of Books (May 12, 2011)

 

Consider carefully the fact that low carbohydrate, higher fat dietary approaches to eating (particularly any approach emphasizing food quality and sustainability) are anything but profitable to any existing multinational corporate industries (much less drug companies).   This isn’t to say that there cannot be bad studies promoting this type of dietary approach or occasionally inappropriate biases or special interests held by its researchers on occasion, but the rational implication is certainly there to suggest that there is little financial incentive for mainstream medicine to publicize or adopt many of the solid and verifiable conclusions from the rich plethora of research supporting this point of view. In fact, given the startling effectiveness of this dietary approach for improving a vast variety of conditions, one would (in light of the evidence presented throughout this article) expect far more suppression than support of ancestrally oriented, fat-based, ketogenic approaches to eating.  In other words, don’t expect anyone to ‘officially’ flip the USDA Food pyramid upside down anytime soon (much less revamp the existing food production system to embrace truly healthy food production or sustainability).

 

The truth only stands a chance against these bullying, misanthropic behemoths if we are willing to recognize the truth for ourselves, and then actually stand up for it. Don’t expect meaningful changes in official policy, much less any effort to put any ‘official’ stop to the ongoing misinformation and disinformation coming from the “top-down”. Our government officials mostly no longer work for us. When it comes to taking charge of our health, we are all very much on our own.  We must maintain our vigilance against insidious laws and practices, while questioning questionable authority. We must also become educated on these matters and take charge of our own health and severely compromised food supply. WE are the ones we’ve been waiting for! Always remember that the price for health in today’s world is vigilance (if not hyper vigilance).

And courageous physicians such as Dr. Gary Fettke and Dr. Timothy Noakes (and others similarly being harassed and destroyed by establishment cronies) deserve our outspoken support, from around the world. It is time to bring this modern day, profit-driven and insidious, draconian Medical Inquisition to an end, once and for all.

~ Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, NTP, BCHN

 

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REFERENCES

[1] O’Connor, Anahad. “How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat.” New York Times, Sept. 12, 2016

[2] Kearns CE, Schmidt LA, Glantz SA. “Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research: A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents.” JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(11):1680-1685

[3] Wislar JS, Flanagin A, Fontanarosa PB, DeAngelis CD. “Honorary and ghost authorship in high impact biomedical journals: a cross-sectional survey.” BMJ 2011; 343: d6128

[4] Cohen E, Cragg M, deFonseka, J, et al.  “Statistical review of US macronutrient consumption data, 1965–2011: Americans have been following dietary guidelines, coincident with the rise in obesity.” Nutrition.  May 2015, Volume 31, Issue 5, Pages 727–732.

[5] http://www.nofructose.com/introduction/help-be-a-voice-for-lchf-after-gary-is-silenced/

[6] http://davidgillespie.org/do-we-really-want-our-nutrition-advice-sponsored-by-the-food-industry/

[7] http://www.babyboomersandbellies.com/blog/2015/06/expelled-by-daa-dietitians-association-of-australia/

[8] http://www.eatdrinkpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/AND_Corporate_Sponsorship_Report.pdf

[9] Bes-Rastrollo M, Schulz MB, Ruiz-Canela M and Martinez-Gonzalez MA. “Financial Conflicts of Interest and Reporting Bias Regarding the Association between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain: A Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews.” PLoS Medicine. December 31, 2013.

[10] https://theamericanscholar.org/flacking-for-big-pharma/#

[11] Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 Collaborators. “Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013.” The Lancet, 2015

Recently Revealed Shady Shenanigans of the Sugar Industry

shady-guyThe Associated Press just published an article in the Los Angeles Times revealing how the sugar industry “began funding research that cast doubt on sugar’s role in heart disease—in part by pointing the finger at fat—as early as the 1960s, according to an analysis of newly uncovered documents.”   The article underscores this revelation as the “latest example showing how food and beverage makers attempt to shape public understanding of nutrition.”

 

What the AP article is referring to is the recent publication of an industry expose in JAMA Internal Medicine titled “Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research: A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents.” [JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 12, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.5394]

 

Of course, there’s nothing that moves the sale of “food-like substances” faster than bogus health claims.  If you can get a group of supposed scientists to create a sham study saying, for instance, that “kids that eat more candy weigh less” (and no, I am not making this one up) and the public eats that up (excuse the pun) then from a profit motive standpoint almost anything is possible—ethics and true science be damned (along with the health of the nation).  It turns out this is all far more commonplace a tactic than anyone wants to believe. It all goes WAY beyond the recent AP headline. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21691462]

 

And it has all been going on for a very, very long time.

 

Another relatively recent (2013) study published by the Public Library of Science Medicine evaluated whether “industry sponsors’ financial interests might bias the conclusions of scientific research.”  Ya think?  The study was titled, “Financial Conflicts of Interest and Reporting Bias Regarding the Association between Sugar Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain: A Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews.”  It was a juicy read.  Among the many bombshells within it, they offered the conclusion that “Reviews in which a potential conflict of interest was disclosed were five times more likely to present a conclusion of no positive association between SSB [sugar-sweetened beverages]  consumption and weight gain than reviews that reported having no financial conflict of interest.”  Ummm yeah.  Is this any surprise?  And then these companies store up the contrived “peer reviewed evidence” to use as “scientifically validated proof” for supporting either health claims or a lack of harm.  Slick.

 

This news is far from the only smoking gun. Not only is there a long and sordid history of industry-funded “research” designed solely to market their versions of “food”, but there is quite a bit of conclusive evidence to suggest that the same related industries have been involved for quite some time in establishing educational curriculums for dietitians, medical students and other forms of healthcare professional “higher education”.  For instance, registered dietitians are now given formal education by the Coca-Cola Company on how safe its ingredients are, by the very admission of the American Dietetic Association, itself.  One meticulous 51 page report in 2013 written by Michele Simon for EatDrinkPolitics was titled, “And Now a Word from Our Sponsors… Are America’s Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food?”  It is well worth reading.

 

The ADA/American Dietetic Association (and don’t think it is any different from the DAA/Dietetic Association of Australia, by the way) regularly hold professional conferences that feature exhibits by General Mills, Coca-Cola and other processed food and junk food behemoths.   The lineup of speakers at these conferences have similar industry ties and offer messages ensuring that processed foods are an important part of the diet and are to be consumed right along with fresh produce and mother’s milk.   According to the readily accessible American Dietetic Association’s 2010 annual report, for instance, their corporate partners and sponsors include Coca-Cola, Pepsi, General Mills, Trivia, SOYJOY, ConAgra, Mars, Inc. and Kellogg’s… along with Unilever (which owns a variety of processed food product brands),  as well as the National Dairy Council and Abbott Nutrition, involved with producing and marketing infant formula companies (don’t even get me started here).

 

Yep— these are the supposed “nutritional authorities” supplying the public with what passes for nutritional education.  Like, WOW. These are also the same folks bringing you hospital food and school lunches. Just do the math. These are the very institutions that are involved in counseling and credentialing the people doling out dietary advice to the American public, along with hospitals and nursing homes, schools (including medical schools), colleges and virtually everywhere else.   Mind you, not all mainstream nutritionists and dietitians are as ignorant and industry driven as their curriculum (and I personally know more than a few conventionally trained dietitians who are embarrassed by all this, and know better),  but all too often the “official” advice and the policies that emerge from that are the result of industry-driven propaganda, having nothing whatever to do with the advancement or protection of human health. Period.  And the rest of us get to suffer the consequences when that advice converts to official public policy.

 

Just keep the following thought in mind:  If a diet based on whole, naturally raised and unadulterated food purely in alignment with our genetic/evolutionary heritage and (god forbid) modern day human longevity research that minimizes unhealthy cravings and health care costs wins…then virtually every single multinational corporate interest (right down to Big Oil) loses.

 

It is hard not to be extremely angry about all this, as millions have died as a result of policies instituted through sham studies and institutionalized industry propaganda of all kinds. Like the so-called studies (many now since debunked) pointing their crooked finger at natural dietary fat for the epidemics of heart disease and diabetes, while “carbage” (carbohydrate-based foods) rests comfortably at the broad base of the USDA (US Department of AGRICULTURE’S) Food pyramid as something everyone is supposed to eat the most of.  The same shenanigans are responsible for EPA and FDA approvals for all kinds of harmful substances, pharmacologic agents and practices, along with the increasing laxity of laws regulating these things. Laws are even being passed (like the recent Monsanto protection bill) that actually protects these misanthropic corporations from having to even disclose the presence of their questionable ingredients in our food.

 

Nearly all of the major mainstream media is owned by those with interests in these corporations,  so seeing an article like this one slip out through the Associated Press and hitting the headlines is truly a rarity. Mostly, public thinking is shaped by the corporate advertisers that own media institutions. And our politicians have mostly become the minions of multinational corporate interests, under the guise of working “of, by and for the people”.   And the American public is caught up in a thinly veiled reality TV show depicting an all-too dramatic race for the White House currently, which purports to be all part of some democratic process. And in the end, multinational corporations will have their newly elected/selected puppet and Manchurian candidate… and we all will have more of the same.

 

Do you want REAL change?

 

Then it is time we stopped looking to our officials to guide our health and well-being. It’s time we took responsibility for our own lives, become the changes we want to see in the world and begin voting for the kind of world we want with our dollars (perhaps the only vote left that has any meaning), spending them more consciously and purposefully in order to create a better future for our health, our children, this country and the rest of our beleaguered planet.

 

Be awake and be well,

 

Nora

 

conversations-with-nora

Don’t fall for this new study about the new “key to burning fat” (please!)

obese mouseAccording to an article published in the University of California New on June 6th, a research team led by a scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and at UC Berkeley has (supposedly) found that copper plays a key role in metabolizing fat. The article can be accessed here: http://universityofcalifornia.edu/news/copper-key-burning-fat.

In their news article was stated the following: “We find that copper is essential for breaking down fat cells so that they can be used for energy,” said Chang. “It acts as a regulator. The more copper there is, the more the fat is broken down. We think it would be worthwhile to study whether a deficiency in this nutrient could be linked to obesity and obesity-related diseases.”

The one wise statement made in this article about the study (which focused on mice, by the way, not humans) is the following:  “But Chang cautions against ingesting copper supplements as a result of these study results. Too much copper can lead to imbalances with other essential minerals, including zinc.”

Ummmm yeah.  Here’s the skinny on that:

I predict that this article is going to cause a LOT of big problems!

There is already a lot of copper in our diets. It is really high in shellfish, kale, cashews, sesame seeds, shiitake mushrooms, eggs, spices and herbs, beans, dried fruit (including sun dried tomatoes) avocados, goat cheese and fermented soy foods, and dark chocolate (and even black tea, cocoa, coffee, beer and wine). But it’s in lots of other foods and beverages, as well. People also get it from water they drink from copper pipes in their homes and from copper cookware. In my experience most people probably get more than plenty. In fact, copper excesses may affect nearly 80% of all men, women, children, and unborn babies. Also, according to Ann Louise Gittleman (who has written extensively on this subject) copper tends to accumulate over our lifetimes and can even get passed on to future generations in a negatively cumulative way.

The bigger health issue (and my major concern about this article) may actually be zinc deficiency, which is far and away more common. In fact, zinc deficiency—arguably a runaway rampant issue– frequently leads to copper dominance (which can result in ADD symptoms, depression, major fatigue, anxiety, hair loss, etc—and even ironically thyroid problems and weight GAIN). Excess copper also has the potential to displace zinc. Copper can even rise due to fluctuations in estrogen/progesterone in women following pregnancy. Estrogen dominance (invariably resulting in weight gain and resistant weight loss and all-too common) is automatically a copper magnet!  And testing for copper is anything but a precise science. Copper dominance may not even be easily diagnosed through any available testing means.

It is ALWAYS a problem when research is done on a single nutrient in isolation like this.  –And in genetically mutated mice, no less (automatically extrapolating to we far more complex, non-herbivorous humans).  Many of you might recall all the hubbub around chromium picolinate supplements in the 1980’s, which promised to make everyone thin. They didn’t. Women were buying up chromium supplements in droves back then, likely creating more imbalances than anything else. Now, overweight (and probably zinc-deficient) women will be stampeding to health food stores to buy copper supplements, and then stop at Sur La Table (or other kitchen store) on their way home to grab whole sets of copper cookware, then maybe jewelry stores to buy copper bracelets (a fad some years back…actually, some older health food stores still sell these—purportedly good for arthritis. Not.). Heck, young women might even excitedly opt for those copper IUD’s from their doctors…

But in real life zinc is supposed to exist with copper in an 8 to 1 or 12 to 1 ratio normally in order for a healthy, functional balance that allows both to work normally. Zinc is actually the mineral that NEEDS to dominate, but the two (zinc and copper) must of necessity work together in a healthy person. And this is more to the point—no nutrient exists in isolation from another. It’s ALWAYS about a relative balance and a broader nutrient interplay. Stress, infection, poor digestion due to issues with producing enough stomach acid, etc. (almost universal in those with thyroid issues also struggling with their weight) rapidly result in zinc loss. And if you don’t have enough zinc, you can’t make hydrochloric acid which (as you undoubtedly know from reading my book) opens up a whole other unsavory can of worms that adversely impacts your health on multiple levels, including the health of your brain and immune system. Stress, alone can easily triple your zinc loss. Undiagnosed pyroluria (a not uncommon genetic metabolic condition afflicting millions) is also worth screening for (I wrote about it toward the end of my book, and also have an extensive article on the subject, together with a free preliminary screening tool available on my website at http://www.primalbody-primalmind.com/do-you-have-pyroluria/). And once a real zinc deficiency takes hold it typically takes supplemental sources of liquid ionic forms to replete the coffers and restore balance again. Food, alone may not do it.

I am happy for the poor mice with Wilson’s disease whose fatty livers were lessened by all the extra copper. Really. As for the rest of us there are no single nutrient “magic bullets”.

To Your Health and Self-Empowerment,

~Nora

ps. To get the latest nutritional and health information from me, please subscribe to my weekly emails!

LCHF Diet Bad for Mice But Not Humans

paleo mouse study

Low Carb, Higher Fat Approach To Eating Bad For Mice, NOT Humans

By Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, NTP, BCHN

An article titled “Paleo diets = weight gain” released through the University of Melbourne has hit the mainstream press in no small way.  In it, researchers are extolling the virtues of their new mouse study being used to decry low carbohydrate/high fat Paleo diets as “causing weight gain” and leading to other adverse metabolic changes leading to diabetes and other related symptoms.

In the ill-conceived but much ballyhooed study, two groups of overweight mice with pre-diabetes symptoms were split into separate groups. One group was placed on a  low-carbohydrate (20%), high-fat (60%) diet (LCHF) supposedly “similar” to certain Paleo diets. The other group remained on their normal diet.

After eight weeks, the group on the LCHF diet gained more weight, their glucose intolerance worsened and their insulin levels rose. They gained 15 per cent of their body weight and their fat mass doubled from two per cent to almost four per cent.

Researchers pretended to be surprised that what they referred to as the “Paleo approach” didn’t help, and seemed to make the diabetic mice worse.  This news made headlines everywhere in Australia where the Paleo diet has been gaining some real traction in recent years.

But is this study really an indictment of low carbohydrate, higher fat Paleo approaches to eating in humans… Or is it really just a carefully orchestrated attempt by certain vested interests to stop a growing trend toward improved health and away from corporate industrial profits?

There is so much wrong with this study it is hard to know where to start.  If this wasn’t a blatant effort to intentionally smear the growing low-carb and Paleo movement, then at the very least someone who should have known better wasn’t thinking or paying attention.

For starters, the only way to fairly judge the effects of an ancestral diet on a mouse is to feed that mouse its own “ancestral diet”— not a human ancestral diet, which in truth bears no resemblance to the natural diet of a mouse.

But the real kicker here is the fact that the diet that the mice were eating doesn’t even come close to replicating– in any manner shape, or form–any existing manner of Paleo or ketogenic aproach to diet.  In fact, I wouldn’t recommend this version of a supposed LCHF diet to my worst enemy.  What did the mice’s supposed LCHF daily diet consist of?

  • Cocoa butter (the mice’s primary source of fat.  Really? As much as many Paleophiles love a bit of dark chocolate here and there, I have yet to meet one that uses cocoa butter as their primary fat source.)
  • Canola oil (a GMO, highly processed, typically partially hydrogenated or interesterified industrial vegetable fat that depletes the body of vitamin E and has so many inherent problems associated with it–including the generation of heart lesions—it does not even deserve to be listed as any sort of “food”.  Canola oil is ANYTHING but “Paleo”.)
  • Casein (THE primary source of animal protein in this study—already known in numerous animal studies to have adverse effects—in fact casein was the animal protein conveniently used to disparage the health effects of animal protein in the massively flawed pro-vegetarian tome, ‘The China Study’ by T. Collin Campbell.  Casein is a poorly digested and commonly antigenic protein found in cow’s milk—not anywhere on the LCHF Primal menu I promote in any way).
  • Sucrose  –  Yes, you read right.  Refined sugar was on the overweight, pre-diabetic mice’s supposedly “low carb” menu!  The combination of sugar and fat is always very, very bad… Which is one reason why sugar is nearly always eliminated in LCHF diets.  To paraphrase professor, researcher and biochemist, Dr. Richard Feinman, the deleterious effects of fat have always been measured in the presence of sugar/starch.  Which is probably why they added it, frankly.
  • Clarified butter fat (ghee).  Again, we’re probably not talking about 100% grass-fed sources here.  And ghee also contains other potentially antigenic trace dairy proteins, including casein.
  • Cellulose (a.k.a., fiber.  From where who knows.  Could even be wood pulp or cardboard.  They don’t specify.  But I digress.)
  • Calcium carbonate – literally the most worthless, least bioavailable form of calcium available.  Known to be associated with arterial and coronary calcification in actual humans, btw.
  • AIN93G vitamins (anyone’s guess as to what that specifically means, and from what sources. Given the menu so far I wouldn’t guess the sources are organic and non-synthetic)
  • Potassium dihydrogen phosphate (inorganic and poorly bioavailable at best)
  • DL-Methionine (What is it?  “The starting materials for production of DL-methionine are acrolein (a 3-carbon aldehyde) derived from propylene (a petroleum derivative), methyl mercaptan derived from methanol and various sulfur sources and hydrocyanic acid (HCN). Acrolein and methyl mercaptan are reacted to form a relatively stable intermediate, 3-methylmercaptopropionaldehyde, known as MMP. The MMP is then reacted with HCN to form a rudimentary mix of DL-methionine and contaminants which is further refined through clean-up steps.”  
  • Sodium chloride (Pure sodium chloride was shown in one study to massively up-regulate IL-17 inflammatory pathways— an alarming recent finding.  Nowhere in the diet I promote is refined salt on any “approved” list.
  • Potassium citrate (ummm…ok)
  • Choline chloride (a synthetic-source B-vitamin)
  • Potassium sulfate (Inorganic and poorly bioavailable.  And why are there three sources of potassium—with only one that isn’t 100% inorganic and poorly utilizable?)
  • AIN93G trace minerals (again—what minerals…and from where?  We are left to guess.  I’m afraid to.)

THIS is the diet that supposedly proves a low carbohydrate/higher fat approach to eating is dangerous?  They have got to be kidding.  The fact that the [LCHF] mice actually improved in areas such as triglyceride levels and elevated HDL (not to mention even surviving the horrid processed nature of their supposedly “Paleo” diet) is a testament to what even a small lessening of the overall carbohydrate load can do.

There are ample HUMAN studies clearly extolling the considerable benefits of low carbohydrate, moderate protein and higher percentage fat “Paleo-oriented” diets in the existing literature.  In fact, an article coming out of the UK in December featured a story about a nine year old Type 1 diabetic boy that came off of the need for insulin entirely following a fat-based, low-carb Paleo-oriented ketogenic diet.  The article, based on a study published in the International Journal of Case Reports and Images stated:  “After 19 months, the child is still on the Paleolithic ketogenic diet, and the researchers report it can ensure normoglycemia without the use of external insulin. No side effects or complications were observed, and the researchers stress the diet is sustainable in the long-term.  They wrote: “We opine that the Paleolithic ketogenic diet ensures normal glucose levels and can be maintained on the long-term in those patients with newly diagnosed T1DM with residual insulin secretion.”

In the comment section of the article, a mother by the name of Beth McNally had the following to share, “Our 9 year old son was diagnosed in Canada in early Sept 2015. He was on the standard high carb diet and required insulin injections. In early November, 8 weeks after he was diagnosed we switched him to a Low Carb/High Fat diet, essentially a Keto/Paleo diet and he has been off insulin ever since. His blood sugars are stable even postprandial they rarely go above a 6.0 mmol/l. He has gained weight and grown in height since November. No hypo moments as he is not being administered any exogenous insulin. We hope to keep this going for as long as we can.”

Co-author of the research study, Csaba Tóth, MD  had the following to add, “This is far beyond Honeymoon. Currently he is on the diet for 22 months. Almost 2 years. Actually “Honeyyears”. Note that the stimulated C peptid was in the normal range. In our previous case study C peptid increased within two months. This is the case in several our T1DM patients who are also on the diet but not yet published their case. Otherwise, on the standard diabetes diet, C peptid continue to decline after diagnosis. At two years the level of C peptide is typically about zero. Our data indicate halted autoimmune process.”  

I, too have received countless emails and other reports from fans of my work over the years citing similar positive benefits as a result of adopting the fat-based ketogenic approach I promote in Primal Body, Primal Mind across a wide range of metabolic and other diseases.  The list decidedly includes positive effects in those having type 1 & 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity, mood-related and/or cognitive/neurological issues and far more.

For that matter, anyone attending a Paleo event can tell you based on cursory observation that these are (at least on the surface of things) overall some of the healthiest looking people anyone would ever want to see— with the exception of those that are in the earlier stages of adopting this approach and still working toward reclaiming their health.   Even the overweight people you run into at these events will typically tell you how much weight they have already lost, and how much better they feel and function following this dietary change.

The Paleo dietary approach has gained quite a bit of press in recent years and is unnerving the food industry, Big Agribusiness and other corporate interests that profit handsomely from a populace eating a carbohydrate-dominated diet. Low carb, fat-based versions of this are really rocking some boats.  Let’s just say there’s a vested interest in making LCHF Paleo/Primal— and those promoting it— look as bad as possible.  If Paleo/Primal wins, multinational industrial corporate profits lose.

Even if the diet fed to these mice in the Melbourne study consisted of actual food, mice are largely herbivorous creatures (read: naturally eat a high carb diet) and are poorly equipped to make much use of significant dietary fat.  Dr. John Briffa wrote an excellent article titled, “Why Human, Not Mice, Studies are the Most Appropriate for Judging the Effects of Diet on Human Health” following a similarly ridiculous mouse study a few years ago.  In it he points put that “these researchers chose an inappropriate animal model to test their theory on, and then fed the animals an inappropriate diet to boot. These actions suggest that the researchers were doing what they could to design an experiment to produce a desired outcome.”  Dr. Briffa also added, “Such diets [LCHF] generally give better results for weight loss than, say, low fat diets. They also tend to be extremely useful in the management of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Also, even for those not afflicted by these conditions, they usually lead to changes in physiological and biochemical parameters that are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease such as lower levels of blood sugar and blood fats (triglycerides) as well as higher levels of ‘healthy’ high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. In my view, anyone with a special interest in the field of nutrition would have to be unaware of the research or choose to ignore it not to admit to the broad merit in lower-carb eating for human health.”

The glossy, front-page Technicolor emphasis on this one puny mouse study in Australia should have anyone with a modicum of discernment smelling a rat.   It is pure garbage. The fact that they disparagingly—and very specifically mentioned “celebrity chefs” in the article tells you everything you need to know about the motives.  Efforts by celebrity chef, Pete Evans to positively impact the health of Australians with a low carb, more fat-based Paleo-oriented message (largely based on Primal Body, Primal Mind) have ruffled more than a few feathers among mainsteam dietary dictocrats there.  It is also clearly changing the way Australians are eating, to Industry’s/mainstream diet authorities’ considerable chagrin.

I have a question for anyone reading this: if the results of the study were opposite would this story be equally publicized in the front-page news?   No way.  In fact, there have been innumerable studies—human studies— including large meta-analyses human studies clearly demonstrating the exact opposite conclusions of this mouse study… but where is the glossy mainstream fanfare or even basic acknowledgment?  The Melbourne mouse “study” wasn’t remotely designed to lead to any success associated with the LCHF dietary approach whatsoever (much less Paleo).   The idea that the researchers “expected things to improve and were shocked when they didn’t” is an out and out lie.  It’s all a ridiculous, orchestrated sham.  Or if it isn’t orchestrated, then the scientists involved didn’t even really know what they were doing.

What did the mouse study manage to prove? That mice are not designed to thrive on canola oil, casein and refined table sugar…any more than we are.

We all need to exercise discernment when hyped up stories like this get mainstream press. I say we move on and focus on what works best for humans.   And let’s face it, if the Paleo diet didn’t work for us, we wouldn’t be here in the first place.

~ Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, NTP, BCHN

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The World Health Organization Red Meat Brouhaha

red meat

Image source: http://screwyouacne.com/2014/09/30/red-meat-cause-acne/

The World Health Organization (WHO) just announced that red meat is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Yep–Right up there with glyphosate, cigarettes, alcohol and asbestos.

——–> insert facepalm <——–

This announcement is absurdly misguided and largely based upon the notoriously two least reliable forms of science we have:

1) Observational studies driven by…

2) Food questionnaires

(By the way, what did YOU have for lunch on Thursday of last week/month year?)

This is all fully based on the idea of “guilt by weak association” and any rational person knows that association is NOT causation.

UGH–Back to the nutritional Dark Ages we go…

The WHO seems to be mostly citing evidence from research based on observational studies and food questionnaires published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2012, which included an analysis of “two prospective cohort studies.”[1] Similar in its failures to the ill-conceived and embarrassingly poor 2011 World Cancer Research Fund “Meta-analysis”[2]—also entirely based upon observational studies and questionnaires— ZERO distinction was made between feedlot meat and 100% grass-fed meat (a potentially huge distinction), and no real effort was made to distinguish the effect of the red meat from whatever else people happened to be eating. What did they include as “red meat?”   McDonald’s hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs, tacos, bologna, nitrate-laced bacon and feedlot meat (GMO-fed and God knows what else). Although they did graciously concede that red meat is “only slightly less hazardous than preserved meats.” And red meat consumption was not separated in any way from whatever else anyone was eating or doing to their health (alcohol intake, sugar consumption, grains, etc. or other lifestyle factors). And since 97% of all meat production is commercial feedlot-based, grass-fed meat likely didn’t even factor into these results at all.

Suspiciously, too, the Archives of Internal Medicine study used what is called relative risk to show their results. “Relative risk” is frequently used to make things look far worse than they are—rather than what is called absolute risk, which really tells it like it is (but might make your results look less dramatic and, well, boring and meaningless).

It is a significant fact that cancer has been consistently reported to be extremely rare to even non-existent in red meat-eating, hunter-gatherer societies.[3],[4] What in particular has characterized the difference between even Neolithic hunter-gatherer diets and the modern-day Western diet causing us so much trouble now? Data from 229 hunter-gatherer societies included in the Revised Ethnographic Atlas indicate that hunter-gatherer diets differ from typical Western ones in basically two aspects: first, a strong reliance on animal foods (45-65% of energy or E%) and second, the consumption of low-GI [glycemic index] plant foods such as fibrous vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds.[5] But we also need to take the quality of the foods they had available to them into account and the very, very different nutrient/fatty acid profile between feedlot meat and 100% naturally grass-fed meat/wild game. Grain fed meats are predominated by potentially inflammatory omega-6 content (while being nearly devoid of healthy omega-3’s), versus 100% grass-fed and finished meat (and wild game) which supplies a high percentage of highly anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA). Omega-3’s have additionally shown some significant anti-cancer benefits.[6] [7] [8]

Quality counts for a LOT and we all need to start taking that seriously. Deadly seriously.

In spite of the WHO declaration, other research has shown no meaningful link between diets higher in dietary animal fat and increased cancer risk.[9],[10] With respect to colon cancer, alone, there are many, many more (and better designed) studies finding little to no significant association with red meat and cancer than those that do, some even showing an actual lowered risk![11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25]

With respect to Paleo—at least the form of Paleo I personally recommend and the form adopted by The Paleo Way, bases its meat consumption overall on two very distinct recommendations:

  • Red meat should only come from 100% pasture fed and finished animals. NO feedlot and/or commercial processed meat!
  • I recommend meat/protein in general to be consumed in strict moderation—no more than about 1 gram per kg of ideal body weight (i.e., approximating the weight of a person’s lean tissue mass)

Excessive protein from any source is potentially bad by virtue of 1) its up-regulation of proliferative mTOR pathways 2) its increase of IGF-1, which increases non-specific cellular proliferation and 3) the excess presence of glutamine and 4) protein in excess of what we need in order to meet our basic requirements is readily (up to 40% or so) converted to sugar and used the same way. –And SUGAR (not red meat) is cancer’s #1 most essential metabolic fuel.

With respect to the benefits of exclusively grass-fed meat (over feedlot meat), a particular form of fat that has been more recently lauded for its anti-cancer benefits is one exclusively found in the fat of animals fed on nothing but natural pasture.[26] [27] [28] [29] [30]    In fact, CLA may be one of the most broadly beneficial and potent cancer-fighting substances in our diet. It is somewhat uniquely able to (in very small amounts) block all three stages of cancer: 1) initiation 2) growth/promotion and 3) metastasis. Most “anticancer nutrients” are typically helpful in only one of these areas. To date, beneficial effects of natural CLA from animal fat have been found in cancers of the breast, prostate, colon and skin. In animal studies, as little as one half of one percent CLA in the diet of experimental animals reduced tumor burden by more than 50 percent.[31]   As if this wasn’t exciting enough, there is more direct evidence that CLA may reduce cancer risk in humans. In a Finnish study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diet had a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those having the lowest levels. Switching from grain-fed to exclusively grass-fed meat literally places women in this lowest risk category!

Additionally, French researchers measured CLA levels in the breast tissues of 360 women and found that the women with the most CLA had the lowest risk of cancer. In fact, the women with the most CLA had a staggering 74% lower risk of breast cancer than the women with the least CLA. [32]   In yet another study, human breast cancer cells were incubated in milk fat high in CLA or in an isolated form of CLA without any milk fat. The high CLA milk fat decreased cancer growth by 90 percent but the isolated CLA decreased it by only 60 percent. When the cells were incubated in the omega-6 fat, linoleic acid, found most abundantly in grain and grain-fed animals, cancer cell growth increased by 25 percent![33] Other women with the most CLA in their diets were also shown to have a 60% reduction overall in the incidence of breast cancer.[34]

Other studies have additionally shown breast cancer and even colon cancer preventative benefits.[35] [36] [37] [38] In keeping with this, CLA additionally exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects.[39] The inherent stability of CLA also seems to maintain itself even when meat is cooked.[40],[41] One study pointed out the following, Of the vast number of naturally occurring substances that have been demonstrated to have anticarcinogenic activity in experimental models, all but a handful of them are of plant origin. Conjugated linoleic acid is unique because it is present in food from animal sources, and its anticancer efficacy is expressed at concentrations close to human consumption levels.”[42]   CLA is highly abundant, too, in wild game. The implication here is that naturally occurring CLA in animal fat has always played an important role in our diets and may possibly even be a contributing factor to the near-zero incidence of cancer found in hunter-gatherer populations.[43] For all you Aussies out there, one study reported unusually high levels of CLA in (of all things) kangaroo meat![44]

ONLY CLA from the fat of wild game and fully pastured animals has the real anticancer health benefits you want.[45] Even though synthetic CLA is sold in capsules in health food stores, it lacks the beneficial form found exclusively in grass-fed meats and may even have potentially adverse effects. But I digress…

According to a research collaboration between Clemson University and the USDA in 2009, in addition to cancer-fighting CLA, fully pastured meat contains the following additional, potentially anti-cancer benefits[46]:

  • Higher in beta-carotene
  • Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
  • Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin and B12
  • Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
  • Higher in total omega-3’s[47] [48] [49]
  • A healthier ratio of (inflammatory) omega-6 to anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs. 4.84)
  • Higher in trans-vaccenic acid (TVA–which can be transformed into CLA)

Also, lamb/sheep fed exclusively on pasture vs. grain contains twice as much lutein (closely related to beta-carotene but more easily absorbed), which has shown possible preventative benefits with respect to both colon and breast cancer (while additionally reducing the risk of macular degeneration).[50]

So…in a nutshell, this WHO declaration will not change the recommendations I have been making all along. 100% grass-fed and finished meat (not just red meat, by the way) consumed in moderate amounts along with quality, organic fibrous plant-based foods has been and will continue to be among my foundational recommendations for optimal health.

~ Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT, BCHN

 

“Red meat is NOT bad for you. Now blue-green meat, THAT’S bad for you!”

                           —Tommy Smothers

TPW1930_FB_BANNERS_WEB

Citations:

[1] Pan A, Sun Q, Bernstein A, et al. “Red Meat Consumption and Mortality: Results from two prospective cohort studies.” Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(7):555-563. doi:10.1001

[2] http://www.wcrf.org/sites/default/files/Colorectal-Cancer-2011-Report.pdf

[3] Brown GM, Cronk LB, Boag TJ:“The occurrence of cancer in an Eskimo.” Cancer.1952,5:142-143.

[4] Levine I: “Cancer among the American Indians and its bearing upon the ethnologicaI distribution of the disease.” J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 1910, 9:422-435

[5] Cordain L, Miller JB, Eaton SB, Mann N: “Macronutrient estimations in

hunter-gatherer diets.” Am J Clin Nutr 2000,72:1589-1592

[6] Rose, DP, Connolly JM, et al. “Influence of Diets Containing Eicosapentaenoic or Docasahexaenoic Acid on Growth and Metastasis of Breast Cancer Cells in Nude Mice.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995. 87(8): 587-92.

[7] Tisdale, MJ. “Wasting in cancer.” J Nutr 1999. 129(1S Suppl): 243S-246S.

[8] Tashiro T, Yamamori H, et al. “n-3 versus n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in critical illness.” Nutrition 1998. 14(6): 551-3.

[9] Enig, M.G., R.J. Munn, and M. Keeney, “Dietary fat and cancer trends–a critique”. Fed Proc. 37:2215, (1978).

[10] Enstrom, J.E. “Colorectal Cancer and Consumption of Beef and Fat.” Br. J Cancer, 32:432, (1975).

[11] Thun MJ, Calle EE, Nambodiri MM, et al. Risk factors for fatal colon cancer in a large prospective study. J Natl Cancer Inst 1992;84:1491–500.

[12] Hirayama T. “Lifestyle and mortality: a large-scale census-based study in Japan.” Basel, Switzerland: Karger, 1990.

[13] Heilbrun LK, Normura A, Hankin JH, Stemmerman GN. “Diet and colorectal cancer with special reference to fiber intake.” Int J Cancer 1989;44:1–9.

[14] Goldbohm RA, van den Brandt PA, van’t Veer P, et al. “A prospective cohort study on the relation between meat consumption and the risk of colon cancer.” Cancer Res 1994;54:718–23.

[15] Knekt P, Steineck G, Järvinen R, Hakulinen T, Aromaa A. “Intake of fried meat and risk of cancer: a follow-up study in Finland.” Int J Cancer 1994;59:756–60.

[16] Gaard M, Tretli S, Loken EB. “Dietary factors and risk of colon cancer: a prospective study of 50,535 young Norwegian men and women.” Eur J Cancer Prev 1996;5:445–54.

[17] Hsing AW, McLaughlin JK, Chow WH, et al “Risk factors for colorectal cancer in a prospective study among US white men.” Int J Cancer.” 1998;77:549–54.

[18] Jansen MCJF, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Buzina R, et al “Dietary fiber and plant foods in relation to colorectal cancer mortality: the Seven Countries Study.” Int J Cancer 1999;81:174–9.

[19] Flood A, Velie EM, Sinha R, et al. “Meat, fat and their subtypes as risk factors for colorectal cancer in a prospective cohort of women.” Am J Epidemiol 2003;158:59–68.

[20] Kojima M, Wakai K, Tamakoshi K, et al. “Diet and colorectal cancer mortality: results from the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study.” Nutr Cancer 2004;50:23–32.

[21] Chao A, Thun MJ, Connell CJ, et al. “Meat consumption and risk of colorectal cancer.” JAMA 2005;293:172–82.

[22] Sato Y, Nakaya N, Kuriyama S, Nishino Y, Tsubono Y, Tsuji I. “Meat consumption and risk of colorectal cancer in Japan: the Miyagi Cohort Study.” Eur J Cancer Prev 2006;15:211–8.

[23] Key TJ, Fraser GE, Thorogood M, et al. “Mortality in vegetarians and non-vegetarians: a collaborative analysis of 8300 deaths among 76,000 men and women in five prospective studies.” Public Health Nutr 1998;1:33–41.

[24] Phillips RL, Snowdon DA. “Dietary relationships with fatal colorectal cancer among Seventh-Day Adventists.” J Natl Cancer Inst 1985;74:307–17.

[25] Wei EK, Giovanucci E, Wu K, et al. “Comparison of risk factors for colon and rectal cancer.” Int J Cancer 2004;108:433–42.

[26] Dhiman, T. R., G. R. Anand, et al. (1999). “Conjugated linoleic acid content of milk from cows fed different diets.” J Dairy Sci 82(10): 2146-56.

[27] Pariza MW, Hargraves WA. “A beef-derived mutagenesis modulator inhibits initiation of mouse epidermal tumors by 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene.” Carcinogenesis 1985;6:591–3.

[28] Ip, C., J. A. Scimeca, et al. (1994). “Conjugated linoleic acid. A powerful anticarcinogen from animal fat sources.” Cancer 74(3 Suppl): 1050-4.

[29] Białek A, Tokarz A. “[Conjugated linoleic acid as a potential protective factor in prevention of breast cancer].” Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2013 Jan 11;67:6-14.

[30] Heinze VM, Actis AB. “Dietary conjugated linoleic acid and long-chain n-3 fatty acids in mammary and prostate cancer protection: a review.” Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2012 Feb;63(1):66-78. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2011.598849. Epub 2011 Jul 15.

[31] Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle P, et al. “A literature Review of the Value-Added Nutrients Found in Grass-Fed Beef Products.” Nutrition Journal, June 2006

[32] A. Aro et al, Kuopio University, Finland; Bougnoux, P, Lavillonniere F, Riboli E. “Inverse relation between CLA in adipose breast tissue and risk of breast cancer. A case-control study in France.” Inform 10;5:S43, 1999

[33] Donnelley C, Olsen AM, Lewis LD. “Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) inhibits expression of the Spot 14 (THRSP) and fatty acid synthase genes and impairs the growth of human breast cancer and liposarcoma cells.” Nutr Cancer. 2009; 61(1): 114–122. doi:  10.1080/01635580802348666

[34] Aro, A., S. Mannisto, I. Salminen, M. L. Ovaskainen, V. Kataja, and M. Uusitupa. “Inverse Association between Dietary and Serum Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women.” s 38, no. 2 (2000): 151-7.)

[35] Ip C, Dong Y, Ip MM, et al. “Conjugated linoleic acid isomers and mammary cancer prevention.” Nutr Cancer 2002;43:52–8.

[36] Masso-Welch PA, Zangani D, Ip C, et al. “Inhibition of angiogenesis by the cancer chemopreventive agent conjugated linoleic acid.” Cancer Res 2002;62:4383–9.

[37] Kemp MQ, Jeffy BD, Romagnolo DF. “Conjugated linoleic acid inhibits cell proliferation through a p53-dependent mechanism: effects on the expression of G1-restriction points in breast and colon cancer cells.” J Nutr 2003;133:3670–7.

[38] Aro, A., S. Mannisto, I. Salminen, M. L. Ovaskainen, V. Kataja, and M. Uusitupa. “Inverse Association between Dietary and Serum Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women.” s 38, no. 2 (2000): 151-7.)

[39] Yu Y, Correll PH, Vanden Heuvel JP.  “Conjugated linoleic acid decreasesproduction of pro-inflammatory products in macrophages: evidence for a PPARγ-dependent mechanism. Biochimica et Buiohysica Acta 2002. 1581:89-99.

[40] Ha YL, Grimm NK, Pariza MW. “Anticarcinogens from fried ground beef: heat altered derivatives of linoleic acid.” Carcinogenesis 1987;8:1881–7.

[41] Lin Yang, Ying Cao, Zhen-Yu Chen; Cao; Chen (2004). “Stability of conjugated linoleic acid isomers in egg yolk lipids during frying”. Food Chemistry (Elsevier) 86 (4): 531–535. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2003.09.006

[42] Ip, C., J. A. Scimeca, et al. (1994). “Conjugated linoleic acid. A powerful anticarcinogen from animal fat sources.” Cancer 74(3 Suppl): 1050-4.

[43] Cordain et al, “A Detailed Fatty Acid Analysis of Selected Tissues in Elk, Mule Deer, and Antelope.” Food Composition 670.1-670.6

[44] “Kangaroo meat – health secret revealed” (Press release). Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). 2004-04-23.

[45] Information gleaned from abstracts presented at the 91st American Oil Chemists Society April 25-28, 2000 annual meeting. Special supplement to Inform, vol 11, no 5, 2000

[46] Duckett SK, Neel JPS, Fontenot JP and Clapham WM. “Effects of winter stocker growth rate and finishing systems on: III. Tissue proximate, fatty acid, vitamin, and cholesterol content.” Journal of Animal Science 2009. 87: 9:2961-2970. Doi: 110.2527/jas.2009-1850

[47] Rose, D. P., J. M. Connolly, et al. (1995). “Influence of Diets Containing Eicosapentaenoic or Docasahexaenoic Acid on Growth and Metastasis of Breast Cancer Cells in Nude Mice.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 87(8): 587-92.

[48] Tisdale, M. J. (1999). “Wasting in cancer.” J Nutr 129(1S Suppl): 243S-246S.

[49] Tashiro, T., H. Yamamori, et al. (1998). “n-3 versus n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in critical illness.” Nutrition 14(6): 551-3.

[50] Kruggel, W.G., “Influence of sex and diet on lutein in lamb fat.” J of Animal Science 54: 970-975, 1982.

PALEO POTATO HEADS?

A commentary by Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT, BCHN

Lascaux Potato

Image borrowed from: http://sobekpundit.blogspot.com/2006/04/very-brief-history-of-art-featuring-mr.html

 
On August 6th, a Science Daily article was released titled, “Paleo diet: Big brains needed carbs.”  At the time I was coincidentally down in Florida visiting a close family member painfully dying from Alzheimer’s disease.   Upon surreptitiously checking my iPhone for messages there I found I was suddenly receiving a barrage of emails from fans pointing out the just published article, wondering what I thought.  My first thought upon reading the title was “Seriously? You have GOT to be kidding!”    The article itself had me shaking my head in utter bewilderment and disbelief.  This passes for science?

The premise of this article was clearly predicated on the mistaken idea that glucose is meant of absolute necessity to be “the” human brain’s primary source of fuel.   In fact, most everything about the article was based upon this primary assumption.   It is among the most commonly misleading foundational ideas taught in medical schools and to mainstream dietitians/nutritionists everywhere: that notion that the brain and body must of necessity rely upon glucose as its primary source of fuel.   Unfortunately, this misguided assumption is in fact only conditionally true.  It is only true if a human being has cultivated a rather unnatural dependence upon glucose as their primary source of fuel by what they choose to habitually eat.

Nature would never have been so stupid as to force a primary dependence upon so volatile and unreliable a source of fuel as blood sugar.   Our brains are actually designed to make use of more than one type of major fuel: sugars (glucose) and fat (in the form of ketones).  Fat is at base the human brain’s preferred and most efficient superfuel, but a diet significantly high in carbohydrates (anything close to and over roughly 100 g per day) forces the brain to adapt instead to a less efficient or dependable reliance on sugar.  Thanks to aggressive government-controlling  transnational Big Agribusiness interests, large multinational chemical industries (marketing fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, etc.) and corporate food industry efforts, our modern day diet is largely based in sugar and starch-based carbohydrate foods (refined and otherwise) – for the very first time in all of human history.   We are officially told we need them in order to be optimally healthy—even though a distinct lack of actual science exists to corroborate such an assertion.

Glucose, a fuel otherwise meant to be an auxiliary or supplemental form of kindling/rocket fuel for bursts of emergency anaerobic energy (with only very small amounts actually required for fueling our red blood cells) has turned into something it was never meant to be.  Today people everywhere are relying on tidal waves of insulin to manage unnatural, chronic blood sugar surges resulting from such diets, with decided consequences.   Our otherwise overburdened stress management system (i.e., stress hormones) have been chronically and unnaturally tasked in modern times with dealing with the subsequent chronic insulin-induced plummets in blood sugar, leading to roller coastering moods, energy, neurological stability and, yes, cognitive function. We have our modern day carbohydrate-based diet to thank for the increase—not in our brain size- but in metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, and the progressive neurodegenerative characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease and dementias.

It was never “protein” that was the source of our “initial accelerated expansion of brain size” in early humans/pre-humans (as the article contends), but instead high amounts of its accompanying dietary brain-building fat.   The human brain is made up of at least 60 to 80% fat by dry weight and relies upon the dietary fat and cholesterol (yes, eeevil cholesterol) we supply it with in order to maintain its structure and energy-intensive function.    Carbohydrates, conversely, provide zero meaningful brain structure.  Fat supplies more than twice the calories per gram than even the starchiest carbohydrates ever could, and (when one is well adapted to doing so) provides a steady and reliable, efficiently stored source of fuel for this critical organ—even in the absence of regular meals.   Glucose dependence derived from the chronic consumption sugars and starches, on the other hand, is a highly volatile and unreliable form of fuel that must be constantly and vigilantly resupplied and managed to prevent loss of function.    This of course is a highly profitable form of metabolic enslavement for the industries that produce and market this type of food.  The added problem, unfortunately, is that glucose (and other sugars, such as particularly fructose) also generates a form of cumulative damage known as glycation over time—something that the human brain is significantly susceptible to.   Cumulative  (non-enzymatically controlled) glycation and advanced glycation/glycosylation end-products (A.G.E.’s) are known to be responsible for premature aging, adverse metabolic changes and loss of tissue function in diabetes/aging and their various complications.  Alzheimer’s disease (something rather close to home for me right now) is, in fact today being referred to as “type III diabetes,” and recent studies are clearly showing pathophysiological changes in the Alzheimer’s regions of brains in those having higher blood sugar levels—even in those presenting with supposedly “normal”, acceptable, non-diabetic fasting blood sugar ranges.

If starch in any form were so healthy for the human brain, then certainly more would be better and the human brain today—given the uniquely starch-based diet of our times—would be even larger–growing by leaps and bounds–and better than ever.   But the opposite is actually true.

We humans have literally lost just over 10% of our brain volume over the last 10,000 years since the development of agriculture, where cheap and easy to produce starch became a much more prevalent part of the human diet. One might attempt to reason some manner of “improved brain efficiency” with this recently reduced brain size of ours – but this seems more of a rationalization than a viably supportable hypothesis.

That humans have consumed starch as seasonally/climatically available since the universal adoption of fire as a food preparation tool (much more recent in our evolutionary history), particularly in Neolithic times is not necessarily the subject of that much debate.   No doubt our Neolithic predecessors spent many a night farting around the campfire during times when starchy tubers were plentiful.  Since the advent of agriculture, however, we literally shifted from a diet comprised of close to 90% animal source foods rich in brain-building fats to as little as 10%, in favor of starch—and this has yielded some rather obvious consequences  (case-in-point: the popularity of tabloids and “reality TV”).

Nonetheless, no human dietary requirement for any form of carbohydrate has ever been established by science in any medical textbook or textbook of human physiology.   Seems like quite the oversight for something that is supposedly responsible in some fundamental way as THE primary fuel for advanced human intelligence…

I’m not buying it.

Stable isotopic evidence from human bone collagen remains representing vast periods of human history show an unmistakable (if not overwhelming) primary dependence upon animal source foods during the rapid encephalization of the human brain roughly two million years ago (well before we would have had universal access to fire for cooking), however, and have never shown evidence for a starch-based diet throughout ancient prehistory in any truly meaningful way.   As wild humans attempting to eek out our existence in a harsh and uncertain environment, we would have certainly eaten whatever we had or needed to in order to survive. The fact that our Paleolithic ancestors were able to consume starches (or anything else we were able to put in our mouths in order to survive) by no means provides conclusive evidence that these foods were in any way optimal for our physiological or brain health, much less that we were even able to make meaningful use of them (one reason why the subtitle of my book, Primal Body, Primal Mind reads, “Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life.”).  In my book I was able to demonstrate how human longevity research actually lends better clues toward what is and isn’t optimal relative to Paleolithic principles.  But I digress.

Intense and prolonged heat is required to transform raw starchy tubers through a process called “gelatinization” into anything remotely digestible by us. Once converted into more digestible starch through extensive cooking, the rest of the process would have required viable amylase genes and their active genetic expression in order to actually process this available dietary starch within the human body in any meaningful way with respect to energy.  We really didn’t even have that ability to cook with fire consistently until far more recently in our evolutionary past (not much more than an estimated 75,000-100,000 years ago).  By that time our brains were already fully modern, if not even a bit larger than they are now.   Non-gelatinized (a.k.a., “resistant”) raw starch-based foods may have provided significant fodder for certain types of gut microorganisms along the way (as does other simple fibrous plant material), but nowhere near in the capacity typically exhibited by those animals actually designed to eat a carbohydrate-based diet in the first place.  Ours is a hydrochloric acid and not fermentative-based digestive system, after all.  Also, raw starch foods would have lacked any real nutritional (much less caloric) value for us, given their exceedingly poor digestibility.

Unlike our Great Ape ancestors, we have a greatly expanded small intestine and greatly shortened large intestine consistent with a diet much higher in meat and fat.   Where our ape ancestor’s brains utilize perhaps 8% of their total metabolic energy requirements, the human brain demands a whopping 25% or more of our total daily energy needs. Dietary (and ample stored) fat is effortlessly poised to supply this need with more than double the efficiency of any carbohydrate-based food, and the human body’s fat reserves (in a healthy state of natural, ketogenic adaptation) are far more readily able to maintain steady and ample fuel supplies than comparatively paltry glycogen stores could ever hope to.  Our advanced brains would have required consistency of availability for their structural building/maintenance materials and fuel supply—something fat would have been in an infinitely superior position to provide.

The development of amylase genes in humans (along with the availability of starch-based foods) was far more highly variable throughout global people groups than basic human brain size or intelligence, yielding a rather poor correlation here. By far the greatest consistency throughout human Paleolithic history was a dependence upon—first and foremost—animal source foods.   And ample dietary animal fat (and its critical 20- and 22-carbon fatty acids, arachidonic acid/AA, as well as docosahexanoic acid/DHA) consumed with such foods, more than any other source of nourishment, would have provided the necessary available substrate and energy to both construct and fuel the uniquely and voraciously demanding human brain.

The “expensive tissue hypothesis” postulating the importance of increased dietary meat and fat toward the rapid enlargement of the human brain during human evolution is a well-established and well-accepted concept in the field of paleoanthropology and (for good reason) isn’t particularly controversial.   We are unique among all primates in our advanced adaptation to high meat and fat diets; and this, more than any other distinguishing characteristic has contributed to what (up until about 10,000 years ago, anyway) was an unprecedented explosion of brain growth and unparalleled functional sophistication.   Although high amounts of protein are ultimately not necessary for optimal health (moderation seems to be significantly more beneficial), fat-based diets–in the absence of high sugar/starch–demonstrate significantly superior cognitive and metabolic efficiency over carbohydrate-based diets—something not accounted for in the weak hypothesis proposed by the Science Daily article.

Innumerable corporate interests stand to profit handsomely by investing in the promotion of carbohydrate-based diets for every man, woman and child on planet Earth. They are enormously cheap to produce, highly profitable and they keep everyone perpetually hungry.  Certainly Monsanto and the unscrupulous, profit-hungry multinational Food Industry it supplies have got to LOVE that.  Ka-CHING!  Carbohydrate-based diets are also increasingly recognized as responsible for the modern-day explosion of metabolic diseases, obesity, cancers, heart disease and chronic inflammatory conditions (nice for the profit-based Medical Industry and Big Pharma that drives it).  The chronic demand for endogenous insulin production—highly correlated with sugar and starch consumption–is directly correlated to premature aging and age-related decline, as well as many of the aforementioned metabolic diseases.  Add to this the commonly addictive nature of dietary sugars/starches, and you have a recipe for officially sanctioned/popular ongoing carbohydrate fixation and cravings (regardless of the abundant evidence to the contrary) embraced by many wanting to rationalize them as either benign or somehow beneficial.  And those promoting carbs are far more likely to win popularity contests than those questioning their health effects.  It’s simply the nature of the Beast.

Let’s just say that SOMEONE is clearly benefitting from all this marketing, rationalization and promotion, but it isn’t the vulnerable consumers or their brains.

The bottom line is this: we were exquisitely forged by Nature as Paleolithic hunter-gatherers to be primarily “fat-heads” and not “potato heads” or “grain brains.”

I’ll personally skip the potatoes, thank you very much.

Vitamin A Under Attack Down Under

How a Book of Paleo Recipes for Kids is

Turning the Southern Hemisphere Upside Down

By Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT, BCHN

Bubba-Yum-Yum

The courageous Australian mother of an infant son struggling with the symptoms of “extreme sensory processing issues in the autistic spectrum”, her naturopathic doctor and popular celebrity chef, Pete Evans elected to collaborate on a truly great, healthy recipe book for families with small children, called “Bubba Yum Yum: the Paleo Way For New Mums, Toddlers and Babies”.  This heartfelt and brilliantly conceived collection of recipes was mostly created by Charlotte Carr–wife of Australian singer-songwriter (and awesome dad), Wes Carr.  Charlotte is also mother to a spectacular, beautiful and now miraculously transformed boy named Willow.  Their family naturopathic doctor, Helen Padarin, ND helped with the background research for the book, while Pete mainly offered his own resources, publicity and marketing support to the project, which he also very much believed in.  The book is filled with the recipes Charlotte created for her own son as well as for her wonderful www.BubbaYumYum.com web site for other similarly struggling families.  The book also includes a specially researched recipe she bottle-fed him with, that happens to contain both quality-sourced liver and healthy, nourishing mineral-rich bone broth (plus other nutritious ingredients).  This recipe, more than any other, served to transform the health of her once unreachable son and positively change not only the trajectory of his life, but the lives of everyone around him.  It is also this one single bottle-feeding recipe—more than any other in the book—that raised the proverbial hackles of the Dietetic Association of Australia (DAA) and triggered a firestorm of public controversy.  “A baby may die” cry the official health authorities!   But what’s really going on?  Is nutrient-dense liver really potentially deadly?  Is vitamin A dangerous?  Should we be “protecting babies” from natural foods rich in these nutrients?

Willow, Wes and Charlotte Carr

Willow, Wes and Charlotte Carr

THE LOW-DOWN

Just for the record, what we are really talking primarily about here is a food that can be reasonably called the single healthiest and most nutrient dense food in the world, revered by every known indigenous and traditional culture from time immemorial:  liver.  It does happen to be rich in important preformed vitamin A, along with a plethora of other critical and superb health-building nutrients—including a number of critical and balancing cofactors necessary for the best and healthiest use of preformed, activated vitamin A in the human body.

Inuit_Girls

Inuit girls eat raw seal liver on a summer hunting trip. Igloolik, Nunavut, Canada

Image source:  http://www.arcticphoto.co.uk/supergal/ba/ba92/ba9233-09.htm

Fat-soluble nutrients (A/preformed retinol/retinoic acid, D3, E-complex, K1 and especially K2), often rich in organ meats and animal fats, have been undergoing a well-deserved renewed interest by researchers; shedding a fresh, glowing light upon these previously under-appreciated and irrationally feared nutritional rock stars.  Dietary fat-soluble nutrients, understood by researchers today as being vitally protective, use intracellular signaling pathways to initiate or modify our environmentally embattled gene expression.   And they have also been shown to have a beneficial and direct effect on gene transcription…just for starters…so they have a more-than powerful and unique role to play in human health at any age.  And today more than ever.

Yes…I said at ANY age!

Traditional and indigenous diets have always venerated foods rich in fat-soluble nutrients and women either pregnant and/or seeking to become pregnant in traditional and indigenous societies (according to the exhaustive and well-documented research of Dr. Weston A. Price, author of the respected and acclaimed textbook, ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration’) ate diets rich in fats and fat-soluble nutrients–including liver–for this very purpose.  The notion that these foods have somehow–all of a sudden—become toxic to us at any age is patently absurd.  In fact, Price—himself a meticulous researcher in the 1930’s determined that traditional/indigenous societies readily consumed more than 10-times the levels of these nutrients—easily estimable at about 50,000 IU per day of preformed vitamin A, as compared to the levels of vitamin A consumed in (his) “modern times”.   And people in Weston Price’s “modern day era” (1930’s) were nowhere near as hysterically phobic about foods such as egg yolks, shellfish and liver as we have since become following the fabrication of irrational concerns about such foods (and animal source foods/fats, in general)! Let’s just say we’re not necessarily healthier as a species for consuming at least ten-times less of these vital and protective, activated fat-soluble nutrients today; much less are we enjoying fewer birth defects or improved overall maternal/infant health.  In fact, the closer we as a society attempt to emulate government guidelines, the less healthy (according to the latest confirming research) we demonstrably become.

refined_processed_foods235

Image source: http://preventdisease.com/news/13/030713_Scientists-Officially-Link-Processed-Foods-To-Autoimmune-Disease.shtml

VITAMIN A 101

Mary_Enig

The following passage is borrowed from my own book, Primal Body, Primal Mind:

Critical fat-soluble nutrients, particularly true vitamins A (found only in animal sources) and D, were especially high in primitive and traditional diets—often ten times higher than in modern diets (Price). Beta-carotene, a fat-soluble nutrient, is not, contrary to popular press, the equivalent of vitamin A—nor is its conversion to vitamin A a simple matter. Children under the age of five and individuals with liver or thyroid impairment cannot make this conversion at all.

The conversion also requires the presence of dietary fat. Furthermore, it takes no less than six units of beta-carotene to biochemically form a single unit of vitamin A (Basic Medical Biochemistry). One should never rely solely on vegetable sources for this incredibly vital nutrient. Remember, vitamin A (retinol) is not the same thing as beta-carotene (see molecular diagram below). Cod liver oil can be an excellent supplemental source of true vitamins A and D (mostly A), as well as some omega-3, and may be additionally helpful in the reversal of mineral deficiencies.

Vitamina-A-e-B-Carotene

Dr. Mary Enig, world-renowned lipid biochemist of over 50 years stated the following:

“Unfortunately, the vast majority of popular books on nutrition insist that humans can obtain vitamin A from fruits and vegetables. Even worse, FDA regulations allow food processors to label carotenes as vitamin A. The label for a can of tomatoes says that tomatoes contain vitamin A, even though the only source of true vitamin A in the tomatoes is the microscopic insect parts. The food industry, and the lowfat school of nutrition that the industry has spawned, benefit greatly from the fact that the public has only vague notions about vitamin A. In fact, most of the foods that provide large amounts of vitamin A—butter, egg yolks, liver, organ meats and shellfish—have been subject to intense demonization.”

Yes—you heard right again—beta-carotene is NOT vitamin A, as we have been erroneously led to believe!  This also includes the carotenes falsely referred to as “vitamin A”  found in the much hyped, genetically modified (GMO) “golden rice” touted as some kind of humanitarian engineered food.  It is NOT.  Beta-carotene and vitamin A are simply NOT interchangeable terms or nutrients, even as they are erroneously classified as being somehow identical!  Furthermore, additional research in 1993 shows it likely takes in excess of the aforementioned 6 units of beta-carotene to form so much as a single unit of vitamin A!  The amount of vegetables or “golden rice” that would be needed to meet even the most basic human vitamin A requirement would be prohibitive—and that’s assuming one is even capable of making the metabolic conversions to actual vitamin A (which many cannot).  Among other conditions interfering with this conversion from supposed plant source “vitamin A” into true vitamin A needed by the body include diabetes, celiac disease (and other malabsorptive conditions), diarrhea, hypothyroidism, pancreatic disease, liver problems, and having no gallbladder.  Furthermore, even if you are capable of making these conversions (read: “IF”) you would not be able to rapidly replenish your vitamin A stores following, say, a period of stress or infection or some other pronounced vitamin A need, using vegetables, alone. Intense exercise, periods of physical growth, not to mention pregnancy and lactation are, in fact, stressors that quickly deplete the body’s vitamin A stores.

True, preformed vitamin A (retinol and its derivatives) can ONLY be found in animal source foods.

The conversion from beta-carotene to vitamin A takes place in the upper intestinal tract through the combined action of bile salts and fat-splitting enzymes. Have a thyroid issue, by any chance?  Then forget it.  Thyroid issues adversely impact healthy biliary function.  But also consider this—that vitamin A is 100% essential for normal thyroid health and your thyroid gland cannot function normally without it, requiring even more vitamin A than any other gland in the body!  Also,  “Strenuous physical exercise, excessive consumption of alcohol, excessive consumption of iron (especially from “fortified” white flour and breakfast cereal), use of any number of popular drugs, excessive consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids, zinc deficiency and even cold weather can hinder the conversion of carotenes to vitamin A, as does a lowfat diet.”  And again, very young children cannot make this conversion at all and must, of necessity, derive this critical and utterly essential nutrient from animal-source organs and fat.  Organ meats such as liver are far and away the most reliable natural dietary source!

FAT SOLUBLE NUTRIENTS—YOUR BEST HEALTH’S BEST FRIEND

Dr. Weston A. Price considered the fat-soluble vitamins—and especially vitamin A, to be the catalysts on which all other biological processes depend.

Mind you, various types of nutrients in the diet can affect transcription factors that regulate how our genes are expressed — acting directly, by binding to specific transcription factors (which is the primary mechanism of fat-soluble vitamins), or indirectly, by activating or deactivating transcription factors through peptides like insulin, glucagon, and kinases. These changes in gene expression can in turn encourage or inhibit various internal processes. The fat-soluble vitamins (namely A/ retinol/retinoic acid, D3, E-complex, K1 and K2), when in their activated forms, are uniquely able to enter a cell’s nucleus and bind to nuclear receptors, thereby helpfully modifying the way these genes are transcribed. This is utterly critical for the health of our DNA and our healthiest genetic expression!

Vitamin A in particular is an important antioxidant.  It also supports cell growth and differentiation and plays a critical role in the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.  It is critical for vision as an essential component of rhodopsin, a protein that absorbs light in the retinal receptors, and because it supports the normal differentiation and functioning of the conjunctival membranes and cornea. It is, additionally, critically involved in immune function, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication.  Prior to the development (and lucrative patenting) of antibiotics after World War II, vitamin A was the primary focus of anti-infective therapy and immune functioning enhancement.  In fact, clinical trials conducted and published in the 1930’s showed that cod liver oil (a literal superfood that is particularly rich in naturally occurring, preformed vitamin A) could actually reduce the incidence of colds by fully a third and demonstrably cut hours missed from work (and the lost income that goes with that) in half!

THE MANY, VERY REAL DANGERS OF VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY

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Image source:  http://pixgood.com/vitamin-a-deficiency-eye.html

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) web site:

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children and increases the risk of disease and death from severe infections. In pregnant women VAD causes night blindness and may increase the risk of maternal mortality.

Vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in more than half of all countries, especially in Africa and South-East Asia, hitting hardest young children and pregnant women in low-income countries.

Crucial for maternal and child survival, supplying adequate vitamin A in high-risk areas can significantly reduce mortality. Conversely, its absence causes a needlessly high risk of disease and death.

  • For children, lack of vitamin A causes severe visual impairment and blindness, and significantly increases the risk of severe illness, and even death, from such common childhood infections as diarrhoeal disease and measles.
  • For pregnant women in high-risk areas, vitamin A deficiency occurs especially during the last trimester when demand by both the unborn child and the mother is highest. The mother’s deficiency is demonstrated by the high prevalence of night blindness during this period. The impact of VAD on mother-to-child HIV transmission needs further investigation.

A Few Salient Facts:

  • An estimated 250 million preschool children are vitamin A deficient and it is likely that in vitamin A deficient areas a substantial proportion of pregnant women is vitamin A deficient.
  • An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight. 

(added emphasis through the use of underlining and italics above mine)

Furthermore, vitamin A deficiency contributes to poor outcomes in pregnancy and lactation and leads to greater maternal mortality.

Mind you, this sort of mortality and pathological clinical deficiency is “seemingly” far less prevalent (or identified, anyway) in developed countries—but this doesn’t mean that the rest of us are necessarily enjoying all the benefits or even the reality of full vitamin A sufficiency.

According to the World Health Organization/WHO, the definition of vitamin A deficiency is not at all easily determined:

Definition of vitamin A deficiency 

VAD is not simply defined. WHO defines it as tissue concentrations of vitamin A low enough to have adverse health consequences even if there is no evidence of clinical xerophthalmia (16). In addition to the specific signs and symptoms of xerophthalmia and the risk of irreversible blindness, non-specific symptoms include increased morbidity and mortality, poor reproductive health, increased risk of anaemia, and contributions to slowed growth and development. Because these non-specific adverse consequences may occur from other nutrient deficits as well, it is difficult to attribute non-ocular symptoms specifically to VAD in the absence of biochemical measurements reflective of vitamin A status.

Also, since vitamin A is essential to the healthy differentiation of all tissue cells a deficiency has also been linked to increased risk for cancers—and cancer is rapidly on the increase worldwide in all industrialized nations.  In fact, the WHO is predicting a 70% increase in cancers worldwide over the next 20 years.  Vitamin A and its various true forms are considered among the more promising realms of cancer therapeutics. A naturally chemotherapeutic agent, retinoic acid and its derivatives have been used to treat many types of tumors. The anti-tumor effects are due in part to the ability of preformed vitamin A and its natural derivatives to inhibit proliferation of cancer cells (and seemingly also help restore healthy cellular differentiation).

But what about the other effects of merely insufficient or what is referred to as “subclinical” (as opposed to pathological) vitamin A deficiency?  Hmmm…let’s see….

Symptoms and signs of sub-clinical vitamin A deficiency signs and symptoms can include:

Night blindness and/or a pronounced visual sensitivity to bright light, dry eyes, dry hair, acne, vertical ridges on fingernails/peeling fingernails, a lowered resistance to infections (in general); including: increased susceptibility to eye infections, acute/chronic viral infection of all types, infections of sinuses/nasal passages, middle ear/ear infections in general, pharynx, mouth, lungs/respiratory tract infections and infections of the urinogenital tract (including the possible development urinary calculi/stones).

Vitamin A is also absolutely required for the maintenance and uncompromised functioning of all mucous membranes in your body (protecting you from bacterial and other pathogenic infiltration). Chronic problems with this may be part-and-parcel of a greater dietary vitamin A need.

Low levels of vitamin A can also lead to dry, rough, scaly skin and—not uncommonly–chronically raised  “goose-bumps” found on the upper arms and thighs.  Even sub-clinical vitamin A insufficiency can additionally result in impaired digestion, diminished secretion of digestive juices, lack of absorption and increased susceptibility to intestinal infection and diarrhea.

Hmmm…How many people do you know that chronically suffer from conditions such as these?  Still think vitamin A insufficiency is some kind of rarity?

In fact, according to Dr. Alfred Sommer, ophthalmologist and epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, even mild, subclinical deficiency can also be a problem, as it may increase children’s risk of developing respiratory and diarrheal infections, decrease growth rate, slow bone development, and decrease likelihood of survival from serious illness.  Sommer was the winner of the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research in 1997 and the Danone International Prize for Nutrition in 2001.

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Dr. Sommer examines a child for xerophthalmia in Bandung, Indonesia, 1976.

In fact, thanks to his research in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the World Bank (1993) and, more recently, in 2008 the Copenhagen Consensus listed vitamin A supplementation as one of the most cost-effective health interventions in the world!

Sommer dedicated his life to researching the cause, magnitude, consequences, and control of vitamin A deficiency.  He received his MD from Harvard Medical School and his MHS from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Sommer used vitamin A to save countless lives.  How many more could be further improved by simply moderately increasing the consumption of naturally vitamin A-rich foods; even in the modern industrialized world?  Is the demonization of this extraordinary nutrient serving anyone—babies included?

Vitamin A deficiency has even been implicated in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)!  Far from being a threat to any unborn fetus, The Nordic Epidemiological SIDS Study found an association between low or no vitamin A intake and an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) during their first year of life. This finding remained conclusive even when an adjustment was made for potential confounders, including socioeconomic factors. Furthermore, substantial evidence exists to show that healthy vitamin A levels during pregnancy in the mother may results in substantially reduced HIV transmission risk to her unborn child (also, vitamin A-deficient mothers were much more likely to transmit the virus to their newborn infants than were HIV-infected mothers who had adequate amounts of this critical nutrient).

Still think pregnant mothers and their babies should be fearing too much vitamin A?

Keep reading.

mark-twain-it-s-easier-to-fool-people-than-to-convince-them-they-have-been-fooled

Image source:  http://www.consciouslyenlightened.com/?p=45

So what’s the greater risk, do you suppose?  Too much dietary vitamin A from real foods…or too little?

Was Alfred Sommer wringing his hands and losing sleep over the potential for vitamin A toxicity in anyone?  It seemed to him, as it would seem to any rational, educated person looking at this issue in any real depth that by far the greater danger in the world is too little vitamin A in the modern diet and not too much.  In Dr. Weston A. Price’s time alone, levels of dietary vitamin A in primitive and traditional diets were (by his own observable estimation as written in ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration’) over TEN TIMES GREATER than preformed dietary vitamin A levels today–along with other essential naturally occurring fat-soluble nutrients in primitive and traditional diets needed for healthy vitamin A utilization.

Now I’ve got another question for you:  how many people do you know—or have you even heard of suffering from either vitamin A toxicity—or (for that matter) dying from a diet “too high” in naturally vitamin A-rich foods?

Anyone?  Bueller?

I didn’t think so.

I personally scoured the Internet searching for ANY documented examples of death due to vitamin A toxicity.  I found a 2004 Poison Control Center report where a total of 3 deaths out of tens of thousands from innumerable causes that entire year were a supposed result of “vitamin overdose”.   Allegedly, two of the deaths were attributed to vitamins’ D (and the most common mechanism of D toxicity is associated with vitamin A and K deficiency,) and E (highly questionable) plus one 1 from a “polyvitaminic type formula, with iron” (cheap inorganic and/or physician-prescribed inorganic iron supplements like ferrous sulfate and/or iron oxide—NOT heme-iron-rich foods– create all the overdose emergencies and complications).  By contrast, the previous year in 2003, 59 confirmed deaths were recorded as due to aspirin poisoning and 147 deaths were associated with acetaminophen-containing products. –And that’s just two of many potentially toxic over the counter drugs.

In fact, zero deaths in 19 of 27 years were ever even potentially attributable to supposed “vitamin toxicity” of ANY kind, period—but a newer analysis and further evaluation of US Poison Control Center annual report data (as of June 2011) indicates that there have, in fact, been no deaths whatsoever from vitamins . . . none at all, in the 27 years that such reports have been available.   Even if there were 1 death due to vitamins per year, then the US death rate for drug overdose (not to mention prescription drug use) would still be minimally tens of thousands of times more than that of all vitamins and herbs.  Furthermore—and more to the point:

No deaths or reports listed in these Poison Control Center reports out of tens-of-thousands (of any age) were attributed to vitamin A toxicity from naturally occurring whole food (or any other vitamin A source, for that matter).

Chew on that for a while.

Each year, overdoses of acetaminophen (sold as Tylenol and other brands) account for more than 56,000 emergency room visits and an estimated 458 deaths from acute liver failure.  How about this: NSAID drugs such as Ibuprofin are the among THE most widely used over the counter medications in the world—and are known to DOUBLE a person’s risk of heart failure (among a plethora of other serious risks and common potential complications), plus (hardly worth mentioning under the circumstances) doubling a woman’s risk of miscarriage during early pregnancy.

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Image source:

 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MEDICATIONS_USED_BY_DAMAGED_LUNG_VICTIMS_-_NARA_-_545424.tif

Why aren’t public health authorities instead decrying and discouraging not just the rampant potentially dangerous over-use of over-the-counter medications (many of which have been proven not only ineffective, but even fatal to children, while still being sold even as the dangers are known), but also toxic, supposedly “properly prescribed” prescription medications which kill an average of more than 100,000 persons per year—more than all the deaths of American soldiers in all the years of Viet Nam combinedEACH AND EVERY YEAR?

But instead we’re reading tabloid and sensationalist “health authority” sanctioned rubbish about concerns over natural, organic, whole food-based liver and bone broth recipes in Bubba Yum Yum potentially killing babies.  Yet where is the evidence for this?

Answer:  there isn’t any.

Wait—ZERO deaths from dreaded dietary liver or vitamin A toxicity? No dead babies from liver formulas?  How can this be?  Let’s keep looking… In 2010, there were supposedly 15 reactions attributed to supplemental vitamin/mineral “overdoses” out of tens of thousands of reports (none related to vitamin A) but…no deaths? 2011, 2012, 2013…still no vitamin A deaths.  Not even a single baby?  What is this world coming to??!

I kept digging.  SOMEWHERE online there had to be a graveyard full of grisly death attributions to food-based vitamin A toxicity.

Then finally—there it was!

Somewhere between 1911-1912, three intrepid but hapless Australian Antarctic explorers, Douglas Mawson, Xavier Mertz and Briton Belgrave Ninnis were busy navigating the frozen and treacherous Antarctic coast.  They lost their supplies in a tragic mishap when Ninnis fell into a crevasse and was killed. Mawson and Mertz—having lost everything else– were reportedly forced by starvation to eat their huskies.  Both of them were supposedly poisoned (and Mertz died)—allegedly from eating the livers of these sled dogs during this frigid misadventure.

AHA!! At last!!! –Evidence!! The Grim Reaper’s sinister friend—eeevil vitamin A strikes its mortal blow!

Oh, wait…upon further examination of the evidence I came across a study surrounding this Antarctic misadventure that suggested that “exhaustion, food deprivation and diet change” were more likely to have caused the tragedy than vitamin A poisoning.

D’OH!  What is a witch-hunter to do???

DOING THE POLAR BEAR POLKA

Other popular and seemingly “promising” vitamin A toxicity lore surrounds the purported toxicity of polar bear liver in the Arctic, and urban/rural legend has it that polar bear liver consumption (having a purported whopping one million units per gram of pure, preformed vitamin A) did-in its share of liver-craving polar explorers, back in the day.  Back to the books I went, in eager anticipation of the easy mortality evidence I was seeking.  I will admit to personally believing these hyped oldwives tales might actually be true myself, and half-expected to find something.

In 1855 a book titled ‘Arctic Explorations’ written by Arctic explorer Elisha Kane did claim that the polar bear liver “of a well-fed cub” could bring on feelings of illness (ok—we’re getting warmer…).  Kane and his crew reported that they often ate their huskies as well, but there is no mention in the book of illness through the consumption of husky liver, as somewhat dubiously reported by Mawson.

Quoting from Kane: (p. 222-3)

When I was out in the Advance with Captain De Haven, I satisfied myself that it was a vulgar prejudice to regard the liver of the bear as poisonous. I ate of it freely myself and succeeded in making it a favorite dish with the mess. But I find to my cost that it may sometimes be more savory than safe. The cub’s liver was my supper last night, and today I have symptoms of poison in full measure – vertigo, diarrhea, and their concomitants. 

Yep—despite all the presumed vitamin A toxicity he lived.  But in truth who knows what it really was that actually even made him sick.

Quoting from Kane (p. 220):

“Bears in this lean condition are much the most palatable food. The impregnation of fatty oil through the cellular tissue makes a well-fed bear nearly uneatable. The flesh of a famished beast, although less nutritious as a fuel diet, is rather sweet and tender than otherwise.” 

Quoting from Kane (p. 264-5):

“I do not know that my journal anywhere mentions our habituation to raw meats, nor does it dwell upon their strange adaptation to scorbutic disease. Our journeys have taught us the wisdom of the Esquimaux appetite, and there are few among us who do not relish a slice of raw blubber or a chunk of frozen walrus beef. The liver of a walrus (awuktannuk) eaten with little slices of his fat – of a verity it is a delicious morsel. Fire would ruin the curt, pithy expression of vitality that belongs to its uncooked juices. Charles Lamb’s roast pig was nothing to awuktanuk.

On the other hand, on p. 265:

“Our sick have finished the bear’s head and are now eating the condemned abscessed liver of the animal, including some intestines that were not given to the dogs.” 

Doesn’t sound appetizing, mind you, but no report of any death or even illness associated with this.

Image-PolarBearPolka

Supposedly this sheet music by Sarony, Major & Knapp, was dedicated to Kane, 1856.

Image source: http://wiki.houptlab.org/wiki/File:Image-PolarBearPolka.jpg

There were several additional study citations I came across related to polar explorers and polar bear liver (and the liver of other arctic sea and land mammals) for which there was no current online text to be found.  Many were dated back to the 1940’s.  Perhaps somewhere buried in the oxidized parchment of some now elusive and long-gone peer reviewed journal lies evidence of vitamin A’s truest natural food-based dangers.  In the meantime, I’m stumped.

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It turns out that serum retinol levels are closely regulated by the liver and remain relatively stable despite major fluctuations in dietary intake.  Symptoms of toxicity, which by the way tends to be quite rare, seem to be almost entirely transient in most every case.

A pretty thorough 2002 study titled “Estimating the Potential for Vitamin A Toxicity in Women and Young Children” published in the Journal of Nutrition looked closely at this very issue and stated the following:

“There are few data on which to establish thresholds for excessive vitamin A intake or vitamin A concentrations in tissues. To assess the potential toxicity of the new recommendations (see article by Ross in this issue) for high dose vitamin A supplements for infants and children, we used a kinetic approach to estimate accumulation of the vitamin in liver. The new recommendations are unlikely to result in toxic levels (>300 μg per gram of liver) even if high dose supplements are inadvertently given monthly. The kinetic analysis also illustrates that a constant supply of vitamin A from breast milk (and/or complementary foods) is vital for preventing depletion of liver vitamin A stores between high dose supplements.” (bold emphasis mine)

The article did go on to say that:

“Humans normally obtain preformed vitamin A from animal products in the diet and provitamin A carotenoids (mainly β-carotene) from fruits, vegetables and oils. Consuming natural sources of vitamin A rarely results in toxicity.  The exception is toxicity resulting from excessively high intakes of carnivore liver on a continued basis. Liver contains 3000–5000 μg of retinol per 100 g. Although this level of intake is rare, a case study reported vitamin A toxicity symptoms in a 7-mo-old infant who was given ∼12,100 μg of retinol/d, mostly in chicken liver (1). The vitamin A content of this food is high (5000 μg/g).”  (note—μg/microgram is a very different unit of measure from IU or milligrams—By way of comparison, the amount of vitamin A (retinol) found in the Bubba Yum Yum liver-containing “Happy Tummy Brew” recipe per maximum 200 ml serving—by stark contrast—is a mere 6.25 μg—that’s micrograms—each microgram equal to 1/1000th of a milligram).

Then the study’s authors go on to say:  “To the best of our knowledge, a dose of 50,000 iu (15 mg) of vitamin A is safe for infants before 6 mo, but doses larger than that should not be given, especially to children under the age of 4 mo (3).

In young children, 100,000 iu (30 mg) of vitamin A at 6–11 mo and 200,000 iu (60 mg) every 3 to 6 mo for children aged 12–60 mo, gives few side effects and is effective for reducing mortality (15). In 1980 a 300,000-iu dose—a higher level than is now recommended—produced a 6% incidence of vomiting and a 16% incidence of transient diarrhea in Indonesian preschoolers (16). Doses of 100,000 and 200,000 iu caused nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea and fever among some children in the Philippines (17). The incidence of these symptoms was higher with the larger of the two doses and among the smallest children during the first 2 y of life. Thus, transient nausea and vomiting are expected in 5–10% of the youngest children receiving these doses (3).  (bold emphasis mine)

Are you paying attention and doing the math here?  Just checking.

Later in the same article the authors stated clearly that:

“Symptoms of acute toxicity are usually mild and transient.”

Chronic toxicity could occur in an individual who commonly consumes supplements or frequently eats foods with high vitamin A content, such as liver (3) and can lead to severe liver damage. It is thought to require ingesting at least 30 mg of preformed retinol per day [100,000 iu or about 40 times the recommended dietary allowance (RDA)] for months or years (2326).” (bold emphasis and enthusiastic underlining mine)

The Merck Manual reports that acute vitamin-A poisoning can occur in children after taking a single dose of synthetic vitamin A in the range of 300,000 IU or a daily dosage of 60,000 IU for a few weeks.  Hardly an indictment of liver consumption.

SO WHERE DID ALL THIS MISPLACED VITAMIN A HYSTERIA 

COME FROM IN THE FIRST PLACE?

The overly low standard recommendations for vitamin A intake when it comes to anyone—but most importantly pregnant women and babies is, according to both biochemist and researcher Chris Masterjohn and also renowned lipid biochemist and researcher, Dr. Mary Enig–almost entirely based on a single poorly designed study published in 1995 that claimed to report an increased risk of birth defects among women having an intake of more than 10,000 IU per day of vitamin A. In fact, most every other vitamin A study apart from the aforementioned 1995 study conflicts with its findings and has found preformed vitamin A dietary levels exceeding 10,000 IU to be not only safe, but even desirable!  

One major study of over 25,000 births following the 1995 study showed that daily doses of vitamin A up to 40,000 IU cut the risk of birth defects in half!  In this study, doses of vitamin A over 40,000 IU per day carried a 2.7-fold higher risk of birth defects, but doses of vitamin A up to 20,000 IU or between 20,000 and 40,000 IU both carried a 50 percent lower risk of birth defects compared to no supplementation!

When one considers the prized value among traditional and indigenous societies of organ meats and especially liver (especially as compared to our modern day culture) —consumed far more regularly than today—the conclusions arrived at in the ill-designed 1995 study simply don’t add up.  At the turn of the last century almost everyone alive recognized, as common knowledge, the incredible nutritional value of liver as a regular inclusion to the diets of everyone (including young children).  No one back then feared (or had any reason to fear, as none should today) liver as a potential source of any concern, much less “vitamin A toxicity”.  Why such a poor study—flawed as it was—was selected as the cornerstone of such a critical and severely misguided government policy is beyond comprehension.

In the aforementioned questionable 1995 Boston University study which was responsible for heralding the modern day anti-vitamin A campaign, the researchers basically followed almost 23,000 women over the course of their pregnancies and purportedly found that women who consumed more than 10,000 IU of vitamin A during the first trimester gave birth to offspring with a “2.4-fold greater risk of total birth defects” and a “4.8-fold greater risk of cranial-neural-crest defects” (a rather broadly defined group of defects whose classification here has been found by other researchers to be highly controversial. Later, three groups of experts wrote to the journal questioning the authors’ odd classification of cranial-neural-crest defects).  In the study, among the 188 women who consumed this amount of vitamin A from supposedly “food” alone, there was purportedly an 80 percent increase in the risk of total birth defects and two times the risk of (the dubious) cranial-neural-crest defects. Because there were so few women consuming vitamin A from “food” alone, however, the researchers could not conclusively distinguish the association from the possibility of chance.  One major issue with this study, however (among many) is that no blood work was ever taken to assess the mothers’ actual vitamin A status and the researchers based their data collection entirely upon the highly inaccurate method of using questionnaires and relying on subject recall.

Uh…what did YOU have for lunch last Thursday? 

The aforementioned 1995 study was simply loaded with head-scratching issues. Apart from those already touched upon, the researchers entirely failed to distinguish between manufactured vitamin A in the form of supplements and/or added to processed foods, and natural vitamin-A complex, automatically occurring in foods like liver, cod-liver oil, shellfish, butterfat and egg yolks with numerous essential co-factors required for its healthy metabolism.  The authors also did not distinguish at all between various actual whole food and so-called “food-like” processed sources—and most so-called  “food” source vitamin A in industrialized modern-day society comes from synthetically fortified processed foods, particularly breakfast cereals.  Of course, it would seem to me that anyone getting most of their vitamin A from “officially” approved “fortified foods” and breakfast cereals—loaded with sugar, gluten, pesticide residues, artificial colors, additives and preservatives would be bound to wind up with a few birth defects—if they were lucky.

Other studies showing any association of birth defects with vitamin A involved things like topical creams containing side-effect-riddled vitamin A derivatives such as Accutane, or extremely high doses of synthetic A (taken alone—away from other vitamin-A cofactors) mainly reported in animal studies.

Last but not least—as Masterjohn has most observantly pointed out, the authors of the 1995 study seemed to have underestimated the rate of certain types of birth defects that are known to occur “normally”.  The rate of total birth defects among the 20,000 women consuming less than 10,000 IU was only 1.5 percent; however the generally accepted base background rate is 3-4 percent. The rate of defects among the 3,000 women consuming more than 10,000 IU of vitamin A was 3 percent—basically on the lower end of what is typically considered normal!

Possibly the most obvious and common sense objection to this study is the fact that it conflicts with virtually all the other available evidence.

Considering the history of human vitamin A intake (through widespread consumption and preference for organ meats) from time immemorial, the ubiquitous role of vitamin A in the development of every organ system of the body and how tightly the body naturally regulates the level of the activated form, we should expect a regular and substantial helping of vitamin A-rich organ meats and animal fats to actually help fetal and infant development, not cause a plethora of abnormalities in babies and other problems, much less posing any sort of “health risk”.  The preponderance of the abundant research evidence, paired with pure garden-variety logic, plus the added evolutionary and traditional context with respect to innumerable indigenous and traditional cultures suggests that vitamin A is overwhelmingly beneficial—and always has been– and is far from being “dangerous” to anyone.

Later, others continuing research into the health effects of vitamin A ultimately determined that after serum testing and determining safe serum levels, women taking 30,000 IU of preformed vitamin A from animal foods (not beta-carotene) daily had the same blood levels of A as healthy pregnant women in the first trimester who had healthy babies. The conclusion was that a dosage over 30,000 IU vitamin A daily “might” be teratogenic for a certain few, but anything up to that amount is—from the vast majority of the available evidence–safe.

SUBSEQUENT VITAMIN A RESEARCH

A 1996 study of 522,601 births (including many times more than the previously mentioned 23,000 subjects—and less than a year after the infamous 1995 study) found that the children of women supplementing with at least 10,000 IU of vitamin A had a seemingly lower risk of birth defects than those of women who did not supplement (although technically the association could not be distinguished from the effect of chance it clearly did not demonstrate an increased risk or concern of any kind).

Again–a 1997 study of 1,508 births in fact found no relationship between birth defects and even the use of vitamin A supplements, fortified breakfast cereals, organ meats or liver.

In one 1998 study titled: “Periconceptional vitamin A use: how much is teratogenic?” the authors state:  “It is well known that vitamin A is essential for normal reproduction and development.” And “Nonhuman primate data show no teratogenicity at doses of 30,000 IU/d. Daily periconceptional exposures greater than 25,000 IU/d of preformed vitamin A have not been sufficiently studied to establish specific risk.”  And “If periconceptional vitamin A exposures to levels up to 30,000 IU/d (9,000 micrograms RE/d) do occur unintentionally, multiple animal studies do support only very low risk. Human epidemiologic studies do not establish at what level vitamin A becomes teratogenic; however, pharmacokinetic data presented in this paper indicate that blood levels of retinoids from women taking 30,000 IU/d of preformed vitamin A are not greater than retinoid blood levels in pregnant women during the first trimester who delivered healthy babies.” (bold emphasis mine)

A 1999 prospective study of 311 mothers who consumed between 10,000 and 300,000 IU of vitamin A in the first trimester and a similarly sized group that did not supplement with vitamin A found no evidence of an increased risk of major teratogenic malformations with increasing dose. The median dose was 50,000 IU. The group as a whole had a 50 percent lower risk of major malformations than those who did not supplement, and there were no major malformations in offspring born to mothers consuming more than 50,000 IU!

That said, the preponderance of evidence seems to suggest that 30,000 IU per day “might” be a more reasonable ceiling for vitamin A intake from all sources during pregnancy, but then again there is hardly any evidence of rational concern for toxic or teratogenic, much less lethal effects in excess of this amount from naturally occurring dietary sources.  The evidence for rational concern just isn’t there.

THE FLIP SIDE OF THIS COIN

The following brief compendium of peer-reviewed examples of vitamin A benefits is borrowed from an article written by world-renowned lipid scientist, author of innumerable peer-reviewed research articles in many scientific journals and bench biochemist of more than 50 years, Mary Enig, PhD:

Vitamin A—The Miracle Nutrient

Vitamin A supplementation of children in Asia and Africa has been extremely effective in reducing the rates of infection, diarrhea, anemia and blindness (Reuter’s 2/12/01). African and Asian children receiving vitamin-A supplements grow faster, have better hemoglobin values and die 30-60 percent less frequently than nonsupplemented peers (J Nutr Jan 1989 119(1):96-100).

Vitamin A supplementation can reduce the incidence of malaria. Children in Papua New Guinea given high doses of vitamin A had a 30 percent lower incidence of malaria than those receiving a placebo (The Lancet, 1999, 354:203-9).

Vitamin A plays a vital regulating role in the immune system. Vitamin A deficiency leads to a loss of ciliated cells in the lung, an important first line defense against pathogens. Vitamin A promotes mucin secretion and microvilli formation by mucosa, including the gastrointestinal tract mucosa. Vitamin A regulates T-cell production and apoptosis (programmed cell death) (Nutrition Reviews 1998;56:S38-S48).

HIV transmission is closely correlated with levels of vitamin A in mothers. A study in Malawi, Africa found that mothers with the highest levels of vitamin A had an HIV transmission rate of just 7.2 percent (Celia Farber, “A Timely Firestorm,” www.ironminds.com).

Treatment with megadoses of vitamin A (100,000 IU per day) resulted in a 92 percent cure rate of menorrhagia (excessive menstrual bleeding) at Johannesburg General Hospital in South Africa (S Afr Med J 1977).

Lack of vitamin A interferes with optimal function of the hippocampus, the main seat of learning. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California, found that removing vitamin A from the diets of mice diminished chemical changes in the brain considered the hallmarks of learning and memory (Proc Natl Acad Sci, Sep 25, 2001 98(20):11714-9).

Natural vitamin A helps reconnect retinoid receptors critical for vision, sensory perception, language processing and attention in autistic children. Use of cod liver oil helps children recover from autism due to the DPT vaccine. The pertussis toxin interferes with retinoid receptors in the brain (Med Hypothesis, Jun 2000 54(6):979-83).

Vitamin A can be helpful in the treatment of psoriasis. Researchers found that patients suffering from severe psoriasis had low blood levels of vitamin A (Acta Derm Venereol Jul 1994 74(4):298-301).

In stroke victims, those with high levels of vitamin A are more likely to recover without damage (The Lancet, Mar 25, 1998, pp 47-50).

Vitamin A protects against lung and bladder cancers in men (Alt Cancer Inst Monogr Dec 1985 69:137-42). Fourteen out of 20 patients with prostate cancer achieved total remission and five achieved partial remission using vitamin A as part of a natural cancer therapy in Germany (Drugs Exp Clin Res 2000;26(65-6):249-52).

Vitamin A was used successfully by Dr. L. J. A. Loewenthal, to combat tropical ulcers in Uganda (S Afr Med J Dec 24 1983 64(27):1064-7).

Vitamin A has also been used successfully to treat a skin condition called Kyrle’s disease (Cutis Dec 1982 30(6):753-5, 759). Elderly persons who consume adequate vitamin A are less prone to leg ulcers (Veris Newsletter Dec 1999;15(4):5).

Chronic vitamin-A deficiency causes degeneration of the structures of the ear. Decreased auditory function in humans is associated with low vitamin-A levels. (Arch Otorhinolaryngol 1982;234(2):167-73).

Vitamin A inhibits the effects of phytic acid and increases absorption of iron from whole wheat. (Arch Latinoam Nutr Sep 2000;50(3):243-8). Vitamin A supplementation increases absorption of iron and folic acid in women in Bangladesh (Am J Clin Nutr Jul 2001;74(1):108-15).

Use of vitamin A supplements reduces the risk of cataracts (Am J Ophthalmol Jul 2001;132(1):19-26).

________________________________

Again, the most likely culprits for any production of birth defects in humans or adverse health problems associated with vitamin A are synthetic topical and oral vitamin A analogs, medications and sources of synthetically fortified vitamin A such as that found in processed foods (having other questionable ingredient composition, to-boot), deficiencies/imbalances of other critical fat-soluble nutrients and not actual whole foods such as liver, egg yolks or other natural sources that humans have been consuming far more regularly than today for over hundreds of thousands of years (and longer).  The unbridled hysteria concerning these foods in light of every bit of quality research and in light of the whole of human history needs to be rationally reconsidered…and the sooner the better!  The consequences of not enough vitamin A seem to overwhelm the prevailing concerns about getting “too much” by substantial orders of magnitude.

Numerous researchers have repeatedly criticized the original 1995 vitamin A study– from which dangerously flawed governmental policies have been hastily established–for essentially sensationalizing and clearly overstating the negative effect of an under-appreciated and under-consumed essential nutrient. Only 1.4 percent of the 1995 study group took supplements exceeding 10,000 IU a day, which was nowhere near a large enough sample from which to draw broad-based conclusions, much less from which to establish justifiable, hard-core government policy.

Interestingly, though, while foods like liver and egg yolks became instantly demonized for their vitamin A content, no similar warnings were voiced by the same “concerned” authorities relative to the consumption of synthetically fortified sources of vitamin A from processed foods.  It’s also interesting that the press and mainstream “authorities” have been equally silent following the subsequent publication of studies showing drastically different results from the 1995 Boston University study.  Less than 3 years later, in 1998 a study titled “Safety of vitamin A: recent results”, readily dispelled the 1995 study’s conclusions after researchers (who actually bothered to evaluate the blood levels of vitamin A in pregnant women taking part in the newer study), discovered that a dose of 30,000 IU per day resulted in healthy blood levels that had no association with birth defects.   One year later a separate Italian study found absolutely no congenital malformations resulting among 120 infants (not just pregnant women) exposed to more than 50,000 IU of vitamin A per day!

ARE THERE ANY CAVEATS WITH VITAMIN A?

The main situation in which high levels of supplemental/dietary vitamin A would probably not be desirable is with certain types of liver disease where there is some form of altered vitamin A metabolism, as is frequently the case with conditions such as alcoholism. As such, alcoholics might probably want to avoid taking high doses of things like cod liver oil and what they do take should probably be accompanied by (preferably ionic) zinc supplements and magnesium. The enzymes needed for vitamin A metabolism in the liver are both zinc and magnesium dependent, so these cofactors are obviously important. Of course, this has little to do with vitamin A intake during pregnancy or its effects upon fetal or childhood development.

Mind you, it probably makes common sense to avoid combining something like frequent liver consumption or vitamin A supplementation from things like cod liver oil and other food/supplemental sources with synthetic oral or topical medications for acne (like Accutane) or other skin disorders treated with retinoic acid derivatives.  Duh.  Then again, the average person engaged in frequent healthy liver consumption or cod liver oil supplementation might well never have the need to bother with acne treatment in the first place.

Also, taking synthetic vitamin A “pills” may not be the wisest means of getting this important nutrient.  Taking any source of vitamin A without balancing its intake with other supportive and balancing nutrients may lead to unintended imbalances and issues.  I’ll cover more about this issue shortly.

Another all-too common fear-mongering myth surrounding the consumption of liver, by the way, is that it somehow “stores toxins”.  It does not.  The liver of any animal functions as a site for the detoxification and biotransformation of various food elements and environmental substances we are exposed to, but that is all.  No “toxic waste storage” takes place in the liver for any of it.  Fatty liver (common with alcoholism and the over-consumption of processed, simple and/or starchy carbohydrate-rich foods) can certainly provide a greater substrate for fat-soluble toxins (as opposed to water soluble toxins, stored elsewhere), but that’s about it.  Unless you are an alcoholic or you’re eating the liver of an alcoholic cow, lamb, duck or chicken (or god forbid sled dog or polar bear) also eating a pesticide-rich diet I’d say it isn’t something to be too concerned about.  Obviously, it is important to make sure any source of any food you consume come from the healthiest most natural and most unadulterated sources.  Again—this is (or at least should be) simply common sense.

The preponderance of the evidence clearly favors the view that at least 20,000-30,000 IU/day of vitamin A during pregnancy is safe and may even reduce the risk of birth defects!  The preponderance of the evidence clearly and overwhelmingly demonstrates the benefits and not dangers of vitamin A for babies, as well.

So how might one best avoid any potential dangers of vitamin A toxicity and horrible (albeit elusive) vitamin A-related death–apart from (just “possibly”) avoiding the consumption of sled dog liver?

It turns out that including natural and sufficient dietary sources of vitamin D3, E-complex, and vitamin K2, along with sufficient zinc and cholesterol (vitamin A’s naturally occurring counterparts in animal source foods/organ meats) have all shown to help dampen any potential for vitamin A toxicity.  

Oh wait—all that is already automatically included in the Bubba Yum Yum “Happy Tummy Brew” recipe!  

LONELY VITAMINS IN A VACUUM

The fact is that nutrients are typically researched in the literature as though they existed in a vacuum—in other words, in the absence of other nutrients.  That’s never how Nature works.  Nutrients in foods are always found in the presence of other nutrients.  This is hugely so with fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins’ A, D, E and K.  A relative balance of fat-soluble nutrients is critical, and seldom discussed in such literature.  Too much of one over another can be antagonistic and invariably (in time) may lead to problems, which is why food sources of nutrients become more important.  As I wrote previously in Primal Body, Primal Mind: For instance—and perhaps critically—for each and every receptor for vitamin D, there are two receptors for vitamin A on every human cell (Krispin Sullivan). Because of the compartmentalized approach to vitamin D research, this sort of thing does not get recognized or discussed. A relative balance of these two nutrients is vital to their healthy function in the human body. An excess of one can create a relative deficiency of the other. For instance, if you take large amounts of vitamin D without vitamin A, you are potentially more likely to develop symptoms of vitamin-A deficiency. Conversely, taking certain commercial cod liver oil supplements that are rich in vitamin A but poor in vitamin D can lead to more severe vitamin D deficiencies… Recent research from Spain indicates that vitamin A is necessary for both vitamin-D binding and vitamin-D release to receptor sites. The two are synergistic and should always be balanced in the diet or in supplementation.

______________________________

Also, vitamin D (popular in the mainstream press by comparison to its currently vilified fat-soluble cohort, vitamin A) may only be able to activate its cellular receptor in the presence of sufficient vitamin A.  In addition to the presence of other fat-soluble nutrients, vitamin A also requires sufficient zinc,, and magnesium for its healthy functioning in the body—further reinforcing the value of naturally occurring vitamin A as found in nutrient-rich foods such as liver, versus synthetic supplements or “pills”.

Jonathan Wright, MD has stated that liver is safe for pregnant women but that vitamin A pills need to be taken at a lower dose.  He says “Vitamin A helps protect the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, throat, gastrointestinal tract, and lungs by promoting mucin secretion and microvilli formation. It is an essential nutrient for the eyes, skin, and immune system. The hormonally active form of vitamin A, 9-cis-retinoic acid, is essential for the full functioning of vitamin D (without it, activated vitamin D binds weakly to its receptors on DNA, resulting in a reduced effect on gene expression). Water-miscible, emulsified, and solid forms of retinol (vitamin A) supplements are ten times more toxic than oil-based preparations like that in cod liver and should be taken in a considerably lower dose. (Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:1152-9.)”

LONG BEFORE BUBBA YUM YUM CAME ALONG…

In 2001 the Weston A. Price Foundation with Dr. Mary Enig posted a baby formula substitute for commercial baby formulas using liver.  They ended up posting an additionally detailed and helpful FAQ page in 2005.  The Bubba Yum Yum formulation omits the WAPF additional recipe recommendations of raw milk, lactose and whey due to the growing modern-day potential for sensitivities and/or immune reactivity (and because Charlotte’s own son, Willow, himself could not tolerate these foods).  The WAPF formula recipe also contains far more vitamin A– an estimated 20,000 IU per 36 ounces (many times higher in vitamin A than the Bubba Yum Yum version).  No one has ever reported a fatality or even toxicity as a result of this WAPF baby formula’s online, publicly available and widely used recipe.  In fact, glowing testimonials on the site abound.

Consider the following equation: 

Equation


Still buying the media hype?

 Also—it should be emphasized that nowhere in the Bubba Yum Yum book (or on the WAPF site, for that matter), incidentally, do the authors suggest replacing quality, healthy, usable mother’s breast milk with this or any formula substitute!  The formula was offered as an alternative to breast milk when—and only when—breastfeeding was not possible!  The formula in Bubba Yum Yum was created by Charlotte Carr and Helen Padarin, ND (following considerable research) and as a desirable alternative to highly questionable commercial baby formulas.

What do I mean by “highly questionable” commercial baby formulas?  Fasten your seatbelts…

WHAT ABOUT THE SAFETY OF APPROVED AND RECOMMENDED,

COMMERCIAL, SOY-BASED BABY FORMULAS?

(not to mention soy—plus GMO soy– in general during pregnancy)

Here’s where the rubber really hits the road:

In 1998, two FDA scientists, Daniel Doerge, Ph.D. (Division of Biochemical Toxicology) and Daniel Sheehan, Ph.D. (Director, Estrogen Base Program Division of Genetic and Reproductive Toxicology), two of the Food and Drug Administration’s own experts on soy, signed a letter of protest regarding the FDA’s approval of soy as “heart healthy”.  They pointed to numerous studies that show a link between soy and health problems in animals, including humans.  In the letter, they stated “We oppose this health claim because there is abundant evidence that some of the isoflavones found in soy, including genistein and equol, a metabolite of daidzein, demonstrate toxicity in estrogen sensitive tissues and in the thyroid. This true for a number of species, including humans.”

Additionally, the adverse effects in humans occur in several tissues and, apparently, by several distinct mechanisms. Genistein is clearly estrogenic; it possesses the chemical structural features necessary for estrogenic activity (Sheehan and Medlock, 1995; Tong, et al, 1997; Miksicek, 1998) and induces estrogenic responses in developing and adult animals and in adult humans. In rodents, equol is estrogenic and acts as an estrogenic endocrine disruptor during development (Medlock, et al, 1995a,b). Faber and Hughes (1993) showed alterations in LH regulation following developmental treatment with genistein. Thus, during pregnancy in humans, isoflavones per se could be a risk factor for abnormal brain and reproductive tract development. Furthermore, pregnant Rhesus monkeys fed genistein had serum estradiol levels 50-100 percent higher than the controls in three different areas of the maternal circulation (Harrison, et al, 1998).

Given that the Rhesus monkey is the best experimental model for humans, and that a women’s own estrogens are a very significant risk factor for breast cancer, it is unreasonable to approve the health claim until complete safety studies of soy protein are conducted. Of equally grave concern is the finding that the fetuses of genistein fed monkeys had a 70 percent higher serum estradiol level than did the controls (Harrison, et al, 1998). Development is recognized as the most sensitive life stage for estrogen toxicity because of the indisputable evidence of a very wide variety of frank malformations and serious functional deficits in experimental animals and humans.

In the human population, DES exposure stands as a prime example of adverse estrogenic effects during development. About 50 percent of the female offspring and a smaller fraction of male offspring displayed one or more malformations in the reproductive tract, as well as a lower prevalence (about 1 in a thousand) of malignancies. In adults, genistein could be a risk factor for a number of estrogen-associated diseases.

Even without the evidence of elevated serum estradiol levels in Rhesus fetuses, potency and dose differences between DES and the soy isoflavones do not provide any assurance that the soy protein isoflavones per se will be without adverse effects. First, calculations, based on the literature, show that doses of soy protein isoflavones used in clinical trials which demonstrated estrogenic effects were as potent as low but active doses of DES in Rhesus monkeys (Sheehan, unpublished data). Second, we have recently shown that estradiol shows no threshold in an extremely large dose-response experiment, and we subsequently have found 31 dose-response curves for hormone-mimicking chemicals that also fail to show a threshold.

Our conclusions are that no dose is without risk; the extent of risk is simply a function of dose. These two features support and extend the conclusion that it is inappropriate to allow health claims for soy protein isolate.”

Finally (with respect to pregnant women and babies) the authors state that:

“Moreover, there are significant reports of goitrogenic effects from soy consumption in human infants (cf., Van Wyk et al., 1959; Hydovitz, 1960; Shepard et al., 1960; Pinchers et al., 1965; Chorazy et al., 1995) and adults (McCarrison, 1933; Ishizuki, et al., 1991). Recently, we have identified genistein and daidzein as the goitrogenic isoflavonoid components of soy and defined the mechanisms for inhibition of thyroid peroxidase (TPO)-catalyzed thyroid hormone synthesis in vitro (Divi et al., 1997; Divi et al., 1996). The observed suicide inactivation of TPO by isoflavones, through covalent binding to TPO, raises the possibility of neoantigen formation and because anti-TPO is the principal autoantibody present in auto immune thyroid disease.

This hypothetical mechanism is consistent with the reports of Fort et al. (1986, 1990) of a doubling of risk for autoimmune thyroiditis in children who had received soy formulas as infants compared to infants receiving other forms of milk. The serum levels of isoflavones in infants receiving soy formula that are about is first who is times higher than in women receiving soy supplements who show menstrual cycle disturbances, including an increased estradiol level in the follicular phase (Setchell, et al, 1997).

Assuming a dose-dependent risk, it is unreasonable to assert that the infant findings are irrelevant to adults who may consume smaller amounts of isoflavones. Additionally, while there is an unambiguous biological effect on menstrual cycle length (Cassidy, et al, 1994), it is unclear whether the soy effects are beneficial or adverse.

Furthermore, we need to be concerned about transplacental passage of isoflavones as the DES case has shown us that estrogens can pass the placenta. No such studies have been conducted with genistein in humans or primates. As all estrogens which have been studied carefully in human populations are two-edged swords in humans (Sheehan and Medlock, 1995; Sheehan, 1997), with both beneficial and adverse effects resulting from the administration of the same estrogen, it is likely that the same characteristic is shared by the isoflavones. The animal data is also consistent with adverse effects in humans.”

WOW.  This scathing letter came from the FDA’s own soy experts.  Is there anyone (sane) that could blame Charlotte Carr or anyone else for seeking a nutritious alternative to this garbage, which is a significant ingredient in most if not all neonatal formulas sold?

And just for good measure, here is an additional study related to soy and infants, further calling the use of this food in commercially sold baby formulas into question. In this study the authors blatantly stated “These 2 patients reinforce the importance of remembering that soy products interfere with levothyroxine absorption and can endanger infants and young children with congenital hypothyroidism who are at risk for developmental and growth delay.”

As if all this wasn’t enough to turn the tables around on this issue of what is and isn’t toxic to babies (and human beings, in general), keep reading:

roundup-placenta-cell-death

Image source:  http://healthimpactnews.com/2015/study-roundup-causes-cell-death-to-human-placenta-cells-at-levels-allowed-in-drinking-water/

NEW STUDY: A NEW, 2015 in-vitro study found that Roundup herbicide kills human placental cells at levels allowed in both Australian and U.S. drinking water. The study, done in Australia, found that Roundup herbicide was even more toxic to human cells than it’s main constituent, glyphosate alone and suggests that future studies be conducted on the full formula herbicide, Roundup, and not glyphosate alone. This is the first study to examine the effects of glyphosate and Roundup on progesterone production, which it found to be adversely affected by the death of the placental cells. The study examined human female cells in an in vitro system that models key aspects of reproduction in women.

Looks like human cells are not “Roundup Ready”.  Are you surprised?

Don’t believe me?  READ THE STUDY: http://www.gmoevidence.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/IPTG-1-104.pdf

In fact, samples of popular PediaSure, a supposed “nutritional” drink given to ill children in pediatric units, tested positive for unsafe levels of glyphosate.

The following expose is from the website, Mom’s Across America:

Moms Across America finds it appalling that our health care providers have been led to believe this feeding tube liquid is safe. Our children and loved ones who are depending on our health institutions to support their immune system and recovery. Instead they are being fed a liquid which scientists and knowledgeable care givers now believe is doing the exact opposite.

The Pediasure Enteral Nutritional Drink tested is loaded with GM corn syrup, soy, and sugar, which have been shown to cause inflammation, and are sprayed with gyphosate [sic] during the growing season and at harvest as a drying agent. Moms Across America finds it appalling that our health care providers have been led to believe this feeding tube liquid is safe. Our children and loved ones who are depending on our health institutions to support their immune system and recovery. Instead they are being fed a liquid which scientists and knowledgeable care givers now believe is doing the exact opposite.

Glyphosate is scientifically accepted to function as a chelator; which draws out the vital nutrients of any living thing it touches.

It is a patented antibiotic; destroying gut bacteria, where 70% of the immune system lies, and the body’s ability to create Tryptophan/Serotonin, and Melatonin, which regulate insulin/diabetes and protect from sleeplessness, depression, bipolar and violent behavior.

It is a proven endocrine disruptor (and teratogenic—in part by its interference with vitamin A signaling!); which impacts, deforms or halts the development of a fetus, leading to miscarriage, birth defects, infertility and sterility.

It is also a cell disintegrator (Samsel A, Seneff S. 2013); breaking down the blood brain barrier and allowing toxins into the brain (a potential vector for autism).

The rise of autism is 99% correlated with the increased use of glyphosate. New studies find glyphosate also feeds antibiotic resistant bacteria. (see reference in PDF below)

The Pediasure Enteral Nutritional Drink tested is loaded with GM corn syrup, soy, and sugar, which have been shown to cause inflammation, and are sprayed with gyphosate [sic] during the growing season and at harvest as a drying agent. A description of how glyphosate impacts the body from MIT PhD. scientist Stephanie Seneff:

1) Glyphosate is an antimicrobial agent (antibiotic) and it preferentially kills the good bacteria, which causes an overgrowth of pathogens in the gut. This leads to leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory issues.

2) Glyphosate chelates rare minerals like manganese, cobalt, molybdenum, copper, iron, sulfur, selenium, etc., and this disrupts the management of these very important nutrients throughout the body.  The minerals end up piling up in the wrong places, causing both toxicity and deficiency at the same time.

3) Glyphosate disrupts cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver, which are important for many things, two of which are activating vitamin D and detoxifying multiple toxic chemicals and drugs.  Acetaminophen (Tylenol), for example, becomes toxic when these enzymes aren’t working.

4) Glyphosate works synergistically with the aluminum, mercury, and glutamate in vaccines to cause much greater harm than would be the case if there were no glyphosate present in the blood when the vaccine was administered.

5) Glyphosate interferes with the shikimate pathway, which is used by both microbes and plants to produce the essential aromatic amino acids. Our own cells don’t have this pathway, and they depend upon food sources and synthesis by gut microbes to supply these nutrients. They are precursors to many biologically important molecules such as the neurotransmitters serotonin, melatonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, melanin, vitamin E, vitamin K, etc.”

MORE BREAKING NEWS:

glyphosate_breaking_news

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has just declared glyphosate (all by itself, non-amplified by the rest of what is in toxic Roundup herbicide, including tallowamines used as surfactants and other toxic compounds —projected in combination to be up to 10,000 times MORE toxic than glyphosate alone) a “probable carcinogen.”  The W.H.O.’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reviewed five organophosphate pesticides in an article published in The Lancet Oncology.  Three of them – malathion, diazinon and glyphosate (by far the world’s most widely used herbicide) – were rated by the world’s top cancer researchers as “probably carcinogenic” for humans.  The research conclusion was actually based on several studies published in peer-reviewed publications and government reports, and rightfully–for obvious reasons– excluded those submitted by industry groups (the Industry’s own safety data on its pesticides are a “commercial secret”.  Independent scientists and the public are not even allowed to see them).  The terms “probable carcinogen” and “limited evidence” used in the study, according to the IARC, means that studies have positively linked exposure to glyphosate to cancer in people, but chance and experimental bias could not be totally ruled out as the cause of that link.

Then again, smoking was also once categorized as a merely “probable” carcinogen to humans, as well…

According to the IARC study there was more than sufficient evidence in animals, technically “limited” but compelling evidence in humans and very strong supporting evidence showing DNA mutations … and damaged chromosomes (known to precede all cancer development).   Monsanto (having representatives operating in all major political cabinets throughout the world) has built a $59.83 billion+ company (as of May 2014) on sales of glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide, not to mention its GMO crops that have been questionably genetically engineered to (among other questionable things) tolerate being saturated with toxic Roundup.  –And Monsanto battles every single legislative bill and consumer initiative attempting to establish basic, simple labeling of GMO-containing foods (GMO crops are already totally banned in at least 65 countries around the world for innumerable sound reasons. – Watch the excellent documentary film ‘Genetic Roulette’ for free online for a superb overview of the fascinating, important and exhaustively researched disturbing facts). In fact, just FYI–there is currently even a Monsanto-friendly Industry “dream bill” that was just submitted to the US congress (HR 1599) attempting to make basic labeling of GMO foods ILLEGAL.  If GMO’s are so gosh-darn good for us, why then is Monsanto so afraid of us knowing when it’s in our food?

Oh—and did I mention the irony that “probably carcinogenic” glyphosate has been found in the very parenteral formulas fed to children with cancer in hospitals through their feeding tubes?

Anything wrong with this picture?

Think that’s all?

According to Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD and Sayer Ji in an article titled “Monsanto’s Darkest Secret: Roundup’s Effect On The Fetus”:

Earth Open Source, a group of independent scientists (think: not paid to scientifically support corporations) published a compendium of literature that they called “Roundup and Birth Defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?” stating, “The pesticide industry and EU regulators knew as long ago as the 1980s-1990s that Roundup, the world’s best selling herbicide, causes birth defects – but they failed to inform the public.  The report was the byproduct of an international collaboration of concerned scientists and researchers, and reveals in shocking clarity how the industry’s own studies show Roundup causes birth defects in laboratory animals. One of the damning studies was even commissioned by Monsanto, the manufacturer of the herbicide.

The findings of the report were summarized as follows:

  • Industry has known from its own studies since the 1980s that glyphosate causes malformations in experimental animals at high doses
  • Industry has known since 1993 that these effects also occur at lower and mid doses
  • The German government has known since at least 1998 that glyphosate causes malformations
  • The EU Commission’s expert scientific review panel knew in 1999 that glyphosate causes malformations
  • The EU Commission has known since 2002 that glyphosate causes malformations. This was the year it signed off on the current approval of glyphosate.

The EU Commission had previously ignored or dismissed many other findings from the independent scientific literature showing that Roundup and glyphosate cause endocrine disruptiondamage to DNAreproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and cancer, as well as birth defects. Many of these effects are found at very low doses, comparable to levels of pesticide residues found in food and the environment, challenging the notion that there is such thing as a “safe threshold” of exposure.  Effects likely to be missed include endocrine disruption, effects on development, amplifying the effects of added ingredients (adjuvants), effects of combinations of chemicals, and effects on bees. Also likely to be missed are effects found in independent peer reviewed scientific literature, as the old directive does not explicitly say that such studies must be included in industry’s dossier.

In the realm of persistent and bioaccumulative pesticides and herbicides, testing only the active ingredient or “AP” may leave manufacturers falsely reassured. Toxicant synergy has exploded the simplistic notion of “the dose makes the poison” and a critical paper in Biomed Research International entitled Major Pesticides Are More Toxic to Human Cells Than Their Declared Active Principles aimed to address flawed assumptions around pesticide and herbicide toxicity, finding that Monsanto’s Roundup may be up to 10,000 times more toxic than glyphosate alone.

STILL MORE TROUBLE WITH COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE INFANT FORMULAS:

A study published in 2009 in the peer reviewed journal, Kidney International additionally demonstrated concerns about the contaminant known as “melamine” in commercial infant formulas, stating that “Recent outbreaks of nephrolithiasis (kidney stones) and acute kidney injury among children in China have been linked to ingestion of milk-based infant formula contaminated with melamine. These cases provide evidence in humans for the nephrotoxicity of melamine, which previously had been described only in animals. The consequences of this outbreak are already severe and will likely continue to worsen.”

The researchers went on to say that:

“This epidemic of environmental kidney disease highlights the morbidity associated with adulterated food products available in today’s global marketplace and reminds us of the unique vulnerability of the kidney to environmental insults. Melamine is the latest in a growing list of diverse potentially toxic compounds about which nephrologists and other health-care providers responsible for the diagnosis and management of kidney disease must now be aware.”

I think we can be quite certain that kidney issues aren’t the only casualty of the mainstream health authority “approved” processed and chemical/GMO/pesticide-tainted food supply and infant formulas.  The vitamins in these formulas are synthetic and even (in the case of dl-alpha tocopherol and its B-vitamins) petroleum derived.  Also, many of the so-called “minerals” added to commercial infant formulas are not even naturally found in food!  They are either totally inorganic and (at best) non-compatible with human physiology or amount to being little more than toxic mineral waste products from the mining and chemical industries.  Examples include substances such as copper/cupric sulfate, (used industrially as an herbicide, insecticide fungicide and additionally to kill algae and mollusks) and sodium selenate (a toxic byproduct of copper metal refining–not allowed in public drinking water in the US above 50 parts per billion according to EPA Federal Drinking Water Standards due to concerns associated with its toxicity).

A material safety data sheet on cupric sulfate, an ingredient in almost every commercial infant formula clearly defines the following:

Potential Acute Health Effects:

  • Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation.

Potential Chronic Health Effects:

  • CARCINOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available.
  • MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells.
  • TERATROGENIC EFFECTS: Not available.
  • DEVELOPMENT TOXICITY: Not available.
  • The substance may be toxic to kidneys, liver. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.”

And it also says:

“Do not ingest. Do not breathe dust. Wear suitable protective clothing. In case of insufficient ventilation, wear suitable respiratory equipment. If ingested, seek medical advice immediately and show t he container or the label. Avoid contact with skin and eyes. Keep away from incompatibles such as metals, alkalis.”

The following popular commercially formulated industrial chemical cocktail (and innumerable others like it) is among those considered by mainstream authorities to be the only “acceptable” and “safe” type of infant formulation—even fed to sick babies in hospitals.  This is the ingredient list that the howling, self-righteous diet dictocrats consider some sort of superior alternative when breast milk isn’t available (also, ironically, all containing synthetic vitamin A, among other even more damaging substances, like toxic glyphosate and Roundup herbicide residues)?

PediaSure_Ingredients

Note the presence of “cupric” (copper) sulfate and sodium selenate on the above ingredient list (i.e., industrial waste products and known toxic substances included as “minerals” for babies).  This product and others like it also contains highly antigenic (milk, corn and soy products/byproducts), inflammatory/endocrine dysregulating (maltodextrin, sugar, table salt, soy oil), trans fats (soy oil), GMO-related products (soy and corn) along with carcinogens (probable GMO pesticide residues and carrageenan), all-synthetic “vitamins”, inorganic (and/or potentially toxic) minerals such as ferrous sulfate and all other non-food “minerals” in this formula, along with “artificial flavors.” All approved for babies.

But what about commercial infant formulas made for more “sensitive” infants?

sensitive_formula

Gee…yet another toxic baby formula containing…you guessed it:  cupric sulfate (along with toxic, chromosome-damaging sodium selenate, sodium selenite, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, zinc sulfate, calcium chloride, potassium hydroxide, calcium chloride and all the other established-as-problematic suspects).

Even many supposed “organic” commercial formulations aren’t any better.  Case in point, the following product.  Check out the scary ingredient list at the company’s own web site: http://www.earthsbest.com/products/product/2392310040

 

Earths_BestIngredients_Earths_Best

And all this barely touches the tip of the risks associated with commercial infant formula:

  • Formula-fed infants have a higher risk of childhood cancers
  • Candida occurrence in oral cavities is more prevalent in formula fed infants than breast-fed ones
  • Commercial cow’s milk-based infant formula increases the risk for Type 1 diabetes
  • Increased risk of serious infections in babies (including bacterial meningitis, necrotizing enterocolitis, and sepsis associated with powdered commercial infant formulas
  • Diarrhea, lower respiratory tract infection and more frequent hospitalization associated with commercial infant formulas
  • Commercial formula feeding skews immune cell composition toward adaptive immunity and delayed recruitment of innate immunity cells in infants compared to breastfeeding
  • Formula fed infants may have stunted synaptogenesis and slower neurodevelopment
  • “Immunological programming by breast milk creates an anti-inflammatory cytokine milieu in breast-fed infants compared to formula-fed infants”
  • Infant feeding with soy-based infant formulas has an adverse effect on puberty, reproductive function and testicular cell numbers in monkeys
  • “Formula feeding is associated with increased hospital admissions due to infections among infants younger than 6 months in Manila, Philippines”
  • Breastfed infants induce a greater phagocytic capacity against C. albicans (Candida infection) in neutrophils than serum from formula-fed infants
  • Infants consuming commercial formula are at greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

And on and ON…

Officially sanctioned Russian roulette for your babies, anyone?

A US review in 2002 summarized the following:

“Infant formula, like no other food, is regulated by its own law, the Infant Formula Act of 1980 as amended in 1986. The act sets lower limits on 29 nutrients (so-called “table nutrients” because they appear in table form. U.S. Code of Federal Regulations 21 CFR 107.100). . . . Manufacturers are required to follow “good manufacturing practice,” but no requirement for sterility is specified . . . Powdered formula is not guaranteed nor required to be free of pathogenic organisms .” (Baker, 2002).

Still trust those mainstream, corporate controlled health and nutrition policy-making authorities and the products they endorse (and/or condemn)?

Are these carcinogenic, pesticide-laden and highly processed mainstream formulas what Charlotte Carr (and other moms in her predicament) are supposed to feed her baby instead of the natural, time-tested, nutritious and nutrient dense, WHOLE-FOOD-BASED liver recipe she carefully researched and formulated for her own son—only after she found she could not use her own breast milk for him?  A natural formula that unquestioningly and very positively transformed his health, by the way?  If I were a mother in her position I would want—more than anything—to know this recipe.

Healthy and thriving "Paleo baby", Willow and his beautiful mom, Charlotte Carr

Healthy and thriving “Paleo baby”, Willow and his beautiful mom, Charlotte Carr

MORE SCARY FACTS

According to a study done in 2004 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 11% of new mothers rely exclusively on breastfeeding; which implies that most infants are exposed to these commercial formulas at some point.  It may be why the US today (in 2015) has among the highest rate of infant mortality and poor child health in the industrialized world (ranking #31 out of the world’s 47 developed countries).  Also today, children are expected—for the first time in recorded history—to develop diseases and die 33% earlier than their grandparents.  Age 30 has become the new 45 with respect to on-setting disease.  Let’s just say that commercially prepared, processed and toxin-laden infant formulas aren’t helping—along with the rest of what comes with the mainstream food supply and the government guidelines that have led us all here.  These government guidelines have NOT made us healthier—they have progressively eroded our collective health the more closely we have followed them.

“The Infant Nutrition Council based in Australia makes a claim similar to the one by the Infant Formula Council in the U.S.: “Infant formula has been specifically developed to contain all the necessary ingredients needed to meet an infant’s nutritional requirements” (Infant Nutrition Council, 2011)…How would they explain the fact that formula feeding leads to worse health outcomes than breastfeeding?”

Also, according to the same researcher, “If we assess formula by its results, rather than by whether its ingredients matched a specific list, we would have to conclude that there has never been an infant formula that would “satisfy,” by itself, the nutritional requirements of infants during the first months of life.” 

SOMEONE has some explaining to do—and it isn’t Pete Evans, Helen Padarin or Charlotte Carr.

So where’s the “altruistic” health authority and media outcry regarding GMO’s, RoundUp/glyphosate pesticide-containing and/or soy-based, partially hydrogenated, contaminated and chemically-laden commercial infant formulas?  Hm?  Still think a little liver and bone broth is the problem?

With respect to the Bubba Yum Yum baby formula alternative (now forcibly renamed: “Happy Tummy Brew”—replacing the former name of ‘DIY Baby Milk Formula’ in the book), the media flap both in Australia and as far away as the US has been incomprehensibly sensationalistic.  And ALL because there is a significant amount of naturally occurring, vitamin A in liver as one ingredient.  SERIOUSLY? “Professor” Heather Yeatman, president of the Public Health Association of Australia, told The Weekly (online) that “In my view, there’s a very real possibility that a baby may die if this book goes ahead.”

OMG—she actually said this?

GETTING DOWN TO IT

The following laboratory analysis illustrates what all the “baby killing” rhetoric is about:

The whole food-based, liver-containing Bubba Yum Yum “Happy Tummy Brew” recipe contains (drumroll please): 2,256 IU of naturally occurring, organic, whole food-based vitamin A per 200 ml serving (6.25 μg or .676800032 mg).  Most babies will consume less than that in a serving, but they have accounted for a maximum feeding.  They are recommending the use of this particular recipe up to three times per day all of twice per week.

They also are clear to state that—wherever humanly possible—breastfeeding is always best.

This is what all of the hubbub about the dangers of vitamin A-rich, Paleo-friendly baby food is all about.  Perhaps the greater danger with this formula is the threat to profits when it comes to commercially available baby formulas—After all, the global market for the far more questionable commercial infant formulas is at an estimated 7.9 billion dollars annually.  The fear mongering, mainstream authorities, corporate and tabloid press decrying this book should literally be no less than ashamed of themselves.

Someone owes Charlotte Carr, Helen Padarin and Pete Evans (along with the rest of us…including babies everywhere) a major apology.

And soon.

NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS OF COMMERCIAL FORMULA AND HAPPY TUMMY BREW

Nutritional_Analysis

Click for the full nutritional analysis PDF: Nutritional_Analysis

IF YOU WOULD LIKE THE FULLY REFERENCED VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE COMPLETE WITH 147 CITATIONS, PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK: VITAMIN A UNDER ATTACK DOWN UNDER

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