Archive for the ‘Scientific Results’ Category

Is Hot Lemon Water Really The Best Morning Detox Drink?

hot lemon waterQ: Is it true that I should start the day with hot water with lemon? What’s the story behind this theory?

A: Like most health and fitness lore, the magic properties of drinking a juiced lemon in warm water each morning is rooted in a seed of truth, but the impact of the ritual is greatly overstated. Let’s look at the three main purported benefits and any evidence to support those claims.

1. Lemon improves digestion. Actually in some cases the fruit could exacerbate issues with your stomach: Citric acid in lemons can cause or contribute to stomach pains and cramps. So where does the idea that drinking lemon juice improves digestion come from? There is a study from about three decades ago that shows citric acid can improve absorption of aluminum hydroxide (the active ingredient in most antacids). I have read online that the acidic nature of lemon juice is supposed to support an optimal acidic environment in your stomach, but this is complete speculation and, as pointed out earlier, in certain individuals could have the opposite effect.

2. Lemon juice boosts mineral absorption. The vitamin C found in lemon juice has been shown to enhance mineral absorption, but you don’t need warm lemon juice to get this effect. Vitamin C is one of the most ubiquitous vitamins in fruits and vegetables. We often think of citrus fruits as being the major or even only source of C, but non-yellow and orange fruits and vegetables such as bell peppers, kale, strawberries, broccoli, and spinach all contain robust amounts of vitamin C. As long as you are having a fruit or vegetable with your morning meal, then you can expect to reap the enhanced absorption of minerals at that meal.

3. Lemon detoxes. One of the biggest health hypes about lemons and lemon juice is that they help detoxify your body. I recommend that you get very skeptical about any food or supplement claim regarding detoxification. It is such a general term that it is almost useless. The human body is so complex, what is getting detoxified? What are the toxins being removed? Where are they going?

Regarding lemon, there is an antioxidant in the fruit called d-limonene, which is also found in oranges and is most highly concentrated in the peels of lemons or oranges. D-limonene has been shown to activate enzymes in the liver that are part of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification processes. These processes take compounds present in the liver that are toxic to cells and convert them to non-harmful or less harmful versions. These “toxins” can range from caffeine to ibuprofen.

Does lemon juice contain enough D-limonene needed to enhance this process? Probably not. A liter of citrus juice (not made with the peels) contains on average 100 milligrams (mg) D-limonene. Researchers estimate the active dose of limonene is a minimum of 500mg. D-limonene is a fascinating compound that might also work to ease gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), but doses would require supplementation.

As you can see, as a citrus fruit, lemon has a handful of characteristics and compounds that contribute to good health, but one lemon juiced in a glass of warm water probably isn’t going to do much for your health.

~ Courtesy of SHAPE Magazine and OMG

Seasonal Holistic Pick Me Ups

soupsWhen cold and flu season arrives, why do some people get sick while others don’t? Researchers at Duke University infected 17 healthy people with a flu virus and found that only 9 of them got sick. Blood samples showed that immune system reaction, which determined sickness or health, began up to 36 hours before symptoms appeared.

To beat colds and flu, these natural remedies can be used by adults and children and have stood the test of time.

ECHINACEA:  A review published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases found tat Echinacea effectively decreased the odds of developing the common cold by 58 percent and cut the duration of a cold by 1.4 days. Take it during cold and flu season. for children, look for alcohol-free versions.

ASTRAGALUS: The herb strengthens the immune system safely. Some herbal formulas contain a combination with Echinacea.

ZINC LOZENGES: Zinc acetate, gluconate or gluconate-glycine lozenges have been shown to reduce duration of colds.

HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES: These strengthen your body’s ability to fight off viruses. Popular ones include Oscillococcium to nip the flu symptoms in the bud or if you wait, to reduce duration of flu, and Coldcalm for colds.

STRENGTHENING IMMUNITY

To lower your chances of getting “bit” by seasonal cold and flu bugs, take these:

PROBIOTICS: Friendly bacteria in our digestive system are essential for healthy immune function. A study of nearly 500 adults, published the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeautics, found daily probiotics plus a multivitamin, taken for three months in winter and spring, were particularly effective. And in a study of nearly 250 children ages 3 to 5., published in Pediatrics, those who took probiotics twice daily for 6 months missed one-third fewer days from child care. Probiotics reduced incidence of flu-related fever by 53 percent, cough by 41 percent, and colds by 28 percent.

VITAMIN C: At least 40 studies have found that vitamin C reduces the duration and intensity of colds and flu by up to 40 percent, when approximately 1 gram daily is taken for 2 months or more. One study, published in Advances in Natural Therapy, found that compared to a placebo, vitamin C resulted in 26 percent fewer colds, and severe symptoms lasted only half as long.

WELLMUNE WGP: Also listed on labels as WGP Beta Glucan, Wellmune WGP is derived from the cell wall of a proprietary strain of baker’s yeast. Numerous studies have shown that 250 or 500 mg daily reduced colds and flu., especially for people under stress, such as firefighters, marathoner, and medial residents – and enhanced energy.

Winter Immune Boost For The Youth

During the winter months, kids are inevitably exposed to bugs at school, in day care, or when playing with their friends. Along with a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and regular physical activity, the right supplements can help young immune systems resist infection. And during the rest of the year, the same nutrients can help them stay healthy and active thrive.

Kids vitaminsMULTIVITAMIN AND MINERAL: No child eats a perfect diet and a multi ensures all-round nutrition. Look for whole food-based products designed for kids, with a combination of natural forms of vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols), and follow product directions. Those who don’t eat dairy products need extra calcium and magnesium, and kids on vegetarian diets should take vitamin B12.

VITAMIN D3: Studies show that up to 60 percent of kids may lack vitamin D, essential for a healthy immune system, bone growth, a healthy heart and protection against cancer. Levels can be tested by a doctor. As a guide, some holistic physicians recommend 400IU for infants, 800-1,000IU for toddlers and 2,000 IU for kids old enough to go to school.

FISH OIL: Necessary for healthy development of the nervous system and brain omega-3 fats in fish oil protect against bugs, damage from toxins and inflammation. Lack of these nutrients is associated with ADHD and autism. Many fish oil products are designed specifically for kids. Consider 200mg of DHA and EPA (combined) for each 50 pounds of a child’s body weight. Vegetarian sources include DHA from algae and flax seed oil.

PROBIOTICS: Antibiotics taken by the mother during pregnancy or while breast feeding or by the child, destroy healthy gut bacteria, damaging immunity. Look for combinations that include lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Some multivitamins contain probiomushroomstics.

MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS AND HERBS: For protection against viruses and bacteria, look for combination of medicinal mushrooms and immune-enhancing herbs such as astragalus.

BEST FORMS: Many chewable and liquid products are naturally flavored for kid’s taste buds. Or, mix liquids, powders or contents of capsules into smoothies or other food. Look for little or no added sugars and avoid artificial flavoring, preservatives and other additives.

IMPROVE ATTENTION SPAN

A helpful diet includes regular meals and snacks that are free of artificial additives, low in refined carbohydrates and include moderate amounts of protein (especially fish and eggs) balanced with vegetables and other whole foods.

Fish oil has been shown to improve attention span. And, for serious attention difficulties, 200-300mg daily of phosphatidylserine (P5) is a safe and effective nutrient that helps with memory, particularly for those with ADHD.

EASE CHILDHOOD ECZEMA

Approximately 15 percent of children have eczema, characterized by red, itchy lesions. The trigger may well be undiagnosed food sensitivities, the most common of which include gluten (found in wheat, rye, barley and other grains), citrus fruits, tomatoes, soy milk, and/or cow’s milk. Eliminatingchickweed these foods from a child’s diet, one at a time for two weeks, will identify problem foods and may well clear up the skin.

Helpful supplements for eczema include probiotics, fish oil with a minimum of 500mg of EPA and DHA (combined) or 2-3 tsp. of flax seed oil daily.

MORE EXZEMA REMEDIES: Look for homeopathic formulas designed to treat your child’s specific symptoms. Topically, try our OMGRx Line’s Exit Eczema Cream or an itch cream with chickweed. Or add liquid chickweed extract or powder (from capsules) to a bath.

Reference – Health Guide 2013

Food You Weren’t Eating In 2012 But Need In 2013 To Become Well

Power through your workouts, lose weight, and boost your health with these commonyet often overlooked foods.

 Seaweed
Perhaps most coseaweedmmonly eaten wrapped around a sushi roll, nori is loaded with iodine, a mineral essential for proper thyroid function. While iodized salt was introduced in 1924 to prevent goiter, the increased emphasis on low-sodium diets and the popularity of sea salt, which often doesn’t contain iodine, have recently resurfaced concerns about getting enough iodine. This trace mineral isn’t the only benefit of sea vegetables. Nori contains high levels of vitamin K and iron, micronutrients essential for proper cellular function. Look for nori pieces in the international section of your supermarket and crumble them on top of chili, soups, and salads. (This will add a little extra salty flavor, so if you are salt sensitive, use less in your recipe.)
 
Sauerkrautsaurekraut

Considering cabbage is low-carb, high-fiber, and contains cancer-fighting 3-indole carbinol and d-glucarate, a compound that works to clear excess estrogen, the veggie is already a superfood. Fermenting it into sauerkraut, however, puts it on nutritional steroids. The probiotics that drive fermentation also help repopulate your digestive system with healthy, hardworking good bacteria that lower inflammation, improve digestion, and maybe even aid in weight loss. Plus fermentation increases the bioavailablity of the antioxidants found in cabbage, and the longer cabbage ferments, the higher the levels of antioxidants become, meaning your body can better absorb and use them.

 Shirataki Noodles

noodlesPasta lovers, it’s time to throw an Italian feast: Now you can enjoy your noodles for 20 calories and 5 carbs (and some brands have even less of both!) per serving. Shirataki noodles are made from the konjac plant, the same plant that we get the fiber and satiety supplement glucomannan from—read: They keep you full. Shirataki don’t have much flavor and come in every shape from angel to fettuccine to penne and more, so you can use them in any pasta recipe. Just take them out of the bag, rinse thoroughly, and heat, and they’re ready to toss into stroganoff, primavera, or whatever you’re craving.

~ Thanks to S contributers

Fruit and Medication: Death Results Rising

grapefruit-and-drugsThe number of medications with the potential to interact with grapefruit and  cause serious adverse health effects has jumped from 17 to 43 in the last four  years, warns a researcher.

The number of drugs when mixed with grapefruit that can lead to serious  health problems, including sudden death, has skyrocketed, warns a Canadian  researcher who first discovered the toxic link.

In an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, David Bailey, a  scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ontario, said more  than 85 drugs, many of them highly prescribed for common medical conditions, are  known to interact with the pink fruit.

He first made the link 20 years ago.

But the number of medications with the potential to interact with grapefruit  and cause serious adverse health effects has jumped from 17 to 43 in the last  four years, as new drugs have been rolled out, Bailey said.

“How big a problem are such interactions? Unless health care professionals  are aware of the possibility that the adverse event they are seeing might have  an origin in the recent addition of grapefruit to the patient’s diet, it is very  unlikely that they will investigate it,” Bailey said.

Generally patients don’t say they eat grapefruit and doctors don’t ask, he  lamented in the article.

Grapefruit poses a risk when mixed with certain drugs because it inhibits an  enzyme that metabolizes ingested drugs, resulting in the drugs entering the  bloodstream at full force, which can lead to overdosing.

Some of the drugs known to interact with grapefruit include anti-cancer  agents, heart drugs, pain medications and drugs to treat schizophrenia. All of  them are administered orally.

It doesn’t take much grapefruit to have an effect. Drinking a single glass  of grapefruit juice with medication can lead to serious side effects, including  gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney failure, breathing problems and sudden  death.

Other citrus fruits such as Seville oranges and limes can have similar  effects. But they have been studied less.

~ Thanks to NYC Daily News

Natural Sunscreen Ingredients

Thanks to an increasing body of research on the UV-protective qualities of fruits, herbs and other plant-based ingredients, sunscreen manufacturers will soon tap more than minerals and chemicals for their formulations.

Beyond resveratrol and lycopene, which have been gaining momentum as plant-based sun care for several years, new research highlights propolis, strawberries, turmeric and more.

Check out the leading contenders with this roster of ingredients showing promise both for topical and ingestible applications.

Golden serpent fern

A tropical plant found in the Americas, golden serpent fern is touted for its ability to help ease skin inflammation issues such as psoriasis. New research published this month in Alternative and Complementary Therapies shows it also has sun-protective potential, acting as an antioxidant and helping to combat effects of excessive UV exposure when taken orally. In the study, 7.5 mg/kg of a golden serpent fern extract significant reduced sun damage in individuals with light complexions.

Green tea

The same research from Alternative and Complementary Therapies showed that applying green tea extract topically and taking it internally helped to maintain skin elasticity, which sun exposure can negatively affect. Plus, drinking a 2 to 3 percent green tea beverage reduced UVB skin damage.

Propolis

No longer taking a back seat to honey, beeswax and royal jelly, this resin-like material that honeybees collect from the buds of poplar and cone-bearing trees is gaining popularity in skin care and supplements. Next could be sunscreens. When applied to mice, a 16 percent concentration propolis cream provided an SPF 20, according to research.

Strawberries

We know it’s one of the healthiest antioxidant-rich foods on earth, topping the ANDI list of the most nutrient-dense fruits. But a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry showed that strawberry extract—rich in antioxidants anthocyanidins and anthocyanins—also may display topical skin care benefits. According to the research, at a concentration of .5 mg/ml, strawberry extract helps to protect against UV radiation and reduce DNA damage.

Caffeine

When ingested, caffeinated beverages such as coffee may help fight UV-related skin cancer. But you don’t need to drink it to get the benefits: A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows caffeine has UV-fighting potential when applied topically as well.

According to the research, it may help guard against certain skin cancers by inhibiting ATR, a protein enzyme in the skin, leading to 72 percent fewer cases of a form of skin cancer called squamos cell carcinomas in mice. This adds to caffeine’s other topical benefits, including helping to reduce inflammation and cellulite.

Resveratrol

Found in the skins of grapes, some berries, raisins, peanuts and cocoa, this potent antioxidant has been gaining attention as a key antiaging ingredient for its ability to fight free-radical damage from the inside.

A more recent study, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, showed that grape flavonoid antioxidants may also help prevent UVA and UVB damage when applied topically.

Lycopene

The main antioxidant in tomatoes, lycopene decreases inflammation and inhibits a tumor-promoting enzyme when applied to skin.

U.K. research also has reported that consuming tomato paste may protect against sunburn and sun-induced skin aging. About 5 tablespoons tomato paste with 10 grams olive oil daily to 10 volunteers for 12 weeks increased their UV protection by 33 percent, compared to 10 control subjects

Turmeric

This Ayurvedic spice helps to fight skin-damaging free radicals and tame inflammation. Plus, new research further supports its ability to prevent sun-related skin aging.

According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, turmeric has photo-protective qualities, plus helps increase sebum production for overall skin hydration and restoration.

Blue-green algae

In addition to impressive antioxidant and nutrient values (chlorophyll, B vitamins, beta-carotene and fatty acids), this algae also has UV-fighting potential, reports Harvard Medical School.

The reason: Blue-green algae is photosynthetic, meaning it gets energy from sunlight. Because not all sun’s rays are beneficial to blue-green algae, it filters out harmful ones, producing small molecules that shield it from solar radiation. This action is much like UV-protective ingredients used in sunscreen.

Pickle Juice – The New #1 Sports Drink

Currently professional, college and high school football teams and college and  high school cross country track teams will soon be beginning their hot summer practices.  They will also begin their need to drink pickle juice as a way to help stave off  muscle cramps. Runners and bikers, especially those in the very warm southern  climates also know full well the benefits that pickle juice provides. Pickle  juice can definitely help to prevent muscle cramping.

Pickle juice contains salt, calcium chloride and vinegar. The basic ingredients  are similar to what you would find in isotonic drinks. Where pickle juice has  acetic acid, isotonic drinks contain citric acid, like the sports drink  featuring the name gator and power in it.

Sometimes you may sneak a sip of juice from the pickle jar. That’s OK. That  seemingly worthless liquid, which often gets tossed into the trash when the  pickles are gone, could be the key to athletic endurance and avoiding  debilitating leg cramps?

The use of pickle juice as a defense against muscle cramps first attracted  headlines when the Philadelphia Eagles credited pickle juice with their  cramp-free win over the Dallas Cowboys in the over-one-hundred-degrees Texas  heat. Rick Burkholder, the Eagles’ head trainer, called it his “secret weapon.”  Pickle companies (such as Mt. Olive Pickle, Vlasic Foods and Golden Pickle)  claim that pickle juice is similar to an isotonic beverage and can prevent  muscle cramps caused from strenuous exercise.

Golden Pickle has even created a sports drink, appropriately named “Pickle  Juice Sport.” Golden Pickle claims that Pickle Juice Sport has “approximately 30  times more electrolytes than Powerade and 15 times more than Gatorade.” It is  even endorsed by Dallas Cowboy Jason Witten.

So how does this work? Muscle cramps are caused by dehydration from  exercising in hot weather and not drinking enough fluids. How could pickle juice  help? When you sweat during exercise, you lose a lot of salt and minerals. These  minerals and salt are also known as electrolytes. This loss of electrolytes can  cause muscle cramping, especially in hot, humid weather. Cells in the body use  electrolytes in the cell fluid to maintain voltages across their cell membranes  and to carry electrical impulses to other cells. In the case of my bike ride, I  had to be able to use my muscles in both a pulling and contracting motion, or  muscle contractions. Pickle juice has a very high salt, or electrolyte content.  Therefore, drinking pickle juice before and during exercise could possibly  provide your body with enough salt, that your muscles will not cramp.

Confused? Don’t be. Anything liquid containing any or all of the four  commonly considered electrolytes, sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium will  work to help to prevent muscle cramping. Obviously, the more the better. Give it  a try on a daily basis and see for yourself. Don’t worry about how people look  at you when you tip that empty pickleless laden jar of liquid up to your  lips.

Research Study to Support this OMG Moment:

http://healthpsych.psy.vanderbilt.edu/pickleJuice.htm

~Although there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence supporting the use of pickle juice as a method of preventing dehydration and muscle cramps, the is little scientific evidence supporting or refuting these ideas. Dale, et al. examined the effectiveness of pickle juice as a preventative measure for exercise-associated muscle cramps compared to Gatorade. This study compared the pickle juice from Vlasic Pickles to the carbohydrate sports beverage Gatorade. The two beverage samples were analyzed in a food-composition laboratory to determine the amount of salt, potassium, calcium and magnesium in each product. Pickle juice was found to have considerably more salt than the carbohydrate beverage. Dale et. al. concluded that pickle juice can be used as a remedy for muscle cramps. However, the study warns of the danger of ingesting large amounts of salt and suggests that athletes should dilute the pickle juice with a sufficient quantity of a hypotonic or isotonic solution. Two ounces is the suggested serving size of pickle juice.

http://sweatscience.com/pickle-juice-stops-muscle-cramps/

~ Researchers suggest that the pickle juice acts on neural reflexes — a plausible suggestion, given that earlier experiments have found that vinegar can provoke reflexes and affect neurotransmitter levels. This fits with an alternate theory that cramps have nothing to do with dehydration or electrolyte loss, first proposed in the 1990s by Martin Schwellnus of the University of Cape Town:

“Schwellnus et al. proposed that [cramps] were due to neuromuscular fatigue. Neuromuscular fatigue is thought to create an imbalance between muscle spindle and Golgi tendon organ activity, resulting in increased alpha motor neuron excitability. Thus, if [cramps] are caused by an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory stimuli at the alpha motor neuron pool, pickle juice ingestion may cause an increase in inhibition from supraspinal sources, thereby resulting in cramp alleviation.”

Health and Wellness With a Cherry on Top – The New Superfruit

Before a workout

Runner who drank a glass twice a day for a week before a strenuous race had significally less muscle soreness afterward than those who drank a placebo juice. Previous research has suggested that drinking cherry juice helps muscles recover better from a strength-training workout.

Before Bed

A new study in the European Journal of Nutrition found that adults who had two daily glasses of tart cherry juice slept 39 minutes longer, on average, and spent significantly less time awake in bed compared to those who drank a non-cherry based fruit cocktail. For better zzz’z, researchers advise having a glass 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime.

Any OMG time

Cherries and their juice are a rich souce of powerful class of antioxidants called anthocyanins, “Studies suggest that eating cherries has the potential to lower heart disease risk.

Healthy Icecream for Hospital Recovery Patients

Though they are in the business of healing patients, hospitals and long-term care facilities are rife with germs and bacteria that can hinder a patient’s road to recovery. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two million patients per year pick up infections in U.S. hospitals. About 90,000 die as a result of these deaths, with approximately 70% caused by bacteria that are resistant to at least one antibiotic. Those figures were a compelling factor in the creation of HHice Cream Probiotic Defense, a “healthy hospital” frozen yogurt mix developed by NEWtritious, a relatively new startup food and beverage company based in Los Angeles, CA.
HHice Cream, which debuted at Natural Products Expo West, is designed to deliver “viable and potent probiotics along with a beneficial serving of vitamins and minerals,” and provides “much-needed supplementation” in the form of a cooling soft-serve to coax patients—especially pediatric and geriatric patients—who are reluctant to eat in the hospital. The product’s marquis ingredient is GanedenBC30, a patented strain of probiotic bacteria Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086, which according to the company may help enhance immune system response while supporting gut health.
“Each cell of GanedenBC30 contains a hardened structure, or spore, which is similar to a seed,” explained Michael Arlen, founder and president of NEWtritious. “This spore or seed, serves as a natural protective shield against the strong acids in your stomach to arrive alive and then thrive in your intestines—their intended target. GanedenBC30 is designed by nature to survive and thrive so more probiotic cells can help support your immune system.”
To ensure its probiotic would perform as expected NEWtritious sponsored research at the University of Reading in the U.K. on its proprietary strain BC30. In vitro fermenters (continuous culture) were used to assess the persistence of BC30 in the background of a complex mixed microbiota, and modern molecular based technologies were used to assess microbial changes in the fermenters. The researchers found BC30 to be “effective at persisting in the reactors for the duration of the experimental period,” with no negative effects of supplementation determined.
The researchers also reported that their co-culture work showed that BC30 could exert anti-microbial activity against C. difficile, C. perfringens and Listeria monocytogenes (to varying degrees). And in a culture system designed to favor C. difficile growth, the probiotic demonstrated the ability to repress the pathogen. “In the human situation where persons at risk of C. difficile associated diarrhoea are likely to be taking antibiotics, the BC30 sporulation is almost certain,” the researchers reported. “We propose that both the level of growth (i.e. number of vegetative cells) and phase of growth (i.e. log phase, late log phase, or sporulation) are important factors in the expression of anti-microbial compounds from Bacillus probiotics. We also suggest that the (unique among probiotics) bi-modal lifecycle of BC30 may lead to antimicrobial activity in distal regions of the gastrointestinal tract. This is an important facet given the prevalence of gut disorders in the left side of the large intestine.”
NEWtritious is promoting the product for its ability to “deliver active cultures more effectively than yogurt,” citing an independent lab study that simulated a gastric environment with a pH of 2.0 for two hours during which GanedenBC30 delivered more than 10 times the live cells than common probiotic yogurt cultures.
Mr. Arlen said GanedenBC30 does not adversely influence HHice Cream’s taste, mouth feel, texture or color. “HHice Cream is both appealing and delicious, and can be the perfect solution for those having difficulty swallowing or suffering from alimentary tract inflammation due to chemotherapy or surgery,” he said. “It also provides an enjoyable way to deliver nutrition to children during their hospital stay, as well as healthcare professionals on the go.”
 In addition to Vanilla, 3 D Chocolate (Deep Dark Dutch) and Tart, hospitals can purchase flavored syrups or powders that blend with the Tart Mix for an assortment of soft-serves varieties including: Almond, Banana, Blueberry, Coconut, Green Tea, Kiwi, Lemon Ice, Lychee, Mango, Mint, Passion Fruit, Peach, Pistachio, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Strawberry and Strawberry Banana. – Nutraceuticals World Now

Canned Foods + BPA = Heart Disease

If you have high levels of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in your urine, you may be at an increased risk of heart disease, according to new data from a long-running British health survey.

People who developed heart disease also tended to have higher urinary concentrations of BPA, a somber finding that, while not proof that BPA causes heart disease, raises serious questions about why the chemical is still being so widely used across the globe.

Does BPA Exposure Cause Heart Disease?

Much of the research on BPA — the ubiquitous toxic chemical used in plastics, canned goods, dental sealants, paper money and more — has involved animals, leading skeptics (usually those in the chemical industry) to say the effects may not necessarily be the same in humans.

Well this latest study involved humans, and the results still indicated that exposure to BPA may be correlated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Researchers noted the findings mirrored those found in other large health surveys:

“Associations between higher BPA exposure (reflected in higher urinary concentrations) and incident CAD [coronary artery disease] … over ten years of follow-up showed similar trends to previously reported cross-sectional findings in the more highly exposed NHANES respondents.”

In the NHANES study, published in 2010, U.S. adults with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were more than twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease as those with the lowest levels.Those researchers noted:

“Higher BPA exposure, reflected in higher urinary concentrations of BPA, is consistently associated with reported heart disease in the general adult population of the USA.”

BPA is so pervasive that scientists have found that 95 percent of people tested have potentially dangerous levels of BPA in their bodies … and heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States. BPA is clearly not the only factor involved in heart disease, but given its widespread use – and the fact that it is even commonly found in the umbilical cords of babies in utero — any negative impact it makes on human health could prove disastrous.

BPA Also Linked to Obesity, Insulin Resistance, Reproductive Problems …

BPA is an endocrine disrupter, which means it mimics or interferes with your body’s hormones and “disrupts” your endocrine system. The glands of your endocrine system and the hormones they release are instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes.

Some of the greatest concern surrounds early-life, in utero exposure to BPA, which can lead to chromosomal errors in your developing fetus, causing spontaneous miscarriages and genetic damage. But evidence is also very strong showing these chemicals are influencing adults and children, too, and leading to decreased sperm quality, early puberty, stimulation of mammary gland development, disrupted reproductive cycles and ovarian dysfunction, cancer and heart disease, among numerous other health problems.

For instance, research has found that “higher BPA exposure is associated with general and central obesity in the general adult population of the United States,” while another study found that BPA is associated not only with generalized and abdominal obesity, but also with insulin resistance, which is an underlying factor in many chronic diseases.

Plastics are NOT the Only Route of Exposure to BPA …

Many people have stopped carrying plastic water bottles and using plastic utensils and food containers in order to avoid BPA. As public knowledge of BPA in plastics has grown, a slew of BPA-free plastics  have also hit the market, making it easier to choose products that do not contain this toxin.

However, wise as it may be to limit your use of plastic products, this will not be enough to protect you from BPA’s dangerous effects. BPA is found in the lining of nearly all canned foods and beverages, and it turns out this source of exposure could be increasing your BPA levels alarmingly. In one study, eating canned soup for five days increased study participants’ urinary concentrations of BPA by more than 1,000% compared to eating freshly made soup.

The researchers believe canned goods may be an even more concerning source of exposure to BPA than plastics, and if the above finding that increased urinary levels of BPA are linked to heart disease are confirmed, it’s logical to assume that eating canned goods could increase your risk of heart disease significantly because of the exposure to BPA!

As one of the world’s highest production volume chemicals, BPA is incredibly common in food and drinks packaging, as well as in other places you probably wouldn’t expect, like receipts. A study in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry found that of 13 thermal printing papers (the type often used for receipts) analyzed, 11 contained BPA.Holding the paper for just 5 seconds was enough to transfer BPA onto a person’s skin, and the amount of BPA transferred increased by about 10 times if the fingers were wet or greasy.

Handling paper currency is another likely route of exposure, as in a study published in Environmental Science and Technology, researchers analyzed paper currencies from 21 countries for the presence of BPA, and the chemical was detected in every sample.They also measured the transfer of BPA from thermal receipt paper to currency by placing the two together in a wallet for 24 hours. This dramatically increased the concentrations of BPA on the money, which again suggests that receipts are highly contaminated.

Is it Possible to Avoid Having Your Health Damaged by BPA?

BPA is all around us, that’s true, but steps are slowly being made to phase out its use. BPA has been banned in baby bottles in Europe and the United States, for instance, and in response to consumer demand, some companies are also following suit.

It’s important to make an effort to support the companies that have already removed BPA from their products, or those that offer products that never contained it (such as baby toys made from natural fabrics instead of plastic). If enough people refuse to buy BPA-containing goods, companies will have no choice but to get this toxin out of their products.

For information on companies that are making efforts to explore BPA-free packaging or have already begun phasing BPA out of their products altogether, see the report Seeking Safer Packaging: Ranking Packaged Food Companies on BPA by the environmentally oriented investment firm Green Century and As You Sow, a non-profit working toward increasing corporate social responsibility. Of course, it’s also important to boycott the common sources of BPA that are still in production, such as:

  • Canned foods and soda cans
  • All BPA-containing plastics
  • Certain tooth sealants
  • Certain BPA-free plastics (which can contain similar endocrine-disrupting chemicals)
  • Receipts and currency (while you can’t “boycott” these, seek to limit or avoid carrying receipts in your wallet or purse, as it appears the chemical is transferring onto other surfaces it touches. It would also be wise to wash your hands after handling receipts and currency, and avoid handling them particularly if      you’ve just put lotion or have any other greasy substance on your hands,      as this may increase your exposure)

One final tip: certain “friendly bacteria” have the ability to break down BPA, as well as reduce your intestinal absorption of it.  So one way to help protect yourself from the adverse effects of inevitable BPA exposure is by eating traditionally fermented foods, such as raw grass-fed organic kefir, organic fermented veggies, like sauerkraut or Kimchi, or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement.

~ Source: Dr. Mercola

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