Friday, January 28, 2011

We interrupt the regularly scheduled blog to bring you this very special information!

The other day I was at the Pharmaca Pharmacy in South Boulder waiting for a prescription for a new thyroid medication (that is a whole different blog...). As I was standing there, I noticed several pamphlets, one was regarding the use of statins. “Did you know that statins deplete your Coenzyme Q10, an enzyme vital to your heart health? ”Are you taking steroids? Did you know that steroids deplete the following vitamins and minerals?”  Folic Acid, Calcium, Zinc and Magnesium. (See the charts below for common medications, vitamins depleted and possible side effects from depletion.)  I came back a couple of days later and spent 2 hours going through the Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook, 2nd Edition; Ross Pelton, RPh, Ph.D., CCN  looking up all of the medications my mom is on. It really shed a new light on some of the symptoms she is experiencing!
 Drug Induced Nutrient Depletion Guide
Types of Medication
Common Examples
Amoxicillin, Erythromycin, etc.
Bifidobacteria bifidum, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Biotin, Inositol*, Potassium, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, K
Blood Pressure Lowering Medications
Diuretics: furosemide (lasix)
Vitamins B1, B6, C, Magnesium,Calcium, Potassium, Zinc, Sodium
Thiazides: HCT, Amiloride
Magnesium, Potassium, Coenzyme Q10, Sodium, Zinc, Phosphorus*
Beta Blocker: Atenolol, Propranolol
Coenzyme Q10
Cholesterol Lowering Medications
Statins: Zocor, Lipitor, Crestor
Coenzyme Q10 and indirectly Vitamin D
Fenofibrate: Tricor
Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin E
Bile Acid Sequestrant: Colestid, Questran
Vitamins A, D, E, K, Beta Carotene, B-12, Folate, Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus*
Diabetes Medications
Glucophage (Metformin)
Vitamin B-12, Folic Acid
Glucotrol, Glyburide
Pain/Anti-Inflammatory Medications
Vitamin C, Potassium, Folic acid, Iron
NSAIDS: Motrin, Naprosyn, Lodine, Ibuprofen, Advil
Folic acid
Steroids: Hydrocortisone
Vitamin C, D, Folic acid, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium, Selenium
Heartburn or Reflux Medications
Prilosec, Prevacid, Aciphex, Nexium, Protonix
Vitamin B-12, Protein
Zantac, Axid, Pepcid, Tagamet
Vitamin D, B-12, Folic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Protein
Hormone Replacement Medications
Oral Contraceptives:
Ortho Tri-Cyclen
Vitamins B2, B3, B6, B-12, C, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium
Hormone Replacement Therapy: Premarin
Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Zinc

Along with this, I found the corresponding Depleted Nutrients and signs to watch for:
B1 (Thiamin) Depression, memory loss, weight loss, fatigue, numbness, muscle weakness, edema, mental confusion, indigestion, heart palpitations, neuritis and irritability.
B2 (Riboflavin) Dermatitis, Cheilosis (cracks in the corners of the mouth), fatigue, swollen tongue, vision loss, itching and tearing of the eyes.
B3 (Niacin) Skin lesions, anxiety, insomnia, depression, aggression, swelling, diarrhea, weakness, “brain fog,” balding
B5 (Pantothenic Acid) Fatigue, numbness, grey hair
B6 (Pyridoxine) Depression, fatigue, dermatitis, anemia, glucose intolerance, sleep disturbances, neuritis, elevated homocysteine, nausea
B7 (Biotin) Hair loss, loss of hair color, depression, dermatitis, lesions of the nose and mouth, anorexia, nausea, numbness and tingling, muscle pain, cardiac irregularities
B9 (Folate, Folic Acid) Anemia, fatigue, cervical dysplasia, diarrhea, gingivitis, depression, irritability, insomnia, elevated homocysteine, headache, hair loss, birth defects
B12 (Cobalamin) Anemia fatigue, neuropathy, tongue and mouth irregularities, depression, confusion, memory loss, easy bruising, dermatitis, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting
Vitamin C Capillary fragility, depressed immune system, hemorrhage, muscle weakness, easy bruising, bleeding gums, poor wound healing, anemia, poor appetite, swollen joints
Calcium Weakened bones and fractures, muscle cramps, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, tooth decay, back and leg pains, insomnia, rickets, osteoporosis
Magnesium Muscle cramps, high blood pressure, weakness, insomnia, G. I. disorders, kidney stones, osteoporosis, nervousness, restlessness, fear, anxiety, confusion, depression, fatigue
Potassium Fatigue, irregular heartbeat, irritability, confusion, poor reflexes, edema, constipation, dizziness, muscle weakness, thirst
Iron Anemia, weakness, fatigue, skin pallor, headache, hair loss, labored breathing, spooning of fingernails, brittle nails, suppressed immune system
Zinc Poor wound healing, decreased immunity, loss of taste and smell, balding, skin disorders, sexual dysfunction, menstrual problems, joint pain, nystagmus, depression, photophobia
Selenium Destructive changes to the heart and pancreas, muscle soreness, RBC fragility, weakened immune system, increased rates of various cancers
CoQ10 Congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, angina, mitral valve prolapse, stroke, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac myopathy, lack of energy, gingivitis, depressed immune system
Carnitine Elevated in blood lipids, abnormal liver function, muscle weakness, reduce energy, and in pair glucose control
Vitamin A Reduced night vision, dry bumpy skin, loss of appetite, loss of hair luster, brittle nails, joint pain
Vitamin D Tooth decay, spinal curvature, muscle weakness, increased fractures, gradual hearing loss, muscle weakness, autoimmunity, multiple sclerosis
Vitamin K Easy bleeding, bruising, skeletal disorders such as rickets, osteoporosis, osteomalacia
Vitamin E Dry skin, dull hair, RBC fragility, bruising, PMS, fibrocystic breasts, hot flashes, eczema, psoriasis, cataracts, BPH, poor wound healing, muscle weakness, sterility
Protein Impaired wound healing, swelling in hands and feet or abdomen, decreased muscle mass, lethargy and fatigue
Bifidobacteria bifidum Gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, bad breath, chronic vaginal yeast infections
Lactobacillus Acidophilus Gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, bad breath, chronic vaginal yeast infections
Glutathione Decreased hepatic detoxification, decreased immunity, suppression of macrophage activity, increased free radical damage, hair loss
*Phosphorus Deficiency rarely occurs in humans, important for bones and teeth, phospholipids, cellular energy, enzymes, buffer, protein synthesis
*Inositol Deficiency has not been identified in humans, important for phospholipids, nerve tissue, psychological health
Source: Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook, 2nd Edition; Ross Pelton, RPh, Ph.D., CCN. ©2009 The Wellness Prescription

I was absolutely floored! Think about the implications here. What if Doctors used testing for vitamin and mineral deficiencies as a routine part of patient care instead of writing a prescription for pharmaceuticals to treat symptoms? What if we were able to identify the causes of patient symptoms before they became chronic health issues and require more invasive and expensive treatments? Think about how much money that would save patients and the nation in total health care costs? Think about people having a better quality of life because they feel good? I am not saying all pharmaceuticals are bad, it is because of the drug industry that my mother is still with us after experiencing acute pancreatitis 27 years ago. It is also the reason she came down with pancreatitis in the first place. All drugs have intended consequences that have helped save lives and “unintended” consequences that have destroyed families. I believe it is your right and your responsibility to direct your own health care. As consumers we need to know what we are taking and why? What are the side effects of these drugs? Do research on this yourself or ask a pharmacist. Do not expect your Doctor to provide you with all of your answers, there are just too many drugs out there for them to know all of the possible side effects. What other options are available? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. I had a friend that went to 6 different cancer centers to get the best treatment for her Dad. If you are not comfortable with the risks associated with your medication, get another opinion. Sadly, there is still a huge disconnect between the science/industry driven western medicine side of the world and a more holistic eastern medicine side. Until we integrate the best of both worlds, the United States will continue to lag behind most of Europe, Australia, Japan and even Costa Rica in the World Health Organization’s ranking of health care systems. (The US currently stands at 37th in the world) I believe we are starting to see some changes in attitudes most recently with all of the news about the benefits of vitamin D3 but it is going to be a long, slow road to get where we need to be. Do you really want to wait for the AMA? In the meantime, it will be up to us as consumers to demand more integrated health care. Jump in the driver’s seat and take charge of your family’s health!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The End Of A Love Affair

Now this one I kind of struggled with. I love Diet Coke! I started drinking diet drinks back in college to help ward off that “freshman 10. Back then all we had was Tab, Fresca, and Diet Pepsi -all sweetened with saccharin. It was awful! It was hard to drink too much because it tasted so bad! In 1977, it was reported that saccharin caused bladder tumors in male rats. The FDA proposed a ban but Congress intervened and allowed the saccharin to remain on the market with a warning on its label suggesting use of this product may cause cancer. Naturally sales declined as consumers refused to buy products with this ingredient.  Remarkably, Aspartame (NutraSweet, Ammnio Sweet and Neotame) was waiting in the wings and was approved for use as an artificial sweetener in 1981. The approval was not without controversy however, Aspartame was rumored to cause brain tumors in lab animals and the FDA had found numerous problems with laboratory studies submitted by J.D. Searle (a Monsanto Company) and launched an extensive investigation. Allegations of fraud and gross misconduct by J.D. Searle derailed the approval for over 5 years. It was only on appointment of Dr. Arthur Hall Hayes as President Regan’s FDA Commissioner that Aspartame was approved over the objections of 2 separate FDA panels! He left the FDA a little over two years later to accept a job with Burston Marsteller, the P.R. firm for J.D. Searle. Guess who the President of J.D. Searle was at the time all of these shenanigans were going on?  Believe it or not, Donald Rumsfeld.[2].pdf

Check out this video excerpt from 60 Minutes:
Now I will have to admit, I had heard the rumblings about issues with NutraSweet but since I really liked the stuff and it seemed to be ok with the FDA, I chose to stick my head in the sand. It was not until my nutritionist, Pam suggested that I watch the video "Sweet Misery" that I realized how many people have suffered as a result of this product. Now I feel compelled to warn others. My love affair with Diet Coke and NutraSweet is over!!  Watch for yourself:
The following excerpt is from “Sweet Deception” by Dr. Joseph Mercola, M.D.
Why Else Might You Want to Avoid Aspartame?

If a risk of brain tumors isn’t enough to sway you, you may be interested to know that aspartame is 40 percent aspartic acid. When aspartame is consumed at a daily rate of 20 mg, it significantly raises your blood level of aspartate, which leads to a high level of those neurotransmitters in certain areas of your brain, where they slowly begin to destroy neurons. FYI- a 12 0z can of diet soda contains 180 mg!

But you likely would not notice the symptoms until 75 percent or more of your neurons are already gone. Then, chronic illnesses such as the following, which may be caused by long-term exposure to excitatory amino acid damage, may occur:
• Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
• Memory and hearing loss
• Hormonal problems
• Epilepsy
• Brain lesions
• Neuroendocrine disorders

And there’s more. Aspartame is 50 percent phenylalanine. Excessive levels of phenylalanine in your brain can cause the levels of serotonin in your brain to decrease, leading to emotional disorders such as depression. It can also cause schizophrenia or make you more susceptible to seizures. Aspartame has also been shown to rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and leptin; two hormones that are intricately involved with satiety and fat storage. Insulin and leptin are also the primary hormones that regulate your metabolism. Aspartame interferes with the brain's natural ability to regulate high caloric intake and causes subjects to gain weight.

As for the other 10 percent, well that’s methanol, also known as wood alcohol. Not only is methanol on its
own a poison, but it breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde -- a deadly neurotoxin -- in your body. Methanol poisoning can lead to a variety of symptoms such as:
• Vision problems
• Headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness
• Nausea and gastrointestinal disturbances
• Weakness, numbness and shooting pains in your extremities
• Behavioral disturbances
• Memory lapses

Aspartame can be found in the following products:
• Diet sodas, juice drinks, and flavored waters
• Chewing gum
• Table-top sweeteners
• Diet and diabetic foods
• Breakfast cereals, such as Fiber One
• Fiber supplements, such as orange flavored Metamucil
• Jams
• Sweets
• Certain vitamins (including children’s) as well as prescription and over the-counter drugs such as Alka Seltzer Plus, and some Tylenol medications

Other Sources: "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills" by Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D., Dr. Janet Starr Hull

Annette's bottom line: As consumers, we cannot count on the FDA to protect us and must educate ourselves about what substances we put our our bodies. While it would appear that we are powerless against these big corporations with their powerful political alliances and deceptive, dangerous products, we can vote with our pocketbooks! Simply don't buy products that are filled with additives. Your dollars speak louder than words!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Annette's New Year's Challenge

Annette’s New Year Challenge
Out with the old and in with the new for a healthier 2011. I challenge you to go to your pantry and try to find at least 5 items without these “special ingredients”. Here is a list I copied from Food Matters TV and www.natural I will cover each more in depth next week, when the kids are back to school and I have more than 5 minutes uninterrupted. J Good Luck!
1. Artificial Sweeteners
Aspartame, (E951) more popularly known as Nutrasweet and Equal, is found in foods labeled "diet" or "sugar free". Aspartame is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined. Aspartame is not your friend. Aspartame is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory, the components of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumor, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures. Acesulfame-K, a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baking goods, gum and gelatin, has not been thoroughly tested and has been linked to kidney tumors. Read more about the dangers of Aspartame here.
Found in: diet or sugar free sodas, diet coke, coke zero, jello (and over gelatins), desserts, sugar free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, table top sweeteners, cereal, breathmints, pudding, kool-aid, ice tea, chewable vitamins, toothpaste
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly-refined artificial sweetener which has become the number one source of calories in America. It is found in almost all processed foods. HFCS packs on the pounds faster than any other ingredient, increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage, among other harmful effects.
Found in: most processed foods, breads, candy, flavored yogurts, salad dressings, canned vegetables, cereals
3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG / E621)
MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and many restaurant foods. MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance which overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. Studies show that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity. MSG effects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengaged the "I'm full" function which explains the effects of weight gain.
Found in: Chinese food (Chinese Restaurant Syndrome ) many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, most Campbell Soup products, frozen dinners, lunch meats
*for the other names manufactures use to hide the use of msg check out this web site.
4. Trans Fat
Trans fat is used to enhance and extend the shelf life of food products and is among the most dangerous substances that you can consume. Found in deep-fried fast foods and certain processed foods made with margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fats are formed by a process called hydrogenation. Numerous studies show that trans fat increases LDL cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes, and contributes to increased inflammation, diabetes and other health problems. Oils and fat are now forbidden on the Danish market if they contain trans fatty acids exceeding 2 per cent, a move that effectively bans partially hydrogenated oils.
Found in: margarine, chips and crackers, baked goods, fast foods
5. Common Food Dyes
Studies show that artificial colorings which are found in soda, fruit juices and salad dressings, may contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have linked other food colorings to cancer. Watch out for these ones:Blue #1 and Blue #2 (E133)
Banned in Norway, Finland and France. May cause chromosomal damage
Found in: candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pet foods
Red dye # 3 (also Red #40 – a more current dye) (E124)
Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate from use in many foods and cosmetics. This dye continues to be on the market until supplies run out! Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission
Found in: fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products and more!
Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)
Banned in Norway and Sweden. Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage.
Found in: American cheese, macaroni and cheese, candy and carbonated beverages, lemonade and more!
6. Sodium Sulfite (E221)Preservative used in wine-making and other processed foods. According to the FDA, approximately one in 100 people is sensitive to sulfites in food. The majority of these individuals are asthmatic, suggesting a link between asthma and sulfites. Individuals who are sulfite sensitive may experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In severe cases, sulfites can actually cause death by closing down the airway altogether, leading to cardiac arrest.
Found in: Wine and dried fruit
7. Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite
Sodium nitrate (or sodium nitrite) is used as a preservative, coloring and flavoring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. This ingredient, which sounds harmless, is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular. Sodium nitrite is widely regarded as a toxic ingredient, and the USDA actually tried to ban this additive in the 1970's but was vetoed by food manufacturers who complained they had no alternative for preserving packaged meat products. Why does the industry still use it? Simple: this chemical just happens to turn meats bright red. It's actually a color fixer, and it makes old, dead meats appear fresh and vibrant.
Found in: hotdogs, bacon, ham, luncheon meat, cured meats, corned beef, smoked fish or any other type of processed meat
8. BHA and BHT (E320)
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. This common preservative keeps foods from changing color, changing flavor or becoming rancid. Effects the neurological system of the brain, alters behavior and has potential to cause cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants which form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.
Found in: Potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, jello
9. Sulfur Dioxide (E220)
Sulfur additives are toxic and in the United States of America, the Federal Drugs Administration have prohibited their use on raw fruit and vegetables. Adverse reactions include: bronchial problems particularly in those prone to asthma, hypotension (low blood pressure), flushing tingling sensations or anaphylactic shock. It also destroys vitamins B1 and E. Not recommended for consumption by children. The International Labour Organization says to avoid E220 if you suffer from conjunctivitis, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma, or cardiovascular disease.
Found in: beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, and potato products.
10. Potassium Bromate
An additive used to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls, potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans.

Found in: breads