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Dangers of Allergy Medications

By |2018-06-28T22:04:30-06:00March 12th, 2015|Articles, General|

Dr. Mila McManus

I rarely come across someone in my practice or personal life who doesn’t have issues with allergies. If you don’t suffer with allergy symptoms, then chances are you know someone who does. There are plenty of medications on the market, both prescription and over the counter, for treating allergy and sinus issues. It’s important to remember that over-the-counter medications aren’t necessarily safer than prescription drugs and aren’t without potential side effects. I suffered with severe allergies and eczema, and mild asthma, for the first 30+ years of my life. I remember starting allergy shots at the age of 4 or 5. I typically required 3 different medications at any given time which barely controlled my misery. I thought a medical degree would prepare me for finding the best cure for my symptoms, but alas, I was wrong. It wasn’t until I discovered holistic medicine that I was able to determine the root causes of my allergies and eczema and cure them once and for all. I’ll come back to that a little later.

Let’s talk about potential side effects of various allergy treatments. From various sources (references below), I’ve compiled a list:

  • Anti-histamines (these side effects are more common and/or severe with first generation anti-histamines such as Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) and Chlorpheniramine)

o   Weight gain (yes, really)

o   Drowsiness

o   Impaired learning

o   Blurred vision

o   Headache

o   Confusion/delirium

o   Urinary retention

o   Linked to suicide cases in teens and adults

  • Decongestants (e.g. Pseudoephedrine, Phenylephrine)

o   High blood pressure

o   Insomnia

o   Headache

o   Irritable mood

o   Arrhythmia

  • Nasal steroids (e.g. Flonase, aka Fluticasone)

o   Unpleasant smell or taste

o   Nasal irritation

o   Nosebleeds

o   Stunted growth in children

o   Suppressed immune system

o   Glaucoma (with long term use)

o   Cataracts (with long term use)

  • Leukotriene Inhibitors (e.g. Singulair, aka Montelukast)

o   Irritable mood

o   Anxiety

o   Insomnia

o   Hallucinations

o   Aggressive behavior

o   Depression/suicidal thoughts or behavior

  • Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (also known as allergy shots or SCIT)

o   Discomfort at injection site

o   Exacerbation of allergy or asthma symptoms

o   Anaphylaxis

If you asked me 12 years ago if I thought I would ever be allergy-free, I would have answered “not in a million years”. Forward to today and I can happily say that I am symptom-free! It did take 5 long years of being on the wellness path (healthy diet, elimination of allergenic foods from diet, handful of vitamins/supplements, restoring my gut health, constant detoxification, balancing hormones) and taking sublingual allergy drops, but when I consider how many years I still have to live, 5 years is trivial. I’d also like to mention that I had a terrible chemical sensitivity, such as immediate headache and general discomfort being around fragrance, and that took an additional 2 years to overcome.

Below is a list of some better, safer alternatives for treating your allergy and sinus problems, some of which I mentioned already:

o   Much safer than allergy shots.

o   NOT FDA-approved yet, but many doctors (self-included) use SLIT “off-label”, meaning the allergens used to concoct the drops are FDA-approved, but for use in injections rather than sublingual liquid.

o   SLIT has been successfully used in Europe for decades.

o   Recently the FDA approved a sublingual tablet that specifically treats grass allergy, but must be started 4 months prior to the season and is very expensive. In addition, most people with allergies are allergic to several, if not numerous, allergens, which this tablet will not treat.

o   Contributes towards a more permanent solution for allergy symptoms rather than a continual “band-aid” with antihistamine type drugs.

  • Acupuncture
  • EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)-an acupuncture based treatment
  • Supplements that have natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory activity in the body

o   Click here to learn more

  • Essential oils

o   Click here to learn more

  • Restoration of gut health which includes dietary changes, removal of opportunistic microbes such as yeast, repletion of good gut bacteria with probiotics, and eventual healing and sealing of the gut.

o   80% of your immune system is located in your gut, so it’s important to support gut health in order to support your immune system against over-reacting to harmless allergens, which is what triggers allergy symptoms.

o   A study published in 2008 showed that people who took probiotics throughout the allergy season had lower levels of an antibody that triggered allergy symptoms. Other research has found that giving probiotics to newborns and pregnant females may help prevent childhood allergies.

  • Irrigation of sinuses, such as with a neti pot

o   Thins mucus and flushes sinuses. This also helps to remove allergens from the nasal mucosa which are stimulating the allergic response.

  • Chiropractics-while not a specific allergy treatment, can be a great supportive therapy to improve overall health

Resources:

www.epocrates.com

www.mercola.com

http://livertox.nih.gov/Antihistamines.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/in-depth/allergy-medications/art-20047403

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209124629.htm

http://allergies.about.com/b/2014/04/03/oralair-approved-as-a-sublingual-immunotherapy-tablet-for-grass-allergy.htm

http://www.theasthmacenter.org/index.php/newsletter/sublingual_immunotherapy/

Dangers of Blood Pressure Medications

By |2018-06-28T22:09:12-06:00March 10th, 2015|Articles, General|

By Mila McManus MD

In medical school, we are taught that 95% of the cases of hypertension (high blood pressure) that we come across are considered idiopathic, meaning that it does not have a known cause. We know there are some obvious contributors to high blood pressure such as stress, being overweight, and taking certain medications, but how can it be that so many people require blood pressure medication for no known reason? From a wellness perspective, most cases of hypertension do have an obvious underlying cause, and that’s diet. The ever-worsening American diet is causing an ever-increasing number of people with high blood pressure. It’s time to reflect on the amount of sugar, alcohol, caffeine, salt, toxins, grains, and allergens you are consuming if you have high blood pressure.

Below is a list of common classes of blood pressure medications and some of the more common side effects of them:

  • Diuretics (“water” pills, e.g., hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide, chlorthalidone).  Diuretics work by flushing excess water and sodium from the body, thus lowering blood pressure. Side effects include:

o   Arrhythmia

o   Low platelets

o   Pancreatitis

o   Low white blood cell count (ie deficiency in immune cells)

o   Glaucoma

o   Excess calcium in the body

o   High blood sugar

o   High cholesterol

o   Diarrhea

o   Headaches

o   Muscle cramps

o   Sexual dysfunction

Due to the nature of how these types of medications work, they cause depletion of numerous nutrients, such as:

o   Vitamin B6 (relating to depression, sleep disturbance, increased heart disease risk)

o   Vitamin C (relating to weak immunity, easy bruising, poor wound healing)

o   Zinc (relating to weak immunity, poor wound healing, altered sense of smell/taste, sexual dysfunction)

o   CoQ10 (relating to various cardiovascular problems, weak immune system, low energy, muscle weakness)

o   Potassium (relating to irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, fatigue, edema)

o   Sodium (relating to muscle weakness, dehydration, memory problems, loss of appetite)

o   Magnesium (relating to cardiovascular problems, including higher blood pressure, asthma, osteoporosis, muscle cramps, PMS)

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. These allow blood vessels to widen by preventing the formation of a hormone called angiotensin. Frequently prescribed ACE inhibitors include enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril) and ramipril (Altace). Side effects include:
    • Swelling of the head, neck, tongue
    • Abnormalities of blood cells
    • Kidney failure
    • Liver toxicity
    • Pancreatitis
    • Headache
    • Diarrhea
    • Chronic cough
    • Fatigue
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Zinc deficiency which causes weakened immune system, impaired wound healing, altered sense of smell/taste, and sexual dysfunction
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers. These help blood vessels relax by blocking the action of angiotensin. Frequently prescribed angiotensin II receptor blockers include losartan (Cozaar), candesartan (Atacand) and valsartan (Diovan). Side effects include:
    • Chronic cough
    • Upset stomach
    • Swelling of head, neck, tongue
    • Kidney failure
    • Fatigue
  • Beta blockers. These work by blocking certain nerve and hormonal signals to the heart and blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure. Frequently prescribed beta blockers include metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard) and atenolol (Tenormin). Side effects include:
    • Heart failure
    • Fatigue
    • Depression
    • Impotence
    • Cold extremities
    • Dizziness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Vertigo
    • Deficiency of CoQ10 which causes various cardiovascular problems, weak immune system and low energy
  • Calcium channel blockers. These prevent calcium from going into heart and blood vessel muscle cells, thus causing the cells to relax, which lowers blood pressure. Frequently prescribed calcium channel blockers include amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor XR) and nifedipine (Adalat CC, Procardia). Side effects include:
    • Arrhythmias
    • Heart failure
    • Edema (e.g. puffiness/swelling of hands and feet)
    • Headache
    • Nausea
    • Dizziness
    • Asthenia (restless feeling)
    • Constipation
  • Renin inhibitors. Renin is a substance produced by your kidneys that starts a chain of chemical steps that increases blood pressure. Aliskiren (Tekturna) slows down the production of renin, reducing its ability to begin this process. Due to a risk of serious complications, including stroke, you shouldn’t take aliskiren along with ACE inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers if you have diabetes or kidney disease. Other side effects include:
    • Kidney stones
    • Swelling of head, neck, tongue
    • Diarrhea
    • Kidney failure
  • Alpha agonists. (clonidine, brand name of which is Catapres) This class of drug works on receptors in the brain that inhibit the release of norepinephrine, thereby relaxing blood vessels which, in turn, lowers blood pressure. Side effects include:
    • Depression
    • Dizziness
    • Dry mouth
    • Sexual dysfunction
    • Fatigue
    • Ear pain
    • Headache
    • Insomnia
    • Deficiencies of:
        • Coenzyme Q10 (Various cardiovascular problems, weak immune system, low energy)
        • Vitamin B6 (Depression, sleep disturbance, increased cardiovascular disease risk)
        • Zinc (Weak immunity, impaired wound healing, altered sense of smell/taste, sexual dysfunction)
        • Vitamin B1 (Depression, irritability, memory loss, muscle weakness, edema)
  • Alpha blockers. These medications prevent norepinephrine from binding to alpha-1 receptors on smooth muscle surrounding blood vessels, thereby keeping them relaxed, which in turn lowers blood pressure. Examples of this class include terazosin (Hytrin), Prazosin (Minipress), and doxazosin (Cardura). Side effects include:
    • Some research has found that some alpha blockers can increase the risk of heart failure with long-term use
    • Arrhythmia
    • Priapism (dangerous long lasting erection)
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Fatigue
    • Edema (swelling)
    • Diarrhea
    • Shortness of breath
    • Nausea
    • Dry mouth
    • Blurred vision
    • Excessive urination
  • Vasodilators. (hydralazine). This class of medication directly relaxes the blood vessels by interfering with calcium transport. Side effects include:
    • Inflammation of nerves
    • Headache
    • Lupus
    • Abnormalities of blood cells

Now that you’ve read many reasons to avoid blood pressure medications, here are some alternative methods to consider which can all help to reduce your blood pressure naturally.*

  • Supplements, such as:

o   Magnesium-relaxes smooth muscle cells in blood vessels, thus reducing pressure. Read more about magnesium here.

o   Krill oil-according to writer Tanya Louise Coad in an article on livestrong.com, “hundreds of published studies have shown benefits from supplementing omega-3s for lowering blood pressure”. She further stated that “a study reported in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Food Science found a significant blood pressure lowering effect from krill oil on rats. The researchers extracted a peptide from oil located in the tail section and when they fed it to rats, it produced an immediate drop in the animals’ blood pressure”.

o   Vitamin D- according to an article by Dr. Mercola, vitamin D deficiency increases parathyroid hormone production, which increases blood pressure. Moreover, Vitamin D is also a negative inhibitor of your body’s renin-angiotensin sys­tem (RAS), which regulates blood pressure. If you’re vitamin D deficient, it can cause inappropriate activation of your RAS, which may lead to hy­pretension.

o   Neo40 is a supplement that boosts nitric oxide. Read about it here.

  • Deep breathing exercises

o   Several times per day, and especially when feeling stressed, stop and take 30 seconds to do the following: Sit relaxed in a chair, close your eyes, hold your hands together, picture a happy memory in your mind, and take 4 deep breaths with a 4-count in and 4-count out.

  • EFT
  • Meditation
  • Healing Codes
  • Exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine intake
  • Low carb diet- Insulin depletes magnesium, impairs body’s ability to produce nitric oxide, and causes sodium retention, all of which contribute to high blood pressure. Read Nancy Mehlert’s article about the vicious cycle.

*This information is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Any changes to blood pressure medication should be done under medical supervision.

Resources:

www.mayoclinic.org

www.epocrates.com

www.mercola.com

www.spectracell.com

www.drugs.com

www.livestrong.com

Dangers of Antidepressants

By |2015-01-06T07:33:18-06:00January 6th, 2015|Articles, General|

By Mila McManus MD

The CDC estimates that one in ten Americans has depression. Chances are, if you don’t take antidepressant medication, you know someone who does. There are many levels of depression and many causes of depression. The main causes of depression have never been, and never will be, deficiencies of Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta, or Lexapro. Causes may, however, be related to diet, gut health, side effects of medications, nutritional deficiencies, negative thinking, emotional trauma, chronic pain, lack of exercise, and hormonal imbalances/ deficiencies.   I do believe that sometimes antidepressants are necessary, at least temporarily, but they’ll never correct the underlying cause(s), and they have many potential side effects.

To name a few (or many):

  • Your risk for type 2 diabetes is two to three times higher if you take antidepressants, according to one study.
  • Problems with your immune system: SSRIs (e.g. Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft) cause serotonin to remain in your nerve junctions longer, interfering with immune cell signaling and T cell growth. New research indicates that serotonin is also a signaling molecule between immune cells. Certain cells pick up serotonin at inflammation sites and pass it along to T cells (a type of immune cell). This affects T cell growth and division into new cells. One study showed that, when Prozac was introduced at inflammation sites, it blocked this type of serotonin uptake.
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings and violent behavior: Your risk for suicide may be twice as high if you take SSRIs; seven out of twelve school shootings were by children who were either on antidepressants or withdrawing from them.
  • Stillbirths: A Canadian study of almost 5,000 mothers found that women on SSRIs were twice as likely to have a stillbirth, and almost twice as likely to have a premature or low birth weight baby; another study showed a 40 percent increased risk for birth defects such as cleft palate.
  • Brittle bones: One study showed women on antidepressants have a higher risk of fractures
  • Stroke: Your risk for stroke may be 45 percent higher if you are on antidepressants
  • Death: Overall death rates have been found to be 32 percent higher in women on antidepressants.
  • SSRIs have been shown to increase your risk of developing bipolar depression. Anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of children who take an antidepressant for five years convert to bipolar illness. In adults, about 25 percent of long term users convert from a diagnosis of unipolar depression to bipolar disorder.
  • Weight gain- this is one of the most common reasons a person will discontinue or change an antidepressant medication
  • Sexual dysfunction, including decreased sexual desire, delayed ejaculation in men, and the inability to have an orgasm in women.
  • Sleep disorders, including insomnia, nightmares, and sleepwalking
  • Sedation (daytime sleepiness)
  • headache, joint pain, muscle aches, nausea, skin rashes, or diarrhea

In addition, here’s a list of common side effects for the most commonly prescribed classes of antidepressants:

  • TCAs (e.g. Nortriptyline, Amitriptyline) – dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, urinary retention, and increased pressure in the eye. They are also associated with hypertension, abnormal heart rhythms, anxiety, insomnia, seizures, headache, rash, nausea, and vomiting, abdominal cramps, weight loss, and sexual dysfunction.
  • SSRIs (e.g. Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft) and SNRIs (e.g. Cymbalta, Effexor) – abnormal thinking, agitation, anxiety, dizziness, headache, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, sedation, tremor, sweating, weight loss, diarrhea, constipation, dry mouth, rash, and nausea. SSRIs have also been associated with hyponatremia (low sodium), hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), and seizures.

Have you tried to wean your medication(s) before and failed? There are at least a couple of reasons why that might be.

  1. You hadn’t addressed the underlying causes of why you needed the medication(s) in the first place and/or

  2. Withdrawal symptoms were too miserable to continue weaning

I took antidepressants for years, and it wasn’t until I discovered holistic functional medicine that I was able to successfully wean off my medication. In our medical training, the name of the game is learning how to bandaid symptoms with drugs. In holistic and functional medical training, the name of the game is correcting the underlying causes of symptoms and disease. This explains why all my previous efforts to wean my medication had been miserable failures. I was an emotional wreck, was dizzy, and had constant ‘brain zaps’. Once I addressed the underlying issues (poor diet, nutritional bankruptcy, hidden food allergies, poor gut health, and hormonal imbalances that weren’t found on typical blood tests), it was only a short matter of time until I successfully weaned off my antidepressant (and 11 other prescription medications). While this has also been the case for countless numbers of my patients over the years, it’s important to note that some patients have more complex issues and may take years to improve their health, physically as well as emotionally. Addressing depression, and many other health issues, requires focusing on mind, body, AND spirit. Here is a list of several things you can do to work towards a successful wean from your antidepressant(s)*:

  • Click here to read about a few supplements that can naturally alleviate depression and anxiety.
  • Nutrients that are well known to play a role with mood include Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D**, magnesium, B-6, B12, and folate. These are all very common nutritional deficiencies that we find in my practice. If you suffer with depression, talk to a wellness specialist about proper doses to meet your individual needs.
  • Exercise, again and again, has shown in studies to be important for warding off anxiety and depression. Too tired or too busy? You can start with a 5 minute walk every day.
  • Address the mind, body, and spirit with therapy, EFT, meditation, and/or yoga.
  • Get your hormones balanced by an experienced wellness specialist using nutrition, supplements, and/or bio-identical hormones. Imbalance or deficiency in any number of your hormones (e.g. thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol) can affect your mood, and these issues often won’t be found on typical blood tests. Are your lab results always ‘normal’? Test for hormonal imbalance a better way by completing free symptom questionnaires.
  • I also recommend a book to many patients called The Healing Code by Dr. Alex Loyd. Read about it here.

*Never attempt to wean your medication(s) without medical supervision.

**One study found that people with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to depression than those with adequate vitamin D levels.

Forward this article to someone you care about!

 

Resources for the content of this article:

www.mercola.com

www.webMD.com

www.CDC.gov

www.naturalnews.com

 

Dangers of Anti-Acids

By |2014-12-09T20:43:31-06:00December 9th, 2014|Articles, General|

 

by Mila McManus MD

If you have made it a habit of taking anti-acids on a regular basis, whether it’s Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Zegerid, Zantac, Pepcid, Tums, or Rolaids, to name a few, I strongly encourage you to read this article. The FDA cautions against high doses or prolonged use of Proton Pump Inhibitors (e.g. Prevacid, Nexium, and Zegerid) because they’ve been shown to increase the risk of infection, bone fractures, and dementia. Moreover, all anti-acids (e.g. Zantac, Pepcid, and Tums) have 4 main consequences:

1. Increased bacterial overgrowth

2. Impaired nutrient absorption

3. Increased susceptibility to infections

4. Increased risk of cancer and other diseases

You’ve been led to believe that the cause of your heartburn or acid reflux is too much acid. Well, I’m here to tell you that we all have acid and we all need acid for proper processing of the foods we eat. The real problem is dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is what separates the esophagus from the stomach and its job is to keep foods and liquids from coming back up, and to keep stomach acid in the stomach where it belongs. So when you ask yourself why you have too much acid causing your heartburn, you should really be asking yourself why your LES is failing.

Below are some important facts about causes of heartburn, consequences of acid-reducing drugs, and real treatment options:

  • LOW stomach acid is the usual initial cause of heartburn and reflux.
  • Low stomach acid allows for bacteria to flourish, whereas adequate amounts of stomach acid that should normally be present help to prevent overgrowth of bacteria because the acid makes a hostile environment in which to grow. It is well documented that acid-reducing drugs promote bacterial overgrowth.
  • Since stomach acid stimulates the pancreas to secrete enzymes that digest/process carbohydrates, when there’s a lack of stomach acid, carbohydrates cannot be broken down properly (nor can protein or fat, since that requires stomach acid as well).
  • When you have unprocessed carbohydrates, they will then be fermented by gut bacteria which in turn help the bacteria to thrive, causing overgrowth of these opportunistic microbes.
  • This also creates an excess of gas production which increases intra-abdominal pressure, which consequently leads to malfunction of the LES.
  • If it’s gas produced by maldigestion of carbohydrates, (which causes subsequent fermentation by gut bacteria leading to the production of gas) that causes reflux, then it would make sense that reducing intake of carbohydrates and/or reducing the bacterial load in the gut would help reflux. And by golly, it has been shown that both of these independently can improve or resolve reflux.
  • Dr. McBride, in her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome, mentions that there are opportunistic bacteria in the gut that, when allowed to flourish, can produce and secrete substances that relax the LES, thereby causing reflux of stomach contents.
  • It’s a well-known fact that low stomach acid reduces absorption of important nutrients such as amino acids, iron, B12, folate, calcium and zinc.

-Amino acids are the building blocks for everything from hormones and enzymes to muscles and neurotransmitters. Your body can make some of its own amino acids, while others (aka “essential amino acids”) must be obtained from the diet. One of these is Tyrosine, which is required to make thyroid hormone. (test yourself for low thyroid function here) Tyrosine also plays an important role in supporting neurotransmitters that affect mood and appetite. Since many of the amino acids, such as phenylalanine and tryptophan, play a crucial role in mental and behavioral health, low stomach acid predisposes people to developing depression, anxiety, and/or other mental health issues.

-Iron is vital for oxygen transport and DNA synthesis. Low iron will lead to anemia, low energy, and hair loss.

-Vitamin B12 plays a wide variety of roles, including supporting metabolism and nerve function. Symptoms of low B12 include fatigue, memory impairment, depression, anemia, numbness and tingling.

-Folate also has many functions in the body. Low folate can lead to birth defects, heart disease, cancers, and blood disorders.

-Your body uses most of its calcium to keep your bones and teeth strong. The rest of the calcium in your body plays key roles in cell signaling, blood clotting, muscle contraction and nerve function.

-Zinc is another vital nutrient that’s needed for the body’s immune system to work properly. It also plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and hormone balance.

  • Stomach acid is a first line of defense for us. It kills disease-causing microbes that might be hiding in our food, and also prevents bacteria in our intestines from migrating up into the stomach and beyond.
  • Causes of low stomach acid:

-Anti-Acids, as mentioned above

-Aging

-Auto-immune diseases, particularly of the thyroid and gastrointestinal tract

-Adrenal fatigue (aka adrenal insufficiency)- Cortisol is the main hormone that’s depleted in someone with adrenal fatigue, and cortisol stimulates secretion of stomach acid

-H. pylori, which is a bacterial infection that thrives in the stomach by reducing acid in the stomach (since stomach acid usually prevents growth of bacteria).

  • Other well-known causes of malfunction of LES—caffeine and alcohol
  • Treatment options:

-Get evaluated and, if applicable, treated for H.pylori infection
-Get treated for adrenal fatigue by a qualified functional medicine practitioner (click here to test yourself for adrenal fatigue and call 281-298-6742 to speak with a wellness consultant)
-Cut back on or eliminate caffeine and/or alcohol
-Supplement with stomach acid! There are several caveats here, so this is best handled by supervision from a functional medicine practitioner. You can find Betaine HCL supplements with pepsin that provide the stomach acid you need; however, these are best used under supervision to ensure that underlying causes of LES dysfunction are being addressed first, or in conjunction, and that there are no contraindications to using this supplement, such as active stomach ulcers.

Resources:

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

PubMed

http://chriskresser.com/heartburn

Why Which Salt You Use Matters

By |2019-07-03T15:54:53-06:00June 12th, 2019|Articles, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

by Nancy Mehlert, MS

Salt is a flavor most of us really enjoy. It is an essential mineral in just about everything that has life.  It is found in the Himalayan mountains, the depths of the ocean floor and salt lakes.  It is life-giving.  Every cell in your body relies on salt for regulation of body fluids, bone density, blood sugar stabilization, good circulation and muscle and nerve function.

As with so much of our food supply, it is important to choose real salt from a safe source.  Sad that the distinction must be made since manufacturing has once again gotten in between the real thing and us, producing a less than healthy processed food product which merely mimics the taste of salt’s natural elements.

Here’s the  dirt on Table Salt:

  • Much of table salt today is a manufactured form of sodium called sodium chloride created from natural salts occurring in rock, crystal or sea salt.
  • Natural salts are heated up and cooked at 1200°F.  At this extremely high temperature, the salt loses the more than eighty important alkaline elements that occur naturally in it, including natural iodine and leaving just sodium chloride.
  • Then it is bleached to make it white.
  • Other chemicals often added in table salt (with or without iodide) include manufactured forms of sodium solo-co-aluminate, iodide, sodium bicarbonate, fluoride, anti-caking agents and toxic amounts of potassium iodide and aluminum derivates, as well as white sugar and mono-sodium-glutamate (MSG). As a result, sometimes table salt can be literally toxic to the human body.
  • Table salt is not just on your table.  It is found in virtually every processed and fast food in the marketplace today from bread to frozen meals.

Table salt wreaks havoc in the human body, especially over time. Here’s how:

  • Causes a rapid rise in blood pressure as the body attempts to move the toxic elements away from the heart.
  • Causes water and fluid retention.
  • Contributes to and/or worsens chronic imbalances such as diabetes, gout, and obesity.
  • Additives in salt can cause major kidney, thyroid and liver problems, goiter, hypertension, heart disease, strained elimination systems, muscle cramps, water retention, edema, stroke, heart failure, PMS and major nervous system disorders such as anxiety and depression.
  • Table salt is hard on the circulatory and nervous system and disturbs the balance of the lymph system as well.
  • It is highly addictive as the chemical additives are designed to stimulate pleasure centers of the brain, in the same way sugar does.

So what’s your best option?  Surprisingly, sea salt may not be the answer either.  As a result of ocean pollution, specifically with microplastic pollution, sea salt has been found to contain microplastic particles.This leaves the optimal choice to be Himalayan salt, which is mined from salt beds created long before plastic and other toxic chemicals were manufactured.  When the Himalayan Mountains were formed by rising from the ocean beds, they were later protected by lava and covered in snow and ice for thousands of years.  The balance of sodium and chloride with the added natural minerals your body requires, contribute to its pink color.  Himalayan salt contains at least 80 naturally occurring trace elements which are beneficial to our health. Be cautious when you make your purchase as there are cheap knock offs. Three brands that appear to be authentic and pure are Evolution Salt Company, Dr. Mercola’s Himalayan salt and Redmond’s Real Salt (sea salt harvested from a pristine ancient sea near Redmond, Utah).

Resources:

Group, Edward.,(2017). The Health Dangers of Table Salt. Global Healing Center. https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/dangers-of-salt/

Mercola, Joseph., (2018). Ninety Percent of Sea Salt Contains Plastic. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/10/31/sea-salt-plastic.aspx

www.realsalt.com/Ingredients

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By |2019-08-12T15:28:37-06:00May 2nd, 2018|

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Functional Medicine Doctor in The Woodlands TX

The Woodlands Institute for Health and Wellness is here to serve your entire family. The Functional Medicine approach combines the science of traditional medicine with the wisdom of natural holistic approaches (treating the body as an interconnected whole), wholesome nutrition, and healthy lifestyle choices. Institute founder, Dr. Mila McManus is a firm believer in functional and preventative medicine to promote health. She is passionate about healing chronic disease through a comprehensive approach and teaching people how simple, small shifts can have an enormous impact on their health. She believes that we all have the ability to take charge of our health and often we just need a bridge to that other side. Her mission is to work with individuals to navigate the complexity of the body and get to the root cause of disease.

We are conveniently located off I-45 between Woodlands Parkway and Sawdust Road. Please look at our upcoming events and join us for a complimentary Lunch & Learn event, as we discuss safe, natural, and effective solutions to your health concerns. Dr. McManus works to achieve optimal health and an improved quality of life, while avoiding the side effects and discomfort of prescription drugs and surgery for all of her patients.

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Fake Food: You Don’t Always Get What You Want (or think you bought)

By |2017-06-04T06:39:53-06:00June 4th, 2017|Articles, General|

fake beef

This month we’re focusing on BEEF.

Traditionally, cattle were grass fed from start to finish. As little as three generations ago, a steer was fed grass its entire life and was not slaughtered for market until the age of four or five years old.  Today, through misguided policies and government subsidies, our nation has figured out the route to cheaper and faster without considering the long term impact on humans, animals, and environmental health.  Now, the majority of cattle spends just the first few months of life on pasture land and then are “finished”, or fattened, in a feed lot (Confined Animal Feeding Operations, aka CAFO).  The goal is to take a cow from birthweight of about 80 pounds to 1200 pounds in just a little more than a year.  The only way to accomplish this unnatural feat is to feed the animal enormous quantities of corn, soy based protein supplements, antibiotics and other drugs, including hormones.

This article could easily take many avenues, from animal cruelty, environmental issues or government policy, but our purpose today is to focus on what kind of beef can offer the greatest nutritional value.  Let me preface this by saying that most Americans consume far more meat than needed and are grossly insufficient consumers of vegetables and healthy, undamaged fats.  Meats, which can be part of a well-balanced, nutritious diet, are far healthier and superior when obtained from animals that have eaten their natural diet.

The Bad News about Feed Lot Beef

When we eat CAFO meat, our health is impacted negatively in the following ways:

  • Increasingly, research reveals that pesticides used on genetically modified food has significant long term health risks, most notably glyphosate. Glyphosate is classified by the World Health Organization as a Class 2A, “probable human carcinogen”. Cows are fed genetically altered, glyphosate-sprayed, corn, soy and other byproducts.
  • We are currently human lab rats in the experiment of genetic modification as we artificially transfer genes from one species to another where it would never occur under natural conditions. The process yields unexpected and unpredictable results, including transferring foreign genes from other species into humans¹.
  • In CAFO operations, antibiotics are used as a preventive measure so that animals can be kept in conditions and fed things that would otherwise make them sick. Antibiotics, along with growth hormones and steroids, are also used as a cheap method to help cattle gain weight. Growth hormones and steroids are banned in pig and poultry production. ²
  • There are also reports that cattle are also fed animal waste that includes chicken litter (which contains chicken feces, bedding, feathers and other unknown residues) as well as the flesh and bones of dead cattle.⁶
  • Corn fed beef is more inflammatory to humans because it adds to our intake of Omega 6 fatty acids which promote inflammation.
  • “Pink slime” in ground beef remains very real. Simply look for terms like “lean finely textured beef” (LFTB), “textured beef,” “finely textured beef” or “boneless lean beef trimmings” (BLBT). It is used to hold beef together and is made from meat trimmings heated at high temperatures to remove the fat, then treated with ammonia or citric acid to kill bacteria. It is used as a filler as well.⁴  Um, gross!
  • “Meat glue” is also still very prevalent. Many “premium” cuts of meat you are buying in restaurants are cheaper cuts assembled to look like filet mignon or ribeye.  The glue is an enzyme known as transglutaminase, reportedly created by cultivating bacteria or using blood plasma of pigs and cows. It is apparently toxic enough to warrant those working with the product to wear protective masks to avoid inhaling fumes from it. Another concern is that it harbors pathogens and since it will be located at the center of the meat, ordering on the rare side may not kill the pathogens. ⁵
  • An important consideration for everyone is the modern-day crisis we face, as the antibiotics we consume in our meat and dairy products create antibiotic resistance in our own bodies.

The Good News about Grass Fed Beef

Not surprising, when an animal eats its natural diet in a healthy living environment, the meat and eggs from that animal are healthier options for us to eat.

  • Grass fed beef is lower in fat and provides more of the healthy Omega-3 fats that are crucial for human health and are also found in walnuts, flaxseeds and fish. A grass fed steak typically has twice as many Omega-3’s as a grain fed steak. ³
  • Grass fed beef is also four times higher in vitamin E than feed lot cattle, and much higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Both of these nutrients are associated with reducing inflammation, providing antioxidant protection, and preventing cancer. ³
  • Truly 100% grass fed and organic beef will be free of pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. The cows will be raised on grass and hay.  See the Nutrition Nugget in this newsletter for how to buy quality grass fed beef.

¹http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/01/05/ge-food-dangers.aspx

²Real Food Fake Food, by Larry Olmsted, published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 27515 Copyright 2016

³https://foodrevolution.org/blog/the-truth-about-grassfed-beef

⁴http://clark.com/health-health-care/how-to-know-if-youre-eating-pink-slime/

⁵http://www.natrualnews.com/054504_meat_glue_warning_fake_food.html

⁶http://www.naturalnews.com/z028675_beef_chicken_poop.html

Brain Builders and Brain Drainers

By |2018-09-12T12:38:27-06:00March 25th, 2016|Articles, General|

By Mila McManus MD and Nancy Mehlert MS

The human brain is home to more than 100 billion nerve cells that serve as the central command center for the human body. Neuroscientists have confirmed that we do have the ability to make new brain cells, a process called neurogenesis. Learning new things, having sex, and engaging in aerobic activities all increase neurogenesis, whereas stress and poor sleep decrease it. Not surprisingly, scientists have also discovered that nutrition plays a very significant role in the ability to make new brain cells. This means we can be very intentional about taking care of our brain to promote new cell growth thus improving memory, mood and a keeping a sharp mind as we age.

brain lifting wts

Brain Drainers

  • Keep carbohydrates in check, avoiding boxed, packaged and processed foods, especially grains and pastas as well as gluten, and sugar.  All of these convert rapidly to sugar, a highly destructive substance to the brain.  Read Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter.
  • Avoid alcohol. It’s a depressant, it’s inflammatory, and inhibits neurogenesis of the region of the brain involved with memory.
  • Avoid foods high in Omega 6 which are inflammatory fatty acids.  This includes natural and processed oils from corn, soybean, cottonseed, canola, grapeseed, safflower and sunflower.
  • Toxins-we are exposed to toxins 24/7.  Every time we drink, eat, take a breath or shower, we are absorbing toxins.  We don’t all detoxify at the same rate. Consider genetic testing that will help determine how well you detoxify. Also consider heavy metal testing.  Aluminum, for example, increases acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine.  Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter involved with memory.  Learn more about toxin “blocks and tackles” here.
  • Prescription drugs (and well, illicit drugs, too, of course).  Statin drugs commonly prescribed for high cholesterol are among the worst offenders.  You can also read our series on the dangers of other commonly prescribed drugs, such as antihistamines.
  • Electrosmog-this is the invisible electromagnetic radiation emitted from products such as cell phones, cordless phones, wi-fi, baby monitors, and cell phone towers.  While the dangers of electrosmog are still controversial, we believe this is a real threat.  Studies have shown, for example, that electrosmog emitted from mobile phones increases blood brain barrier (BBB) permeability. The BBB protects our brains from toxins, for example, so if the permeability is increased, consider the flood gates to be open!
  • Infection-it’s gross to think about, but we all have a LOT of microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast, parasites) taking up residence in our bodies, including our brain. Lyme disease, for example, is very difficult to diagnose accurately with blood tests, and is known to have a link to brain diseases such as MS, ALS, and Alzheimers.  Candida, a form of yeast, produces over 100 neurotoxins.
  • And, as mentioned above, stress and poor sleep

Brain Builders

  • Consider Cognitive assessments to quantify cognition. See a quantitative and objective measure of your cognitive health to help complement any existing subjective assessment methods you’re using as part of your care.
  • Consider Intermittent Fasting, a scheduled pattern of eating which includes fasting, with normal eating restricted to a small 6-8 hour window of time each day.  Calorie restriction promotes neurogenesis.
  • Seek out foods and supplements high in Omega 3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and make up 15 to 20% of your cerebral cortex.  Good food sources include wild Pacific/Alaskan salmon and sardines, egg yolks from pasture raised chickens, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, organic extra virgin olive oil and grass fed beef.
  • Your brain loves flavonoids – a very powerful antioxidant essential in the brain’s constant war against oxidation. Great sources of flavonoids include blueberries, dark chocolate, curcumin (found in the spice, curry), kale, citrus fruits and Brussels sprouts just to name a few.
  • Improve your gut health.  Research has revealed that the health of your brain is largely dictated by the blend of microbes in your gastrointestinal tract.
  • Optimize your hormones with a functional medicine specialist.  Slow thyroid function, for example, clearly causes slow brain function.
  • Boost oxygen! Improving circulation to the brain will provide more oxygen to the brain, thus facilitating brain function.  Consider ONDAMED, gingko biloba, and Neo40 to help achieve this.
  • Magnesium L-Threonate
  • And, as mentioned above, learning new things, having sex, and engaging in aerobic activities.

Call us at 281-298-6742 and let us help you improve your brain function.

https://www.ted.com/talks/sandrine_thuret_you_can_grow_new_brain_cells_here_s_how?language=en
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/11/05/fish-oil-benefits.aspx
Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter
https://ccst.us/projects/smart/documents/082009_Nittby_Increased_Permeability.pdf
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Great Vaccine Debate

By |2015-03-30T08:39:57-06:00March 22nd, 2015|Articles, General|

Over the last 10 years I have become more of a skeptic. Maybe it is because I bought a McDonald’s Happy meal 3 years ago and still have it – bugs won’t eat it and mold won’t grow on it. Or maybe it is because I bought Stevia in the Raw only to discover that it was neither stevia nor raw, but a bag of more than 51% genetically modified corn maltodextrin – which is not “natural” or healthy at all. Or maybe it is because after listening to hundreds of pharmaceutical drug ads, it dawned on me that more ad time was used to focus on potential dangers of the drug rather than the possible benefit from it. And maybe the icing on the cake was 10 years ago when I had a plethora of health problems while subsisting on the FDA Food Pyramid recommendations and Diet Coke with no idea that my diet had anything to do with being sick and tired. Much to my shock, my health was restored when I eliminated the grain and food chemicals and dramatically reduced sugar intake while adding in generous amounts of undamaged animal and plant fats. Yes, I believe we have good reason to be skeptical. It has made me sadly aware that big industry and government have no genuine interest in me, or my health, despite what they claim. So I must be responsible, educated and yes, skeptical.

Now I’m asking another question as I prepare for a Peru mission trip this summer. Should I get any vaccinations? I’ve grown up believing that vaccinations were in my best interest. A decade ago, I would have gone to a doctor to get every recommended vaccine, no questions asked. But today, knowing what I know, I can’t trust or assume that conventional “wisdomvaccines” was created in my best interest. This topic is complex, it is emotionally charged, and it is currently being hotly debated. I cannot begin to dig deeply into of every aspect of the debate, but I wanted to share some of what I am learning and the resources I have found interesting, compelling and helpful.

The healthy and necessary vaccination debate sprung out of a significant and growing number of parents who have witnessed serious side effects in their children immediately after a vaccination and/or now their children are chronically ill or disabled, diagnosed with learning disabilities, autism, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergies, just to name a few.

As a nutritionist in a doctor’s office, I can’t help but think that our poor diets, damaged guts, use of prescription drugs, and toxic world, plus a lot of vaccinations, have possibly created the proverbial “perfect storm” for our children.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries, author of the book Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History, 2013, is a nephrologist who left her lucrative medical practice to examine the lost history of vaccinations after several of her patients had been perfectly healthy until they got a vaccination. She also began to question her long term beliefs about them when she discovered that her patients in the hospital were getting vaccinated upon admission, before she even saw them, and the hospital was putting her name on the order, even though she had not approved it. When she complained to hospital administration, she was met with resistance. This gave her pause and led her to ask about the history of vaccinations and how we arrived where we are today.

Vaccinations contain not only cells taken from the fetus and organs of dogs, cows, monkeys, chickens, and aborted humans, but also contain aluminum and mercury (both very toxic to tissues and the brain), monosodium glutamate, formaldehyde, polysorbate 80, yeast and detergents, to name a few. [i] I work very hard to avoid most of these things in my food and I certainly don’t want them injected into my body either.  I won’t be getting a vaccination without asking what is in it ever again!

Were you aware that Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have declared vaccines to be “unavoidably unsafe”[ii],[iii] yet they are still committed to recommending this aggressive vaccination program while completely shielding the drug companies from product liability? In 1986 Congress banned civil lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers when Americans are injured or die from federally recommended and state mandated vaccines, and the U.S. Supreme Court concurred in 2011. My skepticism can only ask “Really? We know they are “unavoidably unsafe” but we are going to recommend them, make more, require them, and then protect the makers of them?” If the vaccine manufacturers are not held accountable for product liability, what will motivate them to improve the horrific ingredients, or question safety and efficacy? There is nothing to lose, yet a lot of money to be made.

Government policy directs pediatricians to give children three times as many vaccinations today than children got 30 years ago. Today, the CDC recommends that within the first 18 months of a baby’s birth, the baby be injected with 27 vaccination doses. By age 6, children have had a total of 49 vaccination doses and by 18 years of age a total of 69![iv] So is more really better? Could cumulative effect from too many vaccines be creating serious problems? What is the limit? It occurs to me that before the invention of the first vaccination, the human species had perpetuated itself and no disease had destroyed mankind.   Have we respected and understood the full capacity and intricacies of the human immune system?   Based on my reading, very little was known when the first vaccine was introduced and much of the genetic, biological, immunological research today is turning conventional vaccine “wisdom” on its head. What are we thinking when we take a tiny newborn baby in all its wonder and think somehow that we are the wiser to impose 27 foreign viruses and toxic adjuncts onto this tiny, new immune system? Is there common sense or logic or even valid research to assure us that there is wisdom in this? Are we certain beyond certain that first and foremost this does no harm?

Could it be that any of this has to do with the fact that the current global vaccine market is worth $30 billion dollars? In ten years it is projected to be worth $100 billion dollars. [v] There is a public-private business partnership that has been forged between government and the pharmaceutical industry [vi],[vii],[viii],[ix],[x],[xi] with our tax dollars to develop hundreds of new vaccines. [xii]

And what about efficacy? Are vaccinations preventing outbreaks? According to GlobalResearch.org, they report candidly “the most highly vaccinated populations are also those with the greatest number of outbreaks for those same infectious diseases. This was especially the case for measles, mumps, rubella, polio and pertussis outbreaks.” [xiii] There are studies revealing how live virus vaccines actually create the potential for those vaccinated to be infecting others, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.

These comments are only the tip of the iceberg for this debate. I finish this article with more questions and fewer answers than when I started and am still very skeptical. I hope you explore further for yourself and your family. It is also important to know that there is a very strong lobby representing drug companies, medical trade associations, and public health officials who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws which take away your right to informed consent and ability to get a vaccine exemption for you or your children.

Dr. Mercola at www.mercola.com has invested significant time, research and effort into discussing every side of this issue in his newsletters. He also addresses Dr. Donald Miller’s “user friendly vaccination plan”. I also carefully read the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at CDC.gov. which sheds light on the topic. The Weston A. Price Foundation at wapf.com and the film called The Greater Good, as well as insights on the topic from Dr. Campbell-McBride, author of The Gut and Psychology Syndrome have also been helpful to me. You may want to get the book by Dr. Suzanne Humphries, Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History as another helpful resource.

We aren’t telling you to NOT get vaccinated. We are presenting some facts and encouraging you to ask questions and educate yourself. You, as an individual, must weigh the benefits and risks for each and every vaccine as they pertain to your individual circumstances, such as your health, your job, and your travel.

[i]   http://vaxtruth.org/2011/08/vaccine-ingredients/ and http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/package_inserts.htm

[ii]Supreme Court of the United States. Bruesewitz v. Wyeth. Feb. 11, 2011.

[iii] NVIC. National Vaccine Information Center Cites “Betrayal” of Consumers by

U.S. Supreme Court Giving Total Liability Shield to Big Pharma. Businesswire

Feb. 23, 2011.

[iv]http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/images/schedule1983s.jpg

[v]Businesswire. The Global Vaccine Market Is Expected to Surpass Estimated $100 Billion by 2015. Global Vaccine Market Pipeline Analysis June 27, 2014.

[vi]Grotton F. The Project Bioshield Act: Issues for the 112th Congress. Congressional Research Service Mar. 13, 2012.

[vii]Palmer E. Novartis in tax fight over vaccine plant that HHS helped pay for. Fierce Vaccines June 8, 2012.

[viii]Kirby TL. Licensing and Patenting at the NIH. Office of Technology Transfer, NIH: 2013.

[ix]Corby-Edwards AK, Redhead CS. Public Health Service Agencies: Overview and Funding. Congressional Research Service Nov. 12, 2013.

[x]FDA. Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA): PDUFA V: Fiscal Years 2013- 2017. FDA Dec. 26, 2013.

[xi]PhRMA. Statement on United States and China Public Private Partnership on Healthcare. Press Release: Jan. 20, 2011.

[xii]Clinical Trials.gov. New vaccines.

[xiii] http://globalresearch.org

Genetically Modified (GM) Foods

By |2012-10-03T11:14:56-06:00October 3rd, 2012|Articles|

From Dr. Mercola’s Newsletter For an in-depth education on the many dangers of GM foods, I highly recommend reading Jeffrey Smith’s books, Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette. Smith documents at least 65 serious health risks from GM products of all kinds, including:
• Offspring of rats fed GM soy show a five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weights, and the inability to reproduce
• Male mice fed GM soy have damaged young sperm cells
• The embryo offspring of GM soy-fed mice have altered DNA functioning
• Several US farmers have reported sterility or fertility problems among pigs and cows fed on GM corn varieties
• Investigators in India have documented fertility problems, abortions, premature births, and other serious health issues, including deaths, among buffalos fed GM cottonseed products
• Animals fed GM foods have developed bleeding stomachs,potentially precancerous cell growth, damaged organs and immune systems, kidney inflammation, problems with blood and liver cells, and unexplained deaths
• Soy allergies have skyrocketed after the introduction of GM soy
• Genes from GM crops transfer to human gut bacteria, which might transform your intestinal flora into a living pesticide factory.
No one knows the full extent of what happens to the end product when you splice in new genes, and then eat that product for several generations. The only thing that is guaranteed is that it will create surprise side effects. However, according to Smith’s research, what we do know is that between 1994 and 2001 — the same time that GMOs flooded the market –food related illnesses DOUBLED. GMO foods can be:
• Allergenic
• Toxic
• Carcinogenic
• Anti-nutritional
It may also create brand new diseases that we’ve never seen before, in addition to spurring on the disease rate of some we already have, such as cancer. Moratorium Called on GM Foods! On May 19th, 2009, the The American Academy Of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) sent out a press advisory calling for Immediate Moratorium On Genetically Modified Foods and for physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible, and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks. They also advised that physicians should consider the role of GM foods in their patients’ disease processes. In their position paper, the AAEM states that several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM foods, including:
• Infertility
• Immune problems
• Accelerated aging
• Insulin regulation
• Changes in major organs
• Gastrointestinal changes and problems
The AAEM concludes, There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation, as defined by recognized scientific criteria. The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies. Educate your doctor!
Many physicians are still completely unaware of this problem, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with handing them a printout of the moratorium, or suggesting they take a look at the research. The Institute for Responsible Technology also offers two full audio lectures on the dangers of GMOs. They’re free, and you’re even allowed to burn them onto CDs to give away. Why not give a copy to the members of your family, friends, and yes, even your doctor? Playing with Technology We Don’t Fully Comprehend Dr. Mae-Wan Ho of the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) explains the heart of why GM foods are so dangerous: The genome is remarkably dynamic and fluid, and constantly in conversation with the environment. This determines which genes are turned on, when, where, by how much and for how long. Moreover, the genetic material itself could also be marked or changed according to experience, and the influence passed on to the next generation. But when genetically modified rogue genes are inserted into a genome, it cannot possibly mimic the complex processes – the dance of life — that’s necessary for survival in nature.
The rogue genes inserted into a genome to make a GMO could land anywhere; typically in a rearranged or defective form, scrambling and mutating the host genome, and have the tendency to move or rearrange further once inserted, basically because they do not know the dance of life. That’s ultimately why genetic modification doesn’t work and is also dangerous.
Four Ways to Avoid GM Foods As stated by Smith, there are four main ways to avoid GM foods:
• 1.Buy organic
• 2.Only buy products that carry a Non-GMO label
• 3.Only buy products listed in the non-GMO shopping guide
• 4.Avoid products that contain these at-risk ingredients: Soy, Corn, Cotton, Canola
The offspring of these products include items such as maltodextrin, soy lecithin, and high fructose corn syrup. As for fresh produce, you’ll want to avoid some varieties of zucchini, crookneck squash, and papayas from Hawaii, as these are mainly GM. Other common GM-containing foods to avoid include:
• Milk containing rbGH
• Rennet (containing genetically modified enzymes) used to make hard cheeses
• Aspartame (NutraSweet)
Avoiding GM products in your diet means avoiding all of the foods and ingredients mentioned above, or choosing organic versions of them. If your diet consists largely of processed foods, you can be sure you’re eating about 70 percent GM foods, as the ingredients listed above (particularly corn and soy) are in a vast majority of all processed food products!
I highly recommend downloading the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, issued by the Institute for Responsible Technology. They also offer some helpful basic advice for how to avoid GMOs when eating in restaurants!

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