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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More to consider re: Health Reform

A time to consider taking responsibility for your health.  You can do it!

Seniors wary of health overhaul impact on Medicare

N.Y. Times columnist: Death panels will save 'a lot of money'

Health Care Battle Ends; War on Social Security Begins 

Refer to this article for more information.

News BUZZ not worth the words: Vitamins & Breast Cancer

I just heard Wolf Blitzer report on this story, and I heard it on the noon news today, as well as in an email sent to me yesterday.

Knowing this infinitesimal bit of BUZZ, I am sure this will be all over the evening network news, and regular news for days. Sanjay Gupta is just about to reply on this "headliner". Gupta says it is an association that something in a multi-vitamin may lead to this 19% reported increased risk.  He also gives that tired and  biased caveat about being able to get all you nutrition from your diet. Not a chance if you eat like those people Jaime Oliver is trying to educate.

If you are a thinking person, please to not fall prey to this BUZZ glut.

And please take the time to review the following commentary I developed at the request of a major news director who is interested in reporting fact, not BUZZ. It is a well known fact that the more times you hear sound bites, the faster you tend to believe them.

Don't become a sheeple...and please read this excerpt from my comments - it is your best insurance against propaganda spread via mainstream media, talking heads, and Big PhRMA. (for the complete article, request it by contacting me)
A Word to the Wise By Gayle Eversole, DHom, PhD, MH, NP, ND

In an article recently published on the web site eFitnessNow. a group of people provide you with what they believe to be useful health oriented information.I looked over this entire website and no where could I find any information about the staff and their qualifications as editors, or any information about their backgrounds in health or related health professions.

This may appear cynical on the surface, but it is important to understand today’s way of providing “news” and the way in which it can affect your beliefs.

Recently I listened to an interview on NPR addressing MRSA.I have an interest in this topic as it is something I have been working on with natural and creative approaches since 1993.

I realized that all the journalist-author really did in her book was to compile an amount of data that had already been reported in the news. She also spoke with “researchers” about whom these news articles had been written. There are a lot of reports of findings, yet no constructive outcome or effective treatment has been discovered.

The author and interviewer also avoided looking at other options that the accepted standard mainstream models.

This brings me to an article I posted on my blog, Natural Health News, in February 2009, titled ‘How Mainstream Media Distorts Health Information”. 

We know that there is, and has been, a directed effort to limit you access to vitamins and supplements, and an effort also to try to sway your opinion to the ideas that you can get all the needed nutrients from food and supplements do not help prevent or heal disease.

These concepts have been proven, over and over again, to be false.

But, you must consider that this article reports only a ‘meta-anlysis’.

A meta-analysis is a statistical method attributed to Gene Glass, as defined in the following synopsis -
•In 1976, Glass coined the term meta-analysis
statistical analysis of a large collection of analysis results from individual studies for the purpose of integrating the findings.(Glass, 1976, p3)
•Meta-analysis techniques are needed because only summary statistics are typically available in the literature.
•Often used in medical and psychological studies.

Now that you have the background information, let’s move on to the article in question, as reported by eFitnessNow.

A startling connection between multi-vitamins and breast cancer occurrence has prompted doctors to caution older women against a daily multi-vitamin, unless absolutely needed. According to the results of a Swedish study, the vitamins may be linked to breast cancer.
The authors of the study cannot outright confirm the correlation between the two but suggest the matter needs further research. The study was led by Dr. Susanna C. Larsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The study followed 35,000 Swedish women between the ages of 49 and 83 over a ten year period. All the women were cancer free at the onset, with 974 developing breast cancer throughout the course of the study.
Women who took daily vitamins were 19 percent more likely to develop breast cancer. 9,000 women in the study were vitamin users with 293 developing the often fatal disease. Only 681 of the remaining 26,000 women developed breast cancer. A relatively small number of women who took the daily vitamins were diagnosed with breast cancer, which lends to the suggestion that if there is a risk, it is very modest.
Larsson advises that women who are eating a well-balanced diet do not need a multi-vitamin.
The study has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
When you analyze this statement, “The study followed 35,000 Swedish women between the ages of 49 and 83 over a ten year period. All the women were cancer free at the onset, with 974 developing breast cancer throughout the course of the study.”, you find that the statistical impact is 0.02%.
If you analyze this statement, “Women who took daily vitamins were 19 percent more likely to develop breast cancer. 9,000 women in the study were vitamin users with 293 developing the often fatal disease.” , you find that the statistical impact is 0.03%.

And if you analyze this statement, “Only 681 of the remaining 26,000 women developed breast cancer.” , you find that the statistical impact is 0.02%.

And in conclusion, the report says, “A relatively small number of women who took the daily vitamins were diagnosed with breast cancer, which lends to the suggestion that if there is a risk, it is very modest.”

The moral of this story is don’t be fooled by headlines, and yes, digest what you read.

If you do a search for Dr. Susanna C. Larrson you can locate over one hundred articles based on meta-analysis of existing research. She has yet to respond to the inquiry I sent.  Also note that there is no definition of exactly what multi-vitamins were used in the studies.

This is a critical concern, as most vitamin studies done in the mainstream use low quality, synthetic or too low dose products.

Complete article posted here

Taking Too Many Pills

There is a recent TV commercial for Crestor that has a woman explaining about how her doctor put her on the drug to help her reduce LDL, or what is marketed as " bad cholesterol".

When I hear this commercial I want to have equal time to explain something very important to doctors and to women.   Since I don't have the gazillions of disposable income that the PhRMA companies have, I don't have a snowflake's chance in hell of this, so I'll address it here.

One of the most problematic health issues today is thyroid function.  Part of the problem is that it is not only overlooked as important in today's Big Insurance+Big PhRMA controlled medical care, but it is also porrly diagnosed.

Yes, folks, the TSH test won't tell you " squat" !

What also is missing is that thyroid dysfunction cause your cholesterol level to rise.

Since this concept is basic physiology why is your doctor pushing a drug on you to lower cholesterol when properly evaluating thyroid function is a much better place to start?

This is also very much related to gall bladder function which can be resolved without "cutting it out" !

Another generally overlooked is the vital part sound nutrition plays in the prevention and treatment of disease, yet mainstream media continues to ignore this vital concept.

Recently, the New York Times also looked at the issue of pushing pills, especially as the vultures from PhRMA and the buzzards from Big Insurance begin their efforts to round you up for the kill, following the passing of the so-called "health" bill. (Just recall that HillaryCare wanted everyone to be taking Prozac, and we know what a disaster the SSRI drugs have become.)
Risks Seen in Cholesterol Drug Use - "With the government’s blessing, a drug giant is about to expand the market for its blockbuster cholesterol medication Crestor to a new category of customers: as a preventive measure for millions of people who do not have cholesterol problems."

And so did the London Daily Mail
Dept of Health data reveals we each pick up more than 16 prescriptions a year on average, twice as many as 20 years ago. The boom is partly put down to a profit-hungry pharma industry inventing & exaggerating ailments & then blitzing doctors to boost sales. The NHS spent £22million a DAY on prescription drugs in England in 06 - a 60% rise in real terms on 10 years earlier.
(A colleague's comment: Prof. Michael Oliver, emeritus professor of Cardiology at Edinburgh University, wrote in the British Medical Journal in March last year that healthy older people are being turned into patients by GPs who are too quick to prescribe pills for high blood pressure, cholesterol & mild diabetes. The standard for these is based on much younger people's needs. The professor stated that few older people are allowed to enjoy being healthy as a bureaucractic demand for documentation can lead to over-diagnosis, over-treatment & unnecessary anxiety - known as "the medication of health." GPs are pressurised by the government to hit targets & this has overtaken personal advice from GPs. Incentives known as "Quality & Outcomes Framework" mean a proportion of GP practice-income is dependent on hitting targets. He questions whether patients are warned about medications' side-effects & whether older people could be allowed to return to their previous unencumbered & reasonably fit lives.
Please note that our organization offers an excellent thyroid testing kit, and health and nutrition counseling,

Action Against Atrazine

Atrazine is a highly toxic chemical herbicide used in corn agriculture; corn is in almost everything!
Nation’s Largest Private Water Utility Joins Lawsuit Against Herbicide Maker

by Danielle Ivory

The nation's largest private water utility company has joined a federal lawsuit [1] that aims to force the manufacturer of atrazine, a widely-used herbicide, to pay for its removal from drinking water.

[The communities in the lawsuit are alleging that Swiss corporation Syngenta AG and its Delaware counterpart Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. made billions of dollars selling atrazine while local taxpayers were left "the ever-growing bill for filtering the toxic product from the public's drinking water."

The communities in the lawsuit are alleging that Swiss corporation Syngenta AG and its Delaware counterpart Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. made billions of dollars selling atrazine while local taxpayers were left "the ever-growing bill for filtering the toxic product from the public's drinking water."

As the Investigative Fund reported two weeks ago [2], the class action lawsuit was originally filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois by 16 cities in Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and Iowa. The communities are alleging that Swiss corporation Syngenta AG and its Delaware counterpart Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. made billions of dollars selling atrazine while local taxpayers were left "the ever-growing bill for filtering the toxic product from the public's drinking water."

American Water Company joined the lawsuit in five of those states yesterday, representing 28 additional Midwestern communities.

A spokesman for American Water, Terry Mackin, said in a written statement that the company's state subsidiaries are joining the case to recover past and future "costs of treating their raw water supplies for atrazine which they all have done in meeting or exceeding the federal and state drinking water standards."

Syngenta spokesman Paul Minehart told the Investigative fund that the company had not yet been served with a federal lawsuit. He re-emphasized [2] that "the EPA re-registered atrazine in 2006, stating it would cause no harm to the general population."

We reported in a series of articles [3] last fall that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency failed to notify the public that the weed-killer had been found at levels above the federal safety limit in drinking water in at least four states. The EPA recently announced that it would be undertaking a re-evaluation of the chemical's potential to cause harm to humans and animals.

Amended Class Action Complaint Against Syngenta

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fourteen Articles on Natural Health News Related to Pancreatic Cancer and...

Here is number 15, dating back to 2007, that may not have been brought to your attention. Methionine is a sulfur bearing molecule necessary to health and healing.
Methionine may ward off pancreatic cancer

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Higher methionine intake is apparently associated with a reduction in pancreatic cancer risk, according to a report in the January issue of Gastroenterology.

Impaired methyl group metabolism may contribute to pancreatic diseases and carcinogenesis, the authors explain, suggesting that methyl group donors like methionine could influence the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Susanna C. Larsson from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, and associates examined intakes of methionine and vitamin B6 in relation to the incidence of pancreatic cancer in the Swedish Mammography Cohort and Cohort of Swedish Men. The study comprised nearly 82,000 men and women aged 45 to 83 years.

During a mean follow-up of 7.2 years, 147 incident cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed.

The multivariate rate ratio for pancreatic cancer was 0.44 for individuals in the highest quartile of methionine intake compared with those in the lowest quartile, the researchers found.

The inverse association between methionine intake and pancreatic cancer was more pronounced in smokers than nonsmokers, the investigators note. There was no interaction between alcohol consumption and methionine intake and pancreatic cancer risk.

There was no significant association between vitamin B6 intake and pancreatic cancer risk, the report indicates.

"The results from this prospective study suggest that higher intake of methionine may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer," Larsson and colleagues conclude. "Foods rich in methionine include fish, poultry, meat, legumes, and dairy products," they add.

"The results could be important because pancreatic cancer, now the 4th most common cause of cancer mortality in the United States, has an extremely high mortality rate," write Dr. Albert B. Lowenfels and Dr. Patrick Maisonneuve from New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York in a related editorial.

"Even though the authors adjusted for many pancreatic cancer risk factors," the editorial goes on, "there is still the possibility that the apparent protective function of methionine is related to confounding by another dietary or nondietary protective factor."

Lowenfels and Maisonneuve conclude: "Before suggesting that our patients increase their intake of methionine, we need substantial additional data concerning efficacy and safety issues."

Gastroenterology 2007;132:113-118,441-443.

Drugs Slow Elders' Recovery

These reports are of high interest to me because they relate to a situation in my own family. It is highly important to understand that as you age your ability to metabolize drugs and other substances, as well as clear their metabolites through your liver and kidneys becomes impaired.
In my mother's situation she was - for the last six years of her life - grossly over medicated, and that list of drugs included several that the research showed definitively that they should not be administered to the elderly, and especially not to elderly women.
Regardless of the data presented, neither the care center or my brother, who had POA, made any effort to act for the best interest of my mother's health and quality of life.
Sedating Drugs May Slow Elders' Recovery By Ed Susman, Contributing Writer, MedPage Today, January 15, 2010

Elderly patients sedated with morphine or haloperidol (Haldol) were less likely to to be discharged to their homes than patients given other sedatives, according to research presented here.
MIAMI BEACH -- Elderly patients sedated with morphine or haloperidol (Haldol) in surgical intensive care units were less likely to to be discharged to their homes and more likely to be discharged to a nursing facility than patients given other sedatives, often resulting in a poorer quality of life, researchers reported here.
Patients who received morphine were 2.57 times more likely to be discharged to a nursing home, rehabilitation center, or a skilled nursing facility (P=0.029), Carrie Miller, MS, CRNP of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, told attendees at the annual meeting of the Society of Critical Care Medicine.
Patients who were given haloperidol were 12.46 times more likely to be discharged to one of those facilities rather than to their home.
Similarly, the risk of having a significantly reduced function from baseline admission was five times greater if the patient had received haloperidol (P=0.044) and 2.76 times more likely if the patient had received morphine (P=0.011), Miller said.
"While older adults frequently require medications to treat pain, anxiety, and delirium, little is know about the effects these medication have on older adults' functional ability or quality of life," Miller said.
To shed some light on the question, she and her colleagues evaluated 114 patients in three surgical ICUs. Mean age was about 75, some 60% were men, and 85% were white. Overall, 37% were undergoing general surgical procedures, while 35% had undergone vascular procedures and 16% were trauma patients.
Patients' level of consciousness and delirium status were assessed daily and information about medication use was gleaned from the ICU flow sheet and the computerized administration record.
The most frequently used narcotic in the surgical ICU was fentanyl (Duragesic), administered to 77 patients; the most frequently used sedative was midazolam (Versed); and the most frequently used antipsychotic was haloperidol.
Miller and her colleagues noted that use of propofol (Diprivan) appeared to be associated with better outcomes as far as discharge to one's home was concerned.
They noted that there was "considerable discrepancy" between medication usage and dosage recorded on the patients' flow sheet and medication administration record. "Researchers and clinicians should consider that administered prn medications may not always be recorded on the nursing flow sheet," they concluded.
The study did not control for confounding variables such as the severity of illness or comorbidities that may have affected outcomes, Miller said.
"This is an interesting study," said Suzan Streichenwein, MD, a private practice geriatric psychiatrist in West Palm Beach, Fla. "It would be valuable for future studies to include the severity of illness or more specific details about the type of surgery relative to the dosages of morphine used and its influence on the discharge functional outcomes.
"Tests diagnosing mild cognitive impairment and/or dementia preop versus postop as well as the time period under anesthesia in relation to outcomes would also be helpful," said Streichenwein, who was not involved in the study.
Streichenwein told MedPage Today that other possible confounding factors require further studies in this area.

None of the clinicians had relevant financial disclosures.
Primary source: Society of Critical Care Medicine
Source reference:
Balas M, et al "Narcotic, sedative and antipsychotic medication use in older surgical intensive care unit patients" SCCM 2010; Abstract 1000.
© 2004-2010 MedPage Today, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Psychiatric Drug Search Engine

In a related article published 15 June 2010, these drugs are again reported to have severe physical difficulties as well as the violent attributes they promote
Psychiatric drugs carry serious physical health risks

And another of the 30+ plus posts from Natural Health News says - This is a critical resource if you or anyone you know is being prescribed any of the psychiatric drugs for any cause.  I emphasize "any cause" because these drugs are glad-handed for just about any reason in the current mainstream health arena.
New Psychiatric Drug Search Engine—310 International Drug Regulatory Warnings & Studies & 194,000 Adverse psychiatric drug reaction reports

Studies Reveal Violent Side Effects of Psychiatric Drugs
Sep 20, 2006

It is becoming more and more apparent that psychiatric drugs drive people to not only perform violent acts on others, but also to take their own lives as well. A recent article written by Steve Mitchell, United Press International's ...

Cell Salts for Spring Ailments


...In the spring a condition of anemia exists in the majority of people, manifested by fatigue, lassitude, inability to concentrate the mind on work, and a vague feeling of discomfort, frequently known as “spring fever.” Ferrum Phos and Calcarea Phos are the lacking salts which cause anemia. The persistent use of Ferrum Phos in the morning and Calcara Phos in the evening, during the months of March, April and May, is a wise defense against the possibilities of “Spring Fever.”...

excerpt from Dr. Schuessler’s Biochemistry- A New Domestic Treatise.

We appreciate your ordering BioPlasma from us. It helps support our non-profit organization and our work.

Our new homeopathic product, RK BioDrops is in production. This product offers the following:

Monday, March 29, 2010

That Hair in Your Food

 L-cysteine -

Cysteine/NAC (N-acetylcysteine): Information

L-cysteine is a sulfur-bearing amino acid that occurs naturally in protein foods. When used as a supplement, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is the preferred form of l-cysteine because it is more stable and more easily absorbed. Sufficient amounts of l-cysteine are usually available through the diet in such high protein foods as cottage cheese, yogurt, various meats, granola and wheat germ.

Health Benefits of L-cysteine and NAC

L-cysteine is a precursor to the antioxidant glutathione, which is severely depleted by toxic burdens placed upon the liver by drugs, alcohol, pollution, smoke and industrial chemicals. In a clinical setting, the NAC form of l-cysteine is sometimes used to counteract overdoses of specific substances like acetaminophen in cases of acetaminophen overdose.1 L-cysteine is also used by itself and in combination with other nutrients to support more robust hair growth; hair is about 8% cysteine by weight2

Using Cysteine and NAC

Use as directed. L-cysteine is available in capsule, tablet and powder form.

Side-effects and Cautions:

Mild gastrointestinal discomfort or rash may occur in some. May cause headaches, especially in those taking nitrates for the treatment of angina. Children or pregnant/nursing women should not take l-cysteine or NAC except under the advice of a physician. l-cysteine or NAC supplements are not recommended for those prone to kidney stones.
1. Toxicology. 2008 Feb 3;244(1):25-34. Epub 2007 Nov 7. 
2. J Invest Dermatol. 1993 Jul;101(1 Suppl):56S-59S.

"Scott Carney sacrificed his own locks to a Hindu temple, but explained that clippings from short hair like his are used mainly as fertilizer or source material for a ubiquitous food additive called L-cysteine (L-cys for short). This amino acid, which gives hair its strength, also gives Noah's bagels their bounce, puts the softness in Tastykakes, and imparts mom-made freshness to Lunchables." READ COMPLETE ARTICLE

Buy organic for your kid's sake (and yours)!

The WIC program in Washington state eliminated organic milk to save money in 2009.  Of course this is typical WA ignorance because they fail to understand the longterm consequences of their limited understanding on this decision.
The National Research Council states that the data strongly suggests that exposure to neurotoxic compounds at levels believed to be safe for adults would result in permanent loss of brain function if it occurred during the prenatal or early childhood period of brain development. The National Academy of Sciences says that infants are likely to be 10 times more sensitive to any single pesticide than an adult. Furthermore, the additive effects of pesticides consumed in combination are not considered when regulating pesticides; nor are multiple routes of exposure (through food, water, and household products). The additive affect of simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides presents a real-world risk to infants and children.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oprah and Oz: Maybe their answers are missing something

I happened to notice a link to the Oprah show bulletin broad and their Q & A for Dr Oz having to do with vitamin D, Fosamax, cell phones and irregular heart beat.

What stuck me is that one of the queries posted was by a woman who had been told by her doctor that her vitamin D level at 38.4 was good.

Hopefully her doctor tested for 25 OH or Vitamin D3.  If you'd like to know the range for results, please see this excerpt from my recent issue of herbalYODA Says! - If you're not a subscriber, request a copy with your donation to CHI (
" The base level for vitamin D for both adults and children is 50 nanograms/mL If your level is below 50 then you will use it as fast as it is made, and you may be at risk for deficiency. This is more of a concern for people of color, those who do not go in the sun, those who are confined or live in climates where it is darker in winter, and those who wear clothing that covers the entire body.

Blood serum levels above 80 ng/mL allow for reserve storage. Levels above 200 ng/mL are thought to be toxic. The optimal range at all times is between 50 and 80ng/mL for adults and children."
Often you find that today's doctors are remiss in their ability to interpret lab results according to the most current research. Old levels for Vitamin D are 30, and even our own misguided FDA is considering raising the daily intake to 1000 mg.

This lack is virtually universal for thyroid testing, especially made worse because of the failure to order the correct tests.

Irregular heart beat associated with Fosamax may be related to the fluoride content of the drug which has a negative effect on thyroid function.  Thyroid dysfunction is often a symptom of excessive exposure to fluoride, because fluoride displaces iodine which is a key nutrient for a healthy thyroid. Iodine is also displaced by chlorine and bromine (halogens).

Electromagnetic fields (EMF) created by cell phones do now show that there is a alteration of thyroid function.  This can be linked to irregular heart beat either from EMF (especially when exposed to WIFI) or thyroid dysfunction. This also has implications for an increased risk of breast cancer.

You can order both the vitamin D test and thyroid panel, or other tests, from CHI.  And many states allow you to order your own.  We also provide a service that includes interpretation of what lab results mean for your health.

NB: Our upcoming herbalYODA Says! program on BTR for April will be about thyroid.

New from Tanka Bar

Just in time for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
Order Tanka Bar, Tanka Bites, Tanka Dogs and Tanka Wild from our link in the right hand column.
Tanka Wild Sticks
Tanka Wild, which comes in two great flavors, Traditional and Spicy Pepper Blend, combines the goodness of prairie-raised Buffalo and tart-sweet Cranberries with 100% Indian-grown and harvested Minnesota cultivated Wild Rice. This unconventional combination of meat, fruit and wild rice makes the smoky-sweet Tanka Wild Traditional a little crunchy with a slightly nutty flavor. The Tanka Wild Spicy Pepper Blend adds habanero and jalapeno, giving these savory treats a real kick.

Tanka Wild Gourmet Summer Sausage

In addition to our great Sticks, Tanka Wild is also available as a Gourmet Summer Sausage. Tender and savory, this perfectly seasoned sausage features the same delicious combination of Buffalo, Cranberries and Wild Rice. Available in Traditional flavor only.

The Tanka Wild Rice

Our Wild Rice is non-GMO, and contains no artificial flavors or colors. Wild Rice is a whole grain that is high in fiber, antioxidants and phosphorus. Whole grains also help to fight off cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Ancient recipe delivers endurance

We're convinced our Ancestors knew what they were doing when they combined Buffalo and fruit, such as cranberries and chokecherries. In times when Native Americans sustained themselves with wasna -- which some call pemmican -- and other traditional foods, heart disease, diabetes, or obesity were virtually unknown. Tanka products honor their wisdom. Named for the Lakota word for "outstanding" or "great," Tanka products offer powerful protein for your life journey.

When a little hype can cause big health problems

This morning a visitor from Florida was perusing Natural Health News for posts about the pink salt fad.  Their comment is below, and I have posted it so you can see how their understanding of fluorine and fluoride is grossly inaccurate.

I do not know where their information originated but it is quite well known that fluoride additives are not  pumped into water as "gas flourine".  Water fluoridation currently, and, for some time, has been in the form of adding hydrofluosilicic acid.

Fluoride in any form is not "inert", and NO, I would not do very good as a corporate lobbyist because I don't do a good job of altering facts to fit a sales scheme.
"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Himalayan Salt FAD May Be a Health Risk": Again, into US water is pumped the gas flourine. It cannot be removed with filters of any sort. Flouride, such as in salts, is an inert ingredient which is an entirely different kettle of tea. Havve you thought of applying for a job as a corporate lobbyist?"
Commenting below on the above quote is an internationally respected fluoride researcher -
Re: fluoride:
"Again, into US water is pumped the gas flourine."
Nonsense. First of all, it's FLUORINE and FLUORIDE, not flourine and flouride....
FLUORINE is a gas, and is NOT used in water fluoridation.
The two agents used most commonly for water fluoridation in the US are hydrofluorosilicic acid and sodium fluoride.
"Flouride, such as in salts, is an inert ingredient which is an entirely different kettle of tea."
FLUORIDE, even in the form of calcium fluoride, the compound called "natural fluoride" by those ignorant on this issue, is NOT inert.
SEE also:
This web site - - is not translated into English.  If you are unable to read German you may use a free translation service of your choice.  However, the chemical analysis is clear and descriptive enough to show that this " Himalayan pink crystal salt" is extremely high in several very toxic substances, contains a rather harmful level of sodium (14 percentage points higher than Celtic salt), and is replete with fluoride at 231 mg.  As with fluoride, many of the toxic substances in the "pink salt" are not necessary, and can be very harmful, for and to human and animal health.

HEALTH EFFECTS: Fluoride & the Gastrointestinal Tract

Further, data based on science, rather than marketing or sales schemes, can be found here and here.

I always welcome comments, however they should be realistic and free from links to advertising.  At NHN we reserve the right to use, not use/and or post, submitted comments accordingly.

Perhaps this is one of the most ill informed comments received at Natural Health News since Mike Adams directed his ad hominem attacks against me personally, our organization, and Natural Health News. Adams made a rash of defamatory comments about me, including one alluding to his unfounded claim that NHN is PhRMA funded.

Interestingly, Natural Health News is fully transparent;  Adams, his unidentified Taiwanese (and or other) backers, as well as their hundreds of webseed (seedweb) vacuous web sites based in Canada, are not.

Perhaps Adams is the one backed by PhRMA, and he is just projecting fear and guilt.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Data Safety

Your data, especially electronic data, is always at some degree of risk, and of course electronic health records pose a risk of dissemination without your consent.

A concerned person took the opportunity to address the push to have you store and/or backup all your data on line, and here he shares some of his thoughts and tips: Think BEFORE Using ANY Online Backup Service

Since 2006 we've discussed this issue in two dozen different posts, just use our search box and you'll find them easily.

Consider this from the UK press -
As many as 140,000 non-medical staff, including porters & housekeepers, have access to sensitive NHS patient files, it emerged last night. The lack of privacy protection has been revealed by a Freedom of Info survey. Govt. guidelines say only staff involved in providing & supporting patient care should have access, but Trusts are interpreting the rules so widely that administrators, porters & IT staff are all cleared to potentially delve into a person's medical file. Critics say it will be even easier to gain access when they are stored on the new NHS computer database.

Vitamin A and Arsenic Effectively Treat Leukemia, Also Vitamin C

UPDATE: 27 March 2010 - In 1974 the US Cancer Institute presented scientific papers on the findings that Vitamin A was effective  in preventing cancer as well as preventing cellular proliferation.  Additionally, later in 1974 other scientific papers reported that vitamin A is definitively an anti-cancer supplement offering cellular protection and offers protection from malignant growth.  The scientist found that vitamin A reversed the cellular damage caused by the carcinogen and it helps your body's defense mechanism to destroy cancer cells.  This is definitely a substance that offers protection against and reversal of cancers according to the findings.
One must ask exactly what is behind the major effort against using nutritional supplements in the prevention and treatment of cancer today.

UPDATE: 31 March: Vitamin C for Leukemia

Get your copy of CHI's Vitamin C Healthy Handout with your tax deductible donation to learn how to do high dose vitamin C therapy at home.
This is a very interesting report because it offers an option that is less toxic than standard chemotherapy. It also shows that vitamins are effective and helpful in cancer care.
Leukemia patients treated with arsenic, vitamin A
"The treatment was effective ... and worked better than either drug given alone."
Mon Feb 16, 2009
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Doctors appear to have safely and successfully treated patients with cancer of the blood and bone marrow with a combination of arsenic and vitamin A, according to long-term study in China.

In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the doctors said they prescribed the regimen to 85 patients and monitored them for an average of 70 months.

Of these, 80 patients went into complete remission and the researchers did not find any associated long-term problems in their heart or lungs and there was no development of secondary cancers.

"Two years after their treatment, the patients had arsenic blood and urine levels well below safety limits, and only slightly higher than controls," they wrote.

"The treatment was effective ... and worked better than either drug given alone."

The authors recommended that the treatment be given to patients with blood and bone marrow cancer, or acute promyelocytic Leukemia.

While vitamin A is regarded by some experts as a viable treatment, this is the first time that its use has been monitored for such an extended period of time.

Since the 18th century, arsenic compounds have been used as medicines to treat certain ailments. The US Food and Drug Administration approved it for the treatment of people with blood and bone marrow cancer in 2000.

(Reporting by Tan Ee Lyn; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Reverberating Issues with Flu Vaccine

1. What’s in the regular flu shot?
Egg proteins: including avian contaminant viruses
Gelatin: known to cause allergic reactions and anaphylaxis are usually associated with sensitivity to egg or gelatin
Polysorbate 80 (Tween80): can cause severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis
Formaldehyde: known carcinogen
Triton X100: a strong detergent
Sucrose: table sugar
Resin: known to cause allergic reactions
Gentamycin: an antibiotic
Thimerosal: mercury is still in multidose flu shot vials

2. Do flu shots work?
Not in babies:
In a review of more than 51 studies involving more than 294,000 children it was found there was “no evidence that injecting children 6-24 months of age with a flu shot was any more effective than placebo. In children over 2 yrs, it was only effective 33% of the time in preventing the flu. Reference: “Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2 (2008). Not in children with asthma:
for asthma.
A study 800 children with asthma, where one half were vaccinated and the other half did not receive the influenza vaccine. The two groups were compared with respect to clinic visits, emergency department (ED) visits, and hospitalizations CONCLUSION: This study failed to provide evidence that the influenza vaccine prevents pediatric asthma exacerbations.
“Effectiveness of influenza vaccine for the prevention of asthma exacerbations.” Christly, C. et al. Arch Dis Child. 2004 Aug;89(8):734-5. Not in children with asthma (2):
do not get the vaccine.”
“The inactivated flu vaccine, Flumist, does not prevent influenza-related hospitalizations in children, especially the ones with asthma. In fact, children who get the flu vaccine are more at risk for hospitalization than children who Reference: The American Thoracic Society’s 105th International Conference, May 15-20, 2009, San Diego. Not in adults:
1 (2006).
In a review of 48 reports including more than 66,000 adults, “Vaccination of healthy adults only reduced risk of influenza by 6% and reduced the number of missed work days by less than one day (0.16) days. It did not change the number of people needing to go to hospital or take time off work.” Reference: “Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Not in the Elderly:
In a review of 64 studies in 98 flu seasons, For elderly living in nursing homes, flu shots were non-significant for preventing the flu. For elderly living in the community, vaccines were not (significantly) effective against influenza, ILI or pneumonia.
“Vaccines for preventing influenza in the elderly.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 3(2006).

Large Numbers of Breast Cancer Cases Avoidable

As this supports what we have had posted on our main domain for years - - we are posting it for your consideration

Experts: One-third of breast cancer is avoidable  By MARIA CHENG, AP Medical Writer  

BARCELONA, Spain – Up to a third of breast cancer cases in Western countries could be avoided if women ate less and exercised more, researchers at a breast cancer conference said Thursday, renewing debate on a sensitive topic.
While better treatments, early diagnosis and mammogram screenings have dramatically slowed the disease, experts said the focus should now shift to changing behaviors like diet and physical activity. The comments added to a series of findings that lifestyle changes in areas such as smoking, eating, exercise and sun exposure can have a significant effect on all sorts of cancer rates.
"What can be achieved with screening has been achieved. We can't do much more," Carlo La Vecchia, head of epidemiology at the University of Milan, told The Associated Press. "It's time to move onto other things."
La Vecchia spoke Thursday on the influence of lifestyle factors at a European breast cancer conference in Barcelona.
Michelle Holmes, a cancer expert at Harvard University, said people might wrongly think their chances of getting cancer are more dependent on their genes than their lifestyle.
"The genes have been there for thousands of years, but if cancer rates are changing in a lifetime, that doesn't have much to do with genes," she told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. In Europe, there were about 421,000 new cases and nearly 90,000 deaths in 2008, the latest available figures. The United States last year saw more than 190,000 new cases and 40,000 deaths.
A woman's lifetime chance of getting breast cancer is about one in eight. Obese women are up to 60 percent more likely to develop any cancer than normal-weight women, according to a 2006 study by British researchers.
Many breast cancers are fueled by estrogen, a hormone produced in fat tissue. So experts suspect that the fatter a woman is, the more estrogen she's likely to produce, which could in turn spark breast cancer. Even in slim women, exercise can help reduce the cancer risk by converting more of the body's fat into muscle.
Yet any discussion of weight and breast cancer is considered sensitive, for some people may misconstrue that as the medical establishment blaming victims for getting breast cancer. Victims themselves could also feel guilty, wondering just how much the issue of weight factored into their own cancer case.
Tara Beaumont, a clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Care, a British charity, said her agency has always been very careful about issuing similar lifestyle advice. She noted that three of the major risk factors for breast cancer — gender, age and family history — are clearly beyond anyone's control.
"It is incredibly difficult to isolate specific factors, therefore women should in no way feel that they are responsible for developing breast cancer," she told the AP on Thursday.
Yet Karen Benn, a spokeswoman for Europa Donna, a patient-focused breast cancer group, said it was impossible to ignore the increasingly stronger links between lifestyle and breast cancer.
"If we know there are healthier choices, we can't not recommend them just because people might misinterpret the advice and feel guilty," she said. "If we are going to prevent breast cancer, then this message needs to get out, particularly to younger women."
Other patient advocates agreed.
"We hope that no one comes away from these studies with the idea that they're an attempt to 'blame' anyone for breast cancer," said Diana Rowden, a vice president at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a breast cancer group in Dallas. Rowden said the research was essential to warn people of their potential risks for developing breast cancer.
Other lifestyle factors like smoking and spending time in the sun have long been implicated in lung cancer and melanoma. Experts say there is now increasing evidence that what people eat and how much they weigh can contribute significantly to whether or not they develop cancers including those of the colon, stomach, and esophagus.
La Vecchia cited figures from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which estimated that 25 to 30 percent of breast cancer cases could be avoided if women were thinner and exercised more.
That means staying slim and never becoming overweight in the first place. Robert Baan, an IARC cancer expert in Lyon, France, said it wasn't clear if women who lose weight have a lower cancer risk or if the damage was already done from when they were heavy.
The recommendation to stay slim applies only to breast cancer in post-menopausal women, as there isn't enough evidence to know whether this applies to younger women.
Drinking less alcohol could also help. Experts estimate that having more than a couple of drinks a day can boost a woman's risk of getting breast cancer by four to 10 percent.
After studies several years ago linked hormone replacement therapy to cancer, millions of women abandoned the treatment, leading to a sharp drop in breast cancer rates. Experts said a similar reduction might be seen if women ate better — consuming less fat and more vegetables — and exercised more.
Holmes said changing one's diet and nutrition is arguably easier than tackling other breast cancer risk factors.
"Women who have early pregnancies are protected against breast cancer, but teenage pregnancy is a social disaster so it's not something we want to encourage," she said. "But there's no downside to reducing obesity and increasing physical activity."
In the 1980s and 1990s, breast cancer rates steadily increased, in parallel with the rise in obesity and the use of hormone replacement therapy, which involves estrogen.
The American Cancer Society recommends 45 to 60 minutes of physical activity five or more days a week to reduce a women's risk of breast cancer.
In one study from the Women's Health Initiative, as little as 1.25 to 2.5 hours per week of brisk walking reduced a woman's risk by 18%. Walking 10 hours a week reduced the risk a little more.
La Vecchia said countries like Italy and France — where obesity rates have been stable for the past two decades — show that weight can be controlled at a population level.
"It's hard to lose weight, but it's not impossible," he said. "The potential benefit of preventing cancer is worth it."

Nano-Foods, A Risk to Human Health

Part 2 now available: Regulated or Not, Nano-Foods Coming to a Store Near You

This despite the fact that hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have shown that nanoparticles pose potential risks to human health -- and, more specifically, that when ingested can cause DNA damage that can prefigure cancer and heart and brain disease.

Despite Denials, Nano-Food Is Here

EPA to Restrict Cancer-Causing Chemicals In Water

UPDATE 26 March - Just when you thought there actually might be some improvement in water quality, here comes this information to ponder
Bathing and showering: Under-appreciated sources of water pollution from medicines

ScienceDaily (2010-03-25) -- That bracing morning shower and soothing bedtime soak in the tub are potentially important but until now unrecognized sources of the hormones, antibiotics, and other pharmaceuticals that pollute the environment, scientists have reported. ... ; read full article
Atrazine is a carcinogenic chemical used in the production of corn, so it bodes well to make sure that any corn containing product you choose is organic.

EPA has not addressed fluoride which is a cancer promoting substance, and it appears that there has been nothing to address the difficulties of water treatment systems to remove these chemicals as well as the residue and metabolites from prescription drugs.  

I am not too sure this will come to pass although it is long overdue.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is changing how it protects the nation’s water as well as how it looks at potential water borne toxins. The LA Times reported that the agency announced its plans recently and said that it will also tighten its limits on four cancer-causing waterborne contaminants.
The move is expected to better enable the EPA to more quickly identify emerging contaminants and develop processes to protect consumers, said the LA Times. Of note, the agency has not listed a new water contaminant for regulation in over ten years, added the LA Times. Also, the agency looks at such contaminants on an individual basis, which can take years; under the planned changes, the EPA will look at contaminants in groups such as “pesticides, disinfection byproducts, or volatile organic compounds,” said the LA Times.
“To confront emerging health threats, strained budgets and increased needs—today’s and tomorrow’s drinking-water challenges—we must use the law more effectively and promote new technologies,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, quoted the LA Times. “To make our drinking-water systems work harder, we have to work smarter,” she added. Of note, pointed out Jackson, the EPA is planning on strengthening its limits on four cancer-causing compounds used in textile processing and treatment: Tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, acrylamide, and epichlorohydrin.
New limits have not been released; however, the agency is looking into reducing aquatic trichloroethylene levels to one-tenth of today’s levels, said the LA Times.
We have long been following links between pesticides and herbicides and adverse medical effects across various demographics, including between pediatric cancer and common, household pesticides; pesticides and Parkinson’s disease; and pesticides and Alzheimer’s disease risks. For instance, the herbicide, Atrazine—a known endocrine disrupter—has been linked it to sex changes in many male frogs—from male to female—and the “emasculation” of three-quarters of the other frogs, wrote the SFGate recently. The EPA approved the pesticide under the Bush administration after it rejected earlier findings, said the SFGate.
According to the SFGate, Atrazine’s worldwide ubiquity could likely be linked to a global decline in the frog and amphibian populations, which has confounded scientists and has also had impacts on world ecology.
Earlier this month, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) initiated 11 new animal studies into the possible effects from exposure to the industrial chemical bisphenol A—BPA—NIEHS director Linda Birnbaum told Congress, reported Reuters. “There are concerns about multiple possible health effects of BPA exposure,” Birnbaum told Congress at a House Energy and Commerce Energy and Environment Subcommittee hearing, quoted Reuters. “While much of the exposure to BPA in humans occurs through the diet, other sources of exposure include air, dust and, water,” she added. The hearing was convened to look at endocrine disruptors in drinking water.
Representative Edward Markey, chairman of the Congressional panel, said chemicals found in America’s waterways and drinking water have been linked to deformities in aquatic life and wildlife, reported Reuters previously. Of note, BPA leaches into water supplies when containers made with BPA are tossed out, added Reuters. “There are serious concerns that the same chemicals that are responsible for these deformities in wildlife may also have similar effects in humans and may be the culprit for the widespread increase in human disorders such as infertility, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said Markey, author of a bill to ban BPA food and beverage containers, reported Reuters. And, according to Birnbaum, drinking water might be a “significant route of exposure” for BPA and other endocrine disruptors, said Reuters.

Problems Again with Plavix

We have 8 other posts about Plavix, several listing natural blood thinning alternatives.  Feel free to contact us if you have questions.

Doctors have been left to figure out if Plavix will work in their patients and how best to protect them if it doesn’t. The confusion follows this month’s FDA warning that Plavix may not work well in certain patients.
Plavix is used to prevent blood clots after a recent heart attack or stroke, and in people with certain disorders of the heart or blood vessels. It is also given to patients who’ve undergone coronary stent procedures to prevent clots from forming inside the devices. The medication keeps the platelets in the blood from coagulating to prevent unwanted blood clots that can occur with certain heart or blood vessel conditions.
On March 12, the FDA warned that Plavix may be less effective in people who cannot metabolize the drug to convert it to its active form. According to a notice on the FDA Web site, Plavix does not have its anti-platelet effects until it is metabolized into its active form by the liver enzyme, CYP2C19. People who have reduced functioning of their CYP2C19 liver enzyme cannot effectively convert Plavix to its active form. These “poor metabolizers” may not receive the full benefit of Plavix treatment and may remain at risk for heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death.
In May 2009, the FDA added this warning to the Plavix label. In its latest alert, the agency said that after reviewing more data, it felt it was important to highlight this risk in a Black Box, its strongest safety notice.
According to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal, as many as 4 percent of patients have two copies of a variation in a gene for CYP2C19 that makes them poor metabolizers. For patients of Chinese decent, the rate could be as high as 14 percent. The new Black Box warning is directed at such patients.
But according to the Journal, of concern is another group of patients, 25 to 30 percent, who have one copy of this variation. At least one study suggests that these patients may also have a degree of inhibition to the drug’s effectiveness.
To insure that Plavix is working doctors have a couple of options. One is a genetic test to determine if a patient carries this gene variation. Patients who test for the variant could be put on a higher dose of Plavix. Unfortunately, insurance won’t always cover this test, and according to the Journal, some doctors point out that whether using the tests will actually decrease risk for patients hasn’t been well studied.
Another option is switching to a drug called Effient, which was recently approved and which isn’t affected by the genetic variant. According to the Journal, doctors have been slow to use Effient because it does carry a higher risk of bleeding than Plavix.
In the meantime, doctors are advising against patients going off Plavix without first talking to their own physicians.

Natural Health News - TOP 10 Internationally

Thanks to a new reader of Natural Health News, it appears that we are in the TOP 10 of International Natural Health Blogs.  Their search led them to our BLOG and it is appreciated.

Thanks go to all our readers and supporters.

Dog Bleeds to Death After "Routine" Microchip Implant

UPDATE 25 March, 2010
Owners, Medical Reports Point to Link Between RFID Chips and Cancers in Canines

Highly aggressive tumors developed around the microchip implants of two American dogs, killing one of the pets and leaving the other terminally ill. Their owners --- and pathology and autopsy reports --- have suggested a link between the chips and the formation of the fast-growing cancers.  

UPDATE 9 Feb: Thank you to Katherine Albrecht for this alert - San Marcos TX - moving to mandate RFID microchips of dogs yet the town has no jail terms for animal cruelty

Dog Bleeds to Death After "Routine" Microchip Implant Procedure
Grieving owner calls for an end to mandatory microchipping
in Los Angeles.

A fluffy bundle of life, love, and enthusiasm named Charlie Brown was laid to rest last week, the victim of a microchip implant gone horribly wrong. The long-haired, purebred Chihuahua bled to death in the arms of his distraught owners, Lori and Ed Ginsberg of Agua Dulce, California, just hours after undergoing the controversial chipping procedure.

"I wasn't in favor of getting Charlie chipped, but it was the law," said Lori Ginsberg, citing a Los Angeles county ordinance that requires all dog owners to chip their dogs once they reach four months of age. Dog owners who refuse to comply face a $250 fine for the first offense and up to six months in jail for continued non-compliance. "This technology is supposedly so great until it's your animal that dies," she said. "I can't believe Charlie is gone. I'm just beside myself."

Dr. Reid Loken, the board certified veterinarian who performed the chipping, confirmed on Friday that Charlie died from blood loss associated with the microchip. He cited "an extreme amount of bleeding" from the "little hole in the skin where the [microchip implant] needle went in" as the cause of death. He said he was both saddened and puzzled by Charlie's death.

"I just don't know what happened to him. We put the chip in the back in the shoulder blades, the standard place where we put them, and there really aren't any major blood vessels in that area," he said. "I don't think it went in too deep; it was a pretty routine chipping."

Dr. Loken suspected the needle may have nicked the muscle around the scapula, causing blood to ooze from the muscle. However, his efforts to stem the bleeding with pressure bandages were unsuccessful. The bleeding could not be attributed to a congenital clotting problem, he said, since Charlie had undergone a neutering and tooth extraction without incident just weeks before.

Charlie's owners were devastated by the loss. "Charlie loved to play and cuddle. He brought so much joy and life to our home," said Lori. "We loved him and took such good care of him. He meant everything to us."

The Ginsbergs were quick to absolve Dr. Loken of responsibility for Charlie's death. "He's a great vet and this was not his fault. The real blame is with the people who forced us to implant our dog against our better judgment," they said.

The Ginsbergs plan to petition the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to repeal the mandatory chipping law, and have sought the help of prominent consumer privacy advocate Dr. Katherine Albrecht. Albrecht is a Harvard-trained researcher who has authored a definitive academic paper citing literature that links microchips with cancer in dogs as well as laboratory animals. She has also authored an exhaustive,
47-page FAQ on microchip implants.

Albrecht cites other adverse reactions stemming from microchips in the past. In one case, a struggling kitten died instantly when a microchip was accidentally injected into its brain stem. In another, a cat was paralyzed when an implant entered its spinal column. The implants have been widely reported to migrate within animals' bodies, and can cause abscesses and infection. In at least two documented cases, dogs have developed cancerous tumors surrounding or adjacent to microchip implants.

"Tragedies like what happened to Charlie Brown are probably more common than we like to think," said Albrecht. "But it takes courageous people like the Ginsbergs to come forward and talk about it."

Albrecht and the Ginsbergs are calling for a repeal of all mandatory animal chipping laws nationwide, and for the creation of a national registry to document adverse reactions from the chipping procedure.

"It's horrible to live in a country where your choices are being take away and you don't get to make decisions about your family and your life anymore," said Lori Ginsberg. "Politicians should not take away my right to do what I thought was best for my pet."

For The Media:
Lori and Ed Ginsberg have agreed to speak to the media to help raise awareness of the dangers of pet chipping. They can be contacted at:

Dr. Katherine Albrecht can be contacted at or (877)287-5854, ext 1.
Her microchip implant FAQ and cancer study can be found online at
Further information about Dr. Albrecht can be found at

Information on the Los Angeles Country chipping ordinance can be found

Live Radio Interview Today
The Ginsbergs will be joining Dr. Katherine Albrecht on her live, syndicated radio program today to discuss microchip implants and Charlie's tragic death. The segment will air from 4:00-6:00 PM Eastern time on "The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show." The show broadcasts daily on the Genesis Communications Network, and can be heard live at: (Click "Stream 2")

The Ginsberg interview will be archived as a downloadable MP3 file on
Dr. Albrecht's website at: (Click "archives")

# # #


CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering) is a grass-roots consumer group fighting retail surveillance schemes since 1999 and irresponsible RFID use since 2002. With thousands of members in all 50 U.S. states and over 30 countries worldwide, CASPIAN seeks to educate consumers about marketing strategies that invade their privacy and encourage privacy-conscious shopping habits across the retail spectrum.

You're welcome to duplicate and distribute this message to others who may find it of interest.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

USDA Lax on Organic Standards

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been remiss in its enforcement of national organic regulations, according to an internal report made public on Friday by the agency's inspector general.
Complete Article

McCain and Dorgan Withdraw Supplement Restiction bill

Agreement reached on dietary supplement legislation

 Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., have withdrawn support of their proposed Dietary Supplement Safety Act, saying they would instead work to incorporate key provisions of the bill into other legislation.

The senators introduced the supplement safety bill in February, citing football players who tested positive for a substance banned by the National Food League after using dietary supplements the athletes said they believed were safe and legal. The legislation would have required dietary supplement manufacturers to register with the Food and Drug Administration and fully disclose the ingredients contained in the supplement. The bill also gave the FDA recall authority. McCain said the legislation was necessary so consumers would know the exact ingredients of dietary supplements they use.

But earlier this month McCain and Dorgan said they would instead propose incorporating key provisions of their bill into the Food Safety Modernization Act. They sent a letter to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., a committee member; and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, saying they had found “common ground” on certain issues and would work together on four areas:
Require all dietary supplement manufacturing, processing and holding facilities to register with the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • Ensure the FDA has the authority to issue a mandatory recall if there is a reasonable probability that any dietary supplement is adulterated or misbranded or use of the supplement could cause serious health consequences such as death
  • Require the FDA commission to publish guidelines on new dietary ingredients.
  • Mandate that the FDA notify the Drug Enforcement Administration when a newdietary ingredient premarket notification is rejected because the product contains a synthetic anabolic steroid.
Travis Tygart, CEO of the nonprofit U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., called the provisions “needed improvements. The agreement provides much-needed additional consumer protections without risking access to legal supplements.”
In a statement, Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade group for the dietary supplement industry, praised the withdrawal. “We are gratified to learn that Senator McCain will withdraw his original legislation and plans to work with Senators Hatch, Enzi and Harkin to develop legislation that will take a more measured, constructive approach to address his concerns regarding outlier products that contain illegal substances. CRN appreciates Senator McCain’s receptiveness to the industry’s very real and very serious concerns about (the Dietary Supplement Safety Act) and our inability to support his bill.”

Direct Marketing Fuels Increase in Consumer Complaints

March 23, 2010, NBJ: Consumer Supplement Complaints up 360% in 2009 -

Consumer complaints about dietary supplement companies were up 360% in 2009, according to the U.S. Better Business Bureau (BBB). More than 3,500 consumer complaints were filed regarding �vitamins and food supplements� in 2009, compared to just 766 in 2008. Supplements rank as the 55th most-complained about product category, out of approximately 3,900 categories tracked by the U.S. BBB. In 2008, supplements ranked as the 198th most-complained about category. The rise in complaints is primarily due to a handful of online marketers who sell acai supplements, according to U.S. BBB Spokesperson Alison Southwick. The majority of complaints about the acai marketers have centered on consumers being billed incorrectly. Perhaps even more alarming, more than 10,000 complaints were reported for the �herbs� category�up 404% over 2008 totals�making it the 14th most-complained about product category. The �vitamins and food supplements� and �herbs� combined categories saw complaints spike by 393% with nearly 14,000 complaints filed in 2009. 

Complaints were up nearly 30% in 2009 in Utah, which is a hotbed for dietary supplement manufacturers, with an estimated 120 companies producing more than $4.5 billion in annual revenues, based on United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) estimates. The top complaints filed by consumers in Utah included ineffective supplements or unexpected charges appearing after enrolling in a trial or continuity program, Jane Griggs, president and CEO of the Utah BBB, told the Associated Press.

Supplement complaints filed by Utah consumers nearly doubled from 2008 to 2009, with an estimated 1,596 complaints filed with the BBB in 2009. That led all industries in Utah, as complaints about alarm systems registered the second-most, with almost 1,200. In addition to company misconduct, the bad economy could also account for a rise in complaints. �Consumers were more willing to absorb it if they lost $25 before. They're not willing to absorb it now,� said Griggs.

NBJ Bottom Line: There is no doubt that a handful of unscrupulous manufacturers and marketers can sully the reputation of the entire industry. In 2009 the industry saw a rise in �free-trial� programs that ultimately left consumers footing the bill for supplements they didn�t want. The trend is alarming, but the silver lining for supplement companies is that the problem appears to be one that is primarily tied to commerce and is not necessarily an issue of supplement quality�which could potentially be more harmful. The U.S. BBB did not disclose the names of companies tied to the complaints, though Southwick believes the majority were tied to acai supplement marketers. Southwick also noted that the large number of supplement complaints filed under the �herbs� product category could make supplements one of the top 10 most-complained about categories. Nutrition Business Journal will investigate the pitfalls of continuity programs in further detail in the May issue that will be focused on direct-to-consumer sales in the nutrition industry. To receive a free sample issue or subscribe, please visit the NBJ subscriber page.

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