Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Vitamins: Does 'laboratory tested' mean safe?

Was logging in more vitamins for the Vitamin Exchange program today, and a big pink bottle caught my attention:
"Formulated for Pregnant or Lactating Women" in big letters at the top. "Quality Assured" and "Laboratory Premium Tested".
The "Laboratory Tested" protects you from fraud about what's in the bottle and in the pills: it means what's inside is what it says is inside. So far so good.

Now the bad news:
"Laboratory tested" on the Vitamin bottle does not protect you from ingredients that have been found to be at best useless and possibly dangerous.
Here are three things (on this Vitamin bottle label) I noticed right off:
1. All the vitamins listed (under Supplement Facts) are isolated synthetic vitamins. This is not a good thing, see here.

2. The first ingredient listed in Supplement Facts for these Vitamins is synthetic Vitamin A. This is more bad news. Here's why:

a. The New England Journal of Medicine reported in 1995:
22,000 pregnant women were given synthetic Vitamin A. The study was halted because birth defects increased 400%. - New England Journal of Medicine, 1995.

b. The prestigious Cochrane Library's massive review of the vitamin literature (published with great hoopla last month) noted that "Vitamins A, C and E are 'a waste of time and may even shorten your life'" See here.
(Cochrane Library, a publication of the Cochrane Collaboration, a well known international organization which evaluates healthcare research.)

3. This bottle, 'formulated for pregnant or lactating women' includes artificial food coloring: FD&C Yellow #6 Lake.(!) (Artificial food coloring is known to be toxic and detrimental to children, among others. See here and references included.
Laboratory tested, while a good thing, is not sufficient. It does not mean safe.

To protect yourself:
On the labels of any vitamins you buy, check for two things:

1) artificial food colorings. Words like Yellow #6 Lake or Blue #2 Lake.

If a company puts that in a VITAMIN for pregnant women, how concerned are they with the woman's health or that of her baby?

2) all or mostly synthetic vitamins, especially vitamin A. Use the list in the free report, Are Your Vitamins Safe?
Buy whole food supplements. Either from us, Whole Foods store or other health food stores.

READ THE LABEL. Just because it's tested and directed at pregnant women (as these were) doesn't mean it's safe, sorry.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Kenyan Runner's Edge: Don't try this at home

Notes from a university nutrition course I'm currently filming.

Their calories are 50% what?!
"In the ten year period from 1988 to 1998, athletes from one tribe of 3 million people in Kenya (Kalenjins)have won about 40 percent of all the highest international honors available in men's distance running. Their success has cut across all three of the sport's disciplines - track, cross-country and road racing."

"There are five major distance events in track - 800, 1,500, 5,000 10,000 and 30,000 meters. At the Olympics and World Championships during the ten-year period, Kalenjin runners won 31 medals, with 12 golds - 34% and 40% respectively of the available totals....

"These figures represent a geographical concentration of achievement that is unprecedented in the history of any sport. It is all the more remarkable in a sport in which success is a measure of pure speed, strength and endurance." - Ron Schmid, 2003
What's their secret?

Well, part of it is their unusual diet.
"Kalenjins...obtain over half their calories from a soft cheese-like fermented raw milk product called mursik...basically raw milk, which they ripen and ferment for up to a year..."
Bottom dietary line for these super performers:

HALF of their calories come from raw milk products
they grow and make themselves on their farms.

And that's not all...
Have you heard of the total raw milk diet? It's a therapeutic method that was used in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century, says professor Heidi Dulay.
Some people do the total raw milk diet today as a serious therapeutic method.

But, cautions professor Dulay, don't try any big raw milk diet at home. Because, she told the class:
"You need access to high quality 100% grass-fed clean raw milk - only available from local farmers who do NOT sell their milk to pasteurization plants or other conventional milk distribution companies (and sometimes, Whole Foods)."
I had no idea what a role quality raw milk could have in peak performance or health. You?

Now, to make it more easily available. One way, check your local farmers here for clean raw milk, among other things.

P.S. Heidi Dulay buys raw milk (and pastured (NOT pasteurized) eggs) from local farmers and Amish families. You can find local farmers too, go here.

P.P.S The raw milk diet is just one of the "diet types" covered in the nutrition program I'm filming. The students in the class are trying different approaches to 1)lose weight, 2)get their energy back (I was amazed that 30-year olds would need energy back - where did it go so soon?) 3) get rid of allergies, and 4) get their drive and motivation back.

P.P.S. Disclosure: Dr. Dulay is the designer of a whole food multi that Whole Food Nation, a company I own part of, markets. I am filming a nutrition course she's giving currently for a Master's program in NO CA.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Should vitamins containing artificial food colors carry warning labels?

Some of you know that Whole Food Nation, a company I own part of, is running a vitamin exchange program. Your synthetic vitamins for our whole food multi - a month's supply.

Anyway, the first batch of vitamins have come in. I was just looking through the first 10 or so, to see who made them and how many synthetic ingredients were listed along with the numerous preservatives and other weird chemical ingredients.
Here's what was also listed on almost every one of them. Some or all of these artificial colors:

yellow #6 Lake, yellow #5 Lake
blue #1 Lake #2 Lake
Artificial food and supplement colorings are made of coal tar and petrochemicals. Who'd knowingly eat that? Among other things, artificial food colorings are shown to increase hyperactivity and decrease attention span in a wide range of children...

In a recent report which received huge publicity, Vitamins A, C and E are 'a waste of time and may even shorten your life' there was a big outcry from people promoting vitamins, accusing big pharma of being behind this sort of trashing of vitamins, since they promote drugs.

However, the vitamins in this big review of studies including over 200,000 subjects, were synthetic. If the sample we received is any indication, they also contained artificial food colorings.

Why then, should the recent findings that most vitamins did nothing, and perhaps increased mortality among the people taking them, be surprising?

Synthetic vitamins have been associated for at least 12 years with increased rates of lung cancer and heart attacks, and increased birth defects for women, for example.

People take vitamins because they believe it increases their health and possibly, their longevity.
Now we see that nearly all of them are not only synthetic, but have food colorings which are known to be toxic.
Is it really any surprise then that most of our vitamins might not really be safe?
Check your bottle. See if they have artificial food colorings. If so, you can bet they're also synthetic. Goes together.
There ARE whole food supplements on the market. Go to a health food store and ask for them.

And yes, you can also send us yours and
we'll send you ours.

But for heaven's sake, throw out ALL those vitamins that are filled with artificial food colorings and contain mostly synthetic vitamins.

You're better off taking nothing.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Surprise: where love handles really come from

I never expected to be writing about anything like this. It's not my field. But I was so surprised and then relieved with a big ah-ha, I had to tell you.

I happen to be filming a university nutrition class.

The professor, nutrition consultant Dr. Heidi Dulay, (disclosure: she designed the whole food multi that Whole Food Nation markets, a little start up I own part of) got this question:
What foods should they recommend to their clients seeking nutritional help? And how to decide these things, anyway? (The students are health practitioners in-the-making.)
This Master's program nutrition course is about different dietary approaches.

And I mean a few that are REALLY different - like the raw milk diet, the coconut diet, the Inuit beast and blubber diet (meat, fish and fat which Dulay is personally testing for two weeks), along with the more well-known approaches such as Paleo, Mediterranean, and Atkins, among others.)
OK, good question, says Dr. Heidi. Here's a way to look at choosing foods for yourself and your nutrition clients...
A normally functioning body uses what you eat (specifically, uses the biochemicals in the foods you eat), in three ways:
Function (hormones, enzymes, make antibodies, etc.),
Structure (bones/muscles/teeth; Cells/cell membranes, hair/skin/nails)
Storage (fuel and excess fat)
No biggie, even I knew that (well, sort of).

Then came the surprise.

Guess what kinds of foods the body uses for these three things?
FUNCTION: Protein and Fat.

STRUCTURE: Protein and Fat. All except for connective tissue, which uses protein and sugar)

And then the bomb:

STORAGE BINS: Carbs, sugars (sweets) and fat. (Not the good fat you eat in say, butter. Stored fat is the sort the body makes from the excess carbs and sweets we feed it).
Yikes. Have you checked your storage bins lately? The love handles, the paunches, bulges and other lumpy places?

It's 4pm. About to have a quick snack fix? Are you considering...
Carbs, sugars or sweets: bread, rice, pasta, chips and crackers, cookies, cereal like corn flakes, corn, muffins, pizza crust, and all sweets, especially the big sweet caffeine drinks.
Right into the storage bin it goes. Arghh.

I'm ready for a snack lift. But I see my storage bins are already overflowing right now. So organic nuts or cheese this time.

For the nutritionally and technically interested, here's Dr. Schwarzbein's table. The Schwarzbein Principle II.2002 p.17.

[P=Protein; F=Fat, S= Sugar]

Antibodies (P)
Cellular products (P & F)
Enzymes (P)
Hormones (P & F)
Neurotransmitters (P)

Bones/Muscles/Teeth (P)
Cells/Cell membranes (P & F)
Connective tissue (P & S)
Glands.organs (P)
Hair/skin/nails (P)

Glycogen (S) (good reserve fuel in the liver = KK)
Triglycerides (F) (fat molecules from fat and carbs = KK)

P.S. Dr. Heidi's two nutritional weight management programs are briefly described here.