Very good article that anyone who is worried about the “swine flu” should read…
Helps put things in perspective…
Full article here: EWG Report || BodyBurden 2 – The Pollution in Newborns.
A benchmark investigation of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides in umbilical cord blood
Environmental Working Group, July 14, 2005
Summary. In the month leading up to a baby’s birth, the umbilical cord pulses with the equivalent of at least 300 quarts of blood each day, pumped back and forth from the nutrient- and oxygen-rich placenta to the rapidly growing child cradled in a sac of amniotic fluid. This cord is a lifeline between mother and baby, bearing nutrients that sustain life and propel growth.
Not long ago scientists thought that the placenta shielded cord blood — and the developing baby — from most chemicals and pollutants in the environment. But now we know that at this critical time when organs, vessels, membranes and systems are knit together from single cells to finished form in a span of weeks, the umbilical cord carries not only the building blocks of life, but also a steady stream of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides that cross the placenta as readily as residues from cigarettes and alcohol. This is the human “body burden” — the pollution in people that permeates everyone in the world, including babies in the womb.
In a study spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in collaboration with Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in August and September of 2004 in U.S. hospitals. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group. The umbilical cord blood of these 10 children, collected by Red Cross after the cord was cut, harbored pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage.
This study represents the first reported cord blood tests for 261 of the targeted chemicals and the first reported detections in cord blood for 209 compounds. Among them are eight perfluorochemicals used as stain and oil repellants in fast food packaging, clothes and textiles — including the Teflon chemical PFOA, recently characterized as a likely human carcinogen by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board — dozens of widely used brominated flame retardants and their toxic by-products; and numerous pesticides.
Of the 287 chemicals we detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. The dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins have never been studied.
Continue reading here: EWG Report || BodyBurden 2 – The Pollution in Newborns.
Written by John – April 27, 1999
From here: Iodine
Selenium and iodine are two minerals which are critically important in the proper functioning of the thyroid. While the importance of iodine has been known a long time, the importance of selenium has only been discovered and explored since 1990. Much research is presently being conducted on the functions of these two minerals in thyroid function and it is becoming clear that there is an interaction between the two. Iodine has a seemingly simple role in the thyroid-it is incorporated into the thyroid hormone molecule.
A deficiency of iodine will cause hypothyroidism and if this is severe and occurs during pregnancy, the offspring will be mentally damaged and is called a cretin. Cretinism, or myxeodematous cretinism as it is sometimes called, is not only caused by an iodine deficiency, but is also influenced by a selenium deficiency. Iodine apparently has just one function in the body-in the thyroid.
Selenium, on the other hand, performs many functions. At the beginning of the 1990s it was discovered that the deiodinase enzymes which convert T4 (thyroxin, the thyroid prohormone) into T3 (triiodothyronine, the cellularly active hormone) and also convert T3 into T2, thereby degrading it, are selenium enzymes (formed with the amino acid cysteine). This discovery has led to a lot of research studies on the effects of selenium, iodine, and their interactions.
Selenium also performs other important roles in the body. The most important of these is probably as its role as the body’s best antioxidant (anti-peroxidant). It performs this role as part of glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx or GPX). As part of GPX, selenium prevents lipids and fats from being peroxidized (oxidized), which literally means that it prevents fats from going rancid (this can be seen on your skin as “age spots” or “liver spots” (autopsies show that skin “liver spots” are accompanied by similar spots of peroxidized fats in the liver.) Therefore selenium protects all of the cellular membranes, which are made up of fats, from peroxidation. Peroxidation of cellular membranes reduces the ability of the membrane to pass nutrients including minerals and vitamins, so selenium deficiency is the first step toward developing the many problems caused by nutrient deficiencies.
Joel Wallach considers a selenium deficiency combined with high intake of vegetable oils (salad dressings, margarine, cooking oils) as the “quickest route to a heart attack and cancer.” It seems that the body uses a lot of selenium to protect the fats from peroxidation. Polyunsaturated fats which are hydrogenated or heated become the same as rancid fats and large amounts of selenium are then needed to protect the body. Consumption of these dietary fats can thus lead to a selenium deficiency.
Selenium is also essential for the production of estrogen sulfotranserfase which is the enzyme which breaks down estrogen. A deficiency of selenium can thus lead to excessive amounts of estrogen, which may depress thyroid function, and also upset the progesterone-estrogen balance.
Wallach also lists other effects of selenium deficiency: anemia (red blood cell fragility), fatigue, muscular weakness, myalgia (muscle pain), muscular dystrophy (white muscle disease in animals), cardiomyopathy (sudden death in athletes), heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, Lou Gehrig’s and Parkinson’s diseases (mercury toxicity), Alzheimer’s Disease (high intake of vegetable oil), sudden infant death syndrome (and possibly “breathlessness” in adults, jj), cancer, multiple sclerosis, and sickle cell anemia.
Selenium is essential for the production of testosterone. A deficiency seems to be involved in osteoarthritis. I’ve found studies linking selenium deficiency to alopecia (hair loss) and to degeneration of the knee joint (seen in Kashin-Beck disease). Since selenium is necessary to produce GPX which is a major detoxifier of man-made and environmental toxins, selenium deficiency can lead to chemical and drug sensitivities.
These are some of the non-thyroidal effects of selenium deficiency. The effects of selenium deficiency on thyroidal health is even more interesting. One study I read indicated that in experimental animals, selenium deficiency will increase T3 in the heart. This may be the reason that selenium deficiency causes heart palpitations and rapid heart beat, which is common in thyroid disease.
While we’ve seen that selenium deficiency will interfere with T4 to T3 conversion and lead to functional hypothyroidism (low T3 phenomenon), selenium plays another vital role in the thyroid as part of GPX. During the production of thyroid hormone, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is produced. H2O2 is important for the production of thyroid hormone, but excessive amounts lead to high production of thyroxin (T4) and also damage to the cells of the thyroid. GPX plays the extremely vital role of degrading H2O2 and thereby limiting hormone production and preventing damage to the thyroid cells. This seems to be the main way in which selenium protects the thyroid from sustaining damage which can lead ultimately to cancer.
Without selenium, the thyroid gland becomes damaged and it is through this mechanism that the main selenium and iodine interactions are found. An iodine deficiency will cause goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland produced by the body in an attempt to increase hormone production from limited amount of iodine. Selenium deficiency increases the weight of the thyroid in experimental animals, and a selenium deficiency combined with an iodine deficiency leads to a further increase in thyroidal weight (bigger goiter). In African countries like Zaire, there are areas where both iodine and selenium are very scarce in the soil (these deficiencies seem to run parallel in most areas). Consequently a high percentage of the people have goiters and hypothyroidism. An experimental attempt was made to correct the selenium deficiency and the result was that the hypothyroidism was made WORSE in the hypos and it produced hypothyroidism in some euthroid subjects. This was entirely unexpected and the experimenters issued a warning about supplementing with selenium (and not iodine) when both deficiencies exist concurrently.
The body has a compensatory mechanism to maintain T3 levels when iodine is deficient–it increases the production of the deiodinase Type I enzyme (DI-I). This is not a small increase, but has been shown in cattle to be an increase of 10-12 times. This increase in ID-I increases the conversion of the existing T4 to T3 to maintain T3 levels, but also increases the conversion of T3 to T2 (the degraded by-product of T3). Because of the iodine deficiency, T4 is not replenished and T3 ultimately decreases from the lack of sufficient T4 leading to a worsening of the hypothyroidism.
This result is made worse by another phenomenon which hasn’t been thoroughly studied: a selenium deficiency causes an iodine deficiency to get worse. This may be a protective adaptation by the body to limit the damage caused to the thyroid when selenium is deficient and iodine is adequate. Let’s examine this part of the interaction.
We’ve all heard that many doctors tell hypo patients, especially those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, not to take iodine because it can aggravate their condition. The reason seems to be that selenium protects the thyroid gland from oxidative damage and this damage can increase significantly if iodine is supplemented. Taking iodine will increase thyroid hormone production and the production of H2O2 which damages the thyroidal cells. The lack of selenium prevents GPX from being able to protect the cells from this oxidative damage. While I doubt if most doctors realize why iodine should be restricted (it certainly seemed counter-intuitive to me at first), they have learned through experience that iodine can increase the thyroid damage in Hashimoto’s. The information that selenium should be supplemented along with iodine is so new that most of them are unaware of it.
Here’s what we have: Studies have shown that if iodine is low, selenium must also be kept low to prevent the hypothyroidism from becoming worse (from increased DI-I and T4 depletion, as explained above.) So if both minerals are low, then the person is hypo and gets a goiter, but the damage to the thyroid is kept to a minimum. More severe problems happen when either selenium or iodine is high and the other is low. If selenium is high and iodine low, then T4 to T3 to T2 conversion is accelerated without T4 being replenished, leading to a worsening of the hypoT. If iodine is high and selenium is low, then H2O2 is not degraded by GPX. Since H2O2 drives the thyroid hormone production, then the thyroid over-produces thyroid hormone (Grave’s hyperthyroidism), the thyroid is damaged from the oxidation by the H2O2, and the end result is that the damaged thyroid ultimately decreases activity and hypothyroidism results (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis). This could explain the observed progression of Grave’s to Hashimoto’s.
If a selenium deficiency causes an iodine deficiency, leaving you both selenium and iodine deficient, and supplementing with either selenium or iodine causes severe problems, then the only solution is to supplement both selenium and iodine simultaneously and gradually. Even then you could experience an immediate boost (from increased conversion of T4 to T3) with a subsequent letdown (lack of T4 production because of insufficient iodine or other necessary nutrient). You have to be prepared to ride out the tough times and continue increasing the selenium and iodine until those two deficiencies are corrected and the respective metabolic pathways are back working properly.
Everything that I’ve read about selenium indicates that it is absolutely essential for proper functioning of the thyroid. A deficiency of selenium may lead to either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. I’ve always wondered if high intake of selenium can lead to hyperthyroidism and finally found someone who did the experiment. They found that a high intake of selenium will not increase T4 production and lead to hyperthyroidism.
If a person has hyperT, then it looks like taking selenium without iodine will result in a decrease in production of T4 (although there may be an initial transient increase in T4 to T3 conversion and hence higher T3). I would suggest to start with a small amount of selenium methionine (about 50 mcg) and gradually increase it. I cannot see any way that thyroid function can be normalized without selenium.
For hypos the important message is that a selenium deficiency may cause an iodine deficiency, so that even though you are taking iodine you may not be assimilating it unless selenium is also being taken. This would explain how people can have iodine deficiencies even though salt and many foods have iodine added. Supplement with both iodine and selenium. I would recommend starting with 100 mcg of selenium and one kelp tablet and gradually work up to 400-600 mcg of selenium and 2-4 tablets of kelp.
While I’ve found research on the interactions of iodine and selenium, there are two other minerals which need to be studied for their interactions with these two: zinc and copper. I found one study which examined the complex interactions of selenium, iodine, and zinc (there are interactions), but none which have looked at all four minerals in a 4 X 4 factorial design. Now that would be an interesting study! Hopefully someone will do that soon.
I think one lesson from studying the interactions of selenium and iodine is that the interrelationships between minerals are very complicated. Supplementing with one or two can cause further problems. You have to make sure that you correct every deficiency. Health is built from a chain of nutrients and, like a chain, health cannot be accomplished if one nutrient is missing. Sometimes it’s complicated putting the chain back together without running into problems (like supplementing with either selenium or iodine, but not both), but every deficiency has to be corrected.
By Lori Lipinski
For many years we have been told over and over again that fat is unhealthy, and most people actually do believe it. Therefore, in an attempt to be “healthy,” many people avoid eating fat.
When I work with clients who claim they eat “healthy” I always ask them to explain what that means. The typical responses I hear are:
* “I never eat fatty red meats, only chicken or fish once or twice a week.”
* “I don’t use butter or eggs because I’m watching my cholesterol.”
* “My doctor told me to use margarine to avoid the heart disease that runs in my family.”
* “I’m trying to lose weight so I count fat grams, and buy everything fat-free.”
I have to give my clients some credit because they are simply doing what they have been told to do. The only problem is that what they have been told to do just doesn’t work. In fact, the clients I see who eat lowfat diets are usually the most unhealthy people that I work with. They typically suffer from symptoms of depression, fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, constant and insatiable hunger, gall bladder problems (gas, bloating, “acid-reflux,” loose stools), hormonal imbalances, and even lack of menstruation in young women. Women on lowfat diets especially complain that their hair is dry and brittle and falls out easily and their skin is dry and wrinkly. And, as crazy as it sounds, they almost always want to lose weight!
Even though most people on lowfat diets don’t feel healthy, they still believe that somehow avoiding fat will make them healthier. The medical community, junk food industry and the media have done an incredible job convincing the American public that fats are bad for us. Fats have been blamed for everything from clogging our arteries to causing cancer. And fats are definitely the most popular scapegoat for our national health obsession, obesity!
But is fat really to blame?
IS FAT FATTENING?
Despite the fact that tasteless, fat-free foods are being shoved down the throats of the American public, our country keeps getting fatter and fatter. Yet the TV keeps trying to convince us that fat-free foods make us thin and healthy. So in the futile attempt to do the “right” thing, most people are cutting all the fat out of their diet and wondering why they aren’t losing weight. There are a few reasons for this.
Keep reading this article here: Take the Fear out of Eating Fat.
By Joanne Hay
Rendered fat can be used for frying, deep frying, basting baked foods, in pie crusts, straight on bread as well as in cosmetics. Animal fats were traditionally used in soaps and detergents. A much better option than palm oil which, grown in monocrops by big brother agribusinesses, is destroying rainforest, displacing thousands of native people and and endangering animals the world over.
Lots of animal fat rendering recipies including some I’ve never heard of here: How to Render and Store Traditional Animal Fats.
High-fibre diet; missing breakfast.
Constipation is another condition for which fibre, and bran in particular, is recommended. In my experience, although it can be helpful occasionally, there are better solutions. I, as well as some studies, have found that fibre, particularly cereal fibre, may actucally increase the risk of constipation. For example, although it is supposed to travel through the gut at a faster rate, it does not always do so and it has been shown to cause blockages.  Good remedies are coconut oil, higher fat intake or green leafy vegetables. Another way to prevent constipation is to have the right breakfast. As Dr KW Heaton wrote in 1989, ‘For many people the next port of call after breakfast is the lavatory, thanks to the “gastrocolic reflex” being especially active at this time of day. For anyone with a tendency to constipation this is an extra inducement to cultivate the breakfast habit. . . . The strongest stimulus is fat so, perhaps, bacon and eggs have something to be said for them after all!’13 Yet another good way is to ensure that you drink sufficient water — a minimum of two litres (3 ½ pints) a day if the weather is cool, and more if you perspire a lot.
Constipation is a frequent complaint when people who have eaten a high-fibre diet adopt the low-carb diet recommended here. But that does not mean that the new diet is at fault. Constipation is really caused by their previous diet. What happens is this: You eat food and the waste is moved along the bowel by circular muscles in rather the same way as a worm moves (it’s called peristalsis). If you eat a high-fibre diet, the fibre itself forces waste through and that peristaltic action is made redundant. After a while it stops working. Now you change to a low-fibre, more natural diet, and your bowel muscles don’t work as they should, so you get constipated.
But the muscles will recover if you keep eating properly (low-carb, high-fat). While they catch up and get working again, increasing salads or raw vegetables might help them; drinking more water will also help. What you should not do is go back to the high-fibre regime that caused the problem in the first place.
. Inoue M, et al. Subsite-specific risk factors for colorectal cancer: a hospital-based case-control study in Japan. Cancer Causes and Control 1995; 6: 14-22.
. Guller R, Reber M. Mechanical obstruction of the large intestine by wheat bran. Schweiz Med Wochenschr 1980; 110: 89-91.