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Are some good mood foods created by added flavors?

Good mood foods: Some flavors in some foods resemble a prescription mood stabilizer, says an August 19, 2012 news release, "Good mood foods: Some flavors in some foods resemble a prescription mood stabilizer." New evidence reveals the possibility of mood-enhancing effects associated with some flavors, stemming at least in part from natural ingredients bearing a striking chemical similarity to valproic acid, a widely used prescription mood-stabilizing drug, scientists reported here today.

Are some good mood foods created by added flavors?
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Research during the past 20 years says that our food may determine our mood even more than once was thought. Foods that are processed or high in fat or sugar can make someone more angry or violent than someone who eats healthier, say nutritionists. An example would be kids eating chicken or any other meat on the bone who become rowdy or aggressive. See, "Kids behave better when given food to chew rather than bite." Or check out the video, "Could Eating Chicken On The Bone Make Kids More Aggressive?" Additionally, research explains that food flavors also can be mood stabilizers or modulators. Which food flavors make you feel calmer or better--chocolate mint? There are lots of other food flavors that have the potential to act as mood modulator, such as certain teas.

This effect joins those previously reported for chocolate, teas and some other known comfort foods. Flavors may have the potential to act as mood modulators. Have you ever wondered how food affects your mood? Researchers presented the study of more than 1,700 substances that make up the flavors of common foods at the 244th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (August 2012), the world's largest scientific society.

In the presentation of the research, the abstract of the research noted that the need for a broad spectrum of mood modulators has stimulated research in pharmaceutical and food industries alike, though they are targeted at different levels of severity of mood changes. The fact is that food flavors can be used as mood modulators.

Flavors may have the potential to act as mood modulators: Mood changes from flavors? Mood modulation with chemoinformatics takes the stage.

While antidepressants and mood-lifting agents may have commonalities, they also have differences in mechanisms of action and means of administration. The multiple roles of food and food components in maintaining cognitive health, improving mental alertness, delaying onset of memory loss and mood modulation have been recognized over the years, albeit often anecdotally, the research's abstract notes.

More studies are needed to establish the scientific basis of these roles and possible mechanisms of action. In this work, the researchers presented the computational characterization of compounds with mood modulation properties using principles of chemoinformatics. Comparison of the physicochemical and structural properties of flavor molecules, approved antidepressants, marketed drugs, and agents with reported antidepressant activity shows how flavors may have the potential to act as mood modulators, the research abstract explains.

Molecules in foods containing omega-3 fatty acids

“Molecules in chocolate, a variety of berries and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have shown positive effects on mood. In turn, our studies show that some commonly used flavor components are structurally similar to valproic acid,” said Karina Martinez-Mayorga, Ph.D., leader of a research team that has been studying the effects of flavors on mood, according to the August 19, 2012 news release, "Good mood foods: Some flavors in some foods resemble a prescription mood stabilizer." She described research done while working at the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, and now is with the Chemistry Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Sold under brand names that include Depakene, Depakote and Stavzor, valproic acid is used to smooth out the mood swings of people with manic-depressive disorder and related conditions

"The large body of evidence that chemicals in chocolate, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, teas and certain foods could well be mood-enhancers encourages the search for other mood modulators in food," noted Martinez-Mayorga, according to the news release, "Good mood foods: Some flavors in some foods resemble a prescription mood stabilizer."

Martinez-Mayorga pointed out that the need for a broad spectrum of mood modulators is fostering research not just in the pharmaceutical industry, but in the food and beverage industries as well. Food industry research, however, focuses on less-severe mood changes. People have recognized the mood-altering properties of various foods for years. Martinez-Mayorga's team, and other research groups, (according to the 2012 news release) is seeking to identify the chemical compounds that moderate mood swings, help maintain cognitive health, improve mental alertness and delay the onset of memory loss.

Chemoinformatics ― the application of informatic methods to solve chemical problems related to food flavor ingredients

Her study involved use of techniques of chemoinformatics ― the application of informatic methods to solve chemical problems ― to screen the chemical structures of more than 1,700 food flavor ingredients for similarities to approved antidepressants, marketed drugs and agents with reported antidepressant activity. The main result so far in the ongoing project involves valproic acid. In the future, she said that the team plans to move from the area of analyzing the database to actually begin testing the flavor/mood hypothesis experimentally. The end result may be dietary recommendations or new nutritional supplements with beneficial mood effects, she added, according to the news release.

"It's important to remember that just eating foods that may improve mood is not a substitute for prescribed antidepressive drugs," Martinez-Mayorga cautioned, according to the news release. And for people not requiring medication, she notes that eating specific foods and living a healthful lifestyle can generally boost mood. The scientists acknowledged funding from Robertet Flavors, Inc., and the State of Florida, Executive Officer of the Governor's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 164,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Have you seen the latest documentary on what happened to the quality of food?

You may wish to see this noteworthy documentary on what's happened to the quality of food. "Fed Up!" The big picture of the documentary mentioned in an article on the documentary's website is that in the harvest of 1999, 60% of Canada's canola crop, 90% of Argentina's soybean crop, 50% of the US' soybean crop, and 33% of the US' corn crop was genetically engineered. Industrial agriculture is damaging the basis for future production. You may also wish to check out a news release, "Stomach hormone ghrelin increases desire for high-calorie foods."

That news release explained research in the way changes in which foods we prefer to eat when missing meals may be explained by changes in the levels of ghrelin in our blood to help regulate our overall calorie intake. But what about the quality of our foods and with what those foods are processed? Does the general consumer really know which foods were processed with hexane or other chemicals? Or which foods are as nature made them without additives or processing?

The green revolution and the use of widespread chemical agriculture

We've got soil erosion, soil compaction, salinisation, water logging, destruction of beneficial biodiversity, loss of natural enemies of pest... and all that is occurring in an alarming rate. The The Green Revolution is explained in the article on the documentary's website as the introduction of chemical agriculture under forced circumstances.

Another piece of news of yesterday and today is that days of touting "All Natural" and "Nothing Artificial" on certain Kashi and Bear Naked products are over. Have you ever wondered about those TV promotional ads showing someone traveling to the ends of the Earth to find whole foods that are "all natural?" Did you even think to associate a cereal with an ancient Indo-European word such as Kashi (grain) with a cereal made by a big company such as Kellogg? Kashi also is a city in India, and home to one of the most ancient musical styles of Hindustani-style music. See, "The musical sounds of Kashi - National Geographic Traveler India"

Some people even thought Kashi was a variation of kasha, a buckwheat dish popular in Eastern Europe. But what about the rest of the foods marked all natural or similar generalized statements that mean very little other than the object originated on Earth or came from a substance that's not alien, but could be altered by other creatures that are all natural, such as humans. Kellogg has agreed to stop the practice and pay $5 million, as part of an agreement to settle a class-action lawsuit, the company confirmed Thursday, says the May 8, 2014USA Today news article, "Kellogg to stop 'All Natural' Kashi claim ."

Now, how many other foods are labeled "all natural"? The words are supposed to appeal to people who care about what they eat to the extent that they may go out of their way for organic food. But all natural has nothing to do with the term organic, and organic doesn't mean any ingredients in any given food are supposed to be healthy, just free from certain pesticides. Kashi doesn't have a mark saying it's organic, though. What people didn't know is that the cereal was owned by a cereal giant, not a tiny family-owned farm or processing company that travels the world looking for the healthiest ingredients to prepare without heat.

No, the cereal, Kashi, contains ingredients listed as appearing in some of the cereals and other products such as calcium pantothenate (a form of vitamin B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6) and hexane-processed soy ingredients. So it has vitamins added. And are these vitamins all-natural or synthetically manufactured vitamins?

The general consumer wouldn't know. That's one of the reasons for the law suit, filed in U.S. District Court in California. At least consumers are becoming more aware of what's in their foods, especially since the cost of foods have risen on most edibles in the past decade. You also may wish to see the article, "Investors gag on organic food fad."

The FDA still has not developed a definition for the term "natural"

To the average person, natural means found in nature or originating in nature. But most packaged cereals are processed in some way. You even have whole oat groats toasted by some food packagers to kill the bug eggs before they hatch when you put whole oat groats in a jar for a few weeks and then see bugs hatching. But each food manufacturer has it's own method of processing foods with heat or chemicals or other additives.

A product of the Earth would be all natural before it's processed. For the FDA, at the present time, it considers a food "all natural" if it has not been processed with food coloring, artificial flavors, or anything synthetic, including synthetic vitamins. For more information on Kellogg agreeing to alter the labeling on the Kashi cereal line, check out the news article, "Kellogg Agrees to Alter Labeling on Kashi Line. "

The Kellogg Company, maker of some of the country’s most familiar breakfast cereals, said on Thursday that it had agreed to drop the terms “all natural” and “nothing artificial” from some products in its Kashi line as part of a settlement agreement ending a class-action lawsuit, says that article. What's also mentioned in the NY Times article is that plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in 2011 in California, said the company used those terms on Kashi products that contained ingredients like pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium pantothenate and soy oil processed using hexane, a component of gasoline.

The consumer's awareness about a food processed with hexane is important, because some people get vertigo after eating a food processed with hexane and may not know where they're allergic dizzy spell came from, and neither would their doctor be aware a food they ate could have been processed with hexane.

On the other hand, such ingredients occur naturally — wheat germ and flaxseed are sources of pyridoxine hydrochloride, for example — but food companies, as well as makers of vitamins, often use synthetic versions to control costs and ensure consistent supplies. Perhaps the key to the symptoms could be related to the synthetic versions. But only someone's health care experts could answer that question by comparing someone's reaction to synthetic to what naturally is found in foods in their unprocessed state, such as ground flaxseed meal. Of course, the company reported in the news article that it stands behind its advertising and labeling practices. The settlement, which includes a $5 million payment, comes at a time when food companies are facing a number of lawsuits over ingredients and labeling.

What changes happened to Kashi in the past few years?

Kashi is doing great in most natural food stores. But the NY Times article notes that Kashi has hit turbulence in recent years in more mainstream food stores. Some consumers attacked it on social media in 2012 after learning that Kellogg was a big contributor to an effort that helped defeat Proposition 37, a California ballot initiative that would have required the labeling of products containing genetically engineered ingredients, says the NY Times article.

What consumers worry about is when any given cereal becomes becomes too mainstream. People who usually buy food in the natural food aisles and food marked organic, no added sweeteners or sugar, no salt added, or low-sodium expect a certain type of quality in the food even down to the cans to make sure the cans are marked as to what's in the lining of the cans, if possible.

Those who don't shop in mainstream supermarkets for certain foods because the supermarkets don't have natural food aisles featuring organic or unprocessed foods usually read the ingredients labels and may question generalized titles on packaging such as all natural, which is too vague to explain what's in the box or can, whether someone is buying soup, beans, or cereals.

Natural food stores carry Kashi products, where the product is doing well. What consumers want from food manufacturers is a label that tells a lot about what's in the container, especially if there are hexanes in the food in any amount that come from processing or synthetic substances.

Kellog has paid to have some Kashi products certified by the Non-G.M.O. Project. Among the Kashi products listed in the original lawsuit were some of its cereal and granola bars, waffles and shakes, and some GoLean items. Kellogg would not disclose which items would lose the “all natural” or “nothing artificial” terms. Big companies have legal departments, and consumers have no other recourse when it comes to food other to ask for information as to what's in the food and with what the food has been processed or to seek legal help and advice to find out what's in the quality of food they eat. So check out some of the documentaries on the web, and add to your knowledge of what's happening.

Many consumers worry about the lack of disclosure on any foods being processed with hexane

The biggest problem with nutritional supplements is lack of disclosure. Now that TV documentaries have announced that lycopene extracted from tomatoes have been found to be more effective than some statins, at the same high doses, bottles of lycopene extract are flying off the shelves of some health food stores and also supermarket shelves selling organic canned tomato paste.

Make sure the supplements you buy are hexane-free and haven't been processed with solvents, if you're sensitive to solvents. You're being sold products made from the peel and other waste products of vegetables, and that's where most of the nutrition is, but how the waste is processed can effect your central nervous system, if you're sensitive to the solvents.

Soybeans and hexane

Are soybeans bathed in hexane as part of their processing by food? Exposures of 800 ppm for 15 minutes can cause respiratory tract and eye. At higher exposure levels, workers can develop symptoms of nausea, vertigo and headaches. See the May 23, 2009 article, "Soy Protein Used in "Natural" Foods Bathed in Toxic Solvent Hexane," by Mike Adams. The article reports, "Much of the "natural" soy protein used in foods today is bathed in a toxic, explosive chemical solvent known as hexane.

"To determine the true extent of this hexane contamination, NaturalNews joined forces with the Cornucopia Institute to conduct testing of hexane residues in soy meal and soy grits using FDA-approved and USDA-approved laboratories. The Cornucopia Institute performed the bulk of this effort, and NaturalNews provided funding to help cover laboratory costs."

According to the article in NaturalNews and Mike Adam's article, "Soy Protein Used in "Natural" Foods Bathed in Toxic Solvent Hexane," The results proved to be worrisome: Hexane residues of 21ppm were discovered in soy meal commonly used to produce soy protein for infant formula, protein bars and vegetarian food products.

"These laboratory results appear to indicate that consumers who purchase common soy products might be exposing themselves (and their children) to residues of the toxic chemical hexane -- a neurotoxic substance produced as a byproduct of gasoline refining."

Adam's article reported, "But how dangerous is hexane, exactly? Is it something that could be dangerous at a few parts per million? And which soy-based products on the market right now might be contaminated with hexane?"

Widespread use of hexane in extracting materials from food wastes to make some nutritional supplements

Consumers don't realize how widespread the use of hexane are in extracting materials from manufacturer's food wastes to make certain nutritional supplements. Adam's article noted, "To answer these questions, NaturalNews looked into public documents surrounding Martek Biosciences Corporation, a company that manufactures DHA for infant formula, using hexane for extraction."

According to NaturalNews, "In 2003, an explosion occurred downstream from the Martek Biosciences Corporation manufacturing facility where hexane is used to extract DHA used in infant formula products. Hexane is a highly explosive chemical, and a Kentucky State Fire Marshal concluded it was the release of hexane from the Martek manufacturing facility that caused the explosion." See the May 22, 2008 article, by Mike Adams, "Martek Biosciences, Infant Formula and the Toxic Solvent Hexane - a NaturalNews Investigation." See the resource, SEC documents on the public record to research more information.

What's in those fish oils after processing?

What about fish oils? How are fish oils processed? How is the oil extracted? Squeezed, centrifuged or solvent extraction? Whole body or fish scraps? Sometimes fish oil is processed in ways similar to the processing of olive oil. To find out, you need to ask the manufacturer. What exactly does the label tell you that's in the oil?

You have to ask the manufacturer of the fish oil whether hexane has been used in the extraction process. Hexane also is called a petrochemical solvent. If the manufacturer won't tell you or won't put the extraction process method on the label, it could very well be because hexanes or similar petrochemical solvents were used in the extraction process. See the "Fish Oil Supplements Summary Table."

Is hexane used to extract some micronutrients from tomatoes then sold as supplements?

Are hexane chemicals used to extract lycopene, which is then sold to consumers as tomato extract capable of working more effectively than statins? What studies are telling you is that lycopene is more effective than statins when given in similar high doses as the statins. But you're going to have to look deeper to find out how the lycopene is processed and with what solvents, if any are used by which manufacturers.

The problem is whether you're getting the lycopenes from fresh tomatoes or other red and orange vegetables and fruits (if tomatoes, that are plants of the nightshade species), give you arthritis pain). There are many vegetables outside the nightshade species high in lycopene such as red cabbage, asparagus, and carrots. To see which vegetables are highest in lycopene, check out the Nutrition Data site. You can look up what foods are highest in any nutrient, from fresh vegetables and fruits to canned and packaged foods.

How are the phytonutrients obtained that goes into your plant extract supplement?

Lycopene may be extracted from tomato waste just as grape seed extract products may be extracted from the grape waste left over from wine-making. So check out the manufacturer and find out with what solvents, if any you're supplements are processed, what type of solvents are left in them, and to which ones you may be sensitive. Do you take a pectin supplement to add fiber to your diet or to reduce cholesterol?

Pectin, essential oils, and dietary fiber are produced from citrus fruit wastes. Manufacturers that used to throw away citrus, tomato, grape, soy, or grain wastes now make money packaging the wastes as food supplements because they are nutritious. But the problem is what type of solvents do some manufacturers use, and what symptoms does it produce in consumers, such as vertigo symptoms from sensitivity to the hexanes in some products. Other supplement manufacturers and distributors advertise that certain supplements are hexane-free, such as several primrose oil products often sold to menopausal women to relieve symptoms.

Are solvents being used to get the nutrients out of foods that make up your supplements?

Ask the manufacturers your supplements whether chemical solvents are used in the processing of the food supplements that your health care providers recommend. The answer should be no. You don't want solvents such as hexanes in your body. You'd be better off eating the whole food, for examples, tomatoes or other red and orange vegetables high in lycopene, or raw wheat germ processed with nitrogen and not with hexanes. You don't want hexanes in your nutritional supplements.

According to the article, Questions You Should Ask About the Food Supplements You Recommend," you don't want a supplement processed with hexane, chloroform and other harsh/volatile chemicals. What is acceptable when supplements are processed to extract their nutrients are only "mild organic acids such as those normally produced in healthy humans."

Make sure the manufacturer of your supplements does not use 'plastic-type' or inorganic coatings. Only pure vegetable coating is safer to use, but only when it is in accordance with good therapeutic principles.

Watch the proposed food labeling regulations to see what happens. Speak up or write letters if nothing happens. According to the article, Questions You Should Ask About the Food Supplements You Recommend," Under the proposed guidelines, companies must list (on the label) all chemicals used in the various extraction processes they employ.

If a manufacturer fights the food labeling regulations, ask whether it is because the manufacturer doesn't want the consumer to know that "chemicals such as hexane" or other solvents are used to "remove fat or other substances from adult animal glands and organs prior to the processing of the material." You don't want your vegan supplements processed with hexanes and other solvents that might damage your nervous system or cause symptoms such as vertigo.

What questions to ask

Read the article, "Questions You Should Ask About the Food Supplements You Recommend." by Harry O. Eidenier, Jr., Ph.D., N.M.D. The article discusses the fourteen questions doctors (and consumers) need to ask about the food supplements that physicians recommend to their patients (or consumers buy over-the-counter at health food stores) because, "some of the ingredients common to many products in the food supplement industry are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies." For more information, see the article which also explains how Biotics Research does its assays.

Biotics Research has a fully staffed (two full time Ph.D. biochemists on the staff), licensed
laboratory. The firm is able to do complete all of the assays required to meet and exceed the
requirements of the GMPs. At one time (before the company's food supplement business was as large as it presently is, and the firm was able to expend the time), BRC was under contract with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to conduct the testing required in association with environmental disasters, for example Love Canal and other sites.

The fourteen questions are:

1) Does your food supplement supplier actually manufacture their own products and the
ingredients that make up the products?

2) What does your food supplement manufacturer make or produce in-house?

3) Is your food supplement manufacturer a fully licensed federally registered
pharmaceutical facility?

4) Does your food supplement supplier manufacture in accordance with good
manufacturing practices (GMPs)?

5) What is the source of the ingredients in your food supplement suppliers products, do
they grow their own plants such as a competitor claims to do?

6) Does every batch of tablets produced by your food supplement manufacturer go through
a disintegration test?

7) Are chemical solvents used in the processing of the food supplements you recommend?

8) Are any coatings used on your food supplement suppliers products?

9) Does your food supplement supplier use binders with their food supplement tablets?

10) How often does your food supplement manufacturer dismantle their equipment and
clean it?

11) As the batch is being made, does your food supplement manufacturer test samples for
weight, hardness, shape and size requirements?

12) Does your food supplement manufacturer keep records on every starting material and
finished product to verify that a nutrient was present at the quantity listed?

13) Does your food supplement manufacturer encourage tours of their manufacturing
facility and are educational materials available to show patients and physicians how the
products are produced?

14) Does your food supplement manufacturer complete in-house microbiology on raw
materials for the presence of contamination, metals, micronutrient levels, and other necessary tests to make sure the raw materials are not contaminated or infected?

How to research manufacturers

What should you do if you're afraid of the hexanes used to process your supplements, such as lycopene or other nutritionals found in health food stores? The answer may be in those home-grown organic tomatoes or the organic tomatoes you buy at those local farmers' markets. Or you could find out from each manufacturer of any of your supplements what solvents, if any, were used in making the product.

The reason is that to extract the lycopene from tomato waste products, the tomato waste may be processed with solvents such as hexane. And some people sensitive to hexanes in their supplements are complaining of symptoms of vertigo.

Why are some wheat germ or lycopene brands processed with hexanes and other solvents? See the study, "Effects of lycopene and tomato paste extracts on DNA and lipid oxidation in LNCaP human prostate cancer cells." Also some wheat germ is processed with solvents such as hexane to strip the perishable oil and vitamin E from the germ.

The resulting defatted wheat germ is added by some companies to their products and labeled as "wheat germ." If a product you use is made with "wheat germ" but doesn't list the vitamin E content, you'd be better off by asking the manufacturer to explain why.

Ask for disclosure. Many nutrients such as lycopene or wheat germ sold in health food stores may be processed with solvents, such as hexanes. Sometimes the vitamins are missing, such as vitamin E. Usually the first way a consumer is alerted is when a manufacturer who doesn't use solvents puts this fact on the food product label.

Ask for disclosure

Some supplements are now being advertised as hexane free, such as certain brands of primrose oil. When you walk into a health food store looking for supplements, you don't know if that wheat grass powder, oil, wheat germ, or lycopene soft gel has been processed with hexanes to extract the nutrient being marketed.

What you should be looking for is a product whose manufacturer has flushed pure nitrogen through the germ and form the bag around it, keeping out the oxygen that damages the vitamins and oils. The problem is that too many nutritional supplements found in whole foods are treated with solvents such as hexanes to make extracts and other supplements.

Supplements derived from tomato or grape waste products

What you buy as supplements are derived from tomato waste, grape wastes from the wine industry, and other products from whole foods that formerly went to waste. One example is lycopene, derived from tomato waste. According to the June 9, 2009 article, "Negative Impact of Food Technology -The Tomato Story," in the Food Technology, blog, by Dr. Dr. V.H . Potty, Mysore, India, "Successful extraction technology for lycopene recovery from tomato waste can significantly improve the economic aspects of tomato industry besides making available one of the most potent antioxidants for formulating health supplements."

According to the IPCS International Program on Chemical Safety, Health and Safety Guide, "Single exposures to n-hexane can cause vertigo, giddiness, and drowsiness. n-Hexane is a mild skin irritant that causes transient erythema when in short-term contact with skin; it can also irritate the eyes. There are no reports of skin sensitization. The principal adverse effect of exposure to n-hexane is neurotoxicity. It is therefore essential that appropriate precautions should be taken during handling and use.

According to the article, "Negative Impact of Food Technology -The Tomato Story," Dr. V.H. Potty writes, "The observation that tomato paste from whole tomato is more beneficial compared to that made from peeled fruit implicated that peel might have the active principles in greater concentration than in the edible portion. 75% more lycopene and 41% more beta carotene are absorbed from whole tomato paste compared to that from peeled tomato paste."

Exposure to hexane and vertigo

Exposure to hexane may cause vertigo, hallucinations, fatigue, muscle weakness, visual disturbances, nervous system disturbances, coughing, chest pains, difficulty in breathing, lung irritation, gastrointestinal
disturbances, and edema which may be fatal. A single exposure to n-hexane can produce vertigo, giddiness, and drowsiness.

According to the June 9, 2009 article, "Negative Impact of Food Technology -The Tomato Story," Treatment with commercial enzymes like pectinase, cellulase and hemicellulases followed by extraction with solvents like hexane, ethyl acetate or mixtures of hexane, acetone and ethanol can achieve recovery as high as 77-88% of the lycopene present in tomato peel. Supercritical fluid extraction with CO2 also gives comparatively purer fraction of lycopene in significant yields.

The article explains, "Supercritical fluid extraction with CO2 also gives comparatively purer fraction of lycopene in significant yields. Development of a pill based on lycopene extracted from tomato waste, milk powder and soy protein isolate by UK scientists for protection against heart attack and stroke seems to have opened the door for marketing such products for the benefit of consumers vulnerable to such disorders."

What should you know about hexanes as compared to say nitrogen or CO2 to extract nutrients from tomato waste or grape waste or any other food waste product that manufacturers bottle and sell as nutritional supplements? You need to know that longer-term exposures to hexanes can lead to peripheral neuropathy, the first signs of which are symmetrical paraesthesia and weakness, particularly in the lower extremities. Headache, anorexia, dizziness, and sensory impairment may precede, or accompany, the neuropathy.

Most patients show diminished reflexes. There may be loss of body weight. Exposure to hexanes affect the central and peripheral nervous system and male reproductive function, the studies report.

A number of studies have linked occupational exposure to n-hexane with the incidence of peripheral neuropathy, though adequate exposure data have usually been lacking. Exposure to air concentrations of n-hexane reported to have varied from 106 mg/m (30 ppm) to 8800 mg/m3 (2500 ppm), has been associated with neuropathy, but the previous exposures of these cases may have been higher. Mild subclinical neurological effects have been reported from cross-sectional studies on workers exposed to 70-352 mg n-hexane/m (20-100 ppm), but no cases of clinically overt peripheral neuropathy were identified at these concentrations.

Whereas there is evidence for an effect of n-hexane on the central nervous system, it is not possible to relate this to defined exposure levels, on the basis of the available information. Lycopene is recovered from tomato waste. It is claimed that the lycopene softgel, capsule, or tablet is much more effective than statins in controlling cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood and prevent damage to arteries.

What question to ask

The question you can ask is whether the lycopene or other nutritional supplement, oil, bran, or germ, has been treated with hexanes to extract the materials from the waste products? And do the hexanes in your supplements give you bouts of vertigo?

The multibillion dollar statin industry may frown upon such a development but a natural pill like the one above is certainly preferable to synthetic drugs. Tomato may even become more useful as a health protecting commodity than as a food, if the claims of the virtues attributed to it are confirmed by scientific field trials.

Lycopene is studied for health benefits

Lycopene is one of the most studied components in tomatoes as it has been found to have a vital role in protecting humans from various types of cancer including colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung and pancreas. Being a powerful antioxidant it has the ability to protect living cells and other structures in the body from oxygen damage and maintain DNA integrity in white blood cells.

According to the June 9, 2009 article, "Negative Impact of Food Technology -The Tomato Story," Lycopene is also believed to be able to activate cancer preventing Phase II enzymes. There is another view which gives credit to other components present in tomato along with lycopene for the anticancer activity of the fruit. Lycopene is also linked to improved skin health by virtue of its ability to protect against undesirable UV ray exposure.

Peel contains about 100.8 gm of proteins, 256.4 gm of ash, 299.4 gm of acid detergent fiber per kg and 734 micro gram of lycopene per gm of the peel on dry weight basis. High ash content reported here is due to lye peeling commonly employed for removing the peel portion by the processing industry. Peel is also a source of lutein, beta carotene, cis-beta carotene.

According to the June 9, 2009 article, "Negative Impact of Food Technology -The Tomato Story," Presence of the flavonols Quercitin and Kaempferol, about 5-10 mg per kg of peel on fresh weight basis, is responsible for the cardioprotective role attributed to tomato.

Waste generated containing peel and the seeds can account for as much as 40% of the fresh fruit processed which cannot not be considered insignificant, according to industry estimates. Here is a typical case where the technology for processing tomato is skewed to deprive the processed products of most healthy nutrients which escape through the waste that are discarded.

Successful extraction technology for lycopene recovery from tomato waste can significantly improve the economic aspects of tomato industry besides making available one of the most potent antioxidants for formulating health supplements.

Development of a pill based on lycopene extracted from tomato waste, milk powder and soy protein isolate by UK scientists for protection against heart attack and stroke seems to have opened the door for marketing such products for the benefit of consumers vulnerable to such disorders.

It is claimed that the lycopene tablet is much more effective than statins in controlling cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood and prevent damage to arteries. The multibillion dollar statin industry may frown upon such a development but a natural pill like the one above is certainly preferable to synthetic drugs. Tomato may even become more useful as a health protecting commodity than as a food, if the claims of the virtues attributed to it are confirmed by scientific field trials.

By products and waste materials from the food processing industry can be a money spinner if they are appropriately utilized using newer knowledge and technologies. One of the classical examples is production of pectin, essential oils and dietary fiber from citrus wastes.

Phytochemicals in foods

There are many other phytochemicals and biologically active substances derived from food materials having health promoting properties. These include Tocopherol from wheat germ, dietary fiber from cereal bran fractions, protease enzyme bromalin from pine apple core, pectin from apple pomace, triacontanol from sugarcane mud, caffeine from tea waste, protein isolates from deoiled residues of soybean and peanut, chitin and chitosan from shrimp waste, fish protein isolate from trash fish, gelatin from slaughter house waste and many others.

The solution to this problem is for manufacturers not to discard the vegetable, grain, soy, or fish wastes. Yes, they are very nutritious. But there must be a safer way to extract the nutrients without using solvents such as hexanes and similar chemicals that give consumers symptoms such as vertigo or other central nervous system or reproductive symptom problems.

There are just too many solvents used to process whole foods

It's bad enough the essential minerals such as magnesium are depleted or low in the soils. Now, we have supplements on the shelf without consumers being able to read on the labels whether or not the product has been processed with solvents. Consumers need to know with what the nutrients have been extracted so they can understand why they are feeling dizzy after taking the nutrient or energy bar and to what solvent they are sensitive.

When it doubt, turn to organic vegetables and fruits. You don't know whether the organic label has revealed what pesticides have been used in what years, if any and not revealed that information. You also don't know whether the vegetables in your backyard is being grown in soil full of rocket fuel left over from decades ago before your home was built. But you do know you're getting closer to having less contaminants in the food.

"The major use for solvents containing hexane is to extract vegetable oils from crops such as soybeans," according to Eco-USA.Net. "Pure hexane is used in laboratories." The site notes, "Most of the hexane used in industry is mixed with similar chemicals in products known as solvents." Common names for some of these solvents are "commercial hexane", "mixed hexanes", "petroleum ether", and "petroleum naphtha". An older name for these types of solvents is "petroleum benzine." Several hundred million pounds of hexane are produced in the United States each year in the form of these solvents.

What solvents were used to extract nutrients in your supplements?

The point is to find out the method (and solvents, if any) with which your supplements and foods have been processed and what other chemicals have been used in the extraction process. Which are safe? Do you really want the DHA from fish oils in baby food to have been extracted with hexanes or similar solvents? Has there been a recent dump of hexanes into your area's tap water?

It's up to consumers as well as healthcare providers and health food store personnel that suggest or market supplements to patients, to find out what products are manufactured using which solvents that could cause symptoms such as vertigo or other central nervous and/or reproductive system problems.

Here's a list of the highest rated documentaries on the web from the "Fed Up" documentary's website: Or take a look at the article about the documentary, "Fed Up" with rising childhood obesity."

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