Today is National Teach Agriculture Day, which is about celebrating agriculture teachers and encouraging more students to pursue careers in the field. For younger kids and their parents, there's a controversy about additives in milk, for example, artificial sweeteners in milk. There's so much news about sugar in flavored milk that big industry is thinking about replacing the sugar in milk with artificial sweeteners to coax kids to drink more milk. If artificial sweeteners ever get added to milk, then it would have to be labeled that way on the front of the container. And that might scare parents away from buying milk sweetened by synthetics or sugar.
What could synthetic sweeteners or even sugar or cheaper corn syrup possibly do to improve the health of your family members? You may want to take a look at the article by Heather White, Executive Director at Environmental Working Group, a national environmental health and consumer advocacy organization, "Artificial Sweeteners in Milk?" Also, you may wish to check out another article, "A Matter of Taste - Our Bodies' Perception of Artificial Sweeteners."
Back in 2009, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation, which lobby on behalf of the industry, petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to change the official definition – the so-called “standard of identity” – of milk. And not just milk. In all, the industry wants to change the definition of 18 dairy products, including yogurt, sour cream and half and half, to allow it to add artificial sweeteners – without including any prominent label for consumers. Read the proposed petition. Also take a look at the articles, "12 Healthy Herbs for Home Cures" and "Focus on Nutrition for Eye Health."
The House of Representatives also passed a nutrition policy-only measure last Thursday, cutting $39 billion in food stamp funding from the proposed 2013 farm bill
NMPF urged House leaders to name conferees to meet with Senate counterparts to iron out all the differences between the two chambers’ respective farm bills, including dairy policy. Additionally, the FDA announced in February 2013 that it is seeking public comment on the proposal, and that has sparked a national uproar over what’s allowed in our food.
The industry already adds a lot of sweet stuff to its flavored milk and other products. But if they add artificial sweeteners such as aspartame to replace the added sugar, they have to add a label on the front that includes a qualifier such as “reduced calorie” or “low calorie.” They can’t call the artificially sweetened product 'milk' without one, says Heather White's article, "Artificial Sweeteners in Milk?"
Industry marketers don’t want to have to put the label on the front of the package that signals that the dairy product could contain these controversial sweeteners.
Their stated reasoning? To fight childhood obesity. If children drink milk sweetened with artificial sweeteners without a label on the container naming the synthetic sweetener (or type of sugar), would kids want to drink sweeter milk, since sweet taste addicts the brain to its pleasure and reward center, craving more sweet drinks, whether it's milk with sweeteners or sodas? The whole push in industry is to coax kids to drink lots of milk, which makes lots of money for the dairy industry and the farmers.
The conventional dairy industry doesn’t want the “reduced calorie” label on the front of the package, arguing that it distracts parents from milk’s nutritional value and turns kids off from buying flavored milk, says Heather White's article. The industry wants to change FDA regulations so that these controversial sweeteners would be listed only on the ingredients panel on the back of the carton, with no highly visible labeling such as “low calorie” on the front.
Front-of-package labels are important to parents because artificial sweeteners in kids’ drinks are a hot button issue for many families
If the milk industry gets its way, it will be harder for parents to know what they are giving to their kids. It’s true that we want kids to drink less sugary drinks. But we don’t want them to have more processed, unnatural ingredients in their diets. Surely there are better ways to get young people to make healthier choices without allowing the industry to get away with this sneaky legal gimmick to change the official definition of milk, explains Heather White's article.
You can write to the FDA and ask them to not to grant this industry request. The deadline for public comments is May 21, 2013. Make your voice heard by joining the petition to keep hidden artificial sweeteners out of dairy products, says the article, "Artificial Sweeteners in Milk?"
Does milk raise the risk of cataracts in people over a lifetime?
Thousands of cataract surgeries are performed in Sacramento each year and is the most common surgery done in the USA. But so far, no one is telling any person what to eat or not eat to prevent cataracts from forming, possibly by the build up of galactose from certain foods that are stored in the eyes which may contribute to the formation of cataracts.
If milk and sugar is supposed to cause cataracts, then why is whey protein suggested by some nutritionists to give to senior citizens in order to possibly protect them against getting cataracts in the first place? Do babies raised on breast milk have higher IQs than babies raised on cow's milk?
Yes, according to the You Tube video, "Walter Veith 304 Udderly Amazing 1 of 8." And there's also a shorter uTube video clip, " Dairy Galactose in Milk and Cataracts." This shorter clip explains how galactose raises the risk of developing cataracts as galactose builds up in the body over the years, settling in the eyes as cataracts.
Nutritionists are interested to find out the links between dairy products and cataracts, if any. That's where the research takes you on a path to finding out what happens in the body when you eat certain foods. You see, you can't use the word 'milk' but you can use the word 'dairy' to discuss research and any links. But the dairy industry will fight you if you say anything bad about dairy products.
So how can nutritionists let people know what happens? You can use words such as 'galactose' and glucose or any other enzyme or chemical found in humans and animals or various foods.
Whey protein contains amino acids, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. See the YouTube video, "Dairy Galactose in Milk and Cataracts." There's also a longer lecture online related to this topic. To see the longer lecture, check out the eight segments of the program, "Udderly Amazing."
You take a small amount of whey protein in order to increase glutathione levels in your body to fight free radicals. Glutathione also protects your body from toxins, preventing damage and improving excretion of the toxins. People with certain types of cancer, cataracts, diabetes and liver disease tend to have deficiencies of glutathione. The only problem is too much whey protein causes bone loss and kidney problems.
On the other hand, older adults who suffer from osteoporosis, cancer and an impaired immune system could benefit from taking whey protein supplements, notes the University of Michigan Health System. Whey could help support cancer treatment, as well as treat cataracts, diabetes and viral hepatitis, reports the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. To read more on this topic, check out the article, "Is Whey Protein Powder Beneficial For Seniors?"
So who do you believe? The people who say all milk products are bad because they cause cataracts, the nutritionists who say fermented milk products like yogurt, kefir, and certain cheeses are okay, or the people who say whey that comes from milk is beneficial in small amounts? Too large amounts of protein may cause kidney problems, bone loss, and possibly glaucoma.
Glutathione is known to be one of the most powerful antioxidants. Unfortunately, it isn't well absorbed into the body when taken orally. Therefore, we must find other supplements which will support the production of glutathione within the cells.
One product is N-Acetyl-cysteine (NAC) which is a compound the body uses to produce glutathione
NAC works especially well when used in conjunction with Garlic. You can probably find NAC at your health food store. But be careful as some people develop kidney stones from taking N-Acetyl cysteine. Another source of glutathione is found in milk whey. If you don't have a milk sensitivity or allergy you will benefit from whey protein extract which is a strong precursor to glutathione.
See the article on how too much protein powder may raise the risk of developing glaucoma. Check out the article, Glaucoma awareness month: excess protein and glaucoma risk. Also see, Why are more cataracts found in people taking statins? Also check out the articles, "Are too many doctors paid to advocate statin use?" and "Why are more cataracts found in people taking statins?"
You also might want to take a look at the article, "Drug Company Pleads Guilty to Health Fraud," Life Extension magazine, March 2010. The healthy trends are pointing toward nutrition as a first line of treatment or solutions to problems of high cholesterol.
Micronutrients may help improve nutrition
Basically, Sacramentans are looking at micronutrients from Mother Nature to improve nutrition--such as raw food diets for a few weeks or juicing vegetables with deep green, purple, and red colors. Why? They want to avoid cataracts and the side effects of statins that are being reported widely in the mainstream media.
A recent British study eight weeks ago of more than 2 million patients found that those using statins were significantly more likely to suffer cataracts.The five-year study found that for every 10,000 patients on statins, up to 307 more had cataracts than non-statin users. Read the article about the study, "Heart drugs may increase cataract, kidney failure risk," published May 22, 2010 in The Age.
In May, 2010, Life Extension magazine ran an article on statins and cataracts, "Nutritional Strategies for Preventing Age-Related Vision Loss." That article noted that "Millions of Americans are taking so-called 'statin' medications to combat high cholesterol, yet few are aware that these drugs may pose a serious threat to their eye health.
According to that article, "In early research, statin medications led to cataract formation in animals. While human studies have failed to identify a causal link between statin drugs and cataracts, some of the most widely used statins—including Zocor® and Mevacor® –carry warnings that they may contribute to the progression of cataracts."
Check out this article for the footnotes giving the sources of these studies. The footnotes refer readers to Merck circulars ( a product pdf. file) and Zocor shared documents (pdf. file), accessed February 27, 2006.
Also, a recent study from Japan reveals a possible link between cholesterol and cataracts. The researchers found that rats that are genetically susceptible to developing cataracts demonstrate defects in two genes involved in cholesterol synthesis. Cholesterol is required for proper development of the epithelial cells of the eye lens, helping to maintain its transparency.
The decreased availability of cholesterol in these animals may thus contribute to the eye lens becoming opaque
So think about it, if your cholesterol is high, you may get cataracts (if what happens to rats happens to humans). But if you're given statins for your high cholesterol, you also may get cataracts as a side effect of the drug, the study suggests. So where do you turn to? How about foods and nutrition?
Another study released yesterday links depression and anxiety to statins. According to a July 1, 2010 article, "
Studies link anti-cholesterol statin drugs to increased risk of anxiety and depression," scientists are reporting a possible explanation for the symptoms of anxiety and depression that occur in some patients taking the popular statin family of anti-cholesterol drugs, and reported by some individuals on low-cholesterol diets. These symptoms could result from long-term, low levels of cholesterol in the brain, the report suggests. It appears in ACS' weekly journal Biochemistry.
Amitabha Chattopadhyay and colleagues, according to that article, note in the study that statins "work by blocking a key enzyme involved in the body's production of cholesterol. Some studies link the drugs to an increased risk of anxiety and depression, but the reasons are unclear."
As reported in that article also, the scientists previously showed that maintaining normal cholesterol levels is important for the function of cell receptors for serotonin, a brain hormone that influences mood and behavior. But the long-term effect of cholesterol depletion on these receptors, which can occur in patients taking anti-cholesterol drugs, is unknown.
So why would you take a drug where the outcome is unknown if your doctor tells you to take this drug long-term? Wouldn't you want a second or third opinion before making a choice?
In the study, the article reports that the scientists turned to the statin medication mevastatin to find out. In lab tests using human serotonin receptors expressed in animal cells, they showed that long-term use of the drug caused significant changes in the structure and function of serotonin cell receptors, according to that article.
Adding cholesterol to cells treated with mevastatin restored them to normal. The results represent the first report describing the effect of long-term cholesterol depletion on this type of cell receptor.
Three major articles on what statins don't do appeared in the last three days, two articles on June 28, 2010 and one on July 1, 2010. See, "Studies link anti-cholesterol statin drugs to increased risk of anxiety and depression," published July 1, 2010 in The Medical News.
Patients and consumers in general wonder whether doctors who don't prescribe drugs, but use nutrition and certain supplements instead, usually make patients pay out of pocket because the doctors can't get insurance based on nutritional solutions or treatments using food-based products such as vitamins or minerals?
These are questions patients have about the decision to go with statins. Patients have to decide as a first line of treatment whether to go with food as medicine without being called a quack follower--unless of course, you work with licensed dietitians with R.D. certification or nutritionists and naturopaths with M.D. or D.O. degrees who really know their food biochemistry.
Basically, disputes almost always are about following the big money
And when it comes down to statins or any other drug, the lawyers are waiting in the wings for symptoms to show up. So what's the latest statins dispute about? The answer is the reputation of drugs. How are the various media handling news of the statins studies?
The dispute in the latest news concerns statins, the cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs that earn about $26 billion a year for their makers. Basically, news articles and medical studies in scientific journals are pummeling the reputation of the widely prescribed medications in one area even as it advanced their stature in another.
A meta-analysis — a review of previous studies — published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that statins do not lower death rates among patients with risk factors but no evidence of established cardiovascular disease who take them as a preventive measure, according to the Los Angeles Times article.
Are studies telling doctors or patients that the risk outweighs the benefits, or are they saying that for average risk patients, simply that the drugs don't lower death rates. What do studies say the drugs actually do? The studies are filtered through the eyes of mass media mainstream newspapers.
Who's telling the truth--newspapers or drug manufacturers? That's the question. Answer: follow the money to see who has more to lose by a tarnished reputation--the medicine manufacturers, the media, or nutritionists that tout using food as your medicine.
The drugs' makers don't like their reputation hacked by the press or in medical journals by their own prescribers, physicians and the scientists who study prescription drugs. The Los Angeles Times article mentioned that three-quarters of statin users take statins in hopes of averting a first heart attack or stroke. But if statins don't lower death rates if you have a risk factor but no heart disease, what do they do for you?
At the same time, a study in the journal Cancer suggests that for men who have undergone surgery for prostate cancer, statin use appears to reduce the chance that the disease will return, according to news articles on the web. Maybe it's time to look more closely at nutritional-oriented changes. The biggest problem is with what doctors are being told and sold. Are too many doctors tightly controlled by the pharmaceutical industry?
The question arises because the specific doctors that physicians look up to, those prominent medical school faculty and other highly renowned doctor-mentors from prestige medical schools, are sometimes paid by the giant pharmaceutical industries to market medicines via dinner meeting speeches to other doctors. And the public is wondering whether their doctors are being lied to by the powerful prescription drug industries.
Locally, on Sacramento radio, at least on one sports station, is finally alerting average listeners to the latest medical studies on statins as related to the risks and benefit. The studies are pointing to statins raising more risk of harm than benefits of health for average cardiovascular disease and stroke risk folks.
The rift over statins
It's looking more like statins aren't reducing that many heart attacks and strokes after all, according to the latest studies on statins. Basically, it's one of the radio talk show personalities that yesterday (and repeated this morning) has let the public know more about the latest studies on statins and where to read one study. Also read the June 29, 2010 Los Angeles Times article by Melissa Healy about this latest study, Rift Over Statins.
You also can read the study from its primary source, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Read the study yourself, "Statins and All-Cause Mortality in High-Risk Primary Prevention: A Meta-analysis of 11 Randomized Controlled Trials Involving 65,229 Participants." Archives of Internal Medicine, 2010; 170(12):1024-1031.
The media is now disseminating this dispute between medical studies and the claims of the big prescription drug industries. The consumers' questions keep asking whether most doctors are controlled by big pharma's claims? And what happens to dissenting doctors that don't want to prescribe? Do they get intimidated by insurance companies who may want them to prescribe in order to get insurance?
One advantage radio talk show personalities can get away with is to say almost any statement allowed on the air by prefacing their comments with the phrase, "in my opinion." About two years ago, a major radio talk show personality on Sacramento's Extra Sports 860 station made the statements (paraphrased here) that "Doctors are controlled by the pharmaceutical industries just like pimps control prostitutes." He added, "Doctors are lied to by the pharmaceutical manufacturers." That's pretty strong language on the air. But it coaxes listeners to ask questions.
One big question comes up for people who have doctors prescribing life-long use of statins soon after high cholesterol levels are found. If your doctors don't know, if the scientists need more time for research, it's left up to you to figure out whether the study applies to you and possibly suggests to that chronic, low cholesterol levels in the brain might trigger anxiety and depression. That's what the scientists say, but of course, they preface their study with the word "might trigger anxiety and depression."
Of course, your genetic predisposition kicks in here. Do you feel anxious and depressed when you take statins? And if chronic, low cholesterol levels in your brain could trigger depression, couldn't it also trigger the kind of behavior anxiety or depression leads to?
Scientists are reporting a possible explanation for the symptoms of anxiety and depression that occur in some patients taking the popular statin family of anti-cholesterol drugs, and reported by some individuals on low-cholesterol diets, according to the study.
Low cholesterol and depression?
Think about it. If you're on a low cholesterol diet, do you feel anxious and depressed? If you do, what if you eat a high cholesterol food, such as one of the three-egg omelets? How about when you eat lots of fatty fish such as salmon or take fish oils? Do you feel less depressed at that time? These symptoms could result from long-term, low levels of cholesterol in the brain, the report suggests. Read the report in ACS' weekly journal Biochemistry.
There's also another article, "Aggressive control of cardiac risk factors might not benefit all patients with diabetes," according to the Phys.Org site. According to this article, a mathematical model suggests that aggressively pursuing low blood pressure and cholesterol levels may not benefit, and could even harm, some patients with diabetes, according to a report in the June 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
Think about this topic regarding statins, and ask this question: Is it possible your doctor is being lied to about statins being able to lower the incidence of strokes and heart attacks? Another study was published on June 28, 2010 noting how many guidelines that direct doctors to treat patients with diabetes by aggressively treating high low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad" cholesterol) and blood pressure levels to reduce patients' risk of developing heart disease, according to background information in the article.
Doctors keep weighing risks against benefits and benefits against risks. But the studies are simply based on the average results of various trials. Doctors and scientists look at relative benefits of trials. The health care professionals you go to are looking at average results of trials that evaluate benefits and discuss risk factor control.
The big problem is that the studies or clinical trials are never tailored to your individual genetic risk for cardiovascular disease
You're not being treated based on treatment individually tailored to your genetic express, inherited risk factors, or even lifestyle. Your being prescribed drugs based on average clinical trial reports.
For example, did you ever ask your doctor whether or not all patients with diabetes are at equally high risk of cardiovascular disease? But think about it, aren't all patients with diabetes treated aggressively to lower their cholesterol levels whether or not they're at different levels of risk? And what did the study reveal about aggressive treatment?
Justin W. Timbie, Ph.D., of RAND Corp., Arlington, Va., and colleagues constructed a mathematical model to assess whether aggressive treatment would equally benefit all patients with diabetes. They started by using data from 30- to 75-year-old participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which provided representative estimates for the nearly 8 million individuals with diabetes in the 1990s, according to the article.
At this time, aggressive cholesterol and blood pressure treatment was uncommon. After excluding participants with low LDL levels and low blood pressure, the average LDL-C level was 151 milligrams per deciliter and the average blood pressure was 144/79 millimeters of mercury.
The researchers then simulated what would happen if these patients underwent increasingly intensive treatment until their LDL-C levels were lowered to 100 milligrams per deciliter and their blood pressure to 130/80 millimeters of mercury, according to that article. Treating to these targets resulted in estimated gains of 1.5 quality-adjusted life years—years of life in perfect health—for LDL-C levels and 1.35 for blood pressure.
Studies on Treatment-Related Declines in Life Span Reported in the Mainstream Media
These gains declined to 1.42 quality-adjusted life years for LDL-C and to 1.16 for blood pressure after considering treatment-related harms, which include muscle pain from taking statins and the safety hazards of taking multiple medications.
Basically, would you take a drug with possible side effects just to increase your life span one year and a few months? Wouldn't you rather use something else to get that extra year, such as exercise, walking more, or better food--perhaps trying a raw foods vegetarian diet a few days a week for a month? What else, you have to ask would get you that extra year or so? Of course, it's based on averages.
So is it worth the risk to take statins if other methods can be used that don't have the risks? What about quality of life? These are questions a lot of patients ask. The decision, of course, is between you and your doctor. But consider whether your doctor is controlled by the pharmaceutical giant industries, and question the authority, that is the possibility that your doctor is being marketed to, even, perhaps lied to?
The study's authors reported that "Most of the total benefit was limited to the first few steps of medication intensification or to tight control for a limited group of very high-risk patients." What the outcome of the study revealed is that for the nearly three-fourths of patients at average risk, received very little benefit. So shouldn't you talk to your doctor and ask whether or not aggressive treatment with statins be geared more for patients not at average risk but at more serious risk?
Chances are if you ask your doctor such a question, the doctor may be so controlled by the giant prescription drug companies marketing information that the individual physician may not know who to believe. Or perhaps the doctor's entire career is controlled by the manufacturers of the drugs. One alternative is to go to a naturopath who also is an M.D. or D.O. who doesn't give prescription drugs such as statins as the first line of treatment.
The study looked at the process of accounting for treatment-related harms. The study's authors identified numerous examples in which "intensifying treatment would be contraindicated on the basis of risk-benefit considerations." Also, the authors of the study concluded that in many instances the "expected benefits would be so small that shared patient-clinician decision making would seem to be the appropriate medical intervention."
So how aggressively should type 2 diabetics be treated for high cholesterol, for example? Shouldn't doctors first look at their patient's underlying cardiovascular disease risk? And instead of being controlled by the big pharmaceutical corporations' marketing techniques using famous, prestige university-educated doctors, instead might take a look at the "diminishing efficacy of combination therapy and increasing polypharmacy and adverse effects," as the study's authors put it.
As far as this study, the authors recommend "a strategy of tailoring treatments to individual patients on the basis of their expected benefit of intensifying treatment." The treatment being given presently, the study reports, "to encourage uniformly lowering risk factors to common target levels can be both inefficient and cause unnecessary harm." Read the study yourself. See the Journal of the American Medical Association: JAMA and Archives Journals.
One news story broadcast in the TV media reported that some people may be taking statins for the rest of their lives. Others are worried about the health risks from taking excess protein powders. Many doctors and nutritionists focus on getting nutrients mostly from healthy foods unless your body isn't absorbing a balanced amount of nutrients from foods and/or there's a deficiency.