A warning from a self-regulated supplement company that I trust - Emerson Ecologics - www.emersonecologics.com.
"On January 18th, Tainted Supplements: Where do they come from? aired on Dr. Oz show as part of his Tainted Supplements vs. the FDA series. As a part of this story, members of Dr. Oz staff went undercover and discovered that five out of five weight- loss supplements that they bought tested positive for sibutramine, an ingredient in prescription obesity drugs that was banned because it caused heart attacks, strokes and seizures. In addition, one of the five tested positive for the antibiotic ciprofloxacin (Cipro). The Dr. Oz show reviewed these findings and, with guests Jim Kababick of Flora Labs and Peter Cohen of Harvard Medical School, raised some significant concern regarding spiked dietary supplements.
The conclusion of the show was that there is a large, unscrupulous and profitable part of the “dietary supplement industry” that traffics in such products, making extravagant claims to consumers, such as promising rapid weight loss, without regard to, or interest in, public health or safety. FDA regulation While the issue of spiked and therefore adulterated dietary supplements is a serious one that merits attention, it is important to keep this issue in perspective.
First, in contrast to the belief held by many, dietary supplements are federally regulated under 21 CFR part 111. These regulations prohibit product adulteration. While the FDA enforces 21 CFR Part 111 and the dietary supplement industry has several ways in which they self-regulate, there are still some ‘bad actors’ that do not follow the regulations and have escaped federal and industry scrutiny. This situation exists in part due to insufficient resources on the part of the FDA to regularly inspect all dietary supplement manufacturers. Of note, the FDA has stepped up its auditing activities over the past couple of years and has successfully identified several of these unscrupulous manufacturers. It is also true that supplements do not require pre-market approval, but rather are regulated once they are in the marketplace.
At that point, the FDA’s job is to identify and remove dangerous products from the market. Make sure you choose supplement brands that have safety checks in place in order to reduce the likelihood of carrying products spiked with pharmaceutical drugs. Safeguards include: 1. Staying current with industry adulterants and adulterated products and avoiding carrying these high risk products. 2. Reviewing all labels of new products for any suspicious or exaggerated claims or ingredients. This is particularly true for products in the categories of weight loss, muscle building and sexual enhancement. 3. Requireing certificates of analysis for products identified as being at risk for containing spiked ingredients."
Please look in to your products...you only have one body. Treat it well!
If you don't already subscribe to Dr. Katz's HuffPost blog, you surely are missing out. The man is brilliant! He writes with such eloquence, making even the most mundane topics (health) exciting! I had the pleasure of working with Dr. K in May of 2011 and was witness to his incredible bedside manner and eloquent display of poetry. It was truly inspiring! With no further adieu, here's his blog post for the week. It features celebrity chefs, food wars and clogged arteries, with a side of inspiration. Enjoy and Happy Friday! Suscribe to his posts at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/health-food_b_1214307.html Do something fun and physical this weekend!
"I needn't belabor the news that Paula Deen, a celebrity chef on TV (that was news to me; nobody tells me anything...) "came out" with her Type 2 diabetes. Paula Deen's cooking has apparently long been a study in Southern-style indulgence, with an emphasis on the deep fryer and plenty of butter. From what I have gleaned, Ms. Deen has never met a nutrition fact she didn't like to ignore.
But I'm not inclined to wag a finger at Ms. Deen. Nor do I want to wade into the debate about her advocacy for a particular diabetes drug to treat a condition she need not have developed in the first place.
I want simply to talk about the opportunity to love food that loves us back, and the fundamental importance of making that the prevailing norm.
First, food matters. We have incontrovertible evidence, reaffirmed many times over the past several decades, that the major determinants of premature mortality and chronic morbidity in modern society are tobacco use, dietary pattern and physical activity. Or, as I like to put it -- feet, forks and fingers.
We have clear evidence that even moderate improvements of diet and activity can prevent Type 2 diabetes in nearly 60 percent of high-risk adults, and evidence that more fundamental improvements to lifestyle could prevent almost all of it -- and certainly more than 90 percent. We know that children now get Type 2 diabetes, while a generation ago it was called "adult onset" diabetes, because the condition in children was essentially unheard of.
We know that diet can be and often is the difference between good health, and ill health. This is not controversial.
The trouble is, we have propagated the view that we have to choose between food we love, and health we love. And since food provides immediate gratification, while good health is a long-term return on a long-term investment, the immediate gratification of food tends to prevail. We eat, drink and make merry -- and defer worrying about the cost. But the cost eventually comes due -- all too often in the form of a serious chronic disease that need not have occurred.
As chronic diseases develop at ever younger age, while we live to ever older -- the percentage of our lives encumbered by that "cost" is rising. And, consequently, so is the cost itself. We pay dearly.
In essence, then, we are mortgaging our health to pay for the pleasure of our palate. This may be hard to justify under any circumstances. But there would, at least, be a case to be made if the only way to enjoy food were to give up health. If the only food that tasted good were bad for us, we would have a tough decision to make. And some might say -- to hell with health! They might come to regret it, but we could all understand the choice.
But there is no such choice to be made. There are variations on the theme of optimal eating available to us all. Among them is the Mediterranean diet, which is itself a dietary theme and parent to a number of variations. Important about them all is this: Many of us would go to Mediterranean countries and gladly spend our good money on the excellent food! Not because the food is good for us -- but because it's just plain good!
But it is also good for us. It offers us the opportunity to love food that loves us back. To get pleasure in the pursuit of health, and health in the pursuit of pleasure. The Mediterranean diet offers this -- and so do many other cuisines around the globe. Whatever your palate, there is room for you where culinary pleasure and health converge.
Given this possibility, why practice the brand of denial that seems to prevail? Those of us who advocate for healthful eating need not be culinary cretins. My wife, raised in southern France, is a fabulous cook. Catherine and I, and our kids -- love good food. We just love food that loves us back.
And chefs need not fry butter to show they care about cuisine. In an age of epidemic obesity and diabetes, chefs can shoulder the responsibility of making food that is both good, and good for us.
An analogy springs to mind. Cars can have incredible horsepower. They can also have great fuel efficiency. There was a time when great horsepower at the expense of lousy fuel efficiency was fine. But we now know the costs of that profligacy -- monetary costs, and more importantly, environmental costs. We are now inclined to demand both fuel economy and performance, or strike a balance between the two. But the world no longer condones a "to hell with fuel efficiency" attitude, because the stakes are too high.
I suppose you might watch a car race for fun (I don't get that, actually, but different strokes...), but in doing so, you generally aren't planning on getting that kind of car, or driving that way. Car racing is not intended as an audience-participation experience. If cooking shows were a similar diversion, it might not matter much what the chefs are cooking. But if, as seems probable, the intent is "go ahead and try this at home!" -- then what's cookin' truly does matter.
The stakes are every bit as high in our kitchens, as in our garages. Our health, the health of those we love -- is on the line. So maybe it's time for us all to draw a line in the sand and not cross. Chefs who can't make food both good and good for us don't really have enough expertise to warrant our attention. They don't have the full culinary skill set modern living requires. We should tune them out.
Pretending that food doesn't matter to health is at best denial, at worst a serious delusion. We should not mortgage health to pay for culinary delight, any more than we should give up culinary pleasure to purchase health. We can love food that loves us back.
Bring on the chefs talented enough and responsible enough to help us bake that particular cake, and eat it, too!
What is Avatar and How Does it Apply to Me?
The word avatar does not just refer to a movie about blue humanoid creatures fighting to save their world from destruction. It has a much deeper history than this 21st century creation. Unbeknownst to most Westerners, the word avatar is a Sanksrit word meaning “a manifestation of a deity in bodily form on earth”. It is used in Hindi texts (the Bhagavad Gita) to refer to human incarnations of various Gods (namely Vishnu, Ghanesha and Shiva). According to Wikipedia (the encyclopedia of everything), this ancient word ‘is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation"’. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar. So what does this have to do with me and why am I even bringing it up?
Well, I attended a consciousness training course last week (Jan 2nd-8th) named Avatar that completely transformed the way I think about the world and my life. What is consciousness, you ask? According to Wikipedia (again), “consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind.” It is taught by every major religion and is best regarded in the form of meditation. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness for more information.
I want to share my experience with you all for your own knowledge and to encourage you all to potentially undergo the same transformation of self through this course or by some other means. Disclaimer: I have NO financial ties to this company or to Star’s Edge International through which it runs. I am writing this review mostly because so many people have asked me about it and I feel inclined to share (sharing has always been one of the things I love to do most!)! Another disclaimer: Avatar is NOT a religion; it is NOT a cult and it truly is NOT dangerous. It allows you to uncover your true beliefs and motivations and gives you the tools to create what you want out of life. Anyone can do it and at any age, provided they have the finances to attend the courses which take place in 17 different countries. Third disclaimer: I started it as an open-minded skeptic but have been transformed in to a believer. Oh, and I can’t go in to the details of the exercises that lead up to the transformation, but just trust me when I say they work!
So let’s get started from the beginning. So how did I hear about Avatar? I fortuitously stumbled upon this course during another training course in early December for a guided imagery technique that I offer my patients for decreasing anxiety, pain, etc. See http://www.healfaster.com/index.html for info on this extremely valuable technique. Anyways, the creator of the guided imagery technique happened to mention Avatar as a valuable training for people who truly wanted to delve in to their consciousness and change their lives. This person is a psychotherapist by training and had already been through the Avatar course and previously taught it to others. The course came highly recommended. So me, being the curious person I am, googled Avatar in Connecticut and found a woman teaching it in a nearby town. I enthusiastically contacted her to see if our missions aligned (mine being to get rid of the severe negativity I harbored after residency and med school that manifested itself as chronic neck and shoulder pain and to create a more fulfilling life for myself; and hers to make sure that she attracted people ready for transformational change in their lives).
Needless to say, our missions aligned as she believed I was ready to attend an Avatar Resurfacing class and signed me up for one taking place that upcoming weekend (things happen quickly when you’re ready). It was only a ~$300 investment for a full weekend of training. (Not bad in the grand scheme of things!) So off I went not really knowing what to expect but staying open to the idea of profound change. When I got to the course on Saturday, I was a little put off by the way the people there were looking at me. They seemed to be looking through me, into my soul, and it kind of weirded me out (being honest). In addition, they were all SO happy and friendly and that added to my concern that I was jumping in to something harmful (funny how conditioned we are to unhappiness and hostility, as if I'd be more comfortable if they were cold and unfriendly!).
But as the day went on and I delved in to my own psyche through the numerous workshop exercises, I noticed a growing sense of “lightness”. I noticed the easing of my chronic neck and shoulder pain and an increase in my energy level as the day progressed. So much so that I could not stop talking about these changes during dinner with friends on Saturday night. I felt vibrant, enthusiastic and light! I was excited to see what day 2 would bring. So I returned on Sunday for more exercises and completed the course in a sustained “lighter” state of being. It was then that I made the commitment to attend a week-long Avatar course in Orlando, piggy-backing it on to my week-long vacation in Houston. I even noticed changes during my week in Houston. Not only did I have a fantastic time catching up with family and friends that week, but I seemed to have opened myself up to attract what I wanted from life - meaningful relationships (with old and new people) and profound change in my patients’ lives (opportunities for collaboration, etc) - on some small level.
But that was just a taste of what was to come. Upon arrival to the course in Orlando (on New Years’ Day after a late night of celebrating), I collapsed in to my hotel room bed and eagerly awaited the course that would later change my life. And man, do I mean change!! After the first day of “exploring my consciousness”, I again, felt extremely light and much less anxious about whether the process would work (and/or if I had just signed up for a cult without realizing it). The Avatar Masters and Wizards (those that have gone on to do further training) still seemed to be looking through me, straight in to my soul, and it again kind of freaked me out. I kept referencing my mother’s request “not to drink the ‘punch’” and kept in mind that I am a nice, Jewish doctor not really interested in re-defining myself. But this skeptical view didn’t last long due to the incredible genuineness of the people I was surrounded by and by the lasting feelings of lightness and happiness I experienced.
Everyone was there for one reason, self-improvement, and the creator of the program, Harry Palmer, lectured about topics that I believed in - personal responsibility (not blaming others for your successes or problems), compassion, generosity, integrity and self-creation of beliefs. There was no ‘punch’ to drink, no aliens to discuss, no beliefs implanted in my head, etc. This realization and the prescribed exercises I went through to clear out my negative beliefs/thoughts/actions became extremely empowering. I saw that I was in control of my thoughts, feelings and emotions and I became changed! I found myself nodding along to Harry's lectures in agreement and drawing energy from his idealism.
Again, the people were amazing! There were people from ALL walks of life (flight attendants, children, health care professionals, entrepreneurs, financial advisors, stay-at-home moms, etc) and of ALL ages (ranging from age 8-70, with one sweet, sweet baby boy in the ranks) and ALL nationalities (Americans, Brazilians, Europeans, Australians, Mexicans, Carribeaners, etc.) and ALL religions (you know what they are) with the sole purpose of improving themselves and the world. On any given day you could hear 4-5 different languages being spoken! As the week progressed, I had found a core group of people to hang out with and we found ourselves laughing like children at every opportunity. They, like me, started as open-minded skeptics and we enjoyed discussing our changes as we went through the process. It was nice to go through it with others who didn’t know what to expect and with whom I could laugh, love, dance and cry (and we did all of these things throughout the week). I left knowing that, if nothing else, I had met people who I respected and could enjoy life-long bonds with. I truly can say, specifically in this way, that the course was mind-blowing!
So after completing my coursework and being deemed an “Avatar” on Sunday evening, I said goodbye to my new friends/community of loving people on Sunday evening, I experienced the most peaceful and smooth experience at the super busy Orlando airport and arrived home to my apartment in Stamford around 3 am, excited and enthusiastic to take what I’d learned to work the next day. I intentionally created the belief my work would be smooth and productive and needless to say, my week proved to be exactly that, with opportunities for further growth presenting themselves every day!
The crux of Avatar is that each person is responsible for the things they experience in life (both positive and negative). You are held accountable for your thoughts, actions, beliefs, etc., regardless if you are aware of them or not. I am excited to see where my new views on life take me. It seems that once you open yourself up to the positivity of the universe, anything is possible. And I say this as a former skeptic who used to believe that the world is the way it is and that true change only results from external forces (ie, life changes, psychological help, medication, etc). Instead, I no longer feel resentment and regret towards my choice to practice medicine and give up the social life my non-doctor friends had during their twenties (yes, many doctors and others with prolonged academic training feel this way). I have opened my heart to the numerous opportunities that await me and I encourage you all to do the same. I am SOO excited to have had this opportunity for rediscovery and look forward to the sustained happiness that lies ahead!
Learn how to let go of the beliefs that no longer serve you (ie, negativity, blame, regret, shame, guilt, etc.) and CREATE positive change in your life! Change truly can happen! Avatar is one way to get there. For more information, contact Ariela Sarai for a free introduction - http://www.powerofavatar.com/. I challenge you to NOT be changed by it!
All the best,
Listen to Deepak Chopra's thoughts on a new study showing that an internet (or technology for that matter) addiction can damage the plasticity of the brain. Especially important is that he points out how to reduce the impact through mindfulness (meditation/introspection). This goes hand-in-hand with what I teach my patients and what I spent doing last week in Orlando with Avatar. Check it out and then unplug!
The latest research shows the acute and chronic effects of a high fat diet on your brain. Source: Dr. Andy Weil's weekly bulletin (you can subscribe to these for free by giong to www.drweil.com and searching around for weekly bulletin).
'Your Brain and Weight Loss
New research suggests that many weight problems are all in the head, but not in the way you might suppose. Two studies published in the December 27, 2011 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation indicate that the poor dietary choices that have led to much of the obesity in the U.S. might damage brain cells around the hypothalamus, an area that helps regulate hunger and thirst, possibly causing you to feel hungry even though you've eaten more than enough. The damage appears to stem from inflammation promoted by high fat diets. Although we've known for some time that high fat diets can lead to inflammatory changes in the body, these changes were believed to take weeks or months to occur. However, the researchers who conducted the two studies are now reporting that changes in the brain due to inflammation can develop within as little time as 24 hours based on their studies with mice and rats. The same effects were seen on MRIs of the brains of obese humans. The investigators found that while initial brain changes due to high fat diets were only temporary, they become permanent with continued high fat eating."'
Love and light,
Again, I've posted on the importance of buying paraben-free, pthalate-free and fragrance-free shampoos, cosmetics and lotions. Here's some more evidence (this time from the American Medical Association (the AMA)!) for my reasoning. PLEASE invest in these products and contact your elected officials to endorse acts such as the Safe Chemical Act that was introduced in Congress last year. We MUST clean up our products (and food and air and water, etc) if we ever hope to curb the cancer epidemic! For easy product selection, explore the cosmetics database on the website of the Environmental Working Group at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.
And have a FANTASTIC weekend!
Time (1/13, Blue) reports in "Healthland" that "researchers have found that paraben traces are present in the tissue of almost all breast cancer patients, whether or not they use antiperspirants." The researchers found that "even patients who'd never used underarm products had paraben traces in their breast tissue." But "that's not surprising, say the authors, since parabens are found in shampoos, make-up, moisturizers, pharmaceuticals and even some food products," in addition to some antiperspirants.
HealthDay (1/13, Doheny) reports, "In the study, published online in January in the Journal of Applied Toxicology," investigators "report that one or more kinds of parabens were found in 158 of the 160 samples taken from the tissue collected from...40 women." The researchers "found 96 samples contained all five of the most common paraben esters (forms)."
WebMD (1/13, Mann) reports, "Paraben levels did not seem to play a role in the cancer's location or whether or not the cancer was fueled by estrogen."
Source: American Medical Association Morning Rounds newsletter, Friday, January 13, 2012.
Rather intuitive, yet hot off the presses from MedPage Today is a natural solution for hyperactivity in kids. I definitely recommend trying diet and behavior modification prior to starting any type of stimulant medication! Enjoy!
'Fast foods, sodas, and ice cream may be American kids' favorite menu items, but they're also probably the worst for those with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new literature review suggests.
According to two researchers from Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, a relatively simple diet low in fats and high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is one of the best alternatives to drug therapy for ADHD. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplements have also been shown to help in some controlled studies, they noted.
Writing online in Pediatrics, J. Gordon Millichap, MD, and Michelle M. Yee, CPNP, reviewed nearly 70 publications on diet-based interventions in ADHD, emphasizing recent research and controlled trials. They noted that diet is one established contributor to ADHD that parents can modify.
One of the most provocative findings in recent years came from the Australian Raine study, which was a prospective cohort study that followed children from birth to age 14, Millichap and Yee indicated.
It found that development of ADHD was significantly associated with so-called Western diets rich in saturated fats and sugar, compared with a "healthy" diet of proteins derived from low-fat fish and dairy products and with a high proportion of vegetables (including tomatoes), fruits, and whole grains.
However, their review indicated that controlled trials had failed to show significant benefits for such intensive modifications as oligoantigenic, elimination, or additive-free Feingold-type diets except in small subgroups. Such diets also "are complicated, disruptive to the household, and often impractical," they wrote.
The Feingold diet and others are based on the idea that artificial colors and salicylates contribute to ADHD, which became popular in the 1970s. Federally funded trials showed that most ADHD children did not improve significantly on such diets, although some children with genuine sensitivities to additives and preservatives have been identified.
Such children, the researchers suggested, "might benefit from their elimination." More recent research has also indicated that atopic children with ADHD responded to a highly restrictive diet lacking colorings, preservatives, and certain food types.
Millichap and Yee reached similar conclusions for so-called elimination diets that avoid common allergens such as nuts, dairy, and chocolate, as well as citrus fruits. "Studies have provided mixed opinions of efficacy," they noted.
For both types of diet, the researchers pointed out, "a parent wishing to follow [them] needs patience, perseverance, and frequent evaluation by an understanding physician and dietitian."
In another finding likely to raise eyebrows, if not hackles, Millichap and Yee concluded that only weak evidence supports the widespread belief that refined sugar promotes hyperactivity.
Some effects on brain electrical activity have been documented, and reactive hypoglycemia following big jolts of sugary foods may account for behavioral changes seen in some ADHD children.
But studies linking sugar consumption to ADHD have also been compromised by methodological problems. For example, one trial gave children sugar or placebo at breakfast with a high-carbohydrate cereal, which may have contributed to subsequent reactions to the sugar. Millichap and Yee cited a separate study that demonstrated when children ate a protein meal before or simultaneously with sugar, no hyperactivity reaction occurred.
Still, the researchers conceded, the notion that sugar exacerbates ADHD has become so entrenched it may not matter whether it's true or not.
"No controlled study or physician counsel is likely to change this perception. Parents will continue to restrict the allowance of candy for their hyperactive child at Halloween in the belief that this will curb the level of exuberant activity, an example of the Hawthorne effect. The specific type of therapy or discipline may be less important than the attention provided by the treatment," Millichap and Yee wrote.
They also reviewed studies exploring the potential roles of zinc and iron deficiency in ADHD. The upshot is that there is currently little indication that such deficiencies explain more than a small minority of ADHD cases. Children with confirmed deficiencies should receive supplements or appropriate dietary adjustments regardless of their ADHD status.
They were more impressed with the literature on polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements, especially the 2005 Oxford-Durham study.
In that trial, several ADHD symptoms were significantly improved in children receiving omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplements, "an effect duplicated in other...supplement trials," Millichap and Yee wrote.
They acknowledged that not all studies have confirmed the result, and recent studies have used too many different methodologies to yield firm conclusions. Nevertheless, they indicated that they now recommend it to parents of their patients, though not as the sole treatment approach.
"In almost all cases, for treatment to be managed effectively, medication is also required," they wrote. "The beneficial effects of omega-3 and omega-6 supplements are not clearly demonstrated."
"Supplemental diet therapy is simple, relatively inexpensive, and more acceptable to patient and parent," Millichap and Yee concluded. "Public education regarding a healthy diet pattern and lifestyle to prevent or control ADHD may have greater long-term success."'
Dr. Maltz earned a Medical Degree and Master in Public Health from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX. She completed a combined Internal and Preventive Medicine Residency at UTMB in June, 2011. She then completed a 2-year Integrative Medicine Fellowship at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT, during which she simultaneously underwent an intensive 1000-hour curriculum created by The University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Program founded by Dr. Andrew Weil.