Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Dangers Of Splenda (Sucralose)

Reposted from Underground Wellness E-mail
by Sean Croxton

I don’t do Splenda.
There was a time when I had bought into the “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar” hype. 

But then I found out the truth…
I found out that Splenda was actually discovered in the chemistry department of Queen Elizabeth College in London back in 1975. That's when a grad student, Shashikant Phadnis, and his advisor, Leslie Hough, were attempting to create new insecticides by adding a highly poisonous chemical (sulfuryl chloride) to a sugar solution. 

Hough asked Phadnis to test it, but the student misheard and “tasted it”. 

The prospective insecticide turned out to be surprisingly sweet. Soon after, Hough and Phadnis began working with a British sugar company to create the ultimate chlorinated sugar molecule. 
They called it sucralose. We call it Splenda.
Then I learned that Splenda’s chemical structure contains 3 chlorine molecules — no, not the chloride naturally found in food and salt, but the toxic chlorine found in swimming pools — and consuming it actually delivers this chlorine directly to the cells. Yikes.
And this… 

Splenda is classified as an organochlorine — just like DDT (banned insecticide), Aldrin (banned pesticide), PCBs (banned electrical insulator), chloroform (banned), phosgene (banned), and more.

Banned. Banned. Banned. Banned. Banned.
Splenda. Safe for human consumption.
Am I the only one who finds this just a tad bit bothersome?

I don’t write this to scare you. That’s not my thing. But considering that millions of people around the world sprinkled this stuff in their coffee this morning, I kinda feel like this is something they’d want to know.
A few days ago, while reading The Hidden Plague, I stumbled upon yet another startling fact about the sweet insecticide.

In this Duke University study, researchers found that Splenda caused significant reductions in gut flora.
In other words, it kills the good bacteria in your gut — at a dosage far less than the Accepted Daily Intake set by the FDA, by the way.
Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar…and kinda acts like an antibiotic.
As you know, imbalanced gut bacteria can lead to gas, bloating, yeast overgrowth, reduced nutrient absorption, and leaky gut.

Yes, leaky gut — the very problem lying at the root of autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, MS, and…
Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS).

This week on Underground Wellness Radio, Tara Grant, author of The Hidden Plague, stopped by to discuss a very common tongue twister of an autoimmune skin condition (HS) that no one is talking about, and how she was able to put it into complete remission by healing her gut with an autoimmune paleo protocol. 

NOTE: The information in this episode applies to people with any autoimmune condition, not just HS. Don’t miss this.
Here are my time stamps so you can fast forward to the good parts!
5:17 - The emotional turmoil of going 15 years without a diagnosis.
7:06 - What exactly is Hidradenitis Suppurativa, and how common is it?

14:36 - Why leaky gut is the REAL cause of autoimmunity…and how to know if you have it.

16:10 - The smoking gun that HS is an autoimmune disease. 

18:56 - 2 commonly consumed antinutrients that poke holes in your gut. 

24:36 - Hold the ketchup! Why nightshades are a BIG problem for people with autoimmunity. 

26:13 - Why cow’s milk is “especially bad” for autoimmune conditions. 
29:45 - What Splenda does to your gut bacteria…and your weight!
35:00 - Can antibiotics wipe out your white blood cells?

46:32 - How much more “aware” of breast cancer can we possibly be?

48:00 - Behind the Scenes: NEVER do this before a live podcast.
You can also subscribe on iTunes for automatic downloads!

Enjoy the show.
And STOP eating insecticides, my friend. :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Gut Bacteria and Fat Cells May Interact to Produce “Perfect Storm” of Inflammation That Promotes Diabetes and Other Chronic Disease

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola
A wide array of health problems, including but not limited to obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, periodontal disease, stroke, and heart disease all have inflammation as a part of the disease.
The majority of inflammatory diseases start in your gut.
Chronic inflammation in your gut can disrupt the normal functioning of many bodily systems. There also appears to be a connection between certain types of bacteria and body fat that produces a heightened inflammatory response and drives the inflammatory process.
For example, recent research1 suggests that superantigens—toxic molecules produced by pathogenic bacteria such as staph—may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes through their effect on fat cells. As reported by the featured article:2
“The idea is that when fat cells (adipocytes) interact with environmental agents -- in this case, bacterial toxins -- they then trigger a chronic inflammatory process... [B]acterial toxins stimulate fat cells to release molecules called cytokines, which promote inflammation...
All staph bacteria make toxins called superantigens -- molecules that disrupt the immune system. Schlievert's research has previously shown that superantigens cause the deadly effects of various staph infections, such as toxic shock syndrome, sepsis, and endocarditis.
... [T]he chronic inflammation caused by the superantigens may also hinder wound healing in diabetic foot ulcers. The ulcers, which affect 15 to 25 percent of people with diabetes, are notoriously difficult to heal and can often lead to amputation.”

'Perfect Storm' of Inflammation Promotes Diabetes

Previous research has shown that obese people have different intestinal bacteria than slim people. Lean people tend to have higher amounts of various healthy or beneficial bacteria compared to those who carry a lot of excess weight, who tend to have greater colonization of pathogenic bacteria. 
For instance, the human adenovirus-36 (Ad-36) -- a cause of respiratory infections and pinkeye – might play a role in promoting obesity by transforming adult stem cells into fat cells that are capable of storing additional fat.
Researchers have also discovered that certain gut bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus (staph) and E. coli, trigger fat cells to produce inflammatory cytokines. Researchers have proposed that this interaction can provoke the development of diabetes, which is a well-known “side effect” of obesity.
Staph bacteria in particular appear to play an important role in diabetes, and according to the featured article, there are two primary reasons for this:
  • Obese people have a tendency to become heavily colonized with staph bacteria
  • Staph bacteria is the most common bacteria found in diabetic foot ulcers
The featured study found that when both staph and E. coli are present (both of which produce superantigens), the inflammatory cytokine response in fat cells are further amplified, thereby boosting your risk of diabetes. According to the co-author of the study, Patrick Schlievert, Ph.D:
"The E. coli that resides in our gut produces LPS [lipopolysaccharide, a toxin] and every day a small amount of this toxin gets into our circulation, but it is generally cleared from the circulation by the liver. However, people colonized by staph bacteria are also chronically exposed to superantigens, which shut down the LPS detoxification pathway.
That creates a synergy between the 'uncleared' LPS and the superantigen. All these two molecules do is cause inflammation and cytokine production. So in essence, their presence together creates a perfect storm for inflammation."
Previous studies have come to similar conclusions. For example, one study3 found that babies with high numbers of bifidobacteria (beneficial bacteria) and low numbers of Staphylococcus aureus, appeared to be protected from excess weight gain.
This may also be one reason why breast-fed babies have a lower risk of obesity, as bifidobacteria flourish in the guts of breast-fed babies.

The Link Between Gum Inflammation and Heart Health

A related news item further highlights the role of inflammation in the development of chronic disease. According to Medical News Today:4
“Researchers at Columbia University in New York suggest that if you look after your gums, you could also be reducing your risk of heart disease. They claim that improving dental care slows the speed with which plaque builds up in the arteries.5
This isn’t the first time researchers have found that your oral health can have a significant impact on your cardiovascular and heart health. For example, a 2010 study6 found that those with the worst oral hygiene increased their risk of developing heart disease by a whopping 70 percent, compared to those who brush their teeth twice a day.
In this prospective study, improved gum health was shown to significantly slow down the progression of atherosclerosis—the buildup of plaque in your arteries, which increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and death. According to the featured article:7
“Previous studies have linked an increase in carotid IMT [intima-medial thickness] of 0.033 mm per year (about 0.1 mm over 3 years), to a more than double increase in risk of heart attack and stroke. In this study, the participants whose gum health got worse over the 3 years showed a 0.1 mm increase in carotid IMT, compared with the participants whose gum health improved.
Co-author Panos N. Papapanou, professor at Columbia's College of Dental Medicine, says: 'Our results show a clear relationship between what is happening in the mouth and thickening of the carotid artery, even before the onset of full-fledged periodontal disease. This suggests that incipient periodontal disease should not be ignored.'”
Here, bacteria are again playing a preeminent role, as periodontal disease is the result of the colonization of certain bacteria in your mouth. This bacterial profile, by the way, is again linked to an imbalance of  beneficial and pathogenic bacteria in your gut. A few months after I added fermented vegetables to my daily diet, I was able to cut down my dental cleaning visits from every month to every quarter. I’ve had a longstanding problem of persistent plaque formation, and the addition of fermented foods proved to be an essential missing ingredient for me to successfully address this problem.
It’s important to realize that periodontal disease involves both bone and the tissue that is in contact with that bone. From this contact, bacteria and toxic inflammatory compounds can easily enter your blood stream. Once in your blood stream, these toxic compounds can harm the lining of your blood vessels, which can lead to both strokes and heart attacks. So, reducing inflammation is of primary importance for your overall health, and brushing your teeth regularly is one way to combat chronic inflammation in your body.
Findings such as these offer potent testimony to the fact that heart disease is a condition that can be prevented, most of the time, by leading a healthy lifestyle -- which includes the simple act of brushing your teeth regularly to prevent periodontal disease, and optimizing your gut health by eating foods that allow healthy bacteria to flourish and keep pathogenic bacteria in check.

Diet and Environmental Factors Affect Your Gut Flora

I have long stated that it's generally a wise choice to "reseed" your body with good bacteria, ideally by regularly eating non-pasteurized, traditionally fermented foods such as:
One of the reasons why fermented foods are so beneficial is because they contain lactic acid producing bacteria, which has been shown to be particularly beneficial for weight loss, as well as a wide variety of other beneficial bacteria. Ideally, you want to eat a variety of fermented foods to maximize the variety of bacteria you’re getting. If for whatever reason you decide not to eat fermented foods, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement is definitely recommended.
Keep in mind that eating fermented foods may not be enough if the rest of your diet is really poor. Your gut bacteria are an active and integrated part of your body, and as such are vulnerable to your overall lifestyle. If you eat a lot of processed foods for instance, your gut bacteria are going to be compromised because processed foods in general will destroy healthy microflora and feed bad bacteria and yeast. Your gut bacteria are also very sensitive to the following factors—all of which should ideally be avoided as much as possible in order to optimize your gut flora:
  • Antibiotics, including antibiotic-traces found in meats from factory farmed meats and animal products
  • Agricultural chemicals, especially glyphosate
  • Chlorinated water
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Pollution

Your Diet Is Key for Reducing Chronic Inflammation

As you can see, the running thread linking a wide variety of common health problems—from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and stroke—is chronic inflammation. Clearly, addressing your oral health is an important step, but the real key to reducing chronic inflammation in your body starts with your diet.
Diet accounts for about 80 percent of the health benefits you reap from a healthful lifestyle, and keeping inflammation in check is a major part of these benefits. It's important to realize that dietary components can either trigger or prevent inflammation from taking root in your body.
For example, whereas trans fats and sugar, particularly fructose, will increase inflammation, eating healthy fats such as animal-based omega-3 fats found in krill oil, or the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) will help to reduce them. Research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology8 two years ago again confirmed that dietary supplementation with krill oil effectively reduced inflammation and oxidative stress. To reduce or prevent inflammation in your body, you’ll want to AVOID the following dietary culprits:
  • Sugar/fructose and grains (If your fasting insulin level is not lower than three, consider eliminating grains and sugars until you optimize your insulin level, as insulin resistance this is a primary driver of chronic inflammation)
  • Oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked, scrambled eggs)
  • Foods cooked at high temperatures
  • Trans fats
Replacing processed foods with whole, ideally organic, foods will automatically address most of these factors, especially if you eat a large portion of your food raw. Equally important is making sure you’re regularly reseeding your gut with beneficial bacteria, as discussed above. The ideal way, again, is by adding a variety of non-pasteurized traditionally fermented foods to your daily diet. To help you get started on a healthier diet, I suggest following my free Optimized Nutrition Plan, which starts at the beginner phase and systematically guides you step-by-step to the advanced level.
Optimizing your vitamin D levels is another important aspect of optimizing your gut health and immune function. According to recent research, vitamin D appears to be nearly as effective as animal-based omega-3 fats in countering inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis for example. One of the reasons for this may be because it helps your body produce over 200 anti-microbial peptides capable of fighting all sorts of infections. In simple terms, if you’re vitamin D deficient, your immune system will not activate to do its job. And since vitamin D also modulates (balances) your immune response, it helps prevent overreaction in the form of inflammation.

Grounding—An Underused Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle Strategy

Another simple lifestyle strategy that can help prevent chronic inflammation is grounding or Earthing. Stated in the simplest terms possible, earthing is simply walking barefoot; grounding your body to the Earth. Your skin in general is a very good conductor, so you can connect any part of your skin to the Earth, but if you compare various parts there is one that is especially potent, and that's right in the middle of the ball of your foot; a point known to acupuncturists as Kidney 1 (K1). It's a well-known point that conductively connects to all of the acupuncture meridians and essentially connects to every nook and cranny of your body.
By looking at what happens during grounding, the answer to why chronic inflammation is so prevalent, and what is needed to prevent it, is becoming better understood. When you're grounded there's a transfer of free electrons from the Earth into your body. And these free electrons are probably the most potent antioxidants known to man. These antioxidants are responsible for the clinical observations from grounding experiments, such as beneficial changes in heart rate and blood pressure, decreased skin resistance, and decreased levels of inflammation. Furthermore, researchers have also discovered that grounding actually thins your blood, making it less viscous.
This discovery can have a profound impact on cardiovascular disease, which is now the number one killer in the world. Virtually every aspect of cardiovascular disease has been correlated with elevated blood viscosity. It turns out that when you ground to the earth, your zeta potential quickly rises, which means your red blood cells have more charge on their surface, which forces them apart from each other. This action causes your blood to thin and flow easier. It also causes your blood pressure to drop.
By repelling each other, your red blood cells are also less inclined to stick together and form a clot. Additionally, if your zeta potential is high, which grounding can facilitate, you not only decrease your heart disease risk but also your risk of multi-infarct dementias, where you start losing brain tissue due to micro-clotting in your brain. To learn more about this simple but potent method, please see my interview with Dr. Oschman, who is widely recognized as an authority in the biophysics of energy medicine. Grounding may also work by increasing the structured water in your cells.

For Optimal Health, Address and Avoid Chronic Inflammation

Remember, the micro-organisms living in your digestive tract form a very important "inner ecosystem" that influences countless aspects of health. More specifically, the type and quantity of organisms in your gut interact with your body in ways that can either prevent or encourage the development of chronic inflammation, which is at the heart of many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. The composition of your microflora may even dictate the ease with which you’re able to shed unwanted pounds.
Since virtually all of us are exposed to factors that destroy beneficial bacteria in your gut, such as antibiotics (whether you take them for an illness or get them from contaminated animal products), chlorinated water, antibacterial soap, agricultural chemicals, and pollution, ensuring your gut bacteria remain balanced should be considered an ongoing process.
Cultured foods like raw milk yogurt and kefir, some cheeses, and fermented vegetables are good sources of natural, healthy bacteria. So my strong recommendation would be to make cultured or fermented foods a regular part of your diet; this can be your primary strategy to optimize your body's good bacteria. If you do not eat fermented foods on a regular basis, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement would be a wise decision for most people.
Besides that, replacing processed foods, sugar/fructose and grains with whole foods is a critical step to address chronic inflammation. Optimizing your vitamin D levels and making sure you’re getting plenty of animal-based omega-3 fat in your diet is also important, along with grounding, to keep inflammation in check.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ear Tubes May Not Have Long-Term Benefits for Kids with Ear Infection

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola
Middle ear infection, or otitis media, is one of the most common childhood afflictions, impacting up to 90 percent of children at least once before the age of 10.1 In most cases, ear infections clear up easily on their own and pose little long-term consequences.
But in some children, the infections become chronic, which may describe an ear infection that does not heal or recurring ear infections in a short period of time. This can cause temporary hearing loss, which also potentially poses a risk to speech development.
It is this latter concern that often prompts physicians to recommend ear tubes for the child, but research regarding its effectiveness suggests the long-term benefits of this surgery may be negligible, or even non-existent.
Because there’s so much confusion in conventional medicine on how to best treat ear infections, I wanted to highlight what some of the most recent research suggests works best… as well as offer proven natural treatments as well. But first, a bit of background about the different types of ear infections and their potential complications.

Ear Infections: The Basics You Need to Know First

If your child has pain, redness, or pus in their ear, along with a fever, these are signs of acute ear infection, which may be caused by either bacteria or viruses. In somecases, antibiotics may be useful for treating these infections, but not always (more on this shortly).
A second type of ear infection is called otitis media with effusion (OME), and it’s this type that often prompts the recommendation for ear tubes. Unlike acute ear infections, otitis media with effusion usually causes no pain; its primary symptom is the buildup of fluid in the middle ear.
OME is often caused by viral upper respiratory infections, such as colds. Just as your child gets a runny nose, the middle ear may fill with fluid, but it is unable to drain easily as it does from the nose. The fluid may become infected and may remain in the middle ear for a month or more, leading to problems with hearing.
While OME typically goes away on its own, concern has been raised that the temporary hearing loss it causes could pose a risk to young children’s emerging speech, causing developmental delays.
This is why physicians may advise a surgical procedure to put tubes in your child’s ears to help drain away the fluid. New research suggests, however, that this may have little impact on long-term speech, raising doubts over its benefits.

No Evidence That Ear Tubes Improve Longer Term Hearing

In a review of 41 studies, researchers did find that placing ear tubes (known clinically as myringotomy) reduced time with OME and improved hearing in the short-term.2 However, this did not translate into a long-term benefit, as in time no difference was found developmentally among children who received the surgical procedure or were monitored with watchful waiting. According to the authors:
“Tubes and watchful waiting did not differ in language, cognitive, or academic outcomes.”
In addition to finding no evidence of long-term benefit, the authors noted that side effects were common, including ear discharge or drainage and calcification of tissue in the middle ear (known as tympanosclerosis). Ironically, tympanosclerosis can actually lead to hearing loss.
The study also reviewed adenoidectomy, which is a procedure often done at the same time as ear tube placement to remove the adenoids (enlarged adenoids have been associated with chronic ear infections). They noted the procedure also carried a risk of harm, including an increased risk of postsurgical hemorrhage.

Ear Infections Are the Most Common Reason for Antibiotic Use in Children

…But they certainly shouldn’t be. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians have recommended since 2004 that doctors hold off on prescribing antibiotics for ear infections, at least initially.
But even as the number of certain types of ear infection cases have decreased in recent years, the number of antibiotics prescribed have held constant. AAP recommends that doctors give parents the option of letting their children fight the infection on their own for 48-72 hours, only starting antibiotics if the symptoms do not improve.
This is because many ear infections are caused by viruses, which antibiotics are useless against. And even the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that:3
“Ear infections will often get better on their own without antibiotic treatment… Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can be harmful, and may lead to unwanted side effects like diarrhea, rashes, nausea, and stomach pain. More severe side effects may rarely occur; these include life-threatening allergic reactions, kidney toxicity, and severe skin reactions.
Each time you or your child takes an antibiotic, the bacteria that normally live in your body (on the skin, in the intestine, in the mouth and nose, etc.) are more likely to become resistant to antibiotics.”
Research conducted nearly 20 years ago showed that the routine use of antibiotics for ear infections not only produces little benefit but also contributes to the spread of drug-resistant bacteria.4 So if your child has an ear infection, watchful waiting is a solid strategy to try before asking your doctor for a prescription. The majority of kids will get better in 48-72 hours with no antibiotics necessary. If your child is not improving or is getting worse after 72 hours, then antibiotics may be required in some severe cases.

Ear Infections Cost Nearly $3 Billion a Year in the US

Ear infections are the most common illness among preschoolers and younger children in the US, and its sheer prevalence has added up to huge costs for the US health care system. A new study by UCLA and Harvard researchers found that children with ear infections receive two extra doctor visits, 0.2 emergency visits and 1.6 more prescriptions than children without.
This amounted to an extra $314 per child annually (among those affected) along with about $17 for medication. In all, this resulted in a $2.88 billion cost, annually, for ear infections in the US.5 This study looked specifically at acute otitis media, and it doesn’t appear that it took into account ear-tube surgeries. If that were to be included, the costs would be even higher.

Can Ear Infections Be Prevented?

Ear infections are often preventable, and food allergies are one of the number one modifiable causes, especially if your child has a chronic infection. Many children will find relief by:
  • Following the nutrition plan and cutting out grains and sugars (including soda and fruit juice).
  • Avoiding pasteurized milk. Consumption of dairy products, particularly pasteurized dairy, is a culprit for many children.
  • Avoid sugars and fruit juices, which will impair your child's immune response and make them more susceptible to these types of infections.
  • If your child is consuming any wheat products you might consider eliminating them if they have had recurrent infections, as subclinical gluten intolerance can be a factor contributing to this problem. Wheat and gluten are particularly problematic for most children and eliminating them many times miraculously cures the problem.
Additionally, breastfeeding for at least six months has been linked to fewer ear infections in infants and babies. Exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke also increases the risk of ear infections in children, so make sure your kids are kept away from cigarette smoke. Also, if you bottle-feed your baby, do so only in an upright position. Bottle-feeding while lying down is associated with an increased risk of ear infections.

Natural Options for Ear Infection Treatment

The following natural options work remarkably well in treating acute ear infections:
  • Make garlic ear drops. Ear drops that include extracts of garlic may help reduce the pain of middle-ear infections in children. You can make your own at home by crushing a clove of FRESH raw garlic and dissolving it in some olive oil. Put a few drops of oil in the ear canal, as long as the ear drum is not perforated.
  • Use breast milk for ear drops. If you have access to breast milk, put a few drops of breast milk in the ear canal every few hours. This usually works to clear up the infection within 24 to 48 hours and is far safer, less expensive and a better solution than putting your child on antibiotics.
  • Use coconut oil ear drops. Coconut oil has both antimicrobial and anti-viral properties. Place a couple of drops of coconut oil into each ear canal. If the coconut oil has solidified, you can easily liquefy it by placing a small amount in a shot glass or other small container and placing it into a cup of hot water.
  • Consider chiropractic. Many, but not all, chiropractors are trained in adjustments that can actually open up the Eustachian tube and allow it to drain properly. This relieves the pressure build up and the pain and allows the conditions that cause the infection to dissipate. Somewhat similar to draining a swamp and the mosquito epidemic disappears.
  • Apply an onion poultice. Application of warmth behind the ear can be used to mobilize the post-auricular lymph chain and vasculature and to draw congestion away from the inflamed area of the middle ear. To do this, heat half of an onion in a toaster oven for a few minutes, until it is warm but not intolerably hot. You could test it by applying to your own ear or inner forearm for several seconds. Next, wrap the onion in cheesecloth or thin dishcloth, and apply the largest side (the cut side, for maximum surface area) to the area just behind the ear.

Monday, May 26, 2014

What the FDA Knew (and Hid) About Antibiotics in Animal Feed

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been repeatedly (and rightfully) accused of ignoring the elephant in the room when it comes to antibiotic-resistant disease, namely factory farming practices where antibiotics are routinely fed to animals to promote growth.
According to the landmark “Antibiotic Resistance Threat Report” published by the CDC1 in October 2013, two million American adults and children become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and at least 23,000 of them die as a direct result of those infections. Even more die from complications.2
A recent article in Rodale Magazine3 highlights what the FDA knew, and hid, about antibiotics in animal feed, thereby allowing the problem to persist and grow unchecked:
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has known for more than a dozen years that use of antibiotics in factory farms is harmful to humans, yet the agency has taken no meaningful action to stem their use.
That's the conclusion of a new report4 from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), published after the environmental nonprofit collected data from the agency through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The data came from an internal review on the safety of feed additives belonging to penicillin and tetracycline classes of antibiotics. The review started in 2001 and ended—for unknown reasons—in 2010.
The findings: Twenty-six of the 30 drugs reviewed didn't meet safety guidelines set in 1973, and none of those drugs would meet the safety guidelines of today.” [Emphasis mine]

Why Did FDA Ignore Risk Factors from the Very Beginning?

As reported in the featured article, the FDA is supposed to look at three factors when determining the safety of an antibiotic-based feed additive.
Based on these three factors (below), the NRDC’s report5 concluded that virtually ALL feed additives containing penicillin and tetracycline antibiotics—both of which are used to treat human disease—pose a “high risk” to human health and should not be permitted:
  1. The chances that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are being introduced into the food supply
  2. The likelihood that people would get exposed to those bacteria
  3. The consequences of what happens when people are exposed to those bacteria—would they still be able to get treated with human antibiotics?
Despite the fact that both penicillin and tetracyclines are used in human medicine, about HALF of the total sales for these two antibiotics end up in animal feed. All in all, an estimated 80 percent of total antibiotic sales in the US end up in livestock, so the impact of agricultural antibiotics on human disease is very significant indeed.
Basically, unless you’re eating organically raised meats, every single piece of meat you eat will give you a small dose of antibiotics, and this low-dosing is a major part of the problem, because when the bacteria are not killed by the antibiotic, they become stronger.
The NRDC report also found that as far back as the 1970s, when many of the antibiotics now used in feed were being reviewed for FDA approval, 18 of the 30 antibiotics were already considered “high risk” for human health, but were approved for use in animal feed anyway.
Even more shameful, there’s NO human safety data for 12 of the 30 drugs, because the drug manufacturers never submitted any safety data for them.
It’s a fair question to ask: WHY has the FDA not taken any action to remove these antibiotic-based feed additives from the market? Especially once federal investigators determined that many of them fell short of regulatory standards for protecting human health?

Antibiotic-Resistant Disease Is a Highly Lethal Man-Made Plague

Today, we’re facing an increasingly complex and dire picture, as many bacteria are developing cross-resistance; a situation where bacteria become resistant to multiple drugs, making them virtually impossible to eradicate once they infect you.
For example, some penicillin-resistant bacteria have also developed resistance to cephalosporins6—broad-spectrum antibiotics that are very important for the treatment of human infections.
According to the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA), just one organism—methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA—kills more Americans each year than the combined total of emphysema, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and homicide.7
This death toll is really just an estimate, and the real number is likely much higher. The true extent of superbug infections remains unknown because no one is tracking them—at least not in the US.
“Despite all this, the FDA has refused to withdraw approvals for any of the penicillin and tetracycline drugs that their own scientists reviewed and found risky,” Rodale states.
“NRDC filed a lawsuit against the agency in 2011 forcing it to act on a citizen's petition that requested FDA take action to limit the use of antibiotics important to human medicine. A year later, a district court ruled in their favor, but FDA appealed and the lawsuit is currently in limbo.”

FDA’s Action on Agricultural Antibiotics Is Gross Negligence

The FDA issued its pathetic guidance on agricultural antibiotics on December 11, 2013.8 However, the agency only went so far as to ask drug companies to voluntarily restrict the use of antibiotics that are important in human medicine by excluding growth promotion in animals as a listed use on the drug label.9 This would prevent farmers from legally using antibiotics such as tetracyclines, penicillins,and azithromycin for growth promotion purposes. But  this guidance is not likely to protect your health at all, and was exactly what the drug companies were hoping for.
As previously reported by Scientific American:10
“[T]he success of the FDA’s new program depends on how many companies volunteer to change their labels over the next 90 days in alignment with the FDA cutoff period. (Companies that do change their labels will have three years to phase in the changes.) And then there are myriad questions about how this would be enforced on the farm.”
Another proposed amendment to the FDA’s animal drug regulations (the veterinary feed directive)11 would require farmers to obtain a veterinary prescription before using antibiotics in animal feed for any reason. If this amendment makes it through the comment period intact, it might have a far greater impact. Comments on the proposed rule are being accepted until March 12, 2014. (For instructions on submitting comments, please see the Federal Register page.12)

How You Can Help Stop the Spread of Antibiotic-Resistant Disease

In light of the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant disease, it would behoove you to become savvy to techniques and strategies that will not only reduce your own risk of falling victim, but also help curtail the spread of antibiotic resistance in general. While the problem of antibiotic resistance really needs to be stemmed through public policy on a nationwide level, the more people who get involved on a personal level, the better. Such strategies include:
  1. Using antibiotics only when absolutely necessary. For example, antibiotics are typically unnecessary for most ear infections, and they do NOT work on viruses. They only work on bacterial infections, and even then, they’re best reserved for more serious infections.

    As an all-around preventive measure, make sure your vitamin D level is optimized year-round, especially during pregnancy, along with vitamin K2. A number of other natural compounds can also help boost your immune system function to help rid you of an infection, including oil of oregano, garlic, Echinacea, and high-quality colloidal silver.

    Manuka honey
    can also be used for topical applications. Clinical trials have found that Manuka honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria, including some resistant varieties, such as MRSA.
  2. Avoiding antibacterial household products, such as antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers and wipes, etc., as these too promote antibiotic resistance.
  3. Properly washing your hands with warm water and plain soap, to prevent the spreading of bacteria. Be particularly mindful of washing your hands and kitchen surfaces after handling raw meats, as about half of all meat sold in grocery stores around the US is likely to be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria.
  4. Purchasing organic, antibiotic-free meats and other foods. Reducing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a significant reason for making sure you're only eating grass-fed, organically-raised meats and animal products. Besides growing and raising your own, buying your food from responsible, high-quality, sustainable sources is your best bet, and I strongly encourage you to support the small family farms in your area. 
The FDA’s stance toward antibiotics in livestock feed is unconscionable in light of the harm it wreaks, and its weakness makes being proactive on a personal level all the more important. Quite simply, the FDA has been, and still is, supporting the profitability of large-scale factory farming at the expense of public health.
Perhaps one of the strongest messages you can send is to change how you spend your food dollars. By opting for antibiotic-free, pasture raised and finished meats, you’re actively supporting farmers who are not contributing to the man-made plague that is antibiotic-resistant disease. Avoiding antibiotics in all its forms as much as possible will further help curb the growing resistance.

The FDA said volutantary guidelines "is the most efficient and effective way to change the use of these products in animal agriculture."
NRDC attorney Avinash Kar stated, "The FDA's failure to act on its own findings about the 30 reviewed antibiotic feed additives is part of a larger pattern of delay and inaction in tackling livestock drug use that goes back four decades," Kar told Reuters.

FDA Deputy Commissioner and ex-Monsanto attorney Michael Taylor will leave quite a legacy behind.   He's not only served Monsanto and the other pesticide producers quite well, he seems to carry the same sentiment over to the antiobiotic crisis.

It would appear that Taylor's concern for human health takes a very distant back seat to industry profits.  Consider this evidence when taking advice from our federal agencies.   Who are they truly working for?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dentists Blame Bottled Water For Low Fluoride Levels

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola
Some Illinois dentists are reportedly worried that their patients' decision to drink bottled water in lieu of fluoridated tap water means they're not getting enough of this verified poison on a daily basis.

The report, which was published by WGEM News out of Quincy, Illinois, includes so many misnomers and widely propagated fluoridation myths that it would be laughable… except that it's entirely serious – and probably going to spur some people to unnecessarily think they "need" to get fluoride from their tap.

So let me set the record straight. Your body doesn't need fluoride anymore than it needs rat poison (and did you know that rat poison is another common use for fluoride?).
While there are many reasons why I don't recommend drinking bottled water, the fact that it's not fluoridated isn't one of them. Many bottled waters actually make a point of adding fluoride back into the water, so if you are drinking bottled water please make sure yours is fluoride-free.

Fluoride Is Not the Dental Miracle 'Experts' Want You to Think It Is

It's often stated as fact that fluoridated drinking water prevents cavities. In the featured article, an area dentist stated that if you don't get enough fluoride when you're young, your teeth will be more prone to cavities for the rest of your life.

Fluoride advocates, too, often claim that the reduction in tooth decay that's occurred since the 1950s is a benefit of fluoridated water, but the facts just don't add up.
For example, in 1999 the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claimed that dental caries declined precipitously during the second half of the 20th Century. But what they failed to mention is that tooth decay rates "precipitously declined" in ALL Western nations, regardless of whether or not fluoridation was used – and most of those countries did NOT fluoridate!1

According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, the US, which fluoridates about two-thirds of public water supplies, actually has higher rates of tooth decay than many countries that do not fluoridate their water, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden.2

Furthermore, if fluoride were effective in preventing caries, you would expect to see an increase in tooth decay when fluoridation is stopped. Yet, this is not what we see! The following demographic studies and fluoridation trends make it clear that fluoridation has very little to do with whether or not you develop cavities.
  • In Japan, fluoridation has been virtually nonexistent since the 1970s, yet rates of dental caries have declined since that time.3
  • In the town of Tiel in the Netherlands, water fluoridation was discontinued in 1973, and by 1993, rates of dental caries had declined.4
  • In the town of Kuopio, Finland, water fluoridation was stopped after 1992. In 1995 and 1998, dental caries had either decreased or stayed the same.5
  • In two towns in former East Germany, a significant fall in the prevalence of dental caries was seen in the 20 years following cessation of water fluoridation.6
  • In Canada, "the prevalence of caries decreased over time in the fluoridation-ended community while remaining unchanged in the fluoridated community."7

A Lack of Fluoride Is Not a Cause of Cavities

If you've been drinking non-fluoridated water, you needn't fear that you've ruined your teeth. Dental caries are caused by demineralization of your teeth (enamel and dentin) by the acids formed during the bacterial fermentation of dietary sugars.

Demineralization is countered by the deposit of minerals from your saliva, or remineralization, which is a slow process. Enthusiasts report that fluoride prevents dental caries by enhancing mineralization. However, dental caries are not caused by a lack of fluoride, just as depression is not caused by a lack of Prozac. Some of the true primary causes of tooth decay cited in the literature include:
  • Consistent use of refined sugar, sugary soft drinks, and processed foods in general
  • Children going to bed with a bottle of sweetened drink in their mouth, or sucking at will from such a bottle during the day
  • Poor dental hygiene and poor access to and utilization of dental health services, usually related to socioeconomic status
  • Mineral deficiencies, like magnesium, which can weaken bones and teeth8
  • More than 600 medications promote tooth decay by inhibiting saliva
By far, excess dietary sugar is the most significant factor in driving dental decay. WHO and most dental experts agree upon this fact.9 The massive consumption of sugar in the Western diet, particularly fructose in high fructose corn syrup, fuels the fire of tooth decay.

Fluoride Is Most Important for Children? You Mean Most Harmful

The featured article states that getting adequate fluoride in drinking water is most important for children between the ages of six and 14. But the science clearly demonstrates that fluoride is a toxic chemical that accumulates in your tissues over time, wreaks havoc with enzymes, and produces a number of serious adverse health effects, including neurological and endocrine dysfunction.

Children are particularly at risk for adverse effects of overexposure. Scientists from the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a "chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity," and 25 studies have now reported an association between fluoride exposure and reduced IQ in children.

Young children are those who need to be protected from fluoride the most, and as for the featured article's assertion that fluoride is "most important to develop stronger teeth," this, too, is highly questionable. It's often said that fluoride helps to re-mineralize your teeth and make them stronger. But a groundbreaking study published in the journal Langmuir uncovered that the fluorapatite layer formed on your teeth from fluoride is a mere six nanometers thick.10

To understand just how thin this is, you'd need 10,000 of these layers to get the width of a strand of your hair!  Scientists now question whether this ultra-thin layer can actually protect your enamel and provide any discernible benefit, considering the fact that it is quickly eliminated by simple chewing. They wrote: "…it has to be asked whether such narrow… layers really can act as protective layers for the enamel."

Health Risks from Fluoride Are Not Reserved for 'Extreme Levels'

According to the Quincy dentist quoted in the featured article:11 "There is a lot of information on the internet saying that it [fluoride] can cause various diseases and breaking the bones, but that is at such an extreme level of fluoride that we just don't see that within our community or within our patients."  Really?

Some of the 25 studies linking fluoride with diminished IQ were at exposure levels as low as 0.3 to 3 parts per million (ppm), which overlaps the range in many US communities (0.7 to 1.2 ppm). And, according to the CDC, 41 percent of American adolescents now have dental fluorosis — unattractive discoloration and mottling of the teeth that indicate overexposure to fluoride. According to Dr. David Kennedy, who produced and directed the documentary film Fluoridegate — An American Tragedy:
"One of California's highest paid and most prolific Fluoridation advocate admits that giving an infant a formula made with fluoridated tap water will overdose the baby and cause the teeth to come in spotted and fluorotic. One can only wonder why such insanity persists in our country when it has been banned in so many other more advanced democracies."
To suggest that there are no health risks from drinking fluoridated water at the levels found in many US communities is misleading, at best. It's important to understand that even at levels deemed "safe" by health officials, fluoride may still pose a significant risk to your health. The fluoride added to municipal water supplies is a toxic byproduct from the fertilizer industry—a rarely discussed fact that effectively nullifies most if not all studies pertaining to fluoride. They simply have not studied the exact same type of fluoride being added to our water. What we do know is that fluoride toxicity is associated with the wide-ranging problems listed below.
Increases lead absorption Disrupts collagen synthesis Increases manganese absorption, which is also linked to lower IQ in children Crippling skeletal fluorosis and bone fractures
Genetic damage and cell death Increased tumor and cancer growth Disrupts immune system Inhibits antibody production
Brain damage and lowered IQ Dementia Arthritis Severe eye problems, including blindness
Impaired thyroid function Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) Inactivates 62 enzymes Muscle disorders

Did You Know Many US Communities Are Banning Water Fluoridation?

Water fluoridation is quickly falling out of favor now that increasing numbers of people recognize the facts:
  1. Water fluoridation does not work to prevent cavities
  2. Fluoride works when topically applied only (and even then with only minimal "benefits")
  3. There are unacceptable risks involved in the practice of water fluoridation
Despite the scientific evidence against the practice, the US lags far behind other nations in acknowledging the mistake and ending this tragic "public health" measure. As a result, individual communities around the US have taken up the fight to end water fluoridation in their own local areas. For instance, in Wichita, Kansas, they won 60 percent of the votes in the referendum, despite being considerably outspent by the fluoride proponents. The states of Connecticut, South Carolina, and Minnesota are also looking at lifting mandatory fluoridation rulings.

The move to end water fluoridation is also gaining speed worldwide. Over the past five years, a literal avalanche of Queensland, Australia communities has stopped fluoridating their water supplies. There are now 15 regional councils in Queensland that are either stopping fluoridation or refusing to start. That affects about 50 different townships. That, of course, has encouraged people not only in Queensland but throughout Australia. In New Zealand, several communities have also stopped fluoridation over the last few years.

The most recent was Hamilton, which is the second largest city in New Zealand. Also worthy of note is the news that the Ministry of Health in Israel announced it will lift the mandatory requirement for fluoridation in 2014. Not only that, but the Supreme Court of Israel also ruled that the new regulations will put an end to all fluoridation, whether mandatory or voluntary.

A More Sane Solution to Better Dental Health

Water fluoridation is ineffective and may offer no benefit at all for your teeth, not to mention placing your overall health in jeopardy. There's no reason to risk it. Here are my basic guidelines for optimizing your dental health, safely and naturally:
  • Avoid fluoridated water and fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Minimize your sugar and grain consumption. Keep your fructose intake to less than 25 grams per day. Avoid processed foods.
  • Make sure you consume a diet rich in fresh, whole foods, fermented vegetables, and grass-fed meats, which will ensure you're getting plenty of the minerals that are so important for strong bones and teeth.
  • Practice good oral hygiene and get regular cleanings from a mercury-free natural dentist.
  • Consider oil pulling with coconut oil, which is a powerful inhibitor of a large variety of pathogenic organisms.

Join the Fight to Get Fluoride Out of Drinking Water

There's no doubt about it: you should NOT swallow fluoride. At least when it comes to topical application, you have a choice. You can easily buy fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash. But you're stuck with whatever your community puts in your water, and it's very difficult to filter out of your water once it's added. Many do not have the resources or the knowledge to do so.

The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the first place. Fortunately, the Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation, both in the United States and Canada. Clean, pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So, please, support the anti-fluoride movement by making a donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Iodine, Fibrocystic Breast Disease and Cancer

Reposted from Dr. Brownstein

Glenda from California sent me the following email:

I watched the show “Your Health” that Dr. David Brownstein was on about thyroid and iodine deficiency.  He discussed the iodine product Iodoral {which is a tableted form of iodine}. It has helped me immensely. I had a lot of fibroid cysts in my breasts, and migraine headaches. The cysts were so bad that at my last mammogram (digital) the technician showed me the screen–she said that she really isn’t supposed to do that–but the screen was almost totally white.  There were so many large cysts that you could hardly see any breast tissue. By the way, the mammogram read normal, always a mystery to me how it could be normal. The cysts were very painful and I had on occasion been going to a surgeon to have a needle aspiration of the fluid.  However, that office visit was over $300.00. So, I started taking one iodine {12.5mg} pill per day since I did not have my iodine tested. After about one month the cysts were noticeably smaller.  Now, after taking iodine for several months they are almost gone!  Currently, my breasts are not painful and I only have a few cysts that are hard.  The breast tissue is finally soft in most of the breast. The headaches are infrequent, maybe every couple of months.  Furthermore, the intensity of  the headaches are significantly diminished.  God Bless you for your work, and many thanks!

Dear Glenda,

I hear similar versions of your story repeat itself over and over in my practice.  Presently over 80% of U.S. women suffer from fibrocystic breast disease.  Fibrocystic breast disease is not a benign illness; it is a precursor to breast cancer.  We presently have an epidemic of breast cancer with one in seven women suffering from it.  I think one of the main reasons we are seeing such an increase in breast disease is due to iodine deficiency.  One of iodine’s main function in the body is to maintain the normal architecture of the glandular tissue—that includes the ovaries, uterus, prostate, thyroid, pancreas, and the breast.  We are seeing epidemic increases in diseases–including cancer–in all of those tissues.

Iodine deficiency disrupts the normal architecture in the glandular tissue.  When iodine deficiency is present in the glandular tissue the architecture becomes disrupted.  Cysts would be the first manifestation of iodine deficiency.  Next, if iodine deficiency continues, the cysts can become hard and nodular.  Hyperplasia follows next.  It is a precursor to cancer.  The final step in the iodine deficiency continuum is cancer.

Iodine levels have fallen over 50% during the last 40 years.  Iodine deficiency could explain a plethora of problems we are facing—particularly the epidemic increases in diseases of the breast, ovary, uterus, prostate, thyroid and pancreas.  More information about iodine can be found in my book, Iodine:  Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

170 Scientiic Studies Confirm The Dangers of Soy

Reposted from The Healthy Home Economist

With all the loads of scientific data available that soy is not a healthy part of anyone’s diet, it shocks me how many folks are still on the “soy is good for you” bandwagon – even people who should know better like your doctor!
I just got an email from a reader the other day who had been to multiple doctors, both holistic and conventional, and all but one of them were telling her that plenty of soy in her diet would help her menopause symptoms.
I had another shocking conversation recently with a doctor of Internal Medicine who had no idea soy was a potent goitrogenic food and actively suppressed thyroid function.
Be careful folks.  It’s dangerous out there! You really need to do your research and be on your toes at all times when it comes to nutritional advice even from someone in a white coat!
For those of you who just sat down because you are so taken aback by the notion that soy is not actually the healthfood you thought it was, here are 170 scientific reasons to back up this assertion.

Fermented Soy Fine in Small Amounts for Some People

Please note that fermented soy in small, condimental amounts as practiced in traditional Asian cultures is fine for those who have healthy thyroid function.  Only miso, tempeh, natto and traditionally brewed soy sauce fall under this category.  In addition, if you want to sprinkle a few edamame on your salad or have a few small cubes of tofu in your miso soup from time to time, that is fine too.   Just don’t make it a regular part of your diet!
If you have any sort of thyroid issues going on, however, it is really the best policy to avoid all soy all the time as soy is a potent goitrogen (thyroid suppressor) even if fermented.

Dangers of Soy #1

A 1991 study found that eating only 2 TBL/day of roasted and pickled soybeans for 3 months to healthy adults who were receiving adequate iodine in their diet caused thyroid suppression with symptoms of malaise, constipation, sleepiness, and goiters (Nippon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi 1991, 767: 622-629)!
Still think munching on edamame instead of popcorn is a healthy habit?

Dangers of Soy #2

Six premenopausal women with normal menstrual cycles were given 45 mg of soy isoflavones per day.  This is equivalent to only 1-2 cups of soy milk or 1/2 cup of soy flour!   After only one month, all of the women experienced delayed menstruation with the effects similar to tamoxifen, the anti-estrogen drug given to women with breast cancer (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1994 Sep;60(3):333-340).

Dangers of Soy #3

Dietary estrogens in the form of soy foods were found to have the potential to disrupt the endocrine system with the effects in women similar to taking the breast cancer drug tamoxifen (Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 1995 Jan;208(1):51-9).

Dangers of Soy #4

Estrogens consumed in the diet at low concentrations were found to stimulate breast cells much like DDT to increase enzymatic activity which leads to breast cancer (Environmental Health Perspectives 1997 Apr;105 (Suppl 3):633-636).

Dangers of Soy #5

The soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein appear to stimulate existing breast cancer growth indicating risk in consuming soy products if a woman has breast cancer. (Annals of Pharmacotherapy 2001 Sep;35(9):118-21).

Dangers of Soy #6

Direct evidence that soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein suppress the pituitary-thyroid axis in middle-aged rats fed 10 mg soy isoflavones per kilo after only 3 weeks as compared with rats eating regular rat chow (Experimental Biology and Medicine 2010 May;235(5):590-8).

Dangers of Soy #7

Don’t eat soy when you are pregnant ladies!  Scientific research has shown that the developing male fetus which is exposed to soy phytoestrogens may suffer from higher susceptibility to prostate cancer later in life (Prostate 1994;24(2):67-78).

Dangers of Soy #8

Keep that soy away from your daughters!   Dietary genistein (soy phytoestrogen) in developing female rats had the effect of significantly accelerated puberty (Toxicol Sci 1999 Oct;51(2):236-44).
In addition, early exposure to soy is associated with less female typical play patterns in girls at 42 months of age (Environ Health Perspect v. 119(12); Dec 2011).

Dangers of Soy #9

Hey guys! Soy protein powder strips your masculinity!  A study of 12 men aged 18 years and older experienced a 19% drop in serum testosterone in only 28 days when supplemented with 56 grams of soy protein powder over that same time period (Prev 2007;16:829—33).

Dangers of Soy #10

Do NOT feed soy formula to your babies!  Female newborns who are orally exposed to genisin, the glycosylated form of genistein (soy phytoestrogen) experienced harm to the reproductive system in the form of “delayed vaginal opening… abnormal estrous cycles, decreased fertility, and delayed parturition.” (Environmental Health Perspective 2009 Dec;117(12):1883-9).

More information on the dangers of soy infant formula even if organic can be found in this article.
Convinced yet?   I don’t know about you, but ten reasons is plenty for me!   Still interested to see the remaining 160 reasons?  My friend Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of the must read The Whole Soy Story, has compiled the rest of the list for you if you click here.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
- See more at:

Monday, April 28, 2014

D-Mannose for UTI Prevention Validated in a Clinical Trial

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common type of infection in the body, sending more than eight million people to their health care providers every year in the US alone.1
Women suffer from UTIs far more often than men, and more than 50 percent of women will develop a UTI during her lifetime. For about 20 percent of women, the infection becomes recurrent and some will suffer from three or more UTIs a year.
This is concerning, as the treatment most often recommended by conventional medicine is antibiotics. For those with recurrent infections, low doses of antibiotics may be prescribed daily for six months or more which increase the risk of developing antibiotic-resistant strains.
Additionally, antibiotics kill even the friendly micro-organisms in your body, leading to major disruptions in health (including an increased risk of yeast infections, among other issues, in women). If you suffer from UTIs on occasion or more frequently, there's a natural treatment you should know about that is effective in more than 90 percent of cases.

D-Mannose Works As Well As Antibiotics in Preventing UTI Recurrence

In a study of more than 300 women with a history of recurrent UTIs, researchers treated the women with either two grams of D-mannose, 50 milligrams of an antibiotic, or no treatment daily for six months. D-Mannose is a naturally occurring sugar that's closely related to glucose.
Only 15 percent of those taking the D-mannose had a recurrent UTI compared to 20 percent for the antibiotic group (both of which were significantly lower than the no-treatment group).2 However, the incidence of side effects was significantly lower in the D-mannose group than the antibiotics group.
Dr. Jonathan Wright was among the first to begin using D-mannose for UTIs some 20 years ago, and in his experience administering it to more than 200 patients, the treatment is 85-90 percent effective.
It works for treating acute UTIs, for prophylaxis in women prone to recurrent infections or for the prevention of post-intercourse UTIs, and it's safe for both adults and children. Dr. Wright recommends the following doses:
  • For treatment of UTIs: 1 teaspoon (about 2 grams) for adults, ½ to 1 teaspoon for children, dissolved in a glass of water and repeated every two to three hours. Continue for two to three days after symptoms have disappeared.
  • For preventing recurring infections: Start with the dosages listed above for treatment, then gradually reduce the dose, if possible.
  • For prevention of post-intercourse UTIs: Take 1 tablespoon one hour prior to intercourse and another tablespoon immediately afterward.

Why Does D-Mannose Work for Treating UTIs?

More than 90 percent of UTIs are caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is normally found in your intestinal tract. Problems only arise when this ordinary bacterium is present in high numbers in places where it shouldn't be—like your urinary system.
When normal E. coli gets into your urinary tract and multiplies, you experience the usual signs and symptoms of a UTI:
  • Burning with urination
  • Frequent urges to urinate
  • Lower abdominal pain or aching
  • Blood in your urine (sometimes, but not always)
  • Cloudy urine
The cell walls of each E. coli are covered with tiny fingerlike projections called fimbria allowing them to "stick" to the inner walls of your bladder and even work their way upward to your ureter and kidneys.
Because they cling to your urinary organs, they can't simply be washed out when you urinate. These little fingerlike projections are made of an amino acid-sugar complex, a glycoprotein called lectin, which makes them sticky.
Lectin on the bacteria's fimbria binds to mannose, which is produced by your cells and covers the internal lining of your urinary organs. This mannose allows the bacteria to adhere to you—like Velcro. But as Dr. Wright explains, when you take D-mannose it sticks to the E. coli so it is can be effectively "rinsed" out by your urination:3
"Unfortunately for the E. coli, D-mannose 'sticks' to E. coli lectins even better than E. coli lectins 'stick' to human cells. When we take a large quantity of D-mannose, almost all of it spills into the urine through our kidneys, literally 'coating' any E.coli present so they can no longer 'stick' to the inside walls of the bladder and urinary tract. The E. coli are literally rinsed away with normal urination!"
Another potential theory for why D-mannose works may be its relationship to Tamm-Horsfall protein, a glycoprotein that plays a key role in your body's defense against UTIs. It has been suggested that D-mannose might work primarily by promoting the activation of Tamm-Horsfall protein.4

If You Have a UTI, Try D-Mannose First

The antibiotic pipeline is running dry as an increasing number of superbugs are outsmarting our antibiotics. We are at the beginning of the end of the antibiotic age, which will change modern medicine as we know it if overuse isn't curbed soon. So the use of antibiotics cannot be taken lightly, and along with transforming our use of antibiotics in agriculture, we must also reserve them for medical use only when absolutely necessary.
In the majority of cases, UTIs can be effectively treated without antibiotics by using D-mannose. This is why, if you have a UTI, you should try D-mannose first. It's important to note that D-mannose only works for UTIs caused by E. coli, This represents 90 percent (or more) of infections. If you want to be sure, your physician can order a urine culture to identify the bacteria present, so you'll know if yours is one of the minority of cases not caused by E. coli. As Dr. Wright explained:5
"D-mannose is very safe, even for long-term use, although most women (or the very occasional man) with single episodes of bladder or urinary tract infection will only need it for a few days at most. Although D-mannose is a simple sugar, very little of it is metabolized. It doesn't interfere with blood sugar regulation, even for diabetics. It creates no disruption or imbalance in normal body microflora. It's safe even for pregnant women and very small children. In the less than 10% of cases where the infection is a bacteria other than E. coli, antibiotics can be started in plenty of time."
The majority of urinary tract infections can be cured when symptoms first arise, or prevented altogether, using D-mannose and the hygiene steps outline below. Occasionally, despite preventative measures, a kidney infection can develop. If you suspect you have a kidney infection (symptoms include fever and pain in your back, side, groin, or abdomen) it might be necessary to see a physician and use an antibiotic so the infection does not spread to your kidney, where it can become life threatening or lead to the loss of the kidney.

What About Cranberry Juice for UTIs?

Many people are aware of the home remedy of drinking cranberry juice for UTIs, and this is because the active ingredient in cranberry juice is D-mannose. D-mannose can actually be derived from berries, peaches, apples, and some other plants. So why not drink cranberry juice instead of taking D-mannose in supplement form?
The amount of D-mannose in cranberry juice is significantly less, making it much less effective. Plus, cranberry juice is high in sugar, which adds stress to your immune system and can fuel the growth of pathogenic bacteria in your gut. Pure D-mannose is about 10-50 times stronger than cranberry, non-toxic and completely safe, with NO adverse effects.
Unlike the large amounts of fructose you'd get by consuming a lot of cranberry juice, D-mannose does not convert to glycogen or get stored in your liver. Only very small amounts of D-mannose are metabolized, so it doesn't interfere with blood sugar regulation or produce metabolic stresses. D-mannose is more like glucose, which every cell in your body is designed to use (but your body absorbs D-mannose much more slowly than glucose). Most of the D-mannose is filtered through your kidneys and routed to your bladder, then quickly excreted in your urine, making it ideal for people with diabetes or anyone who is not interested in drinking sugary fruit juice.

Natural Steps to a Healthy Urinary System

The most important factor in the overall health of your urinary tract is drinking plenty of pure, fresh water every day. Adequate hydration is extremely important for preventing UTIs (not to mention, is the number one risk factor for kidney stones). As a woman, there are additional hygiene steps you can take to maintain a healthy urinary tract:
  • Urinate when you feel the need. Don't resist the urge to go
  • Wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from entering your urethra
  • Take showers instead of tub baths. Avoid hot tubs/Jacuzzis
  • Cleanse your genital area prior to sexual intercourse
  • Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays, which may irritate your urethra, and use only white unscented toilet paper to avoid potential dye reactions, or better yet—a bidet
In addition, a healthy diet is key in supporting your urinary tract health. Frequent consumption of fermented foods in particular, such as kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented vegetables, is great for your overall health—including your urinary system.