Tuesday, 31 July 2012

CURIOUS?


This proverb that warns of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation is being totally ignored today in the name of science.

Being satisfied would be the way to avoid being killed, avoid the extinction of our species.  But it seems the B’org is out to conquer the Universe at any cost.  Cyborgs are the only ones that will be able to keep up with the current Curiosity agenda.  In fact, if you look around, many people already are cyborgs – part biological and part artificial.  It’s just that the extent of the artificial bits is increasing at an alarming rate.

I recently wrote an article about a fragrance called Curiosity.  Full of chemicals that are irritating at best, this is a typical substance that is applied to the skin by many people in an effort to be attractive.  But this Curiosity, it turns out, is nothing when it comes to exploring outer space.


I recently watched a program on BBC about Curiosity the Mars Science Laboratory rover, a 2.5 billion-dollar rover that was launched from Earth in November last year on a 570-million-km journey across space and which is due to touch down at 05:31 GMT (06:31 BST) Monday 6 August; 22:31 PDT, Sunday 5 August.  This Curiosity is being touted as a “priceless asset,” but I can’t for the life of me see how this could be.  It set off my curiosity.

I’m curious and perhaps I should be satisfied instead.  But here it goes anyway.

I’m curious why there is such a push to spend so much money on scientific research.  Why do we spend money on researching how to make fragrances from dissected ingredients?  Why do we spend money on how to make food products when nature provides it in abundance?  Why are we seeking to travel to space to what clearly appears to be hostile, uninhabitable places for earthling biological beings?  Why are we so curious about what’s in outer space that we are willing to sacrifice our own planet and all the life forms on it?

Sorry, but if this Curiosity ends up in the Martian triangle (Bermuda triangle of space), I, for one, will not be shedding a tear for it.

I’m curious to know how anyone is able to close their eyes to the misery that these scientific pursuits (from chemicals for fragrances and genetic modification to space projects) are causing.  How is it possible that some people are unable to make the connection between their sterile, unnatural lifestyles and the suffering all around us?  What do you think is causing the increase in people with medical conditions, people who are starving, loss of biodiversity, destruction of our environment, etc etc?  I’m curious to know, who is responsible?

I really am curious to know why the B’org of food is able to rampage all over the earth and people seemingly succumb to its will and buy its products with joy.  For example, I’m ever so curious to know why Coca Cola and Big Macs are seen as superior to traditional beverages and meals by sooo many.  What has happened to the human race that some people obviously value a trip to space over fresh air, water and real food?

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Shop ‘Til You Drop

"You shop, we drop."  This is the slogan on Tesco’s vans and lorries (trucks).  It means that you do the shopping and they’ll deliver it to you.  However, this is a distortion of the old saying “Shop ‘til you drop” which means that you’re supposed to shop until you drop out of exhaustion, not that you drop off your packages to your house and then go along merrily full of energy.  Or even, shop ‘till you have a heart attack after seeing the bills and fall on your knees and collapse, might be considered a likely interpretation.  The van in the photo is more akin to the original meaning than what Tesco would have you believe.

This article is not about Tesco in particular though but about shopping in supermarkets in general.  Shop ‘til you drop takes on a whole new meaning looking at it from the perspective that what you’re likely to buy in a supermarket will cause you to drop out of the picture with a serious illness or even to drop dead in an untimely manner.  You may not believe me at first, but what I’ll explain here is that supermarkets are a system that is guaranteed to make you sick.

You are what you eat is another well known quip that is relevant here.  What you can buy in a supermarket that will become part of your body, part of you, takes form with three major categories:-

1.      food and drink that you ingest through your mouth;
2.     medications and supplements taken in various ways but mostly orally; and
3.     so-called beauty products and cleaning products that mostly get absorbed through the skin or by breathing.

Basically, the game plan is first you buy food which makes you sick.  You then need supplements and prescriptions to try to get healthy again.  In the meantime, you’re sold on a fake image of beauty and cleanliness and buy products that are full of chemicals to cover up, clean and groom but which also contribute to aging and deterioration.

Food and Drink

There’s no set diet for the average supermarket shopper and I couldn’t possibly review all 45,000 or so products sold in these mega stores.  For the record, in 1970 there were only about 7,800 items in the average supermarket in the US and 17,000 items in 1993, so you can see that the numbers have really shot up recently.  However, I’m not sure what these figures relate to because of the fact that supermarkets carry so much more today than they used to.  For example, there are countless numbers of types of prescriptions that may be on offer especially since the supermarket pharmacy will order in anything they don’t have on the shelf.  Of course, there are lots of household and fashion items too which is a relatively new supermarket shopping experience.

Besides the number of products skyrocketing, so have the number of chemicals in the products.  According to Felicity Lawrence in her book entitled, Not on the Label, What really goes into the food on your plate, there are from 300 to 500 chemicals in the bodies of most people who eat a Western diet which are likely to be endocrine disrupting substances.  She also points out that the market has been distorted in favour of the cheapest and unhealthiest products.  I discussed this in my article called What is Food? A Brief Legal Perspective by showing that the law caters to the lowest common denominator and does not protect the nutritional viability of food and drink.

As explained by Joanna Blythman in Shopped, the Shocking Power of British Supermarkets, supermarkets are only concerned with the cosmetic appearance of food which includes making sure the food does not rot (which means the less life in it, the better) and that it doesn’t cause immediate illness when consumed.  There are rules and regulations to ensure that products do not contain certain substances, of course, but only to the end that a medical condition cannot be blamed on the food stuff with evidence of a direct causal link.

There are some ingredients that show up in products throughout a supermarket.  Cheap, subsidised highly processed ingredients are jumbled about to make variations on a theme.  The main ones are wheat, sugar, salt, corn, and fats.  Wheat and sugar are controversial at the best of times and I’ve written two articles on why this is so: Sugar and Digestion, and Why No Sugar or Starch?  Salt is an important nutrient, but the processed type is very harmful to health.  The same goes for fats.  Most people now know that trans fats are harmful and there are many other processed fats out there that have varying negative effects on health.

I’d like to zoom in on one food category only, milk products.  Milk in supermarkets is truly deformed.  If you could see what it looks like on a molecular level as compared to raw milk, it would look like it’s been in a battlefield.  Since I published this article, I came across photographs that at least show the absence of life forms. The ones I share below show the rich texture of raw milk, in the first photograph compared to the sickly looking one of ultra-pasteurized homogenized milk magnified 4,200 times.  To see the rest, please go to an article on the Weston A Price Foundation website called Microphotography of Raw and Processed MilkThey definitely don't look like the same product!  One looks heavenly, the other looks like crap.  I'll let you decide which is which.





All milk products in the supermarket are processed, even Duchy Originals (Prince Charles’ organic non-homogenised milk).  All the milk is pasteurised and packaged in plastic.

The milk products are about 99% made from pasteurised milk with only a few cheeses in some supermarkets that are made from unpasteurised milk.

Pasteurising milk destroys the beneficial bacteria acidophilus, the Vitamins C, B12 and B6 and the digestive enzyme required to break down the protein in the milk.”

Caffeine and Alcohol
I won’t go into a sermon about these two poisons to the body but they are worth a mention.  There are big isles with lots of choices on how to artificially stimulate one with caffeinated products from teas and coffees to lots of chocolate concoctions.  The fact that many people are allergic to caffeine is not well known.

And then there is shelf after shelf of various types of alcoholic beverages free for anyone over the age of 18 to purchase.  I know lots of people don’t drink and many that do, do so very responsibly, but supermarkets make so much so accessible.  Meanwhile, alcohol causes a lot of problems.

§  In 2010, there were 160,181 prescription items for drugs for the treatment of alcohol dependency prescribed in primary care settings or NHS hospitals and dispensed in the community.
§  In 2010, 290 prescription items per 100,000 population were dispensed for alcohol dependency in England.

Of course, lots of crimes are committed under the influence of alcohol, but that is not directly related to the health theme of this article so I won’t dwell on it.

Medications and Supplements

You should get all the nutrition your body needs from the food you eat, but will find this impossible if you shop solely in supermarkets, even if you only go for the healthy options, which most folk don’t do.  Even stuff from the farm shops may not be up to scratch.  An expert recently claimed that food today is 80% less nutritious than what our grandparents ate.  That’s some claim!  So is it any wonder that people are finding more and more excuses to pop pills in an effort to feel good?

Then of course, there is the medical profession which is largely comprised of drug pushers.  I know it’s really hard at present and apologies to the ones who manage not to do this.  But for the most part, if you have a health issue, whether it is mental or physical, whether a small issue like an ear infection or a large one like having cancer, off you will go from the doctor with a piece of paper prescribing a chemical concoction called a medication (not drug – that word’s politically incorrect now).
 
I’d also like to mention that the same companies are involved in making food and drink products as those making medications and supplements, NestlĂ© being one of the biggest ones.  The medications and supplements are often included in food products.  Good examples are the formulas fed directly into the stomach, including ones for various conditions such as diabetes.  This just goes to show that these corporations (what I call the B’org of Food) view food and medicine as one!  What about you?

Beauty Products

Finally, here’s a brief word about the home care and personal care products on offer in supermarkets. They all contain loads of chemicals, including carcinogenic ones.  Many of them have formaldehyde in them, including soaps, shampoos and air fresheners.  A quick glance at any label will confirm this.  These chemicals are likely to get into your body by breathing them in and/or soaking in through the skin.

The advertising for these products is relentless with air-brushed manikin-like models telling us “we’re worth it”.  The day my worth is as little as a bottle of hair dye is the day I’ve been assimilated.  Not likely now.  HaHa.  That’s all for now.

By the way, staying healthy is not really that difficult even in today’s toxic world.  Just shop for Real Food and avoid products with chemicals you can’t pronounce.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

How much formaldehyde is safe?

In a discussion about diabetes, the issue of formaldehyde came up. Surprised? Well, formaldehyde is an issue in diabetes because diabetics are likely candidates for using artificial sweeteners such as aspartame which causes the body to produce formaldehyde. Why is this issue of any relevance? Some say it’s not, but my findings show that it likely is important.

The Countess of Mar (Crossbench)

My Lords, the Minister mentioned unexpected consequences. Does he agree that people who are afraid of eating too much sugar because they might get fat will turn to sugar substitutes such as aspartame? Is he aware that aspartame contains 10% methanol, which, uniquely in the human body, is turned into formaldehyde and has its own neurological hazards? Would he recommend having sugar or sweeteners?

Hansard source (Citation: HL Deb, 10 July 2012, c1020)

Earl Howe (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Quality), Health; Conservative)

My Lords, ... As for the safety of artificial sweeteners, all food additives, including sweeteners, are thoroughly tested for safety prior to approval and are subject to review by independent expert bodies. The Food Standards Agency considers that all approved sweeteners can be safely consumed at current permitted levels.

Sources of formaldehyde

First of all, formaldehyde is in a lot of stuff and although it doesn’t accumulate in the body, you might be exposed to a lot at any given time. In fact, “about 8 billion pounds of formaldehyde is being made each year.” It may also be the case that if the body is bombarded with an unnatural amount that it will not be able to break it down in the usual manner. In addition, you may very likely develop an allergy to it in a similar manner that many develop an allergy to caffeine as I explained in my article about this. So besides artificial sweeteners, here are some of the sources to consider:

· Air, especially with exhaust from cars without catalytic converters or those using oxygenated gasoline, and formaldehyde is released in the smoke from burning wood, coal, charcoal, cigarettes, incense, candles, natural gas and kerosene.

· Air Fresheners: the four basic ingredients in popular ones are formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, p-dichlorobenzene, and aerosol propellants.

· Medications (e.g., Citalopram) including wart remedies, anhidrotics, medicated creams, orthopaedic casts and root canal preparation disinfectant.


· Food Preservative in some foods such as dried foods, some types of Italian cheeses, and fish.

· Alcoholic beverages.

· Antiseptics.

· Cleansers, disinfectants and polishes, including dish-washing liquids, carpet cleaners and fabric softeners.

· Shoe-care agents.

· Glues and adhesives.

· Plastics.

· Paper: formaldehyde is used to improve the water resistance, grease resistance, shrink resistance and other characteristics of paper.

· Inks.

· Foam insulation in buildings.

· Plywood, MDF and particle board.

· Fire retardants in furniture and furnishings.

· Paints, primers, lacquers and paint-stripping agents.

· Cosmetics: especially hair products with ingredients quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidnyl urea, formalin, and methylene oxide, and oil-based nail polish and hardeners.

· Toiletries: antiperspirants, bubble bath, bath oils, shampoos, creams, mouthwashes and deodorants. In many cases formaldehyde is used as a preservative.

· Fabrics: Permanent press, Anti-cling, anti-static, anti-wrinkle and anti-shrink finishes; Chlorine-resistant finishes; Stiffening on lightweight nylon knits; Waterproof finishes; Perspiration proof finishes; Moth proof and mildew resistant finishes; Suede and chamois.

· Embalming Fluid!



Metabolism

Formaldehyde is “usually converted to a non-toxic chemical called formate, which is excreted in the urine. Formaldehyde can also be converted to carbon dioxide and breathed out of the body. It can also be broken down so the body can use it to make larger molecules needed in your tissues, or it can attach to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or to protein in your body. Formaldehyde is not stored in fat.” Something’s not right here.  Please read on to see why I think this.

In an article specifically about aspartame and formaldehyde, which I observe must have been written by a B’org drone from Cantox Health Sciences International, the author claims that “The body very rapidly uses formaldehyde and so formaldehyde never builds up in the body. If the body doesn't need it, formaldehyde is converted to formic acid within seconds. The formic acid will be either excreted in the urine or broken down to carbon dioxide and water.”

These references make formaldehyde sound like a non-toxic substance when in fact exposure to formaldehyde can cause injury and even death. Ingestion of as little as 30 mL (1 oz.) of a water solution containing 37% formaldehyde has been reported to cause death in an adult human and less can cause severe injury to the upper gastrointestinal tract.  It has also been officially listed as carcinogenic!

In addition, there seems to be confusion about formaldehyde’s relationship to bacteria. From Wiki: “Formaldehyde does not accumulate in the environment, because it is broken down within a few hours by sunlight or by bacteria present in soil or water.” However, “an aqueous solution of formaldehyde can be useful as a disinfectant as it kills most bacteria and fungi (including their spores).”

Carcinogenic

On 10 June 2011, the US National Toxicology Program described formaldehyde as known to be a human carcinogen.

The formaldehyde theory of carcinogenesis was proposed in 1978. In 1987, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen. The WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) followed suite in 1995. As published in 2006, the IARC reclassified formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen associated with nasal sinus cancer and nasopharyngeal cancer. There is data out there that shows a positive correlation between exposure to formaldehyde and the development of leukemia, particularly myeloid leukemia.


In the EU, as evidence of its toxic nature, formaldehyde is banned from use in certain applications (preservatives for liquid-cooling and processing systems, slimicides, metalworking-fluid preservatives, and antifouling products) under the Biocidal Products Directive and is restricted in other products.

Allergenic

There is information online about the possibility of formaldehyde being allergenic as it's not only a sensitiser but also a potent primary irritant. The point I found important in this is that frequent or prolonged exposure to formaldehyde may cause hypersensitivity and as I think it is an important point, I repeat that the possibility of developing an allergy to formaldehyde is very high with continued exposure because that’s what happens when exposed to drugs. Formaldehyde in large enough doses may be considered a drug in that it alters the normal functioning of the body.

Wiki has similar non-referenced entries on formaldehyde with this input:

“Studies on the interactions between formaldehyde and proteins at the molecular level have been reported on the effects of the body’s carrier protein, serum albumin. The binding of formaldehyde loosens the skeletal structure of albumin and exposure of aromatic ring amino acids in the internal hydrophobic region. Symptoms may affect personal awareness, making one feel tired or fatigue.” In addition, formaldehyde inhalation may change the sensitivity of the immune system, which influences oxidative stress.

Conclusion

So in conclusion, the amount of formaldehyde that is safe depends on the person and past exposure. This information shows that it would be wise for humans to move away from such gross exposure as is presently the case. For a diabetic who is already suffering from a malfunction in the digestive and immune systems, adding aspartame to the diet should ideally be banned by the government, but it’s not even discouraged. Earle Howe’s reference to thorough testing and approval by the FSA is nothing more than governmental posturing when one considers the conflicting facts in this article.

Embalming Fluid

One last comment, formaldehyde is well known for its application in embalming, usually a mixture of formaldehyde, methanol, and other solvents. Simply explained, embalming fluid acts to fix (denature) cellular proteins, meaning that they cannot act as a nutrient source for bacteria; embalming fluid also kills the bacteria themselves. Formaldehyde fixes tissue or cells by irreversibly connecting a primary amine group in a protein molecule with a nearby nitrogen in a protein or DNA molecule through a-CH2- linkage called a Schiff base.” This conjures up in my mind thoughts of proteins in living bodies getting stuck in an undesirable link, like in a molecular B’org chain. The problem is certainly deep. My advice is that if you love life, limit your exposure to formaldehyde and use honey instead of artificial sweeteners.

Photo Credit:Various early 20th-century embalming fluids

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

B’org Drug Pusher Fined $3 Billion

The news is that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has been caught red-handed in a drug fraud scandal by illegally marketing some of its products.  Do more, feel better, live longer.  That’s the punch line for this giant pharmaceutical company.  You could possibly do more, feel better, and live longer by using products produced by GSK, but I’d wager that even at the best of times, you won’t do more, feel better and live longer at the same time.



I call GlaxoSmithKline a B’org Drug Pusher.  They are aggressively pushing pharmaceuticals instead of whole foods.

Paroxetine, a B’org of Food Antidepressant

Let’s look at just how scandalous this is by zooming in on one of the ten drugs involved in this case that makes it particularly disturbing.  The drug at the centre of the scheme, Paroxetine, also known by the trade names Aropax, Paxil (GSK product in the US), Seroxat (in the UK), and Sereupin, was eventually banned for use by children because it can make them suicidal.

“Prosecutors said GlaxoSmithKline illegally promoted the drug Paxil for treating depression in children from April 1998 to August 2003, even though the FDA never approved it for anyone under age 18” (USA Today).  However, GSK did test this drug on children and on May 22, 2003, submitted an analysis to the FDA that showed a “statistically significant increase” in suicide related adverse events with paroxetine treatment, compared to placebo.  No wonder the FDA didn’t approve it, but GSK still got away with selling it for five years!  How many kids out there has this affected?

Paroxetine is a selective serotonin uptake inhibitor (SSRI) and I wrote about SSRI’s and some of the side effects in another article about the antidepressant called Citalopram (which is the most popular SSRI drug in the UK).  Besides nausea, sexual dysfunction and the others mentioned in my article (and also at the end of this article), paroxetine is likely to cause clinically significant weight gain and an increased risk of birth defects.  Finally, this drug has a high risk of withdrawal symptoms being severe, making it highly addictive.

The B’org Profits

The $3 billion fine will be the largest penalty ever paid by a drug company, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said.  Besides the token expenditure for government officials to monitor the corporation for five years in an “attempt to ensure the company's compliance”, I wonder where all that money is going to go!  And where’s the incentive to make sure it doesn’t happen again when it pays so nicely when it does?

How is it that these drugs are such money makers?  In the US, in 2007, 90% of seniors and 58% of non-elderly adults relied on a prescription medicine on a regular basis.  That’s nearly everyone over the age of 65 and more than half of the rest of the adults in the US!!!  Here’s some more information from Kaiser EDU.org to show why pushing drugs is so profitable:

·        Increased utilization and demand for prescription drugs - From 1999 to 2009, the number of prescriptions purchased in the United States increased 39%, while the population only grew 9%.
·        Types of prescriptions written – Most of the top-selling prescriptions are newer, higher-priced brand name drugs that have replaced older, less-expensive drugs.
·        Price increases - Retail prescription prices have increased on average 3.6% annually between 2000 and 2009, much faster than the average inflation rate of 2.5%.
·        Research and Development – Manufacturers try to recoup the research and development costs for drugs that make it to the market as well as those that do not enter the marketplace. Only one in five drugs that make it to the clinical testing process receive FDA approval and are brought to market (hence the temptation to go ahead without them).
·        Advertising and Marketing - Pharmaceutical manufacturers make substantial investments on marketing to consumers and physicians, which may (of course it does!) influence consumer demand and physician prescribing practices.  Furthermore, the most heavily advertised products tend to be newer, more expensive drugs. This results in overall increases in spending.

I forgot to mention in my article about the cost of antidepressants in the UK that not only has the net ingredient cost come down over the last ten years and the number of prescriptions has substantially increased, but the price that is paid by the consumer in the UK at the pharmacy has gone up (from 20p to £5.80 from 1979 – 1999, to £6.65 in 2006, £6.85 in 2007, £7.10 in 2008, £7.20 in 2010, £7.40 in 2011, and currently £7.65 in 2012) although in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland prescriptions have been free since 2007, 2010 and 2011 respectively, and people with cancer living in England do not pay for prescriptions since 2009.  Regardless of prescriptions being free to many people in the UK, the price paid by the NHS for prescriptions has risen. From 1998 to 2008, the NHS drugs bill soared from £4bn to £8.2bn a year, so Big Pharma is making a big profit in the UK as well as the US.

Available Online?


So much for all the health warnings and legal hoopla.  At the time of originally writing this article, it was possible for anyone to go online and buy Paroxetine in 10mg up to 40mg tablets from pharmacies in the US! (used to be available from the website BuyParoxetine.com which as of 14/5/14 is for sale for a mere $2,,795, but perhaps there are others, I haven't checked).   That website made Paroxetine available to anyone, with no prescription required, no questions asked and World Wide Shipping!

The above source cited the side effects as set out below.  I particularly like the “and so on” at the end.  If only everyone would take control of their health, the B’org of Food would be defeated.  I live in hope.

“The common paroxetine's side effects are: drowsiness, insomnia, tremor, nervousness, hypererethism of central nervous system, amnesia, dizziness, ophthalmalgia, ear noise, fainting, tachycardia and bradycardia, stomatitis, arthralgia, arthritis, dysuria, polyuria and so on.”

Photo Credit