Taking Supplements Is Like Charlie Brown Trying To Kick The Football … Again.

All bottles of Chicago-based Ton Shen Health's Life Rising DHZC-2 tablets were recalled last week after the FDA identified elevated levels of lead in product samples. (FDA)
All bottles of Chicago-based Ton Shen Health’s Life Rising DHZC-2 tablets were recalled last week after the FDA identified elevated levels of lead in product samples. (FDA)

FDA investigating high lead levels in supplements. 

Here’s a quote; “I’m so surprised that there are high lead levels in dietary supplements taken for better health,” said no one ever.

How many reports have to come out about the irrelevance or outright harm that they can do? It doesn’t really seem to matter because all the Charlie Browns keep trying to kick the ball; all the Coyotes keep falling under the 2,000 ton anvil from Acme;  and all the Elmer Fudds keep trying to catch that wascally wabbit.

Taking supplements for your health may be cartoonish, but it’s not really funny because it keeps happening. People just keep purchasing bottles of whatever because it promises them that it does whatever and there’s some beautiful woman with straight white teeth in the lotus position in some Japanese garden with the sun slanting through sideways.

Just stop. They are unregulated. That means that there’s no regulations. And THAT means that they can say crazy things on them like, “these things are great for you trust me” when they’re actually irrelevant or harmful.

Don’t kick the football. It’s not going to work this time either. #PillsAreForSickPeople





Over 1,000 cows fed nuclear-contaminated feed shipped in Japan | Reuters

Hey maybe there’s an upside! 

Does this mean that the hamburger (from the cows that ate radioactive feed) comes pre-cooked? 

Will that kill the e-coli that somehow always ends up going from cow pies to hamburger patties?  

Maybe we could have cow sushi? I sense a new market opening up!! You could get a Spicy Bessie Roll


More than 1,000 beef cattle that ate feed contaminated with radioactive cesium have been shipped all over Japan from Fukushima and other prefectures, Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday, adding to anxiety after the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

The report comes a day after Tokyo ordered the suspension of all shipments of beef cattle from Fukushima prefecture after discovering that cattle fed rice straw contaminated with high levels of radioactive cesium had been shipped nationwide

Japanese consumers have become increasingly worried about food safety following cases of contaminated vegetables, tea, milk, seafood and water due to radiation leaks at the tsunami-hit nuclear plant in Fukushima, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

A total of 1,235 cattle that ate straw containing radioactive cesium have been shipped from Fukushima and seven other prefectures to other parts of Japan, Kyodo reported, up from the 500 reported Tuesday.

The straw, which was left in rice paddies even as the Fukushima plant leaked radiation after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, contained cesium up to 500 times the levels considered safe.

The government is still conducting tests to determine whether the meat itself was contaminated. Experts say the health implications for consumers from cow feed contamination were not immediately clear.

Over 1,000 cows fed nuclear-contaminated feed shipped in Japan | Reuters

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My Radio Show Today: Dr Death Death; There’s E-coli in Hamburg; Food Pyramid Power Failure

Click To Listen Live Saturday’s from 12-1pm.

This week on the show we are talking about the non-changes to the non-effective food pyramid. 

The e-coli scare in Germany (finally, it’s not in OUR food!!). 

My special guest is allergy specialist Dr Kumar Patel, who will talk about why we have the problems we do, and what to do about them!!  

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“relaxation’ brownies”? Does the FDA need to step in?

Great question. One sitting US Senator thinks so. Senator Dick Durbin is urging the FDA to take a stand. 

Hash brownies are one thing … but what are “relaxation brownies”? They are brownies laced with melatonin. This is a totally slippery slope because melatonin supplements are widely marketed to promote sleep and can be bought over the counter in the United States. 

Melatonin-containing brownies and cakes, under brand names like Lazy Cakes, Kush Cakes and Lulla Pies, have made headlines in the past week, with two Massachusetts mayors calling for the products to be banned. They claim that the products appeal to children, even though Lazy Cakes’ website explicitly says that the brownies are intended for adults only.

What’s the problem?
Dietary supplements do not need to establish evidence of their products’ safety and effectiveness or require pre-market approval. Not at all. Nothing. Honestly, you could be buying anything!

So, to then put that in a food product crosses a line, because that food product actually does have to be shown to be safe. The people who make the supplements infer that — because melatonin is sold in pills, it should also be able to be sold in foods. 

That’s what Sen Durbin got all up in arms: 
In a letter to FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Durbin wrote: “The website for Lazy Cakes claims their product is, ‘a delicious, chocolate alternative to medication and harmful narcotics to help you safely relax and fall asleep.’ These products appear to be promoting themselves as therapeutic alternatives to medications. As such, the products may be marketed in ways that are inconsistent with federal law.””

Senator Durbin urges FDA action on ‘relaxation’ brownies

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Who’s responsible for nutrition? Nearly half say food makers

Nearly half of people hold food manufacturers and processors responsible, according to a new survey.

Really? You mean the people who make Twinkies are responsible for making sure they are nutritious? You mean the people who pour out 600 calories of sugar in a Venti, Bucket-o-Caramel Macchiato are responsible for making that nutritious?

Dude, I hate to break this to you, but a nutritious Twinkie is an oxymoron. A healthy Caramel Macchiato lives over in the fiction section. 

Do you need a rule? 
How about this one? You buy junk food, you get junk food.  

The people who make food products are not here to make them nutritious. They are here to sell them to you. If it makes you buy more of them, they’ll grind up a multi-vitamin and put it in a box of Sugar Smacks or Fruit Loops, but that doesn’t make it an important part of a balanced breakfast. 
Food makers must “do no harm”, by making sure toxic things aren’t in your foods, but even that is not their responsibility, but that of the FDA.  

The survey also showed that concerns about rising fuel and commodity costs are complicating decisions about healthy eating.
The proportion of survey respondents saying they are ‘very concerned’ about healthy eating has dropped to 39 percent, from 45 percent last year – and although most (82 percent) hold themselves responsible for ensuring the nutritional value of their food, others are looking to food manufacturers (48 percent), government agencies (30 percent) and retailers (29 percent) to make sure the foods they eat are nutritious.
Nevertheless, only 44 percent said they incorporate at least one healthy food into their diet.
The FMI survey revealed that consumer confusion about nutrition labeling is a possible barrier to healthy eating. Although just 17 percent said they could use some help in understanding nutrition information labels, less than one-third (29 percent) said they consider themselves ‘very knowledgeable’ about nutritional information and nearly half (49 percent) said they were not expert in this area.
The FMI also found that as a result of relatively few high-profile recalls in 2011 and better technology for quick communication of food product recalls,consumer confidence in food safety is at its highest point in seven years. It found that 88 percent of consumers said they are ‘completely’ or ‘somewhat’ confident in the safety of the food sold at the supermarket.

The survey also found that men are much more likely to be comfortable with the safety of food imported from Latin America than women, at 76 percent and 58 percent respectively. Meanwhile, 97 percent of consumers said they were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ comfortable with the 

safety of food grown in the United States.

Sushi okay for your heart: Study

American adults’ exposure to mercury from sources such as fish is not linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, suggests a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Health officials have long advised consumers to balance the benefits of eating fish, and particularly omega-3 rich oily fish, with the risk of potential mercury exposure from doing so. Some fish, including swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and some shellfish, tend to store more methyl mercury in their flesh than other species.
The study’s authors, from Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said that the main health concern in adults has been potential cardiovascular toxicity, as suggested by results of animal studies and limited studies in humans. But the researchers found no increased risk of cardiovascular disease in their review of two cohort studies with a total of more than 170,000 participants.
“We found no evidence of any clinically relevant adverse effects of mercury exposure on coronary heart disease, stroke, or total cardiovascular disease in US adults at the exposure levels seen in this study,” they wrote.
Pregnant women and children
However, the authors said that the current recommendation still stands that pregnant and nursing women, infants and young children should avoid eating more than two servings of fish per week, and limit intake of certain species that are higher in methyl mercury, because of a possible link between chronic, low-level methyl mercury exposure and “subtle but measurable neurodevelopmental delay in infants.”
This is largely in line with the recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which said that for the general adult population, the health benefits of eating a variety of seafood outweigh any health risks associated with methyl mercury – and that pregnant and breastfeeding women should eat at least eight ounces, but no more than 12 ounces of fish per week, from choices that are lower in methyl mercury.
Meanwhile for the general adult population, the authors of this latest study said:“Higher mercury exposures were actually associated with trends toward lower cardiovascular disease risk.”
They said this slightly lower heart disease risk said was most likely a result of other nutritional benefits of fish consumption.
The researchers examined data from two separate cohort studies involving 173,229 people about their medical history, risk factors, disease incidence, dietary habits and lifestyle. They also measured mercury concentrations in stored toenail clippings – known to accurately reflect mercury consumption – of nearly 7,000 participants, an equal number of whom had or had not suffered from cardiovascular disease or stroke during the study follow-up period.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine

Study finds no cardiovascular risk from dietary mercury for adults

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Are Farm Raised Fish Good For You? See the VIDEO w Dr Clower

We are eating more fish than ever. 

But it’s confusing, too, with SOME reports telling how heart-healthy they are … and OTHER reports telling you how this “Chicken of the Sea” harbors the PCB pesticides that are  absolutely terrible for you!! 

How are we supposed to know?? 

Even though this interview (below) is not exhaustive (we only had 6 minutes!!), I do stress which fish are the best, and which are the ones we should be concerned about. 

Looking forward to your thoughts. 

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Worried About Japan Food Radiation? Don’t Eat The Chrysanthemums!

I read the Reuters headline in shock:

WHO warns of “serious” food radiation in disaster-hit Japan

This is a level-headed news source, not prone to the kind of deceptive sensationalism you see on other outlets that over-hype everything (Huffington Post is an unfortunate one). 
But in this case, about 75% of this article has absolutely nothing to do with food or food contamination. It’s just regurgitation of the standard story that Japan is struggling to contain the damage at the reactor, they’re pumping in tons of water to cool the rods, etc. 
But what about the horror of food radiation? 
As it turns out, there is no evidence of contaminated food from Fukushima reaching other countries.

Of course, Japan’s health ministry has urged some residents near the plant to stop drinking tap water after high levels of radioactive iodine were detected. This is completely expected, given that they are right beside the nuclear plant. 

Isolated cases of contaminated vegetables and milk have caused their government to pause the sale of raw milk from Fukushima prefecture and spinach from a nearby area. Also, a great precaution to take. 

But is radioactive food flooding the world food market? Of course not, and not even in Japan itself. For example, there were no major reports of contaminated food in Tokyo, a city of about 13 million people. City officials however said higher-than-standard levels of iodine were found in an edible form of chrysanthemum.

“From reports I have heard so far, it seems that the levels of radioactive iodine and caesium in milk and some foodstuffs are significantly higher than government limits,” said Jim Smith, a specialist in earth and environmental sciences at Britain’s Portsmouth University.

“This doesn’t mean that consumption of these products is necessarily an immediate threat, as limits are set so that foodstuffs can be safely consumed over a fairly long period of time. Nevertheless, for foodstuffs which are found to be above limits, bans on sale and consumption will have to be put in place in the affected areas.”

Bottom line
If you’re concerned about foods you might buy at your local grocery store, don’t be. Just avoid the chrysanthemums for a while! 

WHO warns of serious food radiation in disaster-hit Japan | Reuters

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Old Wine In New Bottles. Critics pan new food labels

U.S. grocers joined with food and drink makers to unveil a new system on Monday for putting nutritional information on packages ahead of plans from U.S. regulators, who have called for clear and accurate labels to help fight obesity.

Critics were quick to question the front-of-package labeling move by industry, saying it appeared to be an attempt to circumvent federal regulators and to distract consumers from the unhealthy ingredients in some packaged foods.

the critics have a point here. What if (hypothetically) there were arsenic in your food? It wouldn’t show up as calories, saturated fat, sodium, or sugars. “Strawberry flavoring” has 48 (that’s right, 48!) organic chemicals like derivatives of benzine, acetone, and ketone. Those are all low in everything. 

Bottom line? It’s a good idea to let consumers know how many weeks’ worth of calories ARE IN that Venti Caramel Macchiato. That said, the preservatives, and synthetics, and chemicals, wouldn’t show up in this system they’re proposing. Read the ingredients — that is where food producers must be honest.    

Industry debuts new U.S. food labels, critics pan | Reuters

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‘honey laundering’?

A coalition organization of honey companies and importers has revealed a new initiative to certify the origin of US honey in an effort to ensure product purity and safety.

This has NOTHING to do with getting your spouse to do the clothes washing! 
In 2008, a bunch of US honey companies formed True Source Honey to prevent illegally imported honey from entering the US market, and to help safeguard the integrity of the domestic honey supply. 
Honey Laundering cost the US up to $106m last year in uncollected duties due to illegal honey imports.
“Cheap illegal imports hurt all legitimate US packers and beekeepers,” said president of the American Beekeeping Federation David Mendes.


Actually, this issue is about more than just protecting an industry from unfair competitive practices. There have been concerns of Chinese honey that have been contaminated with “disallowed antibiotics”. Given the frequency with which we hear about food safety issues in products that come out of China, this itself should give us pause — and cause — to check the source of the honey and make sure it comes from somewhere locally. 

Origin certification scheme launched to combat ‘honey laundering’

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What does it mean that “Fish consumption hits all time high”?

Global fish consumption has reached its highest ever level of about 17 kg per person on average, supplying more than 3bn people with at least 15 per cent of their average animal protein intake, according to a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

That’s huge! 

Most of the increase comes from the strong growth of aquaculture, which is set to overtake capture fisheries as the main source of fish.

So the question now is … how can we sustain the change we are becoming? If we deplete our fisheries we deplete our food supplies. This is not just a theoretical problem … we must develop practical, sustainable models that ensure 1) food safety, and 2) food availability. 

According to this article
The continued depletion of global stocks threatens world food security, he added. “That there has been no improvement in the status of stocks is a matter of great concern. The percentage of overexploitation needs to go down although at least we seem to be reaching a plateau.”
The percentage of overexploited, depleted or recovering fish stocks in the world’s oceans is estimated to be slightly higher than in 2006. About 32 per cent of world fish stocks are estimated to be overexploited, depleted or recovering and need to be rebuilt urgently, said the report.
Most stocks of the top 10 commercial fish species, accounting for nearly a third of the total global catch were fully exploited, warned the report.

For example: Of the seas’ 23 tuna stocks, most (possibly 60 per cent) are more or less fully exploited, some are overexploited or depleted (possibly 35 per cent) and only a few (mainly skipjack) appear to be underexploited.

Fish consumption hits all time high: FAO report

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