Debunking the fishy facts Americans have swallowed hook, line, and sinker
There seems to be an abundance of well-meaning, completely ignorant politicians ready to do their civic duty and "protect" Americans from "harmful" substances. This time it's Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Collins, though sincere in her motives, was badly advised to promote the idea that some types of fish-in fact very nutritious varieties-are a danger to the health of pregnant women and children. Her opinions were given in a Maine newspaper, Magic City Morning Star. Collins said, "An estimated 600,000-plus American children are born each year with unsafe levels of mercury in their blood."
Now I'm not going to call Senator Collins a liar, but I will call her ignorant and irresponsible. The Greenies have repeated this fiction for so long that people in positions of power and responsibility (senators, for instance), accept things as fact that in reality are pure fiction. A single EPA employee came up with this cockamamie report from an inaccurate statistical evaluation-typical of EPA epidemiology. The senator swallowed it and thus added to the false propaganda about mercury.
A voice for truth
Thankfully we have people who know the REAL story of mercury, like Robert Ferguson of the Center for Science and Public Policy.
In response to Collins, he said, "Ironically, such science-challenged assertions of alarming, hypothetical threats likely are causing real harm to their mental and physical health, especially that of women, children and the elderly. In other words, those claiming to protect women and their children from 'mercury poisoning' are the ones who, knowingly or not, are likely causing the only real harm by scaring people away from essential nutrition gained from a diet ample in fish. The ongoing women's health surveys by the Center for Disease Control (NHANES) show not a single woman or child has mercury levels even approaching those of people living over 1,600 years ago."
Collins makes the outrageous claim that we are "poisoning our children" with industrial mercury effluvium. Where is the proof of this? Where are all of these dead children? Can she show us one case of a child who died of mercury poisoning from contaminated fish? It would be easy to prove by testing the blood of the deceased child for excess methyl mercury levels. If learning defects, hyperactivity, or any other disease is caused by excess mercury, why aren't we seeing it in blood tests?
"Protecting" children from better brain function
The whole thing is bunkum. If you don't think so, consider the following facts presented by Ferguson:
"In Japan, 87 percent of the population exceeds the EPA [mercury levels]. In Hong Kong, Chinese children have mean mercury hair levels [almost twice those of the EPA limits]. These children, like those of every high fish-consuming nation, seriously outperform U.S. children from grades 4-12 on international standardized tests for math and science. One key reason could be because they eat lots of fish!"
Ferguson said: "Study after study shows no adverse effects on children from maternal fish consumption as high as 12-14 meals per week. Only benefits have been reported, such as superior eyesight, higher child mental development scores, less hyperactivity, good heart and brain function and improved intelligence at 4 years of age." (Higher, I suspect, than most members of Congress.)
Surrounded by a sea of mercury
The reality is that mercury poisoning isn't easy to get, and you're not going to get it from food (your dentist is a more likely source).
Mercury is abundant on the Earth, and it's certainly nothing to be afraid of. We live in a veritable sea of mercury, most of it naturally produced by nature, like volcanic eruptions, forest fires, and especially the oceans. The oceans alone contain millions of tons of mercury that have been there for billions, millions, or thousands of years (depending on your religion).
If you take a moment to look at the history of mercury for the past few thousand years, you will quickly realize that THERE IS NO PROBLEM. History indicates that methylmercury (MeHg) has been with us since "the beginning." That includes being present in fish and in people. Micro-traces of the potentially toxic form of mercury have likely been in fish tissue naturally since fish have existed. Studies examining mercury levels in tissue samples from fish from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans dating as far back as the 1880s have found no trends of increase.
Let's go back a little further than this mere 150 years. In AD 400, there was evidence of "high" levels of mercury in human tissue. And Alaskan mummies dated from AD 1445 had mercury levels twice as high as pregnant women in Alaska today. After a quick history lesson, they'd realize this wringing of hands over mercury would be similar to saying: "Don't swim in that water-it's loaded with salt!" Well, yes, it is loaded with salt. But that doesn't make it dangerous. And neither does mercury.
Trying to reduce mercury in the diet is as senseless as trying to stop global warming or global cooling. Man, in spite of his much-vaunted scientific accomplishments, cannot control nature. And it is a good thing he can't because it would be a government operation and thus doomed to catastrophe.
Actions to take:
(1) Ferguson is performing a great public service with his website. For an accurate picture of climate changes and toxicology problems affecting public health, check regularly with the Center for Science and Public Policy, www.scienceandpolicy.org.
(2) If you like fish, keep eating it. It's a good source of protein, as well as brain- and heart-protective essential fatty acids.
"Reducing harmful mercury," Magic City Morning Star (www.magic-city-news.com), 7/1/05
"Reducing harmful mercury: Reply to Senator Collins." Center for Science and Public Policy (www.scienceandpolicy.org), 7/19/05
"Tests find high mercury levels in fish." The Associated Press, 9/15/05
The government revolution that could actually help your health
Is it time for a fluoride revolution? I think so-and now an astounding number of EPA employees do too. Over 7,000 of them are taking a radical stand so extreme that it's unthinkable it could be happening in a government agency. It is revolutionary, and they mean business.
In a letter to Congress, EPA employee unions have asked for the government to put an end to adding fluoride to drinking water. They also want the "who's who" among the EPA to officially recognize that fluoride can cause cancer-and to set the drinking water standard for fluoride at zero.
This is the second time the unions have acted-this time even more stridently than their petition a few years ago. The most recent uprising followed the recent scandal I told you about last month, in which a professor from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine was accused of suppressing a report from his own department that linked fluoridation to elevated risk of a fatal bone cancer in young boys.
The bone cancer is called osteosarcoma. It is vicious and leads to at least a leg amputation and often even death. If you have ever seen one of these tragic cases of a pre-teen boy having his life shattered by something you have been fighting for 40 years-fluoride-you can perhaps understand the rage I feel toward public health doctors and their dupes among the dental and medical communities.
The following is a portion of the letter to Congress from the EPA unions:
Coalition of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Unions Letter to U.S. Congress on Fluoride Regulation
"Our unions represent a substantial portion of the nation-wide workforce at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and we are writing to ask for a moratorium on the national program of the U.S. Public Health Service to fluoridate all of America's public water supplies.
One of us testified before the Senate on June 29, 2000 on this subject on behalf of his headquarters union. At that time the union called for a moratorium based on science indicating a number of adverse health effects and out-of-control, excessive exposures to fluoride.
We now join [other chapters] in renewing the call for a moratorium, based on startling and disturbing new information that confirms the worst fears expressed in the earlier testimony.
Work done at Harvard College's School of Dental Medicine by Dr. Elise Bassin, which has been hidden since 2001, shows that pre-adolescent boys who drink fluoridated water are at a seven-fold increased risk of osteosarcoma, an often fatal bone cancer. We ask that the moratorium take effect immediately and remain in place until a full hearing by the Congress on the wisdom of continuing the practice is concluded. The last such hearing was in 1978.
Dr. Bassin's thesis remained sequestered until 2004, when her research adviser, Chester Douglass, inexplicably reported to the funding agency, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, that no connection was found between fluoride and osteosarcoma. This discrepancy between Chester Douglass' written report and the actual findings of the funded study is under investigation by several entities, and we believe should be looked into by the Congress as well. It appears to be yet another instance of federally funded science gone awry to protect special interests.
Chester Douglass edits Colgate Company's Oral Health Report."
Enough is enough
The revolt against fluoride is truly a national movement among scientists and regulators across the nation. They're finally saying what you and I have been saying for over 20 years: "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH." Fifty years of inflicting a failed medical experiment on the American people is more than enough.
So I guess not all government employees are your enemy (though I was beginning to think so).
The courageous action of these government employees may be the beginning of the beginning. God bless them-and God Bless America.
"EPA unions call for nationwide moratorium on fluoridation, congressional hearing on adverse effects, youth cancer cover up." National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 280: Environmental Protection Agency National Headquarters Office, press release (www.nteu280.org), 8/19/05
"Coalition of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unions letter to U.S. Congress on fluoride regulation," National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 280: Environmental Protection Agency National Headquarters Office (www.nteu280.org), 8/5/05
Make time for tea time-it could save your life
It's been a while since I talked about one of my favorite healthy drinks (which happens to be the world's most popular beverage by far), but since it's wintertime, and this particular drink makes a great daily soul-warmer with or without food, I figure the timing couldn't be better for an update
I'm talking, of course, about tea.
A USDA study showed that after only three weeks of drinking four to five cups of black tea per day, blood levels of LDL cholesterol (earmarked by the mainstream as a major cause of heart disease-not true, of course) went down by as much as 11 percent in test subjects.
But black tea isn't the only lifesaver on the tea menu. Green tea was also credited with slashing free radicals (a major cause of cancer) among some high-risk groups by as much as 30 percent.
And according to a report published in the January 26 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, chamomile tea-especially the German variety (also called manzanilla)-may relieve a wide variety of health problems, including colds and cramps. Chamomile has long been championed as a panacea for all kinds of low-level illness, stress-related symptoms, and muscle pains of every type, but this newest study is among the first proof backing up such claims in humans (many animal studies have confirmed these positive effects).
The study followed 14 volunteers who each drank five cups of chamomile tea a day for two weeks, with urine samples collected daily for set periods before, during, and after the study. The researchers found increased levels of hippurate (a byproduct of increased antibacterial activity), and glycine, an amino acid shown to relieve muscular and nervous symptoms.
The presence of these compounds gives direct evidence of chamomile's healthful interactions within the body and may finally offer a concrete explanation of why this tea has long been "prescribed" for colds and flu, muscle and menstrual cramps, stress, depression, and as a relaxant or sedative.
Bottom line: Tea is good for you. It contains powerful, heart-healthy antioxidants and the cancer-fighting benefits of caffeine. Some types are better than others at treating specific ills, but it's all beneficial to your health in one way or another.
"Chamomile tea may have medicinal value," HealthDayNews, 1/10/05
The All-American tradition that could save your heart
One of the most maligned foods on the planet is the All-American hot dog. Sausages, under many names, are eaten all over the world. Anywhere you go, they will tell you their sausages are better than our American hot dogs, and I tend to agree with them. But that doesn't mean they deserve the bad rap they've been given. In fact, a few months ago, the Associated Press reported a highly significant finding on these ballpark staples: Hot dogs are actually good for you.
As it turns out, sodium nitrite, the chemical used to color and preserve hot dogs and other meats, has remarkable effects on the cardiovascular system. In fact, it appears that nitrite salts may have a beneficial effect on all of the body's organs: heart, brain, lungs--everywhere the blood flows. Dr. Mark Gladwin and an NIH cardiologist, Dr. Richard Cannon III, discovered that even very small doses of nitrate almost tripled blood flow. This translates to prevention and/or cure of heart attacks, pulmonary hypertension, sickle cell anemia, and strokes-and that's just the short list.
They also proved that when people exercised, nitrite levels dropped dramatically in the muscles being exercised. This indicates that by some mechanism, the body was using the nitrite in exercise. Oxygen deprivation, for whatever reason, is what eventually does us in. If this deprivation can be avoided, you will live longer and healthier.
Sodium nitrite seems to have the ability to guard your cells against hypoxia (lack of oxygen). The researchers were amazed at the finding because they had been taught that nitrites had little medical relevance.
Yet despite these findings, people still have it in for the little dogs. Although the Associated Press (AP) reported the findings, it clearly didn't believe them: The AP reporter, not wanting us to get any funny ideas, warns: "It doesn't mean artery-clogging hot dogs are healthy."
Who has ever offered any proof that hot dogs clog your arteries? Aren't hot dogs a little big to clog most arteries? Maybe the reporter means that after the dog is eaten, it forms "toxins,"--demon fat, demon cholesterol--and then clogs the arteries. Who am I to doubt the AP? But a little scientific proof would be nice.
It just burns me up when a reporter with no scientific biological training makes sweeping pronouncements about nutrition, usually gleaned from other reporters or other so-called "experts" like the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Concession stands caught in the crossfire
The state of Maine has gone whole-hog in the war on obesity. The Food Service Office is excited about the new crusade against fat people and is determined to do something about it. So what are they going to do? They're going to eliminate the nutrient-dense hot dog from school lunch programs.
While I agree that it's important to do something to combat childhood obesity, taking action in any endeavor based on a false paradigm ("fat makes you fat") is doomed to failure.
Maine's Kennebec Journal reported that "booster clubs traditionally have relied on hot dogs, candy bars and soda as concession stand staples. Under the amended Chapter 51, those staples would have to go."
Do you see the injustice in comparing one of our most beloved and nutritious foods with the REAL enemies-candy bars and soda? And I can't help but wonder if any of these pseudo-scientists ever thought that maybe, just maybe, it's not the hot dog causing the problems, but the white-flour-laden bun that it's almost always nestled into? No amount of mustard or relish can save you from the havoc that will wreak in your body.
The REAL nutritional science on "franks"
All hot dogs are cured and cooked sausages that consist of mainly pork, beef, chicken, and turkey or a combination of meat and poultry. (They generally contain 150 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 5 to 7 grams of protein.)
Ingredients, other than the meat, include water, curing agents and spices, such as garlic, salt, ground mustard, nutmeg, coriander, and white pepper. Contrary to popular belief, there are no "secret ingredients" like chicken beaks, ground hoofs, claws, or entrails in American hot dogs.
If variety meats such as liver and hearts are used in processed meats like hotdogs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires the manufacturer to declare those ingredients on the package with the statement "with variety meats" or "with meat by-products." The manufacturer must then specify which variety meat is included. In the U.S., companies are required to list ingredients in order, from the main ingredient, to the least ingredient. This is the law for all processed foods in the U.S., so you can rest assured that hot dogs only contain meat and other animal products that you eat in your regular diet.
Action to take:
They may not be quite as tasty as bratwurst or kielbasa, but hot dogs are an American tradition, and a healthy one at that. So next time you need a quick lunch, bypass the salad bar and head to the nearest hot dog vendor. Use the bun as a handy way to hold the frank, but toss it when you're done--your heart, your waistline, and the neighborhood pigeons will all thank you.
"Hot dog preservative could be new medication: NIH turning maligned meat chemical sodium nitrate into potential drug." MSNBC, (www.msnbc.com), 9/5/05
"Cafeteria lunch trays stacked with learning." Kennebec Journal (www.kjonline.com), 9/7/05
"A hot-dog primer for inquiring minds," National Hotdog & Sausage Council (www.hot-dog.org), accessed 10/5/05
The vitamin you need more of-and the easiest way to get it
In a study of 1,554 postmenopausal U.S. women with an average age of 71, 52 percent had suboptimal levels of vitamin D. Even in those receiving 400 I.U. of vitamin D per day, 45 percent were still deficient.
As you get older-especially past 70-it's extremely important to supplement your diet with vitamin D because your skin doesn't absorb it as well.
According to WebMD Medical News, researchers found that "doctors didn't always council their patients on the need for vitamin D." No surprise there: When was the last time your doctor ever counseled you on the need to take any vitamin?
There is a simple solution to this problem. Take four cod liver oil capsules twice daily, and you'll never have to worry about it again. You will get plenty of vitamins D and A. I've been taking it since I was 8-and I feel great!
"Vitamin D deficit: Women's silent bone threat," WebMD Medical News (www.webmd.com), 5/20/05
3 simple ways to recognize a stroke
After heart disease and cancer, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. I would venture to guess that at least part of the reason the mortality rate is so high is that people don't know what to do if they're with someone who's having a stroke. In fact, according to The University Hospital of Newark, New Jersey, "Fewer than half of all individuals over 50 are actually aware of what a stroke is, its signs and symptoms, and the importance of seeking immediate medical attention."
Although the symptoms can be difficult to identify, you don't have to be a neurologist to be able to recognize a stroke when you see one. You do, however, need to be informed. You can do your part by memorizing these three simple commands known as the Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale (CPSS):
1. Ask the individual to SMILE.
2. Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
3. Ask the person to coherently SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE. (i.e., It is sunny out today.)
If the person has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately, describe the situation, and let the dispatcher know you think the person has suffered from a stroke.
These three questions are important because they target easy-to-diagnose signs of stroke: facial weakness, arm weakness, and speech problems. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of strokes can help prevent the serious consequences associated with them, including brain damage and even death.
"Recognizing a stroke-three commands for the victim." MedicineNet.com (www.medicinenet.com), accessed 10/6/05
"Stroke statistics." The University Hospital of Newark, New Jersey (www.theuniversityhospital.com), accessed 10/6/05
Protect yourself from the hidden consequence of the anti-meat conspiracy
It's confusing-not to mention frustrating-that so many "experts" on nutrition pretend that animal food doesn't exist.
Just what do people have against meat? It's a great source of protein, fat, and cholesterol (which your body needs to survive, no matter what impression the American Heart Association tries to give). Another important but less talked about reason to eat meat is for its folate content.
Meat is the main source of this essential nutrient, also known as folic acid. But if you search the Internet for foods containing folic acid, this is the kind of nonsense you'll find: Eat more "bulses and legumesblah, blah, blahgreen vegetables and lanthblah, blah, blah gingelly seeds blah, blah, blah" Then, as an afterthought "and meat."
Sure, vegetables contain folic acid too, but when you boil them you end up pouring most of it down the drain. Folate is a water-soluble vitamin so unless you drink the vegetable-water, you get nothing. Raw spinach is OK, but you get four times as much folate when you eat sauted chicken livers served pink.
Before you call a shrink to treat my carniphilia (a perverted lover of meat-I made it up), let's look at the scientific facts about animal food vs. vegetables as a source for folate :
The secret to a disease-free old age
To understand the importance of folic acid you need to know what happens if you don't have enough. A deficiency can turn your skin a grayish-brown color. It can make you tired and depressed. It can cause anemia, heart disease, and even dementia.
Take a quick look at those conditions, and it won't come as much of a surprise to learn that low blood folate is found in a very high percentage of geriatric patients. Some studies estimate a deficiency level in this group to be 66 percent.
Action to take:
Eat more meat!
"Vitamin B9 (folic acid) benefits," VitaminsDiary.com (www.vitaminsdiary.com), accessed 10/5/05
A few months ago, in the August 2005 issue, I told you more than you may have ever really wanted to know about lettuce, including the fact that it's one of the best remedies for insomnia around. But apparently, the sleep-inducing effects of lettuce are only present when the plant is in the flowering stage. So picking up a head of iceberg at the supermarket and throwing it in the crock-pot won't give you the effect you're looking for after all.
That means you'll have to grow your own lettuce or find a farmer who will let you have some of his crop when it's in the flowering stage. It's probably too inconvenient for many of you, but from what I hear, it's well worth it.
Boil the flowering lettuce at low temperature with a few cups of water for an hour. Try a few tablespoons at first until you find what works best for you.
Drinking your way to diet disaster
You all know that fat does not make you fat-but diet drinks sure do. A 26-year heart study at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio found that diet soda drinkers tend to be overweight. That's not too shocking in itself. But here's the part that really threw researchers: Even in normal weight people, "the risk of being overweight or obese increased 65 percent more with each diet drink per day."
This is just one item in a long list of things that puzzle the "experts"-like the French paradox (fat does not make you fat), the fluoride paradox (the higher the fluoridation in a country, the lower the state of health), and the smoking paradox (people who smoke in moderate amounts are just as healthy-if not more so-than non-smokers).
Despite these findings, the chief investigator on the project, Sharon Fowler, said, "I want to be very clear, our findings do not prove that diet soft drinks cause people to gain weight. Right now we don't have any clear public message here. This just raises an interesting question." You are correct, Sharon. While your findings are clear (and not new), your "public message" sounds like a sputtering motor.
Well, fine, I can humor them for a minute. If diet soda itself doesn't cause weight gain, what is the culprit? Could it be the double fudge chocolate cake a la mode and similar pseudo-foods that diet soda drinkers eat, having fooled themselves into thinking they "can" because they're drinking something "healthy"? Sounds reasonable to me. Either way, the stuff is bad news.
Action to take:
Stick with beer, wine, coffee, or tea.
"Drink more diet soda, gain more weight?" WebMD Medical News (www.webmd.com), 6/13/05
Thoughts on global greening
"In my humble opinion, you mix fears of excessive government regulation, which is a reality, with denying global warming, something which a majority of scientists believe has already begun. Even if there is an element of uncertainty in how things will play out, shouldn't we be researching just in case?"
--Z.I., Andover, CT
WCD: Yes, we should. However, we have been researching weather-for 100 years. One thing we have learned is this: Man has little influence over the weather. You are right that the majority of scientists seem to believe we're in deep trouble-that we're all going to drown from melted icecaps, fry on new deserts, or both. These scientists range from butterfly specialists to epidemiologists and dermatologists. Few of them are qualified in the complex field of climatology.
The global warming thing is a scam to promote GLOBAL CONTROL of you and me. The really bad news is that people have fallen for it. Besides, global warming would mean global greening of Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia. What's wrong with that?
The text contained herein does not constitute medical advice. Dr. Douglass' Real Health Breakthroughs advises that you consult your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained within this publication.