Health News
Is Salt The Next Trans-Fat? PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, September 10, 2016


Could your protein bar be killing you? If it has a high salt content, it might be. According to a study published online earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine, the high salt content in most processed foods and prepared foods is largely responsible for the high incidence of coronary heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks. The authors of the study want to make salt a public health target and are hoping that their conclusions will bolster the same type of public policy efforts to reduce salt intake that have been used to regulate the amount of trans-fats in the American food supply.

Majority of Salt in American Food Supply Comes From Processed Foods

It is no secret that the typical American diet is very high in salt, just as it was high in trans-fats. Yet, despite evidence linking salt intake to hypertension and cardiovascular disease, dietary salt intake in the U.S. is on the rise. Currently, the average adult male in the U.S. consumes 10.4 grams of salt per day, while the average adult female consumes 7.3 grams per day. These amounts greatly exceed the recommended guidelines of 5.8 grams of salt per day (equivalent to 2,300 mg of sodium). However, it is important to note that 75% to 80% of the salt in our diet comes from eating processed foods, NOT from the salt we add during cooking or what we sprinkle onto to our food just before eating.

Why is there so much salt in processed foods? Salt acts as a preservative, making your chicken noodle soup last pretty much forever on the store shelves. Food that lasts forever seems a little unnecessary however, since we live in an age where nearly every food is readily available. The most common processed foods containing too much salt are canned foods (soups, broths, vegetables, beans and sauces), salad dressings, frozen foods, seasoning packets, and snack foods like nuts, chips, and crackers.

A separate study published by Consensus Action on Salt and Health revealed how ready-made sauces were among the convenience foods that contain high concentrations of salt. The study found that celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's spicy olive, garlic and tomato pasta sauce contained as much salt as ten bags of chips. Eating half a jar would equate to 5.3g of salt, which is 88 per cent of an adult's recommended daily intake. Loyd Grossman bolognese sauce was also criticized in the study. It contains 1.5g of salt per 100g.

Products that claim "reduced sodium" or "low sodium" usually still contain high amounts of salt. One must wonder what the sodium content was to begin with? Usually, half of "too much" is still "too much".

The high sodium content in processed foods is not solely for preservation. It also provides flavor, texture, and mouth feel. In baked goods, for instance, salt emphasizes sweet flavors. Additionally, it absorbs moisture, thereby adding crunchy textures to crackers and chips. Sodium is also used as a binder and thickener in products like gravies and sauces.

You'll also find that many fortified products like protein bars and some cereals are fairly high in sodium because salt, along with sugar, helps mask the off-putting flavors of synthetic vitamins and minerals.

Reduction of Salt Saves Lives

Interventions to reduce salt in processed foods have already been adopted around the world. Many countries, including Japan, the United Kingdom, Finland, and Portugal, have reduced population-wide salt intake through a combination of regulations on the salt content in processed foods, labeling of processed and prepared foods, public education, and collaboration with the food industry. If similar approaches were to be adopted in the U.S., important gains in disease reduction and cost savings can be achieved.

The effects of reducing salt intake on cardiovascular diseases and deaths are very similar to the effects of reducing tobacco-use, obesity, and cholesterol levels. The conclusions of the study show that if everyone consumed 3 grams (half a teaspoon) less salt per day, there would be between 54,000 and 99,000 fewer heart attacks each year. It would also save 194,000 to 392,000 quality-adjusted life-years and $10 billion to $24 billion in health care costs annually. Quality-adjusted life-years is a measure of disease burden, including both the quality and the quantity of life lived.

These interventions would be worth the money spent even if only a modest reduction of 1 gram per day were achieved gradually between 2010 and 2019. It would be even more cost-effective than if all people with hypertension were taking medications to lower their blood pressure everyday.

Will Salt Go the Way of Trans-Fats?

These results suggest that there is an urgent need for dietary change in relation to salt intake. Since changes attempts to lower dietary salt intake on an individual basis have largely proved to be ineffective, focus on other approaches such as reducing salt content in processed foods and better labeling of all processed and prepared foods can go a long way.

Several years ago New York City led the nation in a citywide ban on trans-fats (those nasty man-made fats that are still very pervasive in the food supply). A law was enacted requiring restaurants, street vendors, and fast food chains to stop using the man-made oils because they contribute to heart disease by raising bad cholesterol and lowering good cholesterol at the same time. It is now well known that trans fats are much worse for our health than saturated fats. Since the New York City ban, processed food manufacturers have reduced or replaced trans-fats in their products.

This month, New York City announced an initiative to urge food manufacturers and restaurant chains to reduce salt in their products nationwide by 25 percent over the next five years. California is considering setting salt limits on food the state purchase for schools, prisons and other public institutions.

Reducing Salt in the Diet Not Enough For Long Term Health - A Natural Diet Rich in Fruits and Vegetables is the True Long Term Solution

Reducing salt intake in processed foods is a good beginning, however if you want to truly avoid hypertension, you must not only reduce salt intake, but also simultaneously increase your intake of potassium. Excessive consumption of salt coupled with low levels of dietary potassium greatly stresses the kidneys' ability to maintain proper fluid volume, and as a result can cause high blood pressure or water retention.

Most Americans have a potassium-to-sodium ratio of less than 1:2 in their diets. This means that most people ingest twice as much sodium as potassium. Researchers recommend a dietary potassium-to-sodium ratio of greater than 5:1 for health maintenance. This is ten times higher than the average intake of potassium. However, even this may not be optimal. A natural diet rich in fruits and vegetables can produce a potassium-to-sodium ratio greater than 100:1, as most fruits and vegetables themselves have a potassium-to-sodium ratio of at least 50:1.

To make sure that you get an adequate amount of potassium, eat foods that have a naturally high potassium-to-sodium ratio. These include asparagus, avocados, carrots, corn, lima beans, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes and tomato sauces, apples, apricots, bananas, cantaloupes, oranges, peaches, plums, strawberries, cashews, plain yogurt, and unprocessed meats such as chicken and lamb, and fish such as halibut, cod, flounder and haddock.


Bibbins-Domingo, Kirsten, Ph.D., M.D., Chertow, Glenn M., M.D., M.P.H., Coxson, Pamela G., Ph.D., Moran, Andrew, M.D., Lightwood, James M., Ph.D., Pletcher, Mark J., M.D., M.P.H., and Goldman, Lee, M.D., M.P.H. Projected Effect of Dietary Salt Reductions on Future Cardiovascular Disease, published at January 20, 2010 (10.1056/NEJMoa0907355);

Belluck, Pam. Big Benefits Are Seen From Eating Less Salt, The New York Times, January 21, 2010;

Hope, Jenny. Salt Warning to the Takeaway Generation: Teens Risk Health by Eating One Ready-Meal a Day, Mail Online, November 18, 2009;

Diabetes Now Linked to Soda Consumption - High Fructose Corn Syrup is the Culprit PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, September 07, 2016


I've been harping on the dangers of consuming high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) for quite a few years now. Over the last decade, the goopy liquid has been labeled "the crack of sweeteners" due to its addictive qualities and its impact on the health of Americans. Most likely owing to the wildly unnatural 15-step chemical process that converts a mild mannered corn kernel into what has recently been dubbed "liquid Satan", the evidence of its insidious ramifications on the health of Americans continues to mount.

New research presented at the American Heart Association's Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention annual conference in San Francisco this month revealed that over the last decade, consumption of sugary soft drinks contributed to 130,000 new cases of diabetes, 14,000 new cases of heart disease and 50,000 more life-years burdened with heart disease in the last decade. The study focused on adults age 35 and older.

"He probably underestimated the incidence, because the rise of heart disease and diabetes is greatest among the young,"said senior study author Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo (associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco). One plausible explanation for the findings of the study is that the increased incidence of cardiovascular problems is due to a rising incidence of diabetes, while an increase in obesity might also be responsible.

"Whatever the mechanism, large population studies do suggest an effect of drinking large lots of sweetened beverages," she said. "Over the past decade their consumption has been on the rise, while consumption of other beverages has declined."

 Diabetes is, after all, a disease related to the consumption and metabolism of sugar in the diet. So it's really the sweetener that is the primary culprit. nd while the study focused mainly on sweetened soda consumption, let's not forget that Americans are also slurping down massive amounts of HFCS in coffee drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and fruit juices. Additionally, HFCS has become the ubiquitous ingredient in nearly all processed foods - and recent statistics reveal that ninety percent of the money Americans spend on food goes toward purchasing processed foods. That's an enormous amount of HFCS being consumed.

 More than one scientific article has documented that since 1980, obesity and diabetes rates have climbed at a rate remarkably similar to that of HFCS consumption. From 1980 to 2000, the incidence of obesity doubled. Concurrently, per capita consumption of HFCS in sodas (Super Big Gulp, anyone?) increased by more than 1,000 percent from 1970 to 1990.

Why is HFCS so harmful to our health? Because it is a highly processed syrup that is a far cry from the natural corn it's derived from. The manufacturing of HFCS starts with corn kernels and takes place in a series of stainless steel vats and tubes in which a dozen different mechanical processes and chemical reactions occur - including several rounds of high velocity spinning and the introduction of three different enzymes to incite molecular rearrangements not found anywhere in nature. It's that difference that is the crux of the problem.

When we eat refined white sugar, as bad as it may be for us, our body at least knows what it is and how to handle it. In normal sugar metabolism, the fructose is broken down in the digestive tract and processed in the cells. Once this occurs, the cells send a signal to the brain, which stimulates the pancreas to secrete a hormone called insulin. Insulin is then used by the body to convert the sugar into energy, and helps provide a sense of fullness. Any excess sugar that does not get converted to energy goes to the liver to be stored as fat. That is why, if you eat too much sugar, you get fat.

Because of its altered molecular structure, the body doesn't know what to do with HFCS. It does not get metabolized the same way that sugar does, in fact it doesn't really get metabolized at all. When we eat HFCS, the cells do not send a signal to the brain, therefore the pancreas does not secrete insulin. As a result, the sugar (fructose) does not get converted into energy, and goes directly to the liver to be stored as fat. This large glut of sugar turning to fat has been linked to fatty liver disease (a condition where the liver is literally choked by fat globules and cannot perform its normal detoxifying and fat burning functions), elevated levels of triglycerides and high cholesterol. High triglycerides in the body are linked to heart disease and diabetes. HFCS also lowers chromium levels in the body, further increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Since HFCS goes directly to the liver and never sends a signal to your pancreas to secrete insulin, you will never feel a sense of fullness, in which case you will more than likely eat more than you need to.

Bibbins-Domingo believes that something needs to be done to curb the consumption of soft drinks sweetened with HFCS. The finding suggests that any kind of policy that reduces consumption might have a dramatic health benefit. One such policy is a proposed tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, she noted. "The reason why there is a current debate about a tax is that scientific evidence in populations has consistently shown that more than one sweetened drink a day increases your risk," she said.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks such as soda pop, while "alternative choices are available," said Dr. Robert H. Eckel, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado and a past president of the association.

I recommend eliminating HFCS from the diet completely. It has been linked to at least eight different serious health problems. Read the ingredient lists folks, and save yourself the suffering of disease-burdened life years.




Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, M.D., associate professor, medicine, University of California, San Francisco; Robert H. Eckel, professor, medicine, University of Colorado, Denver; March 5, 2010, presentation, American Heart Association's Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention annual conference, San Francisco

Health Day. Medline Plus-A Service of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. March 8, 2010,


Is There Anything Natural About Fructose? PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, August 27, 2016

I received an email from a supporter inquiring as to the health value of fructose, a substance that is often listed on the ingredient list of many foods, drinks, energy bars and meal replacement mixes that are marketed as being "healthy". She wrote, "I recently bought a protein drink mix from a multi-level company to use as a meal replacement and was disappointed to see that fructose was a main ingredient. The person I bought it from told me that fructose is OK because it is natural and comes from fruit. Is this true?"

The information that person gave about fructose is not accurate. It is an example of how people, especially those who are selling "health" products, are not fully aware of how sweeteners are manufactured and how they behave in the body. There is virtually no sweetener that is added to foods that is 100% natural. And just as an aside, most people who are selling health products are not nutrition professionals, and have been fed a standard line of inadequate or inaccurate information to spew whenever someone asks about the ingredients in a product. I have been on the receiving end of many of these uninformed automatons and am always amused by the answers I get to my very probing questions about products I am being solicited to buy or promote. But I digress - here's the truth about fructose.

Fructose, otherwise known as crystalline fructose, is not natural. While it is true that SMALL amounts of naturally occurring fructose are found in most vegetables and fruits, that type of fructose is not what is being used in so-called "health" drinks. The small amounts of fructose in fruits and vegetables are balanced by glucose and many other nutrients that help the body process it properly. However, consuming too much fructose at once (like the amounts that are added to foods and drinks) seems to overwhelm the body's capacity to process it. The diets of our ancestors contained only very small amounts of fructose. These days, estimates are that about 10% of the modern diet comes from fructose.

Dr. Andrew Weil says this about fructose: "The body doesn't handle large amounts of fructose well. You can maintain life with intravenous glucose, but not with intravenous fructose; severe derangement of liver function results. There's also evidence that a high intake of fructose elevates levels of circulating fats (serum triglycerides), increasing the risk of heart disease. I never use fructose in my home."

I never use it in my home either. Or anywhere outside my home. Fructose and glucose are metabolized differently in the body. Glucose is metabolized in every cell of the body, however all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. Too much fructose in the liver turns to fat. A recent study out of Duke University showed that daily consumption of fructose-containing foods or drinks has been associated with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.  Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease refers to a wide spectrum of liver diseases ranging from simple fatty liver, to nonalcoholic steato-hepatitis (NASH), to nonalcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.

Fatty liver is a degenerative disease of the liver where the liver cells are literally choked to death by globules of fatty substances within them. It becomes enlarged and swollen with greasy deposits of fatty tissue. The term nonalcoholic is used because this type of liver disease is occurring in people who consume little to no alcohol. Yet, in many respects, the nature of NAFLD is similar to what is seen in liver disease of alcoholics who consume excessive amounts of alcohol.

Most people with NASH feel well and are not aware that they have a liver problem. Nevertheless, NASH can be severe and can lead to cirrhosis, in which the liver is permanently damaged and scarred and no longer able to work properly.

I have long been warning on the dangers of consuming high fructose corn syrup. Now consumption of fructose (crystalline fructose) is showing a similar health disaster. Perhaps it is because of the way that crystalline fructose is produced - not from fruits and vegetables, but from high fructose corn syrup!

High fructose corn syrup contains up to 80 percent fructose and only 20 percent glucose. By allowing high fructose corn syrup to crystallize, most of the glucose is removed. What remains is about 99.5% pure fructose crystals, which are then dried and milled into the desired particle size for packaging. It amounts to refined sugar at its worst.

The biggest reason fructose is so bad is because of the products it is being placed in: protein meal replacement drinks, protein bars, cereals, salad dressings, "natural sodas" energy drinks, and other processed foods that are marketed as being healthy. There is an entire category of beverages, marketed as healthful for you and your body, most commonly encouraged to drink after working out. In reality, you would be better off drinking a Coke after a hard exercise routine, as compared to health drinks with fructose in them. Not that I'm advocating Coke in any way, but pure fructose is worse for you than high fructose corn syrup.

There's also new sweetener on the market being touted as healthy called Whey Low that is endorsed by a cardiologist and was created by a chef. It is made of crystalline fructose, lactose, and sucrose. It may have a low glycemic index, but the fructose part of the formula is scary. Remember, sweeteners containing large amounts of fructose will be low glycemic because fructose does not get metabolized in the cells, so it doesn't produce a glycemic response. It all goes to the liver to be stored as fat!

This is just another example of how the food industry and the corn industry have managed to get a toxic substance into the food you eat. And they are good at convincing people that just because it exists in fruits and vegetables, and just because it is low glycemic, that it can be labeled as natural and healthy.

Coincidentally (or perhaps not really), I recently watched the most fabulous show on the University of California channel on the topic of sugar and fructose called Sugar: The Bitter Truth. It is part of a series at UC San Francisco called Mini Medical School for the Public. If you want to know why fructose is so damaging to health, you should definately watch this. The presenter, Dr. Robert Lustig, M.D., is a professor of Pediatrics at UCSF Medical Center in the Division of Endodrinology. It's 90 minutes, and I found out that the entire show can be played on YouTube. Please watch - I believe you will find it fascinating!




Companies Pioneer Using BPA-Free Cans PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
You may not know exactly what Bisphenol A (BPA) is, but odds are it's circulating in your body. That's bad news. Recent tests conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that BPA was in 93 percent of 2,517 Americans age 6 and over.

Bisphenol A is an industrial chemical used as the starting material for the production of polycarbonate plastics and synthetic resins. BPA is found in baby bottles, plastic tableware and the plastic lining of canned foods and drinks. Studies have shown that BPA leaches from the container into the food or drinks. That's where the bad news starts.

There are no U.S. government safety standards limiting the amount of BPA in canned food. In March 2006, a study was spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to specifically target levels of bisphenol A in canned foods. EWG's tests found:

  • Of all foods tested, chicken soup, infant formula, and ravioli had BPA levels of highest concern. Just one to three servings of foods with these concentrations could expose a woman or child to BPA at levels that caused serious adverse effects in animal tests.
  • For 1 in 10 cans of all food tested, and 1 in 3 cans of infant formula, a single serving contained enough BPA to expose a woman or infant to BPA levels more than 200 times the government's traditional safe level of exposure for industrial chemicals.

BPA Disrupts Your Hormone Functions

BPA circulating in our bodies affects the foundation of our endocrine system-our hormones and glands. Some of the glands that make up the human endocrine system are the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal glands and the reproductive glands, which include the ovaries and testes. The pancreas is also part of this hormone-secreting system, even though it is also associated with the digestive system.

BPA belongs to a group of chemical compounds called "endocrine disruptors," which also includes pesticides, herbicides, and environmental pollutants. Endocrine disruptors mimic human hormones and interfere with the normal functioning of the glands or the tissues where the hormones act (target tissues).

Endocrine disruptors may affect our health by:

  • reducing the production of hormones in endocrine glands
  • affecting the release of hormones from endocrine glands
  • copying or counteracting the action of hormones at target tissues, or
  • speeding up the metabolism of hormones thereby reducing their action

The glands of the endocrine system and the hormones they release influence almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies. The endocrine system is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes.

Study results are racking up a chilling list of human diseases associated with BPA exposure including breast and prostrate cancers, increases in urogenital abnormalities in male babies, a decline in semen quality in men, early onset of puberty in girls, metabolic disorders including Type 2 diabetes and obesity, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

What's a Consumer to Do?

If nearly every canned good is laced with BPA, what are we going to eat? The answer is clear, we should be eating more fresh foods that don't come in packages, and if we must purchase canned goods, look for those in BPA-free cans. Another alternative is to buy foods that come in glass jars or aseptic cartons.

Companies You Can Trust to Use BPA-Free Cans

There are a few select companies offering foods that are in cans coated with oleoresin-a non-toxic mixture of an oil and a resin extracted from various plants, such as pine or balsam fir. You may be wondering, if the technology is available to make BPA-free cans, why aren't all manufacturers using it? It all comes down to money. BPA-free cans cost 2.2 cents more (14%) than cans with standard BPA epoxy liners. But fortunately for us, there are at least 7 companies who don't mind paying the extra pennies to keep the BPA out of your food. I don't know about you, but I'm willing to pay a little more to ensure the health of my endocrine system. Below is a list of products that come in BPA-free cans. As of this printing, Eden Foods is the only company that lists BPA-Free on the label. The other companies are using BPA-free cans for some of their products, but they don't label them as BPA-free.

1. Eden Foods
Eden Foods is the only U.S. food maker to date that uses BPA-free cans for all 33 of their organic bean products, including Chili, Rice & Beans, Refried Beans, and Flavored Beans. They are also the only food maker that has been using BPA-free cans for over a decade, since 1999. Eden Foods did not promote its switch to BPA-free cans 10 years ago, because at the time consumers hadn't heard about BPA. But with the growing awareness about BPA's link to human diseases, Eden Foods began labeling its bean cans "BPA-free."

The only product they can't put in BPA-free cans are tomato products, due to their acidic nature. The FDA hasn't approved any other type of can lining for highly acidic foods. To get BPA-free tomato products, you'd have to buy them in jars.

Eden BPA-Free

2. Native Forest and Native Factor

Edward and Sons, the umbrella company of Native Forest and Native Factor, has at least a dozen different products in BPA-free cans. They offer a variety of exotic, organic, and sustainably produced canned fruits and vegetables, as well as the only canned coconut milk that comes in a BPA-free can (that's the one I'm buying from now on!). The company has confirmed that 14 products have been in BPA-free cans since last summer, and as long as you purchase Native Forest and Native Factor brands the canned goods are BPA-free.


3. Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's customer relations department states that canned corn, canned beans, canned fish, canned poultry, and canned beef are all packaged in BPA-free cans. However, any other products that contain corn or beans or fish, etc. and other canned products such as soups and chilis-are not in BPA-free cans.

4. Vital Choice
Most of the food manufacturers that have made the transition to BPA-free can liners are premium "sustainable" seafood producers. Vital Choice is one of them. They pack MSC-certified salmon, Albacore tuna, sardines, and mackerel in BPA-free cans. Canned premium seafood is typically priced higher than other canned foods, so the additional 2.2 cents per can the company has to pay can be absorbed into the retail price without breaking the sale to the consumer.

Vital Choice's tuna was tested last year and was found to contain trace amounts of BPA, which led the company to further testing to determine the source-the can lids were suspected-and then attempt to eliminate it. Eventually Vital Choice found Texas company Certi-Chem to test for all "endocrine disruptor activity," not just BPA. A round of testing costs $2,000, says Randy Hartnell of Vital Choice, which is costly for the company. However, they are committed to using BPA-free cans and providing consumers with high quality canned seafood.


5. Oregon's Choice
Oregon's Choice canned MSC certified Albacore (6 oz.) comes in a BPA-free can and the company says that over the next two years they will move all of their canned fish to BPA-free

6. Eco Fish
Eco Fish is a tiny company that was an early innovator in sustainable seafood, and may be better known to consumers for its salmon burgers, fish sticks, or Celebrity Chef sustainable seafood entrees. Eco Fish also packs its Albacore tuna in BPA-free cans, and the company is planning to make the switch for its canned salmon as well.

7. Wild Planet
Wild Planet uses BPA-free cans for its 5 oz. skipjack tuna and its 5 oz. Albacore tuna products. The company says it does not pass on the extra 2.2 cents per can to its consumers. Wild Planet also chooses smaller fish in order to make its "Low in Mercury" claim.

Next Steps
With the growing concern over BPA lined cans, we will see more manufacturers moving toward making the switch to BPA-free cans. Hopefully we will also see more people moving toward eating foods that are fresh and unpackaged.


Shining Light on Calcium and Vitamin D Requirements PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Saturday, August 20, 2016

Has Mother Nature been wrong all along?  A recent report by the quasi governmental agency, the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) seems to suggest so.

The report issued last Tuesday, November 30th, states that "with few exceptions, all North Americans are receiving enough calcium and vitamin D - from the foods they eat - mainly processed foods like pasteurized milk, breakfast cereals, and orange juice, that have been fortified with synthetic forms of both nutrients.  They concluded that taking calcium and vitamin D supplements would be useless at best and, at worst, would risk harm.  Additionally, an article in the December 2, 2010 issue of USA Today was written to "shine a light" on the IOM's recommended 600 International Units (IU) daily requirements for vitamin D.  Unfortunately, both the IOM report and the USA Today article left the American public in the dark about  the natural role of vitamin D for overall health and completely omitted facts about the best source of vitamin D - the sun.

The IOM report focused solely on vitamin D requirements for bone health and widely ignored the thousands of studies from the last ten years that show much higher doses of vitamin D are needed for heart health, brain health, breast health, prostate health, pancreatic health, muscle health, nerve health, eye health, immune health, colon health, liver health, mood health, skin health, and especially fetal health.  Most vitamin D experts and nutritionists recommend at least 5,000 IU per day.

The IOM report disturbingly set an upper limit for vitamin D intake at 4,000 IU per day for people over the age of 9, but cautioned that this is considered a safe boundary but not the amount people should strive for because it may be too high!  They also stated that vitamin D toxicity might occur at an intake of 10,000 IU per day although they could provide no reproducible evidence that 10,000 IU per day has ever caused toxicity in humans.

To put all the numbers into perspective, consider this:  a single, 30 minute dose of summer sunshine gives adults more than 10,000 IU of vitamin D.  This is about 16.6 times higher than the IOM's recommended 600 IU.  If this is the natural amount of vitamin D produced by the body's exposure to a short amount of sunlight, that would mean that the IOM report is apparently warning that natural vitamin D production is dangerous, thus implying that Mother Nature does not know what she is doing!

This high rate of natural production of vitamin D is the single most important fact every person should know about vitamin D - a fact that has profound implications for overall health. 

Vitamin D is not technically a vitamin, but a crucial hormone called calcitrol that is produced  naturally in the body from the action of sunlight on the skin.  This hormone is the key that unlocks binding sites on the human genome.  The human genome contains more than 2,700 binding sites for calcitrol; those binding sites are near genes involved in nearly every known major disease in humans.

The current research that was not mentioned in the IOM report shows that vitamin D deficiency is a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, chronic fatigue, osteoporosis, arthritis, birth defects, and more.

The sun, more than food or supplementation, is the body's best source for obtaining vitamin D.  There are very few foods that naturally contain vitamin D.  Some of the best food sources of natural vitamin D are salmon, tuna, cod liver oil, egg yolks, and mushrooms that have been grown under ultra-violet light, although none of these can provide the high amount of vitamin D from the sun.  A three-ounce portion of salmon contains only 447 IU of vitamin D, while an egg yolk has a mere 41 IU.

As with nearly every nutrient, vitamin D has co-factors that the body needs in order to utilize vitamin D properly.  They are magnesium, zinc, vitamin K2, boron, and trace amounts of vitamin A. 

As for the IOM report's recommendations for calcium, the usual industry push for three servings of dairy products per day was at the forefront.  However, some of the best sources of calcium in the diet are plant foods such as dark leafy green vegetables like collard greens, kale, cabbage and broccoli.  Also almonds, asparagus, blackstrap molasses, carob, figs, filberts, kelp, oats, prunes, sesame seeds, and tofu. Calcium-rich foods typically also contain calcium's co-factors magnesium and boron, which also happen to be vitamin D cofactors.

The bottom line: a diet consisting of plenty of foods that are natural sources of calcium and vitamin D, along with enough time in the sun, and you will get adequate amounts of these key nutrients.

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    Cindy M.,
    Raleigh, NC

  • "Every single person should take the time to prepare healthy, nutritious meals for their families every day! ... Drag those kids and your spouse into the kitchen and create together!!"

    Ellen F.H.,
    Colton, OR

  • "Obesity is an epidemic in this country. Let's mandate healthy eating and stop poisoning our citizens."

    Tim W.,
    Ventura, CA

  • "This processed food is the killer for all human beings."

    Hadassah E.,
    Florida City, FL

  • "Have been on the no preservatives diet for 3 months now and have lost 10 pounds! I feel great!"

    Sallie G.,
    Conway, SC

  • "I have a chronic illness so it is very important to me that our food does not have toxins in it."

    Susie H.,
    Monroe, WI

  • "I am just now learning (about) all the stuff that is being put in our food. I am so shocked."

    Verna W.,
    Las Vegas, NV

  • "The U.K. & other countries get it right because they care. It's a disgrace that the U.S. doesn't use safe ingredients."

    Janice E.,
    Glendale, AZ

  • "As someone who struggles with weight, I would like to be proactive, not only in my own life, but also in the lives of others, which is why I decided to be a part of this petition. Thank you for informing me."

    Tekoa S.,
    Fullerton, CA

  • "What a positive change it has made in my life!"

    Judy E.,
    Sun City, AZ

  • "Everyone has a right to clean, clear, un-adulterated foods. It is not a privilege but a RIGHT!!"

    Ramana and Neil K.,
    Plano, TX

  • "Awareness is the beginning of change...thank you for your diligence in keeping us informed!"

    Elizabeth D.,
    Ft Worth, TX

  • "Let us as individuals take charge of our own health by making our food supply safe."

    Deborah Y.,
    Phoenix, AZ

  • "Thank you for your devotion to this issue."

    Silvia S.,
    Riverside, CA

  • "I think the government has to start to have the health and welfare of the people at heart. Putting chemicals and dangerous preservatives in our food is not in anyone's best interest."

    Diane W.,
    West Lawn, PA

  • "It is criminal and outrageous what's being done to our food here in America....It is your job to protect us, and STOP this greed-driven abuse NOW! Take a stand for the health of your citizens and their families, or remove yourself from office.

    Douglas G.
    Goleta, CA

  • "Processed food has made me sick ... I feel better since I don't eat it anymore."

    Mary Ann B.,
    Oak View, CA

  • "We must take action to protect our health."

    Delores W.,
    Kansas City, MO

  • "Being a nutritionist with a PHD, it is my goal to assist as many individuals as possible to live a healthy lifestyle. As more and more issues with health arise, it is evident that the foods we are consuming has toxic effects on us."

    Brenda B.,
    Mesa, AZ


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