Chronic Disease Caused by Consumer Demand

23 05 2016
Traveling and enjoying good company keeps a mind and body fit healthy. Astoria OR, column.

Traveling and enjoying good company keeps a mind and body healthy.  Marc at the Column, Astoria OR.

One of the first articles I wrote in November 2007 was inspired by a network news and publications article titled “Is Cancer in Your Tub?”  What caught my attention were two glycol ether solvents used in everyday household, food and hygiene products.  Also a key ingredient used in anti-freeze.  Well I knew I didn’t want to drink or eat anti-freeze, so this caught my eye.

The thing I didn’t put into perspective back then was how the consumer created a convenience demand in the marketplace.  A choice that continues to make the populous sick and cause disease.  And the best way to bring “you” the reader up to speed is to start from the beginning… 8 years ago.

What exactly are these two solvents and why would an anti-freeze ingredient be in our home cleaners, hygiene and food products?  “Glycol ethers are a group of solvents based on alkyl ethers of ethylene glycol or Propylene Glycol (PG) commonly used in paints and cleaners.  These solvents typically have a higher boiling point, together with the favorable solvent properties of lower-molecular weight ethers and alcohols [Wikipedia 2016].”

AntiFreeze

Note the main Ingredient: ethylene glycol and Warning Label.

Note the main Ingredient: ethylene glycol and Warning Label.

“Ethylene glycol are still used in anti-freeze preparation, household, automotive cleaners, laundry cleaners, etc.  Propylene glycol is also used in many of the same consumer products, such as home cleaners, hair, cosmetics, creams, lotions, soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, pet foods, deodorants, etc. (GoodGuide 2011).”  The list of products containing both glycol ethers is long.

Propylene glycol is also used as a food stabilizer in many processed foods as I’m now more familiar.  And the FDA stands by their PG approval-to-market SAFE for human consumption like tens of thousands of other consumer chemicals.  “The Food and Drug Administration has classified Propylene Glycol as “generally recognized as safe,” which means that it is acceptable for use in flavorings, drugs, and cosmetics, and as a direct food additive. According to the World Health Organization, the acceptable dietary intake of propylene glycol is 25 mg of propylene glycol for every kilogram (kg) of body weight (ATSDR 2015).”

The unique qualities of PG is it “provides unique inherent properties with regard to holding/attracting both water- and oil-based substances.  In food, it is used to retain food color pigments and provide for homogeneous distribution within the mixture.”

    IMG_20130405_175029It is also used as a “Solvent and carrier for flavor and color in food and beverage manufacturing processes, for drinks, biscuits, cakes, sweets.  ‘Thickener, clarifier and stabilizer in food and beverage such as beer, salad dressings or baking mixtures (PO/PG 2016).”

PG is also used as the main liquid component of e-cigarettes.  For example, “PG exposure per puff of the Ruyan® e-cigarette.  The cartridge of the Ruyan® e-cigarette contains approximately 1g [or 1000mg’s] of PG, of which 0.9 g is extractable from the pad. The concentration of PG in the mouth from one drag of the Ruyan® e-cigarette (900 mg per cartridge, 300 puffs = 3mg) is 3 mg per mouthful.”

It should also be noted within the report there is an “Inhalational Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs)” citation.   “No MRLs for acute- or chronic-duration inhalation exposure to propylene glycol were derived because data are insufficient.”  And this report also highlights “Carcinogenicity.  Stating ‘There is no evidence that PG is a carcinogen.”

But a “SAFE use” contradiction is also apparent within the same report.  “MRLs of acute- or chronic duration inhalation… data are insufficient (Laugesen 2008).”  Or to better clarify and understand the meaning of this statement, ‘absent of long-term risk data on health’ OR ‘No Evidence for lack of long term data.’

To better relate to the FDA approval process, think about it this way.

NW Nutria

NW Nutria is not used in lab studies and is much more interesting to gander upon than a field mouse.

Most FDA approvals are based on animal studies of relatively short duration.  Whereas the data is extrapolated to make relative to human metabolism, weight, environment, habits, dosage, frequency etc.  One last point to make, we are humans, not rodents.  So one must ask… how relevant are these studies to human DNA and disease?  And how much pressure is there to release and approve a new product to market?   And once released don’t industries have something to loose should an approved SAFE chemical be recalled from the marketplace?  The answers to these questions are economically and politically by design and connected.  The short of it is, It’s all about special interest power, control and money!

To date, I was curious to see if GP was removed, banned or listed as a health risk on any consumer product.  Of course I wasn’t surprised to find anything of the kind.  However glycol ethers may be the least of consumer product toxin worries.

Prior to reading that November 2007 publication, consumer safety advocates warned the world years earlier of carcinogenic household items.      For instance,  On February 23 a “1998 CBS’s morning talk show, ‘This Morning’ reported the findings of a study from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ National Toxicology Program that sent shock waves throughout the cosmetics and personal care products industries.”

Personal hygiene should be replaced with green products to reduce health risk associated accumulative daily toxin uptake.

Personal hygiene and home cleaners can be replaced with green products to reduce health risk associated with daily toxin uptake.

Fast forward… the moment of truth, our everyday household items have carcinogenic toxins as exposed by various laboratory controlled studies.  They “confirm serious health issues with long term use of our FDA Qualified “SAFE” products! (Young 2011).”  [Shocker?  Not at all.  Simply look at the billions of dollars industries spend and profits made.  Changing profitable industry culture course is an act of God.]

During 2007 I also procured brochures from author Debra Lynn Dadd, “Please Protect Yourself from Household Toxics.”  I handed them out to clients for consumer safety information and audit of household products.

Clients audited bathroom and laundry cabinets. They replace all cleaning and hygiene products with natural/organic products.

Clients audited bathroom hygiene and laundry cabinets. They replaced toxic products with natural/organic ones.

I recommended they audit and remove the toxic products and go green.  And advised them to keep diaries of certain medical symptoms which had abated after removal of certain toxic products after reading Dadd‘s article.

She stated, “While certain people may be more sensitive than others, and some chemical(s) may bring on reactions only after many years of repeated exposure, I discovered household cleaning and bathing chemicals may bring on reactions only after many years of repeated exposure.”

Many of the home use product(s) that increased certain health risks listed in the brochure were cancer, birth defects, genetic changes, heart disease.  Literally any symptom imaginable both physical and psychological could be linked to a common household product.

“Scientist admit these toxic chemicals can lodge in our endocrine system contributing to thyroid problems, diabetes, weight gain, and infertility.  At greatest risk are fetuses, children, the elderly, and those who are already ill, but these chemicals are threatening the health of everyone, every day (Barry 2013).”

I also cited an AARP Bulletin from May 2008, Vol.49 No. 4, titled “Hazards at Home,” within that original 2007 article by Reed Karaim.  Making similar statements as Debra Lynn Dadd.  Karaim followed in suit, “older people are more likely to have conditions – such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes.”  Adding to the collective demographic concern “Older people are more like infants and children in their ability to fend off toxic assaults says Sandra Steingraber, the author of Living Downstream:  An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment.”

What's in your Laundry Room?

What’s in your Laundry Room?

Within the same Bulletin a statement of stern warning is made over the use of home “Cleaners – Chemicals to avoid in cleaners, says McRandle (Paul McRandle, Deputy Editor at the National Geographic Green Guide), run from ammonia, which is known to trigger asthma, elements in chlorine bleach, which is a lung irritant and will kill you if you swallow it, to things like glycol ethers, which are used to dissolve grime and dirt, and can cause nerve damage (Karaim 2008).”

PG is still listed safe by the FDA.  However, I’ve no doubt science will prove the long-term PG health risk effects through e-cig smoker data.  By studying habits of consumption, dose, toxicity and patients presenting similar “cause and effect” symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and disease connections, and discovery commonalities will occur over time.

Convenience does not come without a health risk price.

Convenience does not come without a health risk price.

The most disheartening and overwhelming reality is there are more chemicals used in foods and household products than ever before.  Including expanded use of glycol ethers in foods.  Also “Of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently used in the United States, most haven’t been adequately tested for their effects on human health (NRDC 2016).”

It appears most likely disease is linked to a cocktail of multiple consumer products, not just one.  “Chemicals found in household products may be causing significant increases in cancers, diabetes, obesity and falling fertility, the European Environment Agency has warned. ‘In recent decades, there has been a significant growth in many human diseases and disorders including breast and prostate cancer, male infertility and diabetes. ‘Many scientists think that this growth is connected to the ‘rising levels of exposure’ to mixtures of some chemicals in widespread use (Smith 2012).”

“Some of the most pervasive chemicals are used in plastic products, and are known as “endocrine disruptors.” Convenience food products are bagged, bottled and plastic lined canned containers.

Almost all food and drink containers have varying levels of toxins that leach into consumables.

Almost all food and drink containers have varying levels of toxins that leach into consumables.

“On February 19, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a report co-produced with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), titled: State of the Science of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals.” Concern over the increase of chemical use in convenience foods, household and personal use products.

My takeaway and interpretation of past and current trends, scientific studies and consumer health risk and industrial data; these chemicals are destroying or mutating DNA within cellular structures of endocrine [hormone] and neurological function leading to serious and chronic disease.

“The report suggests a ban of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may be needed to protect the health of future generations. ‘Health risks include: Non-descended testes in young males, breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, developmental effects on the nervous system in children, attention-deficit hyperactivity in children, thyroid cancer (Mercola 2013).”

Marc clearing his Northern CA backwoods property. Wilderness living has its perks.

Marc clearing his Northern CA backwoods property.  Wilderness lifestyle has its perks.  And is as close as I can get to the way the pioneers lived.

“In some ways, our ancestors had it easy. Because they didn’t have chemically treated food and chemically enhanced kitchenware, their diets and cooking practices exposed them to fewer toxic hazards (Breast Cancer Fund 2016).”

Unfortunately Big-Ag, food processors and manufactures see a huge demand for convenience products with chemicals that make our foods smell, and taste and look more appetizing with long storage life.   Including cheap and toxic convenient household and hygiene products.  We’re addicted to all of them.   As long as consumer convenience demand and profits are high and long term health risk is not connected to an FDA approved SAFE chemical… the toxic environmental uptake and increase of insidious disease won’t be in decline anytime soon.

Nothing has changed much after years of health risk warnings from consumer safety advocates, epidemiologists and independent lab studies, etc.   Chemicals used in products are on the rise and so is disease.

Big Ag-Corps may appear green. Health conscious consumers should qualify... was the product produced by a certified organic farm?

Big Ag-Corps may appear green.  Health conscious consumers should seek to qualify the quality of product on labels… I.e., was the product produced by a certified organic farm?

The big winners are Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Big-Ag and Health Care industries.  To include a plethora of consumer product and processor manufactures.  Why do I list Health care services and Big-Pharm industries?

Treating acute and chronic disease is big business.  Cures are not.

“If it’s not about the money, what is it?”  I’d say it’s 2-fold.  Customers need and want lower cost and convenience products.  And industries are more than happy to continue providing profitable and cheap product that meet demand.

Until consumer demand changes to provide healthier products for you and your family, there are things you can do to reduce household and environmental toxins.

Recommendations,

What can you do to protect your family?

What can I say. I like sponge Bob. But this ones not made out of plastic toxins.

What can I say. I like sponge Bob. Although not made out of plastic toxins… it is likely made of a percentage of synthetic materials with toxins.

1   Don’t give plastic toys to small children unless marked BPA or Phthalates free.  “On October 15, 2007, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law AB 1108 (also known as the California Toxic Toys Bill), making California the first state in the country to ban the use of phthalates from children’s products (West 2016).”

2   Eat less processed and convenience foods and consume more whole foods.

3   Purchase organic ‘green’ home cleaners, cosmetics and personal hygiene products.

4   Wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) e.g. gloves, mask, boots, hoodie, pants, long sleeve shirts, apron when using non-green cleaning products.

5   Read food, home cleaning products and hygiene labels – if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, it’s most likely a chemical preservative, additive, stabilizer, dye, solvent, etc., of varying toxic quality.  Go Green and Organic as often as possible and available.

Purchase green-organic when possible..

Purchase natural/organic when possible..

6   Don’t consume the same drinks and foods every day, especially convenience and fast foods.

7   Consume plenty of fruits, vegetable and water.

8.  Infrequently purchase water, juice, sodas and foods stored in plastics and cans.  Glass is the best container to store foods and drinks.

9   Check dates of frozen foods and use within a 30 day window.

10  Vent and circulate fresh outdoor air throughout the home by leaving windows cracked ¼” open.  Clean HVAC systems and ductwork per manufacturer recommendation.

11  Become a conscientious consumer safety advocate and practitioner and family educator of green/natural products.

12  Become a voice and vote.  Use your 1st Amendment rights to petition government and special interests to win voter-consumer choice.  Be an advocate, or support to ban or remove certain toxic ingredients from consumer goods and services.  Or call for label laws that inform shoppers ingredients known to cause cancer and other chronic disease.

Conclusion,

If consumers don’t demand the marketplace change; then realize cost and convenience has greater value to a majority populace than long term health risk.   With this reality and without consumer and health risk prevention education in our K-12 schools, it should be no surprise new generations don’t value healthy lifestyle.  While disease and health care costs continue to rise.

We have no one to blame but ourselves.

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2016 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free monthly newsletter.

References,

ATSDR. “Public Health Statement for Propylene Glycol.” ATSDR. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 21 Jan. 2015. Web. 20 May 2016.

Barry, R. M. “Please…Protect Yourself from Household Toxics Pamphlet by Debra Lynn Dadd.” Melaleuca Cleaning Products. RM Barry Publications, 2005-13. Web. 20 May 2016.

Breast Cancer Fund. “Chemicals in Food.” Breast Cancer Fund. Breast Cancer Fund, n.d. Web. 20 May 2016.

GoodGuide. “What Kinds of Consumer Products May Contain This Chemical?” ETHYLENE GLYCOL — Consumer Products. GoodGuide, 2011. Web. 20 May 2016.

Karaim, Reed. “Hazards at Home.” AARP Bulletin Today. AARP, May 2008. Web. 20 May 2016.

Laugesen, Murray. Safety Report on the Ruyan® E-cigarette Cartridge and Inhaled Aerosol. Rep. Christchurch, New Zealand: Health New Zealand, 2008. Print.

Mercola, Dr. Joseph. “Common Household Chemicals Linked to Human Disease.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 8 July 2013. Web. 20 May 2016.

NRDC. “Health, Toxic Chemicals.” NRDC. Natural Resources Defense Council, 2016. Web. 20 May 2016.

PO/PG. “Food, Taste, Fun and Convenience.” – Propylene Glycol. PO/PG Sector Group of Cefic, Brussels, n.d. Web. 20 May 2016.

Smith, Graham. “Chemicals in Household Items Are ‘causing Huge Increase in Cancer, Obesity and Falling Fertility'” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 11 May 2012. Web. 20 May 2016.

West, Larry. “Toxic Toys: Chemicals in Toys Endanger Children.” About.com News & Issues. About.com, n.d. Web. 20 May 2016.

Young, Dr. “Is Cancer in Your Tub.” Is Cancer in Your Tub. Dr. Young, 19 Jan. 2011. Web. 20 May 2016.





Are Honey and Cinnamon a Cure All?

12 05 2013

Bees are attracted to all types of flowers

I was asked by a co-worker if honey and cinnamon is a cure all for every ailment known to man.  I certainly didn’t know the answer to this question, so I did a little research on topic.

It appears there are a lot of nutritional and research information at our finger tips that supports honey and cinnamon as very good for us.  I’m not sure that when combined they are a cure all for all that ails us.  But the health benefit data is pretty impressive, especially when combining honey and cinnamon in the daily diet.

What most of us do know is that honey comes from a bee’s nectar and is known as a healthy food sweetener.  And Cinnamon is a spice harvested from a dried plant tree bark grown in a tropical climate.  Now we can build our knowledge base from here to see how this delicious tasting sweetener and spice can be so healthy for us.

Cinnamon History and Facts,

“Although cinnamon is grown within many countries such as Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Maurtius, Reunion and Guyana, it is also grown in South American, West Indies and other tropical climates.  The best and “one true cinnamon” are native to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and are known to date back to Chinese writings in 2800 B.C.”  (Filippone, 2013)

Ceylon and Cassia are the two most common cinnamon species that can be purchased within the marketplace and known to have the most potent healthy properties.   Both are great antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, etc.  However, it is the ancient Ceylon cinnamon that is considered by some to be denser in curing nutrients.  Many studies have identified Ceylon as the best diabetes preventative and combatant medicine, where other studies show cassia regulates blood glucose just as well.  Both cinnamon spices show blood thinning agent coumarin in them.  (Health Diaries.com, 2013)

Taking a closer look at the Cassia species, commonly known as Chinese cinnamon, or from Saigon Cinnamon is believed to cause liver damage when taken in high quantities because of its high concentration of anticoagulant properties, but considered safe when taken in moderation.  However, the blood thinning agent found in Ceylon’s true cinnamon is considered of little to no risk due to low density of naturally occurring coumarin.  Note:  During times of injury, it is necessary for our blood to maintain its ability to coagulate.  But taking excessive intake of plant coumarin content can pose a health risk.  (WHfoods.com, 2013)

The 10 most common cinnamon health benefits,

  •  Blood sugar regulation – Several studies show cinnamon to be beneficial for type 2 diabetics, and is likely due to regulatory effect on blood sugar.
  • Lowers blood cholesterol – Half a tsp of cinnamon per day can lower the bad cholesterol (LDL).
  • Cancer prevention – The U.S. Depart of Agriculture in Maryland showed cinnamon reduced lymphoma and leukemia cancer cell proliferation.
  • Anti-clotting – Cinnamon has an anti-clotting (blood thinning) affect on blood.
  • Helps with yeast infection – Studies show cinnamon to have the ability to stop medication resistant yeast infections.
  • Anti-bacterial – If added to food it stops food spoilage and bacterial growth.  It is nature’s natural food preservative.
  • Brain health – A study showed cinnamon to boost cognitive brain function and memory.
  • Arthritis relief – Taking a half a tsp of cinnamon powder and combined with a tsp of honey before breakfast daily; a Copenhagen University study showed significant relief of arthritis pain after a week.  And in one month patients participating in the study could walk without pain.
  • High in nutrients – Calcium, iron, fiber and manganese.
  • E. Coli fighter – A Kansas State researcher found cinnamon to fight E. Coli bacteria found in unpasteurized juices. (Health Diaries.com, 2006)

Chinese medicine practitioners say that if Cinnamon is organic, it is warming and nourishing for our kidneys.  Both Chinese and folk medicine practitioners have used honey and cinnamon in combinations for years to cure, or heal what ails them.  Both offer powerful “antibiotic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory remedies, not only for humans but also for Animals.”  Common conditions this organic sweetener and spice provide when used are claimed to remedy and/or cure:  Upset Stomach, immune system, colds, cholesterol, bladder infection, indigestion, longevity, gas, toothache, influenza, skin infections, weight loss, cancer, fatigue, bad breath, general infection, etc.  (Halcyon, February 27, 2013)

Honey History and Facts,

Honey has long been used as a nutritional and medicinal powerful antioxidant with antiseptic and antibacterial properties for the past 2,500 years which includes the days of Aristotle (384-322BC) and its use is well documented within Greek, Roman, Christian, Islamic and other historical text.  Today, honey is still considered part of an alternative medicine.  Holistic practitioners consider honey one of nature’s best all-around remedies.  In its raw form, honey contains about 69% glucose and fructose enabling it to be used as the sweetener we know and love to eat.

Raw honey like fine wines has its own aroma, taste and color depending on the location that it was farmed.   ‘This is a surprise to many people because most honey purchased in supermarkets in the United States is made from unidentified blends of honey with a similar taste and appearance between brands.  Unblended honey from various geographic locations tastes different when produced of nectar from flowers and then sweet excretions of insects (honeydew) is not mixed, or chemically treated.  Just like all flowers, grapes have different colors and aromas, and so does honey.

“Depending on the proportions of flowers in the area where bees collect nectar and the timing of the collection of honey from the hives, honey may be either:

  • Multifloral honey: Created from the nectar of many types of flowers around the hive, or
  • Single flower or monofloral honey: Created mainly from one type of flower or honeydew

Once you have tried unblended honey from a single flower source or location, you’ll likely not seek blended brands because you’ll enjoy the unique flavors that each one offers.  (Honey Traveler.com, 2013)

It is also interesting to note that honey is the only sweetener that will not spoil.  Instead, when it sits for periods of time, it will turn to a form of sugary base, but will not spoil.  It should never be micro waved or heated, because this destroys the enzymes and natural curing properties of it.  (New Realities.com, 2013)

There appears to be one health concern for a specific demographic,

The USDA National honey board and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services state “Do not let babies eat honey.”  This is because the spores of the botulism bacteria are found in dust and soil that find their way into the honeydew.  The immune systems of infants is not developed enough to defend against this type of potential “paralytic disorder’ in which an infant is given anti-toxins and placed in infant care on a respirator.  ‘Dr. Jatinder Bhatia a Georgia neonatologist who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition.  “She has never seen a case of infant botulism.   She also mentions, honey in cereals is fine because it’s a cooked product.  It’s the bottled honey that presents a health risk to infants.” (Edgar, 2013)

The 10 most common honey health benefits,

  • Helps with skin ailments – Honey dressings have been used to treat burns, scrapes, irritations from post surgical process and ulcers caused from radiation.  Bees produce the enzyme hydrogen peroxide, “sound familiar” which is found in honey and eases skin ailments.
  • Relief from mosquito bite – Since honey has anti-inflammatory properties it’s a good option to help reduce the itch and irritation.
  • Honey is an immune booster – Since honey is full of polyphenols found in plant life, it is a known antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage.  It is also promoted as a heart healthy nutrient and cancer preventer.
  • Digestive health –  A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2006 found that honey used in place of sugar reduced gut microflora of male mice.
  • Acne treatment – Honey can effectively treat acne vulgaris, a skin condition caused by infection and inflammation on the face, chest and back.  (Shape.com, 2013)
  • Energy source – Honey can be easily converted into glucose energy for working muscles and accepted by the most sensitive stomachs.  It is very easy to digest.
  • Weight loss – When honey is consumed with warm water it helps to digest fat stored in the body.  Similarly, a combination of lemon juice, honey and cinnamon help reduce weight as well.

  “Normally, to digest sugar, the vitamins and minerals stored in body are utilized, rendering the body devoid of these nutrients. These nutrients are essential to dissolve fats and cholesterol.  Thus when you eat too much sugar you tend to increase weight not just because of the calories but due to lack of vitamins and minerals. On the contrary, honey being a good source of nutrients helps you in reducing weight.”  (Organic Facts.net, 2013) 

Improving athletic performance – Honey maintains blood glucose levels and muscle glycogen restoration after the workout.  Blood glucose and muscle glycogen is the preferred fuel food when intense exercise activity is required.

A valued source of Vitamins and Minerals – Depending on the flowers used in apiculture (beekeeping), honey commonly contains Vitamin C, Calcium and iron.  Concentrates of vitamins and mineral contents vary.

Antibacterial and antifungal – It can be used as a natural spread on antiseptic.  (Organic Facts.net, 2013)

Folk remedies have been around for generations and there is a reason why they stand the test of time.  For instance, to knock out a common cold in one or two days make a warm tea, add 1 teaspoon of honey and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon.  It is best to buy the powdered or grind the cinnamon sticks from the plant species previously mentioned.  There are many remedies that include honey and cinnamon to cure what ails you.  If you want to know more recipes, simply research on folk remedy medicines that include this natural sweetener and spice.

 My favorite breakfast is a big bowl of raisin brand, or oat flakes, 2 tsp of honey, 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon and 1% low fat milk.

For daily antioxidant, immune, weight loss, common cold, organ health and so much more, science supports adding raw honey and cinnamon to Cereals and hot drinks a couple times a day to promote good health.  There are lots of ways you can incorporate these two food nutrients into your diet if you’d like to take advantage of their healthy properties.

Works Cited

“10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon.” 10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon. Health Diaries.com, 23 Mar. 2006. Web. 10 May 2013.

“5 Health Benefits of Honey.” Shape Magazine. Shape.com, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

“Benefits of Honey in Weight Loss | Animal Product | Health Benefits.” Benefits of Honey in Weight Loss | Animal Product | Health Benefits. Organic Facts.net, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

“Ceylon Cinnamon Vs. Cassia Cinnamon.” Ceylon Cinnamon Vs. Cassia Cinnamon. Health Diaries.com, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

Feature, Julie EdgarWebMD. “Medicinal Uses of Honey: What the Research Shows.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

Filippone, Peggy T. “Cinnamon History.” About.com Home Cooking. About.com Guide, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

“Halcyon Days.” : Cinnamon and Honey: Cure-All or Hoax? Sandra Halcyonday, 27 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 May 2013. <http://sanda-halcyondays.blogspot.com/2013/01/cinnamon-and-honey-cure-all-or-hoax.html&gt;.

“The Healing Benefits of Cinnamon and Honey.” New Realities. New Realities.com, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

“Health Benefits of Honey | Organic Honey | Organic Animal Products.” Health Benefits of Honey | Organic Honey | Organic Animal Products. Organic Information Services, Pvt, Ltd., n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

“Honey Buyers Guide.” Honey Traveler Everything in the World About Honey. Honey Traveler.com, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

“What Is the Difference Between Cinnamon and Cassia?” The Worlds Healthiest Foods. WHfoods.com, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.

Woodard, Marc T. “Mirror Athlete’s Fitness Secrets!” Mirror Athletes Fitness Secrets. Mirror Athlete Inc., 7 Apr. 2013. Web. 10 May 2013. <http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2013/04/07/foods-and-drugs-that-dont-mix-well/&gt;.

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, CPT, MSC ARNG Retired.  2013 Copyright, All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Low Testosterone, another Man-Made Risky Fix?

22 01 2013

So Many Places to visit so little time

    I’m sure most of you out there have noticed the “is it low-T” commercial ads.  The “T” is for Testosterone and defined as the male hormone that develops during puberty and maintains masculine characteristics throughout a man’s life. As men age testosterone levels tend to decline (hence “low”).  We’ll first cover testosterone therapy and then the herbs that are known to increase, or influence testosterone production.  The questions most men ask, is one type of treatment better than the other, how safe is it and is it right for me?I recall about a year ago seeing a commercial on one of the big 3 networks stations that promoted, “is it low-T” asking questions like, “feel like something’s missing, don’t have enough energy, or want more romance in your life?”  “Seems harmless enough right?  Could fixing a low-T condition be that simple?  And is it for everyone?

    Don’t be deceived by a great advertising spot that promotes a therapy and/or herb that offers a quick “safe” fix for your male symptomatic problems.  Androgen (steroid hormone) therapy has been around for a long time.  Whether or not this type of treatment is right for you can only be answered by your primary care physician.  And the doctors that primary care physicians refer you to that specialize in hormone replacement therapy are known as endocrists.

    I’ve often cited though my writings, “there is no way man could ever make a product that “wouldn’t” have a health risk associated with it.  And just like weight loss diet formulas that promote fast results, repeated too often will eventually break the body’s weight regulator.  Raising testosterone levels presents similar types of metabolic challenges and other health risks associated with its use if not supervised correctly.

    Let’s first understand why testosterone in a man’s body is important and what happens to its production during the aging process.  Testosterone is important for balanced metabolic body function and produced by the testes to build muscle, bone, lowering the voice and activates the sex drive and sperm production during puberty.

    Science has confirmed that as a man age’s testosterone levels continue to drop after the age of 40, about 1-2% a year thereafter.  These numbers appear to vary slightly depending on the study.  As you age you should expect that your body will provide a proportionate amount of testosterone to maintain “healthy” male characteristics relative to age and throughout your life.  This is part of the “healthy” aging process, or aging gracefully.  There is no scientific evidence that shows by increasing testosterone levels for those that are “not low-T” or does not have an androgen deficiency that there will be a significant benefit.

    There are a very “low” percentage of men that have lower than average low-T relative to age.  For those that do have unusual low levels of testosterone, this is the demographic that often receive a “quality of life” benefit from hormone therapy treatment says Karen Herbst, PhD., M.D., (an endocrinologist with the University of CA).

    Little is known about the long-term effects of low testosterone and increasing those levels to normal range.  Science clearly understands that this hormone has an important connection to body weight and possibly cardiovascular health.  In other words, increasing testosterone levels may or may not be of health benefit for those that suffer with the following medical conditions:  osteoporosis – “thinning of bone,” diabetes, obesity, depression, heart health.  Andre Araujo, PhD, epidemiologist and researcher says illness that causes high blood pressure and diabetes for example “could” be the cause of low testosterone.  So for those that are diagnosed with low testosterone, some other illness, or disease may need to be treated first before the body can naturally elevate hormone levels.

    Normal levels relative to age is important because a man’s overall health is dependent on these levels.  If testosterone levels fall below 300 nanograms per deciliter of blood than the general recommendation is to regulate toward mid-normal range.  This treatment can be accomplished through skin absorption patches, tablets, or injections.  This therapy provides those with below average testosterone production a quality of life benefit, as opposed to those that didn’t receive treatment.

    If you are diagnosed with androgen deficiency (no other illness, or disease is the cause of your low-T condition), you “may need” testosterone therapy for life to correct the condition.  But if you start hormone therapy your testes will stop producing its own hormone.  This occurs once you influence hormone production with an enhancer because your body self regulates to maintain normal hormone balances.  Your body will gradually begin producing its own testosterone once you stop therapy to its previous levels.

    There is no scientific evidence to suggest that testosterone therapy will be of benefit when not androgen deficient.  As a matter of fact, medical science indicates many types of health problems may occur if one participates in hormone therapy without a screening and not under a doctor’s supervision.  Also, you need to know that not all scientific data is in on the safety results of testosterone therapy.

    However, Herbst states, “about 10% of men don’t get much of a response from therapy, while 90% see some sort of symptom improvement and 1 in 10 are ecstatic.  It is also stated that most of the men in clinical studies state improvement to erectile dysfunction and sex drive.  Primarily what these low-T marketers are selling is a quick fix for erectile dysfunction and sex drive.

    Men diagnosed with the following conditions should absolutely not self administer, or participate “without supervision” in any type of testosterone enhancer program/product: men with metastatic prostate, or breast cancer.  This is because too much testosterone can cause these cancers to grow.  Other conditions that can be made worse when participating in testosterone therapy:  if you suffer from sleep apnea, severe congestive heart failure, severe benign prostatic hypertrophy, or high red blood cell count (erythrocytosis).

    Outside of clinical testosterone therapy there are many herbs marketed as treatment to improve libido and muscle strength as advertised by marketers.  Beware, science tells us there are no known herbals that can be used to treat androgen deficiency.  Only that the herbals mentioned below and many more like them can “influence” higher levels of testosterone production.  These levels vary for each individual and relative to age.  And even if you use these products there is no guarantee that you’ll receive a benefit and in fact may be predisposing yourself to illness and disease with similar findings related to androgen therapy health risks.

    If you’re thinking about a low-T product, it is recommended you discuss suspected low-T symptoms with a doctor who specializes in anti-aging and hormone therapy to address your concerns.  In this way you’ll ensure you’re not just trying various products that promise to:  improve sexual performance, improve mood or memory, increase energy, lower cholesterol, build muscle, lose body fat, and/or reduce high blood pressure (and anything else these marketers promise you).  If you know nothing about balancing hormones and you become sold on a product for which you now feel you are receiving a benefit; be suspicious and concerned and inquire about long-term use and health risks.  Herbs seem harmless enough to many consumers, but it’s what you don’t know that can cause internal metabolic harm.

    The most popular herbs sold in the market boast claims that their products influence testosterone production naturally and perceived to be safe.  Four popular herbal enhancer products mixed into blends, or sold individually in high dose concentrations:   Horny Goat Weed, Mucuna Pruriens, Tongkat Ali and Ginseng.  If you want to know more about these herbal products, simply type the word into your Internet browser.

    If you do not have a testosterone deficiency problem, it is not recommended you engage in influencing testosterone production without medical advisement and supervision.  Simply put, it is wise to consult with your physician before you engage in any hormone therapy/enhancer program regardless of whether it’s chemically synthesized or a marketed herbal product.

    Just from the shear fact that each one of the herbs listed, including those that are not, stimulate the release of testosterone by influencing the pituitary gland and testes should raise concern.  These hormonal metabolic functionalities within the body also have a huge influence on many other regulatory metabolic mechanisms.  For example, to increase testosterone production without understanding the risks, especially if you have an undiagnosed medical condition could manifest itself into a chronic medical condition.  However, as stated, it is also true that men need to be within a specific “safe” testosterone range to stay healthy.  Being too low or too high appears to create unhealthy medical conditions and then disease risk for men.

    The most common types of illness and disease may occur if testosterone levels are too high, or too low:  rapid heartbeat and rhythm disturbances, anxiety, fatigue, overstimulation, irritability, restlessness, impatience, easily angered, increased blood pressure and body temperature.  Additionally, some herbs can have adverse effects on those suffering from breast and prostate cancer; heart, kidney, diabetes mellitus, sleep apnea and liver disease and also weaken the immune system.  Other side effects:  nausea, diarrhea, nose bleeds, low blood pressure, breast pain, depressive mania when mixing product with antidepressants.  Gross overdose: Seizures, convulsions and delirium.

    Another question you should ask yourself; if you self administer how do you know you’re not too high in blood testosterone?  Or low when you stop dosing, because the natural production of testosterone shuts down between starting and stopping doses?  Manipulating the start and stop of self administering and producing natural body testosterone is hard on the metabolic mechanisms and overall health if not supervised correctly.

    I stand by the statement I made at the beginning of this article.  There is no way man could ever manipulate nature and create a quick results product that would not have some adverse health risk.  To manipulate the physiology through “quick results” products is to potentially break the metabolism, thereby causing other ill-health conditions.

    There is only one caveat to low-T therapy treatment for the sake of good health.  That unless supervised by a medical doctor, I don’t believe the benefit of self treating would out weigh the potential health risks that may occur if not monitored.  This is an important observation in caution since a “very low” percentage of men are actually diagnosed with androgen deficiency.  Also, science simply doesn’t understand what damage will occur through long-term dosing especially “if not” androgen deficient because long-term statistics don’t yet exist.

    Here is a simple example and something to think about if you’re administering low-T supplementation to enhance your sexual performance.  If you acquire and use low-T enhancing products to fix a sexual dysfunction through a local distributor, or mail order, are you sure that some other ill-health problem is not the cause of your dysfunction and you’re not masking a circulatory/organ disease, or the dysfunction is not caused by another possible chemical reaction from diet, bad habit or prescription?

    By administering an overriding circulatory enhancer to correct erectile dysfunction for example… How do you know you’re not masking a serious prostate, urethra, testicular illness/disease?  Unless you’re a specialist in hormone replacement therapy (endocrist), or an urologist (one who specializes in male/female urinary tracts), how can you be sure?  The answer is you can’t.  Millions of men will continue to put their health at risk because the market manipulators will not error on the side of caution.  Instead, they’ll promote the benefits and down play the risks.  Why’s that? Because it is a lucrative business model and is not illegal!  Read “41 drugs to die for” and then you’ll be able to formulate the marketer method-to-the-madness for the sake of a buck.

    If you do choose to self administer low-T products to resolve a problem, at a minimum pay attention to the side effects listed.  If you or your loved ones note aggressive personality changes, or any of the listed side effects, immediately consult your doctor.

References,

Woodard, M.T. 41 Drugs to Die for.  Mirror Athlete Fitness Secrets. Oct 24, 2010. http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2010/10/24/41-drugs-to-die-for/

Woodard, M.T. Aging Gracefully is it Possible? Mirror Athlete Fitness Secrets. Oct 25, 2008. http://mirrorathlete.com/blog/2008/10/25/mirror-athlete-enterprises-health-blog-aging-gracefully/

Ezinearticles.  Low Testosterone Levels – A Combination of 4 Herbs to Increase Levels Naturally and Quickly.  http://ezinearticles.com/?Low-Testosterone-Levels—A-Combination-of-4-Herbs-to-Increase-Levels-Naturally-and-Quickly&id=1509055

Andrology Australia.  Australian Centre of Excellence in Male Reproductive Health.  http://www.andrologyaustralia.org/pageContent.asp?pageCode=LOWTESTREPLACE

Hoffman, M., MD.  Low Testosterone Explained: How Do You Know When Levels are Too Low? WebMD.  http://men.webmd.com/features/low-testosterone-explained-how-do-you-know-when-levels-are-too-low

Mayo Clinic. Testosterone therapy: Key to Male Vitality.  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/testosterone-therapy/MC00030

Blackman MR, Sorkin JD, Munzer T, et al. Growth hormone and sex steroid administration in healthy aged women and men: a randomized controlled trial.  JAMA 2002; 288:2282-2292

HormoneTherapyNetwork.  A Nationwide Network.  http://www.hormonetherapynetwork.com/?k=testosterone

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2012 Copyright, All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Why Prostate Health Is Important for Men

12 08 2008

Although most men don’t understand the overall role, function or importance of prostate health, men over 40 should make every attempt to take care of the prostate gland.  The prostate to a man should be what breast health is to a woman.  Both examinations check for abnormalities within the soft gland tissue.  During a rectal prostate exam the physician is feeling for a hard or lumpy tissue signature that may require further examination.  The prostate gland has two main functions (also known as an exocrine gland that secretes fluids).  These fluids are important in the production of the male reproductive semen.  The prostate gland is also responsible for controlling the flow of urine.  The prostate is slightly larger than a walnut and surrounds the urethra just below the urinary bladder and can be felt during a rectal exam.  The urethra like the prostate also has two main functions: To carry urine from the bladder and carry semen. 

The prostate continues to grow during most of a man’s life.  This growth does not usually affect prostate health until later in life.  Three common prostate medical diagnosis:  1) Prostatitis – Inflammation of the prostate gland.  Where acute and chronic prostate enlargement conditions are due to bacterial infections and treated with antibiotics.  Possible causes of Prostatitis:  Bacteria & yeast driven infection, virus, food allergy BPH, Auto-immune response, possible rare tumor, physical injury.  2) Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) occurs in older men.  After the age of 50, half of all men have enlarging prostates and by the time they are 80, 80% of these men will have significantly enlarged prostates.  The prostate enlarges to a point where urination is extremely difficult and painful.  BPH can be treated with medication and in extreme cases surgery is required to remove the prostate. 3) Prostate Cancer – One of the most common cancers affecting older men in developed countries and a significant cause of death.  The lethality of prostate cancer stems from the fact, “as an endocrine gland the potential to spread cancer is great (cancerous tumors develop by growth and division “metastasis”) and remission becomes less favorable without prompt treatment.”  The prostate also produces a protein called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA).  The PSA protein produced in the prostate, also found in the semen can be traced in the blood stream.  An elevated PSA blood test is typical when testing to determine if one has prostate cancer but does not necessarily mean you have cancer.  Prostatitis can also elevate PSA levels in the blood.  Regular rectal exams are recommended for older men to detect prostate cancer early. 

If you experience any of the following symptoms seek medical advisement:  Trouble sleeping at night, frequent visits to the bathroom, erectile problems, blood in the urine, poor flow of urine, difficulty in starting the stream.

RECOMMENDATIONS
1)   Limit intake of caffeine and alcohol.  Give up smoking.  Drink plenty of water.
2)   Diet turns out to be of primary importance.  Also high fiber intake is very important.
3)   Start a regular regiment of mild daily exercise.
4)   Get an annual PSA and prostate exam especially after the age of 50.
5)   Visit our wellness company at the home site.  Inquire about our prostate health supplements.

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2008 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing, www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for FREE Monthly eNewsletter.