Tag Archives: vitamin D

As many as 80% of dogs with Parvo virus die from it, but mine survived

When my dog was a puppy she was very sick from Parvo virus. It causes severe vomiting and dehydration can be deadly. Intravenous fluids were given by a vet and she slowly recovered but had no appetite. Home cooked meats were accepted though but then she would relapse as I tried to ease her back onto regular dog food.

After months she was more stable and able to ease back onto the commercial dog food but prior to that it seemed that any fortified foods would make her sick again. Phosphorus and calcium from milk-bone type dog biscuits also made her sick. I had already been reading about the nutrient’s role in human infectious disease and so I stuck with the months of chopping home cooked meats for her.

I wrote about the story and included photos in this post:

I hoped that sharing the story would help other canines to survive parvo virus — just withhold extra vitamin D and excess phophorus and calcium while fighting the sickness. The virus must be/ may be one of the type of pathogens that have learned how to modify the vitamin D receptor metabolism. It is involved closely with the immune system and protecting against infection.

From a different old post: “Canada is farther north than most of the United States and yet their population’s average vitamin D level is normal (50 nmol/L). [5, 6] The number of Americans with vitamin D levels below 30 nmol/L increased between a study performed from 1988-1994 (45% > 30nmol/L, n=18,883) and one performed in 2004 (23% > 30nmol/L, n= 13,369) but there is some controversy over whether differences in how the lab test was processed might have skewed the results. [8]”

— I had been concerned in the past that this odd difference in population averages might be due to increased infection with pathogens that affect vitamin D in the US population compared to the Canadian population but after learning about the inhibition of CYP enzymes by glyphosate that makes more sense as an explanation for a populationwide difference. Some people have infections that affect vitamin D metabolism (see next paragraph for more info), but many many many more people eat food every day, and glyphosate is used on crops that are used as ingredients in most prepared foods.

From a different old post: Tuberculosis, I learned recently, is also a type of infection that interferes with normal vitamin/hormone D metabolic pathways. The vitamin D receptor (VDR) plays a role in the ability of white blood cells to kill infected cells and cancerous cells. Some pathogens have developed ways to suppress the Vitamin D Receptor’s activity so white blood cells aren’t able to effectively resist the infection process. Other pathogens that have been shown to reduce the activity of the Vitamin D Receptor, in addition to the pathogen that causes Tuberculosis, include the mold Aspergillus, the viruses that cause Epstein-Barr chronic fatigue syndrome and HIV/AIDS, and the autoimmune diseases sarcoidosis, Crohn’s Disease, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Elevated levels of 1, 25(OH)2D are seen with the bacterial infections: “Elevated 1,25(OH)2D appears to be evidence of a disabled immune system’s attempt to activate the VDR to combat infection.” [page 19, 1]

I’m glad my puppy survived Parvo virus. It would be nice if more could survive deadly diseases, especially when it is as easy as not fortifying food – not adding something. All we would need is some dog food that isn’t fortified – but you can’t buy it because it doesn’t meet the dog food regulations.

Benicar and curcumin, an extract of turmeric, are both analogues – similar shaped – to hormone D. They can activate the vitamin D receptor and might help patients fight some of the diseases that affect the vitamin D receptor – depending on the type of infection. Receptors and hormones or their analogues act like puzzle pieces or a lock and key that fit together. The analogues might be similar to a master key/skeleton key that can fit in the lock and bump out any ligand/blocking chemical that the infection produced to inhibit the body’s immune system. The vitamin D receptor when activated can then activate aspects of the immune system.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

A GMO labeling bill has passed the Senate but it may create loopholes in what will be considered GMO

Genetically modified organisms created for agricultural purposes may be required to be listed on food labels but the wording of the proposed legislation may allow some types of foods or ingredients to not be listed. Refined ingredients that would not be expected to contain “genetic” content (DNA or RNA) may not be required to be listed as GMO.

The risk to health however has to do with the proteins that the GMO DNA cause to be produced throughout the plant rather than the DNA itself. Allergens might be produced that weren’t present in the normal crops. And in Bt GMOs the Bt toxin is produced throughout the plant as an insecticide, even within the part we harvest for food use. And while it is believed to not be harmful to human health it was initially developed as an antibiotic and mineral chelator. And humans depend on having a healthy balance of microbes within the intestines and glyphosate may be harmful to them. A refined ingredient might not contain much DNA protein or much of a Bt endotoxin protein either but it would be nice to have a lab test showing that it wasn’t present in the refined ingredient rather than be concerned only about GMO DNA. Testing for glyphosate residue levels would be of interest to me also.

Read more about the Senate bill on GMO labeling, it is a bipartisan backed bill that is expected to pass the House:  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-food-gmo-vote-idUSKCN0ZO08N

“About 75% of the foodstuffs at the grocery store are now genetically manipulated, in what has been called the world’s largest biological experiment on humans.” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36746-monsanto-bayer-and-the-push-for-corporate-cannabis

Sometimes progress can seem like progress but if it misinforms the public then is it really progress? A food label that claims to inform consumers about GMO content but which actually excludes major categories of refined ingredients that are based on GMO crops is providing disinformation – inaccurate information about the food’s content. Sick people who are trying to improve their health wouldn’t be able to trust the labels if the labels still allowed ingredients that were making the sick people to feel sicker. If the goal is supporting an individual’s right to know what is in their food then the labeling requirements ideally would include all types of GMO based ingredients whether the ingredient includes GMO DNA are not.

On a different but related topic — a couple recent posts [1, 2] included history about concerns I’ve had regarding excessive vitamin D and calcium supplementation, the new information I learned about glyphosate provides the likely solution – but more research is needed. The glyphosate information about CYP enzyme inhibition of vitamin D metabolism could be an explanation for the increase in low vitamin D levels observed in the U.S. population. And excessive supplementation with inactive vitamin D may not have been found to be helping as expected because of inhibition by the herbicide glyphosate.

A quote from a book on an unrelated topic: “When you solve a mystery, you destroy its power over you.”  – Dan Neuharth, Ph.D.,  If You Had Controlling Parents; How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World. page 79, (Harper, 1998)

The question of why U.S. citizens had lower vitamin D levels than Canadians, when I knew our food supply had adequate amounts of vitamin D and that we would collectively be getting more sunshine than Canadians on average with most of the country being located farther south, was a mystery I’ve been pondering ever since learning of it in 2010.

And the inhibition of CYP enzymes by glyphosate could be a cause of low vitamin D levels that don’t respond well to supplementation and which could be affecting a large percentage of the population. There was a large increase of the herbicide with Round-Up ready GMO crops and with the introduction of glyphosate as a crop desiccant . (And magnesium deficiency may be another cause of low vitamin D levels when there is plenty of vitamin D available and which could be affecting a large percentage of the population, but more on that later.)

As a dietitian I was uncomfortable ethically in 2010 regarding the high dose supplements being given to people for long term treatment without monitoring the active hormone level and I am still uncomfortable about the potential risks for the minority of people who may develop elevated levels of the active hormone D. Elevated levels can cause worsening of chronic illness and even increase risk of death. A large number of studies have now been performed that have not found high dose supplements to be consistently helpful — and it turns out that the form of the supplements may be inhibited from being activated by glyphosate.

In past writing I’ve included information about types of infection that may be affecting hormone D metabolism in some people but infectious disease is likely to affect a smaller number of people than the population wide levels of low vitamin D that have been observed. Some pathogens are known to modify the vitamin D receptor metabolism. Inhibiting the vitamin D receptor would reduce immune function of the cell and allow the microbe to infect the cell. Infection likely is affecting vitamin D levels for some people but a food contaminant would likely affect a larger percentage of the population.

A GMO labeling law is progress but the law wouldn’t include crops that use glyphosate as a desiccant in addition to excluding some refined but GMO derived ingredients from being listed as GMO and it may be the glyphosate itself – the Round-up herbicide – in Round-up ready crops that is the biggest risk to health– not the genetically modified DNA. And similarly it may be the Bt toxin itself that the genetically modified DNA encodes for rather than the DNA that is a risk to health. The Bt toxin may be causing harm to the intestinal bacteria and may have been modified enough from the original Bt toxin that the genetically modified Bt toxin is now also a risk to the cell walls of human intestinal and red blood cells unlike the Bt toxin that previous research has been based on. Research with the GMO seeds by private research labs or scientists is being limited by the companies that own the GMO seed patents.

Intestinal bacteria can affect mood positively or negatively and an imbalance in magnesium, vitamin D, and calcium can also affect mood. My condolences to all of the families and individuals who have lost loved ones or friends to gun violence. Part of the reason I’ve been concerned about the excess supplementation of vitamin D is because an imbalance in vitamin and hormone D can lead to an imbalance in calcium and magnesium which can lead to severe irritability and even homicidal violence. Epsom salt baths are inexpensive and provide a form of magnesium that can be absorbed well even when there is an imbalance in the vitamin and hormone D levels which tends to promote calcium absorption in the intestines and increased magnesium losses in the kidneys.

Calcium is also important but the average U.S. diet tends to include many calcium rich sources and promote calcium supplements more than magnesium. Magnesium however is necessary for converting vitamin D into 25 hydroxy D and 1, 25 dihydroxy D in addition to CYP enzymes so magnesium deficiency might also be an underlying factor for low vitamin D levels that don’t respond well to vitamin D supplements.  “Data indicate a reduced risk of insufficient/deficient vitamin D status at high magnesium intake and an inverse association between circulating 25-hydroxy vitamin D and mortality, particularly cardiovascular mortality, among those with magnesium intake above the median.”  ~ People with more magnesium intake also had better vitamin D levels and reduced risk of death, particularly less risk of death due to heart disease.   http://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7015-11-229

Unlike most other nutrients the blood levels of vitamin D can be affected in a number of different ways as it is actually a hormone rather than being simply controlled by intake of food or supplements. And levels of blood calcium and magnesium are also carefully controlled in a number of ways because they are electrically active. Excess calcium can cause muscle contractions and magnesium helps muscles relax. Excess calcium is associated with more severe coronary artery disease and magnesium deficiency is associated with heart attacks and strokes. Elevated hormone D tends to promote elevated calcium levels and may lead to heart disease and osteoporosis. Elevated calcium levels is also associated with increased risk for kidney failure. the following link has a chart that compares risks of elevated blood cholesterol and calcium and the difference is startling. http://blog.parathyroid.com/high-blood-calcium-risks/

Many nutrients are important (all of them in fact), and an older article (2013) reviews a variety of nutrients and research on violence and aggression and diet or other factors affecting violence such as psychiatric pharmaceuticals. Adequate omega 3 fatty acids may be protective. Cholesterol is essential too, low levels of it is associated with increased aggression according to the article. The review of research was in response to the increase in school shootings (2013): http://www.westonaprice.org/uncategorized/violent-behavior-a-solution-in-plain-sight/ – that link is to a site that promotes a diet based on the foods that are believed to have been available to ancient people. The article reviews a large number of nutrients and other topics and their possible role in promoting or preventing violence. Magnesium is just one of the many nutrients essential for health but it is also essential for a good mood. There were many other results for the search terms that I used, “magnesium deficiency violence aggression‘: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=magnesium%20deficiency%20violence%20aggression

Solving the mystery has led to information that has helped my health and a GMO label law might make it easier for me to avoid GMO products but it might not be that helpful if the law is written so that many types of GMO ingredients wouldn’t be included and a GMO-free label actually meant only possibly GMO free. The labels wouldn’t be reliable if foods might still contain refined GMO ingredients and yet not be required to have the GMO label.

The list of foods that might be sources of glyphosate or Bt toxin:

It is our right to protect our health and I find my health is improved when I avoid or moderate use of some of those foods, I wasn’t aware of the specific oils on the list but had been avoiding excess poly-unsaturated oils in general because it may increase inflammation to have too little omega 3 fatty acids and too much of certain fatty acids found in poly-unsaturated fats..

  • An imbalance in the two types of fats has also been associated with increased aggression per a link provided earlier:  (2013):  http://www.westonaprice.org/uncategorized/violent-behavior-a-solution-in-plain-sight/
  • And having certain types of controlling parents has also been associated with increased risk for aggression or violence per the book I quoted earlier in this post: “When you solve a mystery, you destroy its power over you.”  – Dan Neuharth, Ph.D.,  If You Had Controlling Parents; How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World. quote page 79, (Harper, 1998)

Glyphosate and the  GMO Bt toxin may be affecting our intestinal bacteria which can affect our moods. Disrupted vitamin D metabolism can lead to an imbalance in calcium and magnesium which can affect our moods. When the body works it seems simple but it isn’t.

The GMO labeling law has language that will identify ingredients as GMO by how refined they are rather than whether the whole food was a GMO or not. Information about GMO content would be helpful but a refined ingredient might still contain glyphosate residue or Bt toxin or other unknown allergens that may have developed during the genetic modification of the organism. Research and testing of those chemicals would be helpful. Labeling laws would be a challenge for the food industry to comply with. Working on using less glyphosate and GMO crops (that have been shown to potentially be hazardous to humans or the environment), seems like a more direct route to improving health to me.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

A few loose ends

That last post wandered far afield so I’ll try to wrap up a few loose ends or tie them in a pretty bow perhaps.

Re: Vaccinations and autoimmune disease

Calcium chloride can be used as a safer adjuvant (activates immune system) for use in vaccinations. Aluminum and squalene when used as adjuvants in vaccinations have been associated with increased autoimmune disease.  Aluminum is a metal that is too large for the body to excrete easily so injecting it straight into the bloodstream bypasses the intestinal wall where it would have been to large to enter. Squalene is a type of oil derived from ocean sources (I believe – yes, from shark liver oil, [1] ) and might have triggered autoimmune antibodies developing in some people – perhaps / speculation/.

The excessive number of vaccinations being given to infants and children may also be part of the problem of increased autoimmune risk. Children are now getting as many as 40 vaccinations by the time they are 18 months. [3] In the 1970s only 7 vaccinations were being given to children. [2] The body’s immune system may become over-activated against all allergens and autoimmune antibodies in addition to becoming activated against the diseases the vaccinations were designed to protect against. In animal studies it was found that any number of vaccinations given greater than eight was associated with an increased risk for autoimmune disease later in the animal’s life (mice). For that study the heavy metal preservative mercury or adjuvant aluminum or other additives were not included. Only the disease antigens were included in the experimental vaccination as a test of the animal’s immune system response to over stimulation. Read more: [3]

In looking for that reference I found this from a 2014 research article “Autoimmune diseases affect approximately 8% of the population, 78% of whom are women” [4] (microchimerism may be the reason women are more at risk but I didn’t read that article to find out if it is mentioned, I was interested in looking at the statistics so I’m saving this link for later.)

Vitamin D metabolism is involved in autoimmune disease risk because it is involved in controlling the white blood cells activity against allergens. Too little vitamin D and you have a system that doesn’t work as well as normal and may be overactive against allergens and autoimmune antibodies. so if glyphosate is inhibiting our vitamin D metabolism then it is inhibiting our ability to be less allergic and less prone to autoimmune disease. Low vitamin D has also been associated with some types of cancer including breast cancer. [5] The following explanation is pretty simple but the gist is that activated vitamin D receptors can help identify cancer cells for the immune system to kill or to prevent the cell from multiplying or spreading to other parts of the body:

There are vitamin D receptors in breast tissue, and vitamin D can bind to these receptors. This can cause cells like oncogenes to die or stop growing, and can stop the cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body.  Therefore, it is thought that vitamin D may help in protecting against breast cancer, by making cells in the breast smarter. [5]

So vitamin D when it is activated to hormone D (and if it isn’t being inhibited by glyphosate) can help the immune system’s white blood cells to protect against autoimmune disease and against cancer.

So it’s not that autism is “caused” by vaccinations it’s that in some susceptible children the immune system becomes over activated and the detoxification systems become overloaded by heavy metals and other pollutants. Vitamin D deficiency, iodine, zinc, magnesium and sulfur and B vitamin deficiencies (particularly B12 and folate) may also add to susceptibility to having an overactive immune system that can lead to brain inflammation (encephalitis [6]) and may cause long term changes.

  1. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2015/367202/
  2.  http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/development-immunization-schedule
  3. http://naturalsociety.com/publicized-study-vaccination-schedule-bombshell/
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3328995/
  5. https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/breast-cancer/
  6. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/168997.php
Spider silk goat milk appears to be a very real and life saving product:
Cold water fish tomatoes also appear to have been a real experiment that was not continued due to poor results and negative press that resulted. The tomatoes never made it out of the research phase. The experiment was an attempt to develop tomatoes that would be more frost tolerant (Monsanto was not the company):

This was my “worse case scenario” food — tomatoes that might cause a fish allergy (allergies to fish and shellfish, like peanut and bee-sting allergies, can be more life threatening than some other types of allergies). From a dietitian perspective unidentified allergens in a major food ingredient are a worse case educational scenario. The patient either has to just cope with random symptoms occurring occasionally or learn how to avoid all foods that contain the ingredient or contain non-organic versions of the ingredient.

So people with a spider silk allergy would have to avoid all goat milk if spider silk milk was mixed into the general supply (but it is only being used for the non-food purpose. The spider silk is filtered out to use to make strong fibers for use in industry and for medical purposes).

There were probably a few other loose threads but I’ll start with those three.

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

CYP enzymes are needed to produce both 25 vitamin D and 1, 25 hormone D; and more on glyphosate

The CYP enzymes that were mentioned as being inhibited by glyphosate and necessary for the conversion of 25 hydroxy D into the active 1, 25 dihydroxy D form turn out to also be essential for conversion of vitamin D3* into the 25 hydroxy D form [12] — so glyphosate could be the smoking gun that explains why U.S. citizens on average had lower 25 hydroxy D levels than Canadians (who presumably live farther North and receive less direct sunshine over the course of a year).

  • *I have read more recently that supplements of the D3 version are active in the vitamin D receptor so it may not need the same CYP enzymes to be activated as the D2 supplement form does but the D2 form is more commonly available in supplements, double check the supplement bottle when shopping to see which type is included.  See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19944755

And this could help explain why taking high doses of supplemental vitamin D has not been found effective to help raise patient’s 25 hydroxy D levels — if the person has glyphosate within their body inhibiting the CYP enzyme then they wouldn’t be able to convert the vitamin D supplement into the 25 hydroxy D form that the lab test is checking for and the supplemental form wouldn’t show up on lab tests for the 25 hydroxy form (which in normal health would then be available as needed to be converted by a CYP enzyme into the active 1, 25 dihydroxy D form whenever the active form was needed). There are multiple types of CYP enzymes with a variety of roles. Breaking down the active form, 1, 25 dihydroxy D, also requires a type of CYP enzyme.

CYP enzymes are also involved in the production of bile salts which help with the digestion of fat. Intestinal problems with symptoms of fatty diarrhea can occur when there is limited bile salts available and fat soluble nutrients may be more poorly absorbed (which includes vitamin D as well as vitamin A and E).

Glyphosate was not originally developed as an herbicide it was first used medically as a mineral chelator (binds with minerals) and as an antibiotic:

It’s important to realize that glyphosate is not “just” an herbicide. As explained by Dr. Huber, it was first patented as a mineral chelator. It immobilizes nutrients, so they’re not physiologically available for your body. [4]

“You may have the mineral [in the plant], but if it’s chelated with glyphosate, it’s not going to be available physiologically for you to use, so you’re just eating a piece of gravel,” Dr. Huber says. [4]

Glyphosate is alsopatented as an antibiotic—and a very effective one at that— against a large number of beneficial organisms. Unfortunately, like all antibiotics, it also kills vitally important beneficial soil bacteria and human gut bacteria. [4]

“Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus faecalis—these are organisms that keep you healthy either by providing accessibility to the minerals in your food or producing many of the vitamins that you need for life. They’re also the natural biological defenses to keep Clostridium, Salmonella, and E.coli from developing in your system,” Dr. Huber explains. [4]

“When you take the good bacteria out, then the bad bacteria fill that void, because there aren’t any voids in nature. We have all of these gut-related problems, whether it’s autism, leaky gut, C. difficile diarrhea, gluten intolerance, or any of the other problems. All of these diseases are an expression of disruption of that intestinal microflora that keeps you healthy.” [4]

Glyphosate first came into use as an agricultural herbicide in the U.S. in 1974. Use of the herbicide in the U.S. increased significantly around 2005 when the use of genetically modified Round-UP Ready crops became more common.  “Nearly 67 % of total agricultural glyphosate use in the U.S. since 1974 has occurred in just the last 10 years (Table 2).” [3] Table 3 from the same reference shows a significant increase in use of glyphosate also occurred between 1995 to 2000 but then the total use doubled again between 2000 and 2005 and has not quite doubled again between 2005 and 2014. Table 4 shows that the timing of use and increase of use is similar for global averages. And Table 5 simplifies the information by showing the amount used each decade since 1974 as a percentage of the total; 71.6% of the total agricultural use occurred in the years between 2005 and 2014. Glyphosate is also used as a spray along railroad tracks and other areas where an herbicide that kills all types of plants is desired (and frequently glyphosate used for non-agricultural purposes may be used in those areas at higher concentrations than recommended for agricultural uses or it may be sprayed more often).  [3]

It is unethical to use humans as research test subjects for assessing the toxicity of a substance but when a substance is approved for use in the food supply then the entire population become test subjects (whether they know or not). Comparing health data between communities or countries that don’t use glyphosate products and those that do then becomes a way to assess toxicity of the substance — without having to worry about any pesky ethical issues in research design — the government says the stuff is safe so it must be safe right? The entire population where a product is in use can be assumed to be in the experimental group on average; individuals may or may not be consuming the same amounts of the substance but on average within the country or community where a product is in the use the average person may be assumed to have been exposed to an average amount that would be more than the average amount of exposure that an individual living in a country or community where the product is not in use making those individuals part of the control group — less exposed to the substance in question.

Assessing the health of populations that may be exposed to larger amounts of the suspected toxin can be another way to do “human” research without directly giving toxins to experimental test subjects in one group and not giving the toxins to the control group.

Agricultural workers might be exposed to more of an agricultural herbicide or pesticide than people who simply are eating foods that might have herbicide or pesticide residues. And sure enough agricultural workers do seem to be suffering from negative health affects due to glyphosate. Kidney failure has been a problem among sugar cane cutters and glyphosate is now used as a desiccant applied to the crop just before harvest. Kidney failure has also been observed in agricultural workers in Costa Rica and India:

Agricultural workers in Costa Rica and India are experiencing high rate of kidney failure.” – [2]

Looking at the rates of increase in disease compared to the rate of increase in use of the suspected toxin can be another way to do “human” research without directly giving an experimental group toxins and not giving the toxin to the control group. When looking at the rate of disease increase there are over thirty diseases including autism and Alzheimer’s Disease with increasing rates of incidence that overlap the increased rate of glyphosate and genetically engineered proteins in our food supply:

2. Epidemiological patterns show there’s an identical rise in over 30 human diseases correlated with our increased usage of glyphosate and the increased prevalence of genetically engineered proteins in our food. [4]

Genetically engineered proteins refers to the mystery substances that can be created during the process of developing genetically modified organisms. Genes from one species are inserted into the DNA of the organism that is being modified. The segment of DNA that is inserted may contain many individual genes that encode a variety of proteins in addition to the desired one (such as resistance to glyphosate). New allergenic proteins can be created in addition to the desired goal (of resistance to glyphosate for example). [4]

Do we want a food supply based on traditional foods that nourish the body as nature designed? Or do we want a corporate profit system that sells food like substances that are actually man-made, untested experiments? Genetically modified crops have been shown to have less nutrient content and more herbicide and pesticide residue than traditional crops as well as the mystery genetically engineered proteins.

To give a gross but memorable example – what if the makers of clam tomato juice (a real product used in some alcoholic drinks) wanted to save their product from the risk of ocean acidity or increased temperatures in fresh water ecosystems [5] causing a reduction in the number of clams available for making clam juice and so they decided to develop a genetically modified clam flavored tomato?

The segment of DNA that encodes for clam aroma might be selected for insertion into a tomato seed’s DNA. The segment of DNA from the clam, however, might also include a few other genes that encode for shellfish proteins that cause allergies. If the genetically modified tomato incorporates not only the clam aroma gene but also incorporates some allergy causing shellfish protein genes then the resulting genetically modified clam-tomato would be an allergy risk to people with shellfish allergies.

This would not be a problem if the GM clam-tomato was only used to make clam tomato juice as consumers with shellfish allergies would have a product label that suggested there was clam content in the substance but if the GM clam tomatoes ended up being grown as a replacement for most of the tomatoes and were used in most tomato products  then the shellfish allergic person might not know to start avoiding all tomato products in addition to having to avoid all shellfish products. (This is a smelly and not realistic example; if the GM hybrid worked as hoped then the clam aroma would be obvious whether the label mentioned GMO or not and so shellfish allergy sufferers would likely learn to avoid tomato products after having a few bad reactions or to at least sniff them before eating.)

I digress and am now giggling, sorry for the smelly example. Except that people with fish allergies actually may be at risk from a different type of genetically modified tomatoes:

Tomatoes have been developed that resist frost and freezing temperatures with antifreeze genes from a cold-water fish, the winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus). [9]

The cold-water fish-tomato GMO has not been approved yet for general use so fish allergy sufferers can eat tomato products without worry (yet, tomato isn’t on this list of GMO crops that have been approved for general use: [10] *and I haven’t cross checked this reference for validity, it may be a joke, I read it on the internet after all aplogies to the scientists involved if it isn’t a joke.

But do we really want a food supply based on man-made untested experiments? Or on man-made untested herbicides that may have originally been designed as mineral chelators or antibiotics? Or on man-made untested experiments that produce pesticides within the portion of the plant that is intended to be sold for human or animal consumption? (Bt GMOs are designed to produce a bacterial toxin within all parts of the plant so insects eating any part of the plant will be killed by the bacterial toxin. The GM Bt toxin turns out to be a slightly different shape than the type of Bt toxin that was traditionally used as a surface spray pesticide and which was used as a basis for safety expections about the Bt GMOs. [8] More on Bt crops and other references are in the last post.)

Genetic modification is not well controlled with one specific gene being inserted into the plant to by modified.  A segment with many genes may be inserted and a number of changes can occur within the new species of plant. We are playing with Mother Nature or God’s roles in the creation of life. Genetic modification may be profitable for the agribusinesses or chemical company but it may be costing our environment and individual health more than we realize. Our food supply is not the only species at risk for human manipulation. Goats have been genetically modified to produce spider silk proteins within their milk which is then filtered out to be used to “make a lightweight, ultra-strong silk with a wide range of industrial and medical uses.” [9] *I didn’t cross check this for validity.  (While that’s great for humans is it healthy for the new species baby spider-goats? *my term. The article does not mention whether baby spider-goats are allowed to nurse from their mother’s or if they are bottle fed goat milk from normal goats.)

If there’s a summary point it may be that we really need to stop the use of glyphosate and Round-Up Ready genetically modified crops and Bt crops and any others that have been associated with up to or over 30 diseases. “Proof” that something is harmful can be difficult to provide when human clinical trials can’t ethically be performed due to the risks of the experimental substance. We have to rely on the less clear but increasing large amount of circumstantial evidence that humans (and animals and insects and soil microbes) are being harmed by the man-made and largely untested experimental crops and chemical herbicides and pesticides. Agricultural workers as a group are among the most at-risk group of industrial workers for suffering acute or long-term health problems due to chemical exposure [6] — they are producing our “food” or are they producing our “food-like toxin delivery units“?

Lack of protective gear and safety information in a foreign language are part of the problem of farm-worker poisonings. The majority of acute (short-term high dose exposure) poisonings occur in developing nations even though the they don’t use the majority of total pesticides used globally. “As a result of the frequently problematic handling of pesticides in developing countries, 70% of all pesticide poisonings and 99% of resulting deaths occur in these countries, despite the fact that of all pesticides used globally, only 25% are applied there.[41]” [6]

It’s a little unrealistic but individually if enough consumers stopped buying all of the Round-Up Ready GMO crops and crops that use it as a desiccant and Bt crops then maybe eventually the agribusiness profit margin would be affected enough to lead to their spontaneously stopping the use of those products. I won’t hold my breath though, I will just continue avoiding the products myself as I have found they do make my autoimmune symptoms worse.

This is likely an incomplete list but just for starters:

The glyphosate avoid list: “corn, soy, sugar beets, canola oil, and cottonseed oil, as well as wheat and sugar cane” (glyphosate is used as a desiccant on wheat and sugar cane) [http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/roundup-the-nontoxic-chemical-that-may-be-destroying-our-health/]

The Bt avoid list: corn, cotton (the cotton crop may be used to make cottonseed oil which is used in prepared deep fried foods, in margarine, and other oily packaged foods). [9, 10] *I’m not sure if this means cotton clothing should also be avoided as a source of glyphosate exposure or if it is just in reference to the cottonseed oil products.

And soy has been modified not only to be glyphosate resistant but it has also been developed to produce two types of Bt toxin. [11]

At least 90 percent of the soy, cotton, canola, corn and sugar beets sold in the United States have been genetically engineered. The adoption of herbicide-resistant corn, which had been slower in previous years, has accelerated, reaching 89 percent of U.S. corn acreagein 2014 and in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [9]

Genetically modified products can be life saving, and they may even be able to help save species at risk from widespread infections (papaya was at great risk from a virus and the genetic modification made a GMO virus resistant strain of papaya), but they can also be a wild-card with unknown effects on the environment and within humans and other species. The genetically modified papaya may have risks for allergy sufferers as the virus protein that was used has similar chemical structure to a known allergen and wind is causing cross-pollination and hybridization of the virus resistant strains with organic farmer’s natural strains of papaya which can then leave them at risk of being sued by the chemical company Monsanto for use of patented crop. [12]

“If you control the seed, you control the food; if you control the food, you control the people.” – an old saying shared by Hawaii Co. Councilwoman Margaret Wille at a “March against Monsanto” rally. [13]

Hawaii has had a significant amount of herbicides and pesticides and GMO crops used on the chain of islands because the Monsanto company has been raising the GMO seeds there. Hawaii Co. councilwoman Margaret Wille also shared the concern of farmers who would like to be able to sell their crops to Japan and European countries that have banned GMO crops. If wind can cause cross-hybridization of an organic crop that not only places the farmer at risk of a lawsuit by Monsanto it also makes the crop unable to be sold to Japan or other countries that have banned GMO crops. [14]

There is a market for non-GMO food. Crops and soil microbes and weeds are at risk of incorporating genes from genetically modified crops into their own genetic structure through cross pollination with the GMO pollen or horizontal gene transfer. The segments of genes that are inserted into a plant to create a GMO can transfer to some other types of species such as soil microbes directly in a way somewhat similar to the way the scientist made the GMO. The gene segments were designed to invade and be incorporated into the species being modified and once they are in widespread use in nature they may be continuing to invade and be incorporated into many other life forms to create super weeds and possibly may be adding to the problem of increasing varieties of drug resistant bacteria and the more virulent viral diseases that are being spread at increased rates by mosquitoes. [14]

Human health and Vitamin D and hormone D are important but so is protecting the environment and all of its many life forms from mobile mutant gene segments. Humans are not Mother Nature or God and so we need to stop pretending that random genetic experiments are automatically safe for widespread use with only minimal testing.

Increased rates of over thirty diseases have been associated with the introduction of GMO crops and the increased use of glyphosate and 70% of the glyphosate has been used in just the last ten years. What are we to expect regarding chronic illness and more virulent virus and drug resistant bacteria in another ten years?

*This veered away from glyphosate’s inhibition of the CYP enzyme and vitamin D and whatever my original point might have been (that glyphosate may be inhibiting the conversion of supplemental vitamin D into the form the lab tests look for — 25 hydroxy D as well as inhibiting the activation of 25 hydroxy D into the hormone form 1, 25 dihydroxy D which is essential for many things including immune health), into a more general discussion of GMOs and the environment, but the connection is that most species have many similarities in how their bodies work. And problems in human health are going to suggest problems will be occurring in other mammals’ health — our pets, livestock and wildlife. The enzymes for vitamin and hormone D and the functions of  vitamin D receptor act in the same ways across many species and types of life. Health problems are likely to show up throughout the food chain due to the glyphosate being applied on food crops and for non agricultural purposes.

It lingers in the environment and in our bodies as it’s not readily broken down. Ten years of heavy use has already led to super weeds and health problems and the approval of DDT for GMO use — we need to stop risking we don’t know what kind of consequences as more toxins add up and interact in ways we also don’t know the consequences of. GMOs are very helpful but should be tested in small isolated areas for many years before being released into general use. And the issue of horizontal gene transfer and risk of more super-weeds and more virulent or drug resistant bacteria developing is a serious one that should be considered also. Genetic modification may need to be limited for use in general — it is an ethical question facing future generations as the chemicals linger.

As individuals we can avoid using glyphosate products on our own lawns and gardens. We can also try to buy more organic choices of the foods listed above but truly avoiding all of those foods is extremely difficult as they are used as ingredients in many types of processed foods that you wouldn’t think of as corn or soy or cottonseed oil (deep fried snack foods like chips). But for people who are really sick it may be worth trying to use less of the listed foods and see if you feel better. Food is our fuel and our building blocks to repair and regrow.

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

  1. Jones G, et. al., Cytochrome P450-mediated metabolism of vitamin D, J Lipid Res. 2014 Jan; 55(1): 13–31. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3927478/
  2. Seneff, S., Roundup (C): The Elephant in the Room, MIT CSAIL, Oct. 16, 2013,  [https://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/glyphosate/glyphosate_wellesley.pptx]
  3. Charles M. Benbrook, Trends in Glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globallyEnvironmental Sciences EuropeBridging Science and Regulation at the Regional and European Level 2016 28:3 (Feb. 2, 2016)
  4. Dr. Mercola, Toxicology Expert Speaks Out About Roundup and GMOs(Oct. 16, 2013) http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/10/06/dr-huber-gmo-foods.aspx
  5. by Guy Woodward, Daniel M. Perkins, Lee E. Brown, Climate change and freshwater ecosystems: impacts across multiple levels of organizationhttp://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1549/2093 *Interesting but unrelated to CYP enzymes or glyphosate: Increased freshwater temperature can be expected to impact species’ need for nutrients as the basal metabolic rate (BMR) is increased at higher temperatures and it also increases with larger body size. So larger species may have a difficult time increasing their foraging enough to meet their increased calorie needs as their environment becomes warmer on average.

    “Essentially, because individual basal metabolic rate (BMR) is set by body size and temperature, respiratory costs will rise as BMR increases, and this will be most pronounced among larger organisms at higher temperatures (Brown et al. 2004; figure 4a).”

  6. Pesticides and Health Hazards: Facts and Figures, Pestizid Aktions-Netzwerk e.V PAN Germany, (2012)  http://www.pan-germany.org/download/Vergift_EN-201112-web.pdf
  7. [http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/roundup-the-nontoxic-chemical-that-may-be-destroying-our-health/]
  8. http://earthopensource.org/gmomythsandtruths/sample-page/3-health-hazards-gm-foods/3-8-myth-gm-bt-insecticidal-crops-harm-insects-harmless-animals-people/
  9. http://www.livescience.com/40895-gmo-facts.html
  10. http://time.com/3840073/gmo-food-charts/
  11. http://www.nationofchange.org/2015/01/11/new-double-bt-toxic-soy-just-approved-us-department-agriculture/
  12. http://butterbeliever.com/trouble-in-paradise-gmo-papayas-from-hawaii/
  13. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/us/on-hawaii-a-lonely-quest-for-facts-about-gmos.html?_r=0
  14. Hawaii Co. Councilwoman Margaret Wille on bill to ban GMO on the islandhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY_nYv_7uI4

Individualized nutrition counseling is a little like solving a mystery

Being a nutrition counselor can be like being a detective. Each patient has their own food preferences and cooking skills and their own health history and genetic make up. Basic nutrition recommendations are similar for most people but individualized counseling looks for ways to help the person with more specific ideas for their preferences and health issues.

The goal is to promote improved health and quality of life by reducing any negative health symptoms that might be caused by their dietary or lifestyle choices. The first step for a counselor is building rapport with the patient (which is not always easy either), and then asking about all of their symptoms and their lifestyle and dietary habits and then figuring out which, or if any, might be involved in causing the negative symptoms and which might be helping promote health. Then education is provided regarding which habits are likely to be helpful ones for health and which might need to be modified or limited in order to promote improved health.

Public health can be similar — the nutrient recommendations are basically the same for most people and are used for menu planning — however individual people may still have health or genetic issues that make the standard recommendations less helpful for promoting health or possibly even harmful.

Epidemiology is the study of health statistics at the population level. It can be like detective work also. Statistical trends in health and disease are studied in order to identify outbreaks of infectious diseases before they can spread to more people or to identify other changes in health that might be preventable through educational efforts or that might be due to a change in the environment such as increased asthma in areas with increased air pollution. Identifying a potential problem can then allow solutions to be attempted such as better filters being required for factory smoke stacks to reduce air pollution, or designing and implementing community educational programs to help people quit smoking or encourage them to use air filters in their homes, and then the health statistics can be tracked to see if there were any improvements.

Back-tracking to the 2010 vitamin D video story — my own health history was part of my motivation to research the issue of low vitamin D levels at the population level — but the other reason was I had observed a huge increase in supplementation of vitamin D in many random foods and beverages in varying amounts. I had seen the same thing happen in the past after research suggested a food or nutrient was beneficial. I thought it was funny when oat bran was being added to everything — oat bran is heart smart but it would be less heart smart if only a tiny amount is added to a frozen waffle product, so the box can say “heart smart” or something like that, rather just eating a bowl of oatmeal.

Random fortification of many different foods makes planning a balanced menu somewhat impossible. Liquid milk has a regulated level of vitamin A and D fortification but milk used for cheese and yogurt does not. Some cheese and some yogurt has extra vitamin D added but not all of the types and it can vary quite a bit in how much is added. So a menu planner would need to know the amount of fortification in a specific brand or type of product to be able to fit it within the day’s meals for a balanced diet. Vitamin D is also added to breakfast cereals and snack bar or breakfast replacement type products and it is naturally rich in sardines, salmon, tuna and other fish and is found in egg yolks and can be found naturally in mushrooms or may be increased in mushrooms that were treated with UV light which increases the vitamin D content.

During the 2010 advertising frenzy vitamin D was showing up sports drink type products and larger amounts, 50-100% of the Recommended Daily Value, was being added to some yogurts and meal bar type products. If a person ate a few of those foods plus some milk and cereal and salmon very often then they might end up eating more vitamin D than necessary — and it is just a slightly different form of cholesterol. As an advertising tactic proudly proclaiming that a sports drink is vitamin D fortified likely sounds better than that it is cholesterol fortified but if the person is getting plenty of sunshine or milk and cereal and other vitamin D foods then they wouldn’t need any extra in their sports beverage.

The advertising frenzy did stop eventually as the controversy around the topic increased towards 2012 it became less of a positive sales tactic. The increase in research however did lead to stopping the recommendation for routine screening and use of high dose vitamin D supplements for most people. Now individuals are screened as needed based on individual risk rather than having most patients screened.

Vitamin D is very important but it is one of those Goldilocks nutrients. A moderate amount is essential while health issues may result from too little vitamin D and while average healthy people can break down excess amounts, some individuals may have increased health risks if they have excess amounts in their diet or from supplements.

Transparency — I would be happy to go anywhere and talk to anybody about health, nutrition, politics, PTSD, or do whatever else, but my health has been very bad when I’ve tried to travel in recent months.

Transparency — I am not really healthy enough currently to be a grocery store clerk (part of my job history) let alone be President of the U.S. but my fears in 2011 about the escalating rates of obesity and chronic illness made me feel that the the country was no longer healthy enough for me to not try to share my concerns at the time or more recently. Did I expect to win though? No.

In the current two party system it is historically very unlikely that a Third Party or write-in candidate would win. However it can still make a difference to try because Independent and Third Party platform topics sometimes become incorporated into the main party’s platforms when it seems like there are voters who support the topic. 

Glyphosate use increased greatly over the last ten years and superweeds have already developed that are resistant to it. And now DDT a chemical that was in the dangerous herbicide Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War, which has been proven to have negative health effects, has been approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. with new genetically modified crops. Why should we not expect superweeds to develop resistance to DDT within another ten years then?

Increased rates of autism and Alzheimer’s disease overlapped with the increase in use of glyphosate. How are we to know what a combination of glyphosate and DDT will do to our bodies or our environment over the next ten years? How are we to know what health problems are likely to be present in the next generation of children. Children born within the last ten years will have been exposed to glyphosate for their whole lives; in addition to aspartame, Neotame (sources of formaldehyde) and other food additives and pollutants.

The genetically modified crops have also been shown to be less nutritious than natural crops and may cause health problems for farm animals.

If we care about tradition then we need to let farmers return to traditional seeds and traditional growing methods. Farmers for thousands of years have always saved part of the seeds from the current year’s harvest to plant the next year. The genetically modified seeds are required to be purchased each year as a patented item and farmers have been sued by the patent owning company if windblown seeds from a GMO happen to land in the farmer’s non-GMO field. [2] Increased rates of suicides by farmers has been associated with GMO cotton seeds but the story goes back farther than Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton seeds. High yield cotton had been the first creation but it led to increase in a population of pest insects and so the Bt cotton seeds were created to resist the increased insect problem, read more: [1] http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/09/no-gmos-didnt-create-indias-farmer-suicide-problem And more information on the benefits and responsible use of Bt crops, [2]: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/06/gmo-bt-pesticides-crops.

Food is supposed to be nourishment not decorative and addictive food like toxin delivery units. Most of our corn and sugar beets are now Bt GMOs which means they make Bt delta endotoxin within all parts of the plant — we can’t rinse the toxin off if the plant is actually growing it within the seed or within the beet. Supposedly, just like glyphosate, the Bt toxin isn’t supposed to be harmful to humans except that it does seem to cause symptoms for some people, it may be harmful for intestinal bacteria. The Bt protein binds to the gut wall of susceptible insects and causes it to break down and allow the insect’s gut bacteria to enter it’s body and cause septaecemia. More information: [3]https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef130. Other research suggests that the genetically modified plants are producing a slightly different form of the Bt delta endotoxin which may be toxic to a wider range of insects then the older version of the pesticide which was sprayed on the surface of plants. [4] http://earthopensource.org/gmomythsandtruths/sample-page/3-health-hazards-gm-foods/3-8-myth-gm-bt-insecticidal-crops-harm-insects-harmless-animals-people/

The glyphosate and Bt toxins are harmful to bacteria and our intestinal health, and our health in general, depend on having a good variety and quantity of bacteria. We are actually dependent on our intestinal bacteria for some essential nutrients that they produce and they also produce brain neurotransmitters. Some of the beneficial bacteria even help fight off negative bacteria by producing their own version of hormone D which then activates our own immune system to make our internal form of antibiotics. Yes, good guy bacteria in our gut can make hormone D in order to prompt our white blood cells to produce antibiotics that then keep bad bacteria under control.

It’s fascinating what you can learn on the internet these days. What will we have learned ten years from now? That chronic illness has escalated at an even faster rate? A glyphosate plus DDT plus aspartame and Neotame rate?

We don’t know what we don’t know until we learn it — and then ideally we should act on what we’ve learned.

In 2012 I eventually closed the vitamin D video from public display because it had became too controversial and the research about risks had not been reviewed. Research with high dose supplements showing their ineffectiveness or risks had not been completed at that time and I was making a recommendation to be cautious or stop the high dose supplements — opposite of the trend at the time.

This video was from May 2012 about something different I learned online:

Re-watching it four years later was interesting for me from a nutrition counselor perspective. My autoimmune hyperthyroidism was discovered late 2012 / early 2013 but having met other hyperthyroid patients I think this video is displaying symptoms. I was thinner in this video than I ever had been before (or am now) and the flamboyant manner in the early part of the video doesn’t seem like my normal style. Mania and loss of weight even while eating a lot are normal though for hyperthyroid patients. I had been able to eat a lot of cornbread at that time without gaining weight – that was kind of great, but mania is less so.

A note to myself was included in the text on a different video from April 2012:

Stop procrastinating and get a round tuit“, said self to self. [What’s a tuit?]

This is also me in earlier in the year 2012:

Dancing is a healthy form of exercise and stress reduction, I should get a round tuit more often.

Something I’ve been putting off is sharing one other disturbing theory I discovered about the rapid change in rate of autism. Graphs of the timeline when glyphosate and aspartame were introduced to the market and the increasing amount being sold closely parallel the increasing rate of autism. Sadly, very sadly, with a few tears, the graph of increasing rates of breastfeeding also closely parallel the increasing rate of autism. And the rate of autism within families correlated with whether the infant was born earlier or later in the mother’s pregnancy history. First children were more likely to have autism than later children. Children who breastfed longer (and just four months was considered long if I remember correctly) were more likely to have autism. Toxins are filtered out somewhat by the placenta so the developing fetus may be exposed to less than the mother’s stored toxins which collect over the lifespan but breastmilk tends to concentrate toxins which frequently are fat soluble. A mother’s body actually loses toxin load during breastfeeding and second and third children would receive less than the first child. [5] http://www.breastfeeding-and-autism.net/ [6] http://www.pollution-effects.info/  [7] http://www.breastfeedingprosandcons.info/ *These links are long and full of science research, and don’t share how wonderful breast feeding can be. I was in email contact with the author who is concerned that women should have access to the information rather than just hear about the benefits. He would like more people to write about the issue and seemed frustrated that he hasn’t gotten any feedback from people in positions of authority. Um, nobody wants to hear that breastfeeding might be associated with autism.

As a lactation educator and mother of two breastfed children I would never recommend not breastfeeding as a general principle. It is too wonderful of a bonding experience for mother and baby and there are many health benefits for baby and mom. However as a mother and person with similar genetic defects as people on the autism spectrum I was astonished by the information but I had already been aware that a women’s toxin load could be too great for healthy breast milk (see below) and it matched my own experiences as a mother. I breastfed both of my children for two years and a few months and it was the first one, the one who didn’t receive any vaccinations for the first years of life and who was fed mostly organic homemade foods, that was the one who displayed a few symptoms of autism later in life. There weren’t many and it never worsened into an obvious problem but some issues when under stress are still issues that the person has to learn how to handle. The second child who did receive vaccinations, albeit slightly fewer and more spaced out over time than the standard recommendation, and who got processed foods much earlier and more regularly, did not display any symptoms of autism later in life.

So the bad news our bodies may be so overloaded with who knows what toxins that breastfeeding is no longer safe, and yet I breastfed my first child for two and quarter years not just four months. So the good news might be that autoimmune flair up that can lead to autism in a susceptible baby might be preventable by limiting early exposure to toxins with a delayed vaccination schedule and use of mostly organic foods — (and also use of a baby sling and backpack most of the time instead of leaving baby in a car seat, and lots of interaction, eye contact, singing, no TV, art projects, Head Start, etc.). Vaccinations inject amounts of the metal aluminum straight into the bloodstream. The molecule is larger than what would be absorbed easily in the intestines and is difficult for the body to excrete once it has been entered the bloodstream. So the vaccination itself isn’t necessarily a risk to a genetically susceptible infant but the aluminum and formerly the mercury might add to a toxin load that the infant can’t detoxify well. Infants in general don’t have a well developed detoxification system and part of the genetic susceptibility is in the area of toxin removal.

So reducing the use of toxins like glyphosate and Bt foods and the food additives aspartame and Neotame (they break down to formaldehyde which is very toxic to humans and especially to fetuses and infants) might help reduce autism rate and other chronic illnesses and would be better for the environment. Bees and butterflies may be at risk from the genetically modified Bt toxin too not just the pest it was designed to kill. [4] http://earthopensource.org/gmomythsandtruths/sample-page/3-health-hazards-gm-foods/3-8-myth-gm-bt-insecticidal-crops-harm-insects-harmless-animals-people/

It wouldn’t be easy but feasibly a woman could have her body levels of toxins tested and then initiate breast milk production with an electric pump and then pump and dump the milk for a few months — prior to ever trying to get pregnant — in order to help clear her body of toxins before conception. Some of the changes that leave an infant susceptible to autism later in life may occur within the very early days and weeks of pregnancy possibly before a woman is even aware she is pregnant. Vitamin D is involved but that is in a different post. http://transcendingsquare.com/2015/12/22/preventing-autism-perinatally-before-conception/

So individualized nutrition counseling and public health epidemiology are both a little like solving a mystery.


A draft article that I never posted:
Pollutants evaporate in hotter regions of the world and dissipate out over the cold regions of the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. Indigenous populations of the Arctic region have more contamination problems than the rest of the world. Breast fed babies there were actually sicker than formula fed babies on average – not typically seen when comparing health aspects of human milk versus formula [1].     Fair?    No.
Is the Arctic a big waste producing region? – an industrial factory zone? No, it is just very, very cold and toxins leave the gaseous form – ie get too cold and fall out of the air. They were produced elsewhere and just drifted til it got cold – life isn’t fair – ask a Polar Bear.
  1. by Joe Thornton, Pandora’s Poison, Chlorine, Health, and a New Environmental Strategy, (MIT, 2000) (pages 151-152) * Inuit children exposed to organochlorines in breast milk and had more ear infections and altered T-cell ratios, a sign of immunosuppression compared to formula fed infants. The formula fed infants had lower blood levels of organochlorines than the breast fed infants. [amazon.com]

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Vitamin D and glyphosate (Round-up)

There has been an increase in the number of sports related concussions at the same time that there has been a decrease in the total number of participants in sports suggesting that sports have become more risky or participants have become more susceptible to concussion. A research paper presents the theory that there has been an increase in susceptibility due to a combination of a decrease of nutrients and an increase of toxins in the average player.

And the increased use of glyphosate, an herbicide used in Round-up products, may be adding to the nutrient deficiency by its affect on the enzyme that activates vitamin D to the active hormone form which is needed in the liver for formation of cholesterol sulfate which is needed in the brain to protect against damage after brain trauma.

The enzyme that activates vitamin D3, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 1α-hydroxylase (CYP27B1) is a CYP enzyme, and therefore is subject to suppression by glyphosate.[171]” [1]

In addition to sulfate, magnesium and zinc are also essential for the brain’s defense mechanisms. Read more: [1]

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

  1. Morley W, Seneff S, Diminished brain resilience syndrome: A modern day neurological pathology of increased susceptibility to mild brain trauma, concussion, and downstream neurodegeneration, Surg Neurol Int. 2014; 5: 97.[http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4093745/]

The new U.S. food label changes have been released by the FDA; a link

Serving size and calorie information will be in larger font. Packages that contain only a few portions will be required to have a nutrition label for the single serving nutrient content and an additional label showing the nutrient content if the whole package was consumed at once. For example a 20 ounce bottled beverage might show the nutrient and calorie information if 10 ounces were consumed as a single serving and have an additional label showing the nutrients and calories that would be consumed if the entire 20 ounce bottle was consumed at one time.

Vitamin A and C content will no longer be required but may still be included by the company if they choose to display  the information. Vitamin D and potassium content will be required to be included on the label and iron and calcium will continue to be required. Actual milligrams or other unit of measurement will be required in addition to a percentage provided in a 2000 calorie average day’s intake. Deficiencies of vitamin A and C are rare in the U.S. population while deficiencies of Vitamin D and potassium have been an increasing concern. Adequate potassium intake can help protect against high blood pressure problems (hypertension) and may be just as important as limiting excess salt for prevention of hypertension.

Added Sugar” will be a new category in addition to “Total Sugar” which has been a confusing item because it includes naturally occurring sugars contained in dairy products and fruit in addition to any added sugars.

To see examples of the new label format in comparison to the old label, read more: [http://gizmodo.com/heres-your-first-look-at-americas-new-food-label-1777778379]

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Self injurious behavior in autism patients with low calcium levels

Trigger warning for people with a history of trauma, self injury or other PTSD type issues: this post is about difficult topics and was difficult for me to write and to recover from writing. It may trigger uncomfortable feelings in readers but denial of issues doesn’t help anyone learn how to modify and control the issues for an improved quality of life and/or improved level of self control and safety from self injury. Sexual assault is also a difficult topic but self injury or the urge to self-injure can happen everyday.

Interestingly, Coleman (1994) studied a group of autistic children who had low levels of calcium (i.e., hypocalcinuria). These individuals often exhibited eye-poking behavior. When given calcium supplements, the eye-poking decreased substantially. In addition, language functioning improved.” [http://www.autism.com/symptoms_self-injury]

— secondary hyperparathyroidism perhaps?

For me secondary hyperparathyroidism can cause significant mental illness symptoms including a feeling of jittery thoughts and a jittery body, with a pent up feeling of needing to pop the bubble – ‘stabby’ feelings with a desire to self injure by stabbing myself. It is extremely unpleasant feeling and at times included a feeling of wanting to pop the eyes – gouge them out. Very unpleasant is an understatement, very dangerous to self is more accurate.

Secondary hyperparathyroidism can be caused by low vitamin D or low calcium. My endocrinologist was extremely insistent that I take both vitamin D and calcium but over the years I had learned, with lab test proof, that my hormone D tends to be in the elevated end of the normal range. Irritability to an excessive level can occur at the elevated end of the range of hormone D. Lab test ranges are just based on the averages that are seen by the lab — and lab tests are usually ordered for sick people not for healthy people, so those lab test ranges are really the range of values seen in sick people not a range based on the average values seen in only healthy people.

I didn’t comply with the endocrinologist’s recommendation and found that just increasing calcium intake stabilized my level of parathyroid hormone and took away the ‘stabby’ feelings.

It is common for corticosteroid balance to be different from normal in patients with autism. [see link below] Vitamin D and hormone D are actually seco-steroids and the active hormone D acts somewhat like steroids in the body. Autism patients may be like people with obesity and many other chronic illnesses, that have been associated with low vitamin D but supplements weren’t found to be helpful for the various conditions. The problem may be more like mine where I have too much hormone D which is converted from vitamin D, and which leads to low levels of vitamin D. [http://www.preventmiscarriage.com/documents/Immunological-Considerations.pdf]

Vitamin D is carried on a transport protein that acts to keep it inactive. When free within the body the vitamin form is quickly activated to the hormone form. There are many more Vitamin D receptors throughout the body than there is usually  enough hormone D to activate them all during states of normal health.

Autism and other chronic diseases that seem to associated with low lab test levels of vitamin D may actually be reflecting a problem or deficiency in the vitamin D carrier protein rather than representing an inadequate amount of vitamin D being supplied from the diet or an inadequate amount of time spent in direct sunshine. Vitamin D is based on cholesterol and is not actually an essential vitamin in the way that other vitamins are essential because our bodies can make vitamin D from cholesterol when we get about 15 to 30 minutes of sunshine per day on our face, throat, and bare arms.

Magnesium baths help circumvent the problem elevated hormone D causes within the gastrointestinal tract — calcium is absorbed preferentially and magnesium deficiency can result which also can be a cause of significant irritability.

Providing nutrition education and individualized nutrition care in the public health sector is where I have training and experience. — ie giving away free information. Making money is not where I’ve had experience. And traveling has proven to be difficult for me with my various autoimmune and food sensitivities, but I care a lot about pain and suffering and mental anguish, in myself and others.

It is unpleasant to have to feel an urge to hurt oneself, and it is hard to control an internal explosive feeling that has nothing to do with how your childhood went — talk therapy is not much help if the problem is actually hyperparathyroidism. Multiply that internal jitteriness and explosive feeling by days, months, or years, and it is really much better to take calcium supplements and magnesium baths then to talk to a therapist about your childhood — while trying to control the urge to poke yourself in the eyes. (They don’t understand, and the endocrinologist didn’t either. Lab tests are just lab tests and mood symptoms are referred to a psychiatrist for mood stabilizing medications – in my (bad) experience.)

  • Autistic kids wash up happier in an Epsom salt bath, .
  • I describe my current Epsom salt bath routine towards the end of this post: Substance P, neuropathic pain, migraines, and the cannabinoid system,

The way “fair use for educational purposes” works is that the information is provided not for profit. I share information, which may contain excerpts from copy-righted works, in the hopes that some individuals or clinicians will find some of the information helpful, and to keep within the guidelines for fair use I don’t ask for donations or charge money for the information.

(Brief excerpts fit the guidelines better, the Autistic kids wash up happier post was a post from years ago, before I had learned more about fair use guideline. It contains an extensive excerpt from a much longer article, but it is very helpful information regarding some special dietary needs that are common among children with autism and which I also found helpful for improving my own diet. I have recently found that I have several genetic defects that are also commonly found in children with autism. One of them affects two important amino acids so that might be a problem that could affect my ability to make the vitamin D carrier protein – but I haven’t looked into that metabolic pathway yet.)

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

The voices that people with schizophrenia are hearing are probably their own inner thoughts

This is kind of breaking news — new news: A research scientist, with the aid of a powerful microphone, was able to record a patient with schizophrenia speaking to themselves in a sub-vocal voice. The patient was not aware that they were speaking at the time.

The research is very early, a first in its field perhaps, but the theory seems to suggest that the patient’s with schizophrenia symptoms may have some disconnect with the normal ability to identify internal thoughts and sub-vocal speech as being self generated and instead are interpreting the internal thoughts as coming from some external source of whatever type the person might think.

(Example of my interpretation of sub-vocal speech: the almost silent muttering under your breath that you don’t notice yourself doing, until suddenly you do notice that you’re talking to yourself, and then you stop because you don’t want anyone to notice. The brain of a someone with schizophrenia may no longer recognize the voices of self-talk, or those of voices in memories or in imagined conversations, as being internally self-generated and instead probably tend to make up some explanation for  whatever or whoever might be doing the talking that is being heard — hearing voices. Our internal chatter can get busy and sometimes pretty mean, it would be scary to not realize that it is just yourself. )

Read more, of the actual article:  [http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2016/03/schizophrenia_and_subvocal_speech_why_schizophrenics_hear_the_voices_of.html]

This seems like very important news — patients with schizophrenia may be able to be gently reminded that those voices are just brain mumbles, and to try to ignore them.

People with schizophrenia are generally not associated with violence unless there is also a history of violent behavior, alcohol or drug abuse, or more persecutory fantasies. [citation missing, I don’t remember where I read that recently, but I posted it in a comment somewhere.]

Mental health symptoms sometimes may be due to underlying issues that could be easily fixed, rather than considering the patient as being ‘mentally ill’ for the rest of their life and likely being placed on medications that tend to have severe side effects. Effective health care would seek for any underlying causes that can be returned to a state of normal function with the simplest solutions possible, “Let food be thy medicine,” the first part of the quote by Hippocrates may be the most important part.

There are several different nutrient deficiencies that can cause symptoms similar to schizophrenia or may be involved in an underlying cause for the condition, this information was from an older post of mine but it was not grouped together:

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Prenatal Vitamin D deficiency may be associated with the infant’s risk for developing Multiple sclerosis later in life

Vitamin D deficiency at levels equal to or below 12 ng/dL in prenatal women was associated with the baby’s later risk for developing Multiple sclerosis as an adult. No potential reasons for the association were discussed in the article. Read more: [http://neurosciencenews.com/vitamin-d-ms-3809/]

Two to three servings of dairy products fortified with vitamin D provide an adequate amount of vitamin D for the average person. A pregnant person may be recommended to have one additional serving per day for both the vitamin D content and the calcium. Mushrooms and egg yolk are natural sources of vitamin D. Canned salmon and sardines provide vitamin D and are a good source of calcium due to the tenderized bones that remain in the prepared fish. Sesame seeds, almonds and other nuts, beans, seeds, and deep green vegetables are also non-dairy sources of calcium.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./