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The Hottest Fashion Accessory of This Year’s World Series: the Magic Necklace

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
October 30, 2011
File under: Homeopathy, Natural Health, Uncategorized

I’m a big baseball fan. Even though none of my teams are in the World Series this year, I’ve been tuned in as much as my busy work schedule has allowed. It’s hard not to notice that pretty much all the pitchers this year (and more than a few of the hitters) are wearing flashy cord-like necklaces.

Now, not being much of a fashion devotee, I just figured it was another trendy flourish. With the number of players sporting tatoos, piercings, and weird facial hair, the necklaces seemed like just another goofy thing. Until I came across this.

It turns out that the necklaces are being used as a performance-enhancing tool, and that the titanium ions are believed by some to aid recovery and prevent injury. This is almost certainly a fanciful claim. …read more of The Hottest Fashion Accessory of This Year’s World Series: the Magic Necklace here

 
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Misinterpreting Research to Reassure the Public – an Object Lesson

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
October 7, 2011
File under: Childrens Health, Diet, Natural Health, Nutrition, Uncategorized

A new study published in the journal Toxicological Sciences looked at the concentrations of a toxin called bisphenol A (BPA) in the blood and urine after a single-day moderate dietary exposure. The authors found that people eating three meals per day from cans lined with BPA had large spikes in their urinary output of the chemical, but that very little BPA was found in the blood stream.

An industry group quickly released a statement suggesting that this article was definitive evidence of the safety of BPA exposure from cans. It is in fact no such thing.

First of all, the study provides definitive proof that BPA from cans leads to spikes in urinary output, a finding that would be impossible if it were not absorbed. Second, this study included no measures of safety, only measuring some of the ways BPA travels through the body (a study called pharmacokinetics).

…read more of Misinterpreting Research to Reassure the Public – an Object Lesson here

 
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Is There a Downside to the Organic and Local Food Movements?

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
September 24, 2011
File under: Diet, Natural Health, Nutrition, Sustainable Food

A provocative new article in the magazine Foreign Policy suggests that the local foods and organic movements are hurting the world’s poorest populations through their misplaced fetishes (his word, not mine).

The argument behind the controversial thesis is multifaceted, and lumps together discussions that probably have no business in the same conversation - transportation costs, GMOs, and seasonal eating are all important discussions, and deserve a longer discussion than a paragraph each before being cursorily swept aside. So, I guess as a nutrition educator, I’m not a huge fan of the article. But there were a couple of things about it that really caught my eye.

First, I think this is another sign of a growing backlash against the natural foods movement. I’ve seen this coming for a while, but it’s really gathered steam over the past year or two. At first, this felt like a sort of natural response to the evangelical excesses of portions of the health food community. …read more of Is There a Downside to the Organic and Local Food Movements? here

 
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America’s Potassium Problem

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
September 9, 2011
File under: Childrens Health, Diet, Health Concerns, Illness Prevention, Natural Health, Nutrition

America’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is truly a masterpiece of nutritional science.

Once a decade, NHANES publishes a comprehensive guide to what Americans eat, broken down by age, gender, race, and geographical location. This data helps guide public policy and research agendas over the upcoming decade.

The newest NHANES data, gathered from 2003 to 2006, are just starting to seep out into the research world, and if you are an advocate for food-as-medicine, the results aren’t pretty. …read more of America’s Potassium Problem here

 
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Saltwater Chicken?

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
August 1, 2011
File under: Diet, Natural Health, Nutrition, Sustainable Food

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Did you know that store-bought chicken breasts are likely to have been injected with salt-water solution to increase their weight? If not, the food industry has done their job of keeping this practice under the radar. Fortunately, that is about to change.

…read more of Saltwater Chicken? here

 
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A New Life For an Old Idea

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
July 5, 2011
File under: Diet, Health Concerns, Illness Prevention, Natural Alternatives, Natural Health, Nutrition, Sustainable Food, Uncategorized

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In the same way that a broken watch is right twice a day, every once in a while the nutrition beliefs of the natural health community and the academic community line up in unexpected ways. This is the case with the reanimated recommendation of Meatless Monday.

The concept of a Meatless Monday as a means of conserving scarce resources is nearly 100 years old. It was developed in response to food shortages during World War I, and was revived during World War II. But once peacetime rolled around, the programs were placed in the same mothballs as the Send Over Smokes program and the Liberty Bond.

In 2003, as part of the Healthy Monday series of campaigns, the guy responsible for the advertising catch-phrase “don’t squeeze the Charmin” revived the Meatless Monday program. …read more of A New Life For an Old Idea here

 
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Can You Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
June 28, 2011
File under: Diet, Health Concerns, Natural Health, Nutrition

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People with type 2 diabetes can not only normalize their blood sugar, but can undo some of the tissue damage that leads to the disease, according to a provocative new study published this month in Diabetologia.

Previous research trials have demonstrated that you can go into remission from type 2 diabetes, but conventional wisdom has been that the hormonal changes leading to diabetes are progressive, and only go in a single direction – getting worse.

In this study, a group of 11 recently diagnosed (< 4 years ago) type 2 diabetics under the age of 65 ate a 600 calorie diet for 8 weeks. This diet was largely made up from a liquid nutrition product called Optifast, but also included 3 servings of vegetables per day. …read more of Can You Reverse Type 2 Diabetes? here

 
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Dietary Sodium – A New Controversy About an Old Intervention

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
June 3, 2011
File under: Diet, Health Concerns, Illness Prevention, Natural Health, Nutrition

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Salt restricted diets have been a mainstay of treatment for high blood pressure therapy for over 100 years. A study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association challenges this view, purporting to link higher salt intakes with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

In this new study, the authors collected the urine of about 3600 European adults over a single day period, and analyzed the content of sodium. This group was then followed over a period of about six years, and statistics were kept on cardiovascular events (like heart attack and stroke) and blood pressure.

There were a number of controversial findings in this study, …read more of Dietary Sodium – A New Controversy About an Old Intervention here

 
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A New Class of Antidepressants Looks Like an Old Dietary Supplement

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
May 24, 2011
File under: Health Concerns, Medical Care, Natural Alternatives, Natural Health, Supplements

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An article scheduled for publication in the next issue of the Lancet looks at the efficacy of a new class of antidepressant. This medication class includes a number of new melatonin-like molecules, none of which are currently approved for therapeutic use in the United States.

But melatonin is widely available over-the-counter in this country. Would melatonin supplements potentially have the same therapeutic effect as the pharmaceutical versions? Maybe, but let’s take a little detour first.

For the past 50 years, drug therapies for depression have focused on a group of neurotransmitters called monoamines. In particular, serotonin has been the major therapeutic target, so much so that many modern theories about the cause of depression focus on disruptions in production of this chemical. …read more of A New Class of Antidepressants Looks Like an Old Dietary Supplement here

 
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What Is Tartrazine, and Why Should I Care?

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
May 20, 2011
File under: Diet, Food Allergies, Natural Health, Nutrition, Uncategorized

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Tartrazine is a food coloring also referred to as yellow #5. It has been approved by the FDA for use in foods since 1969, and is widely distributed throughout the American diet. It is also frequently found in cosmetics and medications.

For the vast majority of people, there may not be much reason to care about tartrazine. It is not known to be carcinogenic, nor does chronic toxicity appear to be an indentifiable problem at common dietary exposure levels.

But for an unlucky few, exposure to tartrazine can be a big contributor to some pretty serious problems. The amount of people who have intolerance reactions to tartrazine is still being determined, but the number looks pretty small - no more than a tenth of a percent of the population. …read more of What Is Tartrazine, and Why Should I Care? here

 
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