Sally Fallon Morell takes on the Diet Dictocrats
GERMS AND GENES
I have often pointed out that modern medicine likes to blame the three Gs for disease—germs, genes and God. A perfect example of this misplaced castigation is evident in an August 10, 2020 Examiner article, “What Really Killed Elvis?” which claims that it wasn’t long-term drug use or a poor diet that killed Elvis off at age forty-two, but bad genes! Elvis was doomed to die young, says Dr. Stephen Kingsmore, a specialist in “genomic” medicine, who analyzed a sample of Elvis’ hair. The conditions Elvis suffered from—obesity, heart disease, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and bad eyesight—were inherited! Elvis also suffered from fatigue and fainting. This had nothing to do with his diet, says Dr. Kingsmore, which included something called “Fool’s Gold Loaf,” a hollowed-out loaf of bread, stuffed with peanut butter, an entire jar of grape jam and a pound of bacon, slathered with margarine and then deep-fried (note, we’re not blaming the bacon); nor with the fact that toxicology reports found eleven drugs in the singer’s system. “There had been so much speculation about cause of death,” says Kingsmore, “and so much ill spoken of his lifestyle, and we had this intriguing finding that possibly Elvis had a medical illness, and all of the stuff about how he killed himself with his lifestyle might have been very unfair.”
SUNSCREEN CHEMICALS ACCUMULATE
Moms who slather sunscreen on their kids might want to think again. A recent FDA study of six active ingredients in sunscreens (avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate) found they appear in the bloodstream on day one and accumulate over time. The FDA considers blood concentrations over 0.5 ng/mL as unsafe; this threshold was surpassed on day one after a single application for all active ingredients. Maximum plasma concentration rates ranged from 3.3 to 258.1 ng/mL, depending on the chemical and whether it was applied to the skin in the form of a lotion or spray—lotions giving the highest levels. All of the ingredients continued to exceed the FDA safety threshold of 0.5 ng/mL on day seven, and two of the ingredients, homosalate and oxybenzone, remained above the threshold on day twenty-one (JAMA 2020 Jan 21;323(3):256-267). Homosalate is of particular concern because it exerts estrogen-like activity. FDA says under the CARES Act, the agency is required to propose a revised sunscreen order by September 27, 2021. But it is not in any hurry. A spokeswoman for the Personal Care Products Council said, “There will be no deadline for FDA to issue a final order, but if and when such an order is issued, it may not take effect for at least one year after the proposed administrative order.”
3D CHICKEN NUGGETS
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) plans to test chicken nuggets made with 3D “bioprinting technology” in Russia this fall. The nuggets “will mimic the taste and appearance of its original nuggets at a fraction of the environmental cost.” The product will contain lab-grown “meat” shaped with a 3D printer. According to Raisa Polyakova, CEO of KFC Russia, “Crafted meat products are the next step in the development of our ‘restaurant of the future’ concept. Our experiment in testing 3D bioprinting technology to create chicken products can also help address several looming global problems. We are glad to contribute to its development and are working to make it available to thousands of people in Russia and, if possible, around the world.” Yusef Khesuani, cofounder and managing partner of 3D Bioprinting Solutions, hopes the KFC partnership will “accelerate the rise of cell-based meats and make them more widely accessible” (Business Insider, July 21, 2020). KFC is also selling Beyond Fried Chicken (made out of pea protein) at over fifty California outlets after “successful” tests in Nashville, Atlanta and Charlotte. What all these fake products have in common is lots of MSG and other artificial flavor enhancers; lab meat will contain antibiotics and mold inhibitors used in the manufacturing process. We’d like to know how these products can help solve “several looming global problems.”
Speaking of chicken, in July the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the approval of a petition filed by the National Chicken Council “to permit chicken that is infected with the avian disease Leukosis to be fit for human consumption.” Prior to the change in rules, chicken “carcasses found to have this disease were to be condemned and removed from further processing.” FSIS also approved an industry request to increase chicken kill line speeds from “140 birds per minute to 175 birds.” That’s almost three birds per second! At that speed, it’s hard for production workers to confirm all the body parts are there, let alone inspect for leukosis. One more reason to purchase your poultry directly from a farmer!
GLYPHOSATE AND ENDOCRINE DISRUPTION
Evidence of glyphosate toxicity continues to accumulate. Glyphosate is the herbicide in Roundup and other products that is most used worldwide, especially on corn, soybean and lawns. Many reported adverse effects are due to exposure at high doses; however, a recent study indicated that low-dose exposure alters the development of the female reproductive tract, with consequences on fertility. Studies have demonstrated that exposure to glyphosate alters the development and differentiation of ovarian follicles and the uterus, affecting fertility when animals are exposed before puberty and during gestation. The main mechanism for these frightening effects is the “modulation of estrogen receptors and molecules involved in the estrogenic pathways” (Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 10 July 2020).
VITAMIN A AND THE LUNGS
Vitamin A deficiency “constitutes, with protein malnutrition, the most common nutritional disorder in the world.” So states a review article, “Vitamin A deficiency and the lung,” published in the journal Nutrients (September 2018). The authors noted that vitamin A is “the most multifunctional vitamin in the human body, as it is involved in several essential physiological processes from embryogenesis to adulthood.” These include vision, immunity, cell differentiation and proliferation, embryological development and antioxidant function. Recent research indicates a role for vitamin A related to insulin function, lipid metabolism, energy balance and redox signaling. As for the lungs, vitamin A is involved in the proliferation and maintenance of epithelial cells including those of the respiratory tract, and is a major factor regulating differentiation and maturation of the lung. Vitamin A deficiency leads to “negative histologic changes within the respiratory tract [and] indicates that retinoids continue to play an important role in the adulthood lung.” Thus, adequate vitamin A intake would be especially important for protection against the lung disease called Covid-19.
VITAMIN A AND THE MEASLES
Speaking of vitamin A, private citizens from Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. sent doses of vitamin A to Samoa during a recent outbreak of measles. By December 2019, almost five thousand cases occurred, with seventy-two deaths, mostly among young children. According to Samoan businessman Edwin Tamasese, who received the shipments, “We’re having really good success, like in sixteen hours we’re having kids that are lying there looking like they’re going to pass away, and they are weak, but then they get up and start drinking, and start to eat.” Health officials recognize vitamin A deficiency as a risk factor for severe cases of the childhood illness, and the WHO, UNICEF and the CDC all endorse a two-dose vitamin A treatment to reduce the complications of measles. But some officials are not pleased. Scientist Ian Mackay of the University of Queensland said that “anti-vax rhetoric about vitamin A peddled on social media is ‘not correct.’” The CDC has dispatched a behavioral scientist to the area to help with “vaccine-related communications,” and spokesperson Amy Rowland states that the first priority is making sure we have not healthy children but healthy vaccine demand (thevaccinereaction.org/2019/12/vitamin-a-shipped-to-samoa/).
A NEW AND BETTER BREAST MILK?
Where have we heard that claim before? That’s exactly what they said about infant formula made with powdered skim milk, vegetable oils and refined sweeteners. Now, we learn, “A new and better breast milk alternative has arrived.” As an added bonus this product will be “helpful for the environment as well.” So states a press release for the U.S. company BIOMILQ, which is artificially producing human breast milk from cultured human mammary epithelial cells. The start-up has received over three million dollars from an investment fund co-founded by Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg. According to the press release, an estimated 10 percent of the global milk production goes into the manufacture of baby formula, and that’s bad for the environment. “BIOMILQ aims to provide a greener alternative for formula milk” with a smaller carbon footprint. Moreover, the artificially-produced milk will be “easier for babies to digest than formula.” The manufacturing process allows the company “to create the full sequence of intricate components in perfect proportion.” With their lab-produced product, BIOMILQ co-founder and cell biologist Leila Strickland claims that the company will “create a better Earth for future generations” (Science Times, June 20, 2020). You just can’t make this stuff up.
Lots of products are smuggled—drugs, diamonds, counterfeit money—but along the largely unpoliced border of Brazil and Paraguay, one of the largest and most lucrative criminal enterprises involves smuggling pesticides. A recent catch, hidden under a few sacks of grain, was a haul of twelve thousand pounds of the pesticide emamectin benzoate, with a street value of more than two million dollars. Emamectin is widely used to control insects in larvae form in a number of crops including pine trees. It’s also added to fish feed to control lice in farmed salmon; vets prescribe it in the form of ivermectin for the treatment of heartworm in dogs. The smuggled pesticides sell for less than those produced by agricultural chemical companies, and come without the requirement for oversight. At least 10 percent of the agrochemical trade—currently valued at over two hundred billion dollars—is illegal, and many consider that to be a vast underestimate. In addition to Brazil, Ukraine and India produce large amounts of these chemicals. Yet another reason to eat organic and to know your farmer! (The Washington Post, February 9, 2020.)
TB AND VITAMIN D
While reports about Covid-19 monopolize the news, tuberculosis (TB) continues its silent rampage throughout the developing world, killing something like three thousand people per day. Treatment often forces patients and their families into poverty, but historically, several low-cost therapies proved very effective. In the 1890s up to the 1930s, tuberculosis patients received phototherapy and sunshine; in the 1940s, TB patients got cod liver oil or high doses of vitamin D. All, of course, involve vitamin D, either taken orally or stimulated in the skin. In fact, in 1903 the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology was awarded to a physician who cured hundreds of patients suffering from chronic lupus vulgaris (TB of the skin) with refracted light rays from an electric arc lamp. The authors of a paper published in the Journal of Steroid and Biochemical Molecular Biology (2018 Mar;177:21-29) describe the success of these treatments and wonder why these therapies are no longer in use. Of course we know the answer: there’s no money in natural, common-sense treatments such as these.
PASS THE RHIZOMES
Paleodieters insist that our primitive ancestors didn’t eat starchy foods, but archeologists from the University of Witwaterstrand have discovered evidence that inhabitants of the Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains, South Africa, were cooking starchy plants one hundred seventy thousand years ago. Researchers found fifty-five charred, whole rhizomes identified as a small and tender version of Hypoxis, commonly called the yellow star flower. The rhizomes are rich in starch and highly digestible when cooked. A wooden digging stick, used to extract the rhizomes from the ground, was also found in the cave. Other discoveries over the years include a baby buried in a Conus seashell, bone tools, an ancient counting device, ostrich eggshell beads, resin and a poison probably used on hunting weapons (sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200102143424.htm).