Importance of Limiting Pesticide Exposure by Eating Organic

Eating fresh vegetables and fruits is all well and good, but there’s a catch. Most of us are not aware of the pesticides and chemicals that go into our food production process. Chances are that what you consider to be healthy might just be killing you. Commonly used pesticides like organophosphates are neurotoxins can be terribly harmful to your body. Other chemicals like phthalates are endocrine disruptors can also cause severe harm to your reproductive, nervous, and other body systems.

Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to eat whole food that has zero exposure to these chemicals in today’s food supply, but a little is much better than a LOT.  Researchers have found that eating a completely organic diet can reduce your pesticide exposure by 90%. These pesticides have ghastly effects on your body. Some of which can be hard to shake while others can be managed by an altered diet.

Here are some frequently used pesticides and what they might be doing to your body:

Organophosphates and Carbamates

Exposure to these pesticides causes increased salivation and perspiration. It can also cause narrowing of the pupils, nausea, diarrhea, decrease in blood pressure, muscle weakness and fatigue. The symptoms fade after the exposure to these chemicals decreases. Some pesticides of this variety also have a delayed neurological reaction which causes weakness in muscles and arms.

Chlorpyrifos

Created in the 1960s, this pesticide has been around for a while. Once used in home gardening they have now found their way into cotton, almonds, oranges, and even corn crops. This pesticide can cause a number of ill effects in the body. From a mild headache to an increased risk for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to much more serious conditions like respiratory paralysis.

Pyrethyroids

Exposure to these chemicals can cause aggression, uncoordinated behavior, whole-body tremors, and seizures. Skin exposure can also cause allergic responses, cancer or even developmental defects.

Glyphosate

The active ingredient in the popular weed killer called RoundUp, glyphosphate is designed by the seed makers for use on genetically modified soy, corn, canola, cotton and in parks. Its residue has become ubiquitous and has even been discovered in the Mississippi basin. Its ill-effects include neurological disorders, birth defects, infertility, and is a known carcinogen. There are some serious issues that one should be worried about when eating foods laden with pesticides. You should be aware of the following:

Memory Loss

A review from the University College London concluded that low level of pesticide exposure can cause cognitive impairment. It can affect memory, the speed with which you process information, and higher brain functions like long-term planning.

Diabetes

Tolyfluanid, a fungicide used on crops, can increase insulin resistance in cells. This can accelerate the development of diabetes and may be contributing to the national epidemic that is happening right now.  It’s estimated that 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with diabetes by 2020.

Cancer

There are more than 260 studies linking pesticides with cancer like lymphoma, leukemia, soft tissue sarcoma in a wide-range of tissues including breast, brain, prostate, bone cancers among others.  There are many resources explaining these risks and all of the package inserts of these pesticides have warnings about the potential of cancer from exposure to these chemicals.

Parkinson’s Disease

Over 60 studies have identified a strong correlation between long-term exposure to herbicides and pesticides with Parkinson’s disease. The only way to avoid this is to eat food that has no traces of pesticides in them at all.

Developmental Diseases

Leading autism researchers believe that there is link between pollutants and genes causing autism. Insecticides usually kill bugs by disrupting their neurological functioning. The same thing seems to be happening in children. A 2010 Harvard study found that children with organophosphate pesticide breakdown materials are more likely to have ADHD.

How is Organic Food Different?

Organically grown vegetables, fruits, and grains do not use pesticides, chemical fertilizers or any other chemicals to support their growth. This means the growing food process utilizes natural fertilizers such as manure and compost. It is important that animal products are also organic as these animals should be reared on organic feed (not treated with growth hormones) and allowed regular access to the outdoors. Organic produce is clearly labeled, and this is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture.

There is emerging research that organic food has a higher percentage of antioxidants. This is because plants produce a large percentage of their antioxidant compounds to fight against pest attacks. Supplementing their growth with chemical pesticides only inhibits their ability to grow the compounds we eat these food items for. Moreover, food grown this way is far safer for the environment while also being safer to consume. Be it plants or animals, organically reared food is undeniably better for the body and keeps you safe from ingesting harmful chemicals. Most would argue that it tastes much better as well.

Summary

Eating organic food is the best way for you to limit your exposure to pesticides and dangerous chemicals. While it may seem more costly, it is definitely a cheaper option to the health risks of ingesting chemical-laced food. There are a number of health risks that have been identified as being associated with pesticides as mentioned above. Many Americans are realizing the value of prevention being better than cure and shifting to an organic lifestyle in droves.

Health Effects of the Myers’ Cocktail

Created by Dr. John Myers in the 1960s, the Myers’ Cocktail is a uniquely formulated nutrient drip. This intravenous (IV) vitamin blend was designed to treat a wide range of issues. Even though Dr. Myers passed away in the early 1980s without revealing the recipe, Dr. Alan Gaby was able to reproduce the concoction. The IV blend consists of a unique combination of magnesium chloride, calcium gluconate, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, and diluted hydrochloric acid. Though the results tend to remain relatively constant, doctors around the world can differ significantly in their own preparation of the infusion.

Myers’ Cocktail is a rapid way of providing your body all the critical nutrition and hydration it needs. This is why it has become a favorite among those that are volume depleted from infection, inflammation, poor dietary choices, intense workouts, post-procedure, and even veisalgia (hangover) among many others. Its administration through an IV makes it fast and easy for it to get directly into our bloodstream for its myriad of beneficial effects. This is particularly helpful for those that are nauseous or otherwise unable to drink massive amounts of fluid rapidly.

What are Nutrients?

We need some fundamental nutrients to drive almost every reaction that occurs in our body, from moving your pinky finger to choosing the right career to be able to have fun with your friends. These nutrients include elemental metals (calcium, phosphate, magnesium, selenium), antioxidants (glutathione, oxygen), vitamins (B12, C, D), and buffers (sodium bicarbonate, lactate).  There are countless others, and the field of biochemistry is the study of the way these nutrients interact with each other to powers our body.

Why Does Almost Everyone Need the Myers’ Cocktail?

The American diet stinks. There has been a marked increase in digestive issues over the last few decades. This has been in tandem with a national increase in the consumption of fast food and sugar. In fact, even our healthy foods have gotten less nutritious from some of manufacturing and processing methods (Nutritional Inflation, Who’d a Thunk it?).

These and other, more sinister factors have led to a marked rise in the incidence of Leaky Gut Syndrome, which ultimately leads to a reduction in the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. This, in turn, causes a weakening of the immune system, which makes it harder for the body to fight infections and abnormal cellular mutations, like those of cancer. The lack of adequate nutrients in the body also has a direct effect on one’s mood and ability to function. Not being able to absorb nutrients from food, or not consuming the right diet, can also lead to obesity as most of these individuals are malnourished from eating foods that have low nutritional value.  All of these facts make it easy to understand the root cause of most of our serious chronic diseases and highlights the importance of having a good balance of nutrients available to your body.

How Does it Work?

Because of the aforementioned factors, it is virtually impossible to attain the concentrations of nutrients required by the body for optimal function through our typical American diets. Moreover, because of the leaky gut syndrome, merely increasing the oral intake of nutrients can not directly lead to an increase in that particular nutrient in the bloodstream. This not-to-mention that most people can not tolerate high doses of oral nutrients that are commonly associated with side effects. The Myers cocktail, however, is intravenously administered using a small IV catheter. The patient can relax comfortably in a chair during an infusion, which can roughly about 30-minutes. Especially when you are deficient in these vitamins and minerals, infusing them in this manner is an excellent way for managing problematic digestive issues or for providing an immediate boost in existing nutrient levels.

So, in summary, the Myers’ Cocktail helps restore the body’s nutritional balance by delivering essential nutrients directly into the bloodstream. The combination of vitamins and minerals are absorbed at a cellular level and show an immediate effect on the patient. Because almost none of us eat the recommended 12 servings of vegetables a day, this therapy is useful for nearly anybody. Not only for people suffering from ailments such as asthma, migraines, and chronic pain, but also for those battling many common chronic diseases.

Frequency of Administering a Myers’ Cocktail

For people that have healthy kidney and liver function, it is almost impossible to overdose on a Myers Cocktail.  However, administering this infusion depends on the patient’s overall condition and the specific ailment being treated. For conditions like sinusitis, muscle spasm, or upper respiratory infections, about two treatments would provide results. For those preparing for athletic events or in anticipation of high-stress events like surgery, even one administration can provide fast results, but this cocktail should generally be taken weekly for three to five weeks. Your specific frequency of administration is best decided by your physician prior to your first treatment. Chronic conditions need ongoing treatment with regular assessment according to the disease.

Side Effects of the Myers’ Cocktail

While there are no adverse effects of the Myers’ cocktail, there may be mild side effects for some people. The patient may feel a warming or a flushed feeling because of the magnesium in the infusion. Magnesium can also lower the blood pressure, and some susceptible patients may experience fainting. When coupled with high-dose vitamin C, GI symptoms like dyspepsia and nausea can occur. Unlike most pharmaceutical therapies, these cases are rare and hardly ever happen when your care emanates from experienced professionals.

Ailments Treated by the Myers’ Cocktail

From the common cold to more serious ailments, the Myers’ Cocktail has been used for a large variety of purposes. Here are a few:

Boosting Immunity

The high dosage of vitamins in your bloodstream is a great way to keep yourself safe from common ailments.

Asthma

Myers’ Cocktail is wonderful in reducing symptoms of asthma and allergies. As an additional “side-effect,” it also helps reduce anxiety during attacks as well as controlling blood pressure.

Pain Relief

Back pain, post-op pain, injury, and muscle aches can be rapidly relieved by the Myers’ Cocktail. It can also ease the widespread pain and muscle aches of fibromyalgia and common inflammatory conditions like arthritis.

Mental Issues

Lack of essential vitamins and minerals contribute significantly to mental ailments like anxiety and depression. When taken regularly, the Myers’ Cocktail modulates nutrient levels over time so that its beneficial mood and emotional effects help you deal with normal everyday stress as well as more serious mood disorders.

Almost anything and everything

The Myers’ Cocktail has also been found to be useful in treating Lyme disease, narcotic withdrawal, migraines, Parkinson’s disease, and many others. It is also used commonly as an antiaging treatment around the world because of the way it promotes collagen production and boosts energy. This unique treatment has often made patients report an immediate effect on their skin and energy levels.

Conclusion

The Myers’ Cocktail is a highly efficient and versatile treatment that can also be customized to the needs of almost any patient.  Several other IV infusions that have been modeled after it. No matter what your ailment, the Myers’ Cocktail will help balance your body’s nutritional status until you adjust your diet accordingly. Anyone that has ever received this treatment will want to thank Dr. Myer’s for introducing the modern world to this timeless treatment.

The Truth about them French Fried’ Potaters?

by
Sarah Emslie
Rashida Ghauri, MD, ABIHM
Baber Ghauri, MD, ABIHM

How Healthy are Potatoes?

Russet Potatoes

Potatoes are the most commonly eaten vegetable in America with the average American eating over 50 lbs a year! We use them in hundreds of dishes and prepare them in dozens of different ways, from chips and fries to baked, mashed, roasted, and the list goes on and on. As a result, the potato industry is a multi-billion dollar business, with the value of potato crops grown in the US valued at around $3.73 billion dollars in 2013 alone. As with any other industry this results in a push to produce more and bigger potatoes, which as discussed in our Nutritional Inflation post, often leads to potatoes that have less nutritional value. Although inexpensive, commonly eaten, and with wide variety of recipes, potatoes contain much less nutritional value than many other vegetables in your produce isle, and even less than their ancient ancestors. We’ll tell you how to squeeze the most value out of your favorite spuds!!

A Brief History of Potatoes

The Incas and other native tribes have grown potatoes in South America for thousands of years. They served a wide variety of uses, ranging from healing broken bones to measures of time. Another wild ancestor of potatoes in North America known as an apio contained high levels of cancer fighting compounds and was used as a paste to treat skin tumors by the Sioux. The potatoes that were discovered by the Spanish explorers and were brought back to Europe however did not retain many of these medicinal uses and quickly became one of the most important staple crops in the Old World, so much so that countries like Ireland became primarily dependent on them for food. Heck, we’ve even seen potatoes powering small lights at the local science fair- potatoes can do almost anything!!

Pot-uh-oh: Glycemic Index

Nowadays potatoes are commonly associated with the starch family of foods than as a vegetable, partially because we have bred them for their starch. Compared to their ancestors, which were much higher in protein and cancer fighting compounds, modern varieties of potato can contain over 28 times less phytonutrients. In addition, starchy foods like potatoes are rapidly becoming a contributing factor in the exponentially rising incidence of Type II diabetes. This trend has to do with how quickly a food releases sugar into the blood stream, also known as the glycemic index.

Some foods release small amounts of sugar over a longer period of time, these are low-glycemic index foods. These foods more closely resemble the diet that our ancestors ate, and the diet that our bodies have evolved to handle. With the increases in sugar and starch content in modern foods, and larger amounts of processing that go into creating pre-made food products, a large majority of foods in the typical American diet are high-glycemic index foods. The largest common contributor to high glycemic index foods is the now infamous high fructose corn syrup (HCFS). The sugars in these foods are released very quickly in a shorter amount of time into the bloodstream. Because of this overload of sugar, the body (particularly the pancreas) has to quickly produce larger amounts of insulin to deal with it and the brain has a very hard time determining how to counteract the effects of HFCS. If this cycle of massive dumps of sugar into the bloodstream triggering a corresponding response of insulin release can eventually desensitize muscle and fat cells against insulin, putting even more strain on the pancreas to produce yet more insulin. This quickly turns into a vicious cycle that is the pathogenesis of Type II diabetes. This wouldn’t be so bad if insulin was not an anabolic hormone that in excess will lead to deposition of fat into your body starting with the midsection (trunk) and rapidly spreading throughout.

High glycemic index foods raise blood sugar much more than low glycemic index foods. This requires the pancreas to work harder to produce enough insulin to counteract the effects of these foods.

Fixing the Phytonutrient Problem

There are ways to combat the loss of phytonutrients and the high-glycemic nature of potatoes.

Bring Down the Index!

Not all potatoes have high glycemic index, but for those that do, with a little planning, you can take matters into your own hands and reduce your intake of high-glycemic potatoes. The smaller potatoes in grocery stores with smoother skin, which are often billed as boiling potatoes or new potatoes are actually have low-glycemic index because of their immature composition makes the sugars less available to those that eat them. These potatoes are harvested earlier in the season and have a blunted rise in blood sugar than their larger more mature counterparts, which are often advertised as baking potatoes.
But what if you or your loved ones are really craving baked potatoes, but still want to avoid the blood sugar spike that comes with them? This is where the planning comes in. By cooking the potatoes a day ahead of time and chilling them for a day, the blood sugar response to the potatoes can be decreased by up to 25%. The heating of the potatoes followed by chilling modifies the sugars in the potato into a form that is released more slowly into your bloodstream, turning it into a food that your body and pancreas are much more equipped to handle and lowering your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease for the long-term.

Go Purple

Purple Potatoes

You may have noticed some strange looking purple potatoes in the corner of the potato display in your local supermarket, maybe you even tried them one time as a novelty. As it turns out, despite their strange appearance and compared to their more conventional brown, red, and white cousins, these colored tubers contain 28 times more phytonutrients than our usual Russet potatoes, and an incredible 166 times more phytonutrients than some varieties of white potato! This is not a small number by any means, so while purple mashed potatoes or purple hash browns would certainly take some getting used to, they are more than worth their weight nutritionally. 

NOTE: Your smaller eaters may require a special sales pitch- it can be done…

Choose Brightly and Cook Wisely

Another trick, which can be applied equally to all varieties of potatoes, is choosing the brightest colors possible and eating the skins of the potatoes. Using both of these parameters to buy and eat your potatoes will ensure the greatest phytonutrient content possible, and preparing or eating them with a healthy fat like olive oil will make these nutrients more accessible to your body.

Never GMO!

As potatoes are stem tubers that come out of the ground, they are very susceptible to carry pesticides and other chemicals that can concentrate in the soil. Fortunately, the cost of organic potatoes is not that much more than their mutated friends due to their ubiquity.

Conclusion

While potatoes can only dream to be as nutritious as vegetables like kale or brussel sprouts, their low cost and versatility will keep them as a superstar among Americans. Luckily, you can take some simple steps at the grocery store and in their preparation at home to enhance their nutritional value and lower any long-term risks associated with their high glycemic index. Following these simple guidelines will help you and your loved ones get more nutritional value out of your favorite foods!

References

  1. Allan, Barbara J. “What Is the Glycemic Index? – Nutrition to You.” Nutrition to You. Nutrition to You, 08 Apr. 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2016.
  2. Bosse, Alena, and Michael Boland. “Potato Profile.” Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. USDA Rural Development, Apr. 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2016.
  3. Khazan, Olga. “The Most-Eaten Vegetable in the U.S. Is the Potato.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 11 June 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2016.
  4. “Potatoes.” Washington State Potatoes. Washington State Potato Commission, n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2016.
  5. Robinson, Jo. Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health. New York: Little Brown, 2013. Print.