Vitamin D prevent all types of influenza


With hundreds of thousands of seasonal flu-related complications, thousands of deaths from the flu, ANH-USA asks the obvious question: What are the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Health and Human Services (HHS) doing about it? The answer: Not much!

Our goal is to persuade the CDC, FDA, NIH, and HHS to step up to the plate and help educate the public about the critical role Vitamin D plays in preventing and treating the seasonal and H1N1 flus along with many other health problems. In particular, we are asking the CDC, FDA, HHS, and NIH to issue statements outlining the immense benefits to be gained from supplementation during the flu season. In addition, HHS should update the government’s web site, www.flu.gov to include well established facts about Vitamin D.

Studies show that least one-third of Americans are wholly deficient in Vitamin D. We all need to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D year-round, not just during flu season. The government has an important role to play in getting this message out, but says nothing at all.

In anticipation of the government’s programmed response – that even more research needs to be done – we are also asking the CDC, FDA, NIH, and HHS to support and fund additional research on the importance of maintaining adequate levels of Vitamin D, including the link between Vitamin D and flu prevention and treatment.

Why is the government utterly silent about Vitamin D and its benefits? Could it be because big corporations are not pushing such an inexpensive and readily available form of prevention and treatment? Whatever the reason, the government’s silence is shameful. Please sign our petition to these agencies now. Take Action Here
Vitamin D: The Super Supplement

Vitamin D is safe and effective for the prevention and treatment of seasonal and H1N1 flus. The scientific research is clear. Yet CDC, FDA, NIH, and HHS continue to tow the vaccine only line, working in close partnership with vaccine manufacturers who will make billions of dollars and who have been shielded from any liability by Congress.

This obsession with a vaccine approach makes little sense given the lack of time to test the vaccine for safety and efficacy and the challenge of producing enough vaccine on time. It makes even less sense when there are natural ways to prevent and treat the illness that have been thoroughly validated by science.

We are all familiar with the adaptive immune response. Our bodies mount a defense against a new invader and then maintain antibodies against future attacks by the same invader. This is exactly how vaccines are meant to work. But for such an immune response to work, your own immune system has to be primed and ready to do its job. Good nutrition is critical for this. Vitamin D-3 is especially critical. Your immune system will not work without it.

Common sense tells us that what we eat will strengthen or weaken our immune systems. But even the best diet will not give us the amount of Vitamin D needed for the immune system to reach its full potential.
What Exactly Does Vitamin D Do?

When Vitamin D is lacking, we become a prime target for flu. By contrast, those with sufficient levels of Vitamin D are able to fight off or throw off these attacking pathogens. Vitamin D boosts the innate immune response in many ways, but in particular by turning on an antimicrobial protein.

Vitamin D also balances the immune response, preventing inflammation that can lead to flu-related complications such as bacterial pneumonia or lung infection. Inflammation was the leading cause of deaths in the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Our Vitamin-D mediated immune response has been with us through more than 60 million years of pre-human and human evolutionary selection. It must be critical to our survival, according to researchers at Ohio State University .

Flu is at least in part a Vitamin D deficiency disease. But the benefits of this wonder supplement go far beyond the flu. As John Cannell, MD, founder of the non-profit Vitamin D Counsel, has noted: “Current research has implicated vitamin D deficiency as a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more.” We join the Vitamin D Council in urging our government to break its silence about this wonder supplement

Will the Government Act Before Countless More Suffer Needlessly?

Sen. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, complained for years that the FDA dragged its feet and ignored the science about the need for folic acid supplementation to prevent neural tube birth defects in newborns. Under fierce pressure, the FDA finally admitted the truth and such defects were reduced. Now the FDA is again refusing to tell the American people about another supplement which can save lives, this time in a flu pandemic, but also in reducing heart disease and cancer and other life destroying conditions. The government has created a web site (www.flu.gov) expressly dedicated to educating the public about flu, including Swine Flu. This site however says nothing about natural forms of prevention and treatment, including even Vitamin D.

We are now asking the CDC, FDA, NIH, and HHS to tell the truth about the immense benefits to be gained from Vitamin D-3 supplementation during the flu season and year round. We are also requesting that HHS update the government’s web site, www.flu.gov to include the incontestable scientific research behind Vitamin D.

There are reliable scientific studies showing a positive correlation between Vitamin D and a decrease in flu occurrence and complications. There is good science explaining this correlation. If the government nevertheless believes more studies are in order, we request that the government sponsor and pay for more trials.
What Can Be Done this Flu Season?

Many doctors are not trained to recognize a Vitamin D deficiency until rickets develop in children or osteomalacia (softening of the bones) develops in adults. Even so, many doctors are now urging their patients to supplement with Vitamin D-3.

Whether your doctor is up to date or not, you should take the initiative. Have your Vitamin D level checked. If you are below an optimum Vitamin D level, take a Vitamin D-3 supplement. Changing your diet alone cannot create optimal Vitamin D levels. Only supplementation or sufficient exposure to the sun (without sun block and when the sun’s rays are sufficiently strong) can do that.

The blood work that checks Vitamin D status is called the 25, hydroxy vitamin D test. Some experts are satisfied with a minimum reading of 30 ng/ml, but it is doubtful that this is high enough to make your immune system work at optimal levels. While a level of 30 ng/ml defines the bottom of the normal range, Integrative doctors often like to see levels of 70 or 80 (but no higher than 100) ng/ml. Use of the blood test is the best way to prevent over-dosing.

Seniors are especially apt to be vitamin D deficient and have been found to be less likely to succumb to all causes of mortality when they have optimal levels of vitamin D. Young people are also often deficient even though Vitamin D is essential as the body grows and matures.

The most recent Harvard Heart Letter confirms that at least one-third of Americans of all ages are Vitamin D deficient. “Deficient” in this instance was defined as less than 20 ng/ml of 25-hydroxy vitamin D. The Harvard letter stated that supplements are the simplest and safest way to get Vitamin D and recommended 800 to 1,000 IU from supplements as a daily goal. The Vitamin D Council recommends 5,000 IU daily, but in conjunction with blood testing. The U.S. government claims to be highly concerned about Swine flu and the general health of the American public, but does not even recommend 800 IU. For the most part, it says nothing.

Imagine for a moment that a drug company announced the development of a new drug matching the preventive and curative properties of Vitamin D. Does anyone think the government would remain silent about such a new drug? Of course not. The government would promote the use of the new wonder drug.

This is a scandal. Please join us in asking the government to do its duty to the American people by telling the truth about Vitamin D for flu and for general health.

Source: Alliance for Natural Health Print Page

Comparing Apples and Oranges? It’s Easy When They’re Both Genetically Engineered



Will we soon wake up to GMO orange juice? Plus more on apples, sugar beets, court decisions, and Hillary Clinton’s attempt to push GMO on Africa.

An insect-borne bacterial disease is ravaging Florida’s orange crops. Commonly called “greening,” the blight (which is caused by the lethal Huanglongbing bacteria, first identified in China over 100 years ago) could wipe out most of Florida’s citrus within seven or eight years.

In response, some government agencies are advocating the creation of genetically engineered pest-resistant orange trees. Officials at the USDA say there may be no other choice, and a report sponsored by the Florida Department of Citrus and US National Academy of Sciences concluded that genetic modification holds the only real long-term hope of fighting the disease.

Currently, there are only two whole fruits on the US market that have been genetically engineered—Hawaiian papaya and one variety of plums. But a vast array of processed foods on the shelves of US supermarkets contain GM corn, soybeans, and sugar beets, including baby formula.

There is, of course, no evidence whatsoever that GMO oranges are safe for the environment or safe for human consumption. On the contrary, numerous studies show that GMOs significantly alter gut bacteria, and it is possible that the recent increases in allergies, asthma, and other diseases that affect the immune system are related to the consumption of foods from GMO crops. Even more frightening, GMOs are causing terrible genetic changes in mammal offspring. Scientists are seeing birth defects, high infant mortality rates, and sterility in hamsters, rats, and livestock fed GMO soy and corn, and some hamster pups even begin growing hair inside their mouths!

Yet government and agribusiness are plunging ahead with plans to create GMO oranges. It’s a quick-fix solution that completely ignores the root causes of the disease, which some experts say include the overuse of pesticides and nutrient-depleted soil.

The fact is, GMO is incredibly lucrative for its developers. GMO oranges, like other GMO crops, require new seeds to be purchased every year for plantings. Their seeds are programmed to self-destruct every year, requiring farmers to purchase new ones. The GMO crop’s patents also require regular fees and royalties to be paid to the companies that produce them, resulting in even higher profits.

It’s big business for the government, too. The US Africa Command, or AFRICOM, is responsible for US military operations in and military relations with all African nations except Egypt. According to several leaked documents (published by WikiLeaks, and analyzed by journalist Richard Brenneman), AFRICOM was created by the Pentagon in 2007 in part to push GMOs under the guise of structural adjustment and infrastructure improvements. One cable in particular, sent from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to American embassies in Africa, says plainly (under the heading “Food Security and Agriculture”) that one of the priorities of the State Department is to encourage African governments’ “acceptance of genetically modified food and propagation of genetically modified crops.”

This is not about actual food security for Africa. It is about supporting US corporate interests in Africa. AFRICOM is the brainchild of a retired four-star Air Force general who is now a paid lobbyist for the agrofuels industry.

In other news, Monsanto and the pro-GMO lobby received several decisive blows last month.

Germany has laws that make GMO manufacturers liable for any harm their products cause, and they require farmers who grow GMO crops to publicly register the locations of those crops. Monsanto sued, claiming that this prevents farmers from planting genetically engineered crops and was therefore unconstitutional.

Even though their claim seems absurd on its face, the suit dragged on for five years, ending with Germany’s highest court reaffirming that the long-term risks of GMOs are unknown given the current lack of scientific data, and so the German government has an obligation to act cautiously in regards to the preservation of nature for future generations. In its decision, the court repeatedly stated that genetic engineering alters the very structure of life and could have irreversible effects.

The week after that decision, a federal judge in San Francisco ordered the immediate destruction of 256 acres of genetically engineered sugar beet seedlings planted in Oregon and Arizona in September. Judge Jeffrey White determined that the seedlings had been planted in violation of federal law and regardless of his previous ruling that made planting of GE sugar beets illegal until the USDA completes an Environmental Impact Statement.

Unfortunately, an appeals court issued an emergency stay and postponed the judge’s ruling, giving the court more time to decide whether or not the plants should remain in the ground while the USDA seeks to overturn Judge White’s original ruling.

The USDA, meanwhile, has just been asked to approve a GMO apple that won’t brown soon after it is sliced. The Canadian biotech company that developed it says this could boost sales of apples for snacks and salads. The non-browning technology appears to benefit apple growers and shippers more than consumers by allowing companies to sell apples that are older than they look.

The US apple industry is trying to decide whether to support the request or not—so far they are unconvinced that consumers would want a GE apple. Or perhaps American consumers are smart enough to know that a little bit of lemon juice will prevent apple slices from browning—and it won’t make their children sterile, either!

If the apple growers fall for this, they shouldn’t be surprised if they find their sales plummeting, since people won’t know which apples are genetically modified and which not.


Source:  Alliance for Natural Health Int.[USA]
             http://www.anh-usa.org/comparing-apples-and-oranges 






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Junk-food addiction




JUNK foods such as Snickers bars and ketchup really are irresistible. Manufacturers have created combinations of fat, sugar and salt that are so tasty many people cannot stop eating them even when full, according to America’s former food standards watchdog.

David Kessler, former head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has warned that snacks, cereals and ready meals devised by food scientists can act on the reward centres of the brain in the same way as tobacco.

He argues that manufacturers are seeking to trigger a “bliss point” when people eat certain products, leaving them hungry for more.

“It is time to stop blaming individuals for being overweight or obese,” said Kessler. “The real problem is we have created a world where food is always available and where that food is designed to make you want to eat more of it. For millions of people, modern food is simply impossible to resist.”

While at the FDA, Kessler was best known for his attacks on the tobacco industry, which he accused of manipulating cigarettes to make them even more addictive.

In a new book, The End of Overeating, he suggests food manufacturers have achieved a similar result using precise combinations of fat, sugar, salt and texture to make foods “hyper-palatable”.

Kessler cites Heinz tomato ketchup and Starbucks white chocolate mocha Frappuccino as examples of the thousands of modern foods that have been engineered to stimulate feelings of pleasure.

A study carried out by Kessler with researchers at Yale University using functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques, showed that about 50% of obese people and 30% of those who are overweight were prone to so-called “excessive activation”.


“The right combination of tastes triggers a greater number of neurons, getting them to fire more,” said Kessler. “The message to eat becomes stronger, motivating the eater to look for even more food.”

In other research, scientists have used rats to study how different combinations of fat, sugar and salt trigger the release of neurotransmitters in the brain’s pleasure centres.

The most powerful combination involved sucrose (table sugar) mixed with chocolate and alcohol – the same mixture found in desserts such as tiramisu.

Kessler said: “Many of us have what’s called a ‘bliss point’ – the point at which we get the greatest pleasure from sugar, fat or salt.

“As more sugar is added, food becomes more pleasurable until we reach the bliss point, after which it becomes too sweet and the pleasure drops off.” The same thing happens with fat and salt.

At the optimum point, food stimulates many people’s appetites instead of suppressing it, according to Kessler, who ran the FDA from 1990 to 1997 and is now professor of paediatrics, epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California.

There have been a series of warnings about obesity in Britain. A landmark report by the National Audit Office in 2001 found that 20% of adults were obese – a figure that has since risen to 25% – while a further 38% were overweight.

The findings alarmed Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, so much that he warned of a “health time bomb” – particularly among children.

In 2007 the government’s science-led Foresight report said: “The wide variety and appeal of modern foods, with their increased palatability and ability to heighten sensory stimulation, drive us to reward ourselves with more food.”

Experts claimed that such evidence showed the need for state intervention. However, when Gordon Brown announced the Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy early last year, he said: “There should be no doubt that maintaining a healthy weight must be the responsibility of individuals first – it is not the role of government to tell people how to live their lives.”

Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University and a government adviser, said politicians’ obsession with promoting “choice” was damaging public health.

“If I walk to my local park for some exercise,” he said, “I pass more than 30 food outlets before I get there. It’s that combination of availability, advertising and seductive taste that makes modern food so addictive. ”






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Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are widespread in Europe



So why is the European Commission planning to ban thousands of supplements when it has already admitted that most of them are safe?

Evidence increasingly suggests that vitamin and mineral deficiencies are widespread in the European Union. A recent report, for example, suggests that up to 3.6 million people in the UK now suffer from malnutrition. As a result, according to the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, malnutrition currently costs the UK's National Health Service more than £7.3bn (€10.8bn / US $14.8bn) a year.

With the estimates suggesting that up to 6 per cent of the UK population could be suffering from serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and UK hospital figures showing malnutrition to be found in all age groups, including newborn babies, one has to question the wisdom of an upcoming proposal from the European Commission – the European Union's executive body – that threatens to ban thousands of vitamin and mineral supplements from being sold in Europe.


After all, it's not as if the problem of nutritional deficiencies was only confined to the UK.

In 1997, for example, a report by the European Commission into nutrient intake in European Union Member States concluded that "for almost all vitamins, minerals and trace elements, there exist one or more population groups with intakes below nationally recommended levels." People thought to be particularly at risk included: women; adolescents or children (particularly "picky" ones); the elderly; women during the periconceptual period; people on a diet for losing weight; people on vegetarian diets; people having allergies to foods; persons eating a high proportion of "fast foods" or "junk foods" and others.

The nutrients found to be most often deficient included iron, iodine and vitamins B2, B6 and D; and this despite the fact that in many cases, with the exception of iodine, they were already being added to some foods as mandatory fortificants.


 
  Restrictions on permitted nutrient levels in supplements

Given the widespread nature of nutrient deficiencies in Europe, naturopathic doctors, natural health experts and millions of consumers are currently up in arms over the fact that the European Commission is preparing to propose, before the end of this year, restrictions on the maximum permitted levels of vitamins and minerals in food supplements.

Ignoring independent studies showing that the nutrient content of our food has fallen substantially over the past few decades, as well as an an abundance of knowledge and scientific data on vitamins and nutrition that has been available for 50, 60, 70 even 80 years, it is widely expected that the levels the Commission is planning will be highly restrictive and far below those that are necessary to achieve and maintain optimum health. If these expectations are correct, therefore, the legal enforcement of such levels will result in the enactment of Europe-wide bans upon literally thousands of food supplement products, some of which have been sold and consumed safely for decades.


 
  European Commission admits that most supplements are safe

Not for the first time, however, the European Commission's plans are openly at odds with some of its previous assurances.

In 2002, for example, during the run-up to the adoption by the European Parliament of the controversial Food Supplements Directive, the then European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, David Byrne, published a message on the internet, on behalf of the Commission, in which he claimed that "The aim is not to ban food supplements, as some have alleged."

Byrne's message was published in response to the large number of letters that the Commission had received from citizens who were concerned about the Directive and who were opposed to its adoption. Notably, therefore, Byrne specifically stated in this message that: "There is no doubt that most of the products marketed today are safe and of the expected quality."

As such, if the maximum levels for vitamins and minerals that the Commission proposes turn out to be as low as some observers are claiming they will be, many consumers of food supplements will quite reasonably conclude that the Commission knowingly intends to ban products that it considers to be safe.

Perhaps mindful of the large numbers of European citizens who oppose the Food Supplements Directive, Byrne chose to end his message as follows: "I can assure you that your interests and those of consumers in general were at the top of our concerns when we proposed the Directive. I believe that you have every right to have a wide choice of safe and appropriately labelled food supplements available, to buy if you so wish. And I remain convinced that the Directive that will be shortly formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers will ensure that."

When the maximum levels are eventually announced, therefore, European citizens will finally discover whether Byrne and the Commission were telling the truth, or whether – as some have alleged – their real aim was to ban supplements and they were lying all along.


Note: The article was published in Nexus magazine By Paul Anthony Taylor

 





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