Tag Archives: Michael Pollan

The Cost of Not Eating Organic

Updated 5/15/2016 & 5/16/2016.

 

(Source: naturalfamilymedicine.com)
(Source: naturalfamilymedicine.com)

 

 

Comments made by people I’d thought understood why growing and eating genetically modified and other non-organic foods are dangerous to humans, other animals and the planet spurred me to write this post.

“Why should I pay more for organic carrots? They’re not any bigger than the other kind.”
– heard at a farmers’ market

“Organic is just a label for getting us to pay more for our food.”
– said by an MD

“Genetically modified foods have been tested and are safe to eat.” 

“The US government protects the safety of our food supply.”

Really?

 

DEFINITIONS

GMO
“GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.” (Non-GMO Project, 2016)
Although at least 90% of Americans want labeling, genetically engineered  foods generally are not labeled in the US – thanks to powerful efforts by Monsanto and other big agribusiness companies.
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CONVENTIONALLY GROWN
Conventionally grown foods are grown using synthetic chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides, chemicals which get absorbed into the soil and cannot be removed. The purpose of conventional farming is mass production,  out of season growing, and creating a longer shelf life. This type of farming uses monoculture. This means crops are often planted over and over in the same place which leads to more insect infestation and disease, and depletes the soil of nutrients which then leads to more fertilizer use. This endless cycle often leads to massive topsoil erosion. It is also argued that conventionally grown foods are tasteless due to all the chemical treating. (Raj, 2012)
Conventionally grown foods are also not labeled in the US and often contain GMOs along with synthetic chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.
(Source: foodbabe.com)
(Source: foodbabe.com)
ORGANIC
Organic foods are grown in nutrient rich soil and are free of synthetic chemicals. They are not treated with pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Organically raised farm animals are free of antibiotics and added hormones. They are not fed GMO’s or other drugs. Organic animals are not allowed to have their genes modified. They are raised in healthier environments, are organically fed, and generally eat a wider range of nutrients than animals in factory farms. Organically raised animals are not bred from a test tube. (Raj, 2012)
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GMO FREE
GMO Free means not genetically modified or fed feed containing GMOs.

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A SUMMARY OF THE ISSUES

 

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SAFETY FOR HUMANS

The only way to avoid consuming the cocktail of toxic chemicals in genetically modified and otherwise commercially grown foods is to eat organic. “More than 600 active chemicals are registered for agricultural use in America, to the tune of billions of pounds annually. The average application equates to about 16 pounds of chemical pesticides per person every year. Many of these chemicals were approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before adequate safety testing.
“The National Academy of Sciences reports that 90% of the chemicals applied to foods have not been tested for long-term health effects before being deemed “safe.” Further, the FDA tests only 1% of foods for pesticide residue. The most dangerous and toxic pesticides require special testing methods, which are rarely if ever employed by the FDA. ” (Loux, 2011)

 

(Source: www.hematimefitness.com.au)
(Source: www.hematimefitness.com.au)
versus

 

(Source: www.slideshare.net
(Source: www.slideshare.net

 

 

Contrary to Monsanto’s and other GMO manufacturers and supporters’ claims, the pesticides associated with GMO crops are unsafe for humans, other organisms, and the environment.
A primary example is glyphosate, a broad-spectrum, non-selective systemic herbicide, that is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and Dow AgroSciences’ Rodeo and  is found in many other herbicides as well.
Exposure to glyphosate has been linked to a host of serious health effects: (Robinson, Antoniou & Fagan, 2015)
  • Severe liver and kidney damage
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Disruption of hormonal systems, potentially leading to multiple organ damage and hormone-dependent cancer
  • Developmental and reproductive toxicity, including sperm damage, miscarriage, and premature birth
  • DNA damage
  • Birth defects
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Cancer

 

(Source: www.geneticliteracyproject.org)
(Source: www.geneticliteracyproject.org)

 

High Glyphosate levels are now turning up everywhere:
  • In our blood
  • In breast milk
  • In urine
  • In water supplies
“Glyphosate levels have been found to be significantly higher in the urine of humans who ate non-organic food, compared with those who ate mostly organic food. Chronically ill people showed significantly higher glyphosate residues in their urine than healthy people.” (Robinson, Antoniou & Fagan, 2015)

 

 

 

SAFETY OF THE PLANET

 

glyphosate_kidney_damage

Those more than 600 agricultural chemicals the US government has approved for agricultural use are contaminating our environment and destroying the ecosystem:
  • Polluting the soil and water with toxins
  • Depleting nutrients from the soil, destroying its fertility
  • Destroying  organisms in the soil necessary for growing healthy crops and animals
  • Killing and mutating insects, frogs, birds and other wildlife
Organic farming, while avoiding use of these chemicals, supports the tapestry of ecology, achieving eco-sustenance.
“Certified organic standards do not permit the use of toxic chemicals in farming and require responsible management of healthy soil and biodiversity.
“According to Cornell entomologist David Pimentel, it is estimated that only 0.1% of applied pesticides reach the target pests. The bulk of pesticides (99.9%) is left to impact the environment.” (Loux, 2011)
Also see Repair the Soil’s Microbiome to Resolve the Climate Crisis for clear thinking writer Michael Pollan’s cogent advice on how climate change can be reversed by organic farming. (Hardin, 2016)

 

(Source: raesidecartoon.com)
(Source: raesidecartoon.com)

 

 

 

 

MORE NUTRIENTS

 

(Source: www.healthychild.org)
(Source: www.healthychild.org)
Organically grown foods are more nutritious than non-organic foods. They contain more vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and micronutrients than commercially grown foods because the soil they’re grown in is managed and nourished with sustainable practices by responsible standards. “The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine conducted a review of 41 published studies comparing the nutritional value of organically grown and conventionally grown fruits, vegetables, and grains and concluded that there are significantly more of several nutrients in organic foods crops.
“Further, the study verifies that five servings of organically grown vegetables (such as lettuce, spinach, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage) provide an adequate allowance of vitamin C, whereas the same number of servings of conventionally grown vegetables do not.
“On average, organically grown foods provide: 21.1% more iron (than their conventional counterparts); 27% more vitamin C;  29.3% more magnesium; 13.6% more phosphorus.” (Loux, 2011)

 

 

 

ORGANIC VS FACTORY FARMED ANIMALS

Even aside from the huge issue of the heart breaking, inhumane treatment of factory farmed animals, the meat and dairy products they provide are the foods at highest risk for contamination by harmful substances. For example, over 90% of the pesticides Americans consume comes from the fat and tissue of meat and dairy products. (Loux, 2011)

 

organic-meat-benefits

 

(Source: bodybalance4you.wordpress.com)
(Source: bodybalance4you.wordpress.com)
(I’ll also point out that the corn fed to the factory farmed cow on the right above is almost certainly genetically modified. )
(Source: infograph.venngage.com)
(Source: infograph.venngage.com)

 

The EPA reports that a majority of human pesticide intake comes from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products because these foods are all high on the food chain. “For instance, a large fish that eats a smaller fish that eats even smaller fish accumulates all of the toxins of the chain, especially in fatty tissue. Cows, chickens, and pigs are fed animal parts, by-products, fish meal, and grains that are heavily and collectively laden with toxins and chemicals.” (Loux, 2011)
The antibiotics, drugs, and growth hormones fed to factory farmed animals are passed directly into their meat and dairy products. “Tens of millions of pounds of antibiotics are used in animal feed every year…. The hormones fed to cows cannot be broken down, even at high temperatures. Therefore they remain in complete form and pass directly into the consumer’s diet when meat is eaten.” (Loux, 2011)
“Between 1985 and 2001, the use of antibiotics in feed for industrial livestock production rose a startling 50%.  Today, antibiotics are routinely fed to livestock, poultry, and fish on industrial farms to promote faster growth and to compensate for the unsanitary conditions in which they are raised.
“According to a new report by the FDA, approximately 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are fed to farm animals. This means that in the United States only 20 percent of antibiotics, which were originally developed to protect human health, are actually used to treat infections in people.” (Grace, 2016)

 

 

ORGANIC TASTES BETTER

Organically grown foods are generally more flavorful and easier to digest than foods treated with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. They’re more environment-friendly too.  (Quinn, 2000)

 

(Source: organiceatttts.blogspot.com)
(Source: organiceatttts.blogspot.com)

 

 

 

ORGANIC IS ACTUALLY COST-EFFECTIVE

 

(Source: www.economiesofkale.com)
(Source: www.economiesofkale.com)

 

To decide whether it’s worth it to pay more money for organic foods, you have to factor in the additional costs of eating non-organic:
  • Widespread and ever increasing suffering with acute and chronic illnesses
  • The financial  cost of treating these illnesses
  • Treatment of bacterial-resistant infections
  • Subsidies paid to farmers
  • Egregious treatment of animals on factory farms
  • Cost of pesticide clean ups
  • Destruction of the environment
  • Loss of export markets for US-produced GM products
Organic farming produces nutritious foods that keep us and other animals well instead of making us sick as most of our food supply is currently doing. Organic practices also preserve the environment for the future.

 

 

(Source: www.slideshare.net)

(Source: www.slideshare.net)

 

And then there are these additional, hidden costs in figuring how much you’re actually spending for non-organic foods:
“Buying organic food is an investment in a cost-effective future. Commercial and conventional farming is heavily subsidized with tax dollars in America. A study at Cornell University determined the cost of a head of commercial iceberg lettuce, typically purchased at 49 cents a head, to be more than $3.00 a head when hidden costs were revealed. The study factored in the hidden costs of federal subsidies, pesticide regulation and testing, and hazardous waste and cleanup.
“Every year, American tax dollars subsidize billions of dollars for a farm bill that heavily favors commercial agribusiness. Peeling back another layer of the modern farming onion reveals a price tag that cannot be accurately measured but certainly includes other detrimental associated costs such as health problems, environmental damage, and the loss and extinction of wildlife and ecology.” (Loux, 2011)

 

 

(Source: www.glogster.com)

(Source: www.glogster.com)

 

 

 

 

 

(Source: foodrevolution.org)

(Source: foodrevolution.org)

 

 

 WHAT IS FOOD?

Having apparently lost the ability to understand the function of food – to provide nourishment that keeps us well, we’ve reached the point of calling everything we put in our stomachs ‘food’.

 

(Source: www.darkgovernment.com)

(Source: www.darkgovernment.com)

 

 

 

 

READ MORE ABOUT GMO MYTHS AND TRUTHS

 

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If you’re interested in learning more about GMOs and the research on them, I recommend this clear, easy to read source of information:
GMO Myths and Truths – A Citizen’s Guide to the Evidence on the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops and Foods, 3rd Edition. Its authors are Claire Robinson (an editor at GMWatch), John Fagan (PhD in biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology, pioneer of genetic testing methods for GMOs, researcher on biosafety and sustainable agriculture, and Director of Open Earth Resource), and  Michael Antoniou (PhD in Molecular Genetics and Head of the Gene Expression and Therapy Group, King’s College London School of Medicine).

 

 

 

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REFERENCES

Grace Communications Foundation. (2016). The Issue: Antibiotics and the Food Animal Industry. See: http://www.sustainabletable.org/257/antibiotics

Hardin, J.R. (2016). Repair the Soil’s Microbiome to Resolve the Climate Crisis. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2016/01/29/4404/

Loux, R. (2011).  Top 10 Reasons To Go Organic: Choosing fresh foods can help you feel better and preserve the environment. Prevention. See: http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/top-reasons-choose-organic-foods

Non-GMO Project. (2016). See: http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/

Raj, T. (2012). Conventional vs. Organic vs. GMOs. See: http://www.examiner.com/article/conventional-vs-organic-vs-gmos

Quinn, J. (2000). Essential Eating: A Cookbook – Discover How to Eat, Not Diet. P. 6. See: http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Eating-Cookbook-Discover-Diet/dp/0967984351

Robinson, C., Antoniou, M, & Fagan, J. (2015). GMO Myths and Truths: A Citizen’s Guide to the Evidence on the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops and Foods, 3rd Edition. See:  http://www.amazon.com/GMO-Myths-Truths-Citizens-Genetically/dp/0993436706

 

 

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

Repair the Soil’s Microbiome to Resolve the Climate Crisis

 

 

pollan_bookcover

This short video, narrated by Michael Pollan for the Center for Food Safety, offers a way to reverse the climate crisis : Restore  the soil’s microbiome.

 

 

“A powerful solution to the climate crisis can be found right beneath our feet—in the soil. By harnessing the immense power of photosynthesis, we can convert atmospheric carbon, a problem, into soil carbon, a solution. Emerging science proves that shifting to regenerative forms of agriculture such as agroecology, agroforestry, cover-cropping, holistic grazing and permaculture will allow us to store excess carbon safely in the ground.” (Center for Food Safety, 2016)

 

 

REFERENCES

Center for Food Safety. (2016). Soil Solutions to Climate Problems – Narrated by Michael Pollan. Video. See: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/video/2519/cfs-videos/soil-solutions/4134/soil-solutions-to-climate-problems–narrated-by-michael-pollan#

 

 

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

 

‘Safe’ in the US While Banned Elsewhere

Updated 6/28/2015 & 5/15/2016.

 

(Source: www.thesleuthjournal.com)
(Source: www.thesleuthjournal.com)
This post is for those of you who believe the regulatory agencies in the US tasked with protecting our health and the health of us and our planet are actually fulfilling their mandates.
The US declares as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) the use of chemicals that other countries, notably the European Union, have classified as presenting unacceptable risks of harm to the environment or to human health. Co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Stacy Malkan, says, “The policy approach in the U.S. and Europe is dramatically different.” (Hemmingway, 2014)
The European Union bases its chemical management and environmental protection policy decisions on the Precautionary Principle.

The Precautionary Principle

A general definition: The precept that an action should not be taken if the consequences are uncertain and potentially dangerous.
As used in environmental matters: The theory that if the effects of a product or action are unknown, then the product should not be used or the action should not be taken. (Dictionary.com, 2015)
“The precautionary principle enables rapid response in the face of a possible danger to human, animal or plant health, or to protect the environment. In particular, where scientific data do not permit a complete evaluation of the risk, recourse to this principle may, for example, be used to stop distribution or order withdrawal from the market of products likely to be hazardous.” (Europa, 2011)

 

(Source: jeanninewalston.com)
(Source: jeanninewalston.com)

 

 

Use of this  principle “covers cases where scientific evidence is insufficient, inconclusive or uncertain and preliminary scientific evaluation indicates that there are reasonable grounds for concern that the potentially dangerous effects on the environment, human, animal or plant health may be inconsistent with the high level of protection chosen by the EU.” (European Commission, 2000)
The EU’s goal is to ensure a strict level of environmental protection through PREVENTATIVE decision-making. In other words, in the EU, when there is substantial, credible evidence that something poses a danger to humans or the environment, protective action must be taken even if there is continuing scientific uncertainty.
This is the EU’s Communication on Precautionary Principle in its entirety if you wish to read it for yourself.

 

shutterstock_115284256

 

Now compare the EU’s decision-making policy on risk of harm to the US’s  policy.

 

 Policy on Health & Environmental Safety: US vs EU 

(Source: james-mcwilliams.com)
(Source: james-mcwilliams.com)

 

The US government approaches food and chemical safety from exactly the opposite direction: In this country, a high level of proof that something is HARMFUL must be shown before any regulatory action will be taken.
This policy clearly puts the protection of companies over the safety of people, other animals, plants, the soil, water, and air.

 

 

(Source: nontoxicdovernh.wordpress.com)
(Source: nontoxicdovernh.wordpress.com)

 

ARTIFICIAL FOOD COLORING & DYES

The case of artificial food coloring and dyes provides an example of how it works in practice:

“Same Study, Different Conclusions

“In the case of Red Dye No. 40, Yellow Dye No. 5 and Yellow Dye No. 6, it means that after considering the same evidence — a 2007 double-blind study by U.K. researchers that found that eating artificially colored food appeared to increase children’s hyperactivity — European and U.S. authorities reached different conclusions. In the U.K., the study persuaded authorities to bar use of these dyes as food additives. The EU chose to require warning labels on products that contain them — greatly reducing their use, according to Lisa Lefferts, senior scientist with the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C. In the U.S., the study prompted the CSPI to petition the Food and Drug Administration for a ban on a number of food colorings. But in its review of these dyes, presented in 2011, the FDA found the study inconclusive because it looked at effects of a mixture of additives rather than individual colorings — and so these colors remain in use.
“While FDA approval is required for food additives, the agency relies on studies performed by the companies seeking approval of chemicals they manufacture or want to use in making determinations about food additive safety, Natural Resources Defense Council senior scientist Maricel Maffini and NRDC senior attorney Tom Neltner note in their April 2014 report, Generally Recognized as Secret. “No other developed country that we know of has a similar system in which companies can decide the safety of chemicals put directly into food,” says Maffini. The standing law that covers these substances — the 1958 Food Additives Amendment to the 1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act — “makes requiring testing [of chemicals] more cumbersome than under TSCA,” says Neltner.”
– Hemmingway, 2014

 

Did you notice the part about the FDA’s relying on studies done by the very company that manufactures the product to make their determination of the product’s safety? And this dangerous policy isn’t limited just to food dyes.

 

 

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By the way, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, Blue 1, Caramel coloring, and others – all FDA-approved as GRAS – have also been linked to neurological problems, allergies, brain cancer, ADD, ADHD, and more. They’re banned in France, UK, Norway, Austria, Finland, and other countries but NOT in the USA. In the US, you’ll find them in most packaged products – for example, candies, cereals, sports drinks, fruit flavored drinks, baked goods, packaged cheeses, and boxed macaroni and cheese. (Seattle Organic Restaurants, 2015)

 

(Source: foodbabe.com)
(Source: foodbabe.com)

 

 

 

 

 

COMPARISONS OF HOW SOME OTHER FOODS, ADDITIVES, AND PRESERVATIVES KNOWN TO BE PROBLEMATIC OR OUTRIGHT TOXIC ARE CLASSIFIED IN THE US VS OTHER COUNTRIES:

 

 

GMOs

(Source: rmpjc.org)
(Source: rmpjc.org)

 

The US FDA classifies GMOs as “GRAS” – in spite of a long list of research findings showing the opposite. The US government is even fighting labeling so consumers could be able to choose to avoid GMOs.
30 countries have banned all or some GMOs in their food supply. See the Organic Consumers Organization’s Countries & Regions With GE Food/Crop Bans.

 

 

 

BHA & BHT

(Source: www.slideshare.net)
(Source: www.slideshare.net)
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and  BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene),  derived from petroleum,  are used as preservatives in processed meats, cereals, candies,  chewing gums, and other food products in the US. They’re also used as frying oils in many fast-food restaurants.
Both BHA and BHT have been linked to liver and kidney damage, fetal abnormalities, mental and physical retardation, cancer, baldness, increased appetite, loss of energy, and insomnia.
BHA and BHT are banned in European countries and Japan but NOT in the US. (Seattle Organic Restaurants, 2015)

 

 

 

OLESTRA, AKA OLEAN

 

(Source: www.fatnews.com)
(Source: www.fatnews.com)
Proctor and Gamble created Olestra, a sucrose polyester, to be used for lowering the fat content in processed foods. Olestra (brand name Olean) is used as a frying oil and is found in 0 calorie/ 0 cholesterol/ 0 fat products such as fat-free fries and potato chips.
Olestra has been linked to GI problems, irritable bowel syndrome, weight gain, and cramps. It blocks the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and essential minerals.
The UK, Canada, and some other countries have banned olestra. The US FDA declares it GRAS as a food additive and replacement for unhealthy oils. (Seattle Organic Restaurants, 2015)

 

 

 

BROMINATED VEGETABLE OIL (BVO)

(Source: ahealthieryouisabetteryou.wordpress.com)
(Source: ahealthieryouisabetteryou.wordpress.com)
Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is derived from corn or soy and bonded with bromine for use as an emulsifier in fruit-flavored sodas and sports drinks (eg, Gatorade, Mountain Dew, Fanta, Powerade) to keep their flavor oils  in suspension and give them a uniform color.  BVO is also patented as a flame retardant.
It’s so poisonous that only two ounces of a 2% solution can poison a child.  Bromine absorbed by the body replaces iodine and causes iodine deficiency.  Brominated vegetable oil has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, thyroid problems, and infertility.
And, by the way, the vast majority of corn and soy crops grown in the US (the source of BVO) is genetically modified.

 

(Source: www.wholefoodsmarket.com)
(Source: www.wholefoodsmarket.com)
BVO is banned in 100 countries, including Japan and the European Union countries. The FDA has allowed its use as GRAS in the US. In May 2014, under pressure from consumer groups, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo announced they would work toward removing it from all their drinks. (USA Today, 2014) (Seattle Organic Restaurants, 2015)

 

 

 

POTASSIUM BROMATE

 

(Source: www.medicaldaily.com)
(Source: www.medicaldaily.com)

 

Potassium bromate is an oxidizing agent used in commercial baking to bleach and improve the elasticity of dough. It speeds up the baking process, makes it cheaper, and results in baked goods that are softer, fluffier, and whiter.
Potassium bromate has been linked to kidney damage, neurological disorders, thyroid problems, GI discomfort, and cancer.
Bromated flour has been banned  in many countries, including the European Union, Brazil, Canada – and even China. In the US, it has remained legal since it was first patented for use in bread making in 1914. (Seattle Organic Restaurants, 2015) (Yoquinto, 2012)

 

 

rBGH and rBST GROWTH HORMONES

 

(Source: 360yourlife.com)
(Source: 360yourlife.com)

 

Most cows in the US are treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone  to increase their milk production. These hormones impair the animals’ immune systems so many of them get painful udder infections. The cows are then given antibiotics to control the infections. If you’re consuming milk from cows injected with rBGH or rBST, you too are getting dosed with growth hormones and antibiotics.
The US FDA approved multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto’s bovine growth hormones, rBGH and rBST, as GRAS.
Interesting tidbit: Margaret Miller, a scientist working on the development of rBGH at Monsanto, was later appointed as Deputy Director of the FDA. Soon after her appointment, the FDA gave approval to these bovine growth hormones.
rBGH and rBST growth hormones have been linked to breast and prostate  cancer, thyroid disease, diabetes, obesity, infertility, asthma, allergies, early onset of puberty, and breast growth in 5 year old girls and men in their 40s.
Bovine growth hormones are banned in many European countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and France. The FDA allows their widespread use in the US. (Seattle Organic Restaurants, 2015)

 

 

ARSENIC

(Source: www.infiniteunknown.net)
(Source: www.infiniteunknown.net)
Earlier this year, the FDA admitted that 70% of the chickens grown in the US contain arsenic, a toxic chemical that causes death in high dosages and cancer at lower doses. It’s added to chicken feed to make store-bought chicken meat look pink and fresh.
EU countries have banned the use of arsenic in chicken feed. (DeCuir, 2015) (Seattle Organic Restaurants, 2015)

 

 

 

 

FORMALDEHYDE

 

(Source: www.thisland.illinois.edu)
(Source: www.thisland.illinois.edu)

 

Formaldehyde is a toxic flammable gas used in the production of fertilizers, bleaching agents, food preservatives, hair straightening products, and personal care products such as baby shampoos and soaps. Food companies also add formaldehyde to foods such as milk, noodles, and meats to extend their shelf life.
Formaldehyde is linked to human cell damage. Long term exposure can cause leukemia while short term exposure can cause watery or burning eyes, asthma, headaches, skin irritation, and nausea.
The FDA allows the use of formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing agents in cosmetics, personal care products,  poultry and food-fish feeds (as an antimicrobial to control salmonella). In the US, only Minnesota has banned in-state sales of children’s personal care products containing them. Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing agents are banned in Japan, and many other countries, including the European Union. (Grossman, 2014), (Seattle Organic Restaurants, 2015), (Shook Hardy & Bacon, 2014)

 

 

 

NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDES

 

(Source: www.seattleorganicrestaurants.com)
(Source: www.seattleorganicrestaurants.com)
Neonicotinoids are a relatively new class of pesticides, chemically related to nicotine, that attack insects’ central nervous systems, causing paralysis and death. These neurotoxins have been linked to bee colony collapse. They enter plants’ tissues and can remain in the soil up to 500 days after spraying, causing other plants grown in the treated soil to produce toxic nectar and pollen.
Neonicotinoid pesticides can also cause neurological problems in humans. Children who are exposed to these neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors while in the womb have a higher risk of developing cancer, neurological problems, mental disorders, autism, ADD, and ADHD.
The European Union has put a two-year ban on neonicotinoid pesticides. The US  rejects banning this neurotoxin. (Beyond Pesticides, undated) (Seattle Organic Restaurants, 2015)

 

 

 

AZODICARBONAMIDE (ADA)

 

(Source: bloguvib.wordpress.com)
(Source: bloguvib.wordpress.com)

 

Azodicarbonamide (ADA) is commonly used as a bleaching agent in commercially baked white breads, cakes, and pastries and is the chemical that keeps bread soft and fresh-seeming many days after you bought it.  Azodicarbonamide also improves flour’s strength and elasticity – and is a chemical used in the production of foamed plastics.
It has been linked to asthma, allergies, other respiratory problems – and much worse.
This chemical has been banned by most European countries and Australia. Some countries, including Singapore, have even instituted severe penalties for using it: 15 years in jail and $450,000 fine.
Here’s a 2014 list of 500 commercially baked products that contain Azodicarbonamide – bagels, muffins, pizzas, buns, breads, pastries, croissants, bread crumbs, pitas, croutons, stuffing mixes… You get the idea. (Montuori, 2014) (Seattle Organic Restaurants, 2015)

 

 

 

 

(Source: www.naturalnews.com)
(Source: www.naturalnews.com)

 

 

 

There are many more. In fact, the vast majority of packaged foods available in the US contain chemicals that are banned in other countries. The FDA allows over 3,000 food additives in US food production, including foods and products intended for infants and young children. Many of these additives are banned in other countries because of their health risks. (Mercola, 2015)

 

 

 

(Source: dailysuperfoodlove.com)
(Source: dailysuperfoodlove.com)

 

 

 

 

MCDONALD’S FRENCH FRIES IN THE US VS THE UK

I want to close with one more example: A comparison of the French fries sold by McDonald’s in the US and in the UK.

 

mcd-by-roboppy

While commercial French fries aren’t exactly known as healthy foods, McDonald’s fries sold in the US are much unhealthier than the version they sell in the UK.

 

(Source: www.collective-evolution.com)
(Source: www.collective-evolution.com)

 

For one thing, McDonald’s fries sold in the UK list four ingredients while their US version list seven, mostly chemical additives. But look at the ingredients lists for both countries carefully and you’ll see they’re a bit misleading. At the bottom of the US list, we learn that the vegetable oils contain other ingredients – eg, TBHQ and dimethylpolysiloxane. At the bottom of the UK list, we’re told non-hydrogenated vegetable oil is used to prepare the fries in the restaurants. Does this mean hydrogenated versions are used when the potatoes are fried the first time at McDonald’s factories, before they’re frozen and distributed to the various franchises?
In the US, McDonald’s fries are cooked in hydrogenated canola and/or soybean oil, two of the unhealthiest oil choices and both most likely made from genetically engineered plants. Their fries here also contain TBHQ, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Dimethylpolysiloxane , and “natural beef flavor” (made with wheat and milk derivatives). (Mercola, 2015)

HYDROGENATED CANOLA & SOYBEAN OILS VS NON-HYDROGENATED SUNFLOWER & RAPESEED OILS

In the US, McDonald’s cooks its fries in canola and soybean oils, plus hydrogenated soybean oil. Canola oil isn’t totally terrible for you since it’s low in saturated fats and fairly high in unsaturated fats, including Omega-3 fatty acids – but it’s most likely to be made from GMO plants. 90% of the world’s canola crop is genetically modified.
Hydrogenating soybean oil turns its unsaturated fat into saturated fat, making it easier to cook with and turning it into a preservative. This soybean fat has now become a trans fat and trans fats have been strongly linked to heart disease. And there’s also the fact that about 84% of the soy beans grown in the US are GMO.
McDonald’s French fries sold in the UK are fried in non-hydrogenated sunflower or rapeseed oil at the restaurants. Both these oils are high in Omega-6 fatty acids that oxidize to cyclic aldehydes. The rapeseed is also GMO.
And remember that McDonald’s fries its potatoes twice: Once during preparation at the factory before they’re frozen and shipped out to their franchise restaurants and again before they’re served.
Overall, while definitely not so good for you, the oils used in making the UK version are healthier than the US version. (Goyanes, 2015) (Gunnars, 2015) (Mercola, 2015)

 

 

TBHQ

Tertiary butylhydroquinone) is a form of butane used as an FDA approved as GRAS chemical preservative in foodstuffs to delay the onset of rancidness and extend the foodstuff’s storage life. You’ll find it in many products: from crackers, potato chips, pet foods, cosmetics, baby skincare products, varnish, lacquers, resins, to explosive compounds.
High doses of TBHQ can cause nausea, delirium, collapse, tinnitus, and vomiting. It’s also linked to hyperactivity in children as well as asthma, rhinitis, dermatitis, restlessness, and aggravation of  ADHD symptoms.
Long term high doses in lab animals are linked to the development of cancerous precursors in the stomach and DNA damage. It’s also linked to estrogen disruption in women. (Botes, 2011)

 

SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE

Sodium acid pyrophosphate (also referred to as disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate) is mined from phosphate rock and then processed with sodium and other molecules into a synthetic chemical used as a food additive classified as GRAS by the FDA.
It’s used as leavening agent to fluff up foods, in non-dairy creamers to reduce acidity, in processed lunch meats to keep them moist, in breads to retard molds, in cheeses to help them retain their shape, in potato products to retard blackening, in tuna and other seafood to keep it from discoloring or drying out.
Phosphates in general have been linked to renal failure and cardiovascular disease. Sodium phosphate in laxatives has been linked to severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, organ damage, bone and tooth decay. (Marshall, 2014)

 

DIMETHYLPOLYSILOXANE

Dimethylpolysiloxane is a silicone-based organic polymer. It’s FDA approved as GRAS in foods. It’s also used in silicone caulks, adhesives, aquarium sealants, mold release agents, polishes, cosmetics, hair conditioners, as a filler in breast implants, and Silly Putty.
The FDA also permits dimethylpolysiloxane to be preserved by a variety of chemicals that don’t have to be listed on the label – including formaldehyde, a toxic chemical linked to allergies, brain damage, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. (Food Babe, 2013)
No major studies have been conducted on the safety of dimethylpolysiloxane yet the FDA approves it as GRAS in our foods – in anything except milk.
McDonald’s uses it as an anti-foaming agent and to reduce oil spattering in its US franchises. While dimethylpolysiloxane isn’t banned in the UK, McDonald’s doesn’t use it in its French fries there.

 

“NATURAL BEEF FLAVOR”

The so called “natural beef flavor” McDonald’s uses in its French fries in the US for some reason is made with hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk so they have to carry a wheat and milk allergen warning. Hydrolysis is an industrial process of of digesting something with chemical agents. And the traces of highly processed  beef byproducts along with the milk definitely keep them from being vegetarian or vegan.
McDonald’s fries in the UK contain no “natural beef flavor” so apparently it’s not necessary to include it. (Mercola, 2015)

 

CITRIC ACID

Citric acid is naturally found in fruits and vegetables. McDonald’s uses it in the US to preserve the freshness of their frying oils – no doubt in a highly processed form. Somehow it’s not a necessary ingredient in the UK.

DEXTROSE

Dextrose, also called glucose, is a simple form of sugar derived from starch. It can be refined from many kinds of starch, including wheat, rice, potato, cassava, and arrowroot. The cheapest and most common source is corn. I’ll remind you that the vast majority of corn grown in the US (about 88% is GMO). Genetically modified corn is also grown in the EU.
Dextrose is used in McDonald’s US and UK franchises to give their fries that uniform golden brown color.

 

SALT

While natural, unprocessed salt contains trace minerals we need, refined table salt (the kind used by McDonald’s and pretty much all other restaurants, fast food or otherwise) is quite unhealthy. But it’s cheap and makes us thirsty for those enormous Cokes.
Refined table salt is quite different from natural, unprocessed salts. It no longer has the ability to combine with our body fluids, so undermines necessary, basic chemical and metabolic processes. Water retention, kidney and blood pressure problems, gall stones, and many other serious health problems can result from refined salt consumption.
Unrefined salts contain trace minerals that support the proper functioning of all our bodily systems, including the immune system, glandular system and nervous system. These trace minerals have been processed out of refined table salt.
For more on processed vs unprocessed salt, see The Healing Properties of Unrefined Salts.
Processed salt is use on McDonald’s fries in both the US and the UK.
And we’re not even talking about what’s in the ketchup!

 

 

 

(Source: www.uleduneering.com)
(Source: www.uleduneering.com)
Doesn’t this comparison of the ingredients in McDonald’s French fries in the US and the UK make you wonder how concerned our governmental agencies actually are about our health?
As Robert Mercola says,
“Still if McDonald’s can make a tasty French fry without preservatives, antifoaming agents, color stabilizers, TBHQ, and added flavorings for its British restaurants, why do they refuse to make them without this junk for Americans? (Mercola, 2015)

 

 

(Source: www.collective-evolution.com)
(Source: www.collective-evolution.com)
I highly recommend watching this short Michael Pollan video: Watch This Video and You’ll Never Eat McDonald’s French Fries Again … in the US or anywhere else in the world.
Now ponder this:
(Source: www.foodinsight.org)
(Source: www.foodinsight.org)

Beyond Pesticides. (undated. Chemicals Implicated. See: http://www.beyondpesticides.org/pollinators/chemicals.php

Botes, S. (2011). TBHQ – Why this preservative should be avoided. See: http://www.naturalnews.com/031318_TBHQ_food_preservatives.html

Decuir, L. (2015). Finally! The FDA Admits That Nearly Over 70% of U.S. Chickens Contain Cancer-Causing Arsenic. See: http://www.msn.com/en-ca/foodanddrink/foodnews/finally-the-fda-admits-that-nearly-over-70percent-of-us-chickens-contain-cancer-causing-arsenic/ar-AA8cWca

Dictionary.com. (2015). Precautionary principle. See: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/precautionary+principle

European Commission. (2000). EU’s Communication on Precautionary Principle. See: http://www.gdrc.org/u-gov/precaution-4.html

Europa: Summaries of EU Legislation. (2011). The precautionary principle. See: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/consumers/consumer_safety/l32042_en.htm

Food Babe. (2013). You Won’t Believe Where Silly Putty Is Hiding In Your Food. See: http://foodbabe.com/2013/10/22/sillyputty/

Goyanes, C. (2015). What’s REALLY Inside Those McDonald’s French Fries? See: http://www.livestrong.com/article/1002598-whats-really-inside-those-mcdonalds-french-fries/

Grossman, E. (2014). BANNED IN EUROPE, SAFE IN THE U.S.: Who determines whether chemicals are safe — and why do different governments come up with such different answers? See: http://ensia.com/features/banned-in-europe-safe-in-the-u-s/

Gunnars, K. (2015). Canola Oil: Good or Bad? See: http://authoritynutrition.com/canola-oil-good-or-bad/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). The Healing Properties of Unrefined Salts. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/08/02/healing-properties-unrefined-salts/

Hemmingway, S. (2014). Banned in Europe, Safe in the U.S. See: http://www.healthfreedoms.org/banned-in-europe-safe-in-the-u-s/

Marshall, L. (2014).  Is disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate (sodium acid pyrophosphate) natural? See: http://newhope360.com/ingredients-general/is-disodium-dihydrogen-pyrophosphate-natural

Mercola, R. (2015). The Big Food Discrepancy: Why Are American Foods Routinely More Toxic Than European Versions? See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/02/11/mcdonalds-fries-ingredients.aspx

Montuori, N. (2014). Yoga Mat Chemical “Azodicarbonamide” Found in Nearly 500 Foods. See: http://www.ordinaryvegan.net/adalist/

Organic Consumers Organization. (undated).  Countries & Regions With GE Food/Crop Bans. See: https://www.organicconsumers.org/old_articles/gefood/countrieswithbans.php

Polan, M. (2014). Video: Watch This Video and You’ll Never Eat McDonald’s French Fries Again. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbZBJT358_Y

Seattle Organic Restaurants. (2015).Top 10 foods, additives and preservatives that are banned in many countries except US. See: http://www.seattleorganicrestaurants.com/vegan-whole-food/foods-banned-in-other-countries-but-we-eat-in-us.php

Shook Hardy & Bacon. (2014). EFSA issues opinion on formaldehyde in animal feed. See: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=c7f83204-2b3d-43cd-ba74-31f81433a10d

USA Today. (2014). Coke, Pepsi dropping controversial ‘BVO’ from all drinks. See: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/05/coke-pepsi-dropping-bvo-from-all-drinks/8736657/

Yoquinto, L. (2012). The Truth About Potassium Bromate. See: http://www.livescience.com/36206-truth-potassium-bromate-food-additive.html

 

 

© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sign Petition to Obama for a National Food Policy

 

 

imgres

Sign the petition below telling President Obama it’s time to issue an executive order instituting a National Food Policy. What a legacy that would be.
Our food supplies and Big Ag agriculture system are broken and making people, other animals, our waters and the whole environment sick. The Union of Concerned Scientists has repeatedly demonstrated the costs of diet-related disease, the environmental toll of industrial agriculture practices, and the iron grip corporate giants have on information about what we eat.
Government agencies and policies have contributed to this disaster. So far, legislative attempts to improve the situation have been disjointed and frequently made the problems worse.
Recently in The Washington Post, the Union of Concerned Scientists  joined prominent food leaders Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, and Olivier de Schutter in a call to President Obama. The editorial urges the President to do something bold and necessary: ISSUE AN EXECUTIVE ORDER ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL FOOD POLICY.
This won’t happen overnight. But right now it can begin—with you, with  us acting in large numbers.
Sign the petition today to tell President Obama that you want a National Food Policy that will transform our food system to ensure healthy, sustainably grown food for all.

 

(Source: www.fairfoodnetwork.org)
(Source: www.fairfoodnetwork.org)

 

 

Read The Washington Post article – How a national food policy could save millions of American lives.
From the article:

The food system and the diet it’s created have caused incalculable damage to the health of our people and our land, water and air. If a foreign power were to do such harm, we’d regard it as a threat to national security, if not an act of war, and the government would formulate a comprehensive plan and marshal resources to combat it. (The administration even named an Ebola czar to respond to a disease that threatens few Americans.) So when hundreds of thousands of annual deaths are preventable — as the deaths from the chronic diseases linked to the modern American way of eating surely are — preventing those needless deaths is a national priority.
A national food policy would do that, by investing resources to guarantee that:

● All Americans have access to healthful food;

● Farm policies are designed to support our public health and environmental objectives;

● Our food supply is free of toxic bacteria, chemicals and drugs;

● Production and marketing of our food are done transparently;

● The food industry pays a fair wage to those it employs;

● Food marketing sets children up for healthful lives by instilling in them a habit of eating real food;

● Animals are treated with compassion and attention to their well-being;

● The food system’s carbon footprint is reduced, and the amount of carbon sequestered on farmland is increased;

● The food system is sufficiently resilient to withstand the effects of climate change.

Only those with a vested interest in the status quo would argue against creating public policies with these goals.

 

Sign the petition today to tell President Obama that you want a National Food Policy that will transform our food system to ensure healthy, sustainably grown food for all.

 

 

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(Source: decryptedmatrix.com)
(Source: decryptedmatrix.com)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Bitman, M. (11/7/2014). How a national food policy could save millions of American lives. The Washington Post. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-a-national-food-policy-could-save-millions-of-american-lives/2014/11/07/89c55e16-637f-11e4-836c-83bc4f26eb67_story.html

Union of  Concerned Scientists. (2014). Petition to President Obama: It’s Time for a National Food Policy. See: https://secure3.convio.net/ucs/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=A6B920252EDB24A97EE04C255A21F419.app338a?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=4383&autologin=true

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

How Hand Sanitizers Are Bad for You and the Planet

 

 

(Source: www.personal.psu.edu)
(Source: www.personal.psu.edu)

 

I’ve written on the dangers of hand sanitizers here and there on this site but decided to devote a whole post to them after encountering a big wall dispenser of Purell above a sink in a lovely West Village church bathroom  yesterday – with no hand soap option. I’m sure the church believes they  made a sensible choice. This got me thinking about how thoughtful people have been seriously misled. So here’s the explanation of why Purell in a bathroom is a bad idea.

 

images-10

It’s important to understand how the heavy use of Purell and other hand sanitizers is doing harm to our health.
The prevalent obsession with germs, viewing all of them as harmful and in need of being killed, is based in ignorance and simply misguided. Without the billions of friendly micro-organisms living in and on our bodies, we wouldn’t be able to sustain life. When we ruthlessly kill them on our skin and inside our bodies, we are doing ourselves a great disservice and jeopardizing our health.
As Michael Pollan, a well known American author, journalist, activist and professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, put it in his excellent article Some of My Best Friends Are Germs (Pollan, 2013):

… as a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota with a multifronted war on bacteria and a diet notably detrimental to its well-being. Researchers now speak of an impoverished “Westernized microbiome” and ask whether the time has come to embark on a project of “restoration ecology” — not in the rain forest or on the prairie but right here at home, in the human gut.

 

 

 

 

THE HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS

 

(Source: sciencefocus.com)
(Source: sciencefocus.com)

 

The HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS offers an explanation of why it’s important to be exposed to a wide variety of germs in childhood:
A lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic micro-organisms such as gut flora probiotics, and parasites increases susceptibility to allergic and other autoimmune diseases by suppressing the natural development of the immune system. The lack of exposure leads to defects in the establishment of immune tolerance.
The Hygiene Hypothesis is also sometimes called the Biome Depletion Theory or the Lost Friends Theory.

 

1932 news item from Nov, 1932: POOR KIDS MORE IMMUNE TO GERMS ... An early observation consistent with the Hygiene Hypothesis .(Source: Modern Mechanix blog.modernmechanix.com)
Canadian news item from Nov, 1932: POOR KIDS MORE IMMUNE TO GERMS … An early observation consistent with the Hygiene Hypothesis (Source: Modern Mechanix blog.modernmechanix.com)

 

The result of providing too sanitary an environment for our children is that they aren’t able to build up a natural resistance to pathogens, making them more susceptible to developing allergies, asthma, skin conditions and a wide variety of other illnesses and diseases – including all the autoimmune conditions, heart disease and depression. Specifically, lack of exposure to pathogens is believed to lead to defects in the establishment of immune tolerance. (Hardin, 2014)
hygienehyp_m2129538
In Some of My Best Friends Are Germs, Pollan mentions the interesting finding that children who live with a dog at home are healthier overall, have fewer infectious respiratory problems, fewer ear infections and are less likely to require antibiotics. This is strong support for the Hygiene Hypothesis. Researchers found that the effect was greater if the dog spent fewer than six hours inside – the longer dogs are outdoors, the more dirt they bring inside with them so the children are exposed to more diverse micro-organisms from playing with and being licked by their dogs. (Pollan, 2013)
Isn’t this the perfect point to make to parents who tell their children they can’t have a dog because dogs are too dirty?

 

(Source; newswatch.nationalgeographic.com)
(Source; newswatch.nationalgeographic.com)
Many schools in the US now require children to carry and use bottles of hand sanitizers. And, at least in the US, there are Purell dispensers all over hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, airports, work places, grocery stores, bathrooms – and in people’s purses and pockets.
The widespread use of hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps is seen by many as an unwelcome epidemic harming individuals’ health and contributing to the rise of drug resistant bacteria, often referred to as super bugs. (Hardin, 12/22/2013)
For more information on the Hygiene Hypothesis and why it’s important to be exposed to diverse populations of microbes, see Live Dirty, Eat Clean … The Gut Microbiome Is the Future of Medicine.

 

 

TRICLOSAN

 

(Source: www.ecomythsalliance.org)
(Source: www.ecomythsalliance.org)
Hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps, toothpastes, and other products that “kill 99% of germs” likely contain triclosan. In 1969 triclosan was registered as a PESTICIDE  and is now widely used as a potent germicide in personal care products.
Do you think it’s a good idea to rub a pesticide on your skin?
As with antibiotics, triclosan doesn’t distinguish between useful microbes and pathogenic ones in destroying that 99%.  Among the harmful effects of using anything containing triclosan is evidence that it interferes with fetal development. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports evidence that triclosan disrupts the body’s endocrine system, altering hormone regulation. Bacteria exposed to triclosan are apt to become resistant to antibiotics. It weakens the heart muscle, impairing contractions and reducing heart function. It is known to weaken skeletal muscles, reducing grip strength. It washes into sewage systems and pollutes our waters. And it has been found in the blood, urine and breast milk of most people. (Hardin, 9/6/2014)
Triclosan, originally used as a pesticide, is a hormone disruptor found in thousands of products like toothpaste, cutting boards, yoga mats, hand soap, and more. (Source: saferchemicals.org)
Triclosan, originally used as a pesticide, is a hormone disruptor found in thousands of products like toothpaste, cutting boards, yoga mats, hand soap, and more. (Source: saferchemicals.org)

 

At least Purell doesn’t contain triclosan.
For more information on triclosan, see my 9/6/2014 blog post Triclosan, Your Toothpaste and Your Endocrine System.

 

 

SUPER BUGS

There is strong evidence that anti-bacterial soaps and hand sanitizers containing triclosan contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, often referred to as super bugs.
Ten years ago, in 2004, a research team at the University of Michigan exposed bacteria to triclosan and found increased activity in cellular pumps that the bacteria use to eliminate foreign substances. Stuart Levy of Tufts University School of Medicine, one of the study’s authors and a leading researcher on antibiotic resistance, pointed out that these overactive excretory systems “could act to pump out other antibiotics, as well.”

 

superbugs

 

This is a serious problem. Pathogenic bacteria such as streptococcus, staphylococcus, and pneumonia are already in the process of evolving defenses against currently used antibiotics and pharmaceutical companies aren’t developing many new antibiotics.
In the 15 years between 1999 and 2014, the FDA approved only 15 new antibiotics – compared to 40 in the previous 15 years. The World Health Organization currently regards antibiotic resistant super bugs as “a threat to global health security”. (Butler, 2014)

 

 

 

CLOSTRIDIUM DIFFICILE

 

(Source: devids.net)
(Source: devids.net)

 

And then there’s my favorite bacterium: Clostridium difficile – the one you may not have even heard of but which has reached epidemic proportions, infecting 250,000 people and causing 14,000 deaths each year in the US alone. I had a nasty C. difficile infection in 2010 and fortunately didn’t die from it – though there were times I thought I was going to and felt so miserable I sometimes wished I would.
You can read here about how I vanquished my C. difficile infection without resorting to antibiotics – the usual Western treatment for it. It just didn’t make sense to me to take more antibiotics since it was frequent antibiotics that had weakened my gut microbiota to the point that a C. diff overrun took over.
The bottom line about C. difficile and hand sanitizers is that NO TYPE OF HAND SANITIZER  KILLS IT. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012)

 

 

 

(Source: mommynotions.com)
(Source: mommynotions.com)

 

 

 

 

YOUR TAKE AWAY FROM THIS INFORMATION

Educate yourself about friendly bacteria versus pathogenic ones, return to washing your hands the old fashioned way – with soap and water, use your “hand sanitizer” only for emergencies – and teach this to your children.
If you must, use a non-triclosan-containing hand sanitizer to clean surfaces on phones, keyboard and  laptops, and other high-touch surfaces. But clean your hands with good old soap and water.

 

Use the soap
Use the soap

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Butler, K. (2014). Does Purell Breed Superbugs? The dirty truth (and the good news) on hand hygiene. Mother Jones. See: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/12/germophobia-superbug-hygiene-soap-bacteria

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Life-threatening germ poses threat across medical facilities. See: http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/p0306_cdiff.html

Hardin, J.R. (2011). Successful Holistic Treatment of Clostridium Difficile Gut Infection: Case Study. Oriental Medicine Journal, 19:4, 24-37.  See: http://issuu.com/davidmiller4/docs/c._difficile_omj_article_lo_res

Hardin, J.R. (12/22/2013). Asthma. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See:  http://allergiesandyourgut.com/symbiosis-versus-dysbiosis/asthma/

Hardin, J.R. (2011). Successful Holistic Treatment of Clostridium Difficile Gut Infection: Case Study. Oriental Medicine Journal, 19:4, 24-37.  See: http://issuu.com/davidmiller4/docs/c._difficile_omj_article_lo_res

Hardin, J.R. (9/6/2014). Triclosan, Your Toothpaste and Your Endocrine System. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/09/06/triclosan-endocrine-system/

Hardin, J.R. (8/6/2014). Live Dirty, Eat Clean … The Gut Microbiome Is the Future of Medicine. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/08/06/live-dirty-eat-clean-gut-microbiome-future-medicine/

Polan, M. (2013). Some of My Best Friends Are Germs. New York Times Magazine, May 15 2013. See:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/say-hello-to-the-100-trillion-bacteria-that-make-up-your-microbiome.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Follow Up on AO+ Living Bacterial Skin Tonic

Updated 2/25/2016.

 

images-1
I first wrote about AOBiome’s brilliant new approach to skin health and cleanliness in Living Bacterial Skin Tonic – Instead of Soap?! (June 7, 2014).
AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist is a liquid developed by a biotech start up company in Cambridge MA to spray on our bodies in lieu of – or as an adjunct to – taking showers. Showering with most soaps and shampoos kills all the healthy elements of our skin’s microbiome. AOBiome’s new living bacterial skin tonic, made of safe live-cultured Nitrosomonas bacteria, replenishes the biome of microscopic organisms that should live on our skin.
(Source: AOBiome)
(Source: AOBiome)

 

From the AO Biome website:

THE SCIENCE

Skin has a Broad Systemic Impact

A healthy microbiome is necessary for skin to do its work optimally. The human skin microbiome requires Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria (AOB) to function well.

AOBs Are Everywhere in Nature

In the wild, humans had this on their skin – a mutually beneficial working relationship! AOB in the natural environment regulate our nitrogen metabolism. Unfortunately, AOB on our bodies have been impaired by culture and behavior.

Why Does This Matter?

Modern hygiene has selectively depleted the natural balance of the skin microbiome particularly affecting AOB. By restoring the appropriate AOB levels, we believe a range of human health conditions could be impacted. AOBiome is interested in exploring potential physiologic effects including:

Improving skin architecture
Improving skin architecture
Preventing infection
Preventing infection
Improving vascularization
Improving vascularization

 

 

 

 

 

AOBs: What I'm spraying on my skin daily to improve my skin microbiome
AOBs: What I’m spraying on my skin daily to improve my skin microbiome

 

 

MY EXPERIENCE WITH AO+ SPRAY

After waiting a few months for the company to catch up to demand for their new bacterial spray, my first month’s supply arrived in early September 2014: Four spray bottles nestled inside an elegant box  – one bottle for each week – with clear use instructions. Each bottle contains over 100 sprays to least a week at about 15 sprays/day. The bacteria in the spray will survive about a month at room temperature so the bottle I’m using sits on the bathroom counter. The other bottles are stored in the fridge, where they’ll last for at least six months.

 

 

 

AO+ Refresjomg Cosmetic Mist - live cultured ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB). (Source: www.microbesandme.com)
AO+ Refresjomg Cosmetic Mist – live cultured ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB). (Source: www.microbesandme.com)
I began using the spray on September 7th immediately after toweling off from a shower – only on my arms, neck and chest at first – instead of my usual Jurlique Lavender Body Care Lotion. I showered using Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Soap (bar version) on my feet, crotch, arm pits and lightly on my face. As I was doing before, I’ve continued using Jurlique’s Skin Balancing Face Oil on my face and Erbe’s Orange C Serum around my eyes where the skin is delicate and usually dry.
I’ve also continued washing my hair with Jurlique’s Lavender Conditioner about once weekly. (I’ve got fine, curly hair so shampoo isn’t good for it – too drying. Conditioner does a fine job of cleaning out the dirt and excess oils.)
BTW, all the products mentioned above contain only high quality ingredients and no parabens, estrogen disrupters, carcinogens or other harsh, dangerous chemicals.
I stopped using antiperspirants many years ago once I understood that the body needs to perspire but, not quite ready to retire my deodorant, I’ve continued using my favorite: Tom’s Long Lasting Deodorant (Unscented).
What I noticed right away after that first application was that the skin where I’d applied the AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist smelled like a baby’s skin – a ‘this makes me smile and feel good all over’ scent, not the shitty diaper smell. And after just one application, my skin felt and looked soft, smooth and well-nourished.

 

 

images

After a few days, I started using the bacterial spray on my legs and the tops of my feet too. This skin is usually pretty dry but has become nicely hydrated with the spray.
I tried the spray on my face but didn’t like the tight feeling it produced so returned to using face oil. Interestingly, I’ve never felt it at all on the rest of my body. This seemed to be unique to my face. Perhaps I’ll give it another try on my face.
That first bottle, with the daily use described above, lasted for 20 days – so clearly I wasn’t using 15 sprays/day.
Yesterday, with the second bottle, I started using the spray on my entire body – with the exception of my face, armpits, the parts of my back I can’t reach, and soles of my feet. That probably amounted to 12-15 sprays.
I’m thinking I’ll start using it on my hair too starting tomorrow.
One of the more interesting things that started happening after two weeks of using the spray on my arms is that some patches of seborrheic keratosis began to dry up. I expect they’ll eventually fall off! This is most welcome.

 

An example of a seborrheic keratosis. (Source: www.medicinenet.com)
An example of a seborrheic keratosis. (Source: www.medicinenet.com)

 

Seborrheic keratosis is a benign skin disorder characterized by rough, raised areas resulting from excessive growth of the top layer of skin cells. Mine are a light brown but they can range from light tan to black. They’re odd looking – like they’re just sitting on top of my skin. They’re sometimes referred to as “barnacles of old age.” How delightful. I’ll be glad to see them go.

 

BACTERIA ARE YOUR FRIENDS

(Source: www.microbesandme.com)
(Source: www.microbesandme.com)
The bottom line is that I’m quite happy to be an early user of AO Biome’s AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist and greatly look forward to its being widely available. My hope is that the existence of this product will help educate people to differentiate between USEFUL bacteria and HARMFUL ones instead of viewing all bacteria as dangerous and in need of being destroyed.
I quote Michael Pollan from his wonderful article Some of My Best Friends Are Germs (Pollan, 2013):

As a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota.

 

 

There's a difference between good bacteria and bad bacteria. Nurture your good bacteria instead of trying to kill them off. (Source: naturallyimmune.org)
There’s a difference between good bacteria and bad bacteria. Nurture your good bacteria instead of trying to kill them off. (Source: naturallyimmune.org)

 

I highly recommend perusing AOBiome’s website, facebook and FAQ for more fascinating information on the needs of the skin microbiome and the science behind their product.

 

 

imgres

 

 

 

 

 

GUT/BRAIN/SKIN AXIS (Bowe & Logan, 2011) (Kresser, 2014)

 

I’ve been writing mostly on the gut microbiome on this site. Here’s information on how the skin flora microbiome fits in:

 

 

The trillions of microbes in and on our bodies are key to understanding our health. (Source: organicfitness.com)
The trillions of microbes in and on our bodies are key to understanding our health. (Source: organicfitness.com)

 

70 years ago, dermatologists John H. Stokes and Donald M. Pillsbury proposed a gastrointestinal mechanism for the observed overlap between depression, anxiety and skin conditions, such as acne.
They  hypothesized that emotional states might alter intestinal microflora, increase intestinal permeability and contribute to systemic inflammation. Among the acne remedies they suggested were Lactobacillus acidophilus cultures. Imbalances in the gut microbiota and oral probiotics produce systemic inflammation and oxidative stress, upset glycemic control and tissue lipid content, influence mood  and cause skin conditions such as acne.

 

EVIDENCE OF A  CONNECTION BETWEEN GUT PROBLEMS AND SKIN DISORDERS

 

  • People with acne are also at higher risk for suffering from GI distress, such as constipation, halitosis and gastric reflux.
  • A recent study found that teens with acne and other seborrheic conditions were 37% more likely to have abdominal bloating.
  • People with acne rosacea have been found to be 10 times more likely than healthy controls to have small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a condition involving inappropriate growth of bacteria in the small intestine. Correcting their SIBO markedly improved their acne rosacea.
  • 14% of patients with ulcerative colitis and 24% of patients with Crohn’s disease also have skin disorders.
  • Celiac disease sufferers are also apt to have cutaneous manifestations, such as dermatitis herpetiformis (occurs in 1/4 of people with celiac). Celiacs also have increased frequency of oral mucosal lesions, alopecia and vitiligo.
  • A recent study showed that a drug used to treat psoriasis is also effective for Crohn’s.
  • In another study, 56 patients with acne who consumed a Lactobacillus fermented dairy beverage for 12 weeks saw clinical improvement.
  • Pasteurized, unfermented dairy is associated with acne but fermented dairy is not.

 

Scientists are now validating the existence of a gut-brain-skin axis – and recommending oral probiotics to cure and prevent acne and other skin conditions.
Noted practitioner of functional and integrative medicine,  licensed acupuncturist, and health blogger Chris Kresser puts it simply:
                              If you want to heal your skin, you have to heal your gut.
And, as I’ve noted throughout this site, improving your gut flora will reduce chronic inflammation everywhere in the body and keep you from developing allergies, one or more of the many autoimmune conditions and possibly even cancers – or let your body heal if you already have one of these conditions – and also improve your mood.

 

 

 

(Source: www.drchadmorton.com)
Your skin is a direct reflection of your digestive tract. (Source: www.drchadmorton.com)

 

2/25/2016:
In another brilliant move, AO Biome has renamed its skin-microbiome friendly spray mist, shampoo, and cleanser MOTHER DIRT.

 

 

Source: www.persiankittykat.com)
Source: www.persiankittykat.com)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

AOBiome. (2013-2014). facebook.  See:  https://www.facebook.com/AOBiome

AOBiome. (2014). FAQ. See: https://www.aobiome.com/faq

AOBiome. (2014). Pioneering bacterial therapy for the skin. See: https://www.aobiome.com/company

Bowe, W.P. & Logan, A.C.  (2011). Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future? Gut Pathogens, 3: 1. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3038963/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). Living Bacterial Skin Tonic – Instead of Soap?! Allergies And Your Gut. See:  http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/06/07/living-bacterial-skin-tonic-instead-bathing/

Kresser, C. (2014). The gut-skin connection: how altered gut function affects the skin. See:  http://chriskresser.com/the-gut-skin-connection-how-altered-gut-function-affects-the-skin

Polan, M. (2013). Some of My Best Friends Are Germs. New York Times Magazine, May 15 2013. See:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/say-hello-to-the-100-trillion-bacteria-that-make-up-your-microbiome.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Factory Farming Makes Us Sick

 

 

Factory_Farms_Make_Me_Sick_Shareable_image

 

Did you know that factory farms use 80% of the antibiotics sold in the USA? The huge farms which grow most of the meat eaten in this country keep their animals penned in filthy, crowded living conditions. To prevent these animals from becoming diseased, Big Ag farmers add low doses of antibiotics to the animals’ daily feed.
Remember your doctor’s telling you to make sure you finish the entire course of an antibiotic even if you feel better after a few days on it? The reason is to prevent the bad bacteria from becoming resistant to the drug in case you need more of it in the future. Yet Big Ag’s factory farming practices create a perfect breeding ground for producing antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Bacteria are highly adaptable. So if you don’t take the entire course of your antibiotic prescription, the pathogenic bacteria that’s made you sick can mutate into a superbug with resistance to that antibiotic.
The continuous low dosing of factory farmed animals creates the same situation for developing superbugs. Then these resistant bacteria get out of the farm grounds and into food and water supplies, where they do a great deal of harm.
(Source: foodandwaterwatch.org)
(Source: foodandwaterwatch.org)
Go to Food & Water Watch’s site to learn more about how antibiotics routinely given to factory farmed animals is harming animals, the environment and us humans. And while you’re there, sign their petition to  pass legislation to end the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/food/factoryfarms/antibiotics/ … pic.twitter.com/IgtNKlw7bE

 

 

(Source: ww.moneymappress.com)
(Source: ww.moneymappress.com)

 

 

 

FACTORY FARMING

I haven’t chosen the most grotesque factory farming pictures to show here. Google ‘factory farming’ if you can stand to see those images.

 

Factory farmed chickens
Factory farmed chickens

 

 

 

Sow penned in a farrowing crate nursing her babies
Sow penned in a farrowing crate nursing her piglets on a factory pig farm. She can’t even turn her head to see her own babies.

 

 

 

Factory farming cows (Source: www.cleanwateractioncouncil.org)
Factory farmed cows (Source: www.cleanwateractioncouncil.org)

 

 

 

 

11 FACTS ABOUT ANIMALS AND FACTORY FARMS

1. A “factory farm” is a large-scale industrial operation that houses thousands of animals raised for food—such as chickens, turkeys, cows, and pigs—and treats them with hormones and antibiotics to prevent disease and maximize their growth and food output.

2. Animals are fed and sprayed with huge amounts of pesticides and antibiotics, which can remain in their bodies and are passed on to the people who eat them, creating serious health hazards in humans. Ask your school to create Meatless Mondays in the cafeteria to highlight the hazards of overconsumption of meat. Sign up for Meatless Mondays.

3. The beaks of chickens, turkeys, and ducks are often removed in factory farms to reduce the excessive feather pecking and cannibalism seen among stressed, overcrowded birds.

4. A typical supermarket chicken today contains more than twice the fat, and about a third less protein than 40 years ago.

5. 2 in 3 farm animals in the world are now factory farmed.

6. Confining so many animals in one place produces much more waste than the surrounding land can handle. As a result, factory farms are associated with various environmental hazards, such as water, land and air pollution.

7. The pollution from animal waste causes respiratory problems, skin infections, nausea, depression, and even death for people who live near factory farms.

8. Dairy cows typically live to their third lactation before being culled. Naturally, a cow can live for 20 years.

9. Hog, chicken and cattle waste has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states.

10. Egg-laying hens are sometimes starved for up to 14 days, exposed to changing light patterns and given no water in order to shock their bodies into molting. It’s common for 5% to 10% of hens to die during the forced molting process.

11. Worldwide, about 70 billion farm animals are now reared for food each year.

Quoted from: DoSomething.org

 

 

 

why-end-factory-farming

 

 

 

 

FACTORY FARMING VS ORGANIC FARMING OF ANIMALS

 

In this short video (3:34), Joel Salatin, an American farmer, lecturer and author whose books include Folks, This Ain’t Normal; You Can Farm; Pastured Poultry Profits; and Salad Bar Beef, describes the differences between factory farming and organic farming – and also what he calls polyface farming. The video is part of an interview with Earth Eats Host Annie Corrigan on Sunday, January 23, 2009.

 

Joel Salatin in an interview with Earth Eats Host Annie Corrigan on Sunday, January 23, 2009.
Joel Salatin in an interview with Earth Eats Host Annie Corrigan on Sunday, January 23, 2009.

 

Essentially, Salatin’s technique is to capture the sun by growing grass.  At his farm, animals eat this grass as part of a “salad-bar diet”. He pastures them in small paddocks and moves them at least once daily. This lets pigs be pigs, enjoying their “piggyness”.

 

Piglet helping himself to healthy food at Salatin's Polyface Farm.
Piglet helping herself to healthy food at Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm.

 

 

Michael Pollan has written extensively on diet, the environment and food politics. His books include Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation; Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual; In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto; The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals; and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World. The New York Times and the Washington Post  both named The Omnivore’s Dilemma as one of the ten best books of 2006. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
He has received numerous awards, including the 2003 Humane Society of the United States’ Genesis Award for his writing on animal agriculture.
In 2003, Pollan was appointed the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. He also lectures widely on food, agriculture, health and the environment.
Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan
It is often claimed that factory farming is needed to feed the word’s population. Pollan’s answer to this assertion was presented in his 2009 book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.
Filmmakers Marija Jacimovic and Benoit Detalle turned Food Rules into an award-winning short (2:13) animated stop motion video. It’s narrated by Pollan himself and offers an excellent introductory crash course on what to eat and why.

 

From the "Food Rules" Animation Video
Half of the food we produce goes to feeding animals we raise to eat. (Source: “Food Rules” Animation Video)

 

As Pollan points out, half of the food we produce goes to feeding animals we raise in order to eat them.

 

 

One of Maira Kalman's illustrations for Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules
One of Maira Kalman’s illustrations for Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules

 

 

 

 

images

 

 

I’ll end with this thought:

 

antibiotics

 

 

 

REFERENCES

DoSomething.org. 11 Facts About Animals and Factory Farms. (no date). See: https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-animals-and-factory-farms

Foodandwaterwatch.org/antibiotics.  See: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/food/factoryfarms/antibiotics/ … pic.twitter.com/IgtNKlw7bE

Jacimovic, M. (2012). Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. Animated video.  See:  http://vimeo.com/35444471

Pollan, M. (2009). Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. See:  http://www.amazon.com/Food-Rules-An-Eaters-Manual/dp/014311638X

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Triclosan, Your Toothpaste and Your Endocrine System

 

 

TOP triclosan toothpaste

 

Take a look at the ingredients in your toothpaste. Is triclosan on the list? If so, switching brands would be a good idea.

 

Some products containing triclosan. (Source. www.achildgrows.com)
Some products containing triclosan. (Source. www.achildgrows.com)

 

Triclosan is the active ingredient in many widely used antibacterial products. You probably used some – or many – of them in your own home. These products claim to kill “99.9% of germs” as if that were a good thing … and triclosan is the killer.

 

(Source:  www.greenlivingonline.com)
(Source: www.greenlivingonline.com)

 

 

TRICLOSAN: A PROBLEMATIC CHEMICAL WITH ADVERSE HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS  (Francis, 2014), (Kaplan, 2014), (Mercola, 2014)

Triclosan is a synthetic, broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent present in a wide variety of consumer products: toothpastes, liquid soaps, dish washing liquids, mouth washes, face washes, hand sanitizers, surgical cleaning scrubs, shaving gels, deodorants, detergents, textiles, socks, workout clothes, toys, plastic kitchenware, cutting boards, school supplies – and many more.
Triclosan was first registered as a pesticide in 1969 and is now widely used as an antimicrobial. Do you want to brush your teeth with pesticide? For that matter, do you think it’s wise to kill 99% of the useful bacterial in your mouth daily?

 

 

(Source: www.ecomythsalliance.org)
(Source: www.ecomythsalliance.org)
The label on Colgate toothpastes lists the amount of triclosan in its products as only 0.30% – which may seem very small. But because triclosan is extremely powerful at killing bacteria and other microbes, this negligible amount makes the chemical a powerfully active ingredient.
Aside from killing 99% of our useful microbes along with the harmful ones, triclosan also reacts with water to form chloroform, a possible carcinogen, and with sunlight to form dioxins, known endocrine disruptors. (Angkadjaja, 2012)

 

 

(Source: www.cela.ca)
(Source: www.cela.ca)
Triclosan’s chemical structure is similar to thyroid hormones and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs – toxic chemicals now banned in the US but still found in the environment). This similarity allows it to attach to thyroid hormone receptors, altering hormone regulation and possibly interfering with fetal development. Scientists have noted an increased cancer risk from triclosan exposure. And bacteria exposed to triclosan are apt to become resistant to antibiotics.

 

 

(Source: thehealthykey.com)
(Source: thehealthykey.com)

 

The US Food and Drug Administration acknowledges that recent research raises “valid concerns” about the safety of triclosan, which is used so widely in products that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports it is found in the urine of 75% of the population.
Triclosan:
  • Is found in the blood, urine and breast milk of the average person.
  • Is a known hormone disrupter.
  • Is a culprit in creating superbugs, bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
  • Weakens the heart muscle, impairing contractions and reducing heart function.
  • Weakens skeletal muscles, reducing grip strength
  • Washes into your sewage systems  and pollutes water bodies
On top of all this, ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAP OFFERS NO PROVEN BENEFIT OVER REGULAR SOAP!

 

 

 

url

images

A joint project of Food & Water Watch and Beyond Pesticides has created a FACT SHEET on the dangers of triclosan. It contains a summary of nearly 60 studies into the chemical’s impact on health. From the FACT SHEET:

A growing list of household and personal care products are advertised as “antibacterial” because they contain a chemical called triclosan. While the manufacturers of these products want you to think triclosan protects you from harmful bacteria, it turns out it may be doing more harm than good.

See  Triclosan: What the Research Shows  (Food & Water Watch and Beyond Pesticides, undated)

 

The proliferation of triclosan in everyday consumer products is enormous. It is now found in our drinking water, in our rivers, in our bodies. Several other countries, including the members of the European Union, have banned or restricted use of the chemical. Yet we in the US continue to consume and be exposed to an onslaught of triclosan. (Layton, 2010)

 

 

(Source: ww.beyondpesticides.org)
(Source: ww.beyondpesticides.org)
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry’s name for triclosan is 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol. Triclosan is similar in its uses and mechanism of action to triclocarbon, another dangerous antibacterial chemical used in personal care products. Brand names include Digiclean, Asepso, Prevens, Virx, Derma-Glove, FresHands and Renewal. (Wikipedia, 8/24/2014)

 

 

(Source:  www.medicalnewspk.com)
(Source: www.medicalnewspk.com)

 

 

 

 

HOW TRICLOSAN WORKS

The cells of all organisms, including bacteria, require a cell membrane to survive. The cell membrane is a critical barrier that selectively allows oxygen, nutrients, and wastes to permeate and leave the cell; it is the “edge of life, the boundary that separates the living cell from its nonliving surroundings”. Without a permeable cell membrane, a cell would simply die. For example, wastes would not be transported out of the cell, causing toxins to accumulate and poison the cell. Curiously, it is precisely this function of the cell membrane that Triclosan is engineered to immobilize….

Triclosan stops the fatty acid elongation process by inhibiting a bacterial enzyme. … By stealing active sites from the natural substrate, Triclosan systematically kills bacteria by stopping fatty acid chain growth. This, in turn, stops the growth of the cell membrane and effectively kills the cell. The process is efficient, insidious and almost perfect, and when given the opportunity, Triclosan is extremely successful.

–  S. Angkadjaja, 2012. What Makes Antibacterial Soap Antibacterial? Illumin: A review of engineering in everyday life

 

 

breastfeeding-3

 

 

 

 

Earthpaste Amazingly Natural Toothpaste Cinnamon
Earthpaste Amazingly Natural Toothpaste – Cinnamon

TRICLOSAN-FREE TOOTHPASTES

 Here are some of the triclosan-free toothpastes on the market:
  • Redmond Trading Company’s Earthpaste Amazingly Natural Toothpaste – Cinnamon
  •  Doterra Toothpaste
  • Tom’s of Maine
  • Sensodyne
  • Jason’s Natural Toothpaste
  • Nature’s Gate
  • Desert Essence
  • Crest Toothpastes
  • Waleda

 

Some of these brands contain fluoride and other chemicals of concern. For example, here’s Environmental Working Group’s SKIN DEEP’s analysis of Sensodyne Original Flavor Toothpaste:
 At least it doesn’t contain triclosan.

 

 

active-ingredients-e1377624937238

Check the ingredients list on your own toothpaste. Triclosan is listed under Active Ingredients.
I personally also avoid toothpastes containing fluoride, which is a toxin – and the reason why fluoride-containing toothpastes come with a warning not to swallow  it – as on the label above.

 

 

 

 

MANY BACTERIA ARE GOOD FOR US

There is much evidence showing that bacteria are not all dangerous and should not be killed willy nilly. Many strains of  bacteria are in fact necessary for our health. The modern world has developed an unhealthy phobia against germs of all kinds.
Remember the Human Microbiome?  A large part of it resides in our gastro-intestinal tracts. So much so that the Gut Microbiome is often referred to as our second genome. Our guts are home to several pounds of microbes responsible for keeping our immune systems strong so we can have healthy bodies and minds.
In addition to the gut microbiome, the human body also is home to other important microbiomes: On our skin; in our mouths, urogenital tracts, nasal cavities.

 

 

Human Microbiomes
Human Microbiomes

 

In fact, bacteria and other micro-organisms living in and on the human body outnumber our human cells by 10 to 1! And this is a good thing. Without these microbes, our health – perhaps our very existence – would be in serious jeopardy.

 

 

ed1ce47043a1196fa6093b16620ad41d

 

A nice little animated video from NPR called The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome  (5:28).
The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome - NPR
The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome – NPR

 

 

THE HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS

The Hygiene Hypothesis states that overly sanitizing our skins and environments is actually doing much harm and is responsible for the steep rise in auto-immune diseases, asthma, eczema and other health problems.
Michael Pollan states it well in his New York Times Magazine article“Some of My Best Friends Are Germs “ – which I highly recommend reading:

Human health should now “be thought of as a collective property of the human-associated microbiota”  ….

Such a paradigm shift comes not a moment too soon, because as a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota with a multifronted war on bacteria and a diet notably detrimental to its well-being. Researchers now speak of an impoverished “Westernized microbiome” and ask whether the time has come to embark on a project of “restoration ecology” — not in the rain forest or on the prairie but right here at home, in the human gut. (Pollan, 2013)

(Source: www.dailymail.co.uk)
The Hygiene Hypothesis: Our modern obsession with cleanliness is making us and our environment sick. (Source: www.dailymail.co.uk)

 

My recommendation is to be alarmed rather than reassured by products that promise to kill 99.9% of germs. Using these products will deprive you of many microbes necessary for your health – and the health of our planet too.

 

 

THE RIGHT WAY TO WASH YOUR HANDS

In 2005 an advisory panel told the Federal Drug Administration there was no evidence that antibacterial soaps work better than regular soap and water. (Layton, 2010)

 

hand-washing-technique

 

Remember washing your hands with regular soap and warm water before antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers hit the market? Turns out using regular soap and water is actually the best way to protect your health and prevent the spread of infections and communicable illnesses. In case you’ve forgotten how to do it:
  • Wet your hands with warm water.
  • Lather up with regular soap.
  • Rub soapy hands together for at least 15 seconds before rinsing.
  • Dry hands before turning off the faucet.
  • Use a paper towel to turn off the water to avoid germs on the faucet.

 

 

 

 

CHECK FOR TRICLOSAN IN OTHER PRODUCTS

You might also want to check for triclosan in the ingredients list of your other personal care and household cleaning products. It’s bad stuff.
Some of the many products containing triclosan:

 

(Source: drsohm.tumblr.com)
(Source: drsohm.tumblr.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source:  www.redicecreations.com)
(Source: www.redicecreations.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source:  healthverdict.com)
(Source: healthverdict.com)

 

 

THE EWG’S SKIN DEEP WEBSITE AND MOBILE APP

The Environmental Working Group has collected safety data on over 69,000 products. You can either go to their SKIN DEEP website or use their mobile app.

 

Information from EWG's SKIN DEEP project
Sample information from EWG’s SKIN DEEP project’s mobile app that lets you obtain hazard on over 69,000 personal care products by typing in the product’s name or scanning its barcode with a smart phone

 

Why the EWG established the SKIN DEEP project:

The American government doesn’t require health studies or pre-market testing of the chemicals in personal care products, even though just about everyone is exposed to them. Through Skin Deep, we put the power of information in consumers’ hands. When you know what’s in the products you bring into your home and how those chemicals may affect your health and the environment, you can make informed purchasing decisions — and help transform the marketplace. At the same time, we advocate responsible corporate and governmental policies to protect the most vulnerable among us.

 

What SKIN DEEP says about triclosan and triclocarban on their website:

Triclosan & Triclocarban: Antimicrobial pesticides in liquid soap (triclosan) or soap bars (triclocarban), very toxic to the aquatic environment. Often found as contaminants in people due to widespread use of antimicrobial cleaning products. Triclosan disrupts thyroid function and reproductive hormones. American Medical Association and the American Academy of Microbiology say that soap and water serves just as well to prevent spread of infections and reduce bacteria on the skin. Overuse may promote the development of bacterial resistance.

 

 

imgres

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Angkadjaja, S. (2012). What Makes Antibacterial Soap Antibacterial?  Illumin: A review of engineering in everyday life. See:  http://illumin.usc.edu/printer/68/what-makes-antibacterial-soap-antibacterial/

Food & Water Watch + Beyond Pesticides. (undated). Triclosan: What the Research Shows. See:  http://www.beyondpesticides.org/antibacterial/triclosan-research-3-09.pdf

Francis, I. (2014). Why you should be worried about the chemical ‘Triclosan’ that’s in your toothpaste.  See:   http://www.thealternative.in/lifestyle/worried-chemical-triclosan-thats-toothpaste/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). The Gut Microbiome – Our Second Genome. AllergiesAndYourCut.com. See:  http://allergiesandyourgut.com/the-gut-microbiome-our-second-genome/

Kaplan, D. (2014). FDA says studies on triclosan, used in sanitizers and soaps, raise concerns. See:  http://www.healthfreedoms.org/fda-says-studies-on-triclosan-used-in-sanitizers-and-soaps-raise-concerns/

Layton, L. (2010). FDA says studies on triclosan, used in sanitizers and soaps, raise concerns. The Washington Post. See:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/07/AR2010040704621.html

Mercola, R. (2014). Best-Selling Toothpaste Contains Endocrine-Disrupting Chemical. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/27/triclosan-toothpaste.aspx?e_cid=20140827Z1_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20140827Z1&et_cid=DM54542&et_rid=636597549

NPR. (2013). The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome. Video (5:28). See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DTrENdWvvM

Pollan, M. (2013). Some of My Best Friends Are Germs. New York Times Magazine, May 15 2013.  See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/say-hello-to-the-100-trillion-bacteria-that-make-up-your-microbiome.html?_r=0

Wikipedia. (8/24/2014). Triclosan.  See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triclosan

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Live Dirty, Eat Clean … The Gut Microbiome Is the Future of Medicine


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eat-food-michael-pollan-quote-715

 

Integrative gastroenterologist Dr. Robynne Chutkan has further refined  Michael Pollan’s wise ground rules, contributing:

 

 

Robynne Chutkan, MD, Integrative Gastroenterologist
– Robynne Chutkan, MD, Integrative Gastroenterologist

 

 I’m sure you get the ‘Eat Clean’ part.
The ‘Live Dirty’ part refers to the Hygiene Hypothesis: A lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic micro-organisms such as gut flora probiotics, and parasites increases susceptibility to allergic and other autoimmune diseases by suppressing the natural development of the immune system. The lack of exposure leads to defects in the establishment of immune tolerance. The Hygiene Hypothesis is also sometimes called the Biome Depletion Theory or the Lost Friends Theory.

 

 

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I highly recommend watching Dr Chutkan’s charming discussion of the merits of eating wisely while also exposing ourselves to a wide variety of microbes to keep our immune systems strong. The microbiome is the vast collection of microbes that live in and on our bodies. As she points out, the microbiome is going to be the future of medicine.
Here’s her easy to understand and often funny talk: Live Dirty, Eat Clean! Why The Microbiome Is The Future Of Medicine (18:07 minutes)

 

 

Robyyne Chutkan, MD
Robyyne Chutkan, MD

 

Robynne Chutkan, MD, FASGE, is a Board Certified Integrative Gastroenterologist, an Assistant Professor at the Georgetown University Hospital, and Founder and Director of The Digestive Center for Women in Washington, DC. She is also the author of Gutbliss: A 10-Day Plan to Ban Bloat, Flush Toxins, and Dump Your Digestive Baggage.

 

Michael Pollan put it well in his article Some of My Best Friends Are Germs (Pollan, 2013):

As a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota.

 

 

 

hippocrates

 

Hippocrates, a Greek physician who lived c. 460-377 BC and is considered to be the Father of Medicine, understood the vital relationship between our guts and our health. Then this knowledge was lost as medicine moved into the modern era.

 

 

REFERENCES

Chutkan, R. (2014).  Live Dirty, Eat Clean! Why the Microbiome Is the Future of Medicine. MindBodyClean.com Video. See:  http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14368/live-dirty-eat-clean-why-the-microbiome-is-the-future-of-medicine-dr-robynne.html

Chutkan, R. (2014). Gutbliss: A 10-Day Plan to Ban Bloat, Flush Toxins, and Dump Your Digestive Baggage. See:  http://www.amazon.com/Gutbliss-10-Day-Toxins-Digestive-Baggage/dp/1583335226/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1407363655&sr=1-1&keywords=gut+bliss

Polan, M. (2013). Some of My Best Friends Are Germs. New York Times Magazine, May 15 2013. See:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/say-hello-to-the-100-trillion-bacteria-that-make-up-your-microbiome.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

 

Living Bacterial Skin Tonic – Instead of Soap?!

Last update 8/22/2015.

AOBiome linked to this post on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AOBiome

 

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Information on a new product called AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist caught my eye recently. (Scott, 2014)
It’s a liquid developed by a biotech start up company in Cambridge MA to spray on our bodies in lieu of – or as an adjunct to – taking showers. Showering with most soaps and shampoos kills all the healthy elements of our skin microbiome. The company, AOBiome, says its new living bacterial skin tonic, made of safe live-cultured Nitrosomonas bacteria, replenishes the biome of microscopic organisms that live on our skin.
This does indeed sound novel, interesting – and important!

 

images

 

I started this site to write about how the micro-organisms living in our guts – the gut microbiome – affect the entire body and how to restore your gut – and the rest of you – to good health. See The Gut Microbiome – Our Second Genome.  Reading about AOBiome’s brilliant work on restoring our skin’s microbiome, produced a moment of clarity in me – one of those true light bulb moment: It’s not just our gut’s we’re destroying but our other microbiomes as well.

 

 

FDA__antibacterial_soaps_are_ineffective_1946250000_4753974_ver1.0_640_480

 

Our usual approach to the bacteria and other micro-organisms living on our skins – and everywhere else we can get to them – is to KILL THEM DEAD. We regard bacteria and their relatives as dangerous and just plain nasty. So this is an entirely new approach – a U turn in how to think about bacteria: The new spray contains billions of cultivated Nitrosomonas eutropha, an ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) most commonly found in dirt and untreated water in rivers, lakes, and the sea.  (Martinko, 2014)

 

 

 

 

VARIOUS PARTS OF THE HUMAN MICROBIOME

 

 

Skin Microbiome
Artist’s Rendition of the Skin Microbiome – Our Second Genome. (Credit: genome.duke.edu)

 

 

The aggregates of micro-organisms living inside and on our bodies, collectively referred to as the human microbiome or microbiota, make their homes in many places:
  • In our GI tracts
  • On the surface of and in deep layers of our skin
  • On our hair
  • In the saliva and mucosa in our mouths
  • In our noses and sinuses
  • In our urogenital tracts
  • In the conjunctiva (the lining inside the eyelids and covering the white part of the eye)

 

 

Some of the Microbiomes of the Human Body. (Credit: National Human Genome Research Institute
Some of the Microbiomes of the Human Body. (Credit: National Human Genome Research Institute

 

 

 

 

OUR SECOND GENOME – THE HUMAN MICROBIOME

Sources: (AOBiome, 2014), (Wikipedia, 2014), and (Baylor College of Medicine, 2013-2014)
  • There are 100’s of trillions of micro-organisms in the various microbiomes in and on our bodies, our Second Genome.
  • The number of non-human micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea and single-celled leukaryotes) inhabiting a healthy human adult is estimated to outnumber human cells by a ratio of 10 to 1.
  • The human microbiome contains about 3,000,000 non-human bacterial cells to our 23,000 human cells. (See correction below)
  • The total number of genes in our microbiome exceeds the number of genes in our human genome by a factor of at least 200.
  • So, even though the microbial cells making their home in and on us are only 1/10th to 1/100th the size of our human cells, they account for up to 5 pounds of an adult’s body weight.
  • To date, only a small percentage of the bacteria comprising our human microbiome have been identified.
Correction (8/22/2015): A reader named Stephen sent the following comment:

I just need to point out that you have one fact slightly, but importantly, inaccurate. You cite that:

The human microbiome contains about 3,000,000 non-human bacterial cells to our 23,000 human cells.

When in fact, you should replace the two occurrences of the word “cells” with the word “genes”. This fact is often misunderstood. What it means is that the human genome has about 23k unique genes, whereas the bacteria that inhabit us have about 3x10E6 unique genes, not that there are 3 million genes among them. The point is that the bacteria on our bodies possess incredible functional diversity and can do many things for our bodies that we cannot do ourselves.

 

 

(Source: welladjustedbabies.com)
(Source: welladjustedbabies.com)

 

And these miniscule critters aren’t invaders trying to harm us. The vast majority of them are necessary and beneficial to us – as we are to them.
Yet for a century, we’ve been unintentionally, but systematically, distorting and destroying the healthy workings of our various microbiomes with processed foods, pharmaceuticals – especially antibiotics, cleaning products, cosmetics, pesticides and herbicides, genetically modified foods and more, resulting in the degradation of our immune systems and huge increases in diseases and chronic medical conditions.
At the same time, and with many of the same products, we’ve also been degrading  healthy microbiomes in the soil and our water supplies – making not only humans ill but also wreaking havoc on the other fauna and flora on our planet.

 

 

 

Human Microbiome Map
Human Microbiome Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE HUMAN SKIN MICROBIOME

 

The Zoo on Our Skin (Source: discovermagazine.com)
The Zoo on Our Skin
(Source: discovermagazine.com)

 

From the  AOBiome website (AOBiome, 2014):

Human skin, a large and heterogenous organ, harbors a fascinating array of species of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. The specific makeup of the skin flora depends on many factors, such as whether the particular skin area is dry, moist, or sebaceous, the age of the host, external conditions, etc. Dry forearms and hairy, moist underarms are very distinct habitats, despite their relative proximity. People living together also seem to share a larger portion of their microbimes than those are not cohabitating, and pet owners share some with their animal companions.

Here are some of the most common microorganisms that reside on our skin:

Propionibacteria are the most prevalent on sebaceous, or oily skin, such as nostrils, scalp, upper chest and back. They are lipophilic anaerobes, decomposing oily sebum secreted by our glands, producing propionic acid. Although they are present in infants and babies, they become more dominant around the onset of puberty, as the sebaceous glands increase their output. One of the bacterial strains, Propionibacterium acnes, is thought to be responsible for inflammation of the glands that can lead to acne.

Staphylococci have their name derived from Greek word for grape, as their colonies resemble grape clusters. They reside predominantly in the moist areas of the body, such as the armpit, the elbow crease, etc. As aerobic bacteria, they produce lactic acid that lowers the pH of the skin and controls growth of other microorganisms. They are particularly prevalent on the skin of babies and infants, their relative abundance decreasing with age. While normally harmless, certain species of staphylococci, such as S. aureus, can act as human pathogens. Methicilin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infections are a difficult public health problem in hospitals and beyond.

Corynebacteria are rod-shaped, and mostly innocuous. They also prefer moist environments, such as the navel, or back of the knee. They grow slowly, even when the food is abundant.

Betaproteobacteria are a diverse group, which includes Nitrosomonas, currently excluded from human skin. They are the most prevalent group in the dry areas, such as the forearms. Also, these are the bacteria that the dog owners have the most in common with their dogs

Malassezia – as fungi, Malassezia get a honorable mention. They are found on our skin in large quantities, and are typically harmless, but certain species can cause dandruff or skin discoloration.

 

 

Skin Microbiome (Source: skinmicrobiome.wordpress.com
Skin Microbiome
(Source: skinmicrobiome.wordpress.com)

 

 

 

 

NITROSOMONAS BACTERIA IN DIRT

Horse Rolling in Dirt
Horse Rolling in Dirt
Ever wonder why horses love to roll around in dirt? We know horses, like humans, sweat a lot. We also know how unpleasant our skin can feel – and smell – after we’ve worked up a sweat. David Whitlock, the M.I.T.- trained chemical engineer who invented AO+, theorized that horses dirt bathe to manage their sweat. He reasoned, “The only way that horses could evolve this behavior was if they had substantial evolutionary benefits from it.”
The goal of using AO+ spray is to encourage the growth of a healthy colony of probiotic bacteria on the skin. This probiotic bacterial colony will then act as a built-in cleanser, deodorant, anti-inflammatory and immune booster by feeding on the ammonia in our sweat, converting it into nitrite and nitric oxide.
Scientists at AOBiome hypothesize that humans also had healthy, mutually beneficial, colonies of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), such as Nitrosomonas eutropha, living on our skins. These AOBs regulated our nitrogen metabolism. Then in the 20th century, we began regarding all bacteria as dangerous and started trying to scrub them all away. (AOBiome, 2014)

 

 

 

images-1

 

 

 

THE HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS

The Hygiene Hypothesis – also called the Biome Depletion Theory or the Lost Friends Theory – states that a lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic microorganisms (eg, probiotic gut flora – referred to as Our Old Friends), and parasites increases susceptibility to allergic diseases by suppressing the natural development of the immune system. In particular, the lack of exposure is thought to lead to defects in the establishment of immune tolerance. (Wikipedia, 2014).
The Hygiene Hypothesis is consistent with the destruction of the ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) on our skins. Many ingredients in most of our personal care products have been found in laboratory tests to inhibit or have been found  toxic to AOB: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium coco-sulfate, castile-type soaps, and amine oxides (such as lauryl dimethyl amine oxide). AOBiome’s laboratory is still in the process of testing the AOB toxicity of other ingredients commonly found in soaps, shampoos, skin creams, and deodorants.
The encouraging news is that AOBiome has found ingredients that ARE compatible with ammonia oxidizing bacteria. Their goal is to test, certify and develop a variety of hygiene products with these ingredients – including soaps and shampoos. (AOBiome on facebook, 2013-2014)

 

 

 

WHY IT’S GOOD TO HAVE COLONIES OF THESE BACTERIA ON OUR SKINS

Here’s an explanation of why restoring healthy colonies of this bacteria on our skins is important – from the AOBiome website (AOBiome, 2014):

Modern hygiene has selectively depleted the natural balance of the skin microbiome particularly affecting AOB. By restoring the appropriate AOB levels, we believe a range of human health conditions could be impacted. AOBiome is interested in exploring potential physiologic effects including:

Improving skin architecture
Improving skin architecture

 

Preventing infection
Preventing infection

 

Improving vascularization
Improving vascularization

 

 

Before the advent of anionic surfactants, Nitrosomonas would have colonized our skin, our sweat glands in particular, constantly secreting low amounts of NO. Due to their particular sensitivity to detergents, however, they have been eradicated from our skin microbiome. As a consequence, we are dermatologically and systemically NO-deprived – in a mildly pro-inflammatory state, with a number of our systemic NO-mediated regulatory mechanisms out of balance. This deprivation may contribute to a number of skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, potentially also neuropathies, and more. AOBiome aims to re-introduce Nitrosomonas to our skin’s bacterial flora, restoring natural NO levels, stabilizing the NO-dependent signaling pathways and alleviating symptoms resulting from NO imbalance.

Nitrosomonas are naturally occurring in most aquatic and soil environments and seem to totally lack pathogenic potential, as indicated by the absence of pathogenicity factors and also evidenced by the complete lack of human infections reported to date. Since Nitrosomonas depend on ammonia and urea for their growth, their numbers on the skin are necessarily limited, and are naturally regulated by the amount of sweat the body produces. This ensures that the amount of NO produced would be relatively low, without any adverse effects. Because of its reactivity, the Nitrosomonas-produced NO will exert most of its effects locally, in the skin of the host. If desirable, however, one could eliminate the bacteria using a simple soap treatment.

AOBiome’s scientists have also found that using concentrated AO+ led to a hundredfold decrease of Propionibacterium acnes, bacteria associated with acne breakouts. And they have found that a two week treatment with a formulation of AOB heals skin ulcers on diabetic mice.  (Scott, 2014)

 

 

 

 

ARE WE GOING TO GIVE UP SHOWERING?

AOBiome says NO. The probiotic bacteria in AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist thrive in water so you can use it and also continue showering – just not lathering yourself up with soap or shampoo that will kill those useful bacteria. The ammonia oxidizing bacteria in AO+ can survive limited exposure to the chlorine and chloramine added to municipal water supplies to purify them. From the company’s facebook page (AOBiome, 2013-2014):
Our research shows that daily application along with normal showering in regular tap water produces a sustained level of AOB on skin. In our initial cosmetic study we showed that AOB are detectable and present in 95% of cases with daily showering and application and that AOB continue to survive in 60% of subjects for up to 7 days without additional applications as long as shampoo is not used. This is the basis for our recommendation that you apply AO+™ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist daily as part of your usual personal hygiene routine.
A note for those of you who’ve read the New York Times Magazine article, “My No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment” (Scott, 2014), and came away from it thinking the choice will be between using the ammonia oxidizing bacterial spray or showering:
The article’s author was using the spray and not showering for 28 days as part of a clinical trial for AOBiome. When she started showering again but not also using the spray, the colony of ammonia oxidizing bacteria on her skin was quickly destroyed by showering with soap.
When the  Company has succeeded in bringing to market an AOB-friendly shampoo and AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist is also readily available, we should be able to both shower and wash our hair with these products while maintaining a healthy colony of AOB. And when an AOB-friendly skin cream has been developed and approved for marketing to the public, we’ll also be able to nurture our AOB colonies by using it.

 

 showering

 

 

 

 

 

SAVING OUR SKINS – FIGURATIVELY AND LITERALLY

 

Credit: New York Times.com
Credit: New York Times.com

 

As Michael Pollan wrote in an excellent article last year titled Some of My Best Friends Are Germs (Pollan, 2013):

As a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota.

Now this brilliant biotech company, AOBiome, is working on a big piece of the solution to our ills. If you want to be wowed by the work they’re doing, take a look at their website.

 

 

(Credit: New York Times.com)
Credit: New York Times.com

 

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Us - just 10% human
ALL OF US ARE ONLY 10% HUMAN

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

REFERENCES

AOBiome. (2014). Pioneering bacterial therapy for the skin. See: https://www.aobiome.com/company

AOBiome. (2013-2014). facebook.  See:  https://www.facebook.com/AOBiome

Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology. (2013-2014). The Human Microbiome Project.  See:  https://www.bcm.edu/departments/molecular-virology-and-microbiology/microbiome

Hardin, J.R. The Gut Microbiome – Our Second Genome. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See:  http://allergiesandyourgut.com/the-gut-microbiome-our-second-genome/

Martinko, K. (2014). Could bacteria be the new beauty trend that actually makes us healthier?  See:  http://www.treehugger.com/health/could-bacteria-be-new-beauty-trend-actually-makes-us-healthier.html

Polan, M. (2013). Some of My Best Friends Are Germs. New York Times Magazine, May 15 2013. See:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/say-hello-to-the-100-trillion-bacteria-that-make-up-your-microbiome.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Scott, J. (May 22 2014). My No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment.  The New York Times Magazine. See:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/magazine/my-no-soap-no-shampoo-bacteria-rich-hygiene-experiment.html?action=click&module=Search&region=searchResults&mabReward=relbias:r,%5B%22RI:6%22,%22RI:12%22%5D&url=http://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch/?action=click&region=Masthead&pgtype=Homepage&module=SearchSubmit&contentCollection=Homepage&t=qry545&_r=1

Wikipedia. (June 2 2014). Hygiene Hypothesis. See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygiene_hypothesis

Wikipedia. (June 3 2014). Human Microbiome.  See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_microbiome

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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