Follow-up to Killing with Calcium and Dirty Secrets of the Health Food Industry

Follow Up to Killing with Calcium


1. “Current use of calcium supplements was associated with increased risk of hip…and vertebral…fractures; current use of “Tums”  antacid tablets was associated with increased risk of fractures of the proximal humerus…” Reported in the “American Journal of Epidemiology”, from a study done by the University of Sydney, following over 9,000 white American women over 6.6 years.


2. “The more calcium people consumed, the more susceptible they seemed to be to hip fractures. People in those countries that consume the highest levels of dairy foods (North American and northern European nations) take in two or three times more calcium yet break two or three times more bones than people with the lowest calcium intake (Asians and Africans)…Most Chinese were getting their calcium from vegetables and fruits alone. Although they got less than half the calcium recommended by the USDA, their bones seemed healthy. Among women over 50, the hip fracture rate appeared to be one fifth as high as Western nations.” Reported in Discover Magazine, Aug. 2000, by Dr. Colin Campbell, from Cornell University.


3. “Nurses who drank the most milk – two or more glasses per day – broke more bones than the others. They had a slightly higher risk of arm fracture (1.05 times) and significantly higher risk of hip fracture (1.45 times).” Reported in the “Harvard Nurses’ Health Study” which followed 78,000 nurses over 12 years.


These references were taken from the book: “The Life Bridge”, by Richard Sarnat, M.D., Paul Schulick, and Thomas M. Newmark.


Follow-up to “Dirty Secrets of the Health Food Industry.”


1. Beta Carotene: You may have read that smokers should avoid taking Beta Carotene. This is based on a well-known Finnish study that gave high levels of synthetic Beta Carotene to men who were mostly smokers, and found that those on the Beta Carotene supplements had marginally higher cancer rates than those on the placebo. Of course the real information provided by this study is that synthetic Beta Carotene is at best worthless and at worse, dangerous; not that smokers should avoid Beta Carotene supplements.


Now pick up any bottle of multi-vitamins in a health food store and see what kind of Beta Carotene they use. If the label simply states “Beta Carotene” then it is synthetic. Natural Beta Carotene will be prefaced by the word “Natural” and/or followed by a list of the rest of the family of carotenoids: alpha carotene, zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin, and lutein. You will find that the vast majority of multi-vitamin products are still using the synthetic form of Beta Carotene (not NutriStart, of course). Why? The raw material is cheaper and the profits are higher.


2. Braggs Liquid Aminos: No longer allowed to be called “liquid aminos” since there is insignificant amino acids in a tablespoon of soy protein liquid, they are still sold as an alternative to fermented soy sauce products, mostly for people on candida-yeast diets, who are told to avoid fermented products. Aside from the fact that many fermented foods actually help maintain friendly flora and fight candida overgrowth (such as miso and sauerkraut,) this product always was a curiosity to me.


It contains only soybeans (not organic, therefore most likely genetically modified, and in a low-density plastic bottle) and yet tastes salty. Tamari and other soy sauce products are salty because they have salt added to them, and if you’ve ever tasted plain soymilk you will realize that there is no inherent saltiness to soybeans. So, how do you get a salt-taste from something with no salt in it? Try this on for size: Back when MSG was first getting a bad rap, the response of the health-food industry was to turn to Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, which could hide up to 20% naturally occurring MSG. Since soy is a vegetable protein, if you hydrolyze it (an enzymatic process) rather than fermenting it, you will create monosodium glutamate. Notice the word “sodium” in there?


In the time since I came to this conclusion, Braggs has been forbidden from putting “No MSG” on their label, pretty much confirming my hypothesis. Now, not everybody reacts to MSG with obvious symptoms, but if you want to do more research, seek out information on the book “Excitotoxins, the Taste that Kills” by Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, in which he maintains that this substance (along with aspartame) is linked to a number of brain diseases including brain cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.


3. Chelated Minerals: You’ve probably heard that choosing chelated minerals is a good choice, in most cases, as that form of mineral is well absorbed by the body. A “chelated mineral” is one where the base mineral is bound to an amino acid as a delivery system, in order to transport the mineral through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. Unfortunately the word has no regulated meaning in Canada.


Thus I can take a crude calcium carbonate, add a little HVP (see above), which would have some amino acids since it is a protein, and call it “Chelated Calcium.” The assumption is that the two elements will bind together in the digestive system, but this does not occur, and a true chelate, which is reacted and bound in the laboratory, will be a far superior form of mineral. In Canada one name you can be confident in is “Albion”, an American producer who provides state-of-the-art chelated mineral products.


Their products are both patented and well researched, and are used by a few different Canadian manufacturers (including NutriStart). They are also more expensive than a lot of other mineral products, so if you wish to get the best bang for your buck, generally choosing a “citrate” form of mineral will give you your best value. There are exceptions to this, for example selenium, which should be a yeast-derived source to follow the science that is behind selenium.

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