Were you aware that a worldwide protest march took place this past weekend, the purpose being to urge governments to stop Monsanto, the industrial GM seed giant, from taking over the global food supply and to demand the labelling of foods containing GM ingredients? Don’t feel bad if you were unaware of this because somehow the facts around anything to do with genetically modified foods flooding our markets seem to be hidden from us. I recently gave a talk on GM foods and how they have impacted our food supply in South Africa and the reaction of the audience told me that very few South Africans realise how serious the situation is and that they have unknowingly been eating GM foods since 1998. Many have no idea what genetic engineering is or that South Africa is the only country in the world where genetically engineered maize is eaten as a daily staple? Everywhere else it is grown primarily for the animal feed and biofuel industry. Did you know that 77% of maize grown in South Africa is GM and close to 100% of all soya and cotton crops?
Are GM foods safe? Consensus amongst independent scientists is that they are not and a lot more research needs to be done. It's not just that we don’t know what the actual gene modification is doing to us, (although it is suspected that the exponential increase in allergies of late could be attributed to GM foods) but it’s also the likelyhood of residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, in the GM foods we're eating, that are cause for major concern.
In the longest study done on rats fed Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready maize, the rats began to develop massive cancerous tumours. The study also showed severe impacts on liver and kidney functioning, hormonal imbalance and shortened life spans.
It has long been known that Round-Up is toxic and potentially carcinogenic to humans. The fact that half of our maize is the Round-Up Ready variety, therefore tolerant to this herbicide, has serious implications for us. The use of Round-Up in SA has rocketed from 12 million litres in 2006, to 20 million litres at present! In other words just as over-prescribing of antibiotics has resulted in “superbugs”, over-use of Round-Up has resulted in “superweeds” that have become resistant to glyphosate. As a result our government, in its wisdom, has approved the importation of genetically modified maize seed that will be resistant to an even more lethal herbicide, namely 2,4 D, banned in virtually every other country in the world.
Do you have a choice?
Not if you eat processed foods. Up until 2011 there was no obligation to label GM foods and provide consumers with information to make a choice. This was supposed to change in 2011 when the Consumer Protection Act came into being. According to the law, all foods containing 5% or more GM content must be labelled. Despite this law, only a handful of companies are beginning to label, the majority are not.
What foods on the supermarket shelves in South Africa do we need to be wary of? Maize – e.g. mielie meal, breakfast cereals containing maize, corn chips (although kudos to SIMBA who I understand refuse to use GM maize in their corn chips) Many processed products will also contain maize as an additive, especially as a thickener. Whenever you see maize on a label it may be GM because as much as 77% of maize grown in South Africa is GM. Soya – e.g. soya milk, soya mince. Many breads and cereals contain soya. It is also the basis for many food additives, lecithin being a common one. Soya grown in this country is 100% GM. Cotton – cottonseed oil is used in some processed products, as the oil in canned seafoods and to fry fast foods. Cotton grown in this country is 100% GM. Canola – e.g. cooking oil or margarine. South Africa does not grow GM canola but may import these processed Canola products from the USA or Canada.
The African Centre for Biosafety is our watchdog fighting for the labelling of GM foods and needs our support. Stay informed by visiting their website, read all the fact sheets and subscribe to their newsletter. In March 2012, the ACB had four products tested for GM content. Find out which ones here.
Some good has come out of this in that Nestles no longer uses any GM ingredients and Future Life has promised to be GMO-free by the third quarter of this year. So in small ways, bit by bit, company by company, battles are being won, but not the war. Latest news is that Purity’s Cream of Maize is 56.25% GM maize and Purity Baby First 71.47% maize.
If the GM industry, in particular Monsanto, is so sure that GM products are safe then why is it fighting tooth and nail to ensure GM foods are not labelled?
It is time to claim our right to choose non-GM foods. Right, that’s the ‘activist’ in me satisfied for now.
“It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children’s health than the pediatrician”- Meryl Streep
OMEGA-3 for irregular heartbeat
Heart palpitations, also called cardiac arrhythmias, are a disturbance in the regular rhythm of the heartbeat. Certain types of heart palpitations are of no major concern however should be considered more serious if associated with dizziness or fainting. Heart palpitations feel like the heart is pounding or racing but may also feel like a skipped or abnormal beat, often felt in the chest, neck or throat.
I have seen enough patients who have found their irregular heartbeat concerns significantly reduced or disappear on a fairly high dose of fish oil, for me to be sufficiently convinced that this is a remedy worth trying. Confirmation of this comes from a recent meta-analysis done on human intervention studies which concludes that supplementation with fish oils can reduce the risk for heart rhythm disturbances. So many heart patients are prescribed dangerous anti-arrhythmic drugs, some of which are even known to cause irregular heartbeat, This is so sad because most could probably simply increase their omega-3 fatty acid intake and derive many other benefits as well.
Do remember that for any heart related health issues I only recommend the triglyceride form of fish oil as is found in See Yourself Well. Most, probably 99%, of fish oil brands on the market are the esterified form, which is not nearly as well or as quickly absorbed.. I import the See Yourself Well from Canada as I have never been able to find any brand to match it in South Africa in purity and concentration. It has after all been awarded a 5 star rating by International Fish Oil Standards, the strictest standard worldwide and the consumer report for every batch is posted on the IFOS website. For example, one of the batches that I have in stock at the moment is 1204145. To see its certificate go to Consumer Reports and enter the batch no. in the top right corner.
How to choose a good omega-3 fish oil
Follow these 5 tips and you can’t go wrong. (But believe me, in South Africa, your choice will be limited): 1. The fish oil must be 3rd party tested and the manufacturer able to provide a certificate of analysis. IFOS is a third-party testing organization that tests fish oil supplements and publishes a detailed analysis of the results on their website for the public to view. A product can receive up to five stars based on passing five different categories of purity.
1 Star for Oxidation Level Less Than 75% of CRN/GOED Standard
1 Star for PCB Levels Less Than 50% of CRN/GOED Standard
1 Star for Dioxin Levels Less Than 50% of WHO Standard
1 Star for Passing All CRN/WHO Testing Categories
1 Star for Greater Than 60% Omega-3 Concentration
Yes I know, IFOS is not the only testing authority around. There are others but most don’t test regularly and their results are not publicly available. An interesting story is that in 2009 ConsumerLab.com tested 52 brands of fish oil supplements and reported that all were free of mercury, PCBs and other contaminants found in fish. So everything hunky-dory? Ha! Not so fast! In early 2010, an environmental group sued several fish oil manufacturers for having too much PCBs in their products, all had previously been declared PCB-free by ConsumerLab.com! So can all 3rd party testing be trusted? (Fact is there is no such thing as a completely PCB-free fish oil but a good pharmaceutical grade will contain less than 10ppb PCBs).
For now, an IFOS 5-star rated fish oil is the simplest way for anyone to feel confident that they are getting the purest and best fish oil supplement available.
2. Insist on fish oil made from the anchovies, mackerel and sardines, not salmon or tuna. These are small or juvenile fish and have short lifespans so they don’t accumulate a lot of toxins in their bodies. Tuna and salmon are large fish that collect a lot of toxins during their long lifespan and worse still a lot of the salmon oil comes from farmed salmon fed vegetable matter!
3. Know the source of the oil in your fish oil capsules.
Possibly as much as 80% of the brands available in SA come from China. Not to say China can’t produce good fish oil but if their is a lack of traceability and accountability, steer clear. Our See Yourself Well oil comes from Nutratec Life Sciences in Canada and they will welcome questions from you.
4. The EPA and DHA content should be shown on the label and should amount to at least 50% of the total fish oil in the capsule.
A 1000mg fish oil capsule should contain a minimum of 500mg EPA plus DHA. If EPA/DHA content is not specified on the label you can be sure it is probably only about 30% and the rest could be saturated fats and omega-6 fats that you body does not need. So don’t be fooled when a label states 1200mg fish oil per capsule and nothing else.
5. Finally, if you have heart or blood lipid concerns you need to be taking the triglyceride form of fish oil not the esterified form of which 90% of brands on the market are made.
I hope this has served to make you fish-oil-wise.
31 May is World NO-Tobacco Day!
Do tell your friends or family members who smoke about the special offer we have on Vice-Breaker this month ending at midnight on 31 May. They can read all about it on www.quitsmokingnaturally.co.za. There they can also download my free EBook “Why and How to quit smoking for the last time” as it may just have some useful tips for them.
Astonishingly the report claims that even one cigarette is dangerous as it already can cause DNA damage; and even more significantly that the smoke from passive smoking can do the same. Rather unfair for non-smokers who have difficulty in avoiding all contact with smokers. There is no risk-free level of exposure to tobacco smoke, and there is no safe tobacco product.
Also according to the report:
When an individual inhales cigarette smoke directly or passively, they are inhaling 7 000 chemicals; hundreds of these are hazardous, and at least 69 are known to cause cancer.
The chemicals are rapidly absorbed by cells of the body and produce disease-causing cellular changes including impairing the function of the immune system.
Cigarette smoking and involuntary exposure to cigarette smoke are major causes of coronary heart disease, stroke, aortic aneurysm, and peripheral arterial disease.
Tobacco smoke leads to increased risk of thrombosis, chronic inflammatory states contributing to atherogenic (thickening of blood vessels) disease, insulin resistance and microvascular complication including nephropathy (kidney disease).
Smoking also affects male fertility, pregnancy viability and anomalies of offspring such as cleft lip.
All–in-all smoking is a selfish habit and it is the effect it has on other members of the family, especially children, that concerns me most, as well as the heartache caused when the smoker becomes ill and dies prematurely.
Do not overcook meat!
Oh dear! It seems someone needs to tell Gordon Ramsay that overcooking meat makes it dangerous!
Cooking meat at high temperatures produces a chemical compound called PhIP, which many believe can cause DNA changes, or can metabolize harmless bodily enzymes into carcinogens - especially those that cause breast cancer.
Furthermore, overcooking meat creates heterocyclic amines (H.A.s), which contribute to increased risk of pancreatic cancer, an especially lethal cancer. In fact research shows that regular consumption of well-done, charred meats could boost the risk of pancreatic cancer by a frightening 60 percent. So, assuming first that it is free-range and you know the source, eat red meat more on the rare side, even if the lamb does look like it wants to follow Mary to school!
As Winter approaches take good care of yourself and ward off colds and flu by supporting your immune system rather than crisis intervention when the flu virus strikes.
Till we chat again, keep warm and cosy.
Latest product list attached and I look forward to hearing from you.
Nutritional Therapist (BSc (Hons) HDE, Dip Clin Nutr) The Orchards Nutrition Centre - Somerset East Tel: 042 243 0339 Cell: 084 531 0786 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. It is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or in any way replace qualified medical supervision. For any medical conditions, consult with your healthcare provider before using any products. Abundant health to you all.