Friday, July 31, 2009

Supplements: Hints on Label Reading

There are mind-boggling numbers of supplements available on today's market. In addition to the primary ingredients, many products contain other questionable ingredients in the form of fillers, additives, and excipients. An excipient is a substance added to the supplement as a processing or stability aid.  One ingredient, magnesium stearate (also know as stearic acid), is a potentially toxic metal additive from pill production.  Another ingredient, Dibasic Calcium Phosphate (DCP), may even inhibit the absorption of essential minerals within your system. There are others you may find as well, but you don't want or need these ingredients in your supplements. Some pose potential health risks, and really are unnecessary.  

Make Sure Your Herbal Supplement Comes from a Certified Organic Producer Committed to Quality Processes. The key to delivering an organic-based supplement rests in the manufacturer's commitment to quality and excellence.  In fact, without these quality processes in place, it really doesn't matter what organic herbs are harvested. You simply won't end up with a top-notch consistent organic formula. And in turn, you won't receive the maximum potential value of the herb. 

It's also important for you to highly scrutinize and research the manufacturer's credentials. And don't stop there -- Bear in mind the total organic process involves planting, cultivation, selective harvesting, and then producing and packaging the final formula. Reputable companies will know their sources.  They may even grow their own organic crops to maintain quality control. According to Dr Joseph Mercola, here are some types of certifications to look for:  

• Hazards and Critical Control Points (HACCP) -- International food safety certification that World Health Organization (WHO) standards are met.

Safe Quality Food (SQF) -- HACCP-based food safety and risk management system covering the identification of food safety, quality risks, and the validation and monitoring of control measures

• Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) -- International certification verifies all required practices necessary for an effective food safety program are followed.

• International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2000 -- International standard for quality, safety, ecology, economy, reliability, compatibility, inter-operability, efficiency, and effectiveness

• Orthodox Union (OU) Kosher -- Certifies compliance for Kosher observers and followers.

International organic certifications such as: USDA, EU, and NSOP (India)


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Men: Study Shows That Weight Training Can Cut Cancer Risk by 40%

Men with stronger muscles from regular weight training are up to 40 percent less likely to die from cancer, according to new research.

The findings suggest that muscular strength is as important as staying slim and eating healthy when it comes to protecting your body against deadly tumors.

A team of experts tracked the lifestyles of over 8,500 men for more than two decades. Each volunteer had regular medical check ups that included tests of their muscular strength. The men who regularly worked out with weights and had the highest muscle strength were between 30 percent and 40 percent less likely to lose their life to a deadly tumor.

Even among volunteers who were overweight, regular weight training seemed to have a protective effect, although the researchers stressed that keeping a healthy weight was still crucial for avoiding premature death. 

But they added, "In the light of these results, it is equally important to maintain healthy muscular strength levels.”

Researchers said it’s possible to reduce cancer mortality rates in men by promoting resistance training involving the major muscle groups at least two days a week.

Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 18, 1468, May 1, 2009

Dr Mercola's Comments:
"The results of this study -- that men who regularly work out with weights and have high muscle strength can reduce their risk of cancer by 30-40 percent -- should provide major motivation for any of you still on the fence about adding strength training to your exercise routine.  

One of the primary reasons exercise works to lower your cancer risk is because it drives your insulin levels down.
Controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks. 

It’s also been suggested that apoptosis (programmed cell death) is 
triggered by exercise, causing cancer cells to die. 

It is becoming increasingly clear that a well-rounded exercise program is an important component of staying healthy. 

1. Aerobic
2. Interval
3. Strength
4. Core
Unfortunately, many public health guidelines are still focusing only on the aerobic component, and merely focusing on aerobic activity will most definitely lead to imbalances that will cause other parts of your body to not be healthy. You really need a well balanced exercise regimen.

It’s important to vary your exercise routine as otherwise your muscles simply get used to the same activity. They require a level of muscle confusion if they are to continue to improve and grow stronger. Further, each type of exercise has very different and 
very specific impacts on your body, and you’ll want to take advantage of all of them.

This topic is truly very near and dear to my heart, as I went to medical school in large part because I wanted to use exercise as a therapeutic tool to help people get healthier. I strongly believe that without fitness, it is virtually impossible to achieve optimal health.
The Benefits of Strength Training
As you age your muscle mass diminishes, and strength training is one of the best ways to replace the lean muscle mass that you’ve lost. If you don’t challenge your muscles in this way, the percentage of fat in your body will keep increasing while your muscle mass will keep decreasing.

So strength training is of utmost importance as you get older, but should ideally be done regularly throughout your life to both preserve and enhance your muscle mass.

Strength training also offers these additional benefits:
• Increases your bone density while lowering your risk of osteoporosis
• Lose weight (the more muscle you have, the more efficiently your body burns calories)
Protects your joints from injury 
• Helps maintain flexibility and balance
• Improves your stamina and lessens fatigue
How to Use Strength Training for Optimal Benefits
Contrary to popular belief, a 1-set strength training routine is typically plenty to get the most out of your workout.

A study published in the journal 
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise confirmed that for the average person exercising by strength training, the number of repetitions (the number of times a muscle or group of muscles is used to lift a weight) is not of major importance; a single set of repetitions was found to be almost as effective in maintaining fitness as three sets. 

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) -- the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world -- and the U.S. Surgeon General have also been recommending a 1-set exercise program for some time.

So incorporating a simple 1-set, five- to 30-minute weight lifting routine into your regular program will definitely improve fitness, and is a practical, obtainable goal for most people. There are some key concepts to keep in mind, however, as not just any set of weight training will do.

You need to do enough repetitions to exhaust your muscles. The weight should be heavy enough that this can be done in fewer than 12 repetitions, yet light enough to do a minimum of four repetitions. It is also important NOT to exercise the same muscle groups every day. They need at least two days of rest to recover, repair and rebuild -- more is not better here.

Later this year I plan on introducing a comprehensive state of the art comprehensive personal training option that can easily guide you through this entire process.

How to Round Out Your Exercise Routine, and Why You Should
I highly recommend finding a personal trainer to help you reach your fitness goals, but if you cannot afford it or live in an area without access to one, you can still reap the benefits of exercise if you focus on varying your routine. So along with your strength training program, make sure you also incorporate the following into your exercise routine:
1. Aerobic: Jogging, using an elliptical machine, and walking fast are all examples of aerobic exercise. As you get your heart pumping, the amount of oxygen in your blood improves, and endorphins, which act as natural painkillers, increase. 

Meanwhile, aerobic exercise activates your immune system, helps your heart pump blood more efficiently, and increases your stamina over time.

2. Interval (Anaerobic) Training: Research is showing that the BEST way to condition your heart and burn fat is NOT to jog or walk steadily for an hour. Instead, it’s to alternate short bursts of high-intensity exercise with gentle recovery periods. 

This type of exercise, known as interval training or burst type training, can dramatically improve your cardiovascular fitness and fat-burning capabilities.

For example, intermittent sprinting produces high levels of chemical compounds called catecholamines, which allow more fat to be burned from under your skin within the exercising muscles. The resulting increase in fat oxidation increases weight loss. So, short bursts of activity done at a very high intensity can help you reach your optimal weight and level of fitness, in a shorter amount of time.

3. Core Exercises: Your body has 29 core muscles located mostly in your back, abdomen and pelvis. This group of muscles provides the foundation for movement throughout your entire body, and strengthening them can help protect and support your back, make your spine and body less prone to injury and help you gain greater balance and stability.

Exercise programs like Pilates and yoga are great for strengthening your core muscles, as are specific exercises you can learn from a personal trainer.
Ready to Get Started?
More than half of U.S. adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise, and one out of four don’t exercise at all. 


A lack of time is the most common reason given for not exercising.

To help avoid falling into this trap, you need to arrange your schedule around exercise. Plan it into your day the same way you would an important meeting and consider it non-negotiable, like mealtimes and sleep.

When you begin to view exercise as a necessary component to your health, rather than a luxury, it becomes easier to find time for it during even the busiest days. For you, the best time to exercise may be first thing in the morning. Others may find early afternoon to work best. 

The important key to remember is that it doesn’t matter when you exercise (with the exception of exercising too close to bedtime, which can keep you awake), just that you make time for it most days of the week."


Health Care Reform Update from George Stephanopoulos

"The President said (July 29) that in the “best-case scenario,” a health care reform bill will not get voted on or signed until mid-fall.  

But key negotiators on both the House and Senate sides told me that I shouldn't be surprised if the deal didn't get this settled until Christmas.  There was some progress on the House side where a deal was struck with the seven moderate Blue Dog Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.   

Watch to find out what they agreed on and for the news Senate negotiators got from the Congressional Budget Office."

--George Stephanopoulos

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mammograms: Why?

Did you know that a routine mammogram screening typically involves 4 x-rays, two per breast which amount to more than 150 times the amount of radiation used for a single chest x-ray?Translation -- screening mammograms send a strong dose of ionizing radiation through your tissues. ONE dose of ionizing radiation is capable of contributing to cancer and heart disease.

There's more. Dr Ben Kim wrote an interesting article regarding other facts to consider before your next mammogram screening. Find out more at:

I hope that Dr Kim's thoughts on mammograms will encourage you to think about the difference between SCREENING and PREVENTIVE measures.

Many diagnostic tests that are performed on a routine basis in industrialized countries are touted as being preventive measures when they are nothing more than screening measures. In other words, they do nothing to actually prevent disease. They are only capable of 
detecting disease. And in the case of mammograms and other tests that utilize ionizing radiation, they can actually contribute to disease.

Disease prevention and education should be the top of the priority list in order to build a successful and complete health care plan. When we educate people how to prevent disease (and it all starts with the individual), medical costs drop, and we live healthy and well by making high quality lifestyle choices a part of our daily routine.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One More Reason to Remove Toxic Mercury Amalgams (Silver Fillings)

Chlorine in Your Baby Carrots

The small cocktail or “baby” carrots you buy are made using the larger crooked or deformed carrots which are put through a machine which cuts and shapes them into cocktail carrots. You might have known that already. But what you might not know is that once the carrots are cut and shaped into cocktail carrots, they are dipped in a solution of water and chlorine in order to preserve them.

When a baby carrot turns white (“white blushing”), this causes the bags of carrots to be pulled from the shelf and thrown away. To prevent this consumer waste, the carrots are dipped in chlorine to prevent the white blushing from happening.

Chlorine is a very well-known carcinogen. Organic growers instead use a citrus based, nontoxic solution called Citrox.

Source:  Jospeph Mercola, MD


Get ready! Watershed Event in Mercury Fillings History: An Update From Charles G Brown, Nat'l Counsel, Consumers for Dental Choice

Watershed event in history of mercury fillings coming this week


The turning point of our movement comes this week. Because of our landmark lawsuit, the U.S

Food and Drug Administration must now set the ground-rules for the use of mercury fillings, an 

action that agency refused to take for 30 years until we filed the case of Moms Against Mercury et 

al. v. Von Eschenbach.


Due to our years of work -- your work, my work, this movement’s work -- our moment has arrived.

FDA no longer sits in the hip pocket of the American Dental Association on this issue.  We are going

to get a regulation that moves us to the middle of the playing field.  Don’t get your hopes too high --

neither side will get the victory each seeks.  But the mercury secret -- hidden for years by

manufacturers, the American Dental Association, and the FDA -- will be out this week.


Consumers for Dental Choice has a ten-point plan to try to turn this event into the beginning of the

end of mercury fillings -- we will challenge manufacturers and distributors, insurance companies and

Medicaid agencies, Wall Street and trial lawyers.  If the American Dental Association realizes this is

the end of the road for its 19th-century foundation-stone, fine.  If not, it can fall on its poisonous



For the past six months, we have executed an aggressive program to keep the issue front-and

center at FDA, via work on Capitol Hill and with the media.  And we challenged the Commissioner

herself.  I wrote two letters of objection to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg about her five

years as a board member of Henry Schein Inc., the colossal dental products distributor.  My

challenge succeeded: Commissioner Hamburg recused herself from participating in the rulemaking!


Remember how desperate things were when we started, in the mid-1990s? Dentists were silenced by

the gag rule… almost all consumers were unaware that “silver fillings” are mainly mercury… the

system was held in place by the Iron Triangle of the ADA, the FDA, and state dental boards.  Two

true visionaries -- one in the East, one in the West -- created Consumers for Dental Choice:  Bob

Jones of Colorado (now Texas) and Sue Ann Taylor of Georgia.  Inspired by Hal Huggins, we began.


In the first phase of our movement, we knocked out the notorious gag rule in state after state --


and Washington.  This trailblazing work was done by consumer activists like Carol Ward, the late

Maz Levy, and Joyce Van Haaften; lawyers like Jim Turner, Sandy Duffy, Sandy Keech, and Shawn

Khorrami, filmmakers like Sue Ann Taylor; writers like Mark Genrich, dentists like Terry Lee, Andy

Landerman, Milt McIlwain, Mark Breiner, and Ada Frazier; and dental board members like Ron

King and Jessica Saepoff.  Dentists could finally advocate, advise, and advertise mercury-free


The second phase was about informing consumers: we gained fact sheet laws and ensured their 

enforcement (often the more difficult task).  In California, we created a political tsunami by shutting 

down the dental board, an act that sent shock waves to every other state dental board.  Led 

by Anita Vazquez Tibau, advised by consultant Pete Conaty, and chronicled by filmmaker Kelly 

Gallagher who is producing a movie about this movement, we had activists like Bill Magavern and 

dentists like Ward Eccles on the outside and new dental board members Chet Yokoyama and Kevin 

Biggers on the inside.  The Philadelphia fact sheet project was led by Freya Koss; in Maine it was 

Pam Anderson; in New Hampshire Rosie Cronin; and in Connecticut Mark Mitchell and media guru 

Mike London.  Outstanding lawmakers wrote these laws: Diane Watson of California, Mike Michaud 

of Maine, Hal Lynd of New Hampshire, and Blondell Reynolds Brown of Philadelphia


The third phase of our work involved taking on FDA:  With state laws implemented, with the dental 

board threat to our dentists fading, with our movement having national respect, we could have real 

impact -- and we did.  Attorney Johann Wehrle, at the time a law student, designed a plan to 

challenge the agency, first via petitions, then a lawsuit.  In between petitions and lawsuits was the 

dramatic September 2006 hearing of the FDA Scientific Advisory Committees where the scientists, 

led by Dr. Mike Fleming, voted 17 to 7 that FDA staff was wrong when it said mercury fillings are 

safe.  After that vote, Dr. Rich Fischer led a team of scientists to urge FDA staff to change their 

position.  All along, our friends in Congress, led by Diane Watson and Dan Burton, were holding 

FDA's feet to the fire by insisting that the agency follow the law.  

But the inertia continued.  So we filed suit in December 2007 and moved for an injunction in April 

2008.  At a hearing in May, Judge Ellen Huvelle ruled that we were entitled to a regulation by FDA

on a date certain, but to no other relief; she ordered the parties into mediation.  At an intense

negotiation session, we insisted on warnings in the interim between then and the classification date. 

We got them in the website --- the best advisories issued by any national health agency on dental

mercury’s irreversible damage to children: "Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have

neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses."   The overwhelming

and positive worldwide press response made clear that FDA had crossed its own Rubicon on the

mercury amalgam issue.

The plaintiffs in this landmark litigation who stayed the course were Moms Against Mercury (Amy

Carson and Angela Medlin), Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice (Dr. Mark Mitchell),

Oregonians for Life (Mary Starrett), Michael Bender, Senator Karen Johnson, Linda Brocato, Dr. Andy

Landerman, Anita Vazquez Tibau, and of course Consumers for Dental Choice.

We didn’t get this far by ourselves.  We built broad alliances.  Michael Bender of the highly effective

Mercury Policy Project leads the environmentalists; Ed Hogan and Emmitt Carlton reached out to

minority communities; Sandy Duffy recruited civil libertarians; and Sister Valerie Heinonen linked us

to the faith community.  And we have had volunteers who have logged hundreds of hours, such as

Barbara Pierson, Mary Ann Newell, Linda Brocato, Elizabeth Wright, and Karen Burns, to name a



With the FDA rule, we will enter our fourth -- and I firmly believe, final -- phase: the demise of

amalgam fillings.  The momentum is ours.


The key to the upcoming rule, not surprisingly, will be the fine print:  the new Special Controls.

That will tell us if the rule is strong or weak.  My focus is the children: if we can protect boys and

girls, if we can protect the unborn, we have prevented amalgam from going to the most vulnerable. 

From there, we can build toward ultimate victory.

If the FDA rule is abysmal -- if it contradicts its own website advisory for children and pregnant

women that we negotiated to settle the lawsuit -- we intend to appeal.  But, first we must see the

rule FDA is unveiling this week.


--- Charlie

     27 July 2009



Charles G. Brown, National Counsel

Consumers for Dental Choice

316 F St., N.E., Suite 210, Washington, DC 20002 

Ph. 202.544-6333; fax 202.544-6331, 

Working for Mercury-Free Dentistry