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Poisons Lurking In Common Plastic Items

08/16/07      Issue 29 Volume 7

This Week In HealthBeat News:

  • Vitamins: What You Should be Taking, and Why
  • Readers Question Of The Week: What Dangers Lurk In Plastic?
  • US Ranks 42nd In World For Life Expectancy - What The Heck Is Wrong Here?
  • AstraZenca Profits Take Hit In Prilosec Heart Attack Scare
  • Problems with Diabetes Drugs continue
  • We Get Questions...
  • Laughter is Good Medicine: Kids Say The Darndest Things!

Vitamins: What You Should be Taking, and Why

By Dr. Myatt

Taking vitamins is a wise health and prevention measure. Deficiencies of vitamins and minerals cause many diseases. Adding vitamins and minerals in supplemental form is an inexpensive "insurance policy" against some of the worst diseases of modern times.

A deficiency of vitamins and minerals are associated with these diseases:

A deficiency of antioxidant vitamins and minerals (especially beta carotene, vitamins C & E, and selenium) is associated with higher incidence of cancers of the colon, breast, prostate, mouth, lungs and skin. Some researchers believe that antioxidant vitamin and mineral deficiencies may be related to higher incidence of all cancers.

A mineral deficiency, especially magnesium and potassium but also calcium, is associated with high blood pressure.

Deficiencies of vitamins E, C, B6, B12, folic acid (a B vitamin), and bioflavonoids are associated with cardiovascular disease. The connection between vitamin E and heart health is so well established that conventional medical cardiologists are instructed to recommend vitamin E to their patients.

Healthy bones, and the prevention of osteoporosis, depend on sufficient levels of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, boron, zinc, copper, B vitamins, and vitamin D.

In males, benign prostatic hypertrophy is associated with decreased levels of zinc. Zinc deficiency also correlates to decreased immune function. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and diabetes (high blood sugar) occur more frequently in people who are chromium deficient. After diabetes is present, low levels of vitamins A, C, E, plus zinc, selenium, choline, bioflavonoids and B complex vitamins are associated with more complications from the disease.

This list could go on for pages, but you get the idea. A deficiency of key vitamins and minerals are correlated with disease. Such vitamin deficiencies are also common in the modern American diet. Depleted soils result in lowered vitamin and mineral content in produce AND Americans eat less fresh produce than ever before. Much of our food is highly processed, removing not only vitamins and minerals but also fiber and enzymes.

The best health insurance may not be an expensive medical policy, but the addition of sufficient vitamins to fill in the gaps in our day-to-day nutritional status.

Some people take a wide array of individual and/or exotic supplements, but these should NOT replace a basic, healthful level of vitamin supplementation. I have listed the best and most complete formulas for basic multiple vitamin and mineral supplementation. I recommend this for all adults over age 18. If you have a special medical condition, consult an holistic physician for further recommendations. (See Telephone Consultations with Dr. Myatt)

Basic Vitamins and Minerals Supplement Program (For health maintenance in healthy individuals OR as the basis of a health program in those with known health problems). 1) Multi Vitamin / Mineral formula without iron (unless your doctor has specifically told you to take iron). There is no such thing as a good multiple vitamin supplement in a single pill. Optimal daily dosage levels of essential vitamins and minerals do not fit into one tablet or capsule. Expect to be taking 6 to 9 capsules or tablets to fulfill Optimal Daily Doses of key vitamins.


Nutritional Deficiencies

It has long been recognized that the human body will not function efficiently without vitamins and minerals. In fact, serious diseases and death result when nutrient levels become too low. Because vitamins and minerals are necessary for every chemical reaction in the body, an excess or deficiency can greatly alter physical function.

“RDA’s” (nutrient levels recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture) are sufficient to prevent serious deficiency-caused illnesses. (Rickets due to vitamin D deficiency, for example). They are not sufficient for optimal health and well-being.

Many scientists today agree that higher levels of certain nutrients are necessary to protect us from disease. It is also an accepted fact that even small deficiencies of nutrients can result in a decline in physical health, often before modern medicine can name a “disease.” Such deficiencies are called “subclinical,” (meaning “before they are a diagnosable illness”) and are the precursors to more serious illness.

The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is typically excessive in calories while being deficient in vitamins, minerals, and accessory nutrients. This is probably due to several factors: easy availability of refined-flour, high sugar foods; extensive processing of foods (which removes nutrients and fiber); and plant foods grown in mineral-deficient soils.

In addition, increased environmental exposure to toxic substances increases the body’s need for certain nutrients, especially antioxidants. (See Antioxidants.)

To ensure that you are obtaining optimal dietary nutrient levels, examine your current diet in view of the vitamin/mineral/accessory nutrient guide below. Keep a three-day diet diary to assist in calculating your baseline level of nutrient intake. Then, make dietary changes and take nutritional supplements as needed to ensure daily optimal nutrient intake.

Which Vitamin Formula is Right For You?

If you are a:
Multiple Formula
Man Maxi Multi OR Once Daily MyPacks Included in Maxi Multi and MyPacks A separate antioxidant is usually needed with other multiples, not with these.
Woman of Childbearing Age Nutrizyme with iron (see comment) OR Once Daily MyPacks Included in Maxi Multi and MyPacks Take a multiple WITH iron if you have heavy menstrual flow.
Post-Menopausal Woman Maxi Multi OR Once Daily MyPacks Included in Maxi Multi and MyPacks Take additional Cal-Mag Amino to total 1200-1500 mg calcium per day if you are at risk for Osteoporosis.
Senior Maxi Multi OR Nutrizyme with iron (see comments) Included in Maxi Multi and MyPacks Take a formula with iron only if directed to do so by your doctor.
Children Children's Multi-Vitamin and Minerals Children's Antioxidants Specially formulated for children ages 4-12.

Readers Question Of The Week

Q. Dr. Myatt:  Wanted to know if you heard about the BPA in plastics that cause hormone disruption in the human body, breast cancer, prostate cancer, hyperactivity in children? The chemical also lines tin can food products. I guess I'll just drink the charcoal for the rest of my life, because I can't escape the plastic.

Products in plastic: Lunchmeats, milk, Canned soups, Mayonnaise, Ketchup, mustard, Frozen Vegetables.

Then there is concern for my new niece with baby bottles and baby food that comes in plastic containers. Is plastic utensils safe to use when eating hot foods? I store food in Rubbermaid containers. Just want to be safe. Theresa

Answer: The questionable substance under discussion is called bisphenol A ("BPA"), and it is an estrogen agonist. In plain terms, it acts like an estrogen in the body. The result is that such a chemical (there are many "estrogen mimickers" in our environment) can accelerate growth in children, increase cancer risk, contribute to overweight and anything else that excess estrogen can do. Clearly, this isn't a good thing.

This substance is found in plastics, from those great little dishes we store left-overs in, to plastic water bottles, to the lining in "tin cans." (I don't think they're really made from tin now, are they)?

I must first admit that I don't think it is possible to avoid every possible toxic substance known to humankind. If you're worried about BPA's but still drinking tap water or living in a city with questionable air quality, you might have bigger fish to fry than avoiding plastics.

My research on BPA's (which is still ongoing) suggest that these substances are more likely to leach into food under conditions of higher temperature and acidity (or if the plastic is "disrupted," as in being scratched). So here's my answer to Theresa's question about BPA's:

BPA's are found in the epoxy resins that line cans (to protect us from the metal leaching out of the cans)! But is this a good trade-off? We either get metal contamination from our canned foods OR we get BPA contamination. My thought on this? Avoid canned foods whenever possible, but ESPECIALLY those that are acidic. (That's why tomato-based products and many soups have high BPA content: the acidic leaching).

Besides, canned foods like soups and sauces tend to be quite high in sodium, additives and preservatives. Canned fruits are loaded with sugar, and canned vegetables have been so highly processed that they have no redeeming nutritional value. BPA or not, why are you eating this junk?

The only common canned items that have redeeming nutritional value are tomatoes and tomato paste, but their high acid content makes them especially dangerous for this "leaching" of BPA and metals.

Here's what I do:

I try to buy as much of my "canned" stuff in glass jars as possible. Tomatoes, tomato sauce especially, I get in jars. Salmon is something I do buy in cans, but it is low acid and not nearly as big a "smoking gun" as soups or tomato products. As for soups and sauces? I make them myself. And vegetables? Fresh, frozen or preserved in glass jars.

As for lunch meats, I'm far more worried about the artificial and dangerous junk used to preserve the meat than I am the plastic wrap they are stored in! Why would a health-conscious individual be eating this stuff?

Go to your deli counter at the grocery store. Pick out some of your favorite meats. Roast beef, turkey, ham --- get the "real deal." And pick out some cheese you like. Ask them to slice these "deli thin" for you. Voila! Healthier lunch meat.

Non-acidic products stored in plastics are probably a decent trade-off between safety and convenience. Foods stored cold (leftovers in Tupperware) are probably quite fine --- again, the leaching is temperature and acid dependent.

DO NOT STORE TOMATO-BASED OR ACIDIC PRODUCTS IN PLASTIC, EVEN IN THE FRIDGE. Save empty glass jars and wash them, they make great storage containers. And DO NOT heat stuff in the microwave in plastic, but transfer to glass bowls or plates for heating.

Remember, potential toxins are all around us. You can run, but it's nearly impossible to hide from all of them. My recommendation is to pick your battles wisely.

I breathe clean air 350 days a year (I still have to travel on business) and drink pure water all day long. But I'm still using plastic containers in the ways described above.

Hope this Helps!
Dr. Myatt

P.S. The baby bottles (and other products like soothers and teething rings) are a real concern, and I'd certainly be looking for a non-toxic option. Warm milk but not cold would be more worrisome - the common practice of heating baby bottles in the microwave is especially problematic, and the estrogen effect is more dangerous in children. There is a website with a great deal of additional information on this subject, and resources for parents. It is:

US Ranks 42nd In World For Life Expectancy - What The Heck Is Wrong Here?

Opinion By Nurse Mark

You have no doubt seen the many news articles discussing the release of this statistic in the past week - it is alarming, and rightly so. 41 other countries, none as mighty, as wealthy, or as "advanced" as the US have citizens who will live longer on average than Americans will. News article are quoting experts who attribute our health woes to lack of universal (ie: government-funded) health care, obesity, racial disparities (the statistics show that white Americans live 5 years longer than black Americans), and to high infant mortality.

Many of the recent news articles especially bemoan the lack of a socialized health care system in the US, pointing to other countries with universal health care as examples to emulate. In truth though, given the narrow focus that the US health care system has on drugs and surgery as being the cure for every ill, all that a government-funded health care system would do in this country would be to enrich Big Pharma and Big Medicine. As long as these two financial juggernauts are in control of the health of Americans "disease treatment" will be preferred over "health maintenance" or "health improvement."

It will continue to be people like you - the readers of HealthBeat - who will set the standard for wellness that the rest of America will envy.

So, keep taking your Maxi Multi's and your other vitamins, minerals, and supplements, and know that by doing so you are helping to keep America from slipping even further behind the rest of the world in health and longevity!

Read one of these news articles here:

AstraZenca Profits Take Hit In Prilosec Heart Attack Scare

Opinion By Nurse Mark

The ranks of wildly profitable drugs with serious side effects continues to grow, and a jittery public is responding in a manner that is sure to get the attention of Big Pharma - they are hurting the bloated corporate profits.

A recent news article in the British business paper The Guardian discussed recent events where AstraZenca had provided two studies to the FDA that (in the words of the FDA) "raised concerns that long-term use of Prilosec or Nexium may have increased the risk of heart attacks, heart failure, and heart-related sudden death in patients taking either one of the drugs". The result of this, according to the article by The Guardian was that "AstraZeneca shares plummeted 87p, or 3.5%, on the news to £24.30, wiping £1.3bn off the value of the company." (1 British pound = 2 U.S. dollars)

It comes as no surprise then that the FDA very quickly issued a statement designed to quell fears and salvage the profitability of these drugs: the FDA said that it had examined "additional data" since May and that "collectively, these data do not suggest an increased risk of heart problems". The agency went on to further cover their backsides by saying that it would complete a safety review within three months.

Here's what this all boils down to in simple, easy to grasp terms (like I understand, and probably you do too): The drug company has research with implications serious enough that they dare not cover it up, so they give it to the FDA. Word of this research gets out and really hurts profits. This alarms both the drug company and the FDA, so the FDA jiggles the numbers around and says things aren't so bad after all - everything is ok, and no one should stop taking these profitable drugs, but just in case the bodies really begin to pile up they'll be doing a "safety review."

Ah, our FDA - ever vigilant, always hard at work safeguarding the health, welfare, and profits of the Pharmaceutical Industry. It's so good to know they are on-guard!

Read the Guardian article here:,,2145762,00.html

Learn More about natural treatment for "Acid Stomach", "Acid Reflux", GERD and other stomach complaints here:

Problems with Diabetes Drugs continue

Opinion By Nurse Mark

The FDA is taking seriously some of the heart risks of the newest diabetes drugs, but according to a recent WebMD article "The FDA says it is still mulling over the signal of increased ischemic events with rosiglitazone, but the new label makes no mention of this." In other words, the FDA still doesn't want to warn consumers that their diabetes drugs may cause heart attacks as well as heart failure.

 Here is the notice, taken from the FDA website:

Avandia (rosiglitazone maleate) Tablets
Actos (pioglitazone hydrochloride) Tablets
Avandaryl (rosiglitazone maleate and glimepiride) Tablets
Avandamet (rosiglitazone maleate and metformin hydrochloride) Tablets
Duetact (pioglitazone hydrochloride and glimepride) Tablets

Audience: Endocrinologists, other healthcare professionals, consumers

[Posted 08/14/2007] After a review of postmarketing adverse event reports, FDA determined that an updated label with a boxed warning on the risks of heart failure was needed for the entire thiazolidinedione class of antidiabetic drugs. These drugs are used in conjunction with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes. Manufacturers of certain drugs have agreed to the upgraded warning.

The strengthened warning advises healthcare professionals to observe patients carefully for the signs and symptoms of heart failure, including excessive, rapid weight gain, shortness of breath, and edema after starting drug therapy. Patients with these symptoms who then develop heart failure should receive appropriate management of the heart failure and use of the drug should be reconsidered. People who have questions should contact their healthcare providers to discuss alternative treatments.

Folks, if any of you are taking these drugs, or other drugs for Type 2 diabetes, please consider these comments by Dr. Myatt from our webpage on Diabetes: "I find that well over 90% of Type II diabetic patients can achieve normal-range glucose control by following The Super Fast Diet and the above-listed primary support measures. If blood sugars are not dramatically improved (and often completely corrected!) after three months on this program, consult with an alternative medicine physician who can help you find the best diet and supplement program. I am available for consultation by telephone and I have an excellent success rate with type II diabetic patients."

We Get Questions...

Q. Hello, I take prilosec in the mornings and I would like to know if it would be ok to begin taking flaxseed oil capsules. Will there be any interaction between the two? The pharmacist wouldnt tell me. I also started taking cranberry caps today. I hope that will be alright. Can you please advise me. Thank you! Sandra

A. Hi Sandra, Of course your pharmacist wouldn't tell you - since flaxseed oil is not a "drug" he doesn't know! There should be no adverse interactions between Prilosec and either flaxseed oil capsules or cranberry capsules. But if you are taking Prilosec it is obvious that you have not read our May newsletter What's Burning You? where Dr. Myatt discusses the dangers of the highly popular "acid blockers" and provides some healthy alternatives to them. Be aware that when you stop your stomach from making the vital digestive juice gastric acid, you alter your body's ability to digest and assimilate foods very unfavorably. Please, please, read through our May HealthBeat article What's Burning You?  and do the very inexpensive Gastric Acid Function Self Test Kit that includes full instructions for testing your own stomach acid (it’s easy with the instructions) - you will have to stop taking the Prilosec for a few days to get a meaningful result - and I'm betting that you'll find that shutting off your stomach's ability to make acid is not what you should be doing! Cheers, Nurse Mark

Q. There is so much fuss about the benefits of ginseng these days. What's your take on this?

A. Whew! It's not just "these days" - the benefits of ginseng have been known for thousands of years! Ginseng was considered the “Herb of Emperors” in ancient China, and only the emperor was allowed to use ginseng. This was because the potent effects of ginseng were felt to be “too precious” for the common man.

Modern research has confirmed ginseng’s amazing powers. Ginseng improves immunity through a wide variety of mechanisms. It stimulates DNA synthesis and is useful for anti-aging and chronic disease. Studies have shown that ginseng improves both physical and mental stamina. “It’s not just for the emperor any more!”

Find out more about Ginseng here:

Laughter is Good Medicine

Art Linkletter and Bill Cosby are right; kids do say the darnedest things! Here are a few of these juvenile pearls of wisdom - with more to come next week!

  • My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how old I was, and I told him, '62.' He was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, 'Did you start at 1?'
  • After putting her grandchildren to bed for a sleepover, a grandmother washed off her makeup, changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and began to color her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. At last she stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say in a trembling voice, 'Who was THAT?'
  • A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like: 'We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods.' The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this in. At last she said, 'I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!'
  • My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, 'Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?' I mentally polished my halo while I asked , 'No, how are we alike?' 'You're both old,' he replied.
  • A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor. She told him she was writing a story. 'What's it about?' he asked. 'I don't know,' she replied. 'I can't read.'
  • I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me, and always she was correct. But it was fun for me, so I continued. At last she headed for the door, saying sagely, 'Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these yourself!'


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