Category: Health Topic

Category: Health Topic

What AGEs us?

What AGEs us?

AGE stands for Advanced Glycation End Products and are also known as glycotoxins. The process of creating these harmful compounds is often referred to as glycosylation. AGEs cause oxidant reactions that can damage normal proteins, tissues and cells. A common oxidant reaction you may recognize is when you cut an apple in half and let it sit for a few hours. The apple turns brown due to oxidation.

AGE’s are implicated in the development of many chronic diseases including the aging process. Hence the title, What AGEs us? AGEs are created through a reaction between sugars and free amino groups of proteins, lipids, or nucleic acids (like RNA and DNA), within the body. This reaction is also known as the Maillard or browning reaction. Caramelizing a food in cooking is a real world visible form of this reaction between the sugar, fats and proteins. The sugars in our bloodstream form cross-links with proteins and make them crusty. This damage to the proteins renders them unusable. Some sugars create much more AGEs than others. It is estimated that fructose is 20 – 30 times more glycating than glucose. That is one of the reasons that high fructose corn syrup is so harmful. Consequently, diets high in sugar not only promote excess insulin eventually resulting in insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease. Essentially, it AGEs us more rapidly. Not only does it age us, it also contributes to the epidemic of obesity. Body fat cannot be burned efficiently in the presence of insulin. According to Ron Rosedale MD, “If there is a known single marker for long life, as found in the centenarian and animal studies, it is low insulin levels.”

In addition to promoting oxidative stress, AGEs cause inflammation by binding with cell surface receptors and cross-linking with body proteins, altering their structure and function. This is especially problematic because when proteins are damaged in this way, they can no longer work as designed. Since the activity of proteins relate to thousands of body processes, this wreaks havoc with normal health and function.

According to Nora Gedgaudas, the author of Primal Body, Primal Mind and more recently Primal Fat Burner, “Aging is now being understood by people researching longevity as essentially a gradual process of glycation of all tissues, including the brain.”

Another factor causing AGE production in our bodies, are the types of foods we eat and even how they are prepared. Certain foods other than sugars cause much greater production of these damaging compounds. The highest food by far is fried bacon. For a complete list of these foods and their ratings for AGE production, see http://www.wellnessdoc.com/educational-portal/ , then select the folder titled Food, the Good the Bad and the Ugly.

There are other things that can be done to reduce the production of AGEs when cooking. Some of those include curcumin from turmeric, garlic, onions, certain spices like rosemary and thyme, lemon juice and flavonoids. Flavonoids are a group of phytonutrients often found in the pigments in a wide range of plant sources including berries, tea, citrus, bell peppers, fruits and greens. Preparing foods, especially meats at high temperatures also contribute to this phenomenon. Therefore, it’s better to cook meats slowly at lower temperatures and combine the meal with the aforementioned foods.

Glyphosate- The Danger Lurking in your Pantry

Glyphosate, an active ingredient in commercial herbicides, including the now infamous Roundup made by Monsanto, the chemical giant, has been on the radar of health officials for decades. It is used on numerous crops including sugar, corn, soy and wheat. In the 1990’s, regulators at the EPA determined that 1.75 mg per kg of body-weight per day is the safe level of intake. Glyphosate is listed on the EPA web site as a one of the regulated drinking water contaminants. The EPA also states that long-term exposure to Glyphosate at only 700 parts per billion (ppb) can cause kidney and reproductive problems.

Roundup’s glyphosate toxicity numbers:

0.5 ppb Roundup with 0.05 ppb glyphosate altered over 4,000 genes in kidneys and livers of rats [1]

0.1 ppb Roundup with 0.05 ppb glyphosate caused severe organ damage in rats [2]

0.1 ppb is the allowable level in drinking water in the European Union.[3]

700 ppb induces toxic liver and kidney effects in rats. [4]

700 ppb is the allowable level in drinking water in the U.S. [5]

Scientists studying environmental toxicity are looking very seriously at lowering the allowable levels considered toxic. One thing the EPA studies did not consider is the serious impact that glyphosate has on the human microbiome. One study found that glyphosate causes dysbiosis (an unhealthy shift towards harmful microorganisms in the gut). This in turn favors the production of botulinum neurotoxin formation. [6]

A recent analysis [7] of some of the most common cereals and snack foods found in most American’s pantries found shockingly high levels of glyphosate residues. The highest of all? Cheerios! Original Cheerios came in at a not-so-cheery 1,125.3 ppb (1.1253 mg/kg). Honey Nut Cheerios had a level of 670.2. Stacy’s Pita Chips- 812.53. Doritos Cool Ranch- 481.27. Lay’s Potato Chips- 452.71. Other foods listed include Oreos, Fritos, Corn Flakes, Raisin Bran, Goldfish and more. The testing and analysis was performed by Anresco Laboratories, located in San Francisco. They are an FDA registered laboratory that has performed expert food safety testing since 1943. You can download the test results from https://www.facebook.com/FoodDemocracyNow/photos/rpp.162878479387/10155521941024388/?type=3&theater

The amount of glyphosate containing herbicides has steadily grown over the years. According to a report by Global Industry Analysts Inc., the global glyphosate market is estimated to reach 1.35 million metric tons by 2017. Look at this interactive map showing the growth of the use of Roundup since 1992. http://static.ewg.org/agmag/glyphosate_map/index.html

An article published in the British medical journal Lancet Oncology May 16, 2015, called Carcinogenicity of tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon and glyphosate concluded that glyphosate is highly suspect as a cancer causer. From the article “Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide, currently with the highest production volumes of all herbicides. It is used in more than 750 different products for agriculture, forestry, urban, and home applications.” According to an environmental working group of the World Health Organization, glyphosate is probably cancer-causing to humans. [8]

[1] Environmental Health Journal 2015;14:70

[2] Environmental Science Europe 2014;26:14

[3] BMC Genomics 2015 Jan 31;16:32. PMID: 25636363

[4] Environmental Toxicological Pharmacology 2012;34:811–8

[5] https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/table-regulated-drinking-water-contaminants#Inorganic

[6] The influence of glyphosate on the microbiota and production of botulinum neurotoxin during ruminal fermentation. Current Microbiology March 2015

[7] https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.fooddemocracynow.org/images/FDN_Glyphosate_FoodTesting_Report_p2016.pdf

[8] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-cancer/

Canaries in the Kitchen-  The Dangers of Teflon Cookware

In two to five minutes on a conventional stovetop, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces can exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases linked to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year, according to tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group (EWG).

In new tests conducted by a university food safety professor, a generic non-stick frying pan preheated on a conventional, electric stovetop burner reached 736°F in three minutes and 20 seconds, with temperatures still rising when the tests were terminated. A Teflon pan reached 721°F in just five minutes under the same test conditions (See Figure 1), as measured by a commercially available infrared thermometer. DuPont studies show that the Teflon off-gases toxic particulates at 446°F. At 680°F Teflon pans release at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants, and MFA, a chemical lethal to humans at low doses. At temperatures that DuPont scientists claim are reached on stovetop drip pans (1000°F), non-stick coatings break down to a chemical warfare agent known as PFIB, and a chemical analog of the WWII nerve gas phosgene.

For the past fifty years DuPont has claimed that their Teflon coatings do not emit hazardous chemicals through normal use. In a press release, DuPont wrote that “significant decomposition of the coating will occur only when temperatures exceed about 660 degrees F (340 degrees C). These temperatures alone are well above the normal cooking range.”

These new tests show that cookware exceeds these temperatures and turns toxic through the common act of preheating a pan, on a burner set on high.

In cases of “Teflon toxicosis,” as the bird poisonings are called, the lungs of exposed birds hemorrhage and fill with fluid, leading to suffocation. DuPont acknowledges that the fumes can also sicken people, a condition called “polymer fume fever.” DuPont has never studied the incidence of the fever among users of the billions of non-stick pots and pans sold around the world. Neither has the company studied the long-term effects from the sickness, or the extent to which Teflon exposures lead to human illnesses believed erroneously to be the common flu.

The government has not assessed the safety of non-stick cookware. According to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food safety scientist: “You won’t find a regulation anywhere on the books that specifically addresses cookwares,” although the FDA approved Teflon for contact with food in 1960 based on a food frying study that found higher levels of Teflon chemicals in hamburger cooked on heat-aged and old pans. At the time, FDA judged these levels to be of little health significance.

Of the 6.9 million bird-owning households in the US that claim an estimated 19 million pet birds, many don’t know that Teflon poses an acute hazard to birds. Most non-stick cookware carries no warning label. DuPont publicly acknowledges that Teflon can kill birds, but the company-produced public service brochure on bird safety discusses the hazards of ceiling fans, mirrors, toilets, and cats before mentioning the dangers of Teflon fumes.

As a result of the new data showing that non-stick surfaces reach toxic temperatures in a matter of minutes, EWG has petitioned the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to require that cookware and heated appliances bearing non-stick coatings must carry a label warning of the acute hazard the coating poses to pet birds. Additionally, we recommend that bird owners completely avoid cookware and heated appliances with non-stick coatings. Alternative cookware includes stainless steel, ceramic and cast iron, neither of which off-gases persistent pollutants.