Thursday, August 30, 2007

Science Daily and Zinc

On August 28th, Science Daily featured a zinc study published in the April 2007 Experimental Eye Research Journal. A team of scientists, including three researchers at George Mason University, found that the mineral zinc could play a role in the development of macular degeneration.

These findings are and were viewed as extremely important because the 2001 Age-Related-Eye-Disease (ARED) study results suggested that high doses (80 mg) of supplemental zinc oxide, when combined with vitamin antioxidants and copper, slowed the progression of macular degeneration.

Many nutrition-trained eye care professionals and most biochemists have adamantly disagreed with the long-term daily consumption of 80 mgs of zinc oxide, which is included in the ARED formulation.

Imre Lengyel, PhD, senior fellow at the Institute of Ophthalmology in London and this zinc study chief investigator, found unexpectedly high concentrations of zinc in drusen and sub-retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) post-mortem maculae of eyes with AMD. He has been quoted as saying, "Although supplemental zinc has been found to enhance the immune system, excessive amounts may play a role in the advancement of macular degeneration."

We reported on this study in the March 23, 2007 Friday Pearl.

The Academy of Medicine's published safe upper limit (UL) of supplemental zinc is 40 mg per day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Conflicts of Interest May Affect Your Health

The FDA reauthorization bill that recently came to a vote in Congress, allows continuation of conflicts of interest between FDA advisors and the drug industry.

Under this bill the FDA can continue to allow advisors with financial interests in pharmaceutical companies to serve on FDA advisory committees. The bill also continues to let the FDA receive over 50% of its budget from fees paid to it by the pharmaceutical companies it regulates. This has resulted in the FDA becoming beholden to pharmaceutical companies.

Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, pointed out that when it came time to renegotiate PDUFA, the FDA met with pharmaceutical companies 112 times to negotiate agency standards the FDA must achieve in order to receive these fees, while consumer advocates and doctors groups only got to meet with them five times.

The problems with unsafe drugs being recalled after harming and killing some patients and various food products being recalled after sickening and killing consumers has highlighted the problems at the FDA.

With respect to drug company oversight, one way to lessen the grip pharmaceutical companies have is to inform consumers when their health care provider may have a conflict of interest due to gifts or income from a drug company. That's why DeFazio reintroduced the Drug Company Gift Disclosure Act, which will require prescription drug manufacturers, packers, and distributors to report annually to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs any gifts with a value of $50 dollars or more provided to doctors and other health care providers in connection with their marketing activities.

It’s time the public knew the truth. Safety and efficacy should be the priority, not drug or food industry profits. Think it’s time for you to get involved?

Let your Representative in Congress know how you feel.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Early Warning Markers for Type-2 Diabetes

Two recent UCLA studies strongly link metabolism and immunology to type 2 diabetes.

These new studies suggest that the inability of the body to process insulin stems from chronic inflammation, which can be caused by fat cells' secretion of chemical signaling compounds called cytokines.

Think of signaling cytokines as the body's early warning smoke alarm.

Three of these compounds; tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleudin-6 (IL-6), and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) are the key molecule markers now confirmed to lead to type 2 diabetes.

The presence of these cytokine markers corresponded in recent studies to a double or triple increase in the risk of the development of type-2 diabetes. Inclusion of these test in annual check-ups could be a tremendous step forward in diabetic disease prevention and management.

These tests are not particularly expensive. If you find you have high cytokine formation while you're still healthy, you can make better lifestyle choices that will help lower cytokine formation, thereby lowering the risk for a five alarm disease fire.

Currently, most docs still only use the the blood glucose level test to determine diabetes, but by the time blood glucose levels are in the diabetic range, it may be too late to make the lifestyle changes necessary to prevent disease progression.

Type-2 diabetes (formerly called adult onset) can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, nerve damage, amputation and death if not properly controlled; preferably with dietary intake, exercise and other lifestyle changes that promote health.

Over 20 million people in the Unites States have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes