Friday, June 29, 2007
These are ounces of weight, not volume (Ounces, especially, are confusing and whether they refer to weight or volume depends entirely on context)
- 1 gram = 1,000,000 micrograms (mcg) = 1.ooo milligrams (mg)
- 1,000 micrograms = one milligram = 0.001 gram
- 1,000 grams = one kilogram (one kilo, kg) = 2.2 pounds (LB, #)
- one pound = 454 grams (g)
- one ounce = 28.35 grams
- 16 ounces = one pound (LB, #)
- 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
- 2 tablespoons = 1 ounce = 1/8 cup
- 8 ounces = 16 tablespoons = 1 cup
- 1/2 teaspoon = 2.5 mL (milliliters)
- 1 cup = 240 mL
Thursday, June 28, 2007
http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/cochrane/clsysrev/articles/CD003150/frame.html Aroma therapy is the use of pure essential oils from fragrant plants (such as Peppermint, Sweet Marjoram, and Rose) to help relieve health problems and improve the quality of life in general. The healing properties of aroma therapy are claimed to include promotion of relaxation and sleep, relief of pain, and reduction of depressive symptoms. Hence, aroma therapy has been used to reduce disturbed behaviour, to promote sleep and to stimulate motivational behaviour of people with dementia. Of the three randomized controlled trials found only one had useable data. The analysis of this one trial showed a significant effect in favour of aroma therapy on measures of agitation and neuropsychiatric symptoms. More large-scale randomized controlled trials are needed before firm conclusions can be reached about the effectiveness of aroma therapy. Aroma therapy for dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(3):CD003150. Review. PMID: 12917949 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=9672344&ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlus RESULTS: Eight randomized, controlled trials were located. Collectively they indicate that peppermint oil could be efficacious for symptom relief in IBS. A metaanalysis of five placebo-controlled, double blind trials seems to support this notion. In view of the methodological flaws associated with most studies, no definitive judgment about efficacy can be given. Peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome: a critical review and metaanalysis. Am J Gastroenterol. 1998 Jul;93(7):1131-5. PMID: 9672344 In aromatherapy, grapefruit is used to treat depression and induce euphoria, whereas lavender is beneficial in reducing stress and relaxing the mind. This raises the possibility that stimulation with grapefruit or lavender may influence the activity of sympathetic nerves. Mechanism of changes induced in plasma glycerol by scent stimulation with grapefruit and lavender essential oils. Neuroscience Letters, Volume 416, Issue 3, 18 April 2007, Pages 241-246 The antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of essential oils have been known for a long time, and a number of investigations have been conducted into their antimicrobial activities using various bacteria, viruses and fungi. A common feature of plant volatiles is their hydrophobic nature, and studies addressing the mode of antimicrobial action of such compounds generally point to the cell membrane as primary target (Stammati et al., 1999). Recent studies have shown that essential oils of oregano, thyme, clove and cinnamon are among the most active in this respect. Chemical analysis of these oils has shown the constituents to be principally carvacrol, thymol and eugenol and their precursors...Essential oils—their antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli and effect on intestinal cell viability. Toxicology in Vitro, Volume 20, Issue 8, December 2006, Pages 1435-1445 Symptoms of tiredness, lack of muscle co-ordination and dysarthria, and difficulty in maintaining attention in elderly people may be wrongly labelled as part of the ageing process and so ignored. If adequate sleep can reduce these symptoms and restore therapeutic activity, it is of enormous value to elderly people in retaining their independence and quality of life. Safe promotion of sleep without daytime lethargy is needed. In order to test the hypotheses that Essential Oil of Lavender has a sedative effect, and that the resultant sleep promotes therapeutic activity, a pilot study was arranged with acutely ill elderly people. This was followed by a more detailed trial with long-term patients. The results show a positive trend towards improvement with lavender. The value of lavender for rest and activity in the elderly patient. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. Volume 4, Issue 1, January 1996, Pages 52-57 These findings clarify that lavender and rosemary enhance FRSA [free radical scavenging activity] and decrease the stress hormone, cortisol, which protects the body from oxidative stress. Smelling lavender and rosemary increases free radical scavenging activity and decreases cortisol level in saliva. Psychiatry Research Volume 150, Issue 1, 28 February 2007, Pages 89-96 A general feature of these various antioxidant parameters measured was that their activities remained higher in rats whose diets were supplemented with thyme oil, suggesting that they retained a more favourable antioxidant capacity during their life span. Dietary supplementation of thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) essential oil during the lifetime of the rat: its effects on the antioxidant status in liver, kidney and heart tissues. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development. Volume 109, Issue 3, 8 September 1999, Pages 163-175 Symptoms of tiredness, lack of muscle co-ordination and dysarthria, and difficulty in maintaining attention in elderly people may be wrongly labelled as part of the ageing process and so ignored. If adequate sleep can reduce these symptoms and restore therapeutic activity, it is of enormous value to elderly people in retaining their independence and quality of life. Safe promotion of sleep without daytime lethargy is needed. In order to test the hypotheses that Essential Oil of Lavender has a sedative effect, and that the resultant sleep promotes therapeutic activity, a pilot study was arranged with acutely ill elderly people. This was followed by a more detailed trial with long-term patients. The results show a positive trend towards improvement with lavender. The value of lavender for rest and activity in the elderly patient. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. Volume 4, Issue 1, January 1996, Pages 52-57 Aromatherapy can be a useful addition to self-care especially in managing stress and minor self-limiting conditions. Caring for the wounded healer—nurturing the self. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. Volume 10, Issue 4, October 2006, Pages 251-260 The goal of this study was to investigate the impact of the essential oils of orange and lavender on anxiety, mood, alertness and calmness in dental patients. Two hundred patients between the ages of 18 and 77 years (half women, half men) were assigned to one of four independent groups. While waiting for dental procedures patients were either stimulated with ambient odor of orange or ambient odor of lavender. These conditions were compared to a music condition and a control condition (no odor, no music). Anxiety, mood, alertness and calmness were assessed while patients waited for dental treatment. Statistical analyses revealed that compared to control condition both ambient odors of orange and lavender reduced anxiety and improved mood in patients waiting for dental treatment. These findings support the previous opinion that odors are capable of altering emotional states and may indicate that the use of odors is helpful in reducing anxiety in dental patients. Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office. Physiology & Behavior. Volume 86, Issues 1-2, 15 September 2005, Pages 92-95 In this review we detail the current state of knowledge about the effect of lavender oils on psychological and physiological parameters and its use as an antimicrobial agent. Although the data are still inconclusive and often controversial, there does seem to be both scientific and clinical data that support the traditional uses of lavender. Biological activities of lavender essential oil. Phytother Res. 2002 Jun;16(4):301-8. Review. PMID: 12112282
Friday, June 22, 2007
A reader of my nutrition blog wondered if I may be biased. That's a fair question. Actually, I believe that everyone has to deal with the issue of bias, and the Scientific Method is supposed to help us all overcome these biases by focusing on valid, reproduceable data. Unfortunately, some of us seem to be trying harder than others to fairly represent unbiased data. For one example, my letter published by the cancer journal CA, the Journal of the American Cancer Society http://caonline.amcancersoc.org/cgi/eletters/55/5/319#176 rebutted an article positing that antioxidants should be avoided during cancer therapies. However, none of the references provided in that article showed any evidence of risk! In my rebuttal, I catalogued a number of studies that used nutrients with drugs or radiation therapies, which showed no harmful effects and in some cases even enhanced anticancer effects. I also pointed out the 40% of cancer patients who die of malnutrition while under their doctors' care, much of which may be preventable if physicians actually follow evidence-based medicine instead of clinging to conventional therapies and theories. Click on the title of this article to see the original report and my response. I think that you'll find that I presented relevant published scientific reports to counter a biased opinion that was not even supported by the author's references. How did that crappy opinion even get published in a peer-reviewed journal in the first place?
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
The FDA has a legal framework for authority over dietary supplement safety and accurate/proper labeling
Senate Bill 1082, passed 93-1 on 5/9/07 SEC. 605. ADULTERATED FOOD REGISTRY. (a) Findings- Congress makes the following findings: (1) In 1994, Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (P.L. 103-417) to provide the Food and Drug Administration with the legal framework to ensure that dietary supplements are safe and properly labeled foods. (2) In 2006, Congress passed the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 109-462) to establish a mandatory reporting system of serious adverse events for non-prescription drugs and dietary supplements sold and consumed in the United States. (3) The adverse event reporting system created under the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act will serve as the early warning system for any potential public health issues associated with the use of these food products.
Friday, June 08, 2007
What is the difference between L-Taurine and Taurine, or between L-Glycine and Glycine? The natural forms of amino acids are typically the “L form”, as in L-arginine, L-cysteine, etc. Synthetic forms are denoted as “D forms”, such as D-Methionine and D-Carnitine. But there are 2 aminos that have only one form without these variations: Glycine and Taurine. These two aminos are sometimes called L-Taurine or L-Glycine, but are more properly called just “Taurine” and “Glycine”. Regardless of the name used, they are always natural amino acids. Technical explanation: Most aminos have a property that, when the molecule is put into a solution, it will polarize and rotate light either to the left or right. The Greek words denoting left and right are Levo for left and Dextro for right, so the letters L and D are used to distinguish these forms. This polarization and rotation of light is called “optical rotation”. The differing L and D forms are called stereoisomers. For amino acids that polarize light, the L form is the natural form. However, Taurine is an amino acid that does not polarize light. It thus is properly called just “Taurine”, without L or D configurations. While some label Taurine as “L-Taurine”, that name is not technically correct. “Taurine” is the same exact molecule and form as what is commonly mislabeled as “L-Taurine”. There is another amino acid that lacks a potential optical rotation. Glycine is a very simple molecule that comes only as “Glycine”, also lacking different L or D stereoisomer forms. The D forms of amino acids sold commercially are considered to be synthetic. However, D forms of amino acids are not always synthetic. There are several D forms that exist in nature. In addition, amino acids can be racemized by the body and go back and forth between the D form and the L form quite easily. However, only L forms can be incorporated into proteins. For the purposes of dietary supplements, the L forms are natural and the D forms are synthetic. DLPA and DL-methionine are actually racemic mixtures of both L and D forms. But there is no such thing as D-Taurine or D-Glycine; in other words, no synthetic forms exist of these two aminos since each only comes as one isomer that doesn’t polarize and rotate light to the right. Nor are there really L forms of these, since they do not polarize and rotate light to the left, either. There are simply single, natural isomers of just plain Glycine and Taurine. Don’t assume that all D or L forms of molecules are good or bad, since it really depends on the individual substance concerned. For example, the D isomers of vitamin E are the natural forms and the L isomers are synthetic; just the opposite of amino acids. Thus the terminology and forms of what is natural or synthetic will vary by substance. Some natural molecules exist as L form, some as D form and some have only one form, whether in food or if synthesized. Look for companies that only sell natural form amino acids and Vitamin E and use the correct scientific names for substances and compounds on their labels. Provided by Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA Board certified clinical nutritionist with diplomate in advanced nutritional laboratory assessment 6/8/2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Worried about the high price of gasoline? Here’s a new idea to get drivers to reduce its use voluntarily: Simply make all drivers continually aware of how their individual driving techniques are burning more or less fuel, and most people will voluntarily moderate their behavior to use less gasoline and save money. If people could see a real-time display of how their driving habits are affecting their vehicle’s estimated fuel consumption, it would likely do as much to lower the nation’s total use of gasoline as proposed government mandates to slightly raise the fuel efficiency of all new cars. Some car models do offer a fuel consumption display, shown as estimated miles-per-gallon being used, but many do not. And even in the cars that already possess this type of readout, it may be only one dashboard display option that is not necessarily always on and visible to the driver. If your car has this feature, I encourage you to leave it on while you’re driving and see for yourself whether it helps reduce your fuel consumption. Even some hybrid car drivers are reported to react to their own dashboard fuel consumption display by trying to get even better fuel economy. When I have a miles-per-gallon display in a rental car, it does reduce my use of the gas pedal a bit and makes better fuel consumption a challenge, even a game. In this game, the cash prize is the price saved at the pump during my next fill-up. Immediate, continual miles-per-gallon feedback to the driver would provide a powerful incentive to change by creating new and more fuel-efficient driving habits. We’ve already removed the lead from our gasoline; why not take the lead out of our own feet, to avoid giving excessive “pedal to the metal”? Unnecessarily heavy use of the gas pedal is notorious for guzzling great gobs of gas, so why not make it painfully obvious to the driver that it is costing real money? It’s time for manufacturers to start offering dashboard displays with continual current-miles-per-gallon-consumed readouts in all new cars. The minor added cost per vehicle could quickly be recovered by even a minor adjustment to our driving habits. And it would still be our own capitalist, market-driven choice how much gas each of us uses, not a dictatorial government mandate. We’d just have a better tool to inform our choices and remind us of the true cost of inefficient driving techniques. I bet we’d use a lot less gas, as a nation. Are you listening, Washington?