Friday, May 14, 2021

Lecithin extraction

All lecithin is chemically extracted from bulk oils. For organic lecithin (not available in all forms and grades and very expensive due to limited supply and manufacturing capacity) organic ethanol (alcohol) is the solvent. 

All lecithin extraction processes currently employ solvents, such as hexane, to extract the oils. Hexane extraction is the most common method used in the industry to produce lecithin due to its high oil recovery and lower production cost; also, lecithin is actually defined as hexane-soluble components. These solvents are commonly recovered during the extraction step of edible oil processing through distillation and evaporation. 

To remove the hexane from lecithin, the material is treated in a vacuum distillation process because hexane is volatile and vaporizes at a relatively low temperature. The hexane evaporated during the distillation is condensed and separated from water in a decanter. The recovered hexane is then reused in the extractor. 

The European Union standard for hexane in bulk oils is a maximum residue limit (MRL) of 1 mg/kg by weight. One study published in the Journal of Experimental and Clinical Toxicology reported that the detected mean amount of hexane residue in product samples tested was 0.56 mg/kg; only 56% of the allowable amount. The EFSA Journal published a 2017 safety review concluding that there was no safety concern; even for infants and children using lecithin for special medical purposes. 

Liquid Chlorophyll as Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin

Chlorophyllin is a water-soluble analog of the green plant pigment chlorophyll. Liquid chlorophyll products containing chlorophyllin are a mixture of chlorophyll and copper. Chlorophyllin is produced by extracting natural chlorophyll from mulberry leaves (post silkworm feeding) or the traditional alfalfa source (which today is mostly genetically modified/GMO) and reacting the chlorophyll to copper. Today chlorophyllin is compliant with the USP monograph as Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin and is water-soluble; chlorophyll in plants is a fat-soluble substance. Solubilized chlorophyllin is dispersible and stable in water, unlike the original plant chlorophyll, making liquid chlorophyll products possible. 

It is best to test each lot of chlorophyll for identity, microbial burden (including pathogens), and heavy metals to assure product safety. The sodium content of chlorophyllin is negligible; about 9.5 milligrams per 100 gram serving.  

Chlorophyll as Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin can function as a free radical neutralizer and may help to support the body's detoxification processes.  and 

Specifically, chlorophyllin ‘has potent antioxidant ability involving scavenging of various physiologically important ROS’ [reactive oxygen species]. 

Chlorophyllin has been traditionally used as an internal deodorizer, both medically under FDA authorization (21CFR357.850) and as a dietary supplement, and it promotes cleansing and freshens breath. It has also been found to be a safe and effective detoxification agent suitable for use in individuals unavoidably exposed to dietary aflatoxins. 

Friday, May 07, 2021

Vaccine Mandate Musings

Should vaccine passports, or vaccination itself, be mandatory? I can only share my opinions, which are conflicted. Here are my thoughts:

Because of federal medical privacy laws, vaccine passports would have to be issued only on request of the patient/person waiving such privacy, so disclosure is in one sense inherently controlled by the individual and would be voluntary. Additionally, the state and the CDC are routinely notified of your COVID-19 vaccination, so it is not hidden from them; governments already know if you’ve been vaccinated. Another argument is that apps can track your location, but of course location tracking can be disabled for any app or phone, and mandates can also limit tracking to when the app is opened. Many people post their vaccine status on social media and then inconsistently worry about privacy after sharing it with massive companies that have access to their personal data.

Private companies can already mandate vaccines, including medical and nursing home staff, or college campuses (which now offer remote classes), and require masks and distancing unless such private company requirements are banned by law. Some people may want to show these verifiable proofs and find them useful; for example to travel overseas without needing quarantines or invasive testing.  

There are also issues of whether to restrict private companies from offering incentives for people to show vaccination proof to open cruises, concerts, airline or restaurant seating, etc. A government mandate prohibiting private businesses from doing things that are perceived as helping their sales recover faster and protect public health can also be perceived as anti-capitalist and anti-libertarian. The protection of public health often conflicts with normal civil rights in troubled times; both are mandates of governments. In this case, the government in prohibiting private businesses from using customer safety as a competitive selling point is different from a government mandating essential safety practices. This is actually the opposite of asserting a state mandate to protect public health; by legislating a government monopoly on whether/how to do that, rather than trusting the private sector, as most conservatives would normally prefer. 

As businesspeople, if you felt safer during an epidemic or pandemic by requiring masking and distancing, would you want the state prohibiting you from doing what makes you feel safer or from doing what makes your customers feel safer? In Illinois, the state has said it won’t require a vaccine passport, but did not prohibit local governments or private businesses from doing so, and Chicago may require them short-term for concerts and full restaurant capacity so businesses can reopen faster while protecting public health and safety. Is a business offering incentives discriminating against ineligible customers, or is it a justifiable practice; similar to offering private events or other perks for preferred customers?

I know this is more nuanced than social media and news outlets present the issues to us, but there are both plusses and minuses to government mandates and vaccine passports/proof, and winners and losers. 

It also doesn’t address the issue of some people who can’t get vaccinated: the young, people with autoimmune diseases or other medical conditions, those who have had serious reactions to previous vaccines; even pregnancy is an unknown safety factor. Vaccine mandates without reasonable exemptions are going to harm some people; maybe far fewer than might get seriously ill or die from the disease if everyone was unvaccinated, but they would needlessly sacrifice some people for the perceived greater good instead of fine-tuning to make vaccinations even safer. Vaccines aren’t perfect; why pretend that they are?

My problem with routine vaccinations is that there is no willingness or incentive to track a minority that may be harmed by vaccines in order to make them safer by identifying people or traits that are unsuitable for a particular vaccine. The ingredients are also a problem for some; including mercury and aluminum, preservatives, allergens, and other chemicals. Why is there no good study on the safety of the complete vaccination program of some 16 vaccines; some with additional boosters? Why are vaccine critics quickly attacked as anti-science, rather than honestly assessing their claims? Why are calls to fine-tune the vaccination program to make it even safer quickly shut down as anti-vaxxers? I appreciate the elimination of TB, smallpox, measles, etc. But why ignore a minority for whom some vaccines - or some ingredients - may be contraindicated to reduce the criticism? 

Sorry, but I seem to have more questions than answers. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Aspergillus Niger Safety

Fermentation is a process where a microorganism is utilized as a factory to produce certain nutrients or other biologically useful substances for humans. The culture, environment, and feed can encourage production of various products including enzymes and organic acids that are commonly used in foods and supplements. Some molds are benign; think of Saccharomyces boulardii (related to the yeasts in bread or beer) or blue cheese. 

While Aspergillus niger is a black mold, it is not the black mold that contaminates homes. As with the enzymes produced by A. niger, inhalation of mold or enzymes is not healthy for the lungs, and precautions are taken during production. In addition, A. niger is considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe) by the FDA and has been used for a century to produce citric acid and enzymes. Enzymes produced by A. niger do not contain significant amounts of the culture after isolation and purification to USP monograph standards of purity. Just as milk does not contain a cow, enzymes produced by A. niger do not inherently contain black mold. 

The U.S EPA has reported: 

“Exposure to Aspergillus must be nearly universal but disease is rare. The physiological condition of the exposed individual thus appears to be of paramount importance. Patients exhibiting aspergillosis are generally immunocompromised, and thus susceptible to otherwise common and usually harmless microorganisms. Factors that may lead to immunosuppression include an underlying debilitating disease (e.g., chronic granulomatous diseases of childhood), chemotherapy, and the use of supraphysiological doses of adrenal corticosteroids (Bennett, 1980)…A. niger is not a significant human pathogen. Throughout years of use and widespread exposure to A. niger in the environment, there are only several reports of aspergillosis with A. niger, and in Nigeria, one report of a number of cases of otomycosis. There have been only several reports of allergic reactions, which are not uncommon for aspergilli in general, and not unique to A. niger. A. niger is capable of producing several mycotoxins. However, mycotoxin production appears to be controlled by the conditions of fermentation.”  

EPA’s Final risk assessment for Aspergillus niger

Monday, April 26, 2021

Blood pH and diet

Blood pH is relatively constant at around 7.4 because the body will strip calcium from bones, if necessary, to buffer it in the absence of alkaline-forming food components. That is not homeostasis. But blood pH does vary (typically within a range of 6.8 to 7.8, with potentially lethal effects beyond that range) and affects urine pH, which we can easily measure. 

Dietary compounds formed in the body affect blood pH; not the contrasting pH levels in the digestive tract (acid in the stomach and neutral in the small intestine) or the apparent acidity of foods, but what happens after digestion. The minerals or weak acids (citrates, et al) in alkaline-forming foods are used to make alkaline compounds in the body, which won't happen efficiently with a processed food or a non-plant-derived diet. Scientists have measured this effect and doctors have utilized it in practice, so it's not theoretical or based on pH limited to areas of the digestive tract. 

"An advanced understanding of acid–base physiology is as central to the practice of critical care medicine, as are an understanding of cardiac and pulmonary physiology. Intensivists spend much of their time managing problems related to fluids, electrolytes, and blood pH. Recent advances in the understanding of acid–base physiology have occurred as the result of the application of basic physical-chemical principles of aqueous solutions to blood plasma. This analysis has revealed three independent variables that regulate pH in blood plasma. These variables are carbon dioxide, relative electrolyte concentrations, and total weak acid concentrations. All changes in blood pH, in health and in disease, occur through changes in these three variables. Clinical implications for these findings are also discussed." 

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Mayo Clinic researchers: vitamin B12 deficiency can cause premature graying of hair (PGH), which could be reversed thru supplementation. Low vitamin & mineral levels have also been associated with PGH, reversed by supplements: B5, PABA, D, copper, (iron). PMID: 30607038

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Fish Oils: Ethyl Ester versus Triglyceride forms

Low strength natural fish oils are in triglyceride (TG) form, as are most natural oils. To purify the oils by removing impurities and less desirable fatty acids and to concentrate the EPA and DHA fatty acid components, molecular distillation is used.  This process allows the oil to vaporize at low temperatures under pressure and is also known as vacuum distillation. The resulting vapor is collected and cooled, stratifying into distinct layers of fatty acids. This allows a purer esterified oil (called an ethyl ester form, or EE) with higher levels of EPA-DHA than crude fish oils and removal of triglycerides and cholesterol as well as other undesirable components. 

Some companies like to add triglycerides back in; this dilutes the fish oil concentrate by about 20% and the process also introduces mono- and di-glycerides, which don’t exist in natural fish oils to a significant degree but are thought responsible for higher absorption levels of this reconverted triglyceride form (rTG) oil over natural triglyceride and ethyl ester forms. If no triglycerides are added back, the body’s own store of triglycerides will be used to bond to the fatty acids after absorption, potentially lowering serum triglycerides more than an rTG oil. 

Absorption from our guts is always in the form of free fatty acids, so the oil’s original triglycerides are typically discarded during digestion and reattached later from body stores. This lowers the potential of the TG or rTG oils to lower triglycerides already in our bodies since they introduce additional triglycerides, which may be absorbed either into the body (adding more triglycerides into the liver) or into fiber or other materials that carry cholesterol out through the stool (potentially reducing the removal of cholesterol by competitive absorption). 

The prescription fish oils are in the ethyl ester form, not triglyceride form, because of the higher purity and higher strength of EE fish oils over TG or rTG forms resulting in better study outcomes on cardiovascular health measures. 

Krill oil is distinct because of its phospholipid matrix that greatly enhances omega-3 absorption more than the EE, TG, or rTG forms of fish oil.