Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Is Aromatherapy Safe for Pets?

The skin of animals is much more sensitive than people’s, so essential oils should always be used with caution.  Don’t use essential oils directly on the fur/skin of cats. While cats are considered more sensitive to the oils than dogs, both are far more sensitive than us, so even a little in an enclosed space could be overwhelming to them. 

The oils are considered potentially harmful to dogs and cats if eaten. For example, eucalyptus oil can cause stomach upset, and in high doses liver toxicity. Eucalyptus oil can also damage the ear canal of cats if applied directly. Other oils may have similar or different risks. 

Birds are not advised to be near aromatherapy oils at all, as they are potentially even more delicate in regard to smells than dogs and cats. 

Diffusing is likely safer than direct topical appliucation or letting the pet actually consume the oil, but it still represents some risk depending on the type and amount of oil used, the room size, the diffusion method, and the amount of fresh air entering and circulating in the room. Never diffuse essential oils diluted into carrier oils; always use 100% pure essential oils only. 

Be cautious and safe with essential oils around pets by avoiding excess exposure, concentrations of aromas, or opportunities for the animals to lick or otherwise consume them! If in doubt, don't do it. 

What is the Ketogenic Diet and What Foods are Acceptable?

The ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate (carb) diet designed to change the energy source of the brain from sugar to fats (ketones) and to increase the use of fats as an energy source in the body as a whole by severely restricting the intake of dietary carbohydrates. It overlaps a lot with the Paleo diet in that the ketogenic diet consists largely of meats and fats.

For the ketogenic diet, fish are good choices. Full-fat dairy is allowed, but fermented and unsweetened ones are preferred. Fruits are quite limited though, to small amounts of berries, plus lemons and limes in moderation, and olives and avocado (these two are fatty fruits, rather than sugary). Vegetables consist mostly of non-root ones because those have more carbs. Legumes are largely avoided, except small amounts of green beans and peas.  Nuts and seeds are used in moderation as they have some carbs; but avoid peanuts, which are legumes, not nuts. 

Fats represent most calories in the ketogenic diet: avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, cocoa butter, MCT oil, and nut oils in moderation (i.e. walnut, sesame). Eggs and unsweetened gelatin are fine. Processed foods and condiments that have added sugars or carbohydrates should be avoided. Sugar alcohols are also avoided; stevia is acceptable, but watch for added carbohydrates in some stevia products.

Unsweetened whey protein isolate (not concentrate) has the least amount of lactose of the milk proteins; unsweetened egg white protein is also fine. Though legumes are avoided if they have carbs, unsweetened pea protein or soy protein isolates are acceptable options in the ketogenic diet.  

Friday, October 07, 2016

What is Taurine and how is it made?

Taurine is a nature-identical/natural form amino acid that’s commercially synthesized from common chemicals. It’s made from the reaction of sulfuric acid with mono-ethanol amine; also known as ethanolamine; which is an amino alcohol that’s also part of phospholipids, like the phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) in lecithin, that are important components of cell membranes. 

Taurine, a sulphur-containing amino acid, is the most abundant intracellular amino acid in humans, and is involved in numerous biological and physiological functions, including bile production and heart health. Once we pass infancy, we routinely synthesize taurine in our bodies from the amino acids methionine and cysteine with the aid of vitamin B6. That makes it a nonessential amino acid for most of us; though specific groups of individuals are at risk for taurine deficiency and may benefit from supplementation. 

I personally take 1,000 mg of taurine twice a day for heart heath now, as I have had troubling arrhythmia incidents send me to the emergency room and am medically at risk for progressively worse outcomes over time. It has shown effectiveness in increasing exercise capability in heart failure patients and arterial compliance to nitric oxide to support healthy blood pressure. I also take l-carnitine, olive leaf extract, magnesium, l-citrulline, Pycnogenol, grape seed extract, hawthorn leaf and flower extract, a good multivitamin, and other supplements to support my cardiovascular health and hold off that disturbing prognosis as long as possible. 

Taurine has no d- or l- forms, similar to glycine but unlike most amino acids that have different optical rotations in distinct natural and synthetic forms. All taurine is the natural form, even if produced by chemical synthesis, whether commercially or in our bodies. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Limitations of Supercritical (CO2) Extraction

CO2 extraction vs traditional extraction.

CONs of CO2 extraction:

  • Liquid CO2 behaves as a non-polar solvent, so extraction of polar compounds cannot be done properly; only non-polar and slightly polar organic compounds of low molecular weight are soluble in supercritical fluid
    • Poorly extracted compounds include hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, acetones, esters, terpenes, carboxylic acids, some amino groups
    • Substances that CO2 doesn’t extract at all (insoluble to supercritical) include sugars, proteins, polyphenols, tannins, waxes, inorganic salts, chlorophyll, carotenoids, citric acid, malic acid, high molecular weight compounds
  • Cost is high and affects practicality due to the expense


Essentials of Botanical Extraction: Principles and Applications By Subhash C. Mandal, Vivekananda Mandal, Anup Kumar Das


Monday, August 29, 2016

Limits on Oral Potassium in tablets and capsules

The U.S. Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) has established an Adequate Intake (AI) of 4.7 grams/day of potassium in a healthy adult. A tolerable upper limit (UL) was not established for potassium since there was no evidence of adverse effects from a high level of potassium from foods consumed by healthy adults.

Potassium is a food substance and is affirmed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. FDA (21 CFR 184.1622) (FDA, 2012a). In October 2000, food containing at least 350 mg potassium and 140 mg or less of sodium was approved by the FDA to have the following health claim on product labeling: "Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke." (FDA, 2012b; NMCD, 2012).

Some experts suggest that a single dose of potassium should be limited to 500 mg, while a total of 1,500 mg daily is considered safe for general supplementation. This is well within the AI level.

The 99 mg. limit on potassium tablets and capsules is based on a remote risk of a pill damaging the intestinal wall if it releases its content slowly. That risk does not apply to liquid forms, or to powders that are mixed with liquids. While higher amounts are allowable, a long warning is required on all potassium products intended for oral ingestion providing 100 mg or more of the mineral in a capsule or coated tablet form:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Natural versus Synthetic: Not Always Relevant

Synthetic processes are often irrelevant; the resulting form is the most important consideration. For example, most mammals synthesize ascorbic acid in their livers from blood sugar, so synthetic processes are essential in biological ascorbic acid production and all of their internally produced vitamin C is quite literally synthetically derived. This process is mimicked in commercial production.

This means that synthetic is not a synonym for unnatural; it depends on the process and the end result. If the compound is a synthetic form, such as dl-ascorbic acid, that is not so good. But if it results in a natural form, such as l-carnitine rather than d-carnitine, and mimics the synthesis of that substance in the body, our biology can’t distinguish between the internally and externally produced sources.

"Synthetic" loses its automatically negative connotation when considered in conjunction with these factors because we internally synthesize thousands of compounds every day and only the unnatural forms are presumed to be inherently negative when ingested.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Free access to natural health options is a basic human right

Free access to natural health options is a basic human right

Suggested Health Principles (“Bill of Rights”)

1. Every person has a basic right to choose natural therapies and control what goes into their body
2. Because of their history of use and safety profiles, natural foods, herbs, and nutrients should be regulated as food rather than as medicinal products
3. Natural foods, herbs, and nutrients sold in capsule or tablet form should be regulated as food supplements rather than as medicinal products
4. Government must bear the burden of proof if restricting access to natural therapies, foods, herbs, nutrients, and related supplements
5. Restrictions must be based only on demonstrable scientific evidence of an unreasonable safety risk
6. Our ability to make informed decisions on natural therapies and what to eat requires free access to scientific information without censorship
7. Restrictions on labeling and commercial speech must be minimal and targeted to avoid unnecessarily reducing consumer options
8. Truthful statements about foods, herbs, and nutrients in any form should include unrestricted accurate information about the prevention and treatment of disease
9. Citizen input and impacts must be considered whenever non-emergency restrictions on natural products and therapies are proposed
10. Governments must consider these rights before regulations are imposed that may restrict citizens’ free access to natural therapies, foods, herbs, nutrients, and related supplements

Calcium and Vitamin D are Safe for Heart Health

Huge study of ½ million adults age 40-69: calcium & D supplements pose no cardiovascular risk (heart attack, etc.) in the UK Biobank study: