Monday, September 13, 2010

Bloglines - Are We Really Going to Eat Genetically Modified Salmon?

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THis has got to be stopped!

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Are We Really Going to Eat Genetically Modified Salmon?

By heather on Health

Image courtesy Wikipedia

So the FDA is currently weighing whether or not to approve genetically modified salmon. I heard this on NPR the other night as I was cooking dinner.

Let me repeat.

The FDA is actually thinking about approving the first genetically modified animal for human consumption.

How many ways can I say this is a bad idea? Before I hop onto my soapbox, however, let's look at the facts.

Why the Salmon is Being Modified…

So apparently, the world eats a lot of salmon. I'm a vegetarian, but even I can say that yes, back when I was eating meat, salmon was delicious. And I'm not alone in that assessment.

AquaBounty Technologies is the company behind the genetically modified salmon. They've created salmon that grows to market size twice as fast as regular fish. This, of course, will help keep up with demand.

So how, exactly, is the salmon being modified?

Here's what Professor ANNE KAPUSCINSKI (Professor of Sustainability Science, Dartmouth College) had to say about it on the NPR interview:

The company that's developed these fish has inserted two genes. One gene is for growth hormone, and it's almost identical to the growth hormone gene that's already in these salmon.

And then the other gene acts like a little switch. It's a piece of DNA that comes from another fish, from the ocean pout, and it's normally connected to the gene that produces antifreeze protein in that fish.

In the case of these salmon, they've just taken the part of the DNA that acts like a switch, and that switch turns on the gene that produces the growth hormone so that the salmon will produce growth hormone in its tissues throughout the year, whereas a conventional salmon only produces growth hormone during the warmer times of the year, when the water temperatures are warmer.

Why This is Such a Bad Idea…

Most of us have figured out by now that whatever we put in our food (or food storage containers, or products we use daily) generally ends up in us.

A good example is the recent article in the Huffington Post. Here's the headline: Female Infants Growing Breasts: Another Disaster from Hormones in Milk Production.

If you haven't read that article, please do. It's a shocking expose of just how harmful commercially produced milk and cheese is for us.

Another good example? The high levels of BPA that pretty much all of us have in our systems from canned food liners. Or the antibiotics in chickens. The chemicals in dryer sheets.

I could keep going, but you get the picture. Whatever we consume, whatever we touch regularly, whatever we breathe, goes into our systems. And the same has got to be true with genetically modified salmon. If we're eating salmon that has been genetically modified to grow faster, is there a chance that it could somehow affect us the same way?

I'm not a scientist. But I do know that the FDA isn't always right about what they approve. And history has shown that when we start modifying nature to fit our needs, it doesn't turn out well.

The Center for Food Safety also has some serious concerns about this genetically modified salmon. One of their biggest concerns is this: genetically modified salmon will be more susceptible to disease, so they're likely going to have to have more antibiotics than regularly farmed salmon.

When we eat the salmon, we're going to be eating all those extra antibiotics as well.

Not good.

The Data's Coming From the Company…

Another major oversight here.

The data the FDA is using to decide if this genetically modified salmon is safe or not comes directly from AquaBounty Technologies.

That's right. The company is supplying 100% of the data that claims "Yes! This is safe to eat!"

This is a huge, HUGE conflict of interest.

Here's the exact quote, from the NPR interview:

The FDA asked the company to present data on several issues. First of all, is the inserted gene safe for the health of the animal? Is the inserted gene and the growth hormone it's producing safe for humans to eat the fish? And third, will the farming of these fish have any effects on the environment?

They are not required to conclude that they're environmentally safe, and that's the only condition under which to approve them. That law just requires an environmental assessment, basically figuring out what would be the effect on the quality of the human environment.

BLOCK: And you're saying they're asking the company for that data. This is information coming directly from the company that's producing the fish?

Prof. KAPUSCINSKI: Yes. It's the applicant or the company that's responsible for producing the data. That's the way it works under the drug law that is being used to regulate genetically modified animals, including these fish.

Another thing?

This data isn't available to the public. That includes other scientists.

We Won't Know the Salmon is Modified…

The FDA hasn't made a final decision about labeling. But the professor being interviewed at NPR says that, reading between the lines of the report, the company is pushing for no labeling. This means we would have no way of knowing if the salmon we were buying, or eating in a restaurant, was genetically modified or not.

What We Can Do…

We have a very limited time to oppose genetically modified salmon.

You can click here to send an email through the Center for Food Safety's website. The agency will be collecting all the emails and will present them at the FDA hearing on Sept. 19.

If the bill does happen to pass, and you're concerned about its safety, then you can skip eating it. Eating less meat, including salmon, is not only better for you but it's better for the environment.

What do you guys think? Are you willing to eat genetically modified salmon? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!



Friday, September 10, 2010

Bloglines - 7 Steps To Eliminating Joint Pain

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Words to the wise.

Zen to Fitness

7 Steps To Eliminating Joint Pain

By Chris on Vitamin D

11,750 Foot Yoga Moment

Young or old we all experience joint pain at sometimes in our lives. Be it from too exercise that is too strenous, an awkward move or simply the degeneration of our joints with age. Fortunatly there are several things we can so to reduce this pain and even eliminate it.

Joint pain is usually a result of a slight level of inflammation, a low grade inflammation around the body which can cause joints to ache. Inflamattion has many potential causes:

  • Over Exercising
  • Dietery triggers
  • Age
  • General Stress

And of course joint pain could also be result of Osteoarthiritis which is common in those above 65. Either way the tips I am about to mention can help you, they are also general guidelines that can help improve your health in general.

1- Exercise Consistently. Some sort of weight bearing exercise should be implemented as well as a low grade general form of exercise such as; Biking, Walking, Gardening, Hiking etc. Weight bearing exercise can strengthen bones through and increased production of Osteoblasts (bone builders).

2- Limit Wheat Consumption. Now I am not one to demonize wheat or tell you to stop eating it, but there is a good amount of research to show that in high enough doses wheat can cause joint inflammation and potentially lead to joint issues.

So what is your best bet? Go for the least refined product you can, and ideally something that has been prepared in a traditional way (which reduces the anti-nutrients) think sourdough or sprouted bread. Secondly slightly limit consumption – I feel the real problem with wheat comes not from eating it every now and then, but rather when it becomes a staple being consumed several times a day. There are an abundance of other non inflammatory sources of starch to be had like Corn, Roots, Brown Rice, and Quinoa…. Besides variety in diet is key.

3- Stretch/Mobility. As I haven mentioned in several previous articles stretching and mobility work is hugely important to maintaining and developing joint health. This is because it releases tightness in the muscles surrounding the joints, not only this but it allows more freedom in blood flow to the joints and therefore allows them to maintain their elasticity and mobility.

I had a friend who solved years of lower back pain just by implementing a regular and thorough stretching routine, focusing on the hamstrings. With times this seems to somehow strengthen the muscles and increase blood flow healing up the long standing injury. To me this is one of the reasons Yoga can work wonders on sports injuries.

4- Stress Reduction. General stress can also be a huge factor when it comes to inflammation - This doesn't just mean a stressful job, but it could be relationships, money problems, over exercising, not enough sleep, or just dealing with small stressors badly. Being chronically stressed to some level will increase the cortisol levels in your body and cause a chronic low grade level of inflammation. On top of causing joint pain this can also lead to several other health problems.

The solution is quite simply to find the main stressors in your life and do your best to deal with them. While this is not always easy it is one of the first areas to address when attempting to lead a healthy lifestyle.

5- Get your Vitamin D. A low intake of Vitamin D has been shown to lead to osteoarthiritis – Vitamin D is critical to calcium absorption in the body and most of the worlds population are at chronically low levels. I did a post a few months ago on ways to tan without blocking Vitamin D absorption. The best way to get Vitamin D is from sunlight, so supplements maybe worthwhile in the winter to keep levels topped up. So take every chance you have to get some sun…..

6- Keep Omega 6 intake Down. A high intake of Omega-6 fatty acids will increase blood concentrations of Interluekin-6 which is basically has a pretty substantial inflammatory effect on the body. It also seems to have a profound effect on down regulating the thyroid function. In a nut shell:

Avoid Vegetable Oils when possible (corn, soybean, canola, rapeseed) and. Use animal fat, butter, olive oil, and coconut oil instead, and eat plenty of fatty fish or take fish oil on occassion to balance out with Omega-3′s.

This stuff is nearly everywhere so make sure you read labels and make sure products are made with high quality oils/fats. This can be hard sometimes and its not something to get obsessed with but just a general guideline for better health.

7- Eat Spices. Specifically turmeric, which thanks to its curcumin has a potent anti-inflammatory effect on the body. What is interesting is that the specific anti-oxidants in turmeric seem to have a unique effect on arthritis of all forms.

It would be great to hear from readers who have suffered with some sort of joint problems and have overcome them. Tips and tricks from people who have actually lived it are invaluable.