Monday, January 25, 2010

Excited - what?

Hello class. Our word of the day is "excitotoxins".

Along with MSG (monosodium glutamate) and MSG-like food additives, aspartame is in another class of compounds known as "excitotoxins". Can you say "excitotoxins"?

These excitotoxins basically excite brain cells until they die. Meaning that eating MSG or aspartame has the potential to cause a little bit of brain damage, which (I think could) become cumulative and could eventually lead to Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's, or other neurological diseases. Hugh - neurological diseases? Did I say that?

Aspartame is especially controversial, and - I don't really understand why, because laboratory tests BEFORE it was approved-- showed that it caused brain lesions, cancer, death, and a number of other serious health problems. Aspartame was originally rejected by the FDA, but - since its approval, brain cancer rates have risen, although a portion of those cases may be due to the explosion of cell phone usage at around the same time. Cell phones... another topic for another time.

From what I have read, Aspartame and MSG are the substances the FDA receives most complaints about, with a range of known side effects including birth defects, cancer, and death. Dear me. Why do most ob/gyn's tell pregnant women to avoid aspartame? Why do DAN! doctors advice their patients to NOT consume any aspartame?

And, the question that really makes people angry (defensive): Did you know that aspartame isn't good for you?

That question seems to make people go bizerk. Why is that? Do they simply want to remain ignorant or do they want to commit suicide? Ok - that's kind of harsh... but - so are ASD's!

Do people not want the truth so that they don't have to deal with it? It's ok if they don't want to. Who cares. It's a free and ignorant country. But - can we let it go at that? We should. And I do something else too. I pray. I pray that if someone needs to know about excitotoxins, that someone else would come in to their life and speak the truth as well. Shame on me, but - I am tired. Tired of all the bad news...

Sometimes, for some of us - we need to keep seeing something or hearing about it over and over and over and over... before we "get it". Remember, truth has the potential to release and heal you. Although "the Truth shall set you free" is referring to Jesus Christ, it is a coined phrase that also holds true. Don't get mad at me! I used to eat food that had aspartame in it. And, I used to have a lot of migraines.

Speaking of migraines... let me tell you about my former migraines... I used to get them 4-8 times per month and they never lasted longer than 4 days or less than 2. I kept food diaries and logged everything that happened in my life and there was no connection. Doctor after doctor. ((sigh)) I did not know about MSG and aspartame at that time, just a few years ago.

So - let's summarize, shall we?

Excitotoxins - not good. Must try to avoid them, if at all possible. Why? I'll attempt to explain what I read when we first began healing Nicolas... from what I recall, it is my understanding that: excitotoxin is a substance, often an amino acid, that reacts with specialized receptors in our brains in such a way as to lead to destruction of certain types of brain cells. Glutamate is one of the more commonly known excitotoxins.

MSG is the sodium salt of glutamate and I believe, an amino acid as well as a normal neurotransmitter in our brains. In fact, it is the most commonly used neurotransmitter by the brain. Common, I hear...

Money hungry or ignorant defenders of MSG and aspartame question us: “How could a substance that is used normally by the brain cause harm?” Well, because - glutamate, as a neurotransmitter, is used by the brain only in teeny, tiny concentrations. True - BUT, when the concentration rises above this level the neurons begin to fire abnormally. At higher concentrations, the cells undergo a specialized process of cell death. So, what I understand is that they can get so excited that they die. Death does meaning dying.

It is also my understanding that our brains have several fancy means to prevent MSG from accumulating in our gray matter. First is the blood-brain barrier, a system that impedes glutamate entry into the area of the brain cells. But, God created us with this system to protect our brains against occasional elevation of glutamate - as would be found with non-processed food consumption. (That means fresh foods...) I doubt that it was not designed to eliminate very high concentrations of glutamate and aspartame consumed daily, or more -- several times a day, as we see in our current society.

Get this: I've read on several websites -- of experiments that have shown and concluded, that under such conditions, glutamate can by-pass this barrier system and enter the brain in toxic concentrations. In fact, there is some evidence that it may actually be concentrated within the brain with prolonged exposures. There are also several conditions under which the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is made incompetent. (What a word to use - eh?) Before birth, the BBB is incompetent and will allow glutamate to enter the brain. It may be that for a considerable period after birth the barrier may also incompletely developed as well. And, in the case of our son, who was a 30 week preemie... I have to wonder. In fact, as we get older, it seems the barrier system becomes more porous, allowing excitotoxins in the blood to enter the brain. So there are instances where excitotoxin food additives can enter and damage the brain.

Blah... ((sigh))

If you want to drink a Diet Coke or consume MSG, then go ahead... just don't give my children your poison.

Oh, I have a bit of an attitude... walk in my shoes and you might too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

GMO's More Letters, Of Course

Why does Nick often react to watermelon? Seedless watermelon...

He has, he does and it's odd. He knows it too.

I found an article I read a while back, and it's pretty thought provoking. And, I am just now getting around to thinking about it, again. I need more time to think - I think... (ha-ha)

What are the dangers of genetically modified foods, and what are GMOs, anyway?

Posted on July 13, 2009
by Nikki Ostrower

We hear a lot about genetically modified foods (often referred to as GMOs, which stands for “genetically modified organisms”). But how many of us really understand what these things are, or what hazards they might pose to our health?

Genetically modified food is food that has been altered through genetics. Often, this is done to produce foods more quickly and in greater abundance. Seedless watermelons, for example, do not exist in nature. They’ve been genetically modified to produce more fruit with no seeds. Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is another – it’s the thing that Ben & Jerry’s proudly proclaims NOT to use in any of its dairy cows. Why not? What’s so wrong with increasing dairy production or fruit production? Well, for dairy, at least, most other industrialized nations have banned rBGH because of potential harm to both people and animals.

And consider this: “The overwhelming consensus among the FDA’s own scientists was that GM foods were quite different and could lead to unpredictable and hard-to-detect allergens, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems” (Seeds of Deception).

A big part of the problem is that many folks don’t know if they’ve ever even consumed GM food and, further, are unaware of what foods could contain GMOs. You can find a comprehensive list of these foods here. Potential health risks of these foods are numerous, and may include increased allergies, exposure and reaction to toxic herbicide (including endocrine and intestinal problems) and problems passed along to infants from mothers who have consumed GM foods. A thorough examination of potential health problems can be found here.

The very bottom line is your health it is possible that your health is being put in jeopardy in order to increase the profits of big industry food. We can all combat this by educating ourselves and by feeding ourselves and our families with love. As always, none of this is meant to be alarmist. Rather, it is meant as a tool to help you live your healthiest life. For a full comprehensive understanding of GM foods and GMOs and what you can do to stay healthy, check this out. Here’s to your good health!

Nikki Ostrower is the founder of NAO Nutrition, a private practice in New York City specializing in weight loss, eating disorders, autism, fatigue and heart disease. She has a degree in Business Management from SUNY Binghamton and a certificate from The Academy of Healing Nutrition.