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Re: [Animal Rights Activist Resources] *November 2003 issue of Dr. Greger's Newsletter*

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  • Mary
    Dear Dr. Greger, May I use information in your newsletter on my website? I ll give credits to you, of course. Thanks. Mary E www.nuzzled.net Michael Greger,
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 1, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      Dear Dr. Greger,
      May I use information in your newsletter on my website? I'll give credits to you, of course.
      Thanks.
      Mary E
      www.nuzzled.net

      "Michael Greger, M.D." <mhg1@...> wrote:

      **************************************

      November 2003 issue of Dr. Michael Greger's Monthly Newsletter

      *******************************************************

      CONTENTS

      I. Latest Updates in Human Nutrition
      A. Soy Foods and Bone Health
      B. Meat Molecule Builds Up in Human Tumors
      C. Got Testicular Cancer? The Dairy Connection
      D. Best to Keep Dead Birds Out of Your Kitchen
      E. Long-term Multivitamin Use May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
      F. Iodine Deficiency Reported in Vegetarians and Vegans
      G. Raw versus Cooked: Which is More Natural?

      II. Top Mad Cow Disease Story of the Month

      III. Personal Update -- Help! My car is totaled :(

      IV. MAILBAG: "I'm a vegan and yes i suffer from GAS!!"


      *******************************************************


      I. LATEST UPDATES IN HUMAN NUTRITION
      -----------------------------------------------------------

      A. Soy Foods and Bone Health

      Wyeth pharmaceuticals, the marketer of Premarin hormone replacement
      therapy, has been killing both women and
      horses (see
      http://www.equineadvocates.com/premarin.html) for over 50 years. Last
      Summer, the hormone replacement therapy arm of the Women's Health
      initiative was stopped abruptly, years before it was supposed to end,
      because there were so many more deaths in the treatment group. Women
      taking the hormones had more heart attacks, more strokes, more fatal
      blood clots, and more breast cancer than the control group.

      But the treatment group did have less hip fractures; the hormones did
      seem to protect the womens' bones. A review published last month in
      the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded, however,
      that even for women at high risk for osteoporosis, the benefits of
      drugs like Premarin do not outweigh the risk.[1] So what's a
      postmenopausal woman to do? Soy.

      A randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical trial (the
      "gold standard" study design) just published showed that the
      isoflavones in soy seem to protect menopausal women from bone loss
      just as powerfully as hormone replacement therapy, but without the
      side-effects.[2] So drinking the equivalent of about 2 cups of
      soymilk a day, women can go through menopause with strong bones, and
      without the cancer, heart disease, a stroke or two and blood clots in
      the lung. And using soymilk instead of Premarin, your smoothies won't
      taste like urine :)

      -----------------------------------------------------------

      B. Meat Molecule Builds Up in Human Tumors

      For years there has been suspicion that components of meat and dairy
      were absorbed whole through the human digestive tract, triggering
      autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and childhood diabetes
      as our bodies try to fight off these foreign substances. Last month,
      researchers published new evidence that a substance found in lamb,
      pork, beef and dairy can build up in human tissues and may contribute
      to chronic disease.

      If you take autopsy samples, you can find traces of a molecule called
      NeuGc in human tissues, particularly in human tumors (especially
      breast cancer). And you can find relatively high concentrations of
      anti-NeuGc antibodies in human blood. This mystified researchers, as
      human beings can not produce this substance. But other animals can.
      Maybe, the researchers proposed, human beings absorbed it from eating
      these other animals.

      So the researchers went vegan for a few days to clear their system
      (no animal-derived ingredients in foods or drugs or shampoo), and
      then basically drank a glass of diluted pig mucous. Within days this
      invading meat molecule could be found oozing from their bodies, in
      their saliva, urine--even their hair clippings.

      Maybe, the researchers speculate, this is why meateaters have such
      higher rates of cancer and heart disease compared to vegetarians.
      Yes, they acknowledge it could just be the saturated fat in meat and
      dairy, but maybe it's also because of the incorporation of this
      foreign substance found exclusively in animal products (plants don't
      produce NeuGc either). The researchers found it particularly
      interesting that vegetarian diets seem to improve rheumatoid
      arthritis. Maybe this reactive alien molecule also triggers
      autoimmune diseases like hepatitis and arthritis.

      This article was published in the proceedings of the most prestigious
      scientific body in the United States, the National Academy of
      Sciences. The researchers end their provocative article wondering
      what the long-term consequences might be of constantly challenging
      our immune systems in this way, and what the long-range implications
      are of having anti-Neu5Gc antibodies circulating throughout the
      bodies of meateaters and milk-drinkers.{3]

      -----------------------------------------------------------

      C. Got Testicular Cancer? The Dairy Connection

      Testicular cancer is the most rampant cancer among young men in North
      America. The rates of testicular cancer have been steadily climbing
      over the last fifty years, yet there's been little data on dietary
      risk factors for this dreaded disease. A study published last month
      in the International Journal of Cancer changed all that.

      Last month, the biggest study on diet and testicular cancer ever
      conducted was published, studying the diets of hundreds of cancer
      victims. By far the strongest, most significant dietary risk factor
      associated with the cancer was the consumption of cheese. Those men
      that ate the most cheese were almost 90% more likely to develop
      cancer of the testicles. The investigators guessed that it may be the
      hormones in milk and dairy that were to blame. The second strongest
      dietary risk factor seemed to be the consumption of lunch meat.[4]

      -----------------------------------------------------------

      D. Best to Keep Dead Birds Out of Your Kitchen

      Normally I only discuss studies that were published within the last
      month, but with the holidays coming up I wanted to share with you a
      landmark article on food safety which was published earlier this year.

      Knowing that poultry is the most common cause of food poisoning in
      the home, researchers had 50 people take chicken straight from a
      supermarket and prepare a meal with it as they normally would in
      their own kitchen. The researchers then took samples from the kitchen
      sponges, dishcloths, hand towels, etc and tested them for the
      presence of diseases like campylobacter and salmonella.

      And indeed they found a number of contaminated samples.
      "Antibacterial" dishwashing liquid did not seem to offer any
      protection. They conclude that "Pathogenic bacteria can be recovered
      relatively frequently from the kitchen environment." Yet another
      reason to have a vegetarian Thanksgiving.[5]

      -----------------------------------------------------------

      E. Long-term Multivitamin Use May Lower Colon Cancer Risk

      Last month, a massive study of almost 150,000 people was published
      and found that those who reported they regularly took multivitamin
      supplements were less likely to be diagnosed a decade later with
      colon cancer.[6] Breaking down the various nutrients, it's thought
      that perhaps it was the increased calcium and vitamin D intake from
      supplements that was responsible for the reduced risk.[7] Note that
      dairy products were NOT found to be protective.

      The Harvard School of Medicine recommends that everyone take a
      multivitamin (containing vitamins B12, D, E, B6, and folate),
      although the Institute of Medicine has not made such a
      recommendation. If anyone isn't getting enough color or variety in
      their diet (like at least DAILY dark leafy greens) a multivitamin may
      be useful. I compare the pros and cons of all of the vegan
      multivitamins currently on the market in a
      handout on my
      website (at
      http://www.veganMD.org/writings.html).

      -----------------------------------------------------------

      F. Iodine Deficiency Reported in Vegetarians and Vegans

      Last month, yet another article appeared on iodine deficiency in
      vegetarians and vegans [8]. Quoting from the paper: "One fourth of
      the vegetarians and 80% of the vegans suffer from iodine
      deficiency..." Only 9% of the meateaters were deficient. The milk
      drinkers were protected in part because iodine containing
      disinfectants are used to clean the milk processing equipment which
      kind of leach into the milk. None of the vegetarians and vegans were
      eating sea vegetables. And none were using iodized salt--they were
      all using "natural" sea salt, which has significantly less iodine.
      Iodine deficiency was actually a prevalent problem in the U.S. before
      the iodization of salt became a common practice in the 1920's.[9]

      So, vegetarians who don't eat sea vegetables or use iodized salt
      should consider supplementing their diet with iodine. I don't
      encourage people to add salt to their diet--it's not good for your
      bones--but if you do use table salt, use iodized salt. For more
      information, see the British Vegan Society's
      iodine page (at
      http://www.vegansociety.com/html/info/info56.htm). The best source,
      though, is sea vegetables (seaweed).

      Sea vegetables have lots of B vitamins and lots of minerals,
      particularly the trace minerals, like iodine. The only problem with
      seaweed is that you can actually get too much iodine. The World
      Health Organization places the safe upper limit of iodine intake at
      1000 mcg per day. And it's less for kids-like 300 mcg may be too much
      for a five year old. See my <>handout on nutrients for the amounts
      found in common seaweeds (at http://www.veganMD.org/writings.html).

      -----------------------------------------------------------

      G. Raw versus Cooked: Which is More Natural?

      "Raw foodist" lifestyle advocates tend to argue that cooking is
      unnatural. They often argue that since we evolved eating raw foods
      like the rest of the animal kingdom, we are better adapted to eat
      that way. In a landmark article just published in the journal of
      Comparative Biology and Physiology, however, two Harvard
      anthropologists argue just the opposite.[10}

      First, they note that other than the new deliberate "raw foodists,"
      there do not seem to be any current or historical populations, small
      groups or even individuals living for more than a few days without
      access to cooked foods. Then they take on the belief that cooking is
      a recent phenomenon for our species.

      Mammalian species like ourselves can evolve adaptations in as few as
      5000 years. Human beings have been cooking for at least 250,000
      years, and maybe as long as 1.9 million years, long before we were
      even Homo sapiens. They argue that not only have humans adapted to
      eating cooked foods, they argue that human beings have adapted so
      much that eating cooked food now seems obligatory for optimum health.
      And indeed the medical literature backs them up.

      The only study I know of 100% raw foodists followed for years was
      published in 1999.[11] It showed that a third of the raw foodists
      were suffering from Chronic Energy Deficiency. Many were just wasting
      away. Most of the women suffered menstrual irregularities and half
      of the women lost their menstrual periods altogether, which could
      lead to devastating osteoporosis. And this was in modern urban people
      with relatively low activity levels who had access to high-quality
      high-calorie produce from around the world year-round. How might our
      nontropical gatherer/hunter ancestors lived through a single winter
      without cooking, especially with their extreme energy expenditure?

      There have been major changes in our digestive biology over the past
      few hundred thousand years, and the researchers argue that these
      changes may have been due to the availability of cooked foods.
      100,000 years ago, for example, the size of our jaws and molar teeth
      started to shrink, perhaps as an adaptation to softer, easier-chewed
      cooked foods. They also posit that perhaps other differences between
      our digestive systems and those of the great apes may also have been
      because of our adaptation to cooked foods--our smaller gut volume,
      longer small intestine, smaller colon, and faster gut passage rate.

      They conclude that while well-supported individuals in an urban
      environment with a relatively sedentary lifestyle may be able to
      thrive on a raw food diet, it is neither natural nor necessarily
      desirable for optimal health.

      *******************************************************


      II. TOP MAD COW STORY OF THE MONTH

      Every month I update the Organic Consumer Association's
      mad cow disease website (at
      http://organicconsumers.org/madcow.htm). I thought I'd start
      including highlights from each month for the newsletter. For
      background on this critical issue, I encourage people to read my
      paper "U.S.
      Violates WHO Guidelines for Mad Cow Disease." (at
      http://organicconsumers.org/madcow/GregerBSE.cfm)

      This last month, yet another case of mad cow disease was discovered
      in Japan, but what makes this one so special is that the bull was
      just a baby, only 23 months old. Since mad cow disease is almost
      unheard of under 24 months of age, countries like Germany and the UK
      don't even start testing their cattle until two years of age, and the
      rest of Europe doesn't start testing until 30 months.

      Japan remains the only country that tests every single animal that
      enters the food chain, so they picked up what may turn out to be a
      new strain of mad cow disease attacking younger cattle. This is
      particularly troublesome as the U.S. is considering opening it's
      borders to Canadian beef from cattle under 30 months of age, thinking
      that this would protect the American public. But they may be
      wrong.[12]

      In other news, the Premier of Alberta, the Canadian Province in which
      the mad cow disease was uncovered this year, took aim at the owner of
      the now infamous mad cow at a meeting of U.S. governors. Any "self
      respecting" rancher, he said, instead of taking the animal to
      slaughter where it was discovered, would have "shot, shoveled and
      shut up."[13]

      And finally, vying for the number one mad cow disease story of the
      month, Peter Putnam. Peter is dying from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in
      Washington state. He is 35 years old. You can read about his family's
      struggle here. On
      autopsy the world will discover whether or not this is the first
      domestic death from mad cow disease in the United States.[14]

      *******************************************************


      IV. PERSONAL UPDATE -- Help! My car is totaled :(

      This has been a tough month. I hit the father of all potholes and
      bent the chassis so bad that one of the wheels of my car is at such
      an angle that it was pronounced unfixable. My mechanic told me the
      best thing I could do was just junk it. :( So I'm stuck. I was
      planning on resuming my speaking tour in January, but obviously I
      can't without a car.

      So, if anyone, anywhere, knows anybody with a car they want to get
      rid of, I'm desperate. And not picky. While a relatively safe car
      with decent gas mileage would be ideal, I've been driving an old
      beater shooting for 200k miles with half the doors, windows and locks
      broken--missing one window entirely, no radio, etc.--so almost
      anything would be a step up.

      And since I have pending 501c3 status, a donated car may be able to
      used as a fully tax deductible donation. So please, if anyone can
      help, I'd be forever grateful. And using my frequent flyer miles I
      can fly one-way from New York anywhere to pick it up and drive it
      back.

      And I know miracles can happen. Last month I sent a shout out there
      for an LCD projector to liven up my talks this coming year. And
      Thomas Barnard, THE Dr. Thomas Barnard--physician, professor, author,
      lecturer, radio host--donated to me his $3000 LCD projector!

      People ask me how I do it. How I can keep going, doing 40 talks a
      month, on the road full time most of the year. This is how. Because
      of everyone's amazing support, not only materially and logistically,
      but all the incredible vegan love coming my way. Thank you Tom.
      Thank you everybody.

      *******************************************************


      V. MAILBAG: "I'm a vegan and yes I suffer from GAS!!"

      I actually get asked that question rather frequently--in private.
      Usually takes the form of woman asking me if I can do something about
      her husbands gas. And meanwhile the poor guy is there, you know,
      lookin' down at the floor. Perhaps it's time I clear the air :)

      There was a review article published few years ago in the Quarterly
      Journal of Medicine entitled: "Vegetarian Diet: Panacea for modern
      lifestyle disease?" And of course the answer was yes, noting that
      vegetarians had less obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart
      disease, high cholesterol, cancer, kidney disease, maybe less stroke,
      less age-related vision loss, less diverticulosis, less gallstone and
      of course, less constipation. But after going through how
      vegetarianism is this cure-all panacea, the article did say that
      there were two drawbacks of a vegetarian diet--vitamin B12, we all
      know we need to take our B12, and... increased intestinal gas. Hmm,
      one one hand heart attacks, cancer, and strokes... or on the other,
      flatulence. Hmm.

      Let me start off by saying that intestinal gas is normal and healthy.
      Everyone seems to think they have too much gas. According to the best
      research, though, the average American passes gas 14 to 23 times a
      day.

      Now if you're thinking to yourself, who the heck funded this
      research? You may be surprised that the real ground-breaking work in
      this area was done by NASA in the 1950's. So this is your tax dollars
      hard at work. :) They were actually really afraid that astronauts
      would like suffocate on their own gas, or that some spark would
      ignite the methane. I'm serious; so this is like space age research.

      So anyway, the average person passes gas almost every hour. That's
      the norm. It is rare that a person has too much gas. Of course, when
      I gave this talk at the Vegetarian Summerfest conference last month,
      I asked if anyone in the audience cared to venture a guess as to how
      many times the average person passes gas every day. I was hoping
      someone would say like 5, 10, and then I could wow them with "No, 14
      to 23!" So of course what's the first guess? 200. So, OK, maybe some
      people do have too much gas. :) For those wanting to cut down on
      emissions, here are some tips.

      Flatulence come from two places: swallowed air, and fermentation in
      the bowel. Things that can cause you to swallow extra air include gum
      chewing, ill-fitting dentures, sucking on hard candies, drinking
      through a straw, eating too fast, talking while you eat, and
      cigarette smoking. So if the fear of lung cancer doesn't get you to
      quit smoking, maybe fear of farts will. :)

      The main source of gas, though, is the normal bacterial fermentation
      by bacteria in your colon of undigested sugars. Thanks to the poorly
      digested sugar lactose, the number one source of farts in the United
      States is dairy products. I don't know why that's not on any of the
      got milk ads... They don't call it cutting the cheese for nothing. :)

      In fact, in the medical literature the two most flatulent
      patients--thunderously farting every ten minutes around the clock,
      reportedly interfering with their sex lives--were both lactose
      intolerant and were cured once dairy products were removed from their
      diets. The actual Guinness book world record belongs to a guy named
      Frank who drank a glass of milk then farted 70 times in 4 hours. Whew!

      Other indigestible sugars include sorbitol and xylitol in sugar free
      candies. The fizziness in soda is carbon dioxide which gets absorbed
      by your gut, but the fructose in the high fructose corn syrup that
      sweetens the soda, may contribute to gas. Bread can do it; there's a
      sugar in wheat that the body can have a hard time digesting. In
      fact, the word Pumpernickel in Old German--and I swear I'm not making
      this up--means "goblin that breaks wind." :) The second leading
      cause of gas, though, after dairy is sadly beans, which contain two
      poorly digested sugars, raffinose and stachyose.

      Now beans are so incredibly nutritious, that you should experiment
      with ways to keep them in your diet at all costs. Lentils, split
      peas and canned beans tend to be less gas producing. Tofu usually
      isn't an offender. Repeated soakings of dried beans, and tossing the
      cooking water may help if you boil your own.

      Some of the gas associated with eating beans or other healthy foods,
      is simply due to an increase in fiber. To help your body adapt, you
      can increase your fiber slowly. Within two weeks your body should
      adapt and the gas problem should diminish.

      In terms of things you can take, there is a vegetarian Beano out
      there, that contains enzymes which break up those musical bean
      sugars, called
      Say
      Yes to Beans! The Beano product itself contains fish gelatin.

      If you're going to be stuck on like a nine hour flight or something
      and need a windbreaker, pepto bismol and generic equivalents can bind
      up the sulfur in your gut and eliminate odors, but this is a short
      term solution only. It should not be taken for more than a few days
      at a time; you can actually get bismuth toxicity.

      There's also an activated charcoal-lined cushion you can sit on to
      absorb the smell for like long plane trips or something. It's called,
      and again I just couldn't make this stuff up, the "Toot Trapper." :)
      In fact because people kept thinking the product was a joke, the
      company actually was forced to change the name. It is now the
      Flatulence Filter.

      For natural solutions, there's peppermint, which can aid digestion,
      relax smooth muscles, help with any cramping or bloating. Exercise
      helps your body absorb gas, so less comes out in the end. If you
      really have gas pains or something there's a position we use in the
      hospital to release trapped gas. Basically it uses the principle
      that gas rises, so if you kneel down on your knees and elbows, head
      down with your butt in the air, and stay there for 10 minutes things
      will start to move.

      But to reiterate, intestinal gas is normal and healthy. As a medical
      review article on the various methods to control flatulence
      concluded, "Perhaps increased tolerance of flatus would be a better
      solution, for we tamper with harmless natural phenomena at our
      peril." In fact these sugars in beans that don't get digested--and so
      make it down to our colon--feed out good bacteria. So they function
      as prebiotics and make for a healthier colon. So, every time you
      fart, think "happy bacteria!" :)

      *******************************************************


      REFERENCES

      [1] Journal of the American Medical Association 290(2003):1729.
      [2] Nutrition reviews 61(2003):346.
      [3] Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100(2003):12045.
      [4] International Journal of Cancer 106(2003):934.
      [5] Journal of Applied Microbiology 94(2003):842.
      [6] American Journal of Epidemiology 158(2003):621.
      [7] Cancer Causes Control 14(2003):1.
      [8] Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 47(2003):183
      [9] Journal of the American Dietetics Association 79(1981):17.
      [10] Comparative Biology and Physiology 136(2003):35.
      [11] Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 43(1999):69.
      [12] October 8, 2003 Financial Times (London, England)
      [13] September 17, 2003 Winnipeg Sun (Manitoba, Canada)
      [14] September 22, 2003 Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)


      If anyone missed previous months, I've revamped my newsletter
      archive.(at
      http://www.veganmd.org/newsletters.html)

      Until next month,
      love,
      Michael
      --
      (206) 312-8640
      mhg1@...
      http://www.veganMD.org

      Check out my new cooking show DVD at :
      http://www.veganmd.org/dvd.html
      Four of my most popular talks are now online (free) at:
      http://www.veganmd.org/talks/
      To subscribe to my free monthly email newsletter send a blank email to:
      mailto:drgregersnewsletter-subscribe@...
      HEART FAILURE: Diary of a Third Year Medical Student (Full text now
      available free):
      http://www.upalumni.org/medschool
      The thinker that most changed my life: Noam Chomsky
      http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/index.cfm
      The single article that most changed my life:
      http://www.petersingerlinks.com/famine.htm
      Please everyone donate money to Tribe of Heart
      http://www.tribeofheart.org/jointoh.htm


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      ~*Mary*~
      Founder of "The Nuzzled Network"
      www.nuzzled.net

      "Our day will come if we just wait awhile"-Ruby and the Romantics

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    • Michael Greger, M.D.
      ************************************** November 2003 issue of Dr. Michael Greger s Monthly Newsletter
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 1, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        <http://www.veganMD.org>**************************************

        November 2003 issue of Dr. Michael Greger's Monthly Newsletter

        *******************************************************

        CONTENTS

        I. Latest Updates in Human Nutrition
        A. Soy Foods and Bone Health
        B. Meat Molecule Builds Up in Human Tumors
        C. Got Testicular Cancer? The Dairy Connection
        D. Best to Keep Dead Birds Out of Your Kitchen
        E. Long-term Multivitamin Use May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
        F. Iodine Deficiency Reported in Vegetarians and Vegans
        G. Raw versus Cooked: Which is More Natural?

        II. Top Mad Cow Disease Story of the Month

        III. Personal Update -- Help! My car is totaled :(

        IV. MAILBAG: "I'm a vegan and yes i suffer from GAS!!"


        *******************************************************


        I. LATEST UPDATES IN HUMAN NUTRITION
        -----------------------------------------------------------

        A. Soy Foods and Bone Health

        Wyeth pharmaceuticals, the marketer of Premarin hormone replacement
        therapy, has been killing both women and
        <http://www.equineadvocates.com/premarin.html>horses (see
        http://www.equineadvocates.com/premarin.html) for over 50 years. Last
        Summer, the hormone replacement therapy arm of the Women's Health
        initiative was stopped abruptly, years before it was supposed to end,
        because there were so many more deaths in the treatment group. Women
        taking the hormones had more heart attacks, more strokes, more fatal
        blood clots, and more breast cancer than the control group.

        But the treatment group did have less hip fractures; the hormones did
        seem to protect the womens' bones. A review published last month in
        the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded, however,
        that even for women at high risk for osteoporosis, the benefits of
        drugs like Premarin do not outweigh the risk.[1] So what's a
        postmenopausal woman to do? Soy.

        A randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical trial (the
        "gold standard" study design) just published showed that the
        isoflavones in soy seem to protect menopausal women from bone loss
        just as powerfully as hormone replacement therapy, but without the
        side-effects.[2] So drinking the equivalent of about 2 cups of
        soymilk a day, women can go through menopause with strong bones, and
        without the cancer, heart disease, a stroke or two and blood clots in
        the lung. And using soymilk instead of Premarin, your smoothies won't
        taste like urine :)

        -----------------------------------------------------------

        B. Meat Molecule Builds Up in Human Tumors

        For years there has been suspicion that components of meat and dairy
        were absorbed whole through the human digestive tract, triggering
        autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and childhood diabetes
        as our bodies try to fight off these foreign substances. Last month,
        researchers published new evidence that a substance found in lamb,
        pork, beef and dairy can build up in human tissues and may contribute
        to chronic disease.

        If you take autopsy samples, you can find traces of a molecule called
        NeuGc in human tissues, particularly in human tumors (especially
        breast cancer). And you can find relatively high concentrations of
        anti-NeuGc antibodies in human blood. This mystified researchers, as
        human beings can not produce this substance. But other animals can.
        Maybe, the researchers proposed, human beings absorbed it from eating
        these other animals.

        So the researchers went vegan for a few days to clear their system
        (no animal-derived ingredients in foods or drugs or shampoo), and
        then basically drank a glass of diluted pig mucous. Within days this
        invading meat molecule could be found oozing from their bodies, in
        their saliva, urine--even their hair clippings.

        Maybe, the researchers speculate, this is why meateaters have such
        higher rates of cancer and heart disease compared to vegetarians.
        Yes, they acknowledge it could just be the saturated fat in meat and
        dairy, but maybe it's also because of the incorporation of this
        foreign substance found exclusively in animal products (plants don't
        produce NeuGc either). The researchers found it particularly
        interesting that vegetarian diets seem to improve rheumatoid
        arthritis. Maybe this reactive alien molecule also triggers
        autoimmune diseases like hepatitis and arthritis.

        This article was published in the proceedings of the most prestigious
        scientific body in the United States, the National Academy of
        Sciences. The researchers end their provocative article wondering
        what the long-term consequences might be of constantly challenging
        our immune systems in this way, and what the long-range implications
        are of having anti-Neu5Gc antibodies circulating throughout the
        bodies of meateaters and milk-drinkers.{3]

        -----------------------------------------------------------

        C. Got Testicular Cancer? The Dairy Connection

        Testicular cancer is the most rampant cancer among young men in North
        America. The rates of testicular cancer have been steadily climbing
        over the last fifty years, yet there's been little data on dietary
        risk factors for this dreaded disease. A study published last month
        in the International Journal of Cancer changed all that.

        Last month, the biggest study on diet and testicular cancer ever
        conducted was published, studying the diets of hundreds of cancer
        victims. By far the strongest, most significant dietary risk factor
        associated with the cancer was the consumption of cheese. Those men
        that ate the most cheese were almost 90% more likely to develop
        cancer of the testicles. The investigators guessed that it may be the
        hormones in milk and dairy that were to blame. The second strongest
        dietary risk factor seemed to be the consumption of lunch meat.[4]

        -----------------------------------------------------------

        D. Best to Keep Dead Birds Out of Your Kitchen

        Normally I only discuss studies that were published within the last
        month, but with the holidays coming up I wanted to share with you a
        landmark article on food safety which was published earlier this year.

        Knowing that poultry is the most common cause of food poisoning in
        the home, researchers had 50 people take chicken straight from a
        supermarket and prepare a meal with it as they normally would in
        their own kitchen. The researchers then took samples from the kitchen
        sponges, dishcloths, hand towels, etc and tested them for the
        presence of diseases like campylobacter and salmonella.

        And indeed they found a number of contaminated samples.
        "Antibacterial" dishwashing liquid did not seem to offer any
        protection. They conclude that "Pathogenic bacteria can be recovered
        relatively frequently from the kitchen environment." Yet another
        reason to have a vegetarian Thanksgiving.[5]

        -----------------------------------------------------------

        E. Long-term Multivitamin Use May Lower Colon Cancer Risk

        Last month, a massive study of almost 150,000 people was published
        and found that those who reported they regularly took multivitamin
        supplements were less likely to be diagnosed a decade later with
        colon cancer.[6] Breaking down the various nutrients, it's thought
        that perhaps it was the increased calcium and vitamin D intake from
        supplements that was responsible for the reduced risk.[7] Note that
        dairy products were NOT found to be protective.

        The Harvard School of Medicine recommends that everyone take a
        multivitamin (containing vitamins B12, D, E, B6, and folate),
        although the Institute of Medicine has not made such a
        recommendation. If anyone isn't getting enough color or variety in
        their diet (like at least DAILY dark leafy greens) a multivitamin may
        be useful. I compare the pros and cons of all of the vegan
        multivitamins currently on the market in a
        <http://www.veganmd.org/writings.html>handout on my
        <http://www.veganmd.org>website (at
        http://www.veganMD.org/writings.html).

        -----------------------------------------------------------

        F. Iodine Deficiency Reported in Vegetarians and Vegans

        Last month, yet another article appeared on iodine deficiency in
        vegetarians and vegans [8]. Quoting from the paper: "One fourth of
        the vegetarians and 80% of the vegans suffer from iodine
        deficiency..." Only 9% of the meateaters were deficient. The milk
        drinkers were protected in part because iodine containing
        disinfectants are used to clean the milk processing equipment which
        kind of leach into the milk. None of the vegetarians and vegans were
        eating sea vegetables. And none were using iodized salt--they were
        all using "natural" sea salt, which has significantly less iodine.
        Iodine deficiency was actually a prevalent problem in the U.S. before
        the iodization of salt became a common practice in the 1920's.[9]

        So, vegetarians who don't eat sea vegetables or use iodized salt
        should consider supplementing their diet with iodine. I don't
        encourage people to add salt to their diet--it's not good for your
        bones--but if you do use table salt, use iodized salt. For more
        information, see the British Vegan Society's
        <http://www.vegansociety.com/html/info/info56.htm>iodine page (at
        http://www.vegansociety.com/html/info/info56.htm). The best source,
        though, is sea vegetables (seaweed).

        Sea vegetables have lots of B vitamins and lots of minerals,
        particularly the trace minerals, like iodine. The only problem with
        seaweed is that you can actually get too much iodine. The World
        Health Organization places the safe upper limit of iodine intake at
        1000 mcg per day. And it's less for kids-like 300 mcg may be too much
        for a five year old. See my <>handout on nutrients for the amounts
        found in common seaweeds (at http://www.veganMD.org/writings.html).

        -----------------------------------------------------------

        G. Raw versus Cooked: Which is More Natural?

        "Raw foodist" lifestyle advocates tend to argue that cooking is
        unnatural. They often argue that since we evolved eating raw foods
        like the rest of the animal kingdom, we are better adapted to eat
        that way. In a landmark article just published in the journal of
        Comparative Biology and Physiology, however, two Harvard
        anthropologists argue just the opposite.[10}

        First, they note that other than the new deliberate "raw foodists,"
        there do not seem to be any current or historical populations, small
        groups or even individuals living for more than a few days without
        access to cooked foods. Then they take on the belief that cooking is
        a recent phenomenon for our species.

        Mammalian species like ourselves can evolve adaptations in as few as
        5000 years. Human beings have been cooking for at least 250,000
        years, and maybe as long as 1.9 million years, long before we were
        even Homo sapiens. They argue that not only have humans adapted to
        eating cooked foods, they argue that human beings have adapted so
        much that eating cooked food now seems obligatory for optimum health.
        And indeed the medical literature backs them up.

        The only study I know of 100% raw foodists followed for years was
        published in 1999.[11] It showed that a third of the raw foodists
        were suffering from Chronic Energy Deficiency. Many were just wasting
        away. Most of the women suffered menstrual irregularities and half
        of the women lost their menstrual periods altogether, which could
        lead to devastating osteoporosis. And this was in modern urban people
        with relatively low activity levels who had access to high-quality
        high-calorie produce from around the world year-round. How might our
        nontropical gatherer/hunter ancestors lived through a single winter
        without cooking, especially with their extreme energy expenditure?

        There have been major changes in our digestive biology over the past
        few hundred thousand years, and the researchers argue that these
        changes may have been due to the availability of cooked foods.
        100,000 years ago, for example, the size of our jaws and molar teeth
        started to shrink, perhaps as an adaptation to softer, easier-chewed
        cooked foods. They also posit that perhaps other differences between
        our digestive systems and those of the great apes may also have been
        because of our adaptation to cooked foods--our smaller gut volume,
        longer small intestine, smaller colon, and faster gut passage rate.

        They conclude that while well-supported individuals in an urban
        environment with a relatively sedentary lifestyle may be able to
        thrive on a raw food diet, it is neither natural nor necessarily
        desirable for optimal health.

        *******************************************************


        II. TOP MAD COW STORY OF THE MONTH

        Every month I update the Organic Consumer Association's
        <http://organicconsumers.org/madcow.htm>mad cow disease website (at
        http://organicconsumers.org/madcow.htm). I thought I'd start
        including highlights from each month for the newsletter. For
        background on this critical issue, I encourage people to read my
        paper "<http://organicconsumers.org/madcow/GregerBSE.cfm>U.S.
        Violates WHO Guidelines for Mad Cow Disease." (at
        http://organicconsumers.org/madcow/GregerBSE.cfm)

        This last month, yet another case of mad cow disease was discovered
        in Japan, but what makes this one so special is that the bull was
        just a baby, only 23 months old. Since mad cow disease is almost
        unheard of under 24 months of age, countries like Germany and the UK
        don't even start testing their cattle until two years of age, and the
        rest of Europe doesn't start testing until 30 months.

        Japan remains the only country that tests every single animal that
        enters the food chain, so they picked up what may turn out to be a
        new strain of mad cow disease attacking younger cattle. This is
        particularly troublesome as the U.S. is considering opening it's
        borders to Canadian beef from cattle under 30 months of age, thinking
        that this would protect the American public. But they may be
        wrong.[12]

        In other news, the Premier of Alberta, the Canadian Province in which
        the mad cow disease was uncovered this year, took aim at the owner of
        the now infamous mad cow at a meeting of U.S. governors. Any "self
        respecting" rancher, he said, instead of taking the animal to
        slaughter where it was discovered, would have "shot, shoveled and
        shut up."[13]

        And finally, vying for the number one mad cow disease story of the
        month, Peter Putnam. Peter is dying from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in
        Washington state. He is 35 years old. You can read about his family's
        struggle <http://organicconsumers.org/madcow/putnam92203.cfm>here. On
        autopsy the world will discover whether or not this is the first
        domestic death from mad cow disease in the United States.[14]

        *******************************************************


        IV. PERSONAL UPDATE -- Help! My car is totaled :(

        This has been a tough month. I hit the father of all potholes and
        bent the chassis so bad that one of the wheels of my car is at such
        an angle that it was pronounced unfixable. My mechanic told me the
        best thing I could do was just junk it. :( So I'm stuck. I was
        planning on resuming my speaking tour in January, but obviously I
        can't without a car.

        So, if anyone, anywhere, knows anybody with a car they want to get
        rid of, I'm desperate. And not picky. While a relatively safe car
        with decent gas mileage would be ideal, I've been driving an old
        beater shooting for 200k miles with half the doors, windows and locks
        broken--missing one window entirely, no radio, etc.--so almost
        anything would be a step up.

        And since I have pending 501c3 status, a donated car may be able to
        used as a fully tax deductible donation. So please, if anyone can
        help, I'd be forever grateful. And using my frequent flyer miles I
        can fly one-way from New York anywhere to pick it up and drive it
        back.

        And I know miracles can happen. Last month I sent a shout out there
        for an LCD projector to liven up my talks this coming year. And
        Thomas Barnard, THE Dr. Thomas Barnard--physician, professor, author,
        lecturer, radio host--donated to me his $3000 LCD projector!

        People ask me how I do it. How I can keep going, doing 40 talks a
        month, on the road full time most of the year. This is how. Because
        of everyone's amazing support, not only materially and logistically,
        but all the incredible vegan love coming my way. Thank you Tom.
        Thank you everybody.

        *******************************************************


        V. MAILBAG: "I'm a vegan and yes I suffer from GAS!!"

        I actually get asked that question rather frequently--in private.
        Usually takes the form of woman asking me if I can do something about
        her husbands gas. And meanwhile the poor guy is there, you know,
        lookin' down at the floor. Perhaps it's time I clear the air :)

        There was a review article published few years ago in the Quarterly
        Journal of Medicine entitled: "Vegetarian Diet: Panacea for modern
        lifestyle disease?" And of course the answer was yes, noting that
        vegetarians had less obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart
        disease, high cholesterol, cancer, kidney disease, maybe less stroke,
        less age-related vision loss, less diverticulosis, less gallstone and
        of course, less constipation. But after going through how
        vegetarianism is this cure-all panacea, the article did say that
        there were two drawbacks of a vegetarian diet--vitamin B12, we all
        know we need to take our B12, and... increased intestinal gas. Hmm,
        one one hand heart attacks, cancer, and strokes... or on the other,
        flatulence. Hmm.

        Let me start off by saying that intestinal gas is normal and healthy.
        Everyone seems to think they have too much gas. According to the best
        research, though, the average American passes gas 14 to 23 times a
        day.

        Now if you're thinking to yourself, who the heck funded this
        research? You may be surprised that the real ground-breaking work in
        this area was done by NASA in the 1950's. So this is your tax dollars
        hard at work. :) They were actually really afraid that astronauts
        would like suffocate on their own gas, or that some spark would
        ignite the methane. I'm serious; so this is like space age research.

        So anyway, the average person passes gas almost every hour. That's
        the norm. It is rare that a person has too much gas. Of course, when
        I gave this talk at the Vegetarian Summerfest conference last month,
        I asked if anyone in the audience cared to venture a guess as to how
        many times the average person passes gas every day. I was hoping
        someone would say like 5, 10, and then I could wow them with "No, 14
        to 23!" So of course what's the first guess? 200. So, OK, maybe some
        people do have too much gas. :) For those wanting to cut down on
        emissions, here are some tips.

        Flatulence come from two places: swallowed air, and fermentation in
        the bowel. Things that can cause you to swallow extra air include gum
        chewing, ill-fitting dentures, sucking on hard candies, drinking
        through a straw, eating too fast, talking while you eat, and
        cigarette smoking. So if the fear of lung cancer doesn't get you to
        quit smoking, maybe fear of farts will. :)

        The main source of gas, though, is the normal bacterial fermentation
        by bacteria in your colon of undigested sugars. Thanks to the poorly
        digested sugar lactose, the number one source of farts in the United
        States is dairy products. I don't know why that's not on any of the
        got milk ads... They don't call it cutting the cheese for nothing. :)

        In fact, in the medical literature the two most flatulent
        patients--thunderously farting every ten minutes around the clock,
        reportedly interfering with their sex lives--were both lactose
        intolerant and were cured once dairy products were removed from their
        diets. The actual Guinness book world record belongs to a guy named
        Frank who drank a glass of milk then farted 70 times in 4 hours. Whew!

        Other indigestible sugars include sorbitol and xylitol in sugar free
        candies. The fizziness in soda is carbon dioxide which gets absorbed
        by your gut, but the fructose in the high fructose corn syrup that
        sweetens the soda, may contribute to gas. Bread can do it; there's a
        sugar in wheat that the body can have a hard time digesting. In
        fact, the word Pumpernickel in Old German--and I swear I'm not making
        this up--means "goblin that breaks wind." :) The second leading
        cause of gas, though, after dairy is sadly beans, which contain two
        poorly digested sugars, raffinose and stachyose.

        Now beans are so incredibly nutritious, that you should experiment
        with ways to keep them in your diet at all costs. Lentils, split
        peas and canned beans tend to be less gas producing. Tofu usually
        isn't an offender. Repeated soakings of dried beans, and tossing the
        cooking water may help if you boil your own.

        Some of the gas associated with eating beans or other healthy foods,
        is simply due to an increase in fiber. To help your body adapt, you
        can increase your fiber slowly. Within two weeks your body should
        adapt and the gas problem should diminish.

        In terms of things you can take, there is a vegetarian Beano out
        there, that contains enzymes which break up those musical bean
        sugars, called
        <http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22say+yes+to+beans%22>Say
        Yes to Beans! The Beano product itself contains fish gelatin.

        If you're going to be stuck on like a nine hour flight or something
        and need a windbreaker, pepto bismol and generic equivalents can bind
        up the sulfur in your gut and eliminate odors, but this is a short
        term solution only. It should not be taken for more than a few days
        at a time; you can actually get bismuth toxicity.

        There's also an activated charcoal-lined cushion you can sit on to
        absorb the smell for like long plane trips or something. It's called,
        and again I just couldn't make this stuff up, the "Toot Trapper." :)
        In fact because people kept thinking the product was a joke, the
        company actually was forced to change the name. It is now the
        Flatulence Filter.

        For natural solutions, there's peppermint, which can aid digestion,
        relax smooth muscles, help with any cramping or bloating. Exercise
        helps your body absorb gas, so less comes out in the end. If you
        really have gas pains or something there's a position we use in the
        hospital to release trapped gas. Basically it uses the principle
        that gas rises, so if you kneel down on your knees and elbows, head
        down with your butt in the air, and stay there for 10 minutes things
        will start to move.

        But to reiterate, intestinal gas is normal and healthy. As a medical
        review article on the various methods to control flatulence
        concluded, "Perhaps increased tolerance of flatus would be a better
        solution, for we tamper with harmless natural phenomena at our
        peril." In fact these sugars in beans that don't get digested--and so
        make it down to our colon--feed out good bacteria. So they function
        as prebiotics and make for a healthier colon. So, every time you
        fart, think "happy bacteria!" :)

        *******************************************************


        REFERENCES

        [1] Journal of the American Medical Association 290(2003):1729.
        [2] Nutrition reviews 61(2003):346.
        [3] Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100(2003):12045.
        [4] International Journal of Cancer 106(2003):934.
        [5] Journal of Applied Microbiology 94(2003):842.
        [6] American Journal of Epidemiology 158(2003):621.
        [7] Cancer Causes Control 14(2003):1.
        [8] Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 47(2003):183
        [9] Journal of the American Dietetics Association 79(1981):17.
        [10] Comparative Biology and Physiology 136(2003):35.
        [11] Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 43(1999):69.
        [12] October 8, 2003 Financial Times (London, England)
        [13] September 17, 2003 Winnipeg Sun (Manitoba, Canada)
        [14] September 22, 2003 Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)


        If anyone missed previous months, I've revamped my newsletter
        <http://www.veganmd.org/newsletters.html>archive.(at
        http://www.veganmd.org/newsletters.html)

        Until next month,
        love,
        Michael
        --
        (206) 312-8640
        mhg1@...
        http://www.veganMD.org

        Check out my new cooking show DVD at :
        http://www.veganmd.org/dvd.html
        Four of my most popular talks are now online (free) at:
        http://www.veganmd.org/talks/
        To subscribe to my free monthly email newsletter send a blank email to:
        mailto:drgregersnewsletter-subscribe@...
        HEART FAILURE: Diary of a Third Year Medical Student (Full text now
        available free):
        http://www.upalumni.org/medschool
        The thinker that most changed my life: Noam Chomsky
        http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/index.cfm
        The single article that most changed my life:
        http://www.petersingerlinks.com/famine.htm
        Please everyone donate money to Tribe of Heart
        http://www.tribeofheart.org/jointoh.htm


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