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August 2010

How Nutritious And Natural Is Your Protein Bar?

This week's HND piece takes a brief look at protein bars. Although this class of products is widely touted as a "health food," some of the stuff in this category is probably less nutritious than the average candy bar.

You're advised to read the labels, but even then, it also pays to know a little about sugar alcohols. Yes, sugar alcohols. How's that for a nice purposely confusing term?

Check out the complete article.

Water ionizers

My latest HND entry includes a brief look at water ionizers. These devices apply electrolysis to tap water, yielding so-called alkaline and acidic water. Many health claims are proffered for alkaline water, although they seem to run contrary to basic human biochemistry. Ultimately, the choice is up to the individual. Good uses are also promoted for the acidic water, although it is normally not taken internally.

Bear in mind that within conventional allopathic medicine, the exact mechanism of action of perhaps the majority of pharmaceutical drugs is not well understood. And, substances which should have no effect or sometimes even harmful effects can become well-accepted as legitimate therapies. Indeed, the deadly botulism toxin, was reborn as Botox.

It should also be noted that several drugs—including some of the most popular such as statins—do not actually make any true therapeutic claims, per se. Rather, they are FDA approved because they "optimize" the concentrations of certain blood components. The optimum concentrations are widely assumed to offer health benefits, but in point of fact, this has hardly ever been proven.

As you can see, this "logic" is not terribly different from individuals claiming therapeutic benefits for water treated in a particular manner.

The piece gives some coverage to one company in the ionizer space that really tries to do things right, and has compiled more test results on more ionizers than just about anyone else.

Read the complete article.

Mike Mahler--Not your typical personal trainer

Mahler's passion for kettlebell training, hormone optimization, and living life aggressively—as he puts it—inspired my latest HND piece entitled "Health Fads, Hormones, and Balance."

If you've been around health care or exercise and fitness for any length of time, you have probably noticed that most of what goes on is a fad. Indeed, joining a health club as a New Year's resolution might be the biggest fad of them all. The joke is that most of the resolution crowd disappears by Groundhog Day, presumably going back into their respective holes.

Kettlebells are nothing new, of course, and are making somewhat of a comeback, although for various reasons that Mahler details are still not seen too much in health clubs. Mahler is a big proponent of hormone optimization—again not a new concept—but Mahler frowns on supplementation. Rather, he points out that the biggest factor in throwing off hormone levels is chronic stress.

Seems like we've talked about that in the past, right?

As to living life aggressively, let's just say he that he is no sentimentalist, and has little patience for memes like having a positive attitude.

Read the complete article.

Saving the children? Overkill remedies proposed on DEX (DXM) abuse

My latest HND piece examines the problem of Dextromethorphan abuse. DEX is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold preparations, but when taken in extremely large amounts delivers an intoxication, favored by some.

Ironically, DEX was introduced in 1958 as a substitute for codeine, which could be abused far easier, and did account for many cough syrup addicts, as they were referred to back then.

Since most of the abusers of DEX are children and adolescents, the "Save the Children" crowd has been grandstanding on the problem, conveniently avoiding the sad fact that twice as many teens abuse prescription drugs than abuse DEX. If they get their way, products containing DEX will become more expensive, and more difficult for the vast majority of law-abiding citizens to obtain. And, of course, abuse will be unaffected.

As always, substance abuse is a symptom, and if we really cared about it, we would try to address the causes. Good luck on that happening anytime soon. For to address any of the causes would require our entire modern American society to take a long look in the mirror.

These days, there is tremendous pressure being put on kids, but the dirty little secret is that the old models don't work anymore. At best, they can deny themselves and go through all the hoops to get that coveted Ivy degree, and might still not find a decent job. And, even if they do, there is far less room for growth, when compared to earlier generations. Then, there's everyone else...

In short, our entire system—political, social, and economic—is in free fall, and our leaders are doing everything in their power to keep the citizens unaware of this, or failing that, causing them to blame themselves for being "losers" or "victims."

Kids are emotionally immature, and some of them will turn to substance abuse, having found no other way to cope.

Read the entire article.

Good guy Michael Foreman tells it like it is on tainted (Chinese) drywall

If there's one guy who knows where it's at on the Chinese drywall mess, it's Michael Foreman. He and I have worked together on this matter for months now, and find ourselves up against all kinds of scams and misinformation.

Foreman lays it out for you in his comprehensive nearly 1000-word press release entitled "Chinese Drywall Abatement, Treatment, and Testing: Who Do You Trust? Who can you trust?"

Here are some highlights...

Victimized Consumers who turned to the US Court System for justice, are finding out rapidly, the recent judgments issued by the Courts are worthless or hollow victories until perfected or collected, and they are starting to further understand, it may be years or even decades, based on appeals, legal issues and maneuvers, before any money or relief actually appears, if at all.

All the government agencies have provided are "interim guidelines" concerning the ABATEMENT, TREATMENT, TESTING AND POST TREATMENT TESTING PROCESS. Guidelines that on the surface, sound or look complete, but actually raise more questions than answers, when reviewed, initiated, and actually looked at closely.

Just take the first issue ... Abatement ...

Abatement sounds good ...

  • What needs to be abated?
  • Who determines what needs to be abated?
  • How do you perform the abatement?
  • Who is qualified to perform the abatement?
  • Who is qualified to determine the level of abatement?
  • How do you confirm the abatement was successful?
  • Who guarantees abatement?
  • What licenses are required for the abatement?
  • Who pays for the abatement?

Read the complete press release, and if your house is affected, I strongly recommend that you get in touch with Michael Foreman.

A look at what is really "conservative"

I don't write a lot about politics on this blog, but politics certainly does impact health care and the environment, which are our main topics. So, every now and then...

For those of you who might be interested, here is a piece I did recently entitled "William F. Buckley: The First Neocon." It's not really about Buckley. Rather, it examines some cherished precepts of what is currently the conservative movement.

For what it's worth, I never did like Buckley, and with the help of Tom DiLorenzo, I could finally explain at least some of the reasons why.

Stress: It's a lot worse than you might think

My latest HND article takes a look at stress. For all the good that the old fight-or-flight response can do for us, overall—in modern times—it is mostly destructive.

The reason, of course, is that chronic stress, whereby the stress hormones are being secreted way too often, can literally kill you.

Conventional allopathic medicine recognizes chronic stress as a problem, but that's about it. Ironically, it can trigger diabetes and hypertension, not to mention obesity, mood swings, anxiety, and depression—all of which are conditions that do get plenty of attention.

Inasmuch as stress can weaken the immune system, the list of diseases promoted by stress is long indeed. However, it does not get the attention it deserves for several reasons, not the least of which is that it is difficult to do much about it—at least allopathically.

It's far easier to write scripts for easy to diagnose and manage symptoms. And, when you finally do get that heart attack, there's lots more "value added." Kudos to the docs who get it, and talk to their patients about how dangerous stress is, but most don't.

Read the complete article.