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      The stats tell it all: The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. That’s right, more than any other disease – even cancer (a close second) – heart disease is the most likely to kill you. The United States is currently facing a “diabesity” epidemic, or a substantial increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes and obesity, all serious risk factors for heart disease.

      According to the American Heart Association, every 34 seconds someone in the US dies of a heart attack. By the time you finish reading this paragraph, another person will have lost their life. Sadly, many people do not even know they have heart disease until they experience a heart attack. These facts alone make Heart Health a critical topic to understand.

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      The gut-skin connection is very significant. Inflammatory processes present in the gut may manifest on the skin. Toxins are expelled with sweat, and can cause the skin to react. Like the inside of the digestive tract, the skin is covered in microbes which can be neutral, protective or pathogenic. Skin reaction may reflect what is going on inside the body. Therefore treating skin conditions only from the outside will often be ineffective and lead to other chronic issues.

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      The gut-brain connection occurs in two directions—from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain. When a person has a “gut feeling,” or an emotional upset causes a stomachache or loss of appetite, they experience examples of the first, most familiar direction. When the gut is out of balance, inflammation results leading to a condition commonly known as leaky gut. A leaky gut will allow undigested food particles and toxins to enter into the bloodstream. Some may cross into the brain, setting the stage for diseases like Alzheimers and dementia. Recognizing the underlying contributing factors that created the gut imbalance in the first place is the first step to achieving optimal brain function .

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    • Diet & Health

      Healthy pH levels, whether in the colon or systemic, are found when you eat a high-fiber diet, high in vegetables and fruits, healthy proteins, and healthy fats. Complement this with foods and supplements high in beneficial bacteria, omega-3 fatty acids, and digestive enzymes, and you will be supporting optimal health (which begins in the digestive system).

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      Our dog’s health is precious! They provide us with unconditional love and companionship. A daily probiotic formula is a great way to ensure good health. Make sure you choose one that delivers the recommended potency level and strain count. There is nothing quite like a healthy and happy dog. Happy Dog. Happy Life!

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Omega-3s and ADHD

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/28/2012

I recently blogged about the benefits of omega-3 DHA for children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). On the heels of that study, a Cochrane Review of omega-3 and omega-6 studies for ADHD was published. Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of human research. When it comes to dietary supplements, Cochrane reviews tend to be extremely conservative.

When a Cochrane Review favors a nutritional ingredient, you know the science is about as strong as it can get. Even a mildly positive finding in a Cochrane Review is an indication that there are some strong studies behind the ingredient. When a Cochrane Review does not favor a nutritional ingredient, however, it doesn’t mean the research is not strong. Research on integrative therapies tends to be not as cut-and-dry as that for pharmaceutical ingredients, so to conform the studies to the designs of pharmaceutical trials does not always give accurate results.

Nonetheless, a recent Cochrane Review examined the benefits of omega-3s and omega-6s for ADHD. To give you an idea of the selection process, they began with 388 references and pared that down to just 23 relevant studies. From those studies, they selected 13 that met their [probably far too stringent to appropriately apply to the study of most dietary ingredients] standards.

You can see that they do not consider the overall picture here. They did find some benefit, however. “There was a significantly higher likelihood of improvement in the group receiving omega-3/6 PUFA [polyunsaturated fatty acids] compared to placebo.” They also stated, “Future studies should use active PUFA supplements at dosages shown to significantly increase circulating PUFA and, in particular, the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 PUFA, and use supplements for considerably longer periods than the maximum of 16 weeks identified in this review.

To me, it is a good sign that the Cochrane Review recognizes the potential of this therapy for children and adolescents with ADHD. Let the scientists work out the details of what we holistic-minded practitioners have known for decades.

Omega-3s and Purpose for a Healthy Brain

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/26/2012

Alzheimer’s disease is one form of dementia that gradually worsens over time, affecting memory, thinking, and behavior. The thing about Alzheimer’s that is so difficult is that by the time you experience symptoms, the disease has been developing for decades. So researchers are avidly trying to determine the causes and risk factors, and how to detect the disease earlier.

One thing they know is that Alzheimer’s is associated with the development of a protein called beta amyloid in the brain. They don’t quite know whether beta amyloid causes Alzheimer’s or whether it is a result of the disease process. Unfortunately, however, it is very difficult to measure brain levels of amyloid beta, as you could imagine. It can be measured in spinal fluid (a bit easier than measuring it in the brain), and even in blood.

Although there is debate about whether blood levels of beta amyloid reflect brain levels, the lead author of a recent study published in the journal Neurology, Nikolaos Scarmeas, stated, “It is relatively easy to measure the levels of beta amyloid in the blood, which, to a certain degree, relates to the level in the brain.” The study found that the more omega-3 fatty acids a person consumed, the lower their level of blood beta amyloid. Those who consumed one gram of omega-3 per day had 20 to 30 percent lower levels of beta amyloid in the blood than those who consumed the least omega-3.

The results of this study are promising, but further studies will have to relate omega-3 intake to spinal fluid or brain levels of beta amyloid. In the meantime, optimize your omega-3 levels with a fish oil supplement, and take the advice from another recent study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry: find a purpose in life. This study found that people who reported greater purpose in life had better brain function and lower levels of beta amyloid and tau tangles in the brain (they did measure brain levels in these studies after the patients had passed).

The lead researcher, Patricia Boyle, stated, “These findings suggest that purpose in life protects against the harmful effects of plaques and tangles on memory and other thinking abilities. This is encouraging and suggests that engaging in meaningful and purposeful activities promotes cognitive health in old age.”

Vitamin D—Are You Taking the Right Form?

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/24/2012

Renew You Challenge

Let’s start this week off right!

Here is your newest weekly challenge (I mean opportunity!) to help set you off on the right foot and in the right direction for bringing health to your week. You could even add it to your calendar. Join us! 

Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients for support of optimal health. Vitamin D deficiency (generally recognized as below 20 ng/mL as measured in blood), and insufficiency (generally recognized as between 20 to 30 ng/mL) have been linked to a huge range of health conditions, including osteoporosis, bone fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. Read Dr. Smith’s blog on the eye-opening prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and how to get enough of this essential vitamin.

One important detail sometimes missing from the vitamin D story is this: The form of vitamin D you take in a supplement makes a big difference in how you absorb and use vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are available in two forms: ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). These forms of vitamin D are precursors to the form of vitamin D that is stored in the body—25-hydroxy-vitamin D.

A recent meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vitamin D3 is more effective at raising levels of vitamin D in the body. The researchers stated, “It is clear that, overall, there was consistency in the results that shows cholecalciferol [vitamin D3] appears to have advantageous biological qualities that allows it to sustain its systemic influence for far longer and at far greater concentrations than does ergocalciferol [vitamin D2].”

At a range of doses vitamin D3 outshined D2. Experts have been singing the praises of vitamin D3 over D2 for quite some time now and this analysis further supports that view, concluding that, “vitamin D3 could potentially become the preferred choice for supplementation.” For many it has become the preferred choice, yet vitamin D2 is still found in many vitamin supplements. This week, check the labels of your vitamin D-containing supplements. If you are not taking D3, please consider a switch.

Heart Disease Risk Factors in Children

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/21/2012

One of the most devastating results of the Standard American Diet (SAD)—and there are many to choose from—is the epidemic of childhood obesity. Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years. About 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2–19 years are obese. That’s far too many.

Of those children who are severely obese, two-thirds were found to already have at least one risk factor for heart disease, according to a recent study published in Archives of Diseases in Childhood. The study analyzed data from 500 children. One of the most striking findings was that only one of these children was obese as a result of a medical condition. The other severely obese children were said to be obese due to lifestyle factors like poor diet and lack of exercise.

Childhood obesity leads to more than just heart disease. It increases the risk for developing type 2 diabetes (which used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, but that name has since been changed). It has also been linked to the development of certain cancers later in life, such as bladder, urinary, and colorectal cancers.

If children were simply provided the five servings of fruits and vegetables (ideally 3 vegetables and 2 fruits) daily—not counting potatoes or corn as a vegetable, since those are really starches—then most children would be well on their well to optimal health and childhood obesity could be avoided for most. Instead, many children eat “fruit snacks” and fruit juice, in addition to an array of processed grains in the form of cookies, crackers, and breads. Where are the nutrients?!

I do know that there is more to the development of obesity than diet and lifestyle, however. Genes play a role, and so do our gut bacteria and the toxins we are exposed to. But we must always start with the diet. Increase fiber and nutrient content in the diets of your children. This is a great place to start.

Recent Omega-3 Studies Miss the Mark

Filed in General | Posted by lsmith on 09/19/2012

Mainstream medicine has failed us yet again. The recent paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association1 that attempts to discount the ability of omega-3s to lower heart disease risk is already generating headlines such as, “Omega-3 Supplements Don’t Lower Heart Disease Risk After All” and “For Heart Health, Fish Oil Pills Not the Answer.”

Oh, please.

With literally thousands of studies in support of the health benefits of omega-3s—heart-health benefits leading the pack—to discount omega-3s based on this paper or the previous two similar papers published in previous months, would be ridiculous at best, and “could be harmful to public health” at worst, in the words of Adam Ismail, executive director of the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED).

The systematic review and meta-analysis selected 20 studies (out of 3,635) of over 68,000 people taking either omega-3 supplements or consuming omega-3s in the diet. Participants consumed an average of 1.37 grams of EPA + DHA (or a median intake of 0.89 grams EPA + DHA—remember that median dose indicates that the highest number of individuals took this dosage, whereas the mean dosage can be skewed by a few participants taking much higher doses). They found that omega-3 supplementation was not associated with a lower risk of death, heart attack, or stroke.

This paper was preceded by another paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July, which found that daily omega-3 supplementation did not reduce the rate of cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes (who are at high risk).2 This paper was preceded by yet another paper published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine in May, which found omega-3 supplementation did not prevent against overall cardiovascular events in patients who already had cardiovascular disease.3

These studies would be enough to make anyone taking omega-3 fish oils question why. Unless you take a deeper look.

The main argument against all of these studies is that the patients enrolled in the trials are already taking an array of cardiovascular drugs. This makes it very difficult to detect benefits of omega-3s because the drugs themselves are already lowering risk of cardiovascular events. The earlier trials reporting positive benefits of omega-3s on heart health did not have this problem, as people were not taking the types of medications that they are today.

In support of this argument is a study published in the European Heart Journal in February 2012, which included over 4,000 men and women who had previously experienced a heart attack.  Some were taking statins, and some were not, but all received omega-3 supplementation.4 The participants taking omega-3s plus statins were found to not have a reduction in cardiovascular events after three and a half years, but those who were taking omega-3 supplements without also taking statins did experience a decreased risk of cardiovascular events.

An important aspect that many commenters on these studies have failed to mention is that measurements of omega-3 levels were not taken. Specifically, a measurement of red blood cell (RBC) membrane levels of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA is the best indication of long-term intake—and thus, incorporation into the tissues of the body where they are needed—of omega-3s. This test is known as the Omega-3 Index. People with an Omega-3 Index below 4 percent are at high risk of developing coronary heart disease and people with an Omega-3 Index over 8 percent are at low risk.5

To not measure the Omega-3 Index in people taking low doses of omega-3s, as was the case in all of these recent studies, is a mistake. Sure, patients received omega-3 supplements or were told to eat a certain amount of fish—on average, 1–1.5 grams daily—but let’s face it, many people probably skip their supplements or opt for steak over salmon when they should be consistent. Not to mention, the Omega-3 Index most common in the United States is below 4 percent, so most people in these studies likely started out with very low levels. And, people metabolize and absorb omega-3s differently.

To measure EPA and DHA levels in the RBC membranes ensures that participants do indeed have heart-protective levels of omega-3s in their bodies. These studies cannot give us that assurance. It reminds me of the ridiculous vitamin D studies that found no benefit of low-dose vitamin D. The headlines read similar to the headlines about these omega-3 studies. Yet the studies utilized dosages far too small to adequately raise vitamin D levels and therefore would not show clinical benefit. Studies like these only serve to confuse the mass public, and make the researchers look less than intelligent.

When studies are performed using higher EPA + DHA dosages and measurement of the Omega-3 Index with longer follow-up periods (more than two years!) and in people not taking cardiovascular drugs, I’ll be ready to report it. For now, keep taking your omega-3s to support heart health.


  1. E. Rizos, et al., “Association between omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and risk of major cardiovascular disease events.” JAMA. 2012;308(10):1024–1033.
  2. S.M. Kwak, et al., “Efficacy of omega-3 fatty acid supplements (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: a meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.” Arch Intern Med. 2012 May 14;172(9):686-94.
  3. J. Bosch, et al., “n-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with dysglycemia.” N Engl J Med. 2012 Jul 26;367(4):309-18.
  4. S.R. Eussen, et al., “Effects of n-3 fatty acids on major cardiovascular events in statin users and non-users with a history of myocardial infarction.” Eur Heart J. 2012 Jul;33(13):1582-8.
  5. W.S. Harris, “The omega-3 index as a risk factor for coronary heart disease.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jun;87(6):1997S-2002S.

If You Drink, Make it Red Wine

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/17/2012

Renew You Challenge

Let’s start this week off right!

Here is your newest weekly challenge (I mean opportunity!) to help set you off on the right foot and in the right direction for bringing health to your week. You could even add it to your calendar. Join us! 

For many people alcohol consumption should be avoided. Candida overgrowth, liver conditions, metabolic syndrome (a mix of high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and abdominal fat), and many digestive conditions all improve when alcohol is avoided. If you have one of these conditions and you haven’t removed alcohol, I urge you to do so. Your health will improve in many ways.

That said, the research behind the beneficial effects of alcohol, most notably red wine, receive a lot of attention. I came across an interesting study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In the study, ten healthy men went through four phases: 15 days of alcohol avoidance, followed by 20 days of red wine intake, 20 days of de-alcoholized red wine intake, and 20 days of gin intake. Changes in gut bacteria were monitored by stool DNA testing along the way. The researchers found interesting benefits in both the red wine and de-alcoholized red wine.

“We found that the red wine polyphenols can inhibit non-beneficial bacteria from the human microbiota and potentiate the growth of probiotic bacteria such as bifidobacteria, which could be implicated in the reduction of CRP [C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation] and cholesterol observed in our study, promoting health benefits in the host,” stated the researchers. “This was the first in vivo study to show that regular moderate consumption of red wine would have a noteworthy effect on the growth of select gut microbiota.”

Before you go out and binge on red wine, do know that alcohol is often more detrimental than it is beneficial. I am not recommending a daily glass of red wine. If you do not have any health conditions that may be worsened by alcohol (the list is long), you’ll probably be OK with a drink here and there. This week, if you pour yourself a drink, make it red wine. Incidentally, Pinot Noir contains the highest levels of resveratrol.

The WHOLE Story: Organic Food is Better

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/14/2012

The latest headlines read, “Stanford Scientists Cast Doubt on Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce, “Organic Food No Healthier than Non-Organic,” and “Organic Food Not Necessarily Better.” It was enough to make anyone following the science—and the WHOLE story—sick to the stomach. Thankfully I also saw some rational headlines, such as, “Roundup: Despite Study, Organic Food Still Worth It” and “Stanford Scientists Shockingly Reckless on Health Risk and Organics.”

First of all, adequate human studies of the health benefits of organic versus conventional foods would be extremely expensive, which is why none have been carried out in the United States to date. Diet studies that tease out individual diet components without influence from other health and lifestyle factors are complicated and expensive.

Thus, the current Stanford review of studies relied on limited evidence, a fact which they acknowledged: “There have been no long-term studies of health outcomes of populations consuming predominantly organic versus conventionally produced food controlling for socioeconomic factors; such studies would be expensive to conduct.”

At any rate, what the researchers did find was that conventional produce has a 32 percent higher risk for pesticide contamination than organic produce, and conventional chicken and pork have a higher risk for contamination with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Further, omega-3 levels in organic milk and chicken were found to be higher than in conventional versions. For some reason, these details were not mentioned with much enthusiasm. Instead, we heard about how the pesticide levels found in conventional foods are within maximum allowed limits. (As if the current maximum allowed limits make them safe. Ha!)

The potential health effects of exposure to chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are only relatively recently being explored and taken seriously. Take for example some recent studies that were conveniently not included in the Stanford review. Check them out here in my previous blogs: pesticides and children’s IQ, pesticides and ADHD, pesticides and irregular menstruation, pesticides and Parkinson’s (I could go on, but I think you get the picture).

From the harmful effects on the environment and farm workers to the potential and real harmful effects on our own health and the health of future generations, eating organically grown food simply makes sense. Yes, organic food is more expensive. But the overall benefits are worth it. If cost is an issue for you, check out the Environmental Working Group’s new Good Food on a Tight Budget shopping guide to help you stretch your organic dollars. And don’t let the media hype sway your gut feelings about organic food.


Breast Milk—And Not Infant Formula—Promotes Beneficial Biofilm

Filed in General | Posted by lsmith on 09/12/2012

Bacteria in the digestive tract exist in two main ways—First, within a polysaccharide matrix known as a biofilm that adheres to the intestinal lining or to digestive contents, or second, floating in a non-adherent manner as single cells. In the natural world, 99 percent of all bacteria exist as biofilms,1 so the study of biofilms in the gut is proving to be particularly interesting. Biofilms may be beneficial, neutral, or harmful depending on the bacteria found within them. I’ve blogged about the harmful Candida biofilm, and today I’ll talk about beneficial biofilms.

Bacteria form biofilms as a protective mechanism against other bacteria and antibiotics, and beneficial biofilms help modify and balance the immune system. Bacteria behave differently when found in a biofilm—they behave like a multicellular organism,2 in fact. In a biofilm, bacteria can more easily communicate with each other,3 through a process known as quorum sensing, and can share nutrients and even genetic material due to their close proximity.4

In the gut, biofilms adhere to the mucosal lining of the intestine and to the contents that pass through it.5 Biofilms associated with the mucosal lining are particularly important due to their intimate interaction with the immune system, which exists in and around the intestinal lining. Further, mucosal associated biofilms—when made up of beneficial bacteria—serve to protect against invaders like pathogens, undigested food particles, and endotoxins (bacterial toxins).

Other types of important biofilms exist in the lumen (the space inside the intestine). These biofilms, also important, stick to the digestive contents passing through. They are often made up of transient bacteria, which pass through the intestines with food. When made up of beneficial bacteria, these biofilms help with the break down and production of nutrients and other metabolites important for health.6

A recent study published in the journal Current Nutrition & Food Science identified the ability of breast milk to form a healthy biofilm when used as a substrate for the growth of the beneficial infant microbe, E. coli (not to be confused with the pathogenic E. coli) when compared to infant formula or cow’s milk, both of which did not form biofilms when cultured.7

“Only breast milk appears to promote a healthy colonization of beneficial biofilms, and these insights suggest there may be potential approaches for developing substitutes that more closely mimic those benefits in cases where breast milk cannot be provided,” stated William Parker, PhD, lead researcher of the study.

This study gives yet one more reason why “breast is best,” but it also provides hope that an infant formula that more closely resembles breast milk may eventually be developed so that more babies will get the nutrition they need to set their digestive systems up the way breast milk does. In the meantime, probiotics and prebiotics are recommended for pregnant mothers, and often, for infants, to help support a healthy digestive system—the foundation for total-body health.


  1. J.W. Costerton, et al., “Bacterial biofilms in nature and disease.” Ann Rev Microbiol. 1987 Oct;41:435–65.
  2. P. Watnick and R. Kolter, “Biofilm, city of microbes.” J Bacteriol. 2000 May;182(10):2675–9.
  3. E.P. Greenberg, “Bacterial communication and group behavior.” J Clin Invest. 2003 Nov;112(9):1288–90.
  4. B. Prakash, et al., “Biofilms: A survival strategy of bacteria.” Curr Sci. 2003 Nov;85(9):1299–1307.
  5. S. Macfarlane and J.F. Dillion, “Microbial biofilms in the human gastrointestinal tract.” J Appl Microbiol. 2007 May;102(5):1187-96.
  6. S. Macfarlane and G.T. Macfarlane, “Composition and metabolic activities of bacterial biofilms colonizing food residues in the human gut.” Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 September; 72(9): 6204–6211.
  7. A.Q. Zhang, et al., “Human whey promotes sessile bacterial growth, whereas alternative sources of infant nutrition promote planktonic growth.” Curr Nutr Food Sci. 2012 Aug;8(3):168–176.

Chia Seeds After Menopause

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/10/2012

Renew You Challenge

Let’s start this week off right!

Here is your newest weekly challenge (I mean opportunity!) to help set you off on the right foot and in the right direction for bringing health to your week. You could even add it to your calendar. Join us! 

If you don’t know what chia seeds are, today is your lucky day. You may remember chia seeds as those seeds you could spread over a clay “pet” to eventually sprout into a Chia Pet. Chia seeds, from the Salvia hispanica plant, are native to Mexico and Guatemala. Chia was cultivated by the pre-Columbian Aztecs, and is said to have been an important dietary staple, for good reason.

Chia seeds are rich in nutrients—one tablespoon of chia seeds provides 2,375 milligrams of the omega-3 ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), 2.5 grams of protein, and 5 grams of dietary fiber. Plus, if you eat the black seeds (as opposed to the white ones, which are less common), you get the benefit of added antioxidants found mostly in the rich-colored seed components.

The omega-3 ALA is considered the “parent” omega-3 because it is converted in the body into EPA, and then, to a lesser extent, into DHA. The conversion rate is generally quite small, however, though it can vary depending on a number of factors. A recent study published in the journal Plant Foods for Nutrition found that chia seed consumption was able to raise blood levels of EPA in postmenopausal women by 30 percent, which is higher than estimates between eight and 20 percent previously found in healthy adults.

Previously, it was known that reproductive women converted ALA into EPA 2.5 times greater than healthy men. This new study suggests that postmenopausal women may have an increased ability to convert ALA into EPA. Important to note, however, the study only involved 10 women, so further studies will be needed to confirm these results.

In the meantime, chia is such a great source of nutrients; it’s an easy way to obtain fiber, protein, and omega-3s each day. This week, add some chia to your life. For a yummy chia treat, add two tablespoons of chia to ½ cup of juice. Let it sit for about 15 minutes (or longer, if you’d like) and enjoy as a snack. The seeds gelatinize when they soak, creating an interesting texture that resembles pudding or jello. Delish!

BPA in Dental Fillings Linked to Moodiness and Aggression

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/07/2012

One of the most talked about toxins these days is bisphenol A (BPA), a toxin found in many household products. Most, if not all, people in the developing world come into contact with it every day. BPA is an endocrine disruptor, interfering with hormone function in the body. Studies that link BPA to poor health are numerous and growing. BPA is no longer allowed in baby bottles in the United States, and Canada has officially declared BPA a toxic substance. (We’re a little behind, unsurprisingly.)

Did you know that BPA-like compounds are also found in resin-based dental fillings? I blogged about this a couple years ago. Well, a new study published in the prominent journal Pediatrics discovered an alarming link—the children exposed to bisGMA-based fillings had greater impairment of psycho social function. Essentially, they were more likely to become moody, aggressive, and to be less well adjusted.

Although the researchers did not measure levels of BPA, they attribute the negative link to the oral release of BPA from the resin fillings. Fortunately, another study is already underway looking at the release of BPA from these fillings. In the meantime, experts do not recommend avoiding fillings. The health risks of tooth decay outweigh the potential risks of BPA-containing fillings at this time. In the meantime, keep abreast of the science (I’ll report anything I come across), and practice excellent oral hygiene. Floss daily, brush at least twice daily, and stay away from sugary foods and refined carbs.

Another confirmation of the negative effects of BPA comes by way of a study in primates. Much of the research on BPA comes from studies in mice, and some scientists question the relevance of those findings to humans. The primate study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, confirms that BPA levels comparable to those found in many Americans increase the density of mammary glands, a finding that in mice has been linked to precancerous and cancerous growth when exposed in utero. Because primates resemble humans biologically, the relevance of these findings is important.

“Because BPA is chemically related to diethylstilbestrol, an estrogen that increased the risk of breast cancer in both rodents and women exposed in the womb, the sum of all these findings strongly suggests that BPA is a breast carcinogen in humans and human exposure to BPA should be curtailed,” stated Ana Soto, lead author of the study.

The day this chemical is removed from everyday products in this country, I will be celebrating!