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Balancing those minerals and resistant starches: What the research news shows

How much protein do you need to control hunger that begins soon after eating?
Anne Hart, photography and book.
 
When you have to choose between prescriptions and food in Sacramento. Nutrition or conventional medicine for older adults?
 
Anne Hart, Photography. The three monkeys. Photo I snapped of exquisite sculptures exhibited outside a San Francisco gift shop, 2010.
 

When researchers studied healthy US Navy Seals to see whether they were deficient in copper, more than a third of them were. Are you copper deficient due to eating too many processed foods or foods from depleted soils?

Are your medications using up too many nutrients? (See the studies, "Regression of copper-deficient heart hypertrophy," and "Copper reverses cardiomyocytes hypertrophy.") Some dental adhesives to hold false teeth in place have so much zinc in them that the excess zinc takes out the copper in your body, and you could end up with a deficiency. See, "Denture adhesives can cause zinc overdose, study says."

 

Interestingly, researchers in medical schools in the USA have shown help for congestive heart failure by repairing a copper deficiency. How did correcting a copper deficiency in nutrition normalize heart muscle tissue when looked at under a microscope?

 

(How did they get the tissue from the person in the first place? Or were they working on mouse models?) See the study, "Dietary copper supplementation reverses hypertrophic cardiomyopathy induced by copper repletion in mice." Just think about it. The big picture is you need a balance of copper, zinc, magnesium, chromium, and other minerals. If a study worked on mice or rats, can it be applied to humans?

 

If you look at heart problems, doctors see lower levels of copper and other nutrients in the hearts when tissue is examined. The blood test for copper deficiency would test RBC (red blood cell or erythrocyte) copper. Before you rush for any chelated copper supplements with food, you need to balance all your minerals and all your nutrients.

 

According to the Nutrition Fact Sheet: Copper from Northwestern University, Nutrition, approximately one third of the total body pool of copper is localized in skeletal muscle. Another third is found in brain and liver. The remaining amount of total body copper is found in bone and other tissues. Since copper is excreted primarily in the bile, diseases of the liver and gall bladder may affect copper balance.

 

Copper absorption is regulated by changes in the total body pool

 

The increase in absorptive efficiency observed when total body copper decreases is mediated by an intestinal copper-binding protein that is also involved with mucosal storage of zinc. Consequently, high dose zinc supplements (150 mg/day) can dramatically contribute to copper deficiency by decreasing the amount of protein available to bind copper. High dose vitamin C supplements (1500 mg/day) may also decrease copper absorption because the reduced form of the mineral, which is increased in the presence of vitamin C, is less well-absorbed than the oxidized form.

 

Although severe copper deficiency is rarely observed, marginal copper status is not uncommon. High dose supplements of zinc, vitamin C, and iron are contributing causes of marginal copper deficiency. Microcytic hypochromic anemia in the presence of normal serum ferritin is the primary clinical feature of marginal copper deficiency.

 

This anemia, which is hematologically identical to iron-deficiency anemia, develops as a result of abnormalities in iron utilization. Skeletal abnormalities, reproductive difficulties, impaired nervous tissue function, and changes in hair and skin pigmentation have been observed in severe copper deficiency. A role for copper in the maintenance of bone mass has been determined from observations of osteoporosis in preterm infants born with inadequate copper reserves.

 

Copper toxicity

 

Copper toxicity is unlikely unless exposure to large amounts occurs as a result of industrial contamination or inappropriate use of supplements. Large dose copper supplements (10-20 mg/day) may contribute to liver damage, abnormalities in red blood cell formation, weakness, and nausea.

 

Copper toxicity is the primary abnormality associated with Wilson's Disease. This inborn error of metabolism initially impacts the central nervous symptom causing tremors, dystonia, dysarthria, dysphagia, chorea, drooling, mental retardation and lack of coordination. Treatment involves a copper-restricted diet and long-term oral penicillamine therapy. Penicillin binds copper and reduces its absorption

The upper limit of safety established for copper by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine is approximately 900 mcg daily for adults. But you need to balance all your minerals.

 

There are age- and gender specific guidelines for how much copper your body needs. Don't exceed the levels required for your body as copper can be toxic. Get your copper balanced by eating nutritious foods that aren't processed or grown in depleted soils. If you're doing art work with materials containing copper, you could get excess copper toxicity.

 

Loss of balance could be due to zinc toxicity from certain types of denture glue

 

Fitness trainers often wonder why so many seniors in their local classes aren't improving their ability to keep their balance. The problem may be zinc toxicity from certain types of denture glue. And the zinc may have come from excessive use of some types of denture adhesives that contained zinc at that time.

 

Various types of denture adhesives still contain zinc, and some brands took out the zinc.The original story from the Baltimore Sun by Frank D. Roylance was reprinted in today's Sacramento Bee on April 2, 2011. See the article, FDA expands probe into denture paste poisoning - dentapress. Basically, too much zinc can give you a copper deficiency. Zinc pulls out the copper in your body.

 

Also in another article, a lawsuit was filed against denture adhesive maker GlaxoSmithKline by a Butler County woman who claims that the company’s product left her permanently disabled. [Her attorney] said harmful levels of zinc in Super Poligrip caused his client, a 41-year-old woman (named in the article) to suffer a copper imbalance. You can read further details about this issue in the article, ABC Pittsburgh – Lawsuit: Super Poligrip User Became Permanently Disabled, and also see the article, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Woman Sues Over Damage From Polygrip. The copper deficiency forced the woman to leave her job and confined her to a wheelchair for a while, according to the article.

 

Yet some types of balance problems not helped by certain exercise classes might be due to excessive zinc from places most people wouldn't associate with overdosing on zinc. The individual doesn't have to be taking too many zinc supplements, either. The source of the zinc might be in the person's excessive use of denture adhesive.

 

You might be surprised to find out that certain brands of denture glue can cause health problems if they contain too much zinc. Check out the April 2, 2011 news article, "Overuse Of Denture Cream Adhesive May Lead To Zinc Overdose." Also see an earlier article, "Nerve Damage from Denture Adhesive OverUse - The Blogodontist."

 

Preliminary studies link the zinc in some types of denture adhesives to neurological damage and blood abnormalities among patients who overuse the denture glue because their dentures do not fit well. As people age, sometimes the bone changes or withdraws and dentures become too loose. Instead of going back to the dentist to get a new fitting, people who can't afford dental care, are underinsured or uninsured, or who don't want to spend more money on new dentures as their bone density changes, may overuse the dental adhesive.

 

At the University of Maryland Dental School, the scientific literature is being reviewed. Dentists need to warn their patients who use denture glues/adhesives which brands don't contain zinc and which brands do contain zinc. The problem with the zinc starts when the patient overuses the denture glue beyond the recommended amount in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

 

If you check out the reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you'll see warnings that began to appear at least three years ago. The issue came up when users of denture glue began complaining about symptoms consistent with zinc toxicity.

Will the manufacturers revise their labeling? If the product contains zinc, should the manufacturer replace it with ingredients that do not contain zinc? The link between excessive use of dental adhesives and certain health problems that resemble zinc toxicity from overuse is not yet proved, according to the American Dental Association.

 

What some of the experts think may be happening is that people are using more of the denture glue because their dentures aren't fitting right. The FDA published a statement telling patients to see their dentists and get new dentures that do fit. As people age, their bones change and false teeth can become too loose.

 

If you are using a lot of denture adhesive that contains zinc and have symptoms of zinc toxicity where include balance problems, weakness, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet or similar problems that can't be helped by exercise in increasing your ability to balance, check out your zinc levels. Is there too much zinc in your cells or blood? You could get tested for zinc toxicity. Or your balance problems could be due to many other causes.

 

If you want a brand of denture adhesive that doesn't use zinc, you might take a look at brands such as Glaxo Smith Kline's Super Poligrip. In 2010 the manufacturer stopped using zin in its original Ultra Fresh and Extra Care varieties of denture glue. The reason why manufacturers used zinc originally was because zinc made the denture glue stick better. The adhesive properties were enhanced by the zinc. Then last year, the manufacturer replaced the zinc ingredient with salt-based ingredients, for example a combination of calcium, sodium, and cellulose gum.

 

Many seniors take multiple vitamins and/or minerals with zinc, selenium, and copper

 

You can imagine what happens when an individual, especially an older person taking multivitamins containing the usual recommended daily allowance of zinc also takes more zinc along with selenium, for example to help certain prostate problems, and then gets zinc from foods such as oysters, and on top of that overuses the brands of denture glue that still contain zinc, and then takes another type of supplement or vitamin that is supposed to give the individual a balance of 15 mg of zinc and 1 mg of copper. The zinc toxicity builds up.

 

On top of that the denture adhesive could be overused for ill-fitting dentures. And pretty soon you have a participant at a class in Tai Chi who is trying to improve his or her balance and yet gets worse. So be aware, even if the link isn't yet proven. People may overuse a product without realizing how much zinc is in their adhesive.

 

They could be swallowing all that zinc because their dentures aren't a good fit in the first place. If you know someone who wears dentures, pass this information along. This also applies to people who take too many vitamins in a day that contain zinc along with other ingredients.

 

For further information see, Zinc toxicity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. And yes, there are lawyers who specialize in zinc toxicity. See the site, Denture Cream Lawyers, "specializing In zinc poisoning caused by denture cream." The issue now is between the FDA urging manufacturers to revise labeling and the American Dental Association who say that link is not yet proved.

 

Statistics show that the number of people loosing all their teeth has declined 60 percent in the United States since 1960. Seniors would like to know whether the reduction is attributed to the program of fluoridation begun in the 1940s, education on proactive dental hygiene, or implants and permanent crowns?

 

And are dentures mainly given to people too poor to afford insurance and frequent dental care including cleanings once or twice a year? Another issue is whether people floss or use machines to hydrate their gums or how often most people think about their teeth over a lifetime and in advanced age.

 

Dietary Sources of Copper

 

Copper is found in foods such as organ meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, chocolate, cherries, dried fruits, milk, tea, chicken, and potatoes. Other foods that are good sources of copper are listed below.

 

If you are told you're deficient in copper, here's a list of foods that contain varying amounts of copper, such as beef liver or oysters, cashews, molasses, and pumpkin seeds.

 

Copper Content of some Foods

 

Food Copper (mcg)

Beef liver, 3.5 oz. 450

Oysters, cooked 3.5 oz. 200

Oysters, raw, 3.5 oz. 110

Cashews, dry roasted, 1/2 cup 80

Molasses, blackstrap, 2 Tbl. 84

Pumpkin seeds, roasted, 1/2 cup 78

Black-eyed peas, cooked, 1/2 cup 70

Clams, steamed, 3.5 oz 69

Sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup 60

Unsweetened chocolate, 1 oz 62

Brewer's yeast, 2 Tbl 52

Beans, refried, 1/2 cup 50

Instant breakfast, fortified, 1 pkt 50

V-8 juice, 1 cup 48

Tofu, firm, 1/2 cup 24

Prunes, dried, 10 prunes 40

Salmon, baked, 3 oz. 30

 

Do turmeric and curry prevent the build-up of too much copper deposits in the brain?

 

Does turmeric or rather one phytochemical, curcumin in turmeric offer protective effects for the brain by preventing too much damage from build-up of excess copper and iron in your body? After all, too much copper and iron might lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. Turmeric and some curcumin also is found in curry powder.

 

See the latest news on turmeric being able to stop damage from excess copper and iron buildup in the body which some scientists are linking to possible neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Check out the May 20, 2011 news report, "High iron, copper levels block brain-cell DNA repair ."

 

You can buy turmeric in most any food market or supermarket, including in larger packages, you can buy turmeric at any of the ethnic Indian grocery stores in Sacramento. Also, you can order curcumin, the ingredient in turmeric being studied, from most health food stores or online, for example from the Life Extension Foundation. Check out the October, 2007 article by Life Extension Foundation's magazine titled, Novel Turmeric Compound Delivers Much More Curcumin to the Blood.

 

In Sacramento, who's studying cucurmin, an ingredient from turmeric, a spice to see what health benefits it may have, especially in relation to see whether cucurmin and/or turmeric has any type of prevention ability on Alzheimer's or other dementia types? So far, the closest studies to Sacramento are at UCLA. Check out the UC Davis article on cucurmin, found in turmeric, RSC Article Template (Version 3.0)[PDF].

 

In California, a study called the UCLA-Veteran's Affairs study research reiterated that curcumin, an ingredient found in turmeric has low toxicity and shows promise in "for the prevention of Alzheimer's." Be careful though, another study found that rats fed large amounts of tumeric for 14 days developed enlarged, damaged livers.

 

Turmeric is known for providing flavor to curry. One of its components is curcumin, a type of phytochemical known as a polyphenol. Research findings suggest that phytochemicals, which are the chemicals found in plants, appear to help prevent disease. As the bioactive component of turmeric, curcumin is readily absorbed for use by the body.

 

Are you getting too much copper and iron in your diet? Check out the May 20, 2011 article, "High iron, copper levels block brain-cell DNA repair." This latest discovery could shed light on Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative disorders.

In the Sacramento and Davis regional area, the University of California, Davis studies the effects turmeric or the ingredient found in turmeric, curcumin, has on protecting the brain from too much damage by accumulating amounts of copper and iron, which may or may not be linked to developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Check out the site, UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center.

Pregnant women should not use turmeric supplements. Talk to a doctor before using turmeric supplements regularly if you have any medical conditions, like gallbladder or kidney disease, bleeding disorders, diabetes, or immunity problems. The Web MD site on turmeric advises, "since turmeric can potentially increase bleeding, stop taking it at least two weeks before any surgery."

Look at the UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) information on their clinical trials of curcumin. What people want is a safe prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's and similar-type dementias using a spice or food rather than a drug with more serious side effects that only presently postpones rather than reverses. And in your own reading or research as a consumer, follow the money. The Siegel Life Foundation, Veterans Affairs, Alzheimer's Association, UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and private donors funded the that specific cucurmin research. Also see the article at News-Medical Net.

Is it true that research is beginning to show that an ingredient, a phytochemical, in turmeric called curcumin, actually reverses, slows, or even helps to prevent early stage Alzheimer's disease? Is the reported low rate of Alzheimers and some other dementia types in India due to the daily of addition of a small amount of turmeric and curry spices in the average diet?

On the other hand, At the International Alzheimer's Research Conference in Chicago, one topic that would have made a good debate might have been: could it be that the major drug companies that are actually doing Alzheimer's research in India or anywhere else are in competition with the businesses that sell spices to consumers?

For example, could it possibly be that the major drug manufacturers in India will investigate and then come to the conclusion that turmeric couldn't possibly be that good, that perhaps the element in turmeric, curcurmin isn't stopping Alzheimers. Because if the drug companies in any country admit openly that curcurmin, an ingredient in turmeric is doing any good to prevent Alzheimer's then maybe people won't be grabbing up the drugs.

These are just a few questions to ponder as research continues in various countries. See the articles based on research in magazines such as Life Extension, or the marketing material from either side? Is the research validated? Double-blind? Who funded the research and why? Read the article, "Novel Turmeric Compound Delivers Much More Curcumin to the Blood," by Dale Kiefer, Life Extension magazine, October 2007.

Curcumin is extracted from turmeric. Ask what's the reason why turmeric and curry powder containing turmeric are both anti-microbial and also a reverser of brain plaque? What does the research actually show now? Or is it all about marketing curcumin? What's the latest news?

To start your research in order to validate claims of turmeric, begin with the article, Alzheimer's Disease: Of Emerging Importance. Look at the article's Alzheimer's chart. Researchers started with looking at the reported low incidence of Alzheimer's in India.

Scientists really need to find out what safe doses of curcumin or turmeric are required. Turmeric is a spice people put in food and not a drug. So can a spice in food turn back or prevent Alzheimer's and any other dementias? Which ones? Your next stepping stone of validation is to look at the research published in the Dec 7, 2004 online edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Specifically, curcumin, found in turmeric inhibits the formation of protein fragments better than most drugs being tested at that time as Alzheimer's treatments. There's something about the curcumin, its low molecular weight and polar structure. The cucurmin crashes through your blood-brain barrier and binds to the beta amyloids that form the plaque of Alzheimer's. When the cucurmin binds to the beta amyloids, those amyloids aren't able to move on and out to worsen Alzheimer's.

Your next step might be to look at a 2001 study in the Journal of Neuroscience, 2001; 21:8370-8377. Then look at a similar study in Neurobiology of Aging, 2001; 22:993-1005. We know turmeric is an antioxidant and anti-inflammataory. And the inflamed brain of an Alzheimer's patient results in oxidation. For further information on the health trends, research, and benefits of curcumin from turmeric, see the October, 2007 article by Life Extension Foundation's magazine titled, Novel Turmeric Compound Delivers Much More Curcumin to the Blood.

Do you believe the articles based on research in magazines such as Life Extension, or the marketing material from either side? Is the research validated? Double-blind? Who funded the research and why? Read the article, "Novel Turmeric Compound Delivers Much More Curcumin to the Blood," by Dale Kiefer, Life Extension magazine, October 2007.

Curcumin is extracted from turmeric. Ask what's the reason why turmeric and curry powder containing turmeric are both anti-microbial and also a reverser of brain plaque? What does the research actually show now? Or is it all about marketing curcumin? What's the latest news?

To start your research in order to validate claims of turmeric, begin with the article, Alzheimer's Disease: Of Emerging Importance. Look at the article's Alzheimer's chart. Researchers started with looking at the reported low incidence of Alzheimer's in India.

No one knows the cause of most cases of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative disorders. But researchers have found that certain factors are consistently associated with these debilitating conditions.

One is DNA damage by reactive oxygen species, highly destructive molecules usually formed as a byproduct of cellular respiration. Another is the presence of excessive levels of copper and iron in regions of the brain associated with the particular disorder.

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers have discovered how these two pieces of the neurodegenerative disease puzzle fit together, a connection they describe in a review article in the current Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. See, UTMB | The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

A high level of copper or iron, they say, can function as a "double whammy" in the brain by both helping generate large numbers of the DNA-attacking reactive oxygen species and interfering with the machinery of DNA repair that prevents the deleterious consequences of genome damage.

"It's been suggested that an imbalance of DNA damage and repair produces a buildup of unrepaired genetic damage that can initiate neurodegenerative pathology," said postdoctoral fellow Muralidhar Hegde, lead author of the paper, " according to the May 20, 2011 news release.

"We don't yet know enough about all the biochemical mechanisms involved, but we have found multiple toxic mechanisms linking elevated iron and copper levels in the brain and extensive DNA damage — pathological features associated with most neurodegenerative disorders."

Humans ordinarily have small amounts of iron and copper in their bodies — in fact, the elements are essential to health. But some people's tissues contain much larger quantities of iron or copper, which overwhelm the proteins that normally bind the metals and sequester them for safe storage. The result: so-called "free" iron or copper ions, circulating in the blood and able to initiate chemical reactions that produce reactive oxygen species.

"Reactive oxygen species cause the majority of the brain cell DNA damage that we see in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, as well as most other neurodegenerative disorders," Hegde said, in the news release.

"It's bad enough if this damage occurs on one strand of the DNA double helix, but if both strands are damaged at locations close to each other you could have a double-strand break, which would be fatal to the cell."

Normally, special DNA repair enzymes would quickly mend the injury, restoring the genome's integrity. But experiments conducted by Hegde and his colleagues showed that iron and copper significantly interfere with the activity of two DNA repair enzymes, known as NEIL1 and NEIL2.

"Our results show that by inhibiting NEIL1 and NEIL2, iron and copper play an important role in the accumulation of DNA damage in neurodegenerative diseases," Hegde said, according to the news release.

The researchers got a surprise when they tested substances that bond to iron and copper and could protect NEIL1 from the metals. One of the strongest protective agents was the common South Asian spice curcumin, which also has been shown to have other beneficial health effects.

"The results from curcumin were quite beautiful, actually," Hegde said in the news release. "It was very effective in maintaining NEIL activity in cells exposed to both copper and iron."

Other authors of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease paper include research associate Pavana Hegde; K.S. Rao, director of the Institute for Scientific Research and High Technology Services in Panama; and UTMB Professor Sankar Mitra. The United States Public Health Service and the American Parkinson's Disease Association supported this research.

Established in 1891, Texas' first academic health center, UTMB, comprises four health sciences schools, three institutes for advanced study, a research enterprise that includes one of only two national laboratories dedicated to the safe study of infectious threats to human health, and a health system offering a full range of primary and specialized medical services throughout Galveston County and the Texas Gulf Coast region.

UTMB Health is a component of the University of Texas System and a member of the Texas Medical Center. Check out the research being done at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

How much protein do you need to control hunger that begins soon after eating?

Ghrelin controls hunger and is a hormone. So how much protein does your family need at breakfast to keep each age group from feeling hungry within an hour or two after eating or for kids, at the time of the school lunch? Ghrelin is produced mainly by P/D1 cells lining the fundus of the human stomach and epsilon cells of the pancreas that stimulates hunger. Why do you crave certain foods?

Kids and adults get food cravings when they don't eat enough protein-rich foods in the morning, before leaving for school or other activities. Should you eat to control your ghrelin hormone? And certain food cravings have more to do with how your brain responds to specific tastes and scents such as the taste of chocolate, mint, cheese, meats that are first browned before cooking, and certain fermented foods. What your brain responds to also depends on your early childhood food habits and your culture. But all brains appear to respond to the taste of mildly sweet foods that also have a rich aroma.

A study created by a food sciences and nutrition graduate student at UC Davis in the Sacramento and Davis regional area tracked a group of participants who ate half a bag of sour patch kids for breakfast every day, according to that article. During a 3 month period the participants in the UC Davis study lost on average 30 pounds more than the control group. You also could take a look at the article from a 1992 UC Davis Medical School study, Serotonin response in sweet-food craving Alzheimer's disease subjects. And do food cravings just mean your blood sugar/glucose levels are too low?

These findings surprised the study participants and the Sacramento and Davis area nutrition community. After all it seems counter intuitive that sugar coated in sour sugar would do anything but pack the pounds on. Check out the April 11, 2011 article, "That's What She Fed: sour patch kids linked to weight loss."

Of course, all is theory, but another theory that has emerged from the UC Davis study. Researchers at other universities believe that the high amounts of tartaric acid found in sour patch kid's sour coating bind with semi digested molecules from the red #40 dye in red sour patch kids.

Ghrelin controls hunger

Should you teach your child what makes people hungry and what makes them feel full, for example how ghrelin controls hunger and how brain chemicals control food cravings? The University of California, Davis has studied how a protein-rich breakfast may stop food cravings in its tracks.

Scientists think that this string of molecules enters the blood stream and binds to the chemical receptors in your brain that perceive hunger, temporarily fooling your body that it is not hungry. This theory has not been proven but preliminary evidence is enough to motivate the nutrition community to keep testing the theories. But on another note, if you really want to stop food cravings for the day, just eat a protein-rich breakfast.

Food cravings can be stopped pretty much in their tracks by eating a protein-rich breakfast. Check out the May 18, 2011 University of Missouri News Bureau article from Columbia, Missouri, "Eat a protein-rich breakfast to reduce food cravings, prevent overeating later, researcher finds."

Also check out the video on Vimeo, "Eat a Protein-Rich Breakfast to Reduce Food Cravings, Prevent Overeating Later, MU Researcher Finds from MU News Bureau on Vimeo." A University of Missouri researcher has found that eating a healthy breakfast, especially one high in protein, increases satiety and reduces hunger throughout the day. In addition, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) the researchers found that eating a protein-rich breakfast reduces the brain signals controlling food motivation and reward-driven eating behavior.

 

Eating healthy, protein-rich breakfasts, such as waffles made with protein powder, can be a simple strategy for improving appetite control and preventing overeating.“Everyone knows that eating breakfast is important, but many people still don’t make it a priority,” said Heather Leidy, assistant professor in the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, according to the MU news article. “This research provides additional evidence that breakfast is a valuable strategy to control appetite and regulate food intake.”

 

In the study, Leidy assessed physiological hunger and satiety by measuring perceived appetite sensations and hormonal markers in combination with psychological reward-driven motivation to eat, using fMRI to identify brain activation in specific regions related to food motivation and reward.

 

Fluctuations in Serotonin Levels and Food Cravings

 

Do fluctuations in your serotonin levels lead to food cravings? Do you crave certain foods because you're allergic to those foods? Or could the cravings come from some food ingredient, trace mineral, or nutrient you're missing?

What about your ghrelin levels and how hungry you feel? Ghrelin is a gastrointestinal hormone produced by epithelial cells lining the fundus of the stomach. It appears to be a stimulant for appetite and feeding, but is also a strong stimulant of growth hormone secretion from the anterior pituitary.

 

Ghrelin is a gastrointestinal hormone (a GI hormone) that affects your gastrointestinal functioning, such as how hungry you become. Ghrelin levels may also make you feel that it's time to stop eating because you feel full. Your stomach feels like it's stretched out enough and sometimes "you just can't eat another bite of food."

 

What do other articles based on research tell you, and where can you validate the evidence? Check out the video on what causes some types of food cravings. Brains are overstimulated by a mix of fats and sugars, for example.

 

Sacramento nutritionists may study food cravings in relation to possible imbalances or deficiencies of trace minerals or other food-related needs that vary from carbon to sulfur. In the Sacramento and Davis regional areas, a study from the University of California, Davis focused on sweet cravings with Alzheimer's patients. But it was a preliminary study limited by a small sample size.

 

Allowing for assumptions concerning central nervous system regulatory processes, the data suggested a possible role for the serotonin system in sweet-food craving in Alzheimer's disease. The study appears in PMID: 1504133 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE].

 

According to the article, “Combat Your Food Cravings,” in the June 2009 issue of Natural Solutions magazine, page 79, if you crave sweets, what your body really needs are trace amounts of chromium, carbon, phosphorus, sulfur, and tryptophan. You can get all of these in small amounts from the following foods: To get enough chromium, eat broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, and chicken. Think about this.

 

Your body may need those items. But make sure that's what you need by talking with a health care professional trained in working with food patients trying to find out what is causing the food cravings.

 

You'd need to be tested for deficiencies and your usual food habits discussed. What if your cravings are actually caused by deficiencies in what you eat? There have been studies on what foods, minerals, amino acids, and other items that are required for health. But you need to tailor what you really need to your own deficiencies.

Remember that you may only need small, trace amounts of minerals. So don’t go overboard with heavy supplement doses of anything. Your first step is to find out what you need and tailor what you eat to your body's needs.

 

Numerous studies have shown that five minerals (and their co-factors) are critical for adequate blood sugar control: chromium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vanadium. But too much of these minerals are toxic. Find out how much you need.

 

For example, according to the article, "Weight Management As A Holistic Syndrome" by Carol Simontacchi, at the Deep Fitness site, Chromium is a cofactor with insulin. It’s essential for normal glucose utilization, for growth, and for longevity. Chromium works together with nicotinic acid and glutathione. Chromium is required for normal fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

 

Five minerals (and their co-factors) are critical for adequate blood sugar control: chromium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vanadium, according to the article, Mineral Deficiencies And Food Cravings. Manganese also is associated with sugar and fat metabolism. Stress also triggers chocolate cravings possibly by altering the dopamine and noradrenaline levels in your brain. And dopamine is a magnesium-dependent neurotransmitter.

 

A multiple mineral supplement, such as Eidon ionic liquid multiple minerals with silica can supply you with trace amounts of these minerals. But your body also needs to obtain various elements, minerals, and amino acids from whole, unprocessed fresh foods.

 

Cravings analyzed in mainstream media

 

If you crave a lot of chocolate, what your body may need is magnesium. Low levels of magnesium trigger low levels of dopamine in the brain. This in turn may trigger desires for chocolate as a way to increase dopamine. As the dopamine increases, so does the pleasure of eating the chocolate. But chocolate is said to be very addictive.

Instead of eating lots of chocolate, get your magnesium from raw nuts and seeds, legumes such as lentils and garbanzos, and fruits. If you crave salty foods, your body may really need a bit of chloride.

 

So if you aren’t salt sensitive, you can sprinkle on your food some mineral salt or sea salt that’s unrefined. If you’re salt sensitive, another food containing chloride is fish. Open a can of wild Alaskan salmon. You can choose the no-salt added variety as the chloride already is in the fish.

 

Chloride also turns up in raw goat milk. If you’re old enough to have less digestive enzymes, ask your doctor whether taking digestive enzymes such as betaine hydrochloride would be of help for your individual needs.

You might also have a zinc deficiency. Food sources of zinc include oysters and red meat. Many Americans consume less than 10 mg of zinc per day. This amount is less than what is required for normal sugar metabolism or the other functions of zinc in the body. Or maybe your zinc and copper levels are out of balance.

 

White spots on the fingernails may signal a zinc deficiency. For further documentation on zinc deficiency and white spots on the fingernails, see the book, Dr. Pfeiffer's Total Nutrition (1980) by Carl C. Pfeiffer, Ph.D., M.D. The late Dr. Pfeiffer was the former director of the Princeton Brain Bio Center.

 

If you take too much zinc as a supplement, you can create a copper deficiency

 

Minerals need to be taken in balance and in small amounts. See the study, Sandstead, Harold H., M.D., and Alcock, Nancy W., Ph.D., Zinc: an essential and unheralded nutrient. Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine, 197;130(2):116-118. As cited in Clinical Pearls 1997 pg. 271. Also see, Amyard, N., Leyris, A., Monier, C., Frances, H., Boulu, RG, Henrotte, JG., Brain catecholamines, serotonin and their metabolites in mice selected for low (MGL) and high (MGH) blood magnesium levels. Magnesium Research, 8(1):5-9, 1995 Mar. Check with your doctor before you take anything that’s not from whole foods.

 

Supplements and even certain whole foods can interfere or interact with any medications you’re taking. Make sure you’re not allergic to any foods or supplements you're being given. Also be sure you don't have any kidney or other organ problems before you take any supplements that might make a problem worse.

 

According to the article, “Combat Your Food Cravings,” in the June 2009 issue of Natural Solutions magazine, page 79, if you crave soda pop and carbonated beverages, what your body may need is calcium. The article suggests that you get your calcium instead from kale, legumes, cheese, sesame seeds or tahini (ground sesame seed paste), mustard greens, turnip greens, and broccoli.

 

Is there any place in Sacramento that consumers can go to to find answers and validation as to whether any given food cravings signal a corresponding nutrient deficiency?

 

Are not enough blood and oxygen getting to your brain?

 

Or are there specific nutritional deficiencies depending upon what you crave? Take at look at the YouTube videos with Dr. Amen (author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Body). See the YouTube videos: 6 Tips to Control Your Food Cravings and Controlling Your Food Cravings Pt 2. One question you may have is where do you find validated medical information such as published studies on the meaning of cravings or specific food-craving tips?

 

Abnormal sweet-food craving may occur in subjects with Alzheimer's disease, according to the study's abstract. This behavior may be due to abnormalities in the brain serotonin system. Fenfluramine stimulates the brain serotonin neurosystem, producing an increase in systemic prolactin. If you don't have any disease, could fluctuations in your serotonin levels influence your food cravings at any age?

 

In one UC Davis study, using the fenfluramine stimulation test, brain serotonin system response was evaluated in 12 subjects with probable Alzheimer's disease. The subjects' caregivers completed questionnaires concerning subject food preferences and behaviors. Alzheimer's disease subjects with sweet-food craving were found to have a significantly higher response to fenfluramine than non sweet-food craving subjects.

How does your brain respond to sweet-food cravings? Is there something chemically changed in your body or brain before you start craving a particular food? Perhaps it may be a hormone in your body? Or are you deficient in some nutrient?

 

UC Davis study on sweet cravings and dementia

 

The UC Davis study on sweet cravings with Alzheimer's patients was a preliminary study limited by a small sample size. Allowing for assumptions concerning central nervous system regulatory processes, the data suggested a possible role for the serotonin system in sweet-food craving in Alzheimer's disease.

 

The study appears in PMID: 1504133 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]. What about fluctuations in your own serotonin levels perhaps leading to food cravings? Or could the cravings come from some food ingredient or nutrient you're missing? What do other articles say, and where can you validate the evidence?

 

How to Combat Food Cravings

 

Natural Solutions magazine, page 79, the article notes, if you crave sweets, what your body really needs are trace amounts of chromium, carbon, phosphorus, sulfur, and tryptophan. You can get all of these in small amounts from the following foods: To get enough chromium, eat broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, and chicken. Think about this.

 

How can you find out whether this idea has been validated in credible medical journals? Where can you turn to for nutrition information after reading interviews in magazines? The only problem with articles where health professionals are interviewed is where can you go to validate all these statements in scientific studies or journals if references aren't listed in a sidebar?

 

Resources on food cravings

 

Where can you find the resources without having to subscribe to the medical journals? Start with the public library or some of the online nutrition sites that have references.

You might find the following article links helpful in finding out why you may have food cravings. Do food cravings mean vitamin or mineral deficiencies? See the site, Cravings & Vitamin Deficiencies | Livestrong.com. Also check out the article, Food Cravings and What they Mean. And check out the article, Naturopathyworks - food cravings.

See the article, "What Do Your Food Cravings Mean." The question Sacramento consumers want to ask is whether your body craves a certain food because it needs a specific nutrient found in that food. There's also the phenomenon of false cravings. Where can you check out the following information and validate it? The list appears at the article site, "What Do Your Food Cravings Mean."

 

Do Cravings Signal Deficiencies?

 

Craving chocolate means you're deficient in copper and magnesium. True or False? Where can you validate this information with actual medical studies or medical journal reports?

 

If you crave dairy products, you're deficient in calcium. If you crave nuts and seeds, your deficient in fatty acids, especially omega 3 fatty acids.

 

You also may be deficient in sea salt. If you crave chocolate when you get PMS, you're deficient in magnesium. During menstruation the need for magnesium increases.

If you crave carbs, perhaps your blood glucose is down. Will vitamin B complex in small amounts or a small of magnesium then help? Can your health care team answer that question?

 

You can figure out that carbs do have some B vitamins, but much of it is stripped out, for example, if you eat white rice. If you crave salt, perhaps you need a bit of iodine in a tiny amount. You won't get it from table salt or salty nuts or chips. Even iodized salt is processed, perhaps, with aluminum. Try toasted Nori seaweed instead, unless you're allergic to it.

 

If you crave sweet and sour foods, is your liver trying to get rid of toxins? What if you crave dill pickle juice, whether you're pregnant or not? Do you need some type of liver support or do you need dark green veggies such as spinach or kale? Is your liver congested?

 

Is your thyroid thermostat turned off? These facts are mentioned in the article, "What Do Your Food Cravings Mean." But if you ask your doctor these questions, what kind of answer do you think you might get? Is your doctor too busy to read medical journals? If so, find them yourself.

 

How do you locate the studies in which journals? And can you afford to read the abstracts for free or buy a subscription to the journal? Most people can't afford a subscription to to get an answer. Where can you turn for free information to answer these questions with validated medical informational materials?

If you crave sweets, should you eat the whole fruit and avoid the sugary juice to avoid blood glucose spikes that may create insulin sensitivity? What's wrong with the people who crave and eat dirt or chalk? Are they deficient in trace minerals?

 

Do they need a tablespoon of liquid multiminerals? If you're craving fatty, fried foods, perhaps you need extra virgin olive oil, about a tablespoon, or a cup of coconut milk. Those are questions you need to find answers to, and the problem is the lack of validated information online.

 

People craving spice may have a thyroid imbalance. Find out. Instead of spice, would garlic give your food the heat you crave? Or are your taste buds only tasting food as bland? If you need caffeine, are your adrenal glands exhausted? Do you need more vitamin C?

 

If you smoke, is your craving for a cigarette caused by not enough vitamin B complex in your diet? Or is it caused by emotional stress? If you crave alcohol such as wine or beer, do you have an L-Glutamine deficiency? Or perhaps you have the gene for alcoholism in your family that you've inherited and need to stay away from all alcohol?

Are you addicted to meat or crave meat? What amino acid are you lacking? Is it a problem with protein? Is there excess protein in your diet or none? If you chew on ice, do you have an iron deficiency? Or if you crave beets or beet juice, you may also have an iron deficiency.

 

Get tested and find out. Either you're deficient or your stressed out with nervous exhaustion or adrenal exhaustion. Maybe you need more hours of sleep. Some resources suggest asking your doctor if your condition permits you to try a small amount of magnesium, one capsule if your doctor okays it and your kidneys are normal and can handle a little magnesium. It may help you not to crave carbohydrates such as ice cream after a hard day's labor. People with certain kidney conditions are told not to take magnesium supplements.

 

So always ask your health care professional whether your kidneys permit any type of supplements such as magnesium before you take anything.

The big problem with all these media and consumer magazine or medical journal solutions to cravings is that it's difficult to find validated medical studies online to back up the claims of what causes cravings other than getting your cells or blood tested for deficiencies. Talk to your health care team. It could be you need a test that doesn't measure the serum blood level, but how much of a nutrient actually gets absorbed into your cells.

 

Were the majority of humans throughout history and prehistory genetically predisposed to atherosclerosis or just a few?

 

What gave ancient Egyptian royalty heart disease starting early in life? See the May 17, news release, "Egyptian princess was first person with diagnosed coronary artery disease." Did inflammation from parasites cause calcification of the arteries around the heart?

 

Most people went barefoot or wore sandals that allowed their feet to touch the ground in places where the ground was used as an open toilet. If you go back to very early Neolithic times in Austria and Northern Italy, the Ice man mummy found had hardening of the arteries on whatever diet he ate. And what was found on him were blueberries. Which was worse, eating more butter, meat, and cheese, or eating more grains, fruits and vegetables? That depends upon how your body responds to either of these foods in excess.

 

What can you do to protect your child from early hardening of the arteries? You might find out whether the child has already begun to develop inflammation and calcium build up early in life.

 

In those early days when farming was still an idea and hunting for meat or fishing was the main diet source, scientists still find that atherosclerosis shows up, that calcification of the arteries. What did the ancients eat that hardened their arteries early in life? Are some people protected against hardening of the arteries whatever they eat?

 

And why are these people in the minority, when most individuals will sooner or later get calcified arteries? The main question, what diet will help delay it? The answer: it depends on what food and activity your body responds to with inflammation or the opposite. Parasites don't help. And neither would infections or inflammation from bacteria in the teeth, gums, arteries, or joints.

 

Parasites would be attracted to the feces, which would then get on the bottom of the feet of various persons. Then the individual would carry the parasites on the bottom of the feet into the pools where they would bathe. At that time the parasites would get into the body through the orifices or by swallowing bath water without realizing the parasites from the bottom of the feet were released in the bath water which went into the nose, mouth, eyes, and ears of anyone bathing in the pools.

 

So basically, it wasn't only the diet or the sedentary lifestyle of royal women. It also was the inflammation and infection from parasites, including abscessed teeth, gum disease, and grains rotting out the teeth that could cause infections that lead to calcification of the heart. After all, heart disease is caused more by inflammation in the body than by a Neolithic diet. See, Abscessed Tooth Symptoms, Pain, Treatment, Remedy, Relief.

 

The royal family ate fish, figs, pomegranates, grains, beer, and wine, along with poultry or other birds, and some shellfish. The main source of the calcification was infection from parasites, including tape worms, pin worms, and other infectious creatures. And there could have been malaria mosquitoes as well, leading up to calcification from infection and inflammation throughout the body.

 

If the ancients were drinking lots of olive oil on their meat or in their stews, they would be getting a different kind of fat than if they were eating only marrow and meat like the Paleolithic diets rather than the grain-based Neolithic diets. Scientists have known for a long time that heart disease and calcification of the coronary arteries starts in childhood, with young men in their late teens and early twenties showing calcification around the heart when they have been autopsied after dying from accidents or war-related injuries. Some children and teenagers develop hypertension early in life, but as long as heart disease is ancient, does it come from a Neolithic diet, mainly based on grains, especially breads, cakes, and fermented grains?

 

Or did hardening of the arteries come from foods that cause excessive buildup of calcium in the arteries, such as an excess of omega 6 fatty acids from oils, not balanced by enough omega 3 and omega 9 fatty acids from various vegetables, fish, seeds, or nuts? Peanuts have an excessive amount of omega 6 oils, but did they grow in Neolithic times in Africa?

 

And if so, how did excessive omega 6 fatty acids and grains get into the Neolithic diet in Egypt starting 12,000 years ago and progressing to 3,000 years ago when people in the royal lived mainly on grains (bread) and fermented grain beverages, with some meat and fish? What would cause the excessive calcification other than a sedentary live and too many calories? Could these people have eaten too much meat with their grains?

 

Or would infections in their gums from too many grains causing tooth decay have caused an infection in the heart, which led to calcification of the arteries as a response to inflammation? Or did the diet and lack of exercise in the royal family household contribute to general inflammation and gum disease with abcesses from decayed teeth due to grain rotting out the teeth?

 

Ancient and prehistoric peoples with hardened arteries and heart disease

 

The coronary arteries of Princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon - as visualized by whole body computerized tomography (CT) scanning - featured last year in May 15-18, 2011 in two presentations at the International Conference of Non-Invasive Cardiovascular Imaging (ICNC) in Amsterdam. ICNC is now one of the world's major scientific event in nuclear cardiology and cardiac CT imaging.

 

The Egyptian princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon, who lived in Thebes (Luxor) between 1580 and 1550 BC and who is now known to be first person in human history with diagnosed coronary artery disease, lived on a diet rich in vegetables, fruit and a limited amount of meat from domesticated (but not fattened) animals. Wheat and barley were grown along the banks of the Nile, making bread and beer the dietary staples of this period of ancient Egypt. Tobacco and trans-fats were unknown, and lifestyle was likely to have been active.

 

Both presentations were based on findings from the Horus study, in which arterial atherosclerosis was investigated in 52 ancient Egyptian mummies. Results have shown that recognizable arteries were present in 44 of the mummies, with an identifiable heart present in 16. Arterial calcification (as a marker of atherosclerosis) was evident at a variety of sites in almost half the mummies scanned, prompting the investigators to note that the condition was common in this group of middle aged or older ancient Egyptians; the 20 mummies with definite atherosclerosis were older (mean 45.years) than those with intact vascular tissue but no atherosclerosis (34.5 years).

 

Although relatively common at other vascular sites, atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries was evident in only three of the mummies investigated, but was clearly visualized in Princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon (in whom calcification was present in every vascular bed visualized). The CT scan image shows that the princess, who died in her 40s, had atherosclerosis in two of her three main coronary arteries. "Today," said Dr Gregory S Thomas, director of Nuclear Cardiology Education at the University of California, Irvine, USA, and co-principal investigator of the Horus study, "she would have needed by-pass surgery," according to the news release.

 

"Overall, it was striking how much atherosclerosis we found," said Dr Thomas, according to the news release. "We think of atherosclerosis as a disease of modern lifestyle, but it's clear that it also existed 3,500 years ago. Our findings certainly call into question the perception of atherosclerosis as a modern disease, he reported in the press release."

If, however, the princess enjoyed a diet deemed to be healthy and pursued a lifestyle probably active, how could this "disease of modern life" affect her so visibly? Dr Thomas and his co-principal investigator Dr Adel Allam of Al Azhar University, Cairo, suggest three possibilities.

 

First, that there is still some unknown risk factor for cardiovascular disease, or at least a missing link in our understanding of it. Dr Allam noted a likely effect of genetic inheritance, pointing out that much of the human predisposition to atherosclerosis could be secondary to their genes.

 

He similarly raised the possibility that an inflammatory response to the frequent parasitic infections common to ancient Egyptians might predispose to coronary disease - in much the same way that immunocompromised HIV cases seem also predisposed to early coronary disease. Nor can a dietary effect be excluded, despite what we know of life in ancient Egypt. Princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon was from a noble family, her father, Seqenenre Tao II, the last pharaoh of the 17th Dynasty.

 

Did eating luxury foods contribute to heart disease and calcified arteries in ancient times?

 

So it's likely that her diet was not that of the common Egyptian. As a royal, she would have eaten more luxury foods - more meat, butter and cheese. Moreover, foods were preserved in salt, which may also have had an adverse effect. Did the excess salt on preserved foods contribute to hypertension if she were predisposed to it?

Despite the suggestion of a genetic, inflammatory or unknown effect, Drs Thomas and Allam were keen not to discount those risk factors for heart disease which we do know about. Indeed, even in the study's apparent association of atheroma with increasing age, there was a pattern of prevalence consistent with our own epidemiology today.

 

"Recent studies have shown that by not smoking, having a lower blood pressure and a lower cholesterol level, calcification of our arteries is delayed," said co-investigator Dr Randall C Thompson of the St Luke's Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, USA, according to the news release. "On the other hand, from what we can tell from this study, humans are predisposed to atherosclerosis, so it behooves us to take the proper measures necessary to delay it as long as we can."

 

Most of the Horus study research was performed at the National Museum of Antiquities in Cairo and would not have been possible without the availability of non-invasive CT scanning, the focus of the ICNC congress in Amsterdam. CT scanning and nuclear medicine imaging are the cornerstones of modern quantifiable cardiac disease detection, with safe and reproducible results.

 

Too much zinc could be one of the reasons why you're losing your balance

 

fitness trainers often wonder why so many seniors in their local classes aren't improving their ability to keep their balance. Sacramento has numerous classes in Tai Chi at the various senior centers and even at some natural food store conference rooms, and Tai Chi for seniors or chair Yoga also is offered at some CSUS lifelong learning classes and at the various UC Davis classes for those active in retirement.

 

The problem may be zinc toxicity. And the zinc may have come from excessive use of some types of denture adhesives that contained zinc at that time. Various types of denture adhesives still contain zinc, and some brands took out the zinc.The original story from the Baltimore Sun by Frank D. Roylance was reprinted in today's Sacramento Bee on April 2, 2011. See the article, FDA expands probe into denture paste poisoning » dentapress. Basically, too much zinc can give you a copper deficiency. Zinc pulls out the copper in your body.

 

Also in another article, a lawsuit was filed against denture adhesive maker GlaxoSmithKline by a Butler County woman who claims that the company’s product left her permanently disabled. [Her attorney] said harmful levels of zinc in Super Poligrip caused his client, a 41-year-old woman (named in the article) to suffer a copper imbalance.

 

The copper deficiency forced the woman to leave her job and confined her to a wheelchair for a while, according to Peirce. You can read further details about this issue in the article, ABC Pittsburgh – Lawsuit: Super Poligrip User Became Permanently Disabled, and also see the article, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Woman Sues Over Damage From Polygrip.

 

Yet some types of balance problems not helped by certain exercise classes might be due to excessive zinc from places most people wouldn't associate with overdosing on zinc. The individual doesn't have to be taking too many zinc supplements, either. The source of the zinc might be in the person's excessive use of denture adhesive.

 

You might be surprised to find out that certain brands of denture glue can cause health problems if they contain too much zinc. Check out the April 2, 2011 news article, "Overuse Of Denture Cream Adhesive May Lead To Zinc Overdose." Also see an earlier article, "Nerve Damage from Denture Adhesive OverUse - The Blogodontist."

 

Preliminary studies link the zinc in some types of denture adhesives to neurological damage and blood abnormalities among patients who overuse the denture glue because their dentures do not fit well. As people age, sometimes the bone changes or withdraws and dentures become too loose. Instead of going back to the dentist to get a new fitting, people who can't afford dental care, are underinsured or uninsured, or who don't want to spend more money on new dentures as their bone density changes, may overuse the dental adhesive.

 

At the University of Maryland Dental School, the scientific literature is being reviewed. Dentists need to warn their patients who use denture glues/adhesives which brands don't contain zinc and which brands do contain zinc. The problem with the zinc starts when the patient overuses the denture glue beyond the recommended amount in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

 

If you check out the reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you'll see warnings that began to appear at least three years ago. The issue came up when users of denture glue began complaining about symptoms consistent with zinc toxicity.

Will the manufacturers revise their labeling? If the product contains zinc, should the manufacturer replace it with ingredients that do not contain zinc? The link between excessive use of dental adhesives and certain health problems that resemble zinc toxicity from overuse is not yet proved, according to the American Dental Association.

 

What some of the experts think may be happening is that people are using more of the denture glue because their dentures aren't fitting right. The FDA published a statement telling patients to see their dentists and get new dentures that do fit. As people age, their bones change and false teeth can become too loose.

 

If you are using a lot of denture adhesive that contains zinc and have symptoms of zinc toxicity where include balance problems, weakness, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet or similar problems that can't be helped by exercise in increasing your ability to balance, check out your zinc levels. Is there too much zinc in your cells or blood? You could get tested for zinc toxicity. Or your balance problems could be due to many other causes.

 

If you want a brand of denture adhesive that doesn't use zinc, you might take a look at brands such as Glaxo Smith Kline's Super Poligrip. In 2010 the manufacturer stopped using zin in its original Ultra Fresh and Extra Care varities of denture glue. The reason why manufacturers used zinc originally was because zinc made the denture glue stick better. The adhesive properties were enhanced by the zinc. Then last year, the manufacturer replaced the zinc ingredient with salt-based ingredients, for example a combination of calcium, sodium, and cellulose gum.

 

You can imagine what happens when an individual, especially an older person taking multivitamins containing the usual recommended daily allowance of zinc also takes more zinc along with selenium, for example to help certain prostate problems, and then gets zinc from foods such as oysters, and on top of that overuses the brands of denture glue that still contain zinc, and then takes another type of supplement or vitamin that is supposed to give the individual a balance of 15 mg of zinc and 1 mg of copper. The zinc toxicity builds up.

 

On top of that the denture adhesive could be overused for ill-fitting dentures. And pretty soon you have a participant at a class in Tai Chi who is trying to improve his or her balance and yet gets worse. So be aware, even if the link isn't yet proven. People may overuse a product without realizing how much zinc is in their adhesive. They could be swallowing all that zinc because their dentures aren't a good fit in the first place. If you know someone who wears dentures, pass this information along. This also applies to people who take too many vitamins in a day that contain zinc along with other ingredients.

 

For further information see, Zinc toxicity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. And yes, there are lawyers who specialize in zinc toxicity. See the site, Denture Cream Lawyers, "specializing In zinc poisoning caused by denture cream." The issue now is between the FDA urging manufacturers to revise labeling and the American Dental Association who say that link is not yet proved.

 

Mineral imbalances

 

Many seniors and others want to know how to prevent mineral imbalances in their body. For example, too-large doses of single nutrients cause imbalances with other nutrients. One form of vitamin B if taken in high amounts can pull out the other forms of Vitamin B. Vitamin B is supposed to pull energy from foods, not other forms of vitamin B from you.

Mineral and vitamin cofactors are involved in our biochemical reactions.

 

This means in plain language that we all need a mineral balance, and too many of one vitamin type can wash out the other vitamins out of your system. The proportion of vitamin B you need if you take supplements, check out the sites, "Definitive Vitamin B Complex Guide | Liquid Vitamin B," and "B vitamins and omega fat ratio are critical to prevent Alzheimer's Disease." What you want to know is how much vitamin B of one type balances the vitamin B of another type in your supplement or foods.

 

Too much zinc pulls out the copper you may need as a trace mineral

 

If you take too much zinc for too long, it can cause a copper deficiency in your body, possibly resulting in anemia, neutropenia, impaired immune function, serum lipid (fats) abnormalities, and many types of neurological dysfunctions such as myelopathy. If you have Wilson's disease, you won't be taking any copper supplements or multivitamins with added copper unless you have a condition your doctor will discuss with you where you need specific types of minerals and vitamins.

 

For example, people with Wilson's disease have a condition where too much copper builds up in their body just from foods and the environment. The whites of their eyes often turn yellow. But the yellow coloring of the whites of eyes also is present in other conditions such as liver problems, jaundice, or hepatitis. That's why you need to find out what your body needs, your deficiencies, and what you tolerate.

 

Too many supplements can be harmful and so can too little nutrition if you look at phytonutrients and micronutrients in foods

 

Check out some of the health problems caused by taking too much of any given type of supplement if you take just one type of supplement for too long, in the January 2011 issue of the Townsend Letter magazine the current editorial by Alan R. Gaby, M.D. (The magazine is now available in print in your library, bookstore, or by subscription.)

 

In that current edition you'll find Dr. Gaby's editorial on page 94, "Do Calcium Supplements Cause Cardiovascular Disease?" See that article. Or check out the original study referred to in the editorial, "Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovscular events: meta analysis," BMJ. 2010;341:c3691.

 

Other supplements mentioned that could cause problems is zinc, if taken in too high a dose for too long. The editorial directs the reader to medical journal articles on page 95 noting studies to back up the claims of the editorial.

 

For example, the long-term administration of the wrong type of vitamin E, which sometimes is that cheaper or synthetic health food store or supermarket variety that contains only one type of vitamin E called alpha-tocopherol may explain the increased incidence of heart failure associated with taking vitamin E that only contains alpha-tocopherol.

 

Vitamin E with all its parts

Instead, your vitamin E when taken in its natural form, should have all four parts of the vitamin E such as d-Gamma tocopherol, d-Delta tocopherol, d-Alpha tocopherol, and d-Beta tocopherol. To read more about this study of vitamin E and its health effects related to an increased incidence of heart failure, check out the study, "JAMA -- Vitamin E Supplementation, Cardiovascular Events, and Cancer, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). 2005;294:425. (Gaby, A.R.). Also see the study, JAMA -- Effects of Long-term Vitamin E Supplementation on Cardiovascular and Cancer.

 

In the Townsend Letter editorial, the author notes that when animals are fed a high-calcium diet, the high calcium decreases the level of magnesium in the tissues of the animals studied. Now, if a human has a diet deficient in magnesium and then takes calcium alone, what do you think the result will be? Probably a magnesium deficiency.

 

The role of magnesium

 

Doctors know that magnesium in the human body has various heart-protective effects (cardioprotective). Just the right amount of magnesium in the human body helps to stop blood from clotting too much, relaxes the smooth muscles, promoting vasodilation. You want some vasodilation if you need to lower your blood pressure somewhat.

If you have certain types of arrhythmia, magnesium has been found to have some anti-arrhythmia properties. So talk to your doctor to see whether some magnesium can be of help in your particular condition. If you look closer at what magnesium can do, you'll notice in the studies that magnesium plays a role in the synthesis of ATP. And you need a normal amount of ATP for normal heart function. But you need to find out what's normal for you to function in balance.

 

Scientists know that magnesium promotes the uptake of potassium in the cells. And a small amount of potassium, in balance with other minerals, of course, is another heart-protective mineral, if not overdosed.

 

That's why you need to ask your doctor whether your kidneys can handle magnesium or a small amount of potassium. Too much can harm. Find out what's the balance for your optimum health levels. The right amount of magnesium, potassium, and vitamin D3, for example, all in balance can possibly lower blood pressure and raise the good cholesterol, HDL levels.

 

If you look at studies of the general population in the USA, often the studies show that too many people have low levels of magnesium. This could be due to sugary beverages washing out the magnesium from a lot of people's bodies. Another reason is stress.

 

Emotional upheavals can lower your magnesium levels

 

Did you know that emotional upheavals in relationships, work, or other stress-makers lowers your magnesium levels? Think of stress lowering your magnesium, then eating certain comfort foods such as sugary desserts and beverages lowering it even more. If you've followed the standard American/Western diets of meat, fries, and pastries followed by caffeinated beverages, sugary drinks an cakes, ice cream and puddings and few vegetables containing magnesium, you've lowered it even more.

 

What the editorial emphasizes is that if you're cellular levels (rather than just your blood levels) of magnesium is low, and you then take calcium supplements alone without vitamin D3, vitamin K2 (mk-7), and a balanced amount of magnesium (and other minerals in balance), you could lose even more magnesium from your body....And all those factors might combine to increase your risk of developing heart disease.

So should you get your calcium from foods? You need calcium in a balanced amount with magnesium and other minerals to keep your heart working. But how much should you take? And should you take supplements or get your calcium from foods?

 

You need to have an interaction between calcium and magnesium to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. But then again, if you take supplements, you're possibly risking kidney stones, if kidney stones run in your family or you might have developed an increased risk of getting stones.

 

Studies note that calcium supplementation may promote the development of kidney stones, according to the Townsend Letter editorial. There's a reference in the article to an actual study. Check out the original study, "Effects of magnesium hydroxide in renal stone disease," Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1982;1:179-185. Johansson, G., et al.

 

There are certain conditions under which calcium supplementation has been found to "promote the development of kidney stones." That's when you take calcium supplements between meals or with meals low in oxalate. But, according to the Townsend Letter editorial, if you take calcium with oxalate-containing meals, kidney stone risk actually is decreased because oxalate absorption is then decreased.

 

About oxalates

 

Most people aren't going to know what meals contain oxalates. So if you look at magnesium, rather than calcium, you'll see that magnesium inhibits the crystallization of calcium oxalate in your urine. You don't want crystals of calcium in your urine.

You'd have to look at studies of magnesium supplementation to see how many reports reveal that magnesium decreases "the recurrence rate of kidney stones by 90 percent in recurrent stone-formers. Are you a recurrent kidney stone former?

 

This study of magnesium decreasing the recurrence rate of kidney stones in kidney stone formers can be found in the study, "Effects of magnesium hydroxide in renal stone disease," Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1982;1:179-185. Johansson, G., et al.

 

Now you have another factor about calcium. It may react with silicon. And you need some silicon for cardio-protective effects, to protect your heart. As you get older, you lose a lot of silica. Should you be taking a mineral replacement of silica to protect your aorta?

Silicon, often called silica in the supplement world, strengthens the body's tissues, cartilage, connective tissues, and bones. It also may help heal fractures. Silica helps keep your flexibility. Can it prevent your aorta from splitting or prevent an increased risk of cardiovascular disease?

 

The role of silica as you age

 

Silica is in various plant fibers and is found in whole grains, but in the hulls of wheat, oats, and rice. Some silica also is in vegetables such as beets, lettuce, cucumbers, and onions, and in herbs such as horsetail and oatstraw.

 

You need calcium for bone mass, but you need it in certain forms to prevent bone loss. But you need to supplement calcium if you take calcium supplements with magnesium, vitamin D3, and vitamin K-2 (mk-7), for example, from natto, if you're looking for what form of vitamin K-2 to take, assuming you're not getting enough from green vegetables and leafy dark green vegetable juices.

 

If you look through the various studies of how much calcium to take compared to how much magnesium, you won't find agreement on what ratio to take of each. Find out how calcium reacts with silicon in your body.

 

If you look at studies with rats, the more calcium the rats took, the more the calcium decreased the needed silicon in the rats' bones. You don't want the silicon/silica decreased in your bones. So on one hand you need calcium, but on the other hand, if you pop down supplements of calcium alone, it might take out the silica from your bones. That's why you have to look at the studies. You need the silica for your connective tissues.

 

Silica may protect your arteries. If you look at the studies done with rabbits, rather than rats, the silicon the rabbits were fed prevented the rabbits from developing hardening of the arteries. Check out this study, "The antiatheromatous action of silicon," Atherosclerosis. 1979;33:397-408. Loeper, J. Goy-Leper J., Rozensztajn, L., Fragny M.

Check with your health care team to see whether a multimineral supplement containing magnesium and silicon is right for you (and your kidneys). Perhaps a mineral supplement may be helpful containing all the minerals you need that you're not getting from your daily food intake.

 

Or if you don't want to take supplements, get your silicon from foods such as bananas, wheat bran, green beans, root vegetables, soybean meal, or even beer. The question is whether the food contains enough silicon/silica if you're older and losing your silicon due to age? That's why you need to talk with a health care professional because silicon in grains is in the bran.

 

Adverse reactions to grains or bran may be related to deficiency of silicon in some people, other than only with gut-related conditions

 

And people who can't digest or who have adverse reactions to grains or bran need to get silicon from somewhere that is agreeable to their health. Most grains are refined, heated, or otherwise processed, and the silicon in the bran is lost from the refining process.

 

Check out the study, "Silicon, fibre, and atherosclerosis," Lancet. 1977;1:454-457. Most of these studies on silicon/silica and health effects are more than three decades old and may not easily be accessed by too many people. If a study was done with animals, how closely will it match what happens in the human body? Also see the Naturalpedia site.

A chemical reaction called carboxylation happens when your body is unable to keep the calcium in your bones and sends calcium into your blood and arteries. What happens is that your arteries and veins become a toxic waste dump. And to protect itself from the toxicity, your arteries become calcified. That's why it's important to find your ideal balance of minerals.

 

Ask whether your body type needs more magnesium than calcium and why. One book recently published is called The Calcium Lie by Robert Thompson, M.D. and Kathleen Barnes. View The Calcium Lie uTube video on this link. Another recently published book is Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D. N.D's The Magnesium Miracle.

 

And don't forget the section on the health benefits of magnesium (in the proper amount) stated in Dr. Sherry A. Rogers, M.D. book titled, Is Your Cardiologist Killing You? View two of Dr. Roger's videos on uTube on the effects of air pollution on your body and other health and nutrition topics.Another recently published book is titled, How Nutrigenomics Fights Childhood Type 2 Diabetes & Weight Issues.

 

What you need to know about magnesium is that it is an essential nutrient

Why are so many people deficient in magnesium? You need the right amount for your body, not too much and not too little. In Finland, some salt shakers in certain restaurants have begun offering magnesium to sprinkle on food, sometimes mixed with other spices or condiments such as garlic and onion, dulse, or dried herbs. But people with certain kidney conditions can't take magnesium in supplements or eat too many high-magnesium foods at one sitting. Check with your health expert if you have a kidney issue.

 

What you need to know is magnesium's role in lowering cholesterol. Find out the vital role this mineral plays in your own body. Most doctors have not considered that mineral cofactors are involved in our biochemical reactions. This means in plain language that we all need a mineral balance. Are you taking a small amount of multiple minerals and silica to balance your minerals? Your first step is to investigate what multiple minerals in ionic form you do need.

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When you have to choose between prescriptions and food:

Nutrition or conventional medicine for older adults--when the issue is more about nutritional deficiencies?
Too many people in Sacramento are having to choose between prescription medicines and basic foods. And they are choosing nutrition over conventional medicine. Why? Should older people in Sacramento who can't afford health care turn even more toward nutrition to save money, particular if they have a lessening of digestive enzymes and are not absorbing nutrition from supplements or certain foods? See the August 1, 2011 article, "Barrier to effective treatment for seniors -- the cost of medicine."
 

Read the primary source of the study or its abstract on how the high cost of prescription drugs is becoming unaffordable to many older people. See, "Cost-related medication nonadherence and cost-saving strategies used by elderly Medicare cancer survivors. Journal of Cancer Survivorship DOI 10.1007/s11764-011-0188-1. Nekhlyudov L et al (2011).

 

What if not only the medicines are not affordable, but also when it comes to healthy nutrition, the more nourishing food also is not affordable? If older adults in Sacramento interested in nutrition as one path to help themselves become more self-sufficient, they will find the US find medication costs prohibitive, whether or not they suffer from cancer. As one step toward more self-sufficiency in health, how many people in Sacramento are really walking away from conventional medicine--as far as prescriptions--in favor of foods and supplements? The answer depends upon their condition and their body's efficiency. In Sacramento sometimes long lines of older adults wait at various food banks for distribution of free food or meals.

 

How do you solve the problem of having as many as one in ten elderly people in the US, registered with Medicare who don't take their prescribed medication because it is too expensive. You can read studies from Harvard Medical School where the research funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Cancer Institute, shows that cost-related medication non-adherence - skipping pills to make the medicine last longer, and not filling in a prescription because it is too expensive - is common among this group, whether or not they suffer from cancer.

 

Yet in Sacramento, there's a movement toward and talks, classes, lectures, and seminars focusing more holistically on changing nutrition. Now, the question is: Do older cancer survivors face a greater financial burden related to medical costs than older survivors of other conditions without cancer? The study is published online in Springer's Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

 

What the issue is in Sacramento, that for some people, just getting older means having more expenses regarding prescriptions. The question is how many people actually need the prescriptions rather than say solving their health issues by balancing nutrition? For example, if the zinc in your adhesive that you use to keep your false teeth in place is causing a copper deficiency, the problem can be corrected by a change in nutrition and a change in what you put in your mouth to keep you teeth in place. Or if there's a study of treating gall bladder issues with a spoonful of lecithin is published, shouldn't you have access to that study or even a news report about that study?

 

Or if a physician find some patient's heart failure is caused by a deficiency of copper or any other given nutrient and helps the patient balance health with a change in nutrition, people should at least be able to know about the study and have the chance to read it online or in a library. And someone should put the study in plain language so most consumers can at least read what was done and whether the study is valid or flawed and why or why not the study is credible, what university did the study, and what other health professionals said, reviewed, or wrote about it.

 

The Older You Get, The Higher The Cost of Prescription Medicines

 

Interestingly, the older you get, the cost of food gets lower because you eat less when you're old. You become full quicker, for most people. It's the opposite when it comes to prescription drugs. As the population ages, the cost of medicines is rising and there is evidence that this has resulted in financial burden for patients, according to the article, "Barrier to effective treatment for seniors -- the cost of medicine." Cancer costs in particular have grown substantially and patients with cancer are faced with significant out-of-pocket expenses during diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care. Many cancer survivors also take drugs for other chronic illnesses (or co-morbidities), including hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and osteoporosis. Are too many prescriptions being written?

 

In order to better understand cancer patients' medication issues, the authors of the study discussed in the article, "Barrier to effective treatment for seniors -- the cost of medicine," analyzed data from the 2005 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey and Medicare claims. They looked at cost-related medication non-adherence, spending less on basic needs to afford medicines and other cost-reduction strategies among both cancer survivors and non-cancer sufferers.

 

According to the latest study, researchers Nekhlyudov and team found no differences in the rate of cost-related non-adherence between cancer survivors (10 percent) and those without cancer (11 percent). Six percent of cancer survivors and nine percent of those without cancer also said they spent less on basic needs (such as food and heat) so that they could afford medicines. In addition, more than half of all enrollees used other cost-saving measures, including taking generic medications, requesting free samples and comparing pharmacy prices before buying drugs.

 

On one hand you have more cancer survivors living to older ages. On the other hand, the findings of the latest study show what type of possible barriers such as cost are facing older adults that could prevent effective treatment of their non-cancer co-morbidities. So, is the alternate solution to this problem, more of a focus on health and dental self-sufficiency through better nutrition, lifestyle, and hygiene?

 

Sacramento's Emergency, Free Food for Seniors: But is the food as healthy as fresh produce and balanced meals in the long term?

 

If poor seniors eat free or low-cost foods daily for many years, will the individual's need for prescription drugs increase compared to someone eating produce from community gardens, backyards, or more balanced, holistic, or organic foods? How healthy are the free or low-cost foods given to impoverished seniors who line up for food?

 

Are the foods mostly processed, highly salted, or containing the wrong type of fats or pesticides when older people really need more organic, cleaner natural foods not depleted of minerals and vitamins by high heat, processing, or over-salting. But is it all too true that beggars can't be choosers when it comes to food selections at low cost? And does the same go for medicines when it comes to older adults living in poverty in Sacramento?

 

Where Are the Emergency Free Food Kitchens in Sacramento Serving Seniors?

 

Do you find yourself at numerous Sacramento food kitchens, usually at senior centers sometimes surrounded by small parks, for the weekday $2 lunch? See the website, Sacramento Food Closet/Bank Emergency Free Food. Sacramento has hungry, sometimes homeless senior citizens who are unable to get food stamps because they fall below a poverty line that is out of date by more than 40 years.

 

What if your social security check puts you over the poverty line so you can't get food stamps, and you're hungry? See the website, Senior Services in West Sacramento - Bryte and Broderick Community. You could check out the article, Crop Swap: Free Food in Hard Times : TreeHugger.

 

Hungry seniors in Sacramento also can enter the Crop Swap. Reported in a July 21, 2009 Treehugger article, Crop Swap: Free Food in Hard Times, and by the Sacramento News & Review, the Oak Park neighborhood came up with a quick and easy solution. It's called the Crop Swap. According to the Treehugger article, every Monday evening, at the same time, in the same place, throughout the summer, neighbors meet up and share with each other all of the fruits and vegetables that their little backyard gardens have 'overproduced.'

 

At Sacramento free food banks, do you have to stand behind families with small children to get free food donations because your old or are alone? Not if you go to food banks that offer food to older adults. But what happens when you apply for food stamps and are told you don't qualify because you and your spouse earn slightly over a poverty line that's long outdated?

 

Who do you call when nobody's doing anything about changing the 'date' on the poverty line because the government wants the number of people officially labeled as living under the poverty line or 'poor' decreased, not increased? You call the think tanks of academia to create more reliable research that's up to date. Check out the Center for Public Policy Research, UC Davis Extension. Those researching policy have articles online that focuses on Californians living below the poverty line. UC Davis is local.

You have to understand the cyclical nature of poverty and how the cycle of poverty hits you just when you're most vulnerable or in old age and feel 'spent' at the same time you need to spend to survive.

 

The cycle of poverty also hits the economy just as there are cyclical seasons in nature. Everything recycles. How does that work for your stages of life? And how does that apply to the fact that you are turned down for food stamps?

Sacramento gives food stamps to those who qualify. But often qualification terms cover only a few of the local 9.7% of seniors officially living in poverty. Officially, the United States Census Bureau lists how many seniors officially live in poverty nationally. What's not covered in local media so much is the much wider figure, the Sacramento seniors who confront the same predicament financially.

 

How many Sacramento seniors even get to write letters to the media or are interviewed, let alone written about when their financial situation is dire? Most want privacy, of course. A few need to speak out to the media, to let others know that they earn more than the U.S. Census Bureau's poverty threshold of $13,014 for a two-adult household that the government relies on the determine eligibility for assistance programs, that in Sacramento are on the verge of being cut back at any moment, without warning, and almost at the whim of legislators. Or at least that's the way some people feel.

 

The problem is that the media cannot speak for all or even for a few. All the media can do with culture is to observe it, report the facts, and find out whether the fact-checking source is validated, and if so, by what other credible source. It becomes a maize of research.

 

The government says that you can't earn more than $14,570, a figure the government uses to determine eligibility for a number of assistance programs. If you look at Sacramento guidelines, how many are living in official poverty? And how many are living in poverty, but are not official? If the government says only 9.7% of Americans age 65 and better officially live in poverty, it can't be true because that figure has remained at 9.7% for the past decade. It doesn't consider the economic situation of the last few years.

 

If the past recession has brought the poverty level in the USA to above 13% for all ages, why do the media constantly quote a figure since the year 2000 of 9.7% poverty for those age 65 and beyond? It makes the figures look as if those who are not able to work because of physical, mental, or age-discrimination reasons compete less for income with those who are younger than age 65. Is the media correctly reporting how many older people live in poverty, but can't be counted officially or qualify for assistance, should they want it?

 

The media is not writing about people living on the edge in Sacramento, not as much as it might be helping. Living on the edge means you don't qualify for food stamps or other assistance programs because either you earn too much, a spouse earns too much, or your social security check or your spouse's retirement benefits social security check is too high (even though perhaps you earned that money yourself by working for the past 45 years).

 

And there are other reasons you fall through the cracks in Sacramento and are not brought to the attention of the media because you don't speak out to the media. Let's say you live without insurance, without basic utilities such as air conditioning. Or your air conditioner broke and your dishwasher is not working, so you live without it and have lived without it for years. Either you or your spouse can't afford to have basic utilities fixed.

 

Local media needs to cover the difference between official statistics and Sacramento's hard reality

 

Can you believe the Census Bureau? Not totally because its poverty threshold is not today's reality of what a senior citizen needs to survive--to afford food, shelter, clothing and medical/dental care. So why do local and national media usually get their figures from the Census Bureau? If they don't, they'd have to rely on interviews, which are time-consuming to find. You need a more reliable source of facts if you're in the media covering culture.

 

The media can no longer accurately quote the federal poverty level as a measurement of reality. And where else can you go for facts except the familiar wells--the government statistics? The measuring stick isn't accurate any longer. The formula for measuring poverty is 40 years old and counting. Where can the media find today's more accurate figures?

 

Statistics is not reality. That's what the local and national media have not really learned until now. How did the measuring stick of poverty get quoted as valid in the first place?

Back in the 1960s, you have Social Security Administration economists taking the cost of a very basic, simple survival diet and multiplying that 1960s cost by three. That answer actually created the basis for future poverty benchmarks, according to the March/April 2010 issue of AARP magazine's article, "Living on the Edge," by award-winning journalist, Barry Yeoman. Also see the July 1, 2010 Charleston Daily Mail article, Ah, government will define poverty up - Robert Samuelson. The media has no conclusive definition of poverty.

 

And the media also points out that its source of facts is a single statistic, the federal poverty line. Molly Orshansky, an analyst at the Social Security Administration, designed it in the early 1960s, and the federal poverty line became part of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, according to Robert Samuelson's article.

 

Low income matters, though how low is unclear, according to Robert Samuelson's article. The government may not be so sure at this time, either. In 2008, the poverty threshold was $21,834 for a four-member family with two children under 18.

The problem is if you're in need of assistance and can't get it, whether it's foods stamps or a caregiver to come into your house to help a spouse with dementia, if the two social security retirement checks that you and your spouse live on is above the level of poverty you need to get food stamps, you won't get assistance. You have fallen through the cracks.

 

The next step? The twilight zone of going from one media source to another to get local or national attention. However the last thing most seniors want is notoriety in the news or attention from the media, because publicity can either draw people coming out of the woodwork to help as well as those who want to hate right in your face. Seniors hear at gatherings that the new formula is 'propaganda' that will redistribute more of people's income.

 

The fact is the media is calling poverty 'messy.' The media is pointing to culture as a measure of progress. How can the media rely on a primary source when the primary source hasn't changed in decades? The primary source is not a 'bible' of tradition that doesn't change its statistics with the times. The primary source for the media needs to keep up with the changing times. It's statistics, not moral law, although moral law based on statistics can allow plenty of people to fall through the cracks.

 

The poverty formula as used in the media today is still based on 1955 food buying patterns. Back then, you would spend a third of your income on food. Today, you know how much health care costs and how high your rent or mortgage rises.

 

If you're in the media, there's an alternative. You could solve the problem of finding an answer by looking at statistics given by the National Academy of Sciences. At least the Academy looks at alternative poverty measures. By the Academy's formula, 18.7 percent of seniors live in poverty, according to the March/April 2010 AARP magazine article by Barry Yeoman.

 

That's more than 7 million people. Think this really solves the problem? Of course not. If you're in the media studying culture, you know that the government is reducing the number of people on federal assistance. The poverty formula won't change, for now at least.

 

The government doesn't want media to write articles that lead to increasing the number of people who live in poverty. But if that's you, and you have fallen through the cracks, your voice of confidence and resilience gives you the chance to tell your story in the media. Will your purpose be to change the poverty line? Or to get in-home help for your spouse with dementia? You could keep asking, "What's the alternative?"

 

Are you looking for solutions in Sacramento as more senior citizens become newly homeless? How about planting more community vegetable gardens at senior center sites and at homeless shelter sites, at public parks, or where meals to seniors are served? Sacramento is faced with an increasing problem of senior citizens who are either newly or chronically homeless.

 

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, more seniors are being seen by local services as newly homeless. Should more raw food services and gleaning groups work with newly homeless senior citizens?

 

See the April 6, 2010 Sacramento Bee article, Study warns more senior citizens will become homeless. But can a raw food diet help homeless seniors? If a raw food diet can help to reverse in some people type 2 diabetes, can such a diet tried for a month to see whether it is working for a specific individual for other reasons such as predementia?

Often dementia symptoms are similar to what's seen in nutritional deficiencies where seniors are not absorbing the nutrients due to lack of digestive enzymes that may occur with age. What can Sacramento do about the increasing number of senior citizens becoming homeless? One solution, from a nutrition-oriented point of view is to engage homeless seniors in planting and caring for vegetables and fruits in local urban community gardens.

 

Put these gardens on the sites of senior centers and homeless shelters. They work at the sites of some elementary schools. Raw food diets and classes in making food without cooking should be available to homeless seniors. They need to feel that they are participating while waiting.

 

The National Alliance to End Homelessness projects that if current homeless trends remain true, the nation's population of senior homeless will increase by 33 percent in a decade's time – and by 50 percent in 2050. groups, according to an April, 2010 report. How does homeless affect senior citizens in Sacramento on fixed incomes? See the April 1, 2010 article from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, "National Alliance to End Homelessness Releases Report on Elderly Homelessness."

 

You have several groups of homeless older people. The chronically homeless may have dementia or other mental illnesses. In Sacramento, there's the problem of the homeless growing old on the sidewalks and under bridges, in their cars, or at homeless shelters. Most of the older adults--late sixties or 70's show up at day programs, but not at the homeless shelters where beds are provided.

 

You have chronically homeless struggling with addiction and/or mental illness growing old as they walk the streets or sleep under bridges or in doorways of storefronts and lots. Some come in to homeless shelters during the daytime for meals. But Sacramento is seeing an increase of undernourished or malnourished older people who have lost jobs and have been priced out of rentals.

 

Homelessness after age 60 or 70 might be due to age discrimination at work, dementia, or physical disabilities. But what about the able-bodied older people who find themselves priced out of rentals? Some have lost homes due to foreclosure in the local area. Some people have outlived their savings.

 

As people grow more frail, their ability to find ways to make money diminishes. Not all seniors are able to find jobs at home online teaching, writing, entering data, or telemarketing. If they're homeless, there's little chance they're online working from their cars.

 

Many don't have cars, use public transportation when they can afford it, and don't drive. Because of money problems, the free bus pass that used to go to persons over age 75 has been taken away. Those over age 75 no longer can ride Sacramento transit free. Not many homeless seniors can afford $50 monthly bus/light rail passes.

Here's where nutrition changes might help. Instead of having a sense of vulnerability, senior centers serving lunches to older adults might try an experiment of serving a raw foods diet to seniors who want to try such a diet. How about 30 days on raw foods to see whether the health of aging Boomers might be improved?

 

If health is improved, might homelessness at least for those who are not severely mentally ill or actively using drugs, then be the next area to conquer? How about turning local seniors onto nutrition, for example, trying a 50% raw foods diet for 30 days to see whether there's improvement in health and attitude?

 

A number of senior citizens in Sacramento are living close to the poverty line. You have a whole new group of people who have been renters all their lives. Now that they are older and more vulnerable, they are suddenly starting to become homeless in Sacramento. Most blame their homelessness in old age on the high rental prices, even for some assisted living apartments.

 

Some senior apartment complexes that serve meals charge more than $3,500 monthly for a small apartment and two or three meals daily. Some look luxurious with recreation rooms, but the activities are similar, and the food served at some Sacramento assisted living complexes mostly consists of cooked food such as meats, mashed potatoes, a green vegetable or mixed vegetables and a sugary dessert, caffeinated beverages, or pasta.

 

You won't find many assisted living apartment complexes that serve food giving seniors a raw foods diet, a no-salt added diet, or sugar-free food without artificial sweeteners. Food may be in some places close to what skilled nursing home food is like, which is similar to hospital food. It's overcooked when it comes to vegetables, and doesn't rely on raw foods or smoothies made (for those who can't chew) from real fruit instead of smoothie mixes full of processed foods.

 

Some people just do better on a raw foods diet to reverse a lot of health issues due in the first place to poor absorption of nutrients. You can see how unlikely a raw foods diet is going to happen to homeless or near homeless senior citizens that are becoming homeless now.

 

Sacramento is seeing people becoming homeless as they turn age 70 or in their late 60s. The homeless shelters are seeing this happen currently, according to the Sacramento Bee article. When a person in his or her sixties suddenly becomes homeless, usually it's due to job loss. The job loss can be due to the economy or due to health problems.

 

In Sacramento, the state budgets aren't able to provide the right type of services that suddenly homeless senior citizens need. Sure, they can get a low-cost hot lunch at one of the city's senior centers serving food, but the type of cooked food available has to be on a budget. You know they're not getting pomegranates, papayas, green vegetable juices from spinach and celery, carrot juices and whole, raw vegetables.

 

If low-income seniors eating lunch at a senior center are served raw shredded cabbage, which is low-cost and healthy, they are lucky. But if the raw cabbage is drenched in fatty mayonnaise, sugar, and unhealthy oils, maybe it's not that healthy as if it were served with lemon juice and a few spices and herbs. But not all seniors can afford even the two dollar lunches served at some centers.

 

State budgets are strapped. So the older people that are newly homeless may fall through the cracks when it comes to services. Newly homeless seniors may not be able to afford medications or naturopathic supplements and whole foods. They may not be able to travel to community gardens to plant their own food because of frailty. Some may be developing dementia or nutrition deficiencies that mimic dementia because their vitamins and minerals are not being absorbed.

 

Others may have addiction and mental health issues. In Sacramento, there's Maryhouse, a day program for homeless women. They have, according to the Sacramento Bee article, some women in their 80s coming in and out at times. How do homeless women in their 80s deal with mental illness in Sacramento?

 

What happens to homeless older women who no longer can care for themselves? When you don't fall under the umbrella of the various Sacramento County services, who else helps you? If a homeless shelter provides a day program, where do you go at night?

You might check out the site of Sacramento's Housing and Urban Development assessment. Or check out the article, Mayor starts fundraising drive for homeless families - Sacramento. See the article, $213,769,836 in Homeless Grants Throughout California. The article is about funding to support 751 existing housing and service programs.

 

How would homeless grants help homeless seniors in Sacramento? The problem with the Housing and Urban Development homelessness assessment revealed that only 2.8 percent of the entire country's homeless shelter population was age 62 or older.

In Sacramento, the rising homeless rate in the Baby Boomer generation is based on predictions that as rent creeps higher locally, more people will be priced out. You have to take into consideration that nationally the aging population is expected to make up more than 1/4 of the American population by 2020, from where it is today at a mere 12.6%, according to researchers.

 

So if you figure the older adults will make up more than a quarter of the entire USA population by 2020 – up from 12.6 percent now, forecasters predict a related growth in homeless seniors. Is there anything you can do personally to slow the growth of homeless seniors in your city?

Think of how the rising cost of living and the fixed income of seniors are facing one another now and in a decade. Will you age into homelessness? Will Sacramento have affordable housing for seniors that is safe? As more Baby Boomers age, they are facing the many seniors already on waiting lists for various federal housing projects and programs.

 

Perhaps one solution might be to look at the nutrition of senior citizens. If they ate healthier diets, perhaps they'd age more slowly or they would be better able to absorb nutrients with a different diet, perhaps trying a raw foods diet for 30 days to see whether they feel healthier. It's one small step from the point of view of nutrition, but how many seniors are trying a raw foods diet or healthier foods for their individual physiques?

And the biggest question, can they afford the nutrients needed?

 

Should more seniors, including the newly homeless, participate in urban community vegetable and fruit gardens while waiting for a place to live? And how will the heavy air pollution in Sacramento cause more health problems of older adults (and younger people)?

 

How will air pollution issues cause health problems with lung inflammation, heart disease, and other health problems that lead to more rapid aging problems? Check out the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research articles, Outdoor Air Pollution and Uncontrolled Asthma in the San Joaquin Valley, California (Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health).

 

The San Joaquin Valley in California ranks among the worst in the USA in terms of air quality, and its residents report some of the highest rates of asthma symptoms and asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations in California. Also check out the website of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research for the following articles, Nearly 2.5 Million Nonelderly California Women Uninsured at Some Time During 2007, New Poll Shows California Voters 40 and Older Largely Unprepared for Costs of Long-Term Care Services, and How Would Health Care Reform Impact California Senior Citizens?

 

All these problems waiting to be solved are in the hands of the media that observes culture. But the media only reports news and features or editorializes. It can observe and complain, look for valid primary sources, and speak out. Unfortunately, it does not have the power to bring about change, to take action for example, submitting a bill to the legislature.

 

That's in the hands of the government. And what rights do people have? It's a circle that recycles itself. The people have a voice to speak out, if the media listens. When people fall through the cracks, they tell the media that they don't qualify for food stamps.

 

And when millions of older Americans don't have enough money to pay for food, and the government won't count them as poor, because the government is reducing the number of people on the poverty list, the media's job is to write about how this happened and what's being done? At the moment what's being done is research by academia. But who is listening from the 'inside' with the power to vote?

 

You also may wish to browse my paperback books, How Nutrigenomics Fights Childhood Type 2 Diabetes & Weight Issues (2009). Or see my books, How to Safely Tailor Your Foods, Medicines, & Cosmetics to Your Genes (2003), How to Open DNA-driven Genealogy Reporting & Interpreting Businesses. (2007), or Do You Have the Aptitude & Personality to Be A Popular Author: Creative Writing Assessments - IUniverse. (2009).

You may wish to check out these articles online that I wrote a few years ago: