Category Archives: 22. Toxins

Have a Sauna, Live Longer

Have a Sauna, Live Longer

References:  JAMA Internal MedDrSinatra,  TimeWikipediaToxic-Mold-SyndromeTownsend Letter,

Saunas make you live longer. Plain and simple. And where in the world do people take saunas? Finland! Lots of saunas. In fact in this current study, 2,315 men in Finland, ages 42-69, were queried as to their sauna habits and only 12 indicated that they never took a sauna. Just about every apartment building in Finland has a sauna built into its structure, just next to the shower and bathroom.

I first came across Finnish sauna when I visited Finland last year to meet my future daughter in law’s family. They live in southern Finland in the city of Salo, home to one of Nokia phone’s main manufacturing hubs 20 years ago. There, in their apartment, was a sauna. We then went on a drive to see their summer home, and in a lovely lakeside cabin, three more saunas, one indoors and two separate wood fired saunas in their own buildings. My take away message, saunas are common in Finland!

Why do you live longer when you take a sauna? Just in terms of cardiovascular deaths, the reductions were quite extraordinary. For those who took 1 sauna a week, 10% died over 22 years of follow up. If they took 2-3 saunas a week, 7.8 % had sudden cardiac death. Of those who took 4-7 a week, only 5% had sudden cardiac death. For all cause mortality, it was 295 (49.1%), 572 (37.8%), and 62 (30.8%). If you understand hazard ratio (the relationship of intervention to control), the benefit of 2-3 sauna a week over 1 a week was 22% better survival and 63% better survival for 4-7 a week. These are unbelievable numbers. Finally, compared to under 11 minute saunas, 11-19 minutes saunas added an extra 7 % benefit, and more than 19 minutes had an additional 52% reduction in mortality risk. So, longer and more frequent were both better.

What specifically does a sauna do? They may do many things, but one thing we do know is that you sweat. Ok. That’s obvious. Why is sweating good for you? You get rid of toxins. In fact, measurements of mycotoxins in urine show you increase excretion of mold (mycotoxins) toxins 6 fold when you do a 20 minute infrared sauna. Pretty good, huh! Considering that many of us can be shown to have some 287 different toxins in us, thanks to research from the Environmental Working Group, most of us are living with a large toxin burden, stuck in our fat tissue. Saunas may be the best way to get rid of it. Do we know that for sure? Well, not sure sure. But we do know you get rid of a lot of gunk with infrared saunas. And that may be the key.

WWW. What will work for me. This data is so powerful, I’m seriously contemplating getting an infrared sauna. If I can clean up my basement enough to get space, this might be one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Having seen saunas in Finland, I now know that this research is very real, and has real implications. The survival data from this research is just about the most powerful intervention we can do for our personal health. Hmm. You can buy or build your own infrared sauna for under $ 1,000.

Pop Quiz

1. You have to get hot to get a benefit from a sauna. T or F Probably true. Sweating is a key feature. But an infrared sauna isn’t as hot as the traditional dry wood fired sauna.
2. More saunas are better than fewer? T or F True. The benefit keeps climbing up to one a day.
3. You only need to get in there for 5 minutes to benefit? T or F Well, we don’t know. Under 9 minutes had a benefit. Under 5 we don’t know. And more benefit with increments up to 30. So, longer is better.
4. It’s too expensive to get a sauna. T or F Well, if it’s true for you, I’m sorry. But you can do it for about $ 1000 if you do most of it yourself, or even less.
5. And just what is it that happens in a sauna.? A: Measurable dramatic reductions in sudden cardiac death, cardiac events, overall mortality with increasing benefit by frequency and length of sauna. 30 minutes 7 days a week is best.



POMC: The God Protein

References: Wikipedia, Uniprot,

Proopiomelanocortin. Repeat after me. Proopiomelanocortin. Bet you never heard of that before. What is it? It’s the protein that runs you. It’s a large protein that is in your pituitary gland that is made from pre-pro-proopiomelanocortin, a 285 amino acid long peptide that is activated once the 44 amino acid activating fragment is removed. Then it is ready for activation. It’s all in its name, at least part of it. Opio – it has opioid activity in part of it. Melano – it has melatonin activity. Cortin – it has cortisol activity. The devil is in the details. It is the prototype-hormone that can be split in many directions, depending on what enzymes attack it and chop it up into other pieces. It is those other pieces that become the hormones that run your body. ACTH heads off to the adrenal glands, giving you cortisol for energy and stress response. MSH has all sorts of appetite and sexual activity implications. The appetite part works through leptin. Generally it suppresses appetite as does leptin, when you aren’t leptin resistant. Beta-endorphin manages pain perception and immune function.

The devil is in the details. POMC can be chopped up into at least 10 different hormones, depending on where it is chopped. All the regions are overlapping with each other so any one hormone that is created might nix the making of another. It all depends on which chopping enzyme gets activated, and the activation is managed by adding or subtracting marking sugars or acids attached on certain sites.

An example of how it works goes as follows. You go to the gym and exercise like crazy. Imagine a good Cross Fit workout, or a great tennis match, or a hard 5mile run. Your body is demanding more fuel so you put out the call for more cortisol to mobilize more fuel. To make more cortisol, you need ACTH. First you chop the pre-pro-proopiomelanocortin into proopiomelanocortin. From that you then chop it into ACTH. When you make ACTH, you also, by chance make beta-endorphin. That’s your natural opioid. Presto: you feel a warm glow of happy feelings. The runner’s high.

That’s what happens when it works well. Guess what happens when it gets screwed up? The CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) as typified by black mold attacks you right at POMC. By downregulating the natural ebb and flow of POMC, you block beta-endorphin, ACTH and leptin which results in your being utterly unable to lose weight, not sleeping well, hurting all over and having no energy. Sound like anyone you know? We shy away from all those folks because it is to awfully overwhelming. We call people with that “Chronic Fatigue” or “Fibromyalgia” and give them pain pills and usher them out as fast as possible.

It might be kinder to investigate why they are feeling so awful. Ritchie Shoemaker, the author of the web site claims that 80% of folks with chronic fatigue actually have CIRS, and positive markers for mold. They represent as many as 25% of the population when you do genetic testing for those who are susceptible to mold toxins. All they need is repeated exposure. 2% of folks are exquisitely sensitive, and 5 minutes in a sick water damaged building will set them off. If you can fix their POMC and get it back to normal function, their suffering will be over and they will claim you were the dispenser of a real miracle: the God Protein.

WWW.what will work for me. I’m totally fascinated with POMC and have started working on being certified as a Black Mold specialist. It’s a couple hundred articles and pages of reading, but if I come out being able to fix those folks who have been blown off by 8 other physicians and given nothing but symptom relief, I’ll be pleased. I am getting awfully hyper about any water leaks in my house. There are roofers up on our roof right now making sure our house stays dry. Mold will happen anytime you let water leak in your house, and don’t fix it promptly.

Pop Quiz

‪1. POMC is the prohormone that modulates your sex drive. T or F

Well, part of it does. There are implications for sexual function in MSH but more of it’s components go to energy and pain control

‪2. POMC can be chopped up to make how many hormones?

A: At least 10 and maybe more

‪3. Can they all be made at the same time?

No, any given combination will only make 2 or 3 depending on where you cleave the protein. This means there is lots of overlap.

‪4. The toxins of mold do their dirty deed by disrupting POMC. T or F

A: Bingo

‪5. Mold illness is rare. T or F

Are you kidding? Probably as many as 25% of our population has the genetic tendency to be affected. Likely only 2% are exquisitely sensitized, but that is still a huge number. (6-7 million exquisitely sensitive, 90 million partially sensitive.)

Bromine Toxicity: Real or Not?

Bromine: Secret Toxin?

Reference: Endocrine Society, Oncology Letter,


What do you know about bromine? I bet not much. It’s in the halide family, meaning the same family as chlorine and iodine and fluorine. Iodine is the biggest size of the lot, then smaller bromine, then chlorine and finally fluorine. They all share a negative one charge, so act the same chemically. They differ only in size and weight. Bromine is easily extracted from ocean salt brine pools, and is used industrially as a fire retardant. It used to be used as an insecticide in the form of methyl bromide, but that turned out to be a potent ozone depletor, so that got nixed. And once upon a time it was used as an anti-anxiety drug, and hence the term, “Bromides” for trite and trivial soothing answers.

The issue of bromine that I want to explore is that of its competition with iodine. We need iodine. Desparately. It is one of the elements that all of us are just barely getting enough of. The WHO considers iodine deficiency the #1 cause of mental retardation in the world. And Americans are prone to it too. In Milwaukee, in the year 1900, 50% of women had goiter, the result of iodine deficiency. Today, 80% of American women have fibrocystic disease, an iodine deficiency illness. There is considerable research that shows iodine to be an anti cancer drug and a cure for fibrocystic breast disease.

So what’s the problem? Here’s the rub. Bromine competes with iodine. In fact, every halide competes with iodine. But bromine may be the worst, not because it’s obvious, but because it is subtle and pervasive. Bromine acts chemically just like iodine. It has never, ever, ever, been in the human nutrient supply chain, until the 1950s when it was substituted for iodine as a stabilizer in bread. Some states ban it, but not all. Then, we added it to every chair, mattress and couch in our lives as a fire retardant. We sold it in Bromo-Selzer until the bromide was removed in 1975 for “toxicity“. Bromine may not be a perfect fit for iodine in the process of making thyroid hormone, or in normal breast tissue, but it’s plentiful, pervasive and competitive.

And then we got our undies in a bundle over the supposed toxicity of iodine. A bizarre little story of iodine toxicity developed around the so called “Wolf-Chaikoff Effect” that was an experiment in rats, extrapolated to humans but never clinically proven in humans. I’m quite interested in it personally because, as a child up till age 18 in India, I used iodine to purify water, and on many occasions used iodine up to 10 pills a day (at 2.4 mg of iodine per pill). That was not uncommon practice. Made the water taste terrible, but killed all sorts of nasties. I don’t believe the Wolf-Chaikoff effect is real, and if it is, it is very short term and harmless. It’s not the bugaboo we think it is.

What the real danger, I believe, is that lots of us have a burden of bromine from environmental exposure (fluorine too). It’s not super toxic, or immediately toxic, but it shows up in many folks having flakey thyroid findings because they just can’t get their thyroid to function right. There appears to be a whole cottage industry in detoxing from bromine with salt water flushes. This idea has its detractors as well.

Szent-Gyorgyi, the Nobel Laureate for Vitamin C, took 1,000 mg a day of iodine until he was 93, claiming it to be his most useful supplement. He might be our most famous credible advocate for iodine supplementation, but he is not alone.

WWW.What Will Work for me. I take iodine as a supplement. 1 mg a day. I think we all should. Every woman worried about breast cancer and every man worried about prostate cancer should too. I’ve now met three people taking over 25 mg a day in the form of Iodoral pills. They feel great. No toxicity as far as I can tell. Szent-Gyorgyi took 1,000 mg a day. It appears to me there is latitude for higher doses. I’m thinking this may be what is missing in some folks whose thyroids otherwise just doesn’t act right. I would really like to hear from someone who had toxicity from iodine. I don’t there there are really too many. And I do think there are many of us with too much fluoride, bromide and chlorine in our food chain, all competing with iodine. Precautionary principle: we have too many halides in our food chain that were never there before, and are skimming along on the edge of insufficient iodine because of unproven fears. The only way to push those halides out, bromine included, is more iodine. So do it.

Pop Quiz:

‪1. Bromine toxicity is a proven phenomenon. T or F

Well, really false if you look at the standard PubMed literature, except for the obvious high dose poisoning, but enough advocates out there are claiming it. Are they crazy? Or is it all mixed up in our overblown anxiety about iodine?

‪2. Bromine can chemically act like iodine, and compete with it. T or F

‪This seems to be true. How much, we just can’t tell.

‪3. Iodine deficiency is real. T or F

Emphatically true. If you consider fibrocystic breast disease as an iodine deficiency disorder, its ubiquitous. If you listen to WHO, it’s our number one cause of mental retardation. Apparently very common in politicians. (Small joke)

‪4. Iodine toxicity is real. T or F

I’m coming down on the side of probably false. Too many anecdotes of much higher doses. And it will never be studied. Way too cheap.

‪5. There are many folks taking more than 12 mg a day of iodine without trouble. T or F

Well, yes. After Fukushima, many Japanese took 65-130 mg a day of iodine, and we didn’t see a huge epidemic of iodine toxicity from that. Think about that for a couple of minutes. I know of many who have taken 12.4 mg a day for years, with no apparent toxicity. Szent-Gyorgyi took 1,000 mg a day until he stopped working at Woods Hole at age 93.  I know, I know, there may be some issue with Hashimoto’s.  I haven’t seen much of it.

Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone – Not Just For Tans Anymore

Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone

References: Wikipedia, Curr. Alzheimer’s Res Aug, 2016,

Published August 22, 2016

Not your common table topic, is it? MSH is such an out of the way hormone, virtually no one talks about it much. Until I read an abstract about it’s potential use in Alzheimer’s, I hadn’t heard much about it either. Just what does it do? And how does it have implications for your brain?

Wikipedia will tell you that MSH is basically your hormone that stimulates the production of pigment in your skin, in the so-called melanocytes in your skin. But this is where science is just exploding in increased knowledge, and the internet is making the world flat with access of knowledge to everyone. Bredesen, my Alzheimer’s mentor and guru, maintains there are three distinct pathways to the development of Alzheimer’s, one being inflammatory. How does MSH play a role with that?

This is where folks outside the traditional medical model are racing ahead with new ideas and congealing new ways of looking at brain health. Shoemaker has aggregated lots of information about folks with mold illness and the problems they face with cognitive decline, fatigue and chronic pain. His Biotin pathway puts MSH into context. Here is the short explanation. When you are exposed to mold, you set off a lot of internal immune reactions. The cytokines that are released in response to a mold exposure, block the production of leptin (thought to be one of your appetite hormones) which has a down regulating effect on MSH. Fancy that. That results in less melatonin and lousy sleep. It results in less endorphins and more chronic pain. It affects the gut with leakiness and more intake of endotoxins resulting in chronic immune activation. Curiously, many of these folks have less vasopressin, the hormone that mediates the control of thirst and salt balance in your blood. Hence they will have chronic thirst as they try to keep up with frequent urination. And finally, white cells lose their sensitivity to cytokines, allowing normal bugs to overgrow. You end up with MARCoNs, the invasion of antibiotic resistant staph in your nose, which completes the circle of inflammation setting off more cytokines.

We talked about MARCoNs last week and promised a return. See the link now? We have come full circle.

Mold illness can be devastating as many mysteriously ill folks will tell you. Our traditional model of health care has been stuck trying to figure it out, and ends up shrugging its shoulders and giving chronic pain meds like Lyrica. It is clearly accepted that mold damaged buildings make for chronically ill people. It is also clear that this pathway is part of what gets the brain injured, leading to a decline of cognitive ability if ignored.

How do you tackle this tangled mess? Not easy. Probably you first have to fix the MARCONs first. Cholestyramine has been shown to bind mold toxin. That may be an early step too.

WWW. What will work for me? I’m learning this stuff. These pathways are fascinating, but also not as rare as we think. I’m determined to get my basement dry and make sure it doesn’t ever develop any mold in it. What I would like to find is a reliable method of measuring the presence of mold illness. Next week?


Pop Quiz

‪1. Alzheimer’s Disease is caused universally by glucose dysregulation. T or F

False. Probably 80% true and we do call it Type III diabetes, but Alzheimer’s can also be initiated with chronic inflammation, for which mold illness is a strong player.

‪2. MSH is primarily involved in skin pigmentation. T or F

False. That is what it was found for its first action. So it got named for that. But like everything in the body, there are many interlocking actions that lead to a much more complex web. Trick question. True and False

3. Inflammation anywhere can down regulate leptin, leading to further down regulation of MSH? T or F

True. Mold seems quite good at it, but just being overweight also sets inflammation off. And then you down regulate leptin and around and around you go. Terrible trap.

4. MSH is easy to measure. T or F

It may be, but it’s not commonly available. Takes specialty labs. Usually your insurance won’t pay.

5. To get rid of mold-associated illness, I have to fix my MSH. T or F

Yup. You read it right.

The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic

The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic

Reference: Interdiscip. Toxicology, Entropy, The Healthy Home Economist,

Have you ever wondered why you or some of your close friends seem to get sick and just don’t feel good when you eat wheat products? Have you experienced the blossoming of gluten free products with skepticism because your regular doctor scoffs at the notion that you have celiac disease, even showing your a negative blood test? Hmmm. Wheat has been the foundation of modern civilization. Could it have done that and we all felt sick from it. Hmmm.

Ok, follow this thread. Did you know that most wheat is sprayed with glyphosate (Roundup) about 10 days prior to harvest? It helps increase the harvest, kills off all other weeds, but also kills the wheat and helps dry it out, especially in wet years. Guess what happens to the amount of Roundup in wheat when that’s done? Now, did you know that glyphosate causes a lot of “disruption” to a whole host of biological systems. You can actually drink it, and not die on the spot. (Some ag sales reps have allegedly done so.) What it damages are your gut bacteria. They have dramatic shifts in many of their internal biological processes. Most importantly is disruption to their P450 detox system. We have that system too in our livers, but in our guts it is critical to a wide range of beneficial bacteria that have a wide interplay with us and our immune system. The net effect appears to be what we call “leaky gut“.

If you track the application of glyphosate to our crops, and compare that to the incidence of celiac disease you get a pretty scary graph with a R of 0.9759 (which is almost perfect correlation. That’s not proof, but it sure looks interesting. Now, listen to Zach Bush on Youtube and see what you think about the brain diseases we see that are associated with leaky gut, and also glyphosate. Autism, ADHD, schizophrenia to name a few. And then there are autoimmune diseases, all of which have spooky associations with leaky gut and wheat.

The bacteria in our gut are a precious organ. They constitute a separate entity that supplies us with life-giving balance. They help us make critically important amino acids, vitamins, immune reactions and detox lots of trouble making chemicals. We injure that organ to our peril.

So guess what the Europeans did this month to Roundup? Yup, banned it. Gone.

WWW. What Will Work for Me. Goodness. I am not personally obviously affected by wheat, except that I gain weight like a ship’s anchor when I eat it. Perhaps that is being affected. But I feel less bad about avoiding it. This article has given me more determination to just stay away from it. Is it wheat that’s the problem, or our modern farming methods. We aren’t just sure, but I think it may be Roundup that’s giving wheat an extra bad reputation. If I had an autoimmune disease, avoiding wheat would be first on the menu.

Pop Quiz

‪1. I’m glad I live in America where I can get Roundup on my hamburger?

Well, not if you don’t eat the bun.

‪2. It is possible to apply Roundup to your hands and not show immediate harmful effect. T or F


‪3. The p-450 system in our gut bacteria is profoundly influenced by Roundup? T or F


‪4. You probably get the most Roundup in your diet as a consequence of wheat being sprayed just prior to harvest. T or F

In a nutshell, true.

‪5. The damage to your gut bacteria ends up causing “leaky gut”, which is strongly associated with many brain diseases and autoimmune illnesses. T or F

Darn it. Darn it. Darn it. Why can’t we just accept “better living through chemistry” and bury our head in the sand. But yes, it’s true.

Congress Passes a Modern Toxin Control Act

‪Congress Passes a ModernToxin Control Act

References: New York Times, EDF,

‪What’s been wrong with chemical review in America? In 1976, our laws required only a tiny few chemicals to be regulated, and gave some 64,000 chemicals a free pass, unless the EPA could prove that the harm to society was greater than the harm to the company. The EPA had to publish it’s results, and companies didn’t have to publish their reported side effects. And judges had to balance the published literature on problems, leading the chemical industry to have a bunch of fake journals that published junk science so that, on balance, there were just as many articles saying a chemical was safe as other more reputable studies showed problems.

We have been left with a wide range of toxins in America that were banned in the rest of the world. For example, we use Atrazine on our fields while Europe has banned it. Many university based studies show it causes estrogen confusion, while the company’s studies show it to be harmless. In the end, no new chemicals have been removed from the market since the original eight banned in 1976. The TSCA Act of 1976 ended up being toothless to move forward.

‪Advocates have been trying to get the new bill passed for years to no effect. What broke the logjam was the effort of Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico working with the chemical industry to come up with language they could live with. In essence, several major compromises were made. Instead of 100 chemicals a year, the EPA is tasked with reviewing 20 a year. Ok, there are 64,000 chemicals that got a free pass so it will take 3,200 years to review everything – but the EPA has a list of the most egregious offenders, and it can get started on those right away.

‪Here are the key provisions of the bill:

‪1. Mandates safety reviews for chemicals in active commerce.

‪2. Requires a safety finding before new chemicals are allowed on the market.

‪3. Replaces TSCA’s burdensome safety standard – which prevented EPA even from banning asbestos – with a pure, health-based standard.

‪4. Explicitly requires protection of vulnerable populations, like children and pregnant women.

‪5. Enhances EPA’s authority to require testing of both new and existing chemicals.

‪6. Sets aggressive, judicially enforceable deadlines for EPA decisions and compliance with restrictions.

‪7. Makes more information about chemicals available, by limiting companies’ ability to claim information as confidential, and by giving states and health and environmental professionals access to confidential information they need to do their jobs.

‪8. Requires EPA to reduce and replace animal testing where scientifically reliable alternatives exist that would generate equivalent or better information.

‪9. Requires EPA to prioritize chemicals that are persistent and bioaccumulative, and that are known human carcinogens and have high toxicity.

‪10. Preserves a significant role for states in assuring chemical safety.

‪There are some obvious loopholes here. States could have passed a more rigorous standard, and EPA standards will now override those. That means some states may lose some regulatory standards

‪WWW.What will work for me. I think this is huge. It won’t change anything tomorrow, but it will create a new climate. And new chemicals will have to be proven to be safe. 20 at a time, old ones will be reviewed. You will start hearing more.


‪Pop Quiz.

1. The FDA has broad current ability to regulate and remove toxic drugs from the US environment. T or F

False, until last week. We haven’t removed one chemical in 40 years.

2. All new chemicals coming on the market will have to have proof of safety prior to use. T or F


3. The EPA is mandated to review 100 new chemicals a year. T or F

False. That’s what environmental groups wanted. Compromise ended up at 20. (Hey, it’s progress)

4. Most Western advanced countries have more rigorous toxic review than the USA. T or F

Sadly, true.

‪5. Our broken Congress can pass a bill? T or F

Surprised you, didn’t it. Give them kudos.

Magnesium Stearate, Supplement Poison?

Magnesium Stearate: Supplement Toxin?

Reference:   Mercola, Kresser, Wikipedia,

What is Magnesium Stearate? I’ve been asked about it a couple of times and decided to do my own investigation.   If you look on the bottle of your supplements from many major, reputable supplement manufacturers, you will find it listed as an ingredient in addition to the advertised ingredients.   What’s it doing there? You are eating something you didn’t ask for.   What it is is essentially a lubricating ingredient that allows the machinery making your supplement to not get gummed up.   The FDA has categorized it as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) when consumed at under 2500 mg a day.   It is common in binding sugar into candies, in baby formula, and like it or not, it’s the major ingredient of bath tub rings.   (Yuck!) Manufacturers can make their supplements and pills without the stuff, but it just is more expensive that way. Stearate is actually just a fat,   It is very common in nature, being the second most common animal fat, but in cocoa butter, it’s the primary fat.   Your shampoo or bosap that has a nice pearly quality to it is probably made with stearic acid.   Your body can easily digest it.   Magnesium is magnesium. You need that. Magnesium stearate is simple one molecule of magnesium and two of stearic acid.

Ok! Then why is it a problem? Dr Mercola, on his website, quotes a study on Stearate that suggests that it suppresses T-cell function. In that study, immune cells were removed and placed into petri dishes where they were bathed in high doses of stearic acid until their membranes fell apart. To leap from that study to human implications is bizarre as you could make virtually every human nutrient into a poison by saturating cell environments to the point of toxicity. That certainly goes for sugar and alcohol, but the same could be said for virtually every amino acid. It wasn’t a human study. But that is what Mercola is quoting and depending upon. From his words of caution, the web lights up and there are warnings all over. He quotes the headline, and must not have read the article. Mercola’s other justification for avoiding it is that it is derived from plant sources that could be contaminated with pesticides. If that were really the case, you would have to not eat anything, as the entire planet has some trace of pollutants. This is a typical scare-mongering tactic used when the writer has a product they want to sell you that doesn’t use that process.   Let me repeat, stearate is in every cell in your body, right now. It’s part of you. You can’t get enough to poison your cells. It’s all in the balance.

Chris Kresser is much more nuanced and balanced approach. He also notes that there have been concerns raised about tablets dissolving more slowly, and after study being proven to be ok. Another thought is that because stearate makes bath-tub rings, it must make biofilms in your intestine. That is just silly conjecture without any science to support it.

WWW. What will work for me. I’m not losing any sleep over this one. In fact, I suspect it is such a harmless ingredient that I will prefer to have it over others, that haven’t been studied or are as ubiquitous. I find this to be a perfect example of how the internet search engine picks up and broadcasts an idea with no basis in fact.


Pop Quiz

  1.  Magnesium stearate is one of the chief components of bath tub rings? T or F


2.  Its principle use in supplements is to make the pills easier to manufacturer without sticking to the equipment. T or F


3.  It is widely used in soaps and shampoos to give them their pearly texture? T or F


4.  If you eat a lot of it, you can kill your T-cells and disrupt their membranes. T or F

Nonsense. You can’t eat that much. That sort of experiment is purely a physiological, artificial construct to explore a cellular function. It’s not possible to recreate in humans.

5.  Stearic acid is the most abundant fat in humans. T or F

False. Second most, after palmitic acid.

Lead’s Effect May Last LIFETIMES (plural)

Lead’s Effect May Last Lifetimes

Published:  March 21, 2016

Reference: Science News 2016, Translational Psychiatry

The recent controversy about lead in Flint, Michigan has raised the topic of lead poisoning again. Lead removal from America has been one of the public health victories of the last century.   We have gotten it out of our lead pipes, our house paint, our gasoline. It was only 1996 that lead was finally banned from gasoline. But did you know that it persists still in chocolate? In Nigeria, gasoline still has lead in it, and chocolate from Nigeria has up to 460 times the lead in it compared to the cocoa bean. Hence, eating many chocolate products gives children more lead than California says is safe.

Now, we are beginning to understand just how lead does its dirty work. It’s half life in blood is only about 30 days, but in your bone and teeth, where most goes, it hangs around for 25 years. Guilarte, in a study published last year in Translational Psychiatry, showed that baby rats fed tiny amounts of lead lost critical neurons in their brains that are essential for attention and memory, and gained dopamine receptors, in a pattern that fits with schizophrenia. They hypothesize that lead does its damage by replacing zinc. Zinc’s role in the cell is to help switch-proteins fold properly to turn on and turn off DNA.   Lead replaces zinc but doesn’t let the switches happen. Jacqueline Ordemann of Bates College proposed in the Journal Metallomics this year, that lead affects the switches in our brains that affect our sensitivity to schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons, three brain diseases that have increased dramatically in the last century. Another author, Ruden, published a report in Scientific Reports in January this year showing that lead affects methyl groups on DNA in an atypical fashion. Methyl groups on DNA are how we turn off and on DNA replications. That is the means by which lead poisoning can be passed on to subsequent generations, through abnormal methylation of DNA, and subsequent altered copying of the DNA code.   Ruden compares our DNA to being the hardware of life, but methylation is the software that teaches the cell how to utilize the messages on the DNA. If lead messes that up, it is possible that the effect will last generations. To prove that, one would have to get a population exposed, and not exposed and follow it for generations. That is isn’t going to happen.

It is possible to pull lead out of the body, but not easily from the brain. Lead is not water soluble, so it gets soaked up into fat tissue. That’s what the brain is. And each cell in the brain is shrink wrapped with other cells, called glia, that make an added barrier to removing lead.   So little lead equalizes across that extra barrier that once lead is in you, it’s there to stay, at least in your brain. We may be able to remove it from your body fat, your bone marrow, or other body tissues, but your brain seems to be quite resistant.

Now that we understand some of the mechanisms of lead toxicity, it is incumbent on us to avoid the stuff rather than wait for more convincing research.

WWW.What will work for me? I’m helpless with chocolate. I love the stuff. Knowing what I know about lead, now, gives me resolve to avoid it until I see better evidence that the lead has been cleaned up.   Consumerlabs rates different chocolate sources for lead levels. I have chelated about 100 people in my practice for lead exposure and find that removing it improves thyroid function, white counts, concentration. And looking around my house, I found lead pellets for my air rifle, sitting on a shelf. I haven’t used them for years, but there they were, sitting on my shelf.


Pop Quiz

  1. Lead is a normal micronutrient needed for human metabolism. T or F

False. Go back to square one and read the article. It’s a toxin, through and through.

  1. We have banned most sources of lead in America over a hundred years ago. T or F

False. We got it out of gasoline only as of 1996, and many houses still have an undercoat of lead paint and our nations’ water supply comes through many pipes with lead, even though lead pipes were banned years ago.

  1. Lead alters the DNA in our cells, making for abnormal interpretation of the message on the DNA. T or F


  1. Lead lingers a long time in bones and teeth. T or F

True. Maybe as long as 25 years, or longer in brains.

  1. Chocolate has lead in it. T or F

True. I weep, I mourn, I deny, but it’s true. I’ve heard rumor that Lindt chocolate doesn’t. Nigeria has leaded gasoline, and that may be the source.