© 2018 by Makropedia.com, a division of Planetary Health, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization.

Acne

Acne, most common in teenagers, is characterized by clogged pores on the skin, pimples and irritated blackheads. Food sensitivities may enhance this condition.

 

•  Dairy Products Linked to Acne

Harvard researchers who studied the dietary histories of 47,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study reported that severe teenage acne was associated with total milk and skin milk consumption, as well as instant breakfast drinks, sherbet, cottage cheese, and cream cheese. The scientists speculated that hormones and other compounds found in dairy may be responsible.

Source: C. A. Adebamowo et al., “High School Dietary Dairy Intake and Teenage Acne,” Journal American Acad Dematol 52:207-14, 2005.

 

• High-Fiber Diet Benefits Acne

A doctor reported that patients who took one ounce of high-fiber breakfast cereal every day showed rapid clearing up of acne. He speculated that “a diet low in fat, salt, and refined carbohydrates and high in vegetable fiber” could be of value in the management of acne by reducing constipation which has been associated with this skin affliction.

Source: W. F. Kaufman, “The Diet and Acne,” [Letter], Archives of Dermatology 119:276, 1983.

 

African Diet

Traditional staples in Africa consisted of whole grain millet (West and Central Africa), brown rice (West), teff (East), sorghum (East and South), wheat and barley (North), as well as tubers, roots, seeds, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables, and small, modest amount of animal food. The value of traditional African foods and the harmful effects of modern foods are coming under increased review. See also AIDS, Ebola, GMOs, Infectious Diseases, Schweitzer, Seaweed, Seeds, Sugar, Whole Grains.

 

• Herb for HIV/AIDS Safe

Muhanse M4, a traditional herbal preparation that has been used in Tanzania to improve the quality of life among people living with HIV/AIDS, was determined to be safe in laboratory studies by researchers at the National Institute for Medical Research in Dar-es-Salaam. An extract of the substance was found to contain no alkaloids or saponins and was safe to administer in laboratory animals.

Source: P.P. Mhame et al., “The Determination of Safety of Muhanse M4, a Traditional Herbal Preparation Used to Treat HIV/AIDS-related Conditions and Diseases in Tanzania,” Tanzan Health Res Bull 7(3):168-73, 2005.

 

• Traditional Plants Beneficial for Skin Disorders

In a study of the possible mechanisms of action of medicinal plants used for dermatological pathologies, researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa found that among 14 plant species examined, four species exhibited significant inhibitory activity, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant activities.

Source: Y. Frum and A. M. Viljoen, “In Vitro 5-Lipoxygenase and Anti-Oxidant Activities of South Medicinal Plants Commonly Used Topically for Skin Diseases,” Skin Pharmacol Physiol 19(6):329-35, 2006.

 

• Plant Combats HIV/AIDS-Related Diarrhea

In a study of a traditional plant-based remedy for HIV/AIDS patients with diarrhea, researchers at the University of Benin in Nigeria reported that an extract prepared from the leaves of Baissea axillaries Hua inhibited clinical strains of several microbes in laboratory tests. The scientists concluded that it held promise in the treatment of this widespread symptom associated with the disorder.

Source: T. A. Abere and F. O. Agoreyo, “Antimicrobial and Toxicological Evaluation of the Leaves of Baissea axillaries Hua Used in the Management of HIV/AIDS Patients,” BMC Complement Altern Med 6:22, 2006.

 

• Modern Diet and Spread of HIV

One of the most intriguing observations in Africa is the significant correlation between AIDS and upper-class status. This strongly suggests a possible association with environmental factors. Urban centers throughout Africa have been increasingly influenced by Western technology, including the typical American diet of refined sugars and flours, meats, eggs, dairy products, food additives, and other foods. In the highly Westernized city of Kinshasa, capital of the Republic of the Congo, this dietary pattern is far more typical of urban people in the upper income bracket.

     “It seems plausible that the rapid modernization of Africa’s urban population, particularly for the upper class, may have set the stage for compromised immunity and thereby predisposed them to the pathogenic effects of the AIDS virus,” concluded Martha Cottrell, M.D. who gave seminars on diet and AIDS in West Africa. The typical upper-class diet, based on the haute-cuisine of French and Belgian, includes imported red meats, eggs, white sugar, baked white-flour products, dairy, hydrogenated oils, and imported fruits and vegetables. “Heavy reliance on imported products has introduced high levels of artificial preservatives and agricultural chemicals to the urban elite’s food supply. Clearly this is not the kind of diet one would expect to support resistance to infectious diseases.”

     By contrast, the native lower class diet includes locally grown fruit, cassava meal (a starchy root vegetable), avocados, red onions, and small amounts of fish, game, and insects. “In sum, the typical diet of low-income Kinshasans is basically low in protein, low in fat, and high in complex carbohydrates and fiber. By nutritional standards, this type of dietary pattern would clearly favor strong immunity.”

Source: Michio Kushi and Martha Cottrell, M.D., with Mark Mead, AIDS, Macrobiotics, and Natural Immunity (Tokyo & New York: Japan Publications, 1990), pp. 216-17.

 

• Traditional Remedy for Coughs

Medical researchers in Senegal produced a cough syrup from gueira, a native plant that is as effective as codeine-based medicines imported from Europe. They also made a laxative from the lam plant. At the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center of Traditional Medicine at the University of Illinois, these and other medicinal plants from Africa and around the world are available in a computer database.

Source: Thomas Land, “Folk Cures Gain Respect and Save Money,” Toward Freedom, April/May, 1991, pp. 17-18.

 

Agriculture

Agriculture, the art of cultivating the land for food production, developed about 8000 to 10,000 years ago following the retreat of glacial ice and the warming of the globe. Following the agrarian revolution that began in England in the 16th century, modern agriculture developed, based on livestock breeding, artificial soil supplements, monocropping, hybrid seeds, and other practices resulting in higher yields. See also Factory Farming, Organic Farming, Seeds, Whole Grains.

 

• Amazon Farming Methods Protected Ecosystem

New discoveries in the Amazon show that the traditional people in the rain forests utilized a sophisticated blend of agriculture and forestry to yield rich harvests and at the same time preserve the delicate ecosystem. The Kayapo of Brazil cultivated circular fields by felling several large trees so that their crowns fell on the periphery of the circle and by planting crops in between. Later the dead trees were burned, the rains washed the ash into the soil, and crops, including corn and rice, were planted in concentric circles.

Source: William K. Stevens, “Research in ’Virgin’ Amazon Uncovers Complex Farming,” New York Times, April 3, 1990.

 

• Andes Farming Methods Superior to Modern Practices 

Traditional farming methods used in the Andes are more efficient and environmentally safe than modern methods. The native method, utilizing raised beds separated from one another by deep, water-filled channels, preserved vital nutrients, maintained soil fertility, and reduced pollution of downstream waters better than modern farming practices. The researchers recommended that farmers today return to native tilling methods.

Source: “Ancient Farming Methods in Andes Deemed Superior,” Boston Globe, July 8, 1993.

Airline Food   

Airlines are increasing offering plant-based meal options, especially on long or international flights. Book your meal in advance, as the following options must usually be specially prepared. The airline industry uses the following code for meal service:

 

VGML the vegan meal includes no eggs, dairy, or other animal products. It’s frequently boiled or grilled veggies and a salad, fruit, and juice

VLML a vegetarian meal with fruits, raw or cooked vegetables, eggs, cheese and dairy

VOML on Asian airlines or flights this signifies a vegan meal with vegetables and rice or rice noodles as well as fruit

GFML the gluten free meal often comes with meat and cheese

AVML the Asian vegetarian meal includes aromatic and spiced vegetables, fruit, and dairy products such as paneer cheese

VJML the vegetarian Jain meal includes no animal products as well as no onions, garlic, mushrooms and potatoes, carrots, and ginger

RVML raw vegetables and salad

FPML fruit platter meal including a selection of seasonal fresh fruits

 

• Airport Restaurant Food Improves

In a review of 18 major airports—including those in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. — dietitians for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine found that 76 percent of airport restaurants now offer at least one healthful vegetarian entrée. Newark Liberty International received a score of 92 percent and topped the list for the first time. Reagan Washington National and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport rated worst for the third year in a row. Chicago O’Hare improved the most. It scored 84 percent, rising 13 points since the previous year. Among the many other plant-based options at Newark, travelers will find seaweed salad, cucumber rolls, vegetable rolls, asparagus rolls, vegetable gyoza, and yakko tofu at Hamachi Sushi and a grilled veggie burrito at Qdoba Mexican Grill.

Source: “2012 Airport Food Review,” Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. www.pcrm.org.

Alcohol

In moderation, fermented, alcoholic beverages have been part of a traditional diet. In populations eating substantial amounts of animal food, wine and other light drinks can protect against some forms of heart disease (though it can contribute to others as well as breast cancer, colon cancer, and other malignancies). Overall, the abuse of alcohol is a major problem in modern society and associated with a wide range of personal, family, and social disorders and dependencies. About 3 to 5 percent of men and 1 percent of women are alcoholic. See American Cancer Society, Kuzu, Natto, Pancreatic Cancer, Soy Foods, Violence, Wine.

 

•  Alcohol Acts as Both a Depressant and a Stimulant

“It produces effects that mimic those of many other drugs, such as opium, cocaine, Valium, and ether,” writes health researcher Stephen Braun. Because all blood from the digestive organs is shunted to the liver, it particularly affects that organ. Other effects include depressing brain function by interfering with a type of ion channel critical for the firing of neurons; impairing the brain’s ability to store new memories; and reducing reaction times and impairing coordination, thereby increasing the risk of accidents, especially while driving. Because it passes through the placenta barrier, alcohol can affect the embryo and lead to fetal alcohol syndrome. It also has an adverse effect on male sperm.

     On the plus side, alcohol increases the receptivity of GABA receptors, reducing anxiety; boosts dopamine levels, producing a brief period of heady stimulation; releases endorphins, the body’s painkillers that give a “natural high”; and boosts levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, also associated with increasing self-confidence and motivation.

Source: Stephen Braun, Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).

 

• Chinese Medicines Control Alcohol

Traditional Chinese medicines used to treat arthritis, diabetes, and stomach disorders route alcohol away from the bloodstream, according to Japanese pharmacists. In animal studies, the bark and root cortex of the angelica tree, the plant ovary of the soapberry, the seeds of the camellia and horse chestnut, and the roots of the seneca snakeroot appeared to trap alcohol and transport it to the large intestine without absorption into the bloodstream, the scientists told the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society. "No matter how much you drink, you would not get drunk," Masayuki Yoshikawa of Khyoto Pharmaceutical University said. "If you consume this before you have alcohol . . . the blood alcohol will not increase, in fact, it will decrease."

Source: "Ancient Remedies Found to Detour Alcohol from Blood," undated article circa 1995.

 

Allergies  

Allergies are abnormal reactions to a food, chemical, drug, or other substance. They range from mild and occasional to serious and troubling to dangerous and life-threatening. Common allergies include hay fever, asthma, and other respiratory allergies; hives and other skin allergies; food allergies; drug allergies; and allergies to bee stings and other insect bites. In many cases, dietary imbalance underlies sus-ceptibility to allergic reactions, and changing the way of eating will help eliminate abnormal reactions to wind-borne particles, foods, drugs, or environmental irritants. See also Asthma, Glucose Sensitivity, Lactose Intolerance, and Peanut Allergies.

                 

• Tofu, Miso, and Other Soy Protect Against Allergies

In a study of 1002 Japanese pregnant women, consumption of soy products high in isoflavones helped protect against common allergies. Researchers at the Department of Public Health, Fukuoka University School of Medicine, reported that consumption of tofu, tofu products, fermented soybeans, boiled soybeans, and miso soup “may be associated with a reduced prevalence of allergic rhinitis.”

Source: Y. Miyake et al., “Soy, Isoflavones, and Prevalence of Allergic Rhinitis in Japanese Women: The Osaka Maternal and Child Health Study,” Journal Allergy Clin Immunol 115(6):1176-83, 2005.

 

• Allergic Children Respond Favorably to Rice Milk

In a prospective clinical assessment of 100 young boys and girls with allergies to cow’s milk, researchers in Milan, Italy reported that progressive substitution of soy- or a hydrolysed rice milk reduced sensitivity in all but six children. The kids’ mean age was three years old. “Rice-based hydrolysed formula is a possible alternative not only for children with multiple allergies, but also for children with cow’s milk allergy,” the scientists concluded.

Source: A. Fiocchi et al., “A Hydrolysed Rice-Based Formula Is Tolerated by Children with Cow’s Milk Allergy: A Multi-Centre Study,” Clin Exp Allergy 36(3):311-6, 2006.

 

• Seaweed Protects Against Common Allergies 

In a study of how nutrition mediates allergies, Japanese researchers reported that sea vegetables decreased the prevalence of allergic rhinitis. Higher intakes of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus were also protective, while consumption of fruits and vegetables, vitqamins C and E, fiber, and zinc showed no association.

Source: Y. Miyake et al., “Dietary Intake of Seaweed and Minerals and Prevalence of Allergic Rhinitis in Japanese Pregnant Females: Baseline Data from the Osaka Maternal and Child Health Study,” Ann Epidemiolo 16(8):614-21, 2006.

• Breast Feeding Protects Against Allergies

Cow’s milk proteins and other food antigens are well known to pass from nursing mothers to their babies. Several clinical studies in infants at risk for atopic disease found that exclusive breastfeeding reduces the incidence of this disease. “Sensitization to food antigens may occur already in utero because infants whose mothers avoid common allergenic foods during the whole pregnancy and then during the lactation period have a lower incidence of atopic eczema than infants whose mothers are on an unrestricted diet,” German scientists at the Universitats-Kinderklinic in Wien reported. The researchers found that avoiding common allergenic foods only during the last three months of pregnancy had no effect.

Source: F. Haschke et al., “Does Breast Feeding Protect from Atopic Diseases?,” Padiatr Padol 1990; 25(6): 415-20.

 

• Dietary Prevention of Allergies in Infancy Predisposes to Later Health

Prolonged breast feeding, avoidance of a hydrolysed milk formula, and delayed introduction of dairy food, eggs, fish, nuts and soybeans are linked to reduced incidence of allergic symptoms and reactions, not only in infants and young children, but also for as long as puberty and the teenage years. A medical researcher at the Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Canada, reported that these effects could last for as long as 18 years. “Diet and nutrition in early life are crucial for the development of allergic and infectious disease throughout childhood and into adulthood,” the researcher concluded.

Source: R. K. Chandra, “Food Allergy and Nutrition in Early Life: Implications for Health,” Proc Nutr Soc May 2000: 59(2): 273-7.

 

• Dairy Main Cause of Food Allergies in Children

Food was associated with 82.9% of allergic reactions in school-aged children, and among these milk was involved in 32% of the cases, the Division of Allergy & Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City recently reported. In a study of 132 children with known allergies, 58% reported allergic reactions in the past 2 years. Eighteen percent experienced 1 or more reactions in school. After milk, the most offending foods were peanuts in 29% of cases, eggs in 18%, tree nuts in 6%, and miscelaneous foods in 3% of the remaining cases.

Source: A. Nowak-Wegrzyn et al., “Food-Allergic Reactions in Schools and Preschools,” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 155(7); 790-5, 2001.

 

• Infant Dairy Allergies Persist through Childhood

In a study of 56 10-year-olds who had symptoms of cow’s milk allergy (CMA) in infancy, researchers in Finland reported that nearly half continued to suffer from dairy-related allergic symptoms compared to 10% of subjects in a control group. “The growth of the former CMA subjects was retarded compared with the control subjects,” the scientists reported. They concluded that a high proportion of children with CMA in infancy continued to have persistent symptoms even after small-dose tolerance to dairy had been achieved in the intervening years.

Source: J. Kokkonen et al., “Residual Intestinal Disease after Milk Allergy in Infancy,” J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutri 32(2): 156-61, 2001.

 

• Dairy-Free Diet Improves Children’s Health

In a study of 114 children suspected of cow’s milk allergy at the Beatrix Children’s Hospital and the University Hospital Groningen, the Netherlands, researchers reported that 66 improved when put on a diet free of dairy milk.

Source: N. K. Olsder et al., “Standarized Multidisciplinary Diagnosis of Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy in Children,” Ned Tijdechr Geneeskd 139(33): 1690-4, 1995.

 

• Sensitivity to Milk in Young European Adults

In a cross-sectional study of 206 women aged 27 years old selected at random, European researchers reported that 20% of the subjects reported abdominal discomfort after dairy product intake, while only 6% had been diagnosed as lactose intolerant. Sensitivity to milk is generally estimated to be 3-6% in this population, but may be much larger. “Milk hypersensitivity may be as common in adults as in infants,” the medical investigators concluded.

Source: L. Pelto et al., “Milk Hypersensitivity in Young Adults,” Eur J Clin Nutri Aug 1999; 53(8): 620-4.

 

• Multiple Food Allergens on the Rise

French scientists report that between 2 and 5% of the general population is allergic to cow’s milk and that multiple food allergens are on the rise. Double-blind placebo controlled milk challenges are mandatory for the diagnosis and sometimes take up to 8 days. Removing dairy products from the diet and protein supplementation from nondairy sources is helpful for treating this condition.

Source: D.A. Moneret-Vautrin, “Cow’s Milk Allergy,” Allerg Immunol 1999 Jun; 31(6): 201-10.

 

• Asthma and Lung Allergies Higher in Dairy Workers

Dairy farmers and other workers in the dairy industry have a high prevalence of respiratory symptoms. In a study of 1015 small-scale dairy farmers in Sweden, researchers found that 27% had atopy. Environmental tobacco smoke and exposure to different animal species were ruled out as risk factors. In a Danish study of employees and former workers in a cheese-making plant, researchers found that nearly two-thirds produced antibodies associated with allergic responses. Exposure to penicillium camemberti in the cheese was cited as the probable cause.

Sources: M. Kronqvist et al., “Risk Factors Associated with Asthma and Rhinoconjunctivitis among Swedish Farmers," Allergy 1999 Nov; 54(11) : 1142-9 and S. Dahl et al., “Cheese-Packers’ Disease—Respiratory Complaints at a Cheese-Packing Dairy,” Ugeskr Laeger 1994 Oct 3; 156(40): 5862-5.

 

• Allergy to Pizza

Though less common than other allergens, susceptibility to pizza is increasing as the food’s popularity has risen in modern society. An Italian researcher hypothesizes that the increased availability of pizza, number of varieties, and different spices and artificial additives added to pizza may be responsible for this trend. “In the beginning, it was the food of the poor, but was made with natural foods, but nowadays has been enriched by a number of ingredients and flavorings, thus multiplying the risk of allergic reactions,” the study found.

Source: A. Cantani, “Allergy to Pizza,” Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 1999 Sep-Oct; 3(5):235-6.

 

• Macrobiotic Food Reduces Chemical Sensitivity

In a study of 160 patients suffering from chemical sensitivity, including multiple allergies, those who observed a macrobiotic way of eating, high in whole grains, vegetables, beans, and sea vegetables for at least one year reported an average decrease in symptoms of 76 percent. A macrobiotic dietary approach “should be considered for those  with persistent symptoms triggered by chemical exposure,” the researcher concluded.

Source: S. Rogers, M.D., “Improvement in Chemical Sensitivity with the Macrobiotic Diet,” Journal of Applied Nutrition 48: 85-92, 1996.

 

• GMO Soy May Cause Fatal Allergic Reactions

Rapeseed and soybeans modified with genes from Brazil nuts to boost their low cysteine and methionine content were withdrawn from development after studies showed that they could cause deadly allergic reactions in people sensitive to the nuts. “Since genetic engineers mix genes from a wide variety of species,” noted Dr. Rebecca J. Goldburg of the Environmental Defense Fund, “other genetically engineered foods may cause similar health problems. People who are allergic to one type of food may suddenly find they are allergic to many more.”

Source: J. Nordlee et al., “Identification of a Brazil-Nut Allergen in Transgenic Soybeans,” New England Journal of Medicine 334:688-92, 1996.

 

• Pesticide Linked to Allergies

Nearly 50% of farm workers who harvest vegetables sprayed with a common pesticide developed allergies in one month after picking, and 70% developed reactions after 3 months. The study examined ordinary Bt, the most common pesticide spliced into genetically engineered food. An environmental expert, Mary Howell Martens, expressed concern that “many, many more people will be exposed to the Bt toxin and will likely be sensitized by eating crops engineered with the gene for the toxin.”

Source: “Bt Is as Bt Does,” Science News, Sept. 4, 1999. 

Alternative and Complementary Medicine

Following Congressional hearings, the U.S. Congress mandated the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to open the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAT) in 1993 and begin funding the most promising therapies, including macrobiotics, Native American medicine, homeopathy, music therapy, acupuncture, and other modalities. In 1998, the office was renamed the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and Congress increased the annual budget from $20 million to $50 million. In 2014, it was renamed the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). By 2015, its budget had risen to $120 million.

      Several medical schools, colleges, and universities have opened alternative medical centers. By 1998, 62 percent of medical schools in the U.S.—nearly two in every three—offered courses in alternative and complementary medicine.

     The first public natural health clinic opened in Seattle in 1996. The clinic offers low cost natural therapies, including acupuncture, nutritional counseling, biofeedback, Chinese herbal medicine, and other alternative treatments to the public, especially low-income patients. The estimated cost of the pilot program, funded by the government, is $3 million. Meanwhile, insurance companies are beginning to reimburse and encourage alternative medical practices. Oxford Health Plans became the first large medical insurer to offer alternative medicine coverage in 1997. No physician referral is required. The company cited a survey of its 1.5 million members showing that 33 percent had used some form of alternative medicine in the last five years. On the West Coast, Kaiser Permanente, the nation's largest HMO, offers reimbursement for acupuncture and other alternative medical services in California. Blue Cross/Blue Shield are experimenting with similar coverage in the Pacific Northwest.

     In a widely publicized survey, the New England Journal of Medicine reported in 1993 that one in every three Americans used alternative medicine. By 1998, the figure had risen to 42 percent, and the number of visits to alternative practitioners exceeded those to primary care physicians. According to medical surveys, about 40 percent of Americans suffering from common chronic tension-type headaches used CAM, while nearly 70 percent of those with high blood pressure do so.

       Expenditures in 2012 included:

  • $14.7 billion out of pocket on visits to complementary practitioners such as chiropractors, yoga instructors, acupuncturists or massage therapists -- nearly 30 percent of what people spent on traditional medical services.

  • $12.8 billion on natural product supplements, which was about one-quarter of what people spent on prescription drugs.

  • $2.7 billion on books, CDs, videos and other self-help materials related to complementary health.

     Overall, spending on complementary medicine amounted to just over 9 percent of out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures and about 1 percent of all money spent on healthcare in the United States, the researchers found. Most of this alternative healthcare is being used by adults, not children, the report found. The researchers said about $28 billion was spent on adults, compared with just $1.9 billion for children.

     In 2015, the NIH reported that for 5% of the population, alternative medicine was their only treatment.

See also Acupressure, Asthma, Fibroymyalgia, Five Transformations, Multiple Sclerosis, Native American Diet, Pregnancy, Skin Problems, Yin and Yang.

Sources: D. M. Eisenberg et al., “Unconventional Medicine in the United States,” New England Journal of Medicine 328:246-52, 1997; M. S. Wetzel et al., “Courses Involving Complementary and Alternative Medicine at U.S. Medical Schools,” Journal of the American Medical Association 280:784-87, 1999; David M. Eisenberg et al, “Trends in Alternative Medicine Use in the U.S., 1990-1997,” Journal of the American Medical Association 280:1569-1575, 1998. Sam P. K. Collins, “With More Americans Turning to Alternative Medicine, Time to Assess Its Effectiveness,” thinkprogress.org, Feb. 17, 2015. Dennis Thompson, “Report: Americans spending billions on alternative medicine,” HealthDay News, June 22, 2016.

 

• College Students Use Medicinal Herbs

In a survey of 506 college students at a large southeastern state university, researchers at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, found that 58 percent of the participants had used at least one type of CAM and 79 percent of the students had used at least one herbal substance in the past 12 months. Increased age, female gender, flu-like symptoms, musculoskeletal symptoms, perceived neurological symptoms, and modern health worries increased tendency of student use.

Source: S. K. Johnson and A. Blanchard, “Alternative Medicine and Herbal Use Among University Students,” J Am Coll Health 55(3):163-8, 2006.

 

• CAM Spreads Among Parents of Children with Cancer

Worldwide, CAM is spreading. In Singapore, researchers at the National University interviewed parents of 73 pediatric cancer patients at KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital and found that two-thirds of them used at least 1 CAM treatment, such as dietary changes, health supplements, and herbal tea. 55 percent of patients did not discuss their CAM usage with their child’s physician.

Source: J. Lim et al., “Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Paediatric Oncology Patients in Singapore,” Ann Acad Med Singapore 35(11):753-6, 2006.

 

• Clinical Guidelines in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

In 1995, the Office of Alternative Medicine convened an expert panel to propose guidelines for clinical practice. Noting that estimated office visits to CAM providers (425 million a year) exceeded the number of visits to primary care physicians (388 million) and that Americans spent $10 billion annually on alternative therapies, the panel stated that it was important that the public be informed about the advantages and disadvantages of CAM.

      While professional standards and practices need to be standardized, the panel questioned the assumption that recommendations for CAM must await clinical trial evidence. “Some would argue that the need for CAM to collect evidence in a format acceptable to conventional Western medicine (e.g., randomized trials) is itself a false premise. Reliance on empirical data from controlled experiments to infer effectiveness is a reductionist Western epistemology that is not shared by many of the cultures from which some CAM practices originate.” The report mentioned, for example, that acupuncture has been practiced for more than 3000 years, outspanning “the entire life of newtonian science by several millennia.” Organ-specific results are commonly less important than overall patient well-being, respecting the patient’s personal experience, and dynamic relational issues. Conventional diagnostic models have little relevance, the panel noted, to traditional models of disease origin and development, especially those involving energy balance.

     Like psychiatric and mental health therapies, CAM approaches are often not reproducible, because they are highly individualized or recognize an association between the dynamics of the clinician-patient relationship. “In the long-term, a worthwhile goal is to develop holistic, cross-cutting practice guidelines that specify, for a patient with a given health problem (e.g., cancer), the full range of treatment options available in all areas of conventional medicine and CAM, the benefits and harms that can be expected from each choice, and the nature of the supporting evidence,” the panel concluded.

Source: “Clinical Practice Guidelines in Complementary and Alternative Medicine: An Analysis of Opportunities and Obstacles,” Archives of Family Medicine 6:149-54, 1997.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects about 5 percent of elderly people in modern society, including many of those in nursing homes. It is also increasingly found in people under 65. Memory loss and senility, its principal features, are associated in Far Eastern medicine with more expansive, dispersing foods, especially sugar, sweets, alcohol, and drugs. Physiologically, Alzheimer’s bears similarity to the human variant of mad cow disease (but is not contagious), so that animal food consumption, especially low quality beef or chicken (grown with antibiotics and other chemicals) may also be a factor in its spread. Medical studies have recently reported that nutrients found in whole grains and vegetables may help control the symptoms of this degenerative neurological disorder.  See Fluoridation, Soy Foods, Water, Women’s Health.

 

• Vegetable and Fruit Juice May Delay Onset of Dementia

In a study of 1836 Japanese Americans in Washington State, who were dementia-free when the research began, scientists reported found that those who drank fruit and vegetable juices at least 3 times per week came down with Alzheimer’s disease less than one third as often as those who drank juices only once or twice a week. “Fruit and vegetable juices may play an important role in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly among those that are at high risk,” the researchers at Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville, TN, reported.

Source: Q. Dai et al., “Fruit and Vegetable Juices and Alzheimer’s disease: The Kame Project,” American Journal of Medicine 119(9):751-9, 2006.

 

• Alzheimer’s Risk Preventable by 50 Percent

A researcher in Washington, D.C. concluded that “epidemiology studies, including both regional incidence and the analysis of specific risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease indicate that substantial prevention of the disease, in the 50-70 percent range, is a practical possibility for the United States. A rich diversity of specific prevention strategies was recommended, relating to nutrition, dietary supplements, lifestyle, treatment of food and environmental toxins, and in some cases medication. “The interaction of these risk factors with brain biology is increasingly understood. In contrast, therapeutic strategies for un-prevented Alzheimer’s generally prove incapable of delaying disease progression by more than 3-11 months, because extensive brain cell death occurs even in preclinical or mild cases.”

Source: E. T. Jansson, “Alzheimer’s Disease Is Substantially Preventable in the United States,” Medical Hypotheses 64(5):960-7, 2005.

 

• Caloric Restriction May Reduce Alzheimer’s

Scientists at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City report that a caloric restricted dietary regimen prevented the creation and build up of neuritic plaque in the brain of laboratory mice. “Study findings support existing epidemiological evidence indicating that caloric intake may influence risk for AD and raises the possibility that CR may be used in preventative measures aimed at delaying the onset of AD amyloid neuropathology,” researchers concluded.

Source: J. Wang et al., “Caloric Restriction Attenuated Beta-Mayloid Neuropathology in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease,” FASEB Journal 19(6):659-61, 2005.

 

• Vegetable Consumption Slows Mental Decline

In a six-year study, neurologists found that eating vegetables helps slow mental decline. Individuals 65 or older who ate two or more servings of vegetables daily had 40 percent less mental decline than those who ate few or no vegetables. Kale and collards were among the most beneficial vegetables.

Source: M. C. Morris et al., “Association of Vegetable and Fruit Consumption with Age-Related Cognitive Change,” Neurology 67:1170-6, 2006.

 

• Cholesterol Impairs Brain Function

Excessive cholesterol impairs memory and adversely affects language, orientation, and other cognitive functioning, according to neurologists at the National Institute on Aging.

Source: K. Yaffe et al., “Serum Lipoprotein Levels, Statis Use, and Cognitive Function in Older Women,” Arch Nerol 59:378-84, 2002.

 

• Folic Acid May Prevent Alzheimer’s

Folic acid, found in many green vegetables, may protect millions of people from Alzheimer's disease. Helga Refsum, a researcher at Norway's Bergen University, said, "The idea of reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease by diet is a promising hypothesis." A study of 76 Alzheimer's patients in the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Aging (OPTIMA) at Oxford University found elevated high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid associated with higher risk of heart disease and stroke, and lower levels of folic acid and vitamin B-12 compared to a control group of 108 people the same age who did not have Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is the fourth leading cause of death in the Western world.

Source: "Scientists Probe Link Between Diet and Alzheimer's," Reuters News Service, April 26, 1998.

 

• Fat Linked to Alzheimer’s

In a review of Alzheimer prevalence in 11 countries, a researcher reported that incidence of this form of dementia was associated with consumption of foods high in fat (including meat, eggs, poultry, etc.) and in total caloric intake. Fish consumption, on the other hand reduced the risk of developing AD. The researcher found that the diet just prior to the development of the disease is the most critical in determining the risk for developing AD. "Diets high in total calories including acidic drinks, alcohol, fat, salt and sugars promote trace mineral imbalances and elevated free radical production in the body. Several dietary components and supplements have been found effective in delaying the onset of AD, including antioxidants, estrogen (for post-menopausal women), fish or fish oil, and anti-inflammatory substances," the researcher concluded.

Source: Willaim B. Grant, Ph.D., "Dietary Links to Alzheimer's Disease," Alzheimer's Disease Review 2:42-55, 1997.

 

Ancient Diets

Since Darwin’s time and the introduction of evolutionary theory, scientists believed that meat eating was largely responsible for the development of human prowess, intellect, and ingenuity. Over the last generation, a revolution in anthropology, archaeology, and other social sciences has led to an emerging view that ancient hominins were not primarily hunters, but gatherers, and that plant-based foods largely shaped and influenced our unique human qualities.

• African Hunter-Gatherers Eat Primarily Plants

Contemporary hunter-gather societies such as the Son and Kalahari bushmen in Africa consume the vast majority of their food in the form of foraged plants, fruits, and nuts and only small amounts, 10-20%, in the form of animal food.

Source: “Bushmen,” NationalGeographic.com, January 2000.

 

• Vanishing Planet-Based Dietary Evidence

“The archaeological evidence [for the primacy of plant-eating] is especially weak, as many organic materials, especially plants, do not survive well, and are therefore invisible in the archaeological record,” a researcher reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Artifacts, such as stone tools which are likely to be used for hunting and animal bones with evidence of human processing and butchering do indicate that hunting did occur at many times in the past, but it is impossible to judge the frequency.”

Source: M.P. Richards, “A Brief Review of the Archaeological Evidence for Palaeolithic and Neolithic Subsistence,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002 Dec;56(12):1262-78.

 

• Eating Wild Grasses Gave Rise to First Homo Species

In the early twenty-first century, evidence emerged that early homo species ate wild grasses, the prototype of grains, as principal food. At the University of Colorado Boulder researchers reported: “High tech tests on tooth enamel by researchers indicate that prior to about 4 million year ago, Africa’s hominids were eating essentially chimpanzee style, dining on fruits and some leaves,” explained anthropology professor Matt Spon-heimer, lead author of the 2013 study. “A new look at the diets of ancient African hominids shows a ‘game change’ occurred about 3.5 million years ago when some members added grasses or sedges (a family of rushes including water chestnut) to their menus.” “It is quite possible that these changes in diet were an important step in becoming human,” he concluded.

Source: “Diet likely changed game for some hominids 3.5 million years ago,” ScienceDaily.com, June 13, 2013.

 

• Lucy, Mother of Humankind, a Vegetarian

For nearly 2 million years, the primary hominin ancestors in Africa, Australopithecus was largely vegetarian. Australopithecus anamensis, a hominid that lived in East Africa more than 4 millions years ago, was herbivorous. According to a 2012 study at the University of Barcelona, its diet consisted of grasses, seeds, sedges, tubers, and fruits was similar to other primates, including baboons and the green monkey, that live in shrubby savannah marked by seasonal changes. Lucy, often referred to as the Eve or mother of the human race, lived about a million years later. Her skeletal remains, found in East Africa, classify her as Australopithecus afarensis. She was vegetarian, eating grasses and leaves, as well as fruit, nuts, seeds, and tubers.

Source: Ferran Estebaranz, et al. “Buccal dental microwear analyses support greater specialization in consumption of hard foodstuffs for Australopithecus anamensis.” Journal of Anthropological Sciences, 2012; 90: 1-24.

 

• Homo Sapiens Processed Wild Grains

Homo sapiens have been harvesting wild grain, processing, and consuming it for at least half of its existence. Stone tools recently found in East Africa, the cradle of humanity, showed that people were processing sorghum 100,000 years ago.  In Ngalue, a cave in Mozambique, researchers discovered an assort-ment of seventy stone tools in a layer of sediment deposited on the cave floor 42,000 to 105,000 years ago. Although the tools cannot be dated precisely, those in the deepest strata appear to be at least 100,000 years old. About 80% of the tools, including scrapers, grinders, points, flakes, and drills, had ample starchy residue, archaeologists told Science. Eighty-nine percent of the starches came from sorghum, a cereal grain that still constitutes a main staple in many parts of Africa. The rest came from the African wine palm, the false banana, pigeon peas, wild oranges, and the African potato. The evidence suggests that people living in Ngalue routinely brought starchy plants, especially sorghum, to their cave where it was made into porridge and baked in the form of flat bread.

Source: Mercader, Julio, “Mozambican Grass Seed Con-sumption During the Middle Stone Age,” Science 326:Dec. 18, 2009. www.sciencemag.org.

• Cooking Created Modern Humans

In Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, Harvard primatologist Richard Wrangham theorized that the mastery of fire for cooking spurred the development of early humans, not meat-eating. Cooking, in his view, made more calories from existing, largely plant quality foods, available and improved metabolism, leading to the development of larger brains. Cooking also facilitated warmth, leading to the loss of body hair and the ability to run faster without overheating. Wrangham suggests it also allowed early hominins to develop more peaceful personalities, develop new social structures around the hearth, and bring the sexes closer together. Raw food, he contends, does not supply enough caloric energy and is unsus-tainable and can cause up to half the women to cease menstruation. Cooking increases the net energy gain by 30%. As humans evolved from the monkey and primate state, they discovered seasonal cycles of change, found ways to store food, and learned to cook. As a result of his investigations, Wrangham became vegetarian.

Source: Richard Wrangham, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, Basic Books, 2009.

 

• Ancient European Bakeries

New evidence from multiple European sites including present-day Moravia, Italy, and Russia, indicates ancient grain harvesting, cooking, and processing dating to about 25,000 to 30,000 years ago, a Stone Age era renowned for its elegant Ice Age cave paintings. For example, mammoth hunters in Dolni Vestonice, an Upper Paleolithic site in Moravia, had sickle blades and grinding stones. Researchers speculate that they harvested edible seeds of wild grasses, the common reed, bog bean, water nut, and arctic berries. Remains of plant food preserved by a hearth at Dolni Vestonice II dating to from 27,000 to 24,000 years ago contained a seed, tissues from roots and tubers, possible acorn mush, and wood charcoal. In the Black Sea region, archaeologists unearthed thousands of small blades made of flint and hafted with bitumen into bone handles to harvest wild grasses and cane. As Dr. Revedin of the Italian Institute of Prehistory and Early History in Florence concluded: “The discovery of grain and plant residues on grinding stones at the three sites suggests plant-based food processing, and possibly flour production, was common and widespread across Europe at least 30,000 years ago.” 

Sources: The Threshold of Civilization: An Experiment in Prehistory, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1975 and “The Stone Age Baker: Cavemen 'ate bread, not just meat,'” Daily Mail Reporter, October 19, 2010.

 

• Vegan Neanderthals

The remains of most Neanderthals observed in the past showed signs of being heavy meat eaters. But a new study from Spain shows that at least one group was vegetarian. Based on an analysis of dental plaque, researchers at the Australian Center for Ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide, Australia found that they ate no meat at all. "We find things like pine nuts, moss, tree barks and even mushrooms as well," says Laura Weyrich, the lead author of the new study published in Nature in 2017. “It is very indicative of a vegetarian diet, probably the true Paleo diet.”

     Even more surprising, the researchers found DNA evidence suggesting the Neanderthals were self-medicating by eating the bark of poplar trees. "Poplar bark contains salicylic acid, one of the natural sources of what we call aspirin," Weyrich explains. Her team also found evidence of Penicillium in the plaque. That's the mold from which the antibiotic penicillin is made. "It's pretty phenomenal that these guys were so in tune with their environment and to know what was going on and how to treat things," Weyrich concluded.

Source: Callaway, Ewen, “Plaque DNA Hints at Neanderthal Lifestyle,” Nature, March 8, 2017, Vol. 543:7644

 

Anemia

In a study investigating the association between food patterns and anemia among Chinese adults, scientists in Nanjing reported that the “traditional” modern diet of white rice, vegetables, and refined wheat flour and a “sweet tooth” diet high in drinks and cake were associated with the blood disorder, while a “healthy” diet high in whole grains, vegetables, and fruit was protective. There was no observed association with a “macho” diet high in meat and alcohol.

Source: Z. Shi, “Association Between Dietary Patterns and Anaemia in Adults from Jiangsu Province in Eastern China,” British Journal of Nutrition 96(5):906012, 2006.

 

Animal Waste

Animal manure poses a national environmental risk. Amounting to 1.3 billion tons a year in the U.S., it exceeds the amount of human waste by 130 times, and there are no national standards for treating it. See Water.

 

• Animal Waste Major Water Polluter

According to a report by the U.S. Senate Agricultural Committee, animal waste is the major water polluter in the U.S. For example, a single 50,000-acre hog farm in Utah creates more waste than the city of Los Angeles and has no sewage plant to treat it. Premium Standard Farms, the nation’s second largest hog producer, produces five times more waste than the city of St. Louis. The study found that 60 percent of the nation's rivers and streams were "impaired" by agricultural runoff. In 1996, for example, 40 animal waste spills killed 670,000 fish in Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri, double the number of spills four years previously. Excess nutrients form agricultural runoff have flowed down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico where they have created a dead zone, in which no living organisms can survive, the size of New Jersey.

Source: "Large Amounts of Animal Manure Pose Environmental Risks," Associated Press, December 28, 1997; Stan Grossfeld, “Animal Waste Emerging as U.S. Problem,” Boston Globe, September 21, 1998.

 

• Animal Waste and Pollution of Chesapeake Bay

The outbreak of pfisteria piscida, a microorganism that has decimated fish populations in Chesapeake Bay, the nation's largest and richest coastal estuary, has been linked with animal wastes along Maryland's rural Eastern Shore, site of one of the country's largest concentration of poultry farms. Physicians further confirmed that people who eat contaminated fish were at risk of coming down with a mysterious illness first observed by local fisherman that is characterized by chronic difficulties with learning and memory, as well as skin rashes and respiratory problems. Even young, vigorous men were unable to remember simple, basic things.

     Excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous from the poultry farms have polluted rivers in the region and are believed to have turned the organisms, first identified in 1992, from a benign spore lying on the bottom of streambeds, into a powerful toxin. The Eastern Shore, encompassing part of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, has 625 million chickens, and the poultry industry is growing at a rate of 20 percent yearly. "When you've got such a huge concentration [of animals] with literally millions of tons of waste, the land is not going to be able to absorb it," Chad Smith a local environmentalist noted.   

Source: David Lauter, "Livestock Wastes Pose Health Threat," Los Angeles Times, September 21, 1997.

 

Antibiotics          

Initially, penicillin and other antibiotics proved to be extremely effective, saving the lives of millions of people who otherwise would have died. However, the euphoria surrounding these “miracle drugs” quickly began to fade. Streptomycin almost completely lost its effectiveness after two months of use, especially on pulmonary tuberculosis. It also left many patients deaf or permanently dizzy. However, because the life-saving benefits still clearly outweighed the drawbacks, postwar physicians continued to prescribe strong drugs like these, and they became the treatment of choice for most acute conditions.

     Within several decades, they began to be used prophylactically to prevent future infection, as well as remedially to treat existing disease, and antibiotics were routinely added to livestock feed, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and other non-prescription products. In the United States, 240 million doses of antibiotics are prescribed every year, almost one per person. One of every three hospital patients receives an antibiotic, and physicians routinely administer antibiotics for everything from the common cold to pneumonia. Altogether, medical use accounts for 60 percent of antibiotic use. The other 40 percent is used in livestock feed to promote rapid growth. By 1980, 75 percent of all cattle in the United States received antibiotics, 90 percent of swine and veal calves, 50 percent of sheep, and nearly 100 percent of chickens and poultry. The drugs not only were used to prevent infection but to fatten up the animals and ensure maximum growth—and thus profits.

     In recent years, research has shown that antibiotics can interfere with the production of red blood cells, the metabolism of vitamin B-12, and kill benign or beneficial bacteria in the intestines that synthesize Vitamin K, biotin, riboflavin, panthothenate, and pyridoxine. These nutrients are all associated with proper immune function and protection against disease. Side-effects associated with antibiotic use and misuse include diarrhea, rashes, fever, allergic reactions, hemolytic anemia, bleeding, bone marrow toxicity, and disorders of the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system. The rapid spread of candida albicans and other acute infections has been associated with chronic antibiotic use that has disrupted the normal homeostasis in the digestive system and enabled the selection of pathogenic strains of yeast, fungi, bacilli, and other microorganisms. See Drug-Resistance, Infectious Diseases.

 

• Antibiotics Linked to Lethal Colitis in the Elderly

Among elderly patients, pseudomembranous colitis frequently causes severe diarrhea. In a study of risk factors for this disorder, researchers in Israel found that this condition is “an important complication of antibiotic therapy and is associated with high mortality and recurrence rate, especially in old and debilitated persons..

Source: M. Moshkowitz et al., “Risk Factors for Severity and Relapse of Pseudomembraneous Colitis in an Elderly Population,” Colorectal Dis 9(2):173-7, 2007.

 

• End of the Antibiotic Era?

In a review of the history and therapeutic use of antibiotics, two medical researchers in Texas document how the modern science was lulled into complacency. “The scientific community grossly underestimated the remarkable genetic plasticity of these organisms and their ability, through mutations and genetic transfer, to develop resistance to antibiotics,” they explain. “Antibiotic resistance has made potential killers out of bacteria that previously posed little threat to mankind. The indiscriminate and reckless use of antibiotics has led to a fast approaching crisis in which human dominance of the planet is threatened by single, elementary cells of the microbal world.”

Source: J. W. Harrison and T. A. Svec, “The Beginning of the End of the Antibiotic Era?,” Parts I and II, Quintessence International 29(3):151-62, 1998 and 29(4):223-29, 1998.

 

• Overprescription of Antibiotics

Abuse of antibiotics is contributing to disease, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Every year doctors write 12 million antibiotic prescriptions—one in every five—for colds, bronchitis and other viral infections for which antibiotics are useless. "Every time we use an antibiotic, we run the risk of promoting antibiotic resistance, or drug resistance, by bacteria," said lead scientist Ralph Gonzales. In the last 10 years, an epidemic of Streptococcus pneumoniae that is resistant to penicillin drugs has developed and is a leading cause of ear and sinus infections, meningitis, and other common illnesses.

Source: R. Gonzales et al., “Antibiotic Prescribing for Adults with Colds, Upper Respiratory Tract Infections, and Bronchitis by Ambulatory Care Physicians,” Journal of the American Medical Association 278(11)"901-4, 1997.

 

• Dangers of Antibiotics 

In a critique of modern medicine and agriculture, a noted public health official presents evidence that the overuse of pharmaceuticals is creating an epidemic of new drug-resistant diseases. “The sheer magnitude of this assault [the creation of new diseases by antibiotic-resistant microbes] is staggering. For four decades now, we have thrown hundreds of tons of antibiotics against our Hollywood imagination of microscopic enemies. In the process we have sown seeds for a whole new array of actual germs and diseases. . . . We favor simple technological fixes for complex disease entities, while our medical complex fosters a near-sighted one-germ, one-chemical mentality. Together, these positions contribute to a world view that encourages the proliferation of new chemotherapeutic agents, and in turn, the proliferation of new disease entitles. . . . The answer clearly does not consist of throwing more troops into a losing battle.”

Source: Marc Lappé, When Antibiotics Fail: Restoring the Ecology of the Body, (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1986).

 

• WHO Calls for End to Antibiotics in Livestock Feed

The World Health Organization has recommended phasing out the use of antibiotics to promote livestock growth. “Farms are factories of drug resistance,” stated Dr. Stuart Levy, director of the Center for Adaptation, Genetics, and Drug Resistance at the Tufts University School of Medicine. “The non-therapeutic misusage is just causing more multi-drug resistance in human therapy. They can transfer resistance, whether it’s something we eat or touch or waste that’s tilled into another source.”

Source: Stan Grossfeld, “Animal Waste Emerging as U.S. Problem,” Boston Globe, September 21, 1998.

Sorghum, native to East and South Africa, is humanity's earliest wild grass or grain

Artistic recreation of cultivation in the ancient Amazonian rain forest

Artistic recreation of cultivation in the ancient Amazonian rain forest

Airlines usually offer a variety of plant-based options for international travel. Photo of a vegan meal on Turkish Airlines

Chinese herbs such as angelica root are traditionally used to neutralize the effects of alcohol

Dairy is the main cause of allergies. Breast feeding offers protection against allergies through childhood and adolescence 

Dairy is the main cause of allergies. Breast feeding offers protection against allergies through childhood and adolescence 

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health supports the use of acupuncture, nutritional counseling, biofeedback, and other promising therapies

Alzheimer's disease and dementia are linked to the modern diet high in sugar, fat, and processed foods

Evidence of an ancient vegan Neanderthal community was recently found in Spain

Evidence of an ancient vegan Neanderthal community was recently found in Spain

The overuse of antibiotics is a major health and environmental problem. Many foods contain natural antibiotic properties that are safe and effective

Dairy products are a main cause of allergies in teens

Sorghum, native to East and South Africa, is humanity's earliest wild grass or grain

The spread of sugar, white flour, and heavy animal foods in Africa underlie the rise of the AIDS epidemic

Dairy is the main cause of allergies. Breast feeding offers protection against allergies through childhood and adolescence 

GMO soybeans are a main cause of allergies

GMO soybeans are a main cause of allergies

Spices and artificial additives in pizza can multiply the risk of allergic reactions

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health supports the use of acupuncture, nutritional counseling, biofeedback, and other promising therapies

Visits to holistic practitioners in the U.S. now outnumber doctors' visits

Alzheimer's disease and dementia are linked to the modern diet high in sugar, fat, and processed foods

Eating wild grains or cereal grasses led to the evolution of ancient human beings in the African Savannah

Eating wild grains or cereal grasses led to the evolution of ancient human beings in the African Savannah

The mastery of fire led to cooking and the expansion of human intellect, tool-making, and other arts. (Photo shows San, a contemporary hunter-gatherer society in southern Africa)

Eating wild grains or cereal grasses led to the evolution of ancient human beings in the African Savannah

Folic acid in green leafy vegetables helps protect against Alzheimer's

Evidence of an ancient vegan Neanderthal community was recently found in Spain

Manure from pigs, cattle, poultry, and other livestock is the primary contaminant in the nation's waterways

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