Is Dimethicone in Natural Skincare Products Good or Bad for Your Skin?

Skin

Millie-   Even though I have always used organic or natural skin and makeup choices I have been alarmed at how many so-called natural and organic products contain silicones. Another chemical that most organic products have is Butylene glycol. It is a petroleum product that hey consider organic. The word organic means nothing more than “ noting or pertaining to a class of chemical compounds that formerly comprised only those existing in or derived from plants or animals, but that now includes all other compounds of carbon”.  It has been tough finding effective skin products without these items. While I can tolerate silicones with no reaction, I do find that using products with them makes my serums and moisturizers less effective. The reason for this is that silicones sit on top of the skin and form a barrier, so that treatments aren’t effective as they do not reach the skin. So my oils and moisturizers cannot nourish the skin. Also it does not let the skin breath properly.  I have spent a year experimenting with my skin care, and my skin looks far better with products that are not occlusive to his degree.

   Have you ever wondered what makes your favourite moisturizer light as air and non-greasy? It’s simple: you can thank silicone for that kind of texture.

Yes, silicone – the umbrella term for a countless number of synthetic polymers whose place in clean beauty has been called into question on more than one occasion. However, silicones aren’t new to the industry.

First introduced in the ’50s, cosmetic grade synthesized silicon-carbon polymers (also known as silicones) offered companies a number of characteristics that made improving the feel, appearance, and performance of cosmetic products infinitely better.

Today, silicone compounds are being developed in many different shapes and forms, from fluids to powders. In natural products, like sunscreen, an emollient called dimethicone gives life to some of the most luxurious, desirable textures on the market.

The downside? Like any other synthetic ingredient, there have been negative effects associated with prolonged use of dimethicone on the skin. The verdict on this ingredient amongst industry professionals is truly a mixed bag, which makes forming an opinion about whether or not its a “good” or “bad” substance a bigger challenge.Though some might suggest avoiding silicones like dimethicone at all costs, it may not be necessary.

Here, you’ll discover all you need to know about dimethicone and its benefits. Plus, Sara A. Dudley, CEO of The Sunscreen Company, weighs in on dimethicone in sun care products.

What is dimethicone?

By definition, silicone is a synthetic polymer made up of silicon, oxygen, and other elements like carbon and hydrogen. Dimethicone works well with humectants – agents that help retain the skin’s moisture levels.

Found prominently in creams, lotions and primers for its ability to moisturize the skin without feeling heavy, dimethicone is frequently used as a substitute for petrolatum-based ingredients.

The silky, spreadable texture of dimethicone allows products to be applied smoothly and fills in wrinkles and fine lines, resulting in an even appearance. These properties often produce an effect that makes you think a product is “working” despite the fact that its effects are temporary.

Why use it?

Back in 2017, founder and editor of The Skincare Edit, Michelle Villett, summed up the reasons why silicones like dimethicone are used by brands in the most concise way: they’re smoothing, water resistant, and they’re inexpensive for companies to purchase and include in their formulas.

The pros

Aside from moisturizing and smoothing skin without feeling heavy, dimethicone can also be used to treat sensitive skin.

“It can actually help people with compromised skin barriers because it’s occlusive. For my infant son, for example, we use a body moisturizer that has a little dimethicone in it for his eczema because he needs the added protection,” said Dudley.

Although Dudley views the dimethicone “grey zone” in clean beauty as an interesting topic, she doesn’t believe the product is actually harmful to the skin.

“It has been overused in a lot of conventional products because it tricks consumers into thinking it’s giving extra hydration. It will make skin or hair look good in the short term but it’s not really treating or hydrating the skin in a beneficial way,” she explained. “From a sunscreen standpoint, it can help with spreadability, especially for mineral sunscreens that have really large particulates in them.”

The cons

A long-standing debate persists about whether or not silicones like dimethicone cause clogged pores, irritation and prevent other ingredients from absorbing into the skin. However, it’s been said that there’s no scientific basis for those claims, since silicones are “pure synthetics” specially formulated to avoid clogging pores and irritating the skin.

Another reason why dimethicone is viewed negatively is because of its occlusive nature, which forms a barrier on the skin that’s been said to “exacerbate acne” by trapping moisture, bacteria, sebum, and other impurities.

Dudley notes consumers concern about the bioaccumulation of particles from silicones in water systems, and for this reason, The Sunscreen Company has removed it from their products.

“I think it gets a bad rap as being not natural, although I would argue it’s just further down the chain of what is considered naturally derived,” said Dudley. “It’s considered a cheap ingredient or filler, something designed by big brands to dupe customers. I think it can have a place in clean beauty, but it just needs to be used a lot more judiciously and transparently than what has been done in the past.”

Your verdict:

After weighing both sides of the case on dimethicone, it turns out that your judgement is the most important factor in deeming how safe or unsafe it is to use on the skin.

To learn more about the potentially adverse affects on the body and the environment related to dimethicone, EWG’s Skin Deep is a great resource. The scientific findings about dimethicone’s “harmfulness” are limited, though its been proven time and time again to serve as a less toxic alternative to pesticide-containing products.

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Study: Drinking dairy milk linked to breast cancer in women

Note from Millie–  Dairy foods do not belong in the human body.  Breastfed until 2 years old and after that we do not need dairy.

Dairy

New U.S. research has found that drinking even a moderate amount of dairy milk appears to be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in women.

Hot on the heels of a review from top nutrition scientists that cautioned against drinking cow’s milk comes another study with another caution: drinking milk increases the risk of developing breast cancer, say the researchers. But this finding comes from an observational study, and there may be confounders that are not accounted for, says an expert not involved with the study.   

The latest research was based on data from the long-running larger study called Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2), which is looking at diet and health among Seventh Day Adventists in North America. Past results from this study have suggested that Seventh Day Adventists have longer life spans and lower rates of some cancers, perhaps because of heathier lifestyles.

The latest analysis suggests that milk raises breast cancer risk, and the more you drink the higher your risk may be. 

“Consuming as little as 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dairy milk per day was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer of 30%,” first author Gary E. Fraser, MBChB, PhD, said in a press statement. Fraser is affiliated with the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University, California.

“By drinking up to 1 cup per day, the associated risk went up to 50%, and for those drinking 2 to 3 cups per day, the risk increased further to 70% to 80%,” he added.

The findings were published February 25 in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

“The AHS study is provocative, but it’s not enough to warrant a change in guidelines. The caution being espoused by the authors is not warranted given the observational nature of this study,” commented Don Dizon, MD, director of Women’s Cancers, Lifespan Cancer Institute at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He was not involved with the study and was approached by Medscape Medical News for comment.

Because of its observational design, the study cannot prove that cow’s milk causes breast cancer, Dizon emphasized.

“I’d want to see if the findings are replicated [by others]. Outside of a randomized trial of [cow’s] milk vs no milk or even soy, and incident breast cancers, there will never be undisputable data,” he said.

“Probably the biggest point [about this study] is not to overinflate the data,” Dizon added.

He noted that the results were significant only for postmenopausal women, and not for premenopausal women. Moreover, analyses showed significant associations only for hormone receptor-positive cancers.


Is Clean Beauty Really Better? 7 Derms & Aestheticians Weigh In

Skin

These doctors have voiced how important clean skin care is, but the recommendations they make (about thoer own skincare lines) are WAY OFF BASE!  Many of these products include toxic ingredients such as butylene glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, etc.  Even products labeled natural or even organic contains these 3 ingredients which wreak havoc on the skin. Every skincare product they recommend (which they sell) are devoid of toxic ingredients. The last one list doesn’t give an igredient list on their pages that sell the product!

Scan almost any clean beauty retailer’s “About” page — Detox Market, Credo, Follain, Beautycounter — and you’ll notice two keywords: health and safety. That’s because the movement’s overarching mission is to eliminate chemicals ,known to be toxic to the human body from personal care products, including suspected cancer-causing agents (formaldehyde releasers, parabens) and hormone disruptors (phthalates, pesticides). While that’s no doubt a win for overall wellness, it does leave one critical question unanswered: Is clean beauty better for your skin? These seven dermatologists, cosmetic chemists, and renowned aestheticians think so.

“From my unique vantage point as a facialist for the past 25 years, having treated over 25,000 faces, I have seen how the proliferation of harsh ingredients — including dimethicone, fragrance, colorants, and sulfates — compromise the skin’s lipid barrier, thereby sensitizing the skin,” Angela Caglia, a celebrity aesthetician who works with Barbra Streisand and Minnie Driver, tells The Zoe Report. The integrity of the skin barrier is also a sticking point for cosmetic scientist Dr. Shuting Hu, Ph.D., who works with clean beauty brand Acaderma. “I personally believe in using clean ingredients as it is the very best way to prevent skin irritation and skin barrier damages, both of which are better for skin health,” Dr. Hu tells TZR. “Not only is it my belief, it is also scientifically proven.”

There’s a catch, though: Terms like “clean,” “natural,” “green,” and “non-toxic” aren’t regulated by the FDA — so, in theory, any brand can market any ingredient as clean (although the threat of callout culture tends to keep companies in line). “We really need a good working definition for ‘clean’ and ‘non-toxic,’” Marie Veronique Nadeau, a chemist and founder of her namesake skincare line, tells The Zoe Report. She personally considers an ingredient clean when it has “a track record for safety and efficacy” via scientific studies — and that goes for both naturals and synthetics. “It just makes more sense to use ingredients that are safe in your own opinion,” she says.

Ahead, seven skincare experts explain why they believe clean beauty is the healthiest choice for your skin — and reveal the natural and non-toxic products they swear by.

Dr. Nava Greenfield, Board-Certified Dermatologist

You need to be just as careful about what you put on your skin as what you eat and drink,” Dr. Nava Greenfield, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, tells TZR. “Numerous studies have confirmed that products used topically on the skin penetrate into the bloodstream and affect your body.” She suggests cross-checking your products with the Environmental Working Group’s toxicity database to pinpoint any potentially harmful ingredients.

 

Marie Veronique Nadeau, Chemist & Brand Founder

“Absolutely, ‘clean’ and ‘non-toxic’ ingredients are better for the health of the skin,” Nadeau says. When it comes to formulating her own products, Nadeau adds a third descriptor to the list: active. “It’s not enough that it won’t harm you — people also need to be asking, ‘Is it active? Is it going to be doing something for my skin?’”

To this end, she recommends incorporating clean versions of vitamin C and vitamin B3 — aka, niacinamide — into your routine. “You need vitamin C to build collagen, and it also does any number of other cool things like limit hyperpigmentation and provide UV protection,” Nadeau says. “Vitamin B3 protects mitochondrial DNA from free radical damage. This is about as close as we’re going to get to slowing the aging process in the skin, so it’s a must-have for anyone interested in keeping skin healthy and youthful-looking.”

 

Britta Plug, Aesthetician & Brand Founder

“I avoid processed food and chemicals — I feel my best that way — and I apply the same reasoning to my skincare,” Britta Plug, a holistic aesthetician and co-founder of Wildling, tells The Zoe Report. According to Plug (and science), harsh chemicals can negatively impact the skin’s microbiome and disrupt its inherent functions. “Natural products are much more likely to support the skin’s innate intelligence, and support all of its functions, flora, and barrier system,” she says.

Her go-to products, naturally, come from her own line. “I’m obsessed with the sweet fern in our Empress Tonic,” Plug says. “It’s amazing for kickstarting detoxification by stimulating lymphatic flow, and it’s also great for skin irritations.” After spritzing with the Tonic, she reaches for Wildling’s Empress Oil. “The balm of gilead in the oil is pure magic for stimulating circulation and reducing fine lines and breakouts,” the aesthetician explains. “It also smells like a dreamy forest.”

 

Dr. Shuting Hu, Cosmetic Scientist

Dr. Hu is passionate about clean skincare — but emphasizes that clean doesn’t always mean natural. “Plenty of natural ingredients are irritating, and not all natural materials are made equally,” she says. “Some high quality synthesized ingredients are also clean, like vitamin C.”

In her work with Acaderma, Dr. Hu defines “clean” as any ingredient that minimizes irritation to the skin while maintaining efficacy. Her favorite? “Seh-Haw EXTM,” a brand-exclusive form of African kinkeliba extract that moisturizes dehydrated skin and boosts the barrier. “We spent two years optimizing the extraction and purification process of Seh-Haw EXTM to make sure no organic solvents were used in the whole process, and that there were no causes of pollution to the environment,” she says.

 

Angela Caglia, Celebrity Aesthetician & Brand Founder

 

@angelacagliaskincare

“Through a process of trial and error in my treatment room, I’ve discovered which ingredients work and which ingredients make skin more susceptible to external aging factors,” Caglia says. (Considering her clients include age-defying celebs like Helena Christensen, I totally trust her.)

“One ingredient, in particular, that I’ve discovered helps with maintaining homeostasis is the organically-grown Limnanthes alba flower, indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, from which meadowfoam seed oil is derived through a unique cold pressing process,” she shares. “The reason why I love it is that it’s similar in molecular structure to our own sebum, which means it’s able to deeply penetrate the skin’s surface to deliver high levels of essential fatty acids and antioxidants where they’re needed most.” It can be found throughout the aesthetician’s namesake skincare line.

 

Athena Hewett, Aesthetician & Brand Founder

“Like much of the population, I have sensitive skin,” Athena Hewett, an aesthetician and founder of skincare brand Monastery, tells The Zoe Report. When she discovered that even hypoallergenic ingredients were irritating her skin, she decided to launch her own company — where she’s redefined “non-toxic” as “100 percent natural.”

“Take propylene glycol, for example — this chemical is used to make polyester, is considered non-toxic, and is found in nearly all of the skincare products out today,” she says. “I am highly allergic to this ingredient as are many of my clients, but most of them have no idea that this is what has been wrong with their skin. When someone lays on my table and I notice dermatitis, I can almost guarantee that they are putting propylene glycol on their skin in some form or another. Sadly, this ingredient is just one of many.” Hewett now looks to naturals for safe — and sensitivity-friendly — skincare solutions. “I love watching what raspberry seed oil does to the skin,” she says. “It makes up our Gold Oil, and it immediately soothes and reduces redness.”

Sarah Akram, Aesthetician

“I am a believer in integrative skincare, meaning just like what you put inside of your body, what you put on its surface can make a big difference in how you look and feel,” Sarah Akram, a Washington D.C.-based aesthetician and the founder of her namesake skincare boutique, tells TZR. “Just like you’d drink a cold pressed juice for optimum nutrient intake, you should take a similar approach to your skincare routine and overall skin health.”

She suggests looking for products packed with pure, natural ingredients (i.e., not “naturally-derived” — which is basically a synonym for “synthetic”). The facialists’ top pick? The Antioxidant Defence Creme by Environ. “This moisturizer is loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C and E to strengthen skin cells and fight free radicals,” Akram says. “Antioxidants are so important in the fight against premature aging, they actually work with your SPF to protect and correct the effects of harmful UV rays.” And, of course, they’re abundant in nature.


Artificial Leaf Turns Sunlight, CO2 and Water into Synthetic Gas

Artifitial Leaf Solar

Cambridge’s artificial leaf uses two perovskite light absorbers and a cobalt catalyst to convert sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into syngas

by Virgil Andrei

The humble leaf is an incredible little machine, converting sunlight and carbon dioxide into energy for a plant. Artificial versions could be useful renewable energy sources, or even used to produce fuels. Now, researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed an artificial leaf that can produce synthetic gas (or syngas) without releasing carbon dioxide.

Syngas is made from hydrogen and carbon monoxide, sometimes with a bit of carbon dioxide thrown in. While it can technically be burned to generate electricity or for gas lighting and heating, it more often acts as an intermediate step in manufacturing products, including plastics, fertilizers, and fuels like diesel. Unfortunately, producing it can release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

“You may not have heard of syngas itself but every day, you consume products that were created using it,” says Erwin Reisner, senior author of the study. “Being able to produce it sustainably would be a critical step in closing the global carbon cycle and establishing a sustainable chemical and fuel industry.”

To help with that, the Cambridge team developed a new artificial leaf prototype that can produce syngas through photosynthesis. The new device contains two light absorbers made of perovskite, and a cobalt catalyst. When these are placed in water, one side produces oxygen, while the other reduces carbon dioxide and water into carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Those latter two gases can then be combined into syngas.

The team showed that the technology can still work even in relatively low light, like that on cloudy or rainy days. The perovskite was chosen because it’s good at absorbing light and creating a voltage, which is why it’s showing up in solar panels so much lately. Meanwhile the cobalt in the catalyst is lower cost and more efficient at creating carbon monoxide than other materials.

That said, the conversion efficiencies are still quite low – the new design currently produces hydrogen at an efficiency of 0.06 percent and carbon monoxide at 0.02 percent.

The new device joins a range of artificial leaf designs that are being developed to create a range of useful products, like electricity, drugs, fertilizers, and hydrogen fuel. Ultimately, the team hopes to be able to skip the middleman syngas stage.

“What we’d like to do next, instead of first making syngas and then converting it into liquid fuel, is to make the liquid fuel in one step from carbon dioxide and water,” says Reisner. “There is a major demand for liquid fuels to power heavy transport, shipping and aviation sustainably.”

The research was published in the journal Nature Materials.

Source: University of Cambridge


Scientists FINALLY Issue Warning Against Canola Oil: it Damages Your Brain, Can CAUSE Dementia, and Weight Gain

Note From Millie– I have been teaching my clients for 20 years to NOT cook with oils, any oils. Oils cannot withstand heat, it renders them highly toxic, they become rancid when separated from the foods they came from, quickly oxidizing and making them carcinogenic. They become sticky when heated, then in turn causes clogged arteries. Cook with ghee primarily because of it’s depth of nutrients, use grass fed because that cow has been in the sun long enough to store Vitamin D!  Oils are good for flavoring, salad dressing, pesto, dishes that will not be exposed to heat. Buy organic, buy from oil manufactured in the US and keep it refrigerated.

Image result for rapeseedRapeseed Plant

Have you ever heard of a Canola seed? You’ve probably heard of Olive and coconut trees, but not Canola right? That’s because it doesn’t exist. Canola oil is not natural oil but the commercial name of a genetically modified version of Rapeseed (which is toxic). So, it is really curious why so many “natural” food stores, even famous ones such as Whole Food’s, consistently use Canola oil in their prepared meals and Food bars (such as in their baked goods, salads, dressings, etc.)?

Canola oil was created in a Canadian university lab by Dr. Baldur Steffanson. Dr. Steffanson, after getting his newly created version of Rapeseed to meet FDA guidelines (with less toxic eurcic acid) he went on to work for Calgene (which later was acquired by Monsanto). For this reason, there is no such thing as “organic” Canola oil as the raw ingredient itself is genetically modified rapeseed.

 

SO WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST HEALTH RISKS OF CONSUMING FOODS THAT CONTAIN CANOLA OIL? LET’S LOOK AT A FEW:
  • Canola depletes vitamin E.
  • Canola increases the rigidity of membranes, which can trigger degenerative diseases.
  • Because of canola’s high sulfur content, it goes rancid easily, which can exacerbate allergies and compound problems for people with bronchial or asthmatic issues.
  • Human studies reveal canola causes an increase in lung cancers.
  • Canola can shorten lifespan of animals and lower platelet count.
  • Daily canola consumption can raise your triglycerides over 40 percent.
  • Canola oil molds quickly and also inhibits enzyme function.
  • It opens the door for free radicals, undermining natural antioxidants, and can be linked to increased incidence of many diseases.
  • Canola leaves no foul taste when it’s spoiled, so it’s hard to tell if you’re eating rancid erucic acid.

The next time you visit the Whole Foods, or other grocers, Food court, be careful of being fooled into thinking they are the healthiest option in town. Look for all natural deli’s and food providers that use natural oils (you know the type that come from an actual plant). Most importantly remember, there is no such thing as GMO-free Canola oil.


Glycerin and Silicones in Skin Care and My Skin Care Regimen.

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For years I have made many of my own skin care products; dry oils for oil cleaning my face, Honey-Baking Soda Cleanser. Recently I had an allergic reaction to a new, supposedly all natural, product. However the first ingredient was butylene glycol. My whole neck was blistered the day after using it, and quickly peeled and dried out.  I avoided got it calmed down with fresh aloe and in about 4 days it was was way better. A week later I used a product that had a small amount of propylene glycol. Remember these ingredients were in organic products. So I realized what was causing it and began eliminating those products from my skin care.

I then used a very mild product that had glycerin, and while I didn’t break out I did itch on my neck for a few days. Now, glycerin is a very rare allergen, but it did annoy my skin.

So I began looking for organic products that really were clean.  I learned that almost every skin care products that was listed as organic and all natural had these ingredients! 

Butylene glycol is basically anti-freeze. These type of products are used a humectants and as solvents. Because they are solvents, manufacturers of beauty products use them to help their products be absorbed in to our skin. And they are humectants, but remember humectants draw water from their surroundings, as WELL AS FROM OUR SKIN! They feel luxurious when we first put them on our skin, they give the product that “slip” that make them go on smoothly. But within about a half an hour we notice our skin feels dry. So put on more. And these products do nothing to actually nourish our skin, they just sit on the surface. The same as silicones do.

However you do not have to make your own products!  There are many product lines out there that do a great job and are truly clean. Just because a label says “all natural” or “organic” that does not mean that they are good for your skin or do not have ingredients that will  irritate your skin.

I have stopped using any product with glycerin, however it is hard to find products without it!  HERE is a great article on why you should avoid glycerin.

Here is my daily routine-

AM-  Cleanser- I use one that I make myself from honey, baking soda, almond oil, geranium oil, sea buckthorn oil, lavender oil,willow bark (calming and healing for skin).

You can buy it hereSkin Cleanser.

In the morning I use a product from Evan’s Garden called Crème’ Rose. I have been using this for about 15 years.

I then use Amazonian Clay Facial Powder, I then use Peter Thomas Roth powder Sunscreen.

I also use  Zuzu Cosmetics lipsticks, Jane Iredale Mascara, Zuzu eye shadows, and Iniki Organic Eyeliner.

Evening Skin Care- I oil cleanse to take off makeup by using a blend of dry oils- sea buckthorn oil, grape seed oil, squalane, jojoba oil. I massage it in for a few minutes and then wipe off with cotton balls, then wipe gently with a warm washcloth. I then use a cream cleanser called Nourish Organic Moisturizing Face Cleanser, Watercress & Cucumber, then rinse really well. I then use a toner made with willow bark, calendula, rose water and aloe. I make it myself every few weeks.  I mix Vitamin C powder with my moisturizer for daytime use.

I then use Retin-A, prescription strength, and have been using it since I was 38 years old. I am now 66. Here is what my skin looks like!

laughing 1

I wait about 15 minutes after applying it and then use moisturizer- at night I use Golden Phae Restorative Day and Night Moisturizer. I also use their Eye Cream on my eyes and neck.

Once a week I use a mask that I make myself, it contains Matcha tea, red seaweed powder, papaya enzyme and rice powder.

Of course, the BEST skin care comes from within, making sure our gut biome is healthy, eating lots of fruits and veggies, eliminating fast food and processed foods, eating a moderate amount of proteins (eggs in the morning, fruits and veggies all day, more fruits and veggies with a salad and sweet potatoes at night and about 5 ounces of seafood ,preferably cold water fish).  Avoid sugar, drink no cold drinks, drink a moderate amount of water. No grains or dairy. That’s it, it’s that simple.


Gut Throws Cells Overboard When Chemical Insults Build Up

When we eat things that are toxic:  medications, processed foods, food dyes, dairy, grains, alcohol, …we develop Leaky Gut, the beginning of health problems and inflammation.

Junk Food

A team of Duke researchers has discovered that cells lining the gut of zebrafish—and probably humans too—have a remarkable defense mechanism when faced with certain kinds of toxins: they hit the eject button.

“The gut has the challenging job of handling all the chemicals that we consume or produce, and some of those chemicals can be damaging. So the gut has evolved many interesting ways to defend against damage,” said Ted Espenschied, a Duke graduate student who led the effort as part of his dissertation research.

The Duke team was testing more than 20 non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) in an attempt to make the zebrafish a new model for studying chemical injury in the gut. The fish are cheap to maintain, easy to breed, and most importantly, translucent for the early part of their lives, Rawls said. It’s also easy to administer chemical exposures and measure their environmental conditions via the tank water.

The researchers found something unexpected.”It’s often the case that drugs have multiple off-target effects,” said John Rawls, an associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology and director of the Duke Microbiome Center.

But only one of the drugs they tested seemed to create any measurable differences in the fish, an old NSAID called Glafenine. It had been an over-the-counter oral painkiller used in Europe and the Middle East for three decades, but was taken off the market after being linked to kidney and liver damage.

Glafenine was making the fish shed up to a quarter of the cells lining their intestines overnight by a process called delamination. What hadn’t been recognized before is that delamination, which seems catastrophic, is actually a highly effective defense strategy.

The lining of the gut is a single layer of finger-like epithelial cells packed closely together. When a gut epithelial cell is distressed, it somehow becomes marked for destruction. During delamination, neighboring epithelial cells push against the doomed cell to loosen its anchor to the basement membrane they all stand on. The neighbors squeeze in on it and crowd it out until it pops up and is carried away to die in the gut.

A cross-section of zebrafish gut showing the junctions between epithelial cells in green and a protein expressed on absorptive cells in pink. Credit: John Rawls Lab, Duke University

“We weren’t expecting delamination to be protective,” Espenschied said.

Espenschied pivoted on the unexpected finding. “Only one NSAID had this remarkable effect of causing delamination of the gut epithelium and we were wracking our brains trying to figure it out,” Espenschied said.

“So we chased it,” Rawls added.

After many experiments and a detailed analysis of Glafenine’s chemical properties, Espenscheid determined that it wasn’t the drug’s NSAID qualities that harmed the gut, but rather its ability, apparently unique among NSAIDs, to inhibit a cellular structure known as the multidrug-resistant, or MDR, efflux pump.

These pumps exist to help purge unwelcome chemicals from the interior of the cell. Cancer researchers have been very interested in finding ways to block MDR efflux pumps because tumors ramp them up dramatically to push chemotherapies out of cancer cells, foiling cancer therapy.

Much less is known about what the pumps do in normal cells. “We do know that if you block these pumps, cells are unable to clear toxic chemicals and problems ensue,” Rawls said. When Glafenine blocks the MDR efflux pumps in zebrafish, the gut responds with delamination, by means the researchers haven’t yet identified.

“We don’t know yet which cells leave and why,” Espenschied said. “What separates that cell from its neighbors is a really fascinating question that we don’t know the answer to yet.”

“Delamination is a common solution to a lot of different insults,” Rawls said. “But it’s been challenging to understand if that is contributing to damage and disease, or a beneficial adaptation to the insult. Our work shows that it’s actually beneficial.”


Cholesterol Medication Can Lead to Diabetes

pills 2Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

 

The patients who were prescribed cholesterol-lowering statins had at least double the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, suggests a study.

The study published in the ‘Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews’ analyzed health records and other data from patients to provide a real-world picture of how efforts to reduce heart disease may be contributing to another major medical concern, said Victoria Zigmont, who led the study.

Researchers found that statin users had more than double the risk of diabetes diagnosis compared to those who didn’t take the drugs. Those who took the cholesterol-lowering drugs for more than two years had more than three times the risk of diabetes.

“The fact that increased duration of statin use was associated with an increased risk of diabetes — something we call a dose-dependent relationship — makes us think that this is likely a causal relationship,” Zigmont said.

“That said, statins are very effective in preventing heart attacks and strokes. I would never recommend that people stop taking the statin they’ve been prescribed based on this study, but it should open up further discussions about diabetes prevention and patient and provider awareness of the issue.”

Researchers also found that statin users were 6.5 per cent more likely to have a troublingly high HbA1c value, a routine blood test for diabetes that estimates average blood sugar over several months.

The study included 4,683 men and women who did not have diabetes, were candidates for statins based on heart disease risk and had not yet taken the drugs at the start of the study.

About 16 per cent of the group — 755 patients — were eventually prescribed statins during the study period, which ran from 2011 until 2014. Participants’ average age was 46.

Randall Harris, a study co-author and professor of medicine, said that the results suggested that individuals taking statins should be followed closely to detect changes in glucose metabolism and should receive special guidance on diet and exercise for prevention.

Zigmont was careful to take a wide variety of confounding factors into account in an effort to better determine if the statins were likely to have caused diabetes, she said. That included gender, age, ethnicity, education level, cholesterol and triglyceride readings, body mass index, waist circumference and the number of visits to the doctor.


Some Vitamin Supplements Can Increase Risk of a Stroke, Study Finds

No one should EVER supplement with Calcium, it causes us to leach calcium from the bones as it is toxic to organs. But combining it with Vitamin D can cause problems.

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Vitamin supplements taken by millions of people can increase the risk of heart disease, a large study suggests .

New research has found links between certain types of daily pills combining calcium and vitamin D and an increased risk of stroke.

US scientists believe the combination may be responsible for atherosclerosis, a disease whereby plaque builds up in the arteries.

Such pills are commonly marketed as necessary to preserve bone strength and aimed at middle-aged and elderly people, whose risk of stroke is already higher.

Overall, it is estimated that around 45 per cent of UK adults take some form of vitamin supplements every day, supporting an industry worth roughly £430 million a year.

Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the new data forms part of a wider set of results suggesting that few nutritional supplements protect against cardiovascular disease or death .

Based on a review of 277 randomised controlled trials comprising nearly one million people, the study also questioned the effectiveness of a Mediterranean-style diet for improving resilience against heart disease.

Dr Safi Khan, who led the research at West Virginia University, said: “A combination of calcium and vitamin D was associated with a higher risk of stroke.”

He added: “Other supplements did not seem to have significant effect on mortality or cardiovascular outcomes.”

The research looked at the effect of 16 different nutritional supplements and eight dietary interventions on mortality and cardiovascular outcomes in the adult participants.

It concluded that cutting down on salt and eating omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in oily fish, offered some protection against heart disease, meanwhile folic acid offered some protection against stroke.

Supplements combining calcium and vitamin D appeared to increase the risk of having a stroke by 17 per cent.

However, scientists have urged caution in interpreting the results as establishing cause and effect is the field of nutrition is notoriously difficult.

“We found out only a few of the 16 nutritional supplements and one of the eight dietary interventions evaluated had some protective effect in cardiovascular risk reduction,” said Dr Khan.

Supplements that did not appear to have any significant effect on mortality or cardiovascular outcomes included selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D alone, calcium alone, folic acid, and iron.

NHS advice states that most people do not need to take vitamin supplements because they should receive all the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a balanced diet.


Plant-based Meats Sound Healthy, but they’re Still Processed Foods and It’s Mostly Soy

 Veggie Burger

Ingredients-  Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.

It’s mostly soy, and that is problematic as soy is not fit for human consumption;

Soy foods contain trypsin inhibitors that inhibit protein digestion and adversely affect pancreatic function. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors led to stunted growth and pancreatic disorders. Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D, needed for strong bones and normal growth. Phytic acid in soy foods results in reduced bioavailability of iron and zinc which are required for the health and development of the brain and nervous system. Soy also lacks cholesterol, likewise essential for the development of the brain and nervous system. Megadoses of phytoestrogens in soy formula have been implicated in the current trend toward increasingly premature sexual development in girls and delayed or retarded sexual development in boys. A recent study found that women with the highest levels of estrogen in their blood had the lowest levels of cognitive function; in Japanese Americans tofu consumption in mid-life is associated with the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease in later life.  Soy isoflavones are phyto-endocrine disrupters. At dietary levels, they can prevent ovulation and stimulate the growth of cancer cells. As little as four tablespoons of soy per day can result in hypothyroidism with symptoms of lethargy, constipation, weight gain and fatigue.

Twice in June, ingredients used by both of America’s most popular plant-based meat companies were called into question.

On June 21, a consumer interest group issued concerns around one of the ingredients in Beyond Meat’s production process. And earlier in June, the World Health Organization said that eating heme—a main ingredient in the Impossible Foods burger—is linked with the formation of carcinogens in the gut.So far, both companies have weathered the criticism. But increased scrutiny of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods’ meat alternatives poses a big question for all companies offering substitutes to edible animal flesh. How do they truthfully and thoughtfully communicate what they are making—highly processed food—to consumers who are invested in their social missions, yet dubious of food that humans have tinkered with?

While plant-based meat companies are ultimately making processed foods, their marketing is more in line with natural, organic offerings. “I was encouraging the plant-based companies to recognize this a couple years ago,” says Jack Bobo, a food technology consultant who works with companies making meat alternatives.

At the time, the companies didn’t seem to consider the fact that groups opposed to genetically-modified and processed foods would eventually come after them. “They often tried to position themselves as being in the organic, gluten-free, natural product space,” Bobo says.

Now, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are increasingly facing questions around how their products are made. The first backlash arguably hit in 2018, when the US Food and Drug Administration expressed concern over a key ingredient in the Impossible Foods burger. The company uses genetically modified yeast to produce the soy leghemoglobin, or “heme,” that gives its burger a meat-like flavor. The agency later gave the company its nod of approval.

Others are concerned that leghemoglobin—again, a new ingredient in the food supply, since humans don’t typically eat soy roots—hasn’t gone through enough testing to prove it’s safe, and agree with the FDA that Impossible Foods’ GRAS notification came up short. “The point of some of us that are being critical of this is not that everything that’s engineered is unsafe or anything like that,” says Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist at the Consumers Union, which was also not involved in the FOIA. “It’s like, look, any new food ingredient, some new food additive, of course it should go through a safety assessment process.  Ingredients include wheat protein, to give the burger that firmness and chew. And potato protein, which allows the burger to hold water and transition from a softer state to a more solid state during cooking. For fat, Impossible Foods uses coconut with the flavor sucked out. And then of course you need the leghemoglobin for heme, which drives home the flavor of “meat.

An even newer category of meat alternative companies would do well to pay attention. Cell-cultured meat producers like JUST, Aleph Farms, and Memphis Meat make animal protein that doesn’t require the slaughtering of animals. If the plant-based meat concerns catch enough public attention, they rusk hurting the perception of all meat alternatives—including the cell-cultured products that haven’t even hit the market. “Anybody can poison the well for everybody,” says Bobo.

Some cell-cultured food companies are tackling their messaging even before products hit shelves. “We spend a lot of time trying to make sure everyone understands what we’re doing,” says Mike Selden, the co-founder of cell-cultured fish company Finless Foods. “There’s just too many people and they don’t all go for the same news sources and channels of communication.” But some messaging has to wait. “No matter what a lot of our communication is going to be right at the endpoint of use, like in the restaurant on the menu, and what it tastes like.”

As Bobo explains, how people use language around their products matter, especially when consumers are shopping and eating in an environment in which there’s suspicion (much of it scientifically unwarranted) around genetically-modified ingredients and the health impacts of processed foods. For these meat alternative companies, the issue boils down to how they truthfully and thoughtfully communicate what they’re making.

So far, though, the plant-based alternatives have demonstrated a winning playbook. Beyond Meat’s stock price has climbed more than 129% since its initial public offering in early May, from an opening price of $25 per share to $154.13 when the US markets opened Friday (June 28).

Beyond Meat’s stock has only hit small road bumps—when Nestlé announced plans to launch a veggie burger in the US this fall, when both Perdue Farms and Tyson Foods touted intentions to sell hybrid plant-meat products later this year, and when a story broke that grocery store chains are still mulling whether plant-based burgers should be sold in the meat aisle instead of the specialty foods section.

From the perspective of cell-cultured meat companies, that early resilience could even make it easier to enter the market. Bruce Friedrich runs The Good Food Institute, a non-profit that represents, supports, and sometimes lobbies on behalf of both plant-based meat companies and startups working on cell-cultured meat.

“The more we can get the conventional meat industry normalizing eating plant-based meats the better,” says Friedrich. “All of that will help make mainstream the idea of cell-based meats as an alternative to meat.”