Probiotic strain may lessen the duration of colds and the flu

A new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the L. casei 431 probiotic strain could reduce the duration of symptoms from the common cold and flu. The research set out to “investigate the effect of the probiotic strain Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei, L. casei 431on immune response to influenza vaccination and respiratory symptoms in healthy adults.” The results showed a shorter duration of upper respiratory symptoms in the probiotic group compared with placebo, but no significant differences were found for incidence or severity. Scientific Advisor for Health and Nutrition at Chr. Hansen, Mikkel Jungersen, said, “Not only is this a clear benefit for individuals, it also indicates that products with this probiotic strain can have a significant impact on productivity in society.”

Fluoride levels reduced in the US

In order to prevent staining of tooth enamel caused by overexposure to fluoride, the US government has announced its intention to reduce the amount of fluoride added to public drinking water. When added to water, it is impossible to control the dose of an individual and therefore around 40% of American teens suffer from dental fluorosis. Fluorosis is caused by long-term ingestion of fluoride, and the reduction in recommended levels by the government shows that the concentrations have been too high for too long. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rebut this by saying, “Americans now have access to more sources of fluoride, including toothpaste and mouth rinse, than they did when municipal officials first began adding the mineral to water supplies.” U.S. Deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak stresses that, “the need for community water fluoridation still continues.” We think many would disagree…

Banning neonicotinoids wouldn’t mean a huge financial hit

A report carried out by the Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) claims that the banning of neonicotinoids would have a smaller impact on agriculture than the industry estimates. The internal federal government draft report suggests that soy farmers could experience a net economic loss of 0.4 per cent and corn farmers could face a 3.6 per cent loss if neonics were banned across Canada. The ban is naturally facing stiff resistance from grain farmers and the pesticide lobby. Bee expert and professor of biology at the University of Essex, UK, Dave Goulson, says, “This study should go some way to assure politicians that a huge financial hit will not happen. There are not going to be catastrophic losses because of this.” However the losses in terms of bees, butterflies and other insects would be catastrophic if the pesticides will continue to be used.

Reduce the sugar in foods, or be penalized

Speaking at the Hay Festival, George Freeman, Life Sciences Minister, said that if food companies continued to produce food that could lead to poor lifestyles and ill health they would be penalised by being taxed. He also said that sweet drinks and other sugar-rich foods are contributing to Britain’s obesity crisis; 40 years ago just 3% of adults were obese, the figure now stands at around 25%. UK supermarket Tesco announced last week that it plans to cut sugar by 5% every year for the foreseeable future, a move which anti-sugar campaigners, Action on Sugar, support and encourage other retailers to follow. They also urged UK health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to enforce the strategy across the whole food and drink sector. Katherine Jenner, campaign director for, Action on Sugar, added, “We have become a nation hooked on the white stuff, expecting all our food and drink to taste incredibly sweet. If we can slowly and gradually reduce the sugar and the sweetness as we have already done for salt we can all get used to far less sugar.” As it stands though, the Department of Health doesn’t plan on introducing a sugar tax, but a review of the idea is being carried out.

Merck uses young children without their knowledge in cervical drug trial

Just as Gardasil 9 is approved for use in the US and is about to make its way across the pond to the UK, a story breaks about children being unknowingly used as 'guinea pigs' for the drug trial in India and suffering from problems such as weight loss, fatigue, dizziness and menstrual problems. The drug aimed at preventing cervical cancer is produced by Merck who are already facing a hearing in India's Supreme Court over the alleged use of young girls from poor tribal communities in trials of an earlier anti-cervical cancer drug. Its own report warns that some users of Gardasil 9 may also suffer similar problems reported during the use of Gardasil - including deep vein thrombosis, immune system disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and nervous system disorders such as Guillain-Barré syndrome - known as locked-in syndrome - and motor neuron disease. And yet the US Food and Drug Administration has concluded that the vaccine is safe and approved it for use on children aged nine and upwards. Dr Anand Rai, the whistle-blower who lifted the lid on the scandal of illegal drugs trials in the city, has now been given an armed guard to protect him.

“Hey hey, ho ho, GMOs have got to go!” -Worldwide March Against Monsanto

On Saturday 23rd May 2015, thousands of people came together to protest worldwide against biotech giant, Monsanto. The movement, known as the March Against Monsanto (MAM), saw activists from over 400 cities in 48 countries unite to speak out about GMOs and Monsanto’s monopoly over the food supply. Heidi Osterman, a protester in Paris, said, “The changes to the food supply are irreversible. And that is for the rest of human history. We are losing choice because it will all become GMO.” Canadian activist Jodi Koberinski said, “People are here to take back control of the food system, we want government to hold these corporations responsible for the damage they are creating.” Monsanto is the world leader in the production of genetically engineered seeds and chemical herbicides, and currently employs over 22,000 people in factories across 61 countries. A spokesperson, Charla Lord, issued a statement in response to the global movement saying, “The company is committed to making a more balanced meal accessible for everyone.”


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