Fluoride in children's milk!

Following our report earlier this year on plans to add fluoride to children's milk, the UK’s Blackpool Council has announced its plans to offer fluoridated milk to children as part of their school breakfast scheme. The Council justify their decision on the grounds that, "The level of tooth decay in Blackpool is really high and lots of kids are suffering because of it". They also state fluoridated milk is safe to drink as it is a natural mineral found in water, toothpaste and mouthwash. Despite these assertions, the fluoride added to tap water and dental products is not the same as that found naturally as a mineral and is not as safe as once thought. Added to this, a 2015 Cochrane Review determined that there is little or no high quality evidence to show fluoridation reduces the risk of tooth decay in children. Rather than fluoridate milk, British councils should be educating people on ways to adopt a healthy, disease-prevention diet, cut sugar and increase vitamin and mineral status naturally and reduce the risk of caries developing in the first place. For more information on fluoride, visit ANH-Intl’s campaign page.

Canadian Doctors demand changes to dietary guidelines

A group of Canadian Physicians and Allied Health Care professionals have written a letter to Health Canada asking for a review of the current dietary guidelines. They cite that, "The guidelines haven't been based on the best and most current science and significant change is needed", as evidenced by the significant increase in nutrition related diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease over the past 40 years. The group has claimed support for the Nutrition Coalition who are campaigning for a change in US Dietary Guidelines. This latest challenge is yet another blow to current dietetic advice and calls for conventional recommendations to switch to a low carb and healthy natural fat approach, much like the ANH International Food4Health Guidelines.

Are GMO foods as safe as we're being told?

A new peer reviewed study published in the journal Nature has used molecular profiles to reveal major differences in composition between a GMO corn and its non-GMO parent. Genetic Engineering (GE) has been used to modify edible crops to be resistant to pathogens, have a longer shelf life, enhanced nutritional properties and to be resistant to pesticides. We are told that these changes are essential to improve farming systems and feed people in a more sustainable way. The process of hazard identification with GE crops is vague and is based on making comparisons of compositional variables such as the amounts of protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals between the GMO variety and its non-GMO parent. The decision on safety is based on the number of similarities, rather than on actual health effects. Given that the majority of GMO crops have been modified to be resistant to herbicides, it’s of concern that the accumulation of pesticide residues is not assessed during the risk assessments. The study found that despite the GE corn having been previously found to be 'substantially equivalent' the GMO and non-GMO parent are in fact not equivalent. These findings question the way GE crops are assessed for safety and as a result, raise further serious questions as to the real risk to our health.

Intermittent fasting inhibits childhood leukemia

A mouse study in the journal Nature Medicine has shown that intermittent fasting positively inhibited the progression and development of the most common type of leukemia in children. However, this was not found to be effective in adult leukemia. Researchers found that in all models of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of leukemia found in children, a regimen of six cycles of one day's fasting followed by a day of feeding inhibited the development of the cancer. At the end of seven weeks the mice who had fasted had virtually no detectable cancerous cells, compared to the non-fasted mice who had, on average, 68% of cancerous cells. Fasting is known to reduce levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that inhibits hunger pangs, so researchers also studied leptin levels and receptors and found that the mice with ALL showed reduced leptin receptor activity, which then increased with the intermittent fasting.

Magnesium reduces disease risk

According to the results of a new meta-analysis, “A magnesium-rich diet could help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke”. Magnesium, found in nuts, beans, cocoa, whole grains and green leafy vegetables, plays an important role in glucose metabolism, protein production and DNA synthesis. Dr Fudi Wang, lead author of the analysis, explains that, “Low levels of magnesium in the body have been associated with a range of diseases, but no conclusive evidence has been put forward on the link between dietary magnesium and health risks - our meta-analysis supports a link between magnesium in food and reducing the risk of disease.

Cancer vaccines gain traction

A clinical trial in the US has showed marked improvements in outcomes for patients suffering from acute myeloid leukemia using a personalised cancer vaccine. Remission may be achieved following chemotherapy, but patients often relapse. More than 70% of the patients in the trial remained in remission for more than four years. There is currently a lot of interest in the use of vaccines to target cancers thought to be caused by viruses. There are two main types of cancer vaccine — preventative, used to stop cancer occurring in healthy people i.e. HPV, and treatment, used to treat existing cancer by helping the body's natural immune response to fight the cancer.

Smartphones, tablets and obesity

A new study has been published in The Journal of Paediatrics, linking technology with an increase in obesity. A link between television and obesity in children has already been widely documented, however with screens getting smaller, and more portable could this risk increase even further? It seems so. The new study has concluded that using all screened devices, including smartphones and tablets, is contributing to higher rates of obesity amongst children and it has been recommended that, “limiting children’s and adolescents’ engagement with other screen devices may be as important for health as limiting television time”.

Official confirmation that fracking impacts drinking water

A new report released by the US Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, does in fact “under some circumstances” impact drinking water. This is a change of tune from their draft report released in 2015, that boldly claimed fracking has not led to “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources”.

Probiotics for improved mental health

Probiotic consumption may have a positive effect on psychological symptoms of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress in healthy human volunteers”. This is the conclusion of a recent review published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. The review looked at the results of seven relevant studies, collating data from over 300 healthy volunteers both before and after probiotic supplementation.

New law proposed in Arkansas to remove most vaccination exemptions

In line with California, the US state of Arkansas has proposed a new bill that requires virtually all children attending school to be vaccinated. This bill will remove a parent's ability to object to vaccination on the grounds of religious or philosophical objections. If the law is passed, Arkansas will become the fourth state in the US to adopt these restrictions.