Thursday, June 25, 2009

Spring 2009: Food for Everyone

A city in Brazil recruited local farmers to help do something U.S. cities have yet to do: end hunger.

“To search for solutions to hunger means to act within the principle that the status of a citizen surpasses that of a mere consumer.”

More than 10 years ago, Brazil’s fourth-largest city, Belo Horizonte, declared that food was a right of citizenship and started working to make good food available to all. One of its programs puts local farm produce into school meals. This and other projects cost the city less than 2 percent of its budget. Photo shows fresh passion fruit juice and salad as part of a school lunch. Photo by Leah Rimkus
More than 10 years ago, Brazil’s fourth-largest city, Belo Horizonte, declared that food was a right of citizenship and started working to make good food available to all. One of its programs puts local farm produce into school meals. This and other projects cost the city less than 2 percent of its budget. Above, fresh passion fruit juice and salad as part of a school lunch.
Photo by Leah Rimkus
In writing Diet for a Small Planet, I learned one simple truth: Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but a scarcity of democracy. But that realization was only the beginning, for then I had to ask: What does a democracy look like that enables citizens to have a real voice in securing life’s essentials? Does it exist anywhere? Is it possible or a pipe dream? With hunger on the rise here in the United States—one in 10 of us is now turning to food stamps—these questions take on new urgency.

To begin to conceive of the possibility of a culture of empowered citizens making democracy work for them, real-life stories help—not models to adopt wholesale, but examples that capture key lessons. For me, the story of Brazil’s fourth largest city, Belo Horizonte, is a rich trove of such lessons. Belo, a city of 2.5 million people, once had 11 percent of its population living in absolute poverty, and almost 20 percent of its children going hungry. Then in 1993, a newly elected administration declared food a right of citizenship. The officials said, in effect: If you are too poor to buy food in the market—you are no less a citizen. I am still accountable to you.

The new mayor, Patrus Ananias—now leader of the federal anti-hunger effort—began by creating a city agency, which included assembling a 20-member council of citizen, labor, business, and church representatives to advise in the design and implementation of a new food system. The city already involved regular citizens directly in allocating municipal resources—the “participatory budgeting” that started in the 1970s and has since spread across Brazil. During the first six years of Belo’s food-as-a-right policy, perhaps in response to the new emphasis on food security, the number of citizens engaging in the city’s participatory budgeting process doubled to more than 31,000.

The city of Belo Horizonte puts
The city of Belo Horizonte puts “Direct From the Country” farmer produce stands throughout busy downtown areas.
Photo by Leah Rimkus
The city agency developed dozens of innovations to assure everyone the right to food, especially by weaving together the interests of farmers and consumers. It offered local family farmers dozens of choice spots of public space on which to sell to urban consumers, essentially redistributing retailer mark-ups on produce—which often reached 100 percent—to consumers and the farmers. Farmers’ profits grew, since there was no wholesaler taking a cut. And poor people got access to fresh, healthy food.

When my daughter Anna and I visited Belo Horizonte to write Hope’s Edge we approached one of these stands. A farmer in a cheerful green smock, emblazoned with “Direct from the Countryside,” grinned as she told us, “I am able to support three children from my five acres now. Since I got this contract with the city, I’ve even been able to buy a truck.”

The improved prospects of these Belo farmers were remarkable considering that, as these programs were getting underway, farmers in the country as a whole saw their incomes drop by almost half.

In addition to the farmer-run stands, the city makes good food available by offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to bid on the right to use well-trafficked plots of city land for “ABC” markets, from the Portuguese acronym for “food at low prices.” Today there are 34 such markets where the city determines a set price—about two-thirds of the market price—of about twenty healthy items, mostly from in-state farmers and chosen by store-owners. Everything else they can sell at the market price.

ABC bulk produce markets stock the items that the city determines will be sold at a fixed price, about 13 cents per pound. Photo by Leah Rimkus
ABC bulk produce markets stock the items that the city determines will be sold at a fixed price, about 13 cents per pound.
Photo by Leah Rimkus
“For ABC sellers with the best spots, there’s another obligation attached to being able to use the city land,” a former manager within this city agency, Adriana Aranha, explained. “Every weekend they have to drive produce-laden trucks to the poor neighborhoods outside of the city center, so everyone can get good produce.”

Another product of food-as-a-right thinking is three large, airy “People’s Restaurants” (Restaurante Popular), plus a few smaller venues, that daily serve 12,000 or more people using mostly locally grown food for the equivalent of less than 50 cents a meal. When Anna and I ate in one, we saw hundreds of diners—grandparents and newborns, young couples, clusters of men, mothers with toddlers. Some were in well-worn street clothes, others in uniform, still others in business suits.

“I’ve been coming here every day for five years and have gained six kilos,” beamed one elderly, energetic man in faded khakis.

“It’s silly to pay more somewhere else for lower quality food,” an athletic-looking young man in a military police uniform told us. “I’ve been eating here every day for two years. It’s a good way to save money to buy a house so I can get married,” he said with a smile.

The line for one of three “People’s Restaurants” a half hour before opening time. Meals cost about 50 cents; diners come from all socio-economic groups. Photo by Leah Rimkus
The line for one of three “People’s Restaurants” a half hour before opening time. Meals cost about 50 cents; diners come from all socio-economic groups.
Photo by Leah Rimkus
No one has to prove they’re poor to eat in a People’s Restaurant, although about 85 percent of the diners are. The mixed clientele erases stigma and allows “food with dignity,” say those involved.

Belo’s food security initiatives also include extensive community and school gardens as well as nutrition classes. Plus, money the federal government contributes toward school lunches, once spent on processed, corporate food, now buys whole food mostly from local growers.

“We’re fighting the concept that the state is a terrible, incompetent administrator,” Adriana explained. “We’re showing that the state doesn’t have to provide everything, it can facilitate. It can create channels for people to find solutions themselves.”

For instance, the city, in partnership with a local university, is working to “keep the market honest in part simply by providing information,” Adriana told us. They survey the price of 45 basic foods and household items at dozens of supermarkets, then post the results at bus stops, online, on television and radio, and in newspapers so people know where the cheapest prices are.

The shift in frame to food as a right also led the Belo hunger-fighters to look for novel solutions. In one successful experiment, egg shells, manioc leaves, and other material normally thrown away were ground and mixed into flour for school kids’ daily bread. This enriched food also goes to nursery school children, who receive three meals a day courtesy of the city.

“I knew we had so much hunger in the world. But what is so upsetting, what I didn’t know when I started this, is it’s so easy. It’s so easy to end it.”

The result of these and other related innovations?

In just a decade Belo Horizonte cut its infant death rate—widely used as evidence of hunger—by more than half, and today these initiatives benefit almost 40 percent of the city’s 2.5 million population. One six-month period in 1999 saw infant malnutrition in a sample group reduced by 50 percent. And between 1993 and 2002 Belo Horizonte was the only locality in which consumption of fruits and vegetables went up.

The cost of these efforts?

Around $10 million annually, or less than 2 percent of the city budget. That’s about a penny a day per Belo resident.

Behind this dramatic, life-saving change is what Adriana calls a “new social mentality”—the realization that “everyone in our city benefits if all of us have access to good food, so—like health care or education—quality food for all is a public good.”

The Belo experience shows that a right to food does not necessarily mean more public handouts (although in emergencies, of course, it does.) It can mean redefining the “free” in “free market” as the freedom of all to participate. It can mean, as in Belo, building citizen-government partnerships driven by values of inclusion and mutual respect.

And when imagining food as a right of citizenship, please note: No change in human nature is required! Through most of human evolution—except for the last few thousand of roughly 200,000 years—Homo sapiens lived in societies where pervasive sharing of food was the norm. As food sharers, “especially among unrelated individuals,” humans are unique, writes Michael Gurven, an authority on hunter-gatherer food transfers. Except in times of extreme privation, when some eat, all eat.

Before leaving Belo, Anna and I had time to reflect a bit with Adriana. We wondered whether she realized that her city may be one of the few in the world taking this approach—food as a right of membership in the human family. So I asked, “When you began, did you realize how important what you are doing was? How much difference it might make? How rare it is in the entire world?”

Listening to her long response in Portuguese without understanding, I tried to be patient. But when her eyes moistened, I nudged our interpreter. I wanted to know what had touched her emotions.

“I knew we had so much hunger in the world,” Adriana said. “But what is so upsetting, what I didn’t know when I started this, is it’s so easy. It’s so easy to end it.”

Adriana’s words have stayed with me. They will forever. They hold perhaps Belo’s greatest lesson: that it is easy to end hunger if we are willing to break free of limiting frames and to see with new eyes—if we trust our hard-wired fellow feeling and act, no longer as mere voters or protesters, for or against government, but as problem-solving partners with government accountable to us.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Big Pharma and the FDA: Suppress the Science and Ban the Natural

In 2005, the pharmaceutical company Biostratum, Inc. made a mistake -- they invested millions of dollars into developing a drug, only to discover that the active ingredient, pyridoxamine, was a common, naturally occurring substance that has been sold for decades at low cost.

Biostratum responded by asking the U.S. FDA to declare supplements containing pyridoxamine “adulterated,” and effectively ban anyone but Biostratum from selling pyridoxamine. Earlier this year the FDA agreed to ban companies from selling pyridoxamine as a dietary supplement.

The FDA’s comment on the decision specifically says, “To allow such an article to be marketed as a dietary supplement would not be fair to the pharmaceutical company that brought, or intends to bring, the drug to market.”

Apparently, they were not as concerned about fairness to consumers.

This is hardly the first time the FDA has attacked naturally occurring substances. The FDA has banned information about scientifically proven health benefits of cherries from appearing on Web sites. And for years, the FDA barred health claims about the benefits of omega-3 fats for heart, cancer, depression, body pain, and various other conditions until a drug company paid a great deal of money to go through the approval process.

In the case of pyridoxamine, the FDA did not act out of concern for public safety. This is about a profit-seeking corporation taking advantage of corruption in what is supposed to be a public health organization.

Pyridoxamine is one form of the vitamin B6. It is an important nutrient for helping your body process carbohydrates, support your nervous system activity and prevent homocysteine, which has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, from building up in your blood.

This substance has long been sold over-the-counter as a dietary supplement, but the FDA abruptly put a stop to that in January 2009. Their reasoning has nothing to do with safety, but rather is firmly based on protecting a drug company’s investment.

As stated above, the FDA actually said:
“To allow such an article to be marketed as a dietary supplement would not be fair to the pharmaceutical company that brought, or intends to bring, the drug to market.”
What is happening here is a blatant example of the FDA protecting the hand that feeds it. It is now essentially banning vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxamine, and reserving it to be exclusively distributed by the drugmaker Biostratum, Inc.

If the FDA really wants to speak about being fair, why are they not worried about being fair to the supplement makers who already distribute this product … or the people who will have their inexpensive supply of this vitamin taken away?


Because the FDA and U.S. government are loaded with people trying to eliminate all competition for the drug companies, who financially support the FDA in the form of user fees for drug approval.
This Type of Injustice Has Happened Many Times Before
To get a feeling of who the FDA is really looking out for, you need look no further than the recent estriol debacle.

Estriol is a bioidentical hormone that is sometimes used in hormone replacement therapy drugs, available through compounding pharmacies. However, estriol is not an FDA-approved drug, and according to the FDA estriol “has not been shown to be safe and effective for the uses for which it is being prescribed.”

Therefore, the FDA has proposed to allow estriol-containing prescriptions to be filled only if accompanied by an Investigational New Drug (IND) application, stating that the use of INDs is “routine,” and therefore shouldn’t cause any major inconvenience or limitation on estriol’s use, if and when a physician believes it’s in his patient’s best interest.

However, the IND places a significant financial burden on physicians, most notably by requiring them to submit applications to an Institutional Review Board (IRB). Submitting necessary documentation and contracting for a private IRB can easily cost between $10,000 and $25,000 and can take months.

So the process will effectively ban most physicians from prescribing estriol, which is a much safer, natural alternative to synthetic hormones.

This news is frustrating in and of itself, and certainly highlights the need for less government involvement in health care. But what happened next is nothing short of infuriating.

Pipex Therapeutics is now seeking approval for Trimesta, a knock-off of natural estriol, and the FDA is in the process of considering the approval!

Clearly, the FDA was never concerned with estriol being used in an unsafe manner -- they were concerned that their drug-company buddies were not getting their fair share of the profits.
Is The FDA Your Protector -- or a Threat to Your Health Freedom?
Examples like this one and the latest pyridoxamine scandal are red flags that the U.S. FDA is not there to protect you, or your health freedom.

You may not be aware, but in June 2007 the FDA announced new standards for dietary supplements that were intended to improve consumer safety.

In reality, the 800-page rule surrounds the dietary supplement industry with regulations and requirements in excess of those imposed on the drug industry, and up to 50 percent of small companies will simply not be able to afford to comply.

Even before this ruling, supplement makers were (and still are) limited from making health claims (this is reserved only for drugs).

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

But consider that it’s still illegal even in cases where the claims have been clearly proven -- so cherry growers cannot legally say that tart cherries may do more good than aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs when it comes to pain relief, even though studies back them up.

This is why the American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF) states that the FDA “ignores first amendment protections and censors the communication of valid scientific information.” They continue:
“The agency seems to have lost sight of its mandate to protect the public and has instead come to see itself as the guardian of corporate interests.”
The FDA is clearly censoring your right to know about, and purchase, foods and supplements that can help you stay healthy and prevent disease. At the same time, they are allowing dangerous drugs and consumer products to remain on the market and be sold and aggressively advertised as safe.

Even the FDA has admitted to its shortcomings and in a report said:
• “The FDA cannot fulfill its mission because its scientific base... is weak...."
• "The FDA cannot fulfill its mission because its scientific workforce does not have sufficient capacity and capability."
• "FDA does not have the capacity to ensure the safety of food for the nation."
• “The development of medical products based on 'new science' cannot adequately be regulated by the FDA.”
You Can Sign a Petition to Help
The AAHF is leading a campaign to reform the FDA, and your help is urgently needed, as a large number of signatures are required to compel Congressional Action.

So if you believe reforming the FDA is a worthy cause, please sign the petition now, and encourage your friends and family to do so also.

Congress already knows the FDA represents a serious problem. This petition will help move them to take the urgent action required to invoke much-needed positive change.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Spices Kill Cancer Cells

Scientists have discovered the key to the ability of spicy foods to kill cancer cells.

They found capsaicin, an ingredient of jalapeno peppers, triggers cancer cell death by attacking mitochondria - the cells' energy-generating boiler rooms.

The research raises the possibility that other cancer drugs could be developed to target mitochondria.

The Nottingham University study features in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.

The study showed that the family of molecules to which capsaicin belongs, the vanilloids, bind to proteins in the cancer cell mitochondria to trigger apoptosis, or cell death, without harming surrounding healthy cells.

We believe that we have in effect discovered a fundamental 'Achilles heel' for all cancers
Dr Timothy Bates

Capsaicin was tested on cultures of human lung cancer cells and on pancreatic cancers.

Lead researcher Dr Timothy Bates said: "As these compounds attack the very heart of the tumour cells, we believe that we have in effect discovered a fundamental 'Achilles heel' for all cancers.

"The biochemistry of the mitochondria in cancer cells is very different from that in normal cells.

"This is an innate selective vulnerability of cancer cells."

He said a dose of capsaicin that could cause a cancer cell to enter apoptosis, would not have the same effect on a normal cell.

Cancer Research UK recommends reducing your risk of cancer by eating a healthy, balanced diet, with plenty of vegetables and fruit
Josephine Querido

Potential Drugs

The fact that capsaicin and other vanilloids are already commonly found in the diet proves they are safe to eat.

This could make development of a drug containing them a much quicker and cheaper process.

Dr Bates said: "Capsaicin, for example, is already found in treatments for muscle strain and psoriasis - which raises the question of whether an adapted topical treatment could be used to treat certain types of skin cancer.

"It's also possible that cancer patients or those at risk of developing cancer could be advised to eat a diet which is richer in spicy foods to help treat or prevent the disease."

However, Josephine Querido, cancer information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "This research does not suggest that eating vast quantities of chilli pepper will help prevent or treat cancer.

"The experiments showed that pepper extracts killed cancer cells grown in the laboratory, but these have not yet been tested to see if they are safe and effective in humans."

Cancer Research UK recommends reducing the risk of cancer by eating a healthy, balanced diet, with plenty of vegetables and fruit.

Dr Bates added that the mitochondria in cancer cells could also be targeted by other compounds.

He said the investigation and development of anti-mitochondrial drugs for cancer chemotherapy was likely to be "extremely significant" in the fight against cancer.

Aspartame and Multiple Sclerosis - Neurosurgeon's Warning

Aspartame is a low calorie sweetener. Called a potent neurotoxin by several researchers, it is being sold as a sugar substitute for those on low calorie diets and for diabetics. If you like Coke or Pepsi "light", you certainly are at risk, but both industry and health officials deny that there is any truth to this story. Manufacturers have recently been sued in California.

Trade names for Aspartame are NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, Canderel, Benevia, Misura, but in Europe we often cannot recognize that Aspartame is part of what we're about to swallow unless we know that it also hides behind the seemingly innocuous "E 951" label. We might also watch out for warnings on food and drink labels that say: "contains a source of phenylalanine" or "phenylchetonurics should not consume this product".

In truth, no one should be consuming Aspartame and those responsible for putting it on the market - Donald Rumsfeld had a part in politically forcing its approval - should be held responsible for unleashing an agent of chemical warfare on an unsuspecting public.

Dr. Russell Blaylock, a recently retired neurosurgeon, has been warning for years and has even authored a book "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills". Blaylock says that Aspartame and Multiple Sclerosis are closely related. Unfortunately the Multiple Sclerosis society denies there is any connection between MS and Aspartame. The Society has chosen, according to Betty Martini, to hang on to industry funding rather than to warn its members. Blaylock explains the biological mechanism by which Aspartame circumvents the blood-brain-barrier and gets at the vital nervous tissues - the grey matter in our heads:

The Connection Between MS And Aspartame

By Russell L. Blaylock, MD

(originally published on

Recently, much controversy has surrounded a claim that aspartame may produce an MS-like syndrome. A current review of recent peer-reviewed scientific studies has disclosed a pathophysiological mechanism to explain this connection. As far back as 1996 it was shown that the lesions produced in the myelin sheath of axons in cases of multiple sclerosis were related to excitatory receptors on the primary cells involved called oligodendroglia. Recent studies have now confirmed what was suspected back then. The loss of myelin sheath on the nerve fibers characteristic of the disease is due to the death of these oligodendroglial cells at the site of the lesions (called plaques). Further, these studies have shown that the death of these important cells is as a result of excessive exposure to excitotoxins at the site of the lesions.

Normally, most of these excitotoxins are secreted from microglial immune cells in the central nervous system. This not only destroys these myelin-producing cells it also breaks down the blood-brain barrier (BBB), allowing excitotoxins in the blood stream to enter the site of damage. Aspartame contains the excitotoxin aspartate as 40% of its molecular structure. Numerous studies have shown that consuming aspartame can significantly elevate the excitotoxin level in the blood. There is a common situation during which the excitotoxin exposure is even greater. When aspartate (as aspartame) is combined in the diet with monosodium glutamate (MSG) blood levels are several fold higher than normal. With the BBB damaged, as in MS, these excitotoxins can freely enter the site of injury, greatly magnifying the damage. So, we see that dietary excitotoxins, such as aspartame and MSG, can greatly magnify the damage produced in multiple sclerosis. Likewise, excitotoxins have been shown to break down the BBB as well.

Of equal concern is observation that we know that about 10% of the population (based on autopsy studies of elderly) have MS lesions without ever developing the full blown disease, a condition called benign MS. A diet high in excitotoxins, such as aspartame, can convert this benign, subclinical condition into full-blown clinical MS. The amount of excitotoxins consumed in the average American diet is considerable, as shown by several studies. In addition, the toxin methanol is also in the aspartame molecule. Methanol is a axon poison. Combined toxicity of the aspartate and the methanol adds up to considerable brain toxicity and can convert benign, subclinical MS into full-blown MS. Once the MS becomes full-blown, further consumption of excitotoxins magnifies the toxicity, increasing disability and death.

Recent studies have also shown that even single exposures to these food-based excitotoxins can produce prolonged worsening of neurological lesions. In addition, it has been demonstrated that autoimmune reactions (as occur with MS) greatly magnify the toxicity of aspartate and glutamate (the excitotoxins). We also know liquid forms of excitotoxins are significantly more toxic because of rapid absorption and higher blood levels. In the face of this connection between excitotoxicity and the pathophysiology of MS, it would be ludicrous to allow further use of this excitotoxin containing sweetener.


1. Sannchez-Gomez MV, Malute C. AMPA and kainate receptors each mediate excitotoxicity in oligodendroglial cultures. Neurobiology of Disease 6:475-485, 1999

2. Yoshika A, et al. Pathophysiology of oligodendroglial excitotoxicity, J Neuroscience Research 46: 427-437, 1996.

3. Singh P, et al. Prolonged glutamate excitotoxicity: effects on mitochondrial antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes. Molecular Cell Biochemistry 243: 139-145, 2003.

4. Leuchtmann EA, et al. AMPA receptors are the major mediators of excitotoxin death in mature oligodendrocytes. Neurobiology of Disease 14:336-348, 2003.

5. Takahashi JL, et al. Interleukin1 beta promotes oligodendrocyte death through glutamate excitotoxicity. Annal Neurology 53: 588-595, 2003.

6. Pitt D, et al Glutamate uptake by oligodendrocytes: implications for excitotoxicity in multiple sclerosis. neurology 61: 1113-1120, 2003.

7. Soto A, et al. Excitotoxic insults to the optic nerve alter visual evoked potentials. Neuroscience 123: 441-449, 2004.

8. Blaylock RL. Interactions of cytokines, excitotoxins and reactive nitrogen and oxygen species in autism spectrum disorders. Journal of American Nutraceutical Association 6: 21-35, 2003.

9. Blaylock RL. Chronic microglial activation and excitotoxicity secondary to excessive immune stimulation: possible factors in Gulf War Syndrome and autism. Journal American Physicians and Surgeons, Summer, 2004.


It is now known the cause for the destruction of the myelin in the lesions is overactivation of the microglia in the region of the myelin. An enzyme that converts glutamine to glutamate called glutaminase increases tremendously, thereby greatly increasing excitotoxicity. Mercury also activates microglia, even in subtoxic doses.

Any dietary excitotoxin can activate the microglia, thereby greatly aggravating the injury. This includes the aspartate in aspartame. The methanol adds to this toxicity as well. Now, the secret to treatment appears to be shutting down, or at least calming down, the microglia. It has been found that the antibiotic minocycline powerfully shuts down the microglia. I tried this treatment on a friend of mine who just came down with fulminant MS. He was confined to a wheelchair. I had him placed on minocycline and now, just a few weeks later, he is walking.

The good news is that other things also calm the microglia - the most potent are: silymarin, curcumin and ibuprophen. Phosphatidylcholine helps re-myelinate the nerve sheaths that are damaged, as does B12, B6, B1, vitamin D, folate, vitamin C, natural vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) and L-carnitine. DHA plays a major role in repairing the myelin sheath. Vitamin D may even prevent MS, but it acts as an immune modulator, preventing further damage - the dose is 2000 IU a day. Magnesium, as magnesium malate, is needed in a dose of 500 mg 2 x a day. They must avoid all excitotoxins, even natural ones in foods - such as soy, red meats, nuts, mushrooms and tomatoes. Avoid all fluoride and especially all vaccinations since these either inhibit antioxidant enzymes or triggers harmful immune reactions.


Dr. Blaylock is a recently retired board-certified neurosurgeon with more than twenty six years experience. He is a recently retired Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi. Author of thirty scientific papers on various medical subjects, chapters in three medical textbooks and a booklet on multiple sclerosis, he recently completed a booklet on bioterrorism and is the author of "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills", "Health & Nutrition Secrets to Save Your Life", and "Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients". ( He serves on the editorial staff of The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association, and acts as a medical advisor to the American Nutraceutical Association. His excellent newsletter can be gotten at his website. He lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi.


Note from Dr. Betty Martini :

Cori Brackett, co-owner of Sound and Fury Productions, an MS victim diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic, had a huge lesion in the brain. Cori was a user of the neurotoxic drug Aspartame, marketed as NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, E951, Canderel, Benevia, etc. Off the poison, she too walked out of her wheelchair; the lesion disappeared. Because of what she had endured from aspartame disease she felt a moral obligation to warn others, especially with 70% of the population and 40% of our children using this deadly toxin. Cori Brackett traveled 7000 miles and with 25 hours of footage produced the movie, "Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World." She says it reveals one of the most pervasive, insidious forms of corporate negligence in the history of the industrial revolution. On this date it is being released to the world. You will get to see the famed Dr. Blaylock and other aspartame experts, as well as hear the horror story of the victims. See Diane Fleming who is wilting in a Virginia prison because her athlete husband died of aspartame. She was sentenced to 50 years for the crime committed by the manufacturer who had the malice to market a poison. Don't miss this film. Contact Cori Brackett at or (telephone) 520-624-9710.

For years physicians have written the MS Society to alert them about aspartame. You can read my letter on, never answered, of course. Faced with the choice of warning the public or continuing to receive funding from industry, the MS Society has chosen to sacrifice the victims. And when those responsible to solve the problem ARE the problem it is a sad commentary on greed and lack of concern for humanity. How can anyone set aside professional ethics to allow an MS holocaust, when simply alerting those with MS to avoid aspartame and other excitotoxins could save the lives of thousands. At one MS Society walk-a-thon, they were giving out free Diet Coke while trying to prevent our activists from giving walkers info that could save the lives of MS victims. I simply turned to the crowd and said: "The MS Society does not want you to have this life-saving information on a product triggering this disease." The entire crowd took copies. Later I received several calls of those who had heeded the advice and gotten well. But I shudder to think how many have perished because the MS Society hasn't had the integrity to warn victims.

Contact Information:

Dr. Betty Martini, Founder
Mission Possible Intl.
9270 River Club Parkway
Duluth, Georgia 30097


See more aspartame lawsuits filed against companies knowingly
poisoning the public on

Aspartame Toxicity Center:

From the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, October 4, 2006 - some more references to treatment options for MS. As always, don't take my word for it - if you have MS and want to do something about it, consult a medical doctor who is up-to-date on nutritional treatments.


(OMNS) New research confirms that niacinamide, also known as vitamin B-3, is a key to the successful treatment of multiple sclerosis and other nerve diseases. [1] Niacinamide, say researchers at Harvard Medical School, "profoundly prevents the degeneration of demyelinated axons and improves the behavioral deficits."

This is very good news, but it is not at all new news. Over 60 years ago, Canadian physician H.T. Mount began treating multiple sclerosis patients with intravenous B-1 (thiamine) plus intramuscular liver extract, which provides other B-vitamins. He followed the progress of these patients for up to 27 years. The results were excellent and were described in a paper published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 1973. [2]

Mount was not alone. Forty years ago, Frederick Robert Klenner, M.D., of North Carolina, was using vitamins B-3 and B-1, along with the rest of the B-complex vitamins, vitamins C and E, and other nutrients including magnesium, calcium and zinc to arrest and reverse multiple sclerosis. [3,4] Klenner's complete treatment program was originally published as "Treating Multiple Sclerosis Nutritionally," Cancer Control Journal 2:3, p 16-20. His detailed megavitamin protocol is now posted for all interested persons to read at

Drs. Mount and Klenner were persuaded by their clinical observations that multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, and many other neurological disorders were primarily due to nerve cells being starved of nutrients. Each physician tested this theory by giving his patients large, orthomolecular quantities of nutrients. Mount's and Klenner's successful cures over decades of medical practice proved their theory was correct. B-complex vitamins, including thiamine as well as niacinamide, are absolutely vital for nerve cell health. Where pathology already exists, unusually large quantities of vitamins are needed to repair damaged nerve cells.

Nutritional therapy is inexpensive, effective and, most important, safe. There is not even one death per year from vitamins. [5]

Vitamin supplementation is not the problem. It is under-nutrition that is the problem. Vitamins are the solution.

Restoring health must be done nutritionally, not pharmacologically. All cells in all persons are made exclusively from what we drink and eat. Not one cell is made out of drugs.


[1] Kaneko S, Wang J, Kaneko M, Yiu G, Hurrell JM, Chitnis T, Khoury SJ, He Z. Protecting axonal degeneration by increasing nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide levels in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis models. J Neurosci. 2006 Sep 20;26(38):9794-804.

[2] Mount HT. Multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases. Can Med Assoc J. 1973 Jun 2;108(11):1356-1358.

[3] Frederick R. Klenner. "Response of Peripheral and Central Nerve Pathology to Mega-Doses of the Vitamin B-Complex and Other Metabolites", Journal of Applied Nutrition, 1973,

[4] Dr. Klenner's "Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C" (which discusses orthomolecular therapy with all vitamins, not just vitamin C) is now posted in its entirety. It includes a multiple sclerosis protocol, which takes up about five pages. See also:

[5] Watson WA et al. 2003 annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance System. Am J Emerg Med. 2004 Sep;22(5):335-404.

See also:

Does aspartame multiply female MS?
At the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting, Dr. Gary Cutter, professor of Biostatistics at the University of Alabama, said women are now four times as likely as men to get multiple sclerosis: “It started at two-to-one and is now four-to-one.”

Aspartame, Anti-Depressants And Bush
By Jerry Mazza - Online Journal

Aspartame Gate: When Donald Rumsfeld was CEO of Searle

Aspartame Consumer Safety Network and Pilot Hotline

Aspartame Warning (Video on YouTube)

Toxic Aspartame and Grave's Disease: Disease diagnosis doesn't deter diver

Aspartame May Be the Cause of Your Health Problems

Aspartame patent expired. We are now supposed to buy NEOTAME...

Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004
Subject: [Health_and_Healing] Neotame---the 'exciting new sweetener'

The patent on Aspartame has run out---so our favorite health benefatctor--Monsanto has come up with a bigger better version...

Learn about this 'exciting new sweetener':

Learn MORE about this 'exciting new sweetener'

The Connection between Aspartame (Artificial Sweetener) and Panic Attacks, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Memory Problems, and Other Mental Symptoms

Cola, Soda And Other Empty Calories

While consuming an excess of almost anything is more than likely harmful, we believe that even small amounts of flavored sodas are harmful over a lifetime and that diet cola's are even more harmful.

Excessive cola consumption can lead to anything from mild weakness to profound muscle paralysis, doctors are warning.

This is because the drink can cause blood potassium to drop dangerously low, they report in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

They tell of the curious case of an Australian ostrich farmer who needed emergency care for lung paralysis after drinking 4-10 litres of cola a day.

He made a full recovery and was advised to curtail his cola drinking.

Another example included a pregnant woman who regularly consumed up to three litres a day for the last six years and complained of tiredness, appetite loss and persistent vomiting.

A heart trace revealed she had an irregular heartbeat, probably caused by her low blood potassium levels.

Once she stopped drinking so much cola, she made a full and uneventful recovery.

The investigators believe these cases are not atypical and that many people risk problems due to their intake.

Manufacturers insist the products are safe when consumed in moderation.

In a commentary, Dr Clifford Packer from the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Centre in Ohio said: "We have every reason to think that it is not rare.

"With aggressive mass marketing, super-sizing of soft drinks, and the effects of caffeine tolerance and dependence, there is very little doubt that tens of millions of people in industrialised countries drink at least 2-3 l of cola per day.

"It follows that the serum potassium levels of these heavy cola drinkers are dropping, in some cases, to dangerous low levels."


The author of the research paper, Dr Moses Elisaf from the University of Ioannina in Greece, said it appeared that hypokalaemia can be caused by excessive consumption of three of the most common ingredients in cola drinks - glucose, fructose and caffeine.

"The individual role of each of these ingredients in the pathophysiology of cola-induced hypokalaemia has not been determined and may vary in different patients.

"However in most of the cases we looked at for our review, caffeine intoxication was thought to play the most important role.

"This has been borne out by case studies that focus on other products that contain high levels of caffeine but no glucose or fructose."

Despite this, he warned that caffeine free cola products could also cause hypokalaemia because the fructose they contain can cause diarrhoea.

"We believe that further studies are needed to establish how much is too much when it comes to the daily consumption of cola drinks."

Excessive consumption has already been linked with obesity, diabetes and tooth and bone problems.

A spokeswoman from the British Soft Drinks Association said: "The examples used in this paper by the IJCP are all very extreme cases - moderate consumption of cola drinks is completely safe and people can continue to enjoy such drinks as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle.

"The soft drinks industry is committed to encouraging responsible consumption of all its products. Nutrition labelling is included on packaging so people can make an informed choice about the products they are drinking."

In our opinion an informed choice would dictate that only pure, additive free fruit and vegetable juices are safe for human consumption along with adequately filtered water.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Phthalates make plastics soft but have many other uses in the chemical world we live in.

A top manufacturer of household cleaners announced plans on March 12th, 2009 to eliminate a controversial plastics additive from its brand and voluntarily disclose all product ingredients.

S.C. Johnson – maker of Windex, Shout and Glade – said that it has begun working with its suppliers to end the use of phthalates, which soften plastics.

The move comes as lawmakers are debating regulations for many industrial chemicals as research suggests potentially serious health impacts. Phthalates, for example, interfere with hormones and have been linked to genetic abnormalities in baby boys.

Congress passed a bill last year banning certain phthalates in toys as part of a broad consumer-protection bill, and some states are considering bans on the chemical in children's products. The American Chemistry Council opposes such bans, saying they are unsupported by science.

The council and other industry groups point to studies by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that failed to find a link between the plastics additive and human reproductive problems because of the low levels to which the vast majority of people are exposed.

S.C. Johnson Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson said in a statement that the company believes the chemical is safe but is moving to remove them in response to consumer concerns.

"Even though the chemistry was sound, we decided that making sure consumers know they can trust S.C. Johnson products was well worth the time and cost to change them," Johnson said.

Environmentalists and public-health advocates say that even if the science is not conclusive, there is enough uncertainty to warrant action.

S.C. Johnson also pledged to list all ingredients, including dyes, preservatives and fragrance ingredients – a first in the industry.

The industry has come under fire lately for a lack of transparency in product ingredients. Advocacy groups say such disclosures are critical to understanding the effects of cleaners and other household products on human health and the environment.

In response, Johnson said the company is committed to providing accessible information to consumers, including setting up a Web site dedicated to product ingredients. The goal is to get all ingredients listed by 2012.

Lawsuit seeks disclosure

Last month, a coalition of advocacy groups sued four manufacturers of household cleaners for failing to disclose the ingredients under New York state law. Earthjustice attorney Keri Powell, who filed the lawsuit, said she sees S.C. Johnson's announcement as a positive step.

"We're glad to see S.C. Johnson taking the lead today, setting an example for transparency that the rest of the industry would do well to follow," Powell said.

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, wrote in a blog post that disclosing ingredients does not guarantee a product's safety but is a critical step in assessing safety. In addition, she wrote, it empowers consumers.

"This move could signal a broader response to the public opposition to lack of information and unsafe chemicals in household products," Beinecke said. "Public concern is starting to move not only individual companies like S.C. Johnson, but the marketplace as a whole, as well as public policy."

There are signs that the market is paying attention, as major manufacturers begin to change product formulations based on consumer concern. Last week, the country's six largest manufacturers of baby bottles agreed to stop using another controversial plastics additive, bisphenol A, or BPA, as states consider banning the chemical.

BPA is a high-protein chemical that has been used for decades to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy linings for food cans. Concerns about it are growing because studies show it mimics estrogen and has been linked to developmental problems and precancerous growths in animals.

Beinecke called the companies' decisions a "testament to the power of consumers to make a difference."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Water 8 x 8?

Virtually every health-conscious person can quote the recommendation: Drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day. Other beverages—coffee, tea, soda, beer, even orange juice—don't count. Watermelon? Not a chance.

There's no denying that water is good for you, but does everyone really need to drink 64 ounces or more every day? According to Heinz Valtin, a retired professor of physiology from Dartmouth Medical School who specialized in kidney research and spent 45 years studying the biological system that keeps the water in our bodies in balance, the answer is no.

Valtin says that for people who have specific health concerns, such as kidney stones or a tendency to develop urinary tract infections, drinking lots of water can be beneficial. But after an extensive search in 2002 for the origins of what is commonly referred to as the "8 x 8" guideline and a review of associated health claims, he reports finding no scientific evidence supporting the notion that healthy individuals need to consume large quantities of water. In 2008 Dan Negoianu and Stanley Goldfarb reviewed the evidence for the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. They came to a similar conclusion: "There is no clear evidence of benefit from drinking increased amounts of water."

In fact, Valtin found that the 8 x 8 guideline may have originated from a misunderstanding. In 1945 the Food and Nutrition Board, now part of the National Academy of Sciences's Institute of Medicine, suggested that a person consume one milliliter of water (about one fifth of a teaspoon) for each calorie of food. The math is pretty simple: A daily diet of around 1,900 calories would dictate the consumption of 1,900 milliliters of water, an amount remarkably close to 64 ounces. But many dieticians and other people failed to notice a critical point: namely, that much of the daily need for water could be met by the water content found in food.

The Board revisited the question of water consumption in 2004. Its panel on "dietary preference intakes for electrolytes and water" noted that women who appear adequately hydrated consume about 91 ounces (2.7 liters) of water a day and men about 125 ounces (3.7 liters). These seemingly large quantities come from a variety of sources—including coffee, tea, milk, soda, juice, fruits, vegetables and other foods. Instead of recommending how much extra water a person should drink to maintain health, the panel simply concluded that "the vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide."

Advocates of the 8 x 8 guideline sometimes claim that thirst is a poor hydration indicator. They assert that many people are so chronically dehydrated they no longer recognize their bodies' signals for water. Barbara Rolls, professor of nutrition sciences at the Pennsylvania State University, disagrees. Her studies, she says, "found no evidence that people are chronically dehydrated." Although some drugs can cause problems with thirst regulation and the elderly may not experience thirst as intensely as younger people, Rolls maintains that most healthy people are adequately hydrated.

Weight loss is another benefit often touted by proponents of the 8 x 8 guideline. They claim people mistake thirst for hunger, which causes them to eat when they are really just thirsty. They also allege that drinking water suppresses appetite. Given the obesity crisis, every little bit (or drop) helps.

But Rolls disagrees, arguing that "drinking water and waiting for pounds to melt away does not work. We all wish it were that simple." She explains that "hunger and thirst are controlled by separate systems in the body. People are unlikely to mistake thirst for hunger." Furthermore, she reports that her studies "never found that drinking water with or before a meal affected appetite." Nevertheless, there are some elements of truth in the misperception. Rolls did find that water-rich foods—as opposed to stand-alone water—tended to help people consume fewer calories. And, she says, "there is a way that water can help with weight loss—if you use water as a substitute for a caloric beverage."

Neither Rolls nor Valtin opposes the idea of including water in a healthy diet. They both note that the body needs water to function properly and that dehydration hurts the body. They do object, however, to the notion that a universally true guideline governs ideal water consumption. "Water requirements depend so much on outside temperature, activity levels and other factors that there isn't one rule that fits everybody," Rolls says. And Valtin cautions that in some situations drinking too much water can actually be dangerous, even fatal.

So how much water should you drink? Here's their advice: If you have specific medical concerns, talk to your doctor. But if you are healthy, Rolls recommends that you "have a beverage with meals and drink when you are thirsty." In other words, heed your thirst signals, enjoy that watermelon, and stop feeling guilty for not guzzling those extra glasses.