Friday, January 22, 2010

Too Many Snacks for Children

The article in the N.Y. Times is titled, “Snack Time Never Ends (NYT 1.20.2010).”  The author of the article was complaining about the number of snacks she and the other mothers have to bring to her children’s school.  She wrote, “Apparently, we have collectively decided as a culture that it is impossible for children to take part in an activity without simultaneously shoving something in their {mouths}.”  

When my children, Hailey and Jessi were in elementary school, I couldn’t believe how many snacks were brought to school.  Every birthday, school event, soccer game, etc., there were snacks.  Some mothers brought good snacks, fruit and vegetables, while others brought bad snacks full of refined carbohydrates (cookies, cakes, and such).  I would estimate that the good snacks were brought about 10% of the time.

I thought the snacks would be over as my kids got older.  I was wrong.  Even in high school, we get the dreaded snack notice.   I don’t recall my mother bringing a single snack to high school.  I don’t think anyone ever brought a snack to high school.

From 1977 to 2002, the department of Health and Human Services has reported a nearly 400% increase in snacking by Americans.  What do we have to show for this increase in snacking?  Obesity, diabetes, and hypertension are all related to snacking on poor quality food and are occurring at epidemic rates.   In fact, all of these illnesses are occurring in our children at epidemic rates.

I believe this over-use of snacking is teaching our children how to eat poorly.  They would certainly eat better if they were not snacking.  Also, children should be conditioned to eat at mealtime. They do not need to eat constantly during the day, particularly high-calorie, low- nutritious food.   We are bound to see more and more childhood illnesses such as obesity and diabetes if we keep up this practice.  

What can we do?  For starters, the schools should limit the number of snacks brought in.  Also, there should be guidelines about what kind of snacks should be allowed.  What is wrong with fruit and vegetable snacks?  Instead of fructose-flavored juice, what is wrong with serving water with snacks?

I can assure you that if we do not change course with our children’s diet, we are in serious trouble.   You can forget about healthcare reform if our young population becomes too fat and too ill to work.   The looming health care debacle is the obesity epidemic.  This epidemic is a lifestyle epidemic and we all share in the blame. Unfortunately, this epidemic is already here.  On the other hand, we can all share in the cure for this epidemic; we can eat better and feed or children healthier food.  So, if you get  the dreaded snack letter, think about bringing fruit and vegetable snacks and water to drink.  At least if they have to eat, let them eat healthy food.   

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rise in Thyroid Cancer is Baffling?

The article is titled, “Rise in thyroid cancer among young woman baffles experts.” ( Accessed 1.10.10). The article states that over 27,000 women will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer this year which is a six percent increase from 2009.  The article also states that the reason the number of thyroid cancer rates is rising is a medical mystery and it is not understood why women are more likely to have thyroid problems as compared to men. 

I say, the rise in thyroid cancer should be no mystery nor should it be baffling.  How can I make that statement? 

When you study the relationship between iodine and the thyroid gland the story becomes less mysterious.  For over 100 years, Iodine deficiency has been linked to thyroid problems, including hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroid illness as well as the development of thyroid cancer.  Animal studies have clearly shown a relationship between thyroid cancer and iodine deficiency.  My own studies and many other studies have confirmed this same relationship in humans.

As compared to men, women have a much higher iodine requirement.  Therefore, women will suffer iodine-deficiency illnesses at higher rates as compared to men.  What are these illnesses?  Diseases of the breast and thyroid as well as autoimmune illnesses are examples of iodine-deficient conditions.  All of these problems occur in women at much higher rates as compared to men. 

Iodine levels have fallen over 50% over the last 30 years.  As a population, we have suffered greatly for this decline in iodine.  Children are diagnosed with ADHD and cancer at ever-increasing frequency.  Adults are suffering from epidemic rates of chronic illnesses (e.g., autoimmune disorders and immune system disorders) as well as cancer (e.g., breast and prostate).  All of these illnesses are related to iodine deficiency. 

Why has this not made media headlines?  Why doesn’t the medical profession promote the use of iodine?  The answer to those questions is not baffling at all.  Iodine is a non-patentable substance.  There is no reason for the Big Pharma Cartel to put any money behind iodine.   The Big Pharma Cartel is only interested in patentable items that can generate income.  Unfortunately, iodine does not fall into that category. 

The medical profession has lost its way.  It primarily relies on toxic drug therapies that do not treat the underlying cause of most illnesses.  Physicians no longer study biochemistry with the purpose of optimizing the physiology of the body.  Modern physicians are only `knowledgeable about pharmacology and have little or no interest in working with their patients to optimize their health. 

However, the truth does not need the Big Pharma Cartel.  When you study the biochemistry of iodine, the picture becomes clearer as to why iodine deficiency is related to such a wide array of illnesses.   It is baffling to me why conventional medicine has not recognized iodine deficiency as a major public health crisis.  In over 20 years of practice, I have yet to see a single substance -iodine- make such a profound positive change in the health status of the majority of my patients.   

What can you do?  Educate yourself about iodine.  Once you read about the effects iodine has on the body, I am certain you will come to the same conclusions I have come to.  More information about iodine can be found in my book, Iodine Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 4th Edition. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

U.S. Government Keeps Chemicals Secret

An article in the Washington Post (1.4.2010) reported that of 84,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States, nearly 20% are kept secret.  Why the big secret?  The Environmental Protection Agency, the government agency designed to protect us, the citizens, worked with industry to help them protect trade secrets.

Why does industry need protection?  Industry claimed it needed protection in order to protect trade secrets and their market share. I guess their market share is more important than the health of the U.S. citizens.  “Even acknowledging what chemical is used or what is made at what facility could convey important information to competitors…,” said the president of the American Chemical Society. 

Of the secret chemicals, 151 are made of quantities of more than 1 million tons a year and 10 are used specifically in children’s products according to the EPA.  Only a small number of EPA employees know the identities of the chemicals and they are legally barred from revealing that information. 

Folks, I can’t make this stuff up.  Truth is truly stranger than fiction. 

What can you do?  You can make sure your detoxification pathways are optimally functioning by eating a good diet (free of refined food), drinking adequate amounts of water (generally two liters per day for adults) and ensuring you have adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals on board.  One vitamin that is particularly important is vitamin C.  Vitamin C aids in many detoxification pathways and can help neutralize toxins in the body.  I would suggest taking 3-5,000mg/day of vitamin C (assuming you don’t get diarrhea).  When you are ill, you may need to increase your dose.  

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Toxic Chemicals in New Cars

An article on MSNBC ( on 3.21.07) reported on the toxic fumes found in new cars.  Bromine and chlorine were the most common toxic elements reportedly found in automobiles.  These elements are found in the seats, armrests, door trim and shift knobs and other areas of the car.  Think about it, you spend perhaps two hours a day in your car, with the windows rolled up and little air circulating.  It is any wonder that I have seen many patients who feel that they can become ill from exposure to the fumes in a new car?  I refer to these patients as the ‘canaries’ of our population.  Many of these patients have to undergo detoxification in order to help them cleanse from toxic items.

Bromine and chlorine are members of the halide family.  The halides are a group of elements which includes iodine.  If we are exposed to excess amounts of one halide, it will cause our body to release other halides.  My research has clearly shown that we are exposed to too much bromine and chlorine.  These elements are found in many plastic products including computers, televisions, as well as other appliances.  In addition, bromine is a fire retardant found in carpet, clothing, mattresses and many other consumer items.  The consequence of this overexposure to toxic halides has been a depletion of iodine in our bodies.  The end result of too much bromine and chlorine and not enough iodine is poorly functioning immune and glandular systems.  I believe the high rates of thyroid disorders as well as cancer of the breast, ovary and prostate are directly related to the increasing exposure to toxic halides.   I describe this in more detail in my book, Iodine Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 4th Edition.

Ann is a patient of mine. I had diagnosed Ann with Hashimoto’s Disease approximately three years ago.  After we treated her thyroid problem she felt much better.  I treated Ann with a combination of dietary changes as well as vitamins and minerals.  She was also prescribed iodine.   Approximately one year later, Ann came to my office complaining that all of her thyroid symptoms were back.   “I feel like I am back to square one.  I am tired, my muscles hurt and brain fog is back,” she said. 

Ann, complained that her health began going downhill when she purchased a new car.  The car dealer would not believe that a new car could cause her health concerns.  Testing found Ann severely deficient in iodine (nearly zero levels) and toxic with bromine.   Previous testing found Ann’s iodine levels were near normal.  Ann was detoxified from bromine with a combination of Vitamin C, unrefined salt, iodine, and magnesium.  I also had her do salt baths.  As Ann’s bromine levels fell and her iodine levels elevated, she began to feel better.   About 1.5 years after starting therapy, Ann felt that she had regained her health.   In fact, her thyroid blood tests now returned to normal, without the use of thyroid hormone.   Ann said, “All of my symptoms have improved.  I can’t believe how much better I feel,” she said.  

More information about bromine toxicity can be found in my book, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 4th Edition. Furthermore, I devoted a whole newsletter (Dr.  Brownstein's Natural Way to Health) to bromine.  For more information on my newsletter please go to:

I have treated many patients for bromine toxicity.  In fact, it is the number one toxic element that I find in the majority of my patients.  Bromine toxicity can be treated with a combination of nutrients such as iodine and salt. 
One statement I would make to those who are ill with chemical sensitivities:  Don’t give up. You can overcome your illness by detoxifying and supporting the body’s normal physiologic function.   Detoxification can be accomplished safely and effectively with a variety of natural substances.  Appropriate pre- and post- testing can help guide the detoxification process.