A Dangerous Product is Just Being Relabeled and Put Back on Shelves. (FDA's third health alert on this product: )

As if misleading labeling practices weren't commonplace enough, there are product manufacturers such as Riger Naturals S.A who don't just slightly mislead, but flat-out do their best to flagrantly abuse or ignore FDA rules and regulations to put out dangerous products. The FDA issued a warning on 12/21/2012 for their WOW product which is just a re-labeled version of Reumofan Plus that was flagged by the FDA earlier this year for the same reasons. Distributors are simply re-labeling a product already discovered by the FDA to be harmful without changing it one bit.

Earlier in 2012, FDA twice warned the public about taking Reumofan Plus—marketed as a "natural" dietary supplement for the treatment of many conditions, including arthritis and bone cancer—because, it contains undeclared active ingredients found in prescription drugs that should only be used under the supervision of a health care professional. Brad Pace, regulatory counsel at FDA's Health Fraud and Consumer Outreach Branch, says some distributors have deliberately put a new label and a new name, WOW, on bottles of Reumofan Plus to deceptively sell remaining supplies. Pace says WOW has been distributed to online retailers and other distributors, as well as directly to consumers. FDA is concerned that other distributors will also put different labels on Reumofan Plus and sell it under other names.

The FDA offers this advice to consumers:

• Do not use any products with "Riger Naturals S.A." printed on the bottom of the bottle. Reumofan Plus is manufactured in Mexico by Riger Naturals.
• Report any health problems related to these products to FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.

 

Label Reading 101: Reading Between the B.S.

It's no wonder consumers hate advertising so much: there's no limit to the number of ways manufacturers will use to get around FDA product labeling guidelines in order to trick consumers into buying their products. For the amount of effort it takes to mislead the public into buying their products, you would think they could just come up with a compliant, beneficial product the public wants instead; right? This is why it's so important to become an educated consumer these days; so you're armed with enough information to read between the lines on product labels and get down to the reality of a product. Manufacturers get away with misleading consumers because we let them. They are betting we're in too much of a hurry and don't read nutrition and ingredients labels, so we will buy the hype on their front labels without knowing any better. And it's true, most of us don't read labels and we continue to waste our money because of it.

2012 voters had an opportunity to change one product labeling issue but failed. California voters rejected Proposition 37, which would have required retailers and food companies to label products made with genetically modified ingredients. Companies like Monsanto and The Hershey Co. contributed to what was eventually a $44 million windfall for "No on Prop 37," while proponents(mostly the Organic Trade Association) were only able to raise $7.3 million, reports California Watch.
Still, despite the lopsided campaign funding power, voting on Prop 37 was relatively close. As of Dec 3rd, the final votes were 51.5% no, 48.5% yes. What's shocking about this outcome, and proves that lobbyists have more power than consumer voters, is that earlier in 2012, a poll showed 96 percent of us would like genetically modified foods to be clearly labeled, and 70 percent of U.S. diners want more transparency about the sourcing and nutritional value of their menu items. Which begs the question: "Then why did Proposition 37 fail to pass in CA?" What propositions, bills, laws, and most votes boil down to is which lobbying group has the most money to spend to swing votes their way. And the results rarely ever come out in favor of protecting our health. Consumers have to be the ones to bring about change in products that are detrimental to our health by refusing to buy them. Only then will manufacturers quit trying to force dangerous and unhealthy products down our throats: when they are no longer making a profit by doing so.

Just a few of the most misleading and abused terms on labels today are: Natural, lightly-sweetened, a good source of fiber, strengthens the immune system, made with real fruit or whole grains etc.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI):

- Keebler’s Townhouse Bistro Multigrain Crackers boasts they are made with “toasted whole wheat,” but the ingredient label shows the crackers contain more sugar than whole wheat.
-The Food and Drug Administration has regulations concerning the use of “sugar free” and “no added sugars” but nothing governing the claims “low sugar” or “lightly sweetened.” “Whether Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size is lightly sweetened should be determined by federal rules, not the marketing executives of a manufacturer,” says the C.S.P.I. report. Everybody has a different opinion as to what constitutes "lightly sweetened" and this should not be based on some marketing execs opinion.
- Minute Maid Premium All Natural Flavors Berry Punch. “Though glucose and fructose certainly occur in nature, the chemical conversions of cornstarch should not be considered natural,” writes C.S.P.I.
- Tropical fruit flavored Gerber Graduates Fruit Juice Treats show pictures of fresh oranges and pineapple. But the main ingredients are corn syrup, sugar and white grape juice concentrate. Betty Crocker’s Strawberry Splash Fruit Gushers don’t contain strawberries — just pear concentrate.
- Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice claims to “strengthen your immune system with a daily dose of vitamin C.” Green Giant offers an “immunity blend” of frozen vegetables. Nestle’s Carnation Instant Breakfast says it contains “Antioxidants to help support the immune system.” None of which offer any noticeable immune boosting effects.
Be wary of product containing "fiber" as often the fiber doesn’t come from traditional sources such as whole grains, bean, vegetables or fruit — known to have health benefits. Instead, food makers are adding something called “isolated fibers” made from chicory root or purified powders of poly dextrose and other substances that haven’t been shown to lower blood sugar or cholesterol.

Also be suspicious of labels that make claims such as "Made with" organic _____. This usually means they threw a splash of something organic in the ingredients just so they could use the word organic, but in reality, there's few organic ingredients or little organic content in it at all.

SUPPLEMENTS:
Supplements are probably the worst culprits for misleading the public, because they are betting the majority of the public doesn't know anything about supplements, and they would be right. When shopping for herbal supplements, avoid "compounds" or "formulas" that have found a tricky way to dilute the actual herb by mixing it with just about anything. What about "standardized" which is suppose to guarantee a certain amount of the actual herb? They aren't much better than most compounds or formulas. Just because they are standardized to contain a certain amount of the herb does not mean that herb hasn't still been diluted with fillers and cheaper herb substitutes that you are wasting your money on. Buy a supplement with as few other ingredients added as possible and that contains at least 500mg of the herb per capsule. The closer to a single ingredient the better; if you can buy the whole, dried herb in bulk, that is the best way to go. Make a tea of it and you will find it works so much better than the cheap, diluted versions from supplement manufacturers.

Don't Be Fooled:
The only information you should use when trying to determine if a product is healthy or just a clever marketing ploy is the nutritional values and ingredients label on the back of the packaging.

Fats:
One of the first sections will list the total fat (in calories first then grams) in addition to a breakdown of the types of fat found in a food. There are three types of fat: saturated, unsaturated and trans fat. Saturated fat has been on labels for a long time and trans fat is now starting to be listed. Unsaturated fat is only listed on some foods but if you subtract the amount of saturated and trans fat from the total fat, you'll get the amount of unsaturated fat in a food. For example if a food has 20 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated and 1 gram of trans fat, you can subtract the 5 and 1 from 20 to get 14 grams of unsaturated fat.
A marketing trick that manufacturers love to use that misleads people into thinking a food is healthy, is to point out that a food is 98 or 99% fat free. While this statement is technically true, it is based on weight, not calories. Calorie-wise it can still be loaded with fat which is another reason you always need to read the nutrition label regardless of what you see on the front of the package.
A lot of people avoid foods that are high in fat because they think eating fat will cause weight gain. It's really more due to lack of exercise and activity that people gain weight. If the body does not burn as many calories from fat as it takes in, guess what, the excess is stored as fat. So instead of exercising more, we try to cut back on fat and calories. You should avoid foods that are high in saturated and trans fat since they are the unhealthy fats. Unsaturated fat (found in nuts, fish and oils) have been shown to be beneficial to the body.

Cholesterol: Foods high in cholesterol used to be thought of as very unhealthy. Research now shows that the amount of saturated fat found in a food is much more important than the amount of cholesterol. Saturated fat has been shown to increase cholesterol levels in the blood and should be avoided. However for those people who are on cholesterol medication and who have a history of high cholesterol in their family, cholesterol information remains very valuable.

Ingredients: Though ingredients aren't listed on the nutrition label itself, they are placed somewhere near it. This is one of the most important pieces of information you can get off of a food label. There are ingredients you should watch out for such as high fructose corn syrup (which adds sugar), partially or fully hydrogenated oils (which add trans fat) and ones that you can't pronounce. While this isn't always the rule, the longer the list of ingredients that you've never heard of, the more processed and unhealthy a food is. Also, the ingredients are listed in order by how prominent it is in the product. Another words, the first ingredient listed is what the product contains the most of, the second ingredient listed is not as prominent as the first, the third not as much as the second etc. They are listed in order of prominence in the product, with the last ingredient being the least prominent in the product.

 

New Year's Detox.

While it's most popular to plan New Year's diet resolutions, go one step further. After the holiday indulgence, detoxing is notably the best way to undo some of the damage you did to your healthy diet over the holidays. The purpose of detoxing is to cleanse the body of undesirable fats and built-up toxins, and should be performed at least once every couple of months, preferably every month, for optimum health. Because there are so many chemical hormones, toxins, fats and sugars that get stored in our fat and overload the liver, detoxing is a very good practice to help with food allergies, hormone overload, to reduce cancer risk due to harmful free-radicals, and it can greatly help to reduce weight gain. It's like giving the body an oil change.

Depending on how often you detox and how long it's been since the last time you did it, the experience will be different for each individual. If this is your first detox, or it has been a while, be prepared to feel worse before you feel better. This is because for the first 3-4 days of an effective detox, your body is dumping toxins and other unwanted elements back into your blood stream that have been stored in your fat for months or years, which tends to make most people feel like they have a slight case of the flu until these undesirable elements are eliminated by the liver or kidneys. On average, it takes a minimum of 3 days for the body to process and completely eliminate most elements. Meanwhile, you may experience mild body aches, lack of energy and sluggishness, and if you are a person that uses dairy products, you may even experience some sinus drainage. If you can muster through the first 3-4 days of feeling lousy, by the 4th to 5th day, you should start feeling amazing; many people say they feel better than they ever have, or at least than they have in years or months. Look at it this way, if you don't feel like you've been dragged behind a truck for the first couple of days, you're not doing it right. A lot of people wonder what the heck they got into until that 4th or 5th day when your body has finally eliminated the majority of the free radicals and toxins and you start experiencing the positive effects. Such as, more energy than you had before the detox, less-impaired breathing because the mucus congestion from eating dairy is clearing up, if you suffer from acid reflux or an acidic system this will help balance your PH, and you will have an over-all feeling of healthy improvement.

Unless you're a diehard detoxer and have done it before, I would not recommend doing a water fast like the more diligent detoxers tend to do. What I am going to recommend is a juice fast, which will help clear the bowels, the bloodstream, and is a bit easier to tolerate for most people.

1-2 days before the detox or fast, cut back the portions of food you eat at each meal by at least half. It is also best to plan the first 1-2 days of your detox to start on the weekend or when you do not have to be at work and can be close to a bathroom that's convenient.

Basic Detox Procedure:

Day 1 - drink 8 ounces of prune juice in the morning for breakfast (or as much as you can tolerate without getting severe diarrhea). Followed by 8 ounces of another type of fruit juice about 1 hour later. Prune juice makes one of the best natural laxatives while giving you plenty of potassium, trace minerals and other nutrients.
Drink plenty of distiller or filtered water throughout the entire detox period, this will help reduce the body aches and sluggishness, while helping your body to rid itself of the toxins much faster which will lead to you feeling better more quickly. Distilled water is the purest water there is. No other form of filtration or purifying of water is 99-100%% free of any impurities like distilled water is. If you can't get distilled water, drink the most filtered or purified water you can so as not to be adding impurities to your body that we are trying to flush out.
For lunch, drink as much vegetable juice as you want to stave off any hunger. If you must eat some solid food for the first couple of days to keep the hunger at bay, only eat fresh, raw fruits and vegetables. No starches or meat just yet, as they will only clog up the intestines we are trying desperately to clean out.
For dinner, drink more juices, vegetable is preferable over fruit juices in the evening as they will not be burned by the body quite so quickly because they don't contain as much sugar. If you can't make it through the night without getting ravishingly hungry, have some fresh, raw vegetables. Herbal teas are a nice snack in between juice meals.

Day 2 - Repeat as for day 1. If you have a juicer, great, you can experiment with your own custom juice concoctions. I love a blend of orange juice, pineapple juice, and a lime slice squeezed into it. Or a veggie blend of beets, carrots, some greens, an apple and a small amount of fresh ginger root for kick and flavor.

Day 3 - Repeat as for days 1 and 2, but try to wean yourself off the sold fruits and vegetables as much as you can. The goal over the next 4-7 days is to be on a strictly liquid diet (lots of water and juices) to completely cleanse the body and bowels of toxins, impurities, fats etc.

Days 4-7 - Should be only prune juice and fruit juices in the morning, vegetable juices the rest of the time. These last 2-3 days are when the diehard detoxers will take themselves down to consuming distilled water only.

After the Detox: The key to an effective detoxing procedure is to keep ahead of the body's elimination of toxins as much as possible before adding any more by going back to your regular diet. Ultimately, you want to avoid adding those impurities and toxins back into your body if possible by eating organic foods, drinking pure water, and limiting your exposure to chemicals you breathe or come in contact with as much as possible. However, our air, water and food supply are so polluted, it's impossible to eliminate exposure to harmful substances completely. That is why its recommended to detox on a regular basis in order to help out your liver as much as possible. How often you feel you need a good detox depends largely on whether you eat organic, have frequent or large exposure to chemicals, or just feel like you could use a health and energy boost.

Woman who suffer from PMS symptoms such as migraines, loss of energy, and hormone imbalances can benefit greatly from detoxing a week before your menstrual cycle. If done on a regular basis, you should see most of your PMS symptoms disappear.

Keeping the liver clean and preventing it from becoming overburdened with toxins is the key to optimum health and will often not only reduce food allergies, but completely eliminate them since it's the liver's job to rid the body of harmful substances. But with our toxin-overloaded world and preservative and pesticide-laden food supply, there are very few people today who don't suffer some sort of ill health ramifications from having an overburdened and sluggish liver. Reducing your exposure to toxins as much as possible will help your liver a great deal in handling what it needs to when it needs to. Eating organic foods, staying away from inhaling chemicals in aerosols and cleaning products, pollution etc., is the single best thing you can do to support your liver and your health. The liver's job is to keep your blood clean and free from free-radicals and toxins which cause cancer, chemicals, hormones and any other substances that are harmful to the body. Naturopathic doctors believe a clean liver is the most important thing you can do to insure better health. Give the body what it needs, and eliminate what is harmful, and the human body is designed to function with optimum health. Most of us are our own worst health enemy.

© 2013 Redstone Promotional Communications/Circkles.com

- Ask a Nutritionist

- Ask an Herbalist

- The brain needs some healthy time too?
Stop by The Cyber Lounge on your way out.

- Also see the Motivity Page for Mental Health.

- Find more health articles by using the Google Search above. Health product reviews are in The Hangout.

This health section is updated monthly to give our members a chance to view it, so check back the first of every month for new posts. Disclaimer: This page is designed to offer information only on topics the average person can use themselves. It is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

HOME REMEDIES: Restless Legs Syndrome.

For RLS try potassium and magnesium, but you must be careful when using magnesium that you're getting enough calcium to balance it or you could cause an electrolyte imbalance or do permanent heart damage. There's some controversy over the exact ratio of calcium to magnesium you should have daily. Some doctors say you should have twice as much calcium daily as magnesium, some say 1/3 as much. I personally seem to do better with a 1.5:1 ratio but I also thing the RDA of calcium is way too high and is the reason for a great many ailments we Americans have. I would recommend, for a woman 18-50 yrs old, about 600mg of calcium and 200 mg of magnesium to keep RLS at bay. Over 50 yrs of age 800mg calcium, 300mg magnesium and for men over 50 as well. The RDA of potassium is 2000mg-5000mg, but I find that hardly anyone gets even the 2000mg a day because most people do not eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables. If you do eat a lot of fresh produce, potassium is probably not an issue for you, cooking destroys potassium.

Most Americans are deficient in potassium and magnesium and have way too much calcium which explains the sudden rise in RLS, arthritis, stiff joints and kidney stones. Our diets are also too high in sodium which depletes potassium.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Estrogen interferes with the absorption of magnesium and taking oral supplements will probably not work well for women. Try a liquid form of magnesium or soaking in Epsom salts. Start out with no more than 1/8 tsp liquid magnesium rubbed on the skin for the first week - be careful with amounts at first until you find a dosage that is comfortable for you. Liquid magnesium is absorbed readily into the body and is very potent when applied topically. If you feel like your heart rate is very slow, like you barely have a pulse, or your muscles feel weak within 1-2 hours of using the magnesium, cut back on how much you are applying and take some calcium to counteract it.



HERBS: How to use them for maximum benefit. Short and sweet descriptions and uses written by our on-staff Nutritional Herbalist. Always remember that herbs should be treated as a medicine. Almost all of our modern-day medicines are derived from compounds found in herbs and plants. If you have not used a particular herb before, try a half dose at first to make sure you do not have an unfavorable reaction to it.

Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus.

Medicinal Properties: Bilberry extract has been found to be antiviral and is used in some treatments for herpes simplex virus II. It has been shown to be anti-inflammatory and has been proven in lab studies to prevent atherosclerosis in those with high amounts of cholesterol. Bilberry is probably most known for its ability to improve vision and help treat eye diseases such as pigmentary retinitis. Extracts of this herb administered in controlled diabetes experiments resulted in normalization of capillary collagen thickness and reduced blood sugar levels in humans. This herb has also shown promise as being a well-tolerated ulcer treatment.

How to Use: Make a tea by steeping 1 tsp of the dried berries in 1 C. of steaming water. 1-2 cups daily. Tinctures, extracts, fresh supplements.

Parts Used: Dried berries.

Bilberry is well tolerated in recommended doses even for pregnant women.

Some Herb Basics: Most herbs work better on an empty stomach. A few exceptions are garlic, goldenseal and cayenne due to stomach upset. Herbs work in a cumulative fashion meaning they are not a "one dose wonder." They need to build up in the system a little, usually within 2-3 doses, before any real affect can be noticed. Fresh herbs always work better than old herbs and science is always proving the fact that a whole herb usually is more effective than one isolated compound of that herb.


FOODS THAT HEAL:
Do you know what foods will give you more energy, calm your nerves, act as an anti-inflammatory, help prevent cancers, or help you lose weight? Hopefully this column will help you to have a better understanding of food and its healing properties. The best diet for optimal health is a wide variation of foods, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and minimally cooked whole foods. Sweets, fatty foods, meat, dairy and carbs in moderation.

Apricot:

Therapeutic properties: Is very alkaline and easy to digest for babies just starting to eat solid foods, or elderly people. It can be quite laxative, so eat in moderation. Best known for fighting cancer caused by cigarette smoking and pancreatic cancer. The seeds are poisonous.

Acid or Alkaline: Alkaline in fresh form, slightly acid canned with a sugary syrup.

Significant Nutrients:
Fairly high in Vitamin A and potassium per ounce. 3 apricots equal 2769IU of vitamin A and 313mg of potassium. Dried apricots are high in beta-carotene but also high in concentrated sugar and should not be eaten in large amounts by diabetics. Fairly high in iron.

 

RECIPE OF THE MONTH: Chico Latte

Chicory root is very good for cleansing the liver and kidneys.

1 tsp to 1 Tbsp. roasted chicory root (amount depends on how strong you like it) 

1 C. water or milk, soy milk, almond milk.

Put roasted chicory in a tea strainer and pour hot water or milk over it. Steep for desired taste, chicory tends to be strong in a very short amount of steeping time.

Add honey or half and half to taste. Can make Chai by adding ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Tastes much better when grated fresh ginger is used rather than the dried ginger powder, and it gives the Chai a little kick.

If you like that little kick in the morning to wake you up, you can also add a pinch of cayenne pepper.

You can find this and many other recipes in The Circkles Hangout under the Main Menu.

NATURAL / ORGANIC PRODUCT REVIEW:

EO Certified Organic Products:

We just can’t say enough great things about the EO organic and natural products we tested. Among the group were:

▪ Organic Bath Salts
▪ Handmade Bar Soaps
▪ Organic Lip Treatments
▪ Hand Sanitizing Spray

There wasn't a favorite in the bunch, either. The scents in all of the EO products are very appealing—not too strong and distinctively unique. The bath salts were great to soak in. They left our skin nourished—feeling soft and smelling nice and not oily or overly dry.

The bar soaps were great, too! The Deodorant Bar Soap With Lemon Verbena and Menthol and the Everyday Bar With Lavender and Aloe foamed up lightly, leaving our skin clean, soft, and smelling sweet.

We tested three of the lip treatments and loved them, too! Our reviewer/testers said they were actually the best they’ve ever tried, leaving lips moisturized and especially soft.

The hand sanitizers were received well with their easy spray application that makes dispensing easy, especially for kids. The product dries rather quickly and leaves hands clean and soft, not itchy and dry as many others do.

 

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January 2013
Health and Nutrition Circkles
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