Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bottled water and fluoride for our teeth

We grab a bottle of water as we rush out the door, heading to work, errands, and other activities of our busy lifestyle.  Bottled water is convenient; you may say it tastes better than the tap water in your home.  But does bottled water contain fluoride?  Do we need fluoride added to our water?
We don’t think often about fluoride but it’s considered one of our Top 10 Public Health Achievements of the 20th century. In 1945 the first American community, Grand Rapids, Michigan, began adding fluoride to their water supply.  As public health and medical people watched, the rate of tooth decay declined in Grand Rapids, confirming the success of fluoridation (adding fluoride to water).  Other communities around the country began adding fluoride to their water supplies.  In 2010, 74% of public water supplies contain fluoride.  Centers for Disease Control (CDC), CDC Honors 65 Years of Community Water Fluoridation, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00056796.htm. 
People who oppose adding fluoride to our drinking water say it’s essentially medicating people without their approval and that we don’t know enough about fluoride and what it does to our bodies.  
More next time about fluoride in our water.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

In the News--Portland Oregon vote down water fluoridation

People of Portland, Oregon voted against adding fluoride to their water supply recently.  This city of 900,000 population voted 60% against adding fluoride after their city council had decided to begin adding fluoride to the city water supply. 
When I began researching the topic of fluoride in our water supplies, I thought fluoride in water supplies was a good thing.  After reading more from both sides of this topic, I recognize it is a complicated topic.  I suspect we will hear more in the future about the dangers and benefits of fluoride in drinking water.  In the meantime, let’s look at what we do know: 
·        Sources of fluoride are more plentiful since the 1960s. 
·        The Department of Health and Human Services lowered the recommendations for fluoride content in community water supplies to 0.7mg/liter. http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/fact_sheets/cwf_qa.htm dated 12-2011)
·        Bottled water may or may not contain fluoride.  The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require bottle water manufacturers to label fluoride contents unless the manufacturer adds fluoride.  If the bottled water contains fluoride in the amount of 0.6 mg/L to 1.0 mg/L, the label will read, “Drinking fluoridated water may reduce the risk of tooth decay.”  Bottled water without that label contains less fluoride.  
·        Consumers who want to learn the fluoride content in their favorite brand of bottled water can contact the company, using the toll-free phone number or website. 
·        If you want to know the fluoride content of your community’s drinking water, you can find this information at CDC’s “My Water’s Fluoride” website at http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/MWF/index.asp?Warn=Select+a+valid+State
 More next time about fluoride in our public water supply. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

In the News--Medical Breakthrough for Multiple Sclerosis sufferers

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease.   When MS occurs, the body attacks and destroys the insulation around the nerves, spinal cord and brain.  This insulation layer is called myelin. 
For many years, MS patients had few treatments available to them.  Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine reported new research findings June 2013.  Phase one of a clinical trial treated a small group of MS patients with excellent results.  These patients had blood drawn off, the white blood cells were treated to carry billions of myelin antigens, and the blood was returned to the patients.  Researchers were hoping the treated white blood cells would “teach the body to stop attacking myelin.”  This phase one clinical trial was considered a huge success as the patient’s MS symptoms did not get worse during the six-month followup.  The other exciting part of this new potential treatment is that it doesn’t lessen the patient’s immune system and its ability to fight “non-self” as some previous treatments have done.  These researchers are planning the next step: a larger, phase two clinical trial.  http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/06/medical-breakthrough-for-multiple-sclerosis-sufferers/ 
Another article which talks about the new MS trial can be found at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine website at http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/news/2013/06/ms_breakthrough.html?utm_source=Website&utm_medium=Slideshow&utm_content=Multiple%2BSclerosis%2BBreakthrough&utm_campaign=FSM%2BSlideshow  This article speculates that this technology may bring new treatments to other autoimmune diseases.  Keep your eyes open for this promising breakthrough. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130524104054.htm

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Organic foods--one more thought

As mentioned in an earlier post, organic foods have lower levels of pesticides which may make them healthier for us.  However, organic foods which can’t be peeled still need to be washed thoroughly before eating because of the natural fertilizers used on them.  Think about it:  those natural fertilizers are manure and compost, both of which probably contain bacteria.  So continue washing your organic foods just like you would any raw produce.  More information about organic foods can be found at  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/organic-food/NU00255