Amish man slapped with six-year prison sentence for growing and selling his own herbal remedies
On the morning of June 30 2017, a federal judge sentenced an Amish man to six years in prison. His crimes: making and selling herbal health products that were not “adequately labeled”, and obstructing a federal agency.
According to TheDailySheeple.com, the farmer, one Samuel A. Girod of Bath County in Kentucky, was convicted last March 13 for growing, manufacturing, and selling herbal supplements without approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Moreover, Girod was also charged for threatening a person who attempted to provide relevant information regarding his illegal activities to a grand jury.
Although he was only recently convicted, Girod first gained the attention of the FDA in 2013. Because of the nature of his Bath County business, Girod had been ordered by a federal court in Missouri to stop distributing his products until he allowed the FDA to inspect his operations, among many other conditions. When two FDA agents attempted to inspect Girod’s family farm, however, they were barred from entering the premises by Girod and others before they were made to leave.
Speaking to those gathered in the Kentucky courthouse, Girod, who chose to represent himself, stated that FDA regulations were not applicable to his products because they were herbal remedies, not drugs. Girod added that, as a member of the Old Order Amish faith, requiring the approval of the FDA was a violation of his religious freedom. (Related: Amish farmer facing 68 years in federal prison for making homemade products)
Girod’s products include treatments for skin ailments and sinus infections. As stated in an indictment, one particular product, TO-MOR-GONE, is notable for having a corrosive, caustic effect on human skin due to it containing bloodroot extract. Another product by Girod is an extract that he claimed could help cure cancer.
Jurors decided that TO-MOR-GONE lacked the appropriate warnings regarding its usage, and that the dosage and manner of use that is recommended on the package is hazardous to health.
After serving his time of six years, Girod will be subjected to three years of supervised release, during which Girod must avoid producing and distributing his products. Additionally, Girod must pay a restitution of $14,000 and $1,300 in assessment fees.
Girod’s supporters, 75 of whom stood outside the courthouse in downtown Lexington, expressed their disappointment in the ruling. Speaking to Kentucky.com, Arizona native Richard Mack called it a “national disgrace and an outrage”, noting that he used Girod’s Chickweed Healing Salve without experiencing any ill effects. The former sheriff and political activist said that the judge and jury had “created a felon today out of a good, law-abiding citizen” and that Giron was “being punished for being stubborn.”
This stubbornness, according to U.S. district judge Danny Reeves, is what led to Girod’s conviction. The judge told Kentucky.com that Girod brought all this onto himself “because he steadfastly refused to follow the law.”
Michael Fox, standby attorney for Girod, said that the punishment will deeply affect Girod. “Keep in mind that Sam Girod is Amish. He does not live with electricity, phones, concrete, steel. Those are not normal; those are not natural in his life. An incarceration in a prison setting is going to be more punishment for him than [for] a normal person,” Fox stated.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr J Jaranson
Study Confirms Preservative in Cereal Promotes Obesity
Many animal studies have suggested that chemicals added to breakfast cereals and other common products are adding to America’s obesity crisis, but showing exactly how the process happens in humans has been difficult. Scientists at Cedars-Sinai have solved the problem.
The researchers tested three chemicals that are common in modern life. Butylhydroxytoluene (BHT) is an antioxidant commonly added to breakfast cereals and other foods to protect nutrients and keep fats from turning rancid; perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a polymer found in some cookware, carpeting and other products; and tributyltin (TBT) is a compound in paints that can make its way into water and accumulate in seafood.
The investigators used hormone-producing tissues grown from human stem cells to demonstrate how chronic exposure to these chemicals can interfere with signals sent from the digestive system to the brain that let people know when they are “full” during meals. When this signaling system fails, people may continue to eat, thus gaining weight.
“We discovered that each of these chemicals damaged hormones that communicate between the gut and the brain,” said Dhruv Sareen, Ph.D. When the three chemicals were tested together, the result was even more pronounced.
Of the three chemicals tested, BHT produced some of the strongest detrimental effects, Sareen said. BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) is a chemical allowed to be used as a food additive to prevent oxidation.
BHT is on the Food and Drug Administration’s GRAS — generally recognized as safe — list. It is used in foods, such as cereals — although some food manufacturers have eliminated it from their products — and is also used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Some studies, however, have indicated that in addition to weight gain, BHT also increases the risk of cancer, and can cause liver enlargement.
Sareem said that while other researchers have shown the compounds can disrupt hormone systems in laboratory animals, the new study is the first to use human pluripotent stem cells and tissues to show how they may disrupt hormones that are critical to preventing obesity in people.
Sareem’s research found that the chemical damage occurred in early-stage “young” cells, suggesting that the findings may indicate that a defective hormone signaling system could perhaps impact a pregnant mother as well as her fetus in the womb.
More than 80,000 chemicals are approved in the United State for use in everyday items such as foods, personal care products, household cleaners and lawn-care products, according to the National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While the program states on its website that relatively few chemicals are thought to pose a significant risk to human health, it also states: “We do not know the effects of many of these chemicals on our health.”
It has been difficult to test these chemicals on humans because of the health risks of exposing human subjects to possibly harmful substances, so many widely used compounds remain unevaluated in humans for their health effects, especially to the hormone system.
“By testing these chemicals on actual human tissues in the lab, we potentially could make these evaluations easier to conduct and more cost-effective,” Sareen said.
Earlier studies have suggested that BHT increases the risk of cancer, and can cause liver enlargement.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr P Carrothers
Prostate Cancer Test Saves Lives, Risks Remain
Men who get a controversial blood test that looks for signs of prostate cancer appear to have a reduced risk of death from the malignancy, according to a new analysis by an international group of researchers.
The analysis re-examined data from two earlier studies that had led experts to recommend against routine use of the test, which measures levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA).
“The trials taken together indicate there is an important benefit,” said Ruth Etzioni, who is the senior author of the analysis from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.
A flaw of the earlier trials is that some men who were assigned to a no-screening group actually did get the PSA test on their own, making it difficult to identify differences between the screening group and the no-screening group.
The unclear results – and the risk that the blood tests could lead to unnecessary biopsies and treatments – led the government-backed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to recommend against PSA screening.
The new analysis attempts to clear up the confusion by reexamining the data in computer models, to account for the men who got PSA tests when they weren’t supposed to. Etzioni’s team compared men in the two trials based on the intensity of screening they received.
In one of the trials, PSA testing was tied to a 25 percent to 31 percent reduced risk of death from prostate cancer, the researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
In the other trial, PSA testing was tied to a 27 percent to 32 percent reduced risk of death from prostate cancer, they found.
Etzioni said the new results don’t mean all men should be screened for prostate cancer.
In the U.S., about one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, but most men with the slow-growing cancer won’t die from it.
As a result, it’s often reasonable to monitor prostate cancers instead of treating them, since the side effects of treatment – which can include incontinence and impotence – may be more harmful than helpful.
In a proposed update to its recommendation, the USPSTF suggests that men ages 55 to 69 should be able to decide if they want PSA testing based on a discussion with their doctors about the possible benefits and risks, such as biopsies and unneeded treatment.
“This finding confirms or reinforces what everybody has been moving to over the last 5 to 8 years,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. “There is some benefit to prostate cancer screening and there are some harms associated with it.”
Brawley, who wasn’t involved in the new analysis, told Reuters Health that the benefits of screening are becoming more apparent as doctors move away from aggressively treating all prostate cancers and instead decide to monitor the many that will likely never advance and cause death.
In an editorial published with the new analysis, Dr. Andrew Vickers of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City identified ways to help ensure the benefits of prostate cancer screening outweigh the harms.
For example, he advises shared decision-making between doctors and patients, carefully selecting which men to biopsy and not screening elderly men, who are unlikely to benefit.
“The controversy about PSA-based screening should no longer be whether it can do good but whether we can change our behavior so that it does more good than harm,” wrote Vickers.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr P Carrothers
What is Treacher Collins syndrome?
Treacher Collins is a condition that affects the development of bones and other tissues in the face.
What are the signs and symptoms of Treacher Collins syndrome?
The signs and symptoms of this disorder vary greatly, ranging from almost unnoticeable to severe. Most individuals have:
underdeveloped facial bones,
particularly the cheek bones, and
A very small jaw and chin (micrognathia).
Some people with this condition are also born with an opening in the roof of the mouth called a cleft palate. In severe cases, underdevelopment of the facial bones may restrict an affected infant’s airway, causing potentially life-threatening respiratory problems.
What are the characteristics of Treacher Collins syndrome?
People with TCS often have eyes that slant downward, sparse eyelashes, and a notch in the lower eyelids called an eyelid coloboma.
Some individuals have additional eye abnormalities that can lead to vision loss.
It also characterized by absent, small, or unusually formed ears.
Hearing loss occurs in about half of all individuals with the problem; hearing loss is caused by defects of the three small bones in the middle ear, which transmit sound, or by underdevelopment of the ear canal.
People with Treacher Collins usually have normal intelligence.
How common is this syndrome?
Treacher Collins affects an estimated 1 in 50,000 people.
How do you get Treacher Collins (Causes)?
When Treacher Collins results from mutations in the TCOF1 or POLR1D gene, it is considered an autosomal dominant condition, which means one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder. About 60 percent of these cases result from new mutations in the gene and occur in people with no history of the disorder in their family. In the remaining autosomal dominant cases, a person with TCS inherits the altered gene from an affected parent.
When TCS is caused by mutations in the POLR1C gene, the condition has an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance. Autosomal recessive inheritance means both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.
What genes are related to this syndrome?
Mutations in the TCOF1, POLR1C, or POLR1D gene can cause Treacher Collins. TCOF1 gene mutations are the most common cause of the disorder, accounting for 81 to 93 percent of all cases. POLR1C and POLR1D gene mutations cause an additional 2 percent of cases. In individuals without an identified mutation in one of these genes, the genetic cause of the condition is unknown.
The proteins produced from the TCOF1, POLR1C, and POLR1D genes all appear to play important roles in the early development of bones and other tissues of the face. These proteins are involved in the production of a molecule called ribosomal RNA (rRNA), a chemical cousin of DNA. Ribosomal RNA helps assemble protein building blocks (amino acids) into new proteins, which is essential for the normal functioning and survival of cells. Mutations in the TCOF1, POLR1C, or POLR1D gene reduce the production of rRNA. Researchers speculate that a decrease in the amount of rRNA may trigger the self-destruction (apoptosis) of certain cells involved in the development of facial bones and tissues. The abnormal cell death could lead to the specific problems with facial development found in TCS. However, it is unclear why the effects of a reduction in rRNA are limited to facial development.
What are the treatment and management guidelines for this syndrome?
There is currently no cure for TCS. Treatment is tailored to the specific needs of each child or adult. Ideally, treatment is managed by a multidisciplinary team of craniofacial specialists.
Newborns may need special positioning or tracheostomy to manage the airway. Hearing loss may be treated with bone conduction amplification, speech therapy, and/or educational intervention.
In many cases, craniofacial reconstruction is needed. Surgery may be performed to repair cleft palate, to reconstruct the jaw, or to repair other bones in the skull. The specific surgical procedures used and the age when surgery is performed depends on the severity of the abnormalities, overall health and personal preference.
There are some possible treatments that are being investigated. Researchers are looking for ways to inhibit a protein called p53, which helps the body to kill off unwanted cells. In people with TCS, p53 is abnormally activated, leading to the loss of specific cells and ultimately causing features of TCS. It has been proposed that inhibiting the production of p53 (or blocking its activation) may help to treat affected people. However, more research is needed to determine if this type of treatment is effective and safe.
Researchers are also studying the use of stems cells found in fat tissue to be used alongside surgery in people with TCS and other craniofacial disorders. Early studies have shown that surgical outcomes may be improved using these stem cells to help stimulate the regrowth of affected areas. However, this therapy is still experimental and controversial.
What is the prognosis and life expectancy for a person with Treacher Collins syndrome?
Usually, people with TCS grow to become functioning adults with normal intelligence. With proper management, life expectancy is approximatelythe same as in the general population. In some cases, the prognosis depends on the specific symptoms and severity in the affected person. For example, very severe cases of TCS can cause perinatal death because of a compromised airway.
What other names do people use for Treacher Collins syndrome?
Other names for TCS include:
Mandibulofacial dysostosis (MFD1)
Treacher Collins-Franceschetti syndrome
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this article, please give us a call and we will help you with this and all your healthcare concerns.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr J Jaranson
Sleep Apnea Tied to Cognitive Decline
People who experience certain breathing problems at night may be more likely to develop cognitive impairment than individuals without any difficulties breathing while they sleep, a research review suggests.
Data obtained from 14 previously published studies with a total of more than 4.2 million men and women showed that people with sleep-disordered breathing had 26 percent higher odds of developing cognitive impairment, researchers report in JAMA Neurology.
“Identification of this sleep disorder in elderly persons might help predict future risk of cognitive impairment and thus is important for the early detection of dementia,” said lead study author Yue Leng of the University of California, San Francisco.
“Moreover, sleep-disordered breathing is a treatable disease,” Leng said by email. “If sleep-disordered breathing is a risk factor for dementia, then treatment of sleep-disordered breathing might benefit cognition and help reduce the risk of dementia in the long run.”
Many people with nighttime breathing problems had what’s known as apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder that involves repeated stops and starts in breathing. Risk factors for sleep apnea include older age and obesity.
In the smaller studies included in the analysis, the increased risk of cognitive impairment associated with sleep-disordered breathing ranged from 23 percent to 86 percent.
When researchers analyzed the increased risk across all of the smaller studies with a similar design, excluding one that was done much differently, the overall increased risk of cognitive impairment associated with sleep-disordered breathing was 35 percent.
Sleep-disordered breathing was also associated with slightly worse “executive function” – that is, the mental processes involved in planning, paying attention, following instructions, and multi-tasking, for example – but it didn’t appear to influence memory, the study also found.
The researchers had only limited data on executive function, however, which made it difficult to determine whether any changes associated with sleep-disordered breathing might be clinically meaningful.
The analysis also didn’t account for obesity, which is independently a risk factor for both apnea and cognitive impairment, noted Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a researcher at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City who wasn’t involved in the study.
“It’s possible that the reduction in oxygen reaching the brain from apnea could, over time, lead to brain injuries that can lead to cognitive impairment,” St-Onge said by email. “There is also a link between obesity and mild cognitive impairment and between obesity and sleep-disordered breathing.”
Shedding excess weight might help, said Hui-Xin Wang of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
“Weight-loss strategies, including physical exercise and diet, have been evaluated as a treatment strategy to improve sleep-disordered breathing and reduce the risk of cognitive decline,” Wang, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.
Beyond weight loss, treatments for apnea may include wearing a breathing mask or jaw support at night to keep airways open.
More research is needed, however, to determine whether and to what extent treating sleep apnea might lower the risk of cognitive decline, said Kristen Knutson of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
“There are therapies available for apnea that would improve sleep and potentially improve health, including cognitive function,” Knutson, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “People who have trouble sleeping or who snore loudly and frequently should raise this issue with their doctors and discuss potential treatments.”
Call us with any of your healthcare concerns.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr G Carney
Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms & Signs
Pancreatic Cancer typically does not cause symptoms until it has grown, so it is most frequently diagnosed in advanced stages rather than early in the course of the disease. In some cases, jaundice (a yellowish discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes) without pain can be an early sign of pancreatic cancer. Other symptoms and signs that can occur with more advanced disease are
itching skin, and
decreased or loss of appetite.
Pale stools, upper abdominal pain that radiates to the back, back pain, abdominal pain, dark urine, abdominal bloating, diarrhea, and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck can be present as well. In some cases, a new onset of diabetes may be a sign of pancreatic cancer, but the vast majority of cases of diabetes are not related to cancer.
Causes of pancreatic cancer
The exact cause of pancreatic cancer is generally unknown.
Rarely, there can be familial or hereditary genetic syndromes that run in families and put individuals at higher risk, such as mutations of the genes BRCA-2 and, to a lesser extent, BRCA-1.
Other causes are actually various modes of medication used for diabetes. Canagliflozin(Invokana), Dapagliflozin (Farxiga) and Empagliflozin (Jardiance) are three medications that were released to the public without a correct length of time to study them, and they are showing to have some positive results for inducing pancreatic cancer.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr J Jaranson
Frequent Nut Consumption Can Help to Prevent Diabetes and Improve Blood Glucose Control
This year, the WHO, ( World Health Organization) is focusing on diabetes in order to increase awareness about its rise and staggering burden and consequences, in particular in low-and middle-income countries. The International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC) wants to raise awareness about the importance of nuts in the treatment and prevention of this disease.
Cyril Kendall, PhD at the department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, explains that this increase of prevalence is linked to our changing lifestyle. “We are becoming less active and our diet is becoming overly processed. This unhealthy diet not only increases blood glucose levels but it also leads to an increase in body weight which further increases the risk of developing diabetes”. Kendall, who has been studying the relation of nut consumption and diabetes, says that “based on the current scientific evidence, nuts may play an important role in improving the risk factors for this disease. Population studies have shown that frequent nut consumption is inversely associated to diabetes development and clinical studies indicate that nuts can help to improve blood glucose control in diabetes”.
In fact, nut consumption has been associated with beneficial effects on glucose and insulin levels, according to the latest studies about the relationship between nut intake and type 2 diabetes (T2D). The PREDIMED study concluded that the results of two Mediterranean Diet groups which added extra virgin olive oil and nuts reduced the risk to suffer diabetes by 52%. In addition, researchers at the Human Nutrition Unit, from Rovira i Virgili University, have proven that the intake of two ounces (57 g) of pistachios per day has a significant effect: it decreases fasting glucose, and favors insulin and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance. Also, researchers at the Shih-Chien University and the Chang Gung University of Science and Tech (Taiwan), have shown that 60 g/day almond consumption improved glycemic control in patients with T2D.
Currently, about 400 million people (more than 5% of the world’s population) have T2D. It is estimated that by 2035 there will be almost 600 million people living with T2D and almost 900 million people with pre-diabetes, a silent state associated with a high risk of several deadly conditions including T2D, heart disease, hypertension, strokes and early death.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr Anne Sullivan
Common Painkillers Boost Heart Attack Risks
Common prescription and over-the-counter painkillers, including ibuprofen, boost the risk of heart attack, according to new research that backs earlier findings linking such drugs to cardiac hazards.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), finds that higher risk of heart attack depends on dose and arises as early as the first week of use.
But the researchers said the new findings indicate doctors and patients should more carefully weigh the risks and benefits of so-called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Such medications include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cambia), celecoxib (Celebrex), and naproxen (Midol, Aleve).
Asprin, which is also an NSAID, was not among the painkillers linked to heart attacks and has consistently been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease and certain forms of cancer.
“Given that the onset of risk of acute myocardial infarction [heart attack] occurred in the first week and appeared greatest in the first month of treatment with higher doses, prescribers should consider weighing the risks and benefits of NSAIDs before instituting treatment, particularly for higher doses,” the researchers concluded.
The findings are based on an analysis of studies by an international team of researchers led by Michèle Bally of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center (CRCHUM), formerly an epidemiology doctoral student at McGill University in Canada.
The researchers examined the medical records of nearly 447,000 people, more than 61,000 of whom had a heart attack, from Canada, Finland, and the United Kingdom.
The findings showed that taking any dose of NSAIDs for one week, one month, or more than a month was associated with an increased risk of heart attack.
Overall the increased risk of a heart attack was between 20 percent and 50 percent greater for those using NSAIDs than those not taking them.
The findings also indicated the higher the dose or frequency of taking the drugs, the greater the risk of heart attack.
The study is the largest investigation of its kind to examine real-world patient experiences.
After previous studies reached similar conclusions, the Food and Drug Administration required cardiovascular risk warnings be added to the labels of all NSAIDs (except aspirin) in 2005, updated those requirements in 2015.
Health and Wellness Associates
Acetaminophen and Asthma
As the title says, there is a link between Acetaminophen and Asthma. Read on to find out about Acetaminophen and ADHD, cancer in boys, and should you give your children acetaminophen when vaccinated.
Acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol) is one of the most widely used pain relievers, including among pregnant women.
Research published in the journal American Family Physician even called acetaminophen “the pain reliever of choice during pregnancy,”1 and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data suggest 65 percent of pregnant women use the drug.2
Acetaminophen was most commonly used to treat pain, fever and flu symptoms among pregnant women in a recent study led by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo.3
However, it’s generally best to avoid any medications during pregnancy, including acetaminophen, unless they’re absolutely necessary.
When used during pregnancy, even this “safe” over-the-counter (OTC) drug, researchers found, may be associated with an increased risk of asthma in children.
Prenatal Acetaminophen Exposure Linked to Asthma
Researchers analyzed data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, which includes 114,500 mother/child pairs. Both prenatal acetaminophen exposure and use of acetaminophen during infancy were associated with an increased risk of asthma at ages 3 and 7.
Children whose mothers had used acetaminophen during pregnancy were 13 percent more likely to develop asthma by age 3, and the more acetaminophen used by the mother, the greater the risk became.
The study also looked into whether the reasons behind acetaminophen use (pain, fever and flu) could be causing the asthma link, but the association remained even after accounting for these factors.
Women who reported using acetaminophen for more than one reason during pregnancy had children with the greatest risk of asthma at age 3.4
The researchers did not recommend that pregnant women or infants stop using acetaminophen, even though past research has also suggested an asthma connection.
For instance research published in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety in February 2016 also found acetaminophen use during pregnancy was associated with a modest increased risk for offspring asthma.5
Are Pain Relievers Safe During Pregnancy?
The findings raise questions about whether this widely-used OTC medicine is actually as safe during pregnancy as women are being told.
Due to recent reports questioning the safety of prescription and OTC medicines when used during pregnancy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently looked into the issue.6 They looked into data regarding three widely used types of pain medications and potential associated side effects:
Prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and the risk of miscarriage
Opioids and the potential risk of birth defects of the brain, spine or spinal cord
Acetaminophen and the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
The FDA ruled that available data “prevented us from drawing reliable conclusions,” and they decided to keep their recommendations on how pain medicines are used during pregnancy the same at this time. However, it’s best to err on the side of caution when possible.
Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy Linked to ADHD in Children
The potential link between prenatal acetaminophen exposure and ADHD came to light in 2014 after a study was published in JAMA Pediatrics.7
It included data from more than 64,000 mothers and children in the Danish National Birth Cohort. Over 50 percent of the women reported taking acetaminophen while pregnant, which was found to be linked to:
A 30 percent increased risk for ADHD in the child during the first seven years of life
A 37 percent increased risk of being diagnosed with hyperkinetic disorder (HKD), a severe form of ADHD
Behavioral effects appeared to be dose dependent. The more frequent the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy, the higher the offspring’s chances of being diagnosed with ADHD-related problems.
Children of women who used the drug for 20 or more weeks during pregnancy had nearly double the risk of getting an HKD diagnosis. They also had a 50 percent greater chance of being prescribed an ADHD medication.
The researchers noted that “[research data suggest that acetaminophen is a hormone disruptor, and abnormal hormonal exposures in pregnancy may influence fetal brain development.”8 As further reported by Forbes:9
“Acetaminophen can cross the placenta, making its way to the fetus and its delicate developing nervous system. The drug is a known endocrine (hormone) disrupter, and has previously been linked to undescended testes in male infants.10
Since the maternal hormone environment plays a critical role in the development of the fetus, the authors say that it’s ‘possible that acetaminophen may interrupt brain development by interfering with maternal hormones or via neurotoxicity such as the induction of oxidative stress that can cause neuronal death.'”
Prenatal Acetaminophen Exposure May Be Linked to Fertility Problems, Cancer in Boys
Along with asthma and ADHD, prenatal acetaminophen exposure appears to cut levels of testosterone in the womb, at least according to a study in mice. The animals were given doses of acetaminophen equivalent to a human dose.
While treatment for just one day did not affect testosterone levels, treatment three times a day for seven days did, cutting testosterone levels in the mice nearly in half.11 The finding is concerning, since most common male reproductive disorders are linked to lower testosterone exposure in fetal life.
It’s thought that acetaminophen’s interference with the development of the male reproductive system could not only lead to genital birth defects but also to infertility and testicular cancer.12
Unlike the U.S. FDA, which has refused to warn pregnant women about potential risks, The Royal College of Midwives suggested pregnant women talk to their health care providers before taking acetaminophen.
The Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health said that prolonged use of the drug should be avoided by pregnant women. Carmel Lloyd of the Royal College of Midwives told the Daily Mail:13
“Ideally, women should avoid taking medicines when they are pregnant, particularly during the first three months … Minor conditions such as colds or minor aches and pains often do not need treating with medicines.”
While the mouse study suggested only male fertility may be affected, a separate study published in Scientific Reports revealed that acetaminophen (or NSAID) use in pregnancy could also potentially affect fertility of resulting daughters and granddaughters.14
Accidental Poisoning Is Another Major Mechanism of Harm
Acetaminophen was the medication involved in the most accidental poisonings according to calls to poison control centers across the U.S. related to infants younger than 6 months old.15
The drug accounted for 22,000 medication exposures and close to 5,000 general exposures.16 Acetaminophen is often recommended for infants instead of alternatives like ibuprofen.
In fact, acetaminophen is the most common pain reliever given to U.S. children, and it’s estimated that more than 11 percent of U.S. children take the drug during any given week.17 In adults, taking just a bit too much can have significant health risks, particularly for your liver.
Acetaminophen poisoning is responsible for nearly half of all acute liver failure cases in the U.S.18 Among adults, taking just 25 percent more than the daily recommended dose — the equivalent of just two extra strength pills per day — can cause liver damage after just a couple of weeks of daily use.19
Children metabolize acetaminophen differently than adults, and the risks of liver failure from too much acetaminophen are thought to be lower among children than adults.20 However, liver injury has been reported among children given repeated doses.21
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is an antidote for acetaminophen toxicity and is well worth knowing about if you ever use acetaminophen or keep it in your house. NAC is administered as part of standard care in cases of acetaminophen overdose.
While I generally do not recommend using acetaminophen-containing drugs for minor aches and pains, they are sometimes necessary to temporarily suppress severe pain, such as post-surgical pain. For those instances, I recommend taking it along with NAC.
If you have children and keep acetaminophen in your home, I strongly recommend keeping a bottle of NAC as well in case of accidental overdose. NAC therapy should be initiated within eight hours of an acute overdose for best results. If you suspect an overdose has occurred, seek medical help right away. If this isn’t an option, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following protocol:22
“Oral administration is the preferred route for NAC therapy unless contraindications exist (e.g aspiration, persistent vomiting). The usual recommended loading dose is 140 mg/kg followed in 4 hours by a maintenance dose of 70 mg/kg orally given every 4 hours.
This dosing is commonly recommended to be continued for 72 hours; however more recent clinical experience supports tailoring the duration of therapy to the patient’s clinical condition.”
Vitamin D-Rich Foods During Pregnancy Decrease Risk of Allergies in Children
A higher intake of vitamin-D-rich foods during pregnancy has been linked to a lower risk of allergies in children. The study found for each 100 IUs per day of food-based vitamin D intake during the first and second trimesters (equivalent to the amount of vitamin D in an 8-ounce serving of milk) was associated with about a 20 percent lower risk of developing allergies by school age.23
In this case, the use of supplemental vitamin D was not associated with the benefit, although it’s unclear what type of supplemental vitamin D was studied. Other research suggests that vitamin D deficiency may be a primary underlying cause of asthma. Vitamin D will also help to upregulate your immune system, which may explain its potential role in allergies.
You can find some vitamin D in mushrooms, fish, eggs and dairy products, and there may be vitamin D in lesser-known food sources as well, like meat. However, when pregnant, you need a vitamin D level above 50 ng/ml to protect yourself and your baby from serious complications, such as premature delivery and preeclampsia.
You should have your levels tested and monitored during pregnancy and get appropriate sun exposure and take supplemental vitamin D3, if necessary, to reach optimal levels. I firmly believe optimizing your vitamin D during pregnancy is one of the most important things you can do for the health of your child. When a child is born deficient in vitamin D his or her health can be significantly affected in any number of ways.
Research confirms there is a lifelong impact of vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy ranging from not only childhood allergies and asthma but also colds and flu, dental cavities, diabetes, and even strokes and cardiovascular disease in later life.
Top Natural Acetaminophen Alternatives
Acetaminophen is so common that many people, including pregnant women, have become “blasé” about its use and its potential dangers.24 Before you reach for acetaminophen or any other pain-relieving drug, it makes sense to exhaust more natural options first — particularly for minor or tolerable pain. For instance, the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) works very effectively for relieving pain and can be used safely for pregnant women and children.
No matter what your reason for taking acetaminophen, type it into the search box above and you’ll likely find a natural alternative. Even if chronic pain is your problem, the following options provide excellent pain relief without any of the health hazards that acetaminophen and other pain relievers carry. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with your health care provider before taking any medications, herbs or supplements.
Astaxanthin: One of the most effective oil-soluble antioxidants known. It has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more effectively than many NSAIDs. Higher doses are typically required and one may need 8 mg or more per day to achieve this benefit.
Ginger: This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
Curcumin: Curcumin is the primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmeric. In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility.25 In fact, curcumin has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory activity, as well as demonstrating the ability in four studies to reduce acetaminophen-associated adverse health effects.26
Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which have been prized for thousands of years. This is one of my personal favorites as I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Bromelain: This protein-digesting enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful.
Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a “joint lubricant” and an anti-inflammatory. I have used this for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards. I used a topical preparation for this.
Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils: These contain the fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
Cayenne Cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
Therapeutic modalities such as yoga, acupuncture, meditation, hot and cold packs, and even holding hands can also result in astonishing pain relief without any drugs.
If you take nothing away from this: NEVER GIVE TYLENOL TO A CHILD WHO HAS BEEN VACCINATED OR EXPOSED TO ANOTHER CHILD THAT HAS BEEN VACINATED.
Health and Wellness Associates