Sunday, August 28, 2011

Guardian Angels

From Fr Hardon archives:
You said every baptized person has a Guardian Angel. What about the non-baptized, or non-Christians?
We believe that everybody is a child of God. Then why did God not give them also a Guardian Angel?
Well, in theology we have our different degrees of certitude. Different levels of being sure that something is true. The Church does teach, she does teach that every human person from conception has a Guardian Angel. The Church teaches it. But on everything that the Church teaches has been revealed, revealed by God. In other words, whatever the Church teaches we call doctrine. But only revealed doctrines are called dogmas. It is by dogmas that every baptized person has a Guardian Angel. It is however, by the Church’s teaching, that everyone, I repeat, from conception, has a Guardian Angel. In other words, the degree of certitude, is higher regarding Christians having a Guardian Angel, than every human being. I repeat, from conception, has a Guardian spirit.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

New Age Movement and Thomas Merton and Centering Prayer

from Fr Hardon archives:
Fr. Hardon:
The question is here - Can you speak more about the New Age Movement?
The New Age Movement is about, I would say, forty years old, in the United States. It is an importation from Asia and especially from India. And what has happened is that certain Catholic leaders and writers have begun to bring out, what I would call, the non-Christian, oriental, mysticism. Non-Christian, oriental, mysticism. The New Age Movement, as they call it. There is no definite pattern. However, the New Agers, as they are also called, have become deeply influenced by those Christian writers who have adopted non-Christian philosophy into Christianity. And I think the leader of the New Age Movement, who has since died, was a Trappist Monk, Thomas Merton. The name sound familiar? Thomas Merton. I could talk for many hours about the New Age Movement. But concretely, it was Thomas Merton who, in the late forties, that would be over fifty (50) years ago, became a convert to the Catholic faith, and he published a widely circulating book called the Seven Storey Mountain. Thomas Merton, I do believe was never intellectually converted to Christianity. He became a Trappist Monk, became a priest and wrote many books. So his conversion is Seven Storey Mountain. He became very famous, mainly because of his writing. But also, because his ideas, it goes back already to the fifties and sixties. His ideas were very sympathetic with oriental thought. Well, Thomas Merton entered my life when my Jesuit Provincial Superior told me to go to this Trappist’s monastery, which was quite some distance. I was teaching theology and I was told to talk to Thomas Merton, which I did. Our relationship lasted about six months. Thomas Merton had organized a campaign for the movement of what we now call the New Age Movement - meditation. Oriental meditation. At the Monastery of Gethsemene, his Abbot Superior either changed his mind or never gave Merton permission in the first place to start his meditation center - at the monastery in Kentucky. Then his Abbot simply told Merton, you cannot build this meditation center. In the meantime, a great deal of money had been collected for this meditation center. Thomas Merton had left the United States and he died suddenly in Asia by giving lectures on Oriental Mysticism. Thomas Merton's writings, his New Age writings, have been published after his death and without his Abbot's permission. In fact, the manuscripts were given to a lay person who has been publishing his books ever since.
And having said that, I can now talk at great length about the New Age Movement. Basically, the New Age Movement is, I repeat, Oriental Meditation, Oriental Prayer, or Mysticism that has penetrated many Christian circles. There are communities that follow that pattern. For example, there are Religious communities of women that follow the New Age pattern in meditation and prayer. And all I can say is that those communities, which have adopted these New Age ideas are all - I mean this sincerely - in danger of dissolusion. At the root of the New Age Movement, is the denial of an infinite, personal God, who created the world. And consequently, once you say that than how much you use the name God, no matter how much you talk about prayer and meditation, that prayer and mediation is no longer to God, but either to the unknown forces in the world or to one's self. And, you know, all I can say is, that one reason the New Age Movement has so deeply infected, as I should say, the Western world is because the Western world, unlike the Oriental world, has become very materialistic. Preoccupied with things that you can touch, taste, feel, see, experience with your body. The Western world needs a reformation. It needs to discover that there is a real world that you cannot touch, taste, see with your bodily eyes, or hear with the bodily ears. The real world - God is very real, God is God, does not have a body or extension in space, or size or weight. There is the angelic world, which is, as we say purely spiritual. Each angel is an individual person. Each of us, we believe, has a spirit; our souls dwelling within us. We believe this spirit, our soul, continues living consciously after the body dies.
Sister: Excuse me Father. What is centering prayer? And what is its connection with the New Age Movement?
Fr. Hardon: Centering prayer is part of the New Age Movement. Centering prayer is very dangerous. There are communities, I will not identify which communities, where the Sisters are taught and trained to practice centering prayer.
Sister: Father, I have read in the newspaper that the contemplative Missionaries of Charity practice centering prayer.
Fr. Hardon: Sister?
Gentleman: She said, she has seen a photograph in the newspaper of some Missionaries of Charity…
Sister: Contemplative
Gentleman: Contemplative…practicing…
Sister: Father, the article was telling us that they were practicing centering prayer.
Gentleman: They were saying, the MC's, the contemplative…
Sister: In Calcutta, were using centering prayer.
Gentleman: In Calcutta, they were using centering prayer
Sister: It was published in Miami by a Carmelite community.
Fr. Hardon: All I can say is, any community that practices centering prayer will die out.
Sister: What?
Fr. Hardon:
I can talk for hours on centering prayer. The word of course, is attractive. Centering prayer - It all depends on what you mean by centering prayer. And of course, again there are different forms of centering prayer. Because as you know, in India, Hindus are not united. There was no united Hinduism or kinds of Hindu - well, you might say religions. So with centering prayer. The heart of centering prayer is communicating with the center of your being. Now that, as the words are used, sounds harmless. Remember we were talking about indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Could we say that for those who are in that state of God's grace that at the center of their being is the Holy Spirit? We can say that. That is not for those who practice centering prayer mean. At the center of one's being is the Absolute. The Absolute, who is the only real being that exists. In other words, we think that we are separate individuals. At the foundation of centering prayer, you don't believe it. The center of our being, the New Agers say, is the Absolute. The only real being, the center of our being, therefore is the Absolute. According to God you are cheating. Because the god of centering prayer, I repeat, the way the New Agers have brought it in, is the only being who exists. He is the absolute being. And he is the same absolute being, in every human being as we would call it. But, what we call an – person – they would say - is not a distinct reality. At the heart of centering prayer, there is no infinite God who created the world out of nothing. A layman wrote a book on Thomas Merton - remember I mentioned Thomas Merton may be the founder of the New Age Movement, certainly in the Western world. He wrote a book, spent several years writing the book analyzing Thomas Merton's thinking. And he said Thomas Merton never, never believed there was a God who was infinite. Never believed there was a God who was really distinct from the world that we say was created. Centering prayer is communication with the inner being who is the only real being who exists. If you think you are a distinct person, distinct from God, you do not understand centering prayer. And another - oh, I could talk for hours - who's been deeply affected by centering prayer. Although, he himself died before what we now call the New Age movement came into existence. That was the Jesuit, Karl Rahner. I've been a Jesuit now, as I told you – if the Lord keeps me on this earth until the first of September - I entered in 1936 - it will be 60 years. Karl Rahner’s thinking is also behind centering prayer, and Karl Rahner never, never was convinced that there is an infinite God. NEVER. In other words, centering prayer is addressing the Absolute, which is the only being who really exists. And having known the Contemplative Missionaries of Charity, from before they began. That's how I first met Mother Theresa. She wanted to start the Contemplative branch and I was in New York teaching. She came from, well, from Calcutta, I was in New York, I’ve got I'll tell you this. I got a phone call - Mother Theresa from Calcutta wanted me to call her back. Gee, from New York to Calcutta! That's a lot of money. But the number was 292-00l9. Strange number, but I figured I'd save money. I'd try to call that number. Sure enough, it was the Bronx, in New York. Well, at last I could come to talk to her in the Bronx. Our first meeting was five hours. I have known the Contemplative Missionaries of Charity. For seven years. I was teaching the Contemplatives one full day every week. So thank you for sharing that with me. But I have to say I am not surprised. I am disappointed, but I am not surprised. Thank you for saying that. I could talk about the New Age Movement for hours. It is not Christian. It is very dangerous. Well, keep this covered.   

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


To sign up for Groupon go to this link:
I'm putting this out there because I actually have used them a few times and they were good deals. Although one time my husband used one that he didn't like so he sent an e-mail to Goupon, they with no questions asked credited his account the full amount of the Groupon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Celiacs and Gluten Intolerance

Wheat should be organic and fermented and used from fresh ground wheat (within twelve hours of grinding). You still may have a problem with it.
 The following is from comments from the linked article:

An earlier article on Dr. M's site titled "If You Can't Beat Depression, This Could be Why" suggests that if we are going to correct our digestive/brain problems we have to start with young children. EXCERPT: "So it actually makes perfect sense to nourish your gut flora for optimal serotonin function as it can have a profound impact on your mood, psychological health, and behavior. "The authors concluded that: " '[T]he presence or absence of conventional intestinal microbiota influences the development of behavior..."
"This conclusion adds support to another recent animal study, which also found that gut bacteria may influence mammalian early brain development and behavior. But that's not all. They also discovered that the absence or presence of gut microorganisms during infancy permanently alters gene expression."
Again, the implications are that messing with the infant's immune system with injected foreign DNA (vaccines), and/or directly killing intestinal flora (by administering antibiotics), affects behaviour later in life. He goes on to say that even if as an adult you begin to use probiotics, this is too late to enable the beneficial brain development that normally happens in the infant stages.
That article references a study "Normal gut microbiota modulates brain development and behavior"  That  study compared the effect of the presence or absence of gut flora in rat pups and adults. Once the animal is an adult, adding probiotics does not make any further difference to their behaviour.
So the effect of gluten reactivity in the young child would also likely influence behaviour and mood for life. This is probably part of the problem with which Dr. Andrew Wakefield was wrestling in his many articles on the gut-brain connection. See the video and Dr. M's comments at "Why Medical Authorities Went to Such Extremes to Silence Dr. Andrew Wakefield" elsewhere on this site.
Citing Dr. Mercola's other articles was to make the point that this is a coherent body of knowledge. Eating wisely and in harmony with nature -- as well as avoiding causing damage by heavy-handed medical interventions not based on this principle -- must begin from the earliest days of life.
People have been eating wheat and grains for centuries. Allergic reactions to wheat and grains have been steadily on the rise in recent decades.
The studies cited here are subjective in trying  to make the point against wheat and grains. Studies trying to equate allergic reactions to these foods are fatally flawed because they do not reference the quality of the food. THEY HAVE NOT established levels of toxins from pesticides, surfactants, fungicides, etc., in the wheat and or other grains eaten by the study subjects.
Yes, it is true that Lectins are very poisonous, but fortunately heating lectins destroys their toxicity. The article states "WGA binds to N-Acetylglucosamine which is believed to function as an atypical neurotransmitter functioning in nocioceptive (pain) pathways” is very interesting. WGA also binds to Sialic acid residues, in fact WGA has an affinity for Glycans (Poly and Oligosaccharides) and other chemical materials. Of potential interest to researchers should be polyglycoside surfactants used as spreader stickers for pesticides sprayed on wheat as well as the pesticides.
Pesticides and other chemicals are most concentrated in wheat gluten and there are over sixteen different hazardous chemical residues found in wheat. Newer systemic pesticides are now being found more frequently in foods than ever before.  Bottom line, commercial wheat and grains are TOXIC. Always buy Organic.
@Tony Gallo: Cadmium is another source of concern in ALL food, plants readily absorb Cadmium from contaminated soils. Commercial fertilizers, especially phosphate fertilizers contain Cadmium and are unacceptable. Leaf litter and top soil are used as an archaeologic record of heavy metal and metalloid contamination particularly from anthropogenic activity like the BURNING OF COAL.
@TonyGallo answer to question below: The fungus Claviceps purpurea has been responsible for many deaths with a theorized relationship to the Salem Witch trials. However, I believe anthropogenic chemicals are probably responsible for the rise in diseases related to wheat and grain as opposed toxins from fungi. Don't forget wheat is also sprayed with fungicides.
@Sayergi's comment below: Lectins are detoxified by the heat from cooking which causes a change in the material. Beans, Almonds, Walnuts, grains and other plants contain lectin and are safe to eat after cooking. Baking chestnuts, cooking almonds and boiling soybeans agglutinates the proteins, including the lectins and with soy washes away the soy trypsin inhibitor rendering it free of digestion inhibitors and lectin activity. However, Soy is not a healthy food.
@Sun99961 Below: Celiacs and organic sourdough bread read the study:

Samsel - your pesticide point is excellent. This connection is rarely addressed.  As far as the wheat studies, feel free to review them directly here   Over the past two years I have gathered several hundred peer-reviewed research on the connection between wheat consumption and over 120 disease categories, with the connection between neurological/psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia most interesting.

Samsel - your pesticide point is excellent. This connection is rarely addressed.  As far as the wheat studies, feel free to review them directly here   Over the past two years I have gathered several hundred peer-reviewed research on the connection between wheat consumption and over 120 disease categories, with the connection between neurological/psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia most interesting.

There's another rather insidious side to what you're saying that is especially true today -- most people have no idea they can be consuming 'hidden' gluten everyday.  Beer, salad dressings, ice cream, battered foods, some processed meats, rice mixes, gravies, icings, soy sauce, soups (even pasta free ones)... the list goes on.
One really has to be educated and vigilant in keeping gluten to a minimum as it's commonly used as a thickener/stabilizer in processed foods and it adds up in the body fast.  I've read that if you put a hundred people with Celiac Disease or even wheat sensitivity in a room, you may not find any two with the exact same reactions, and that is why it's so hard to diagnose and treat. Best thing to do is go on a strict gluten free diet for at least three months and see how you feel!
Suzeaa - excellent information. Yes, celiac disease is mostly asymptomatic and/or expresses itself in "out of intestine" symptoms. Although 30% of the world's population has the genetic locus of susceptibility on chromosome 6 (HLA-DQ2/8), the classical diagnostic definition, e.g. intestinal biopsy and/or alpha-gliadin antibodies, to name but a few tests, makes it seem like wheat only affects a rare percentage. There is really a "celiac iceberg," with the broad submerged base being so massive, that most people have no idea how profoundly the anti-health food affects them.  For more on this read my "Dark Side of Wheat."

Leaky gut is due to gluten...heavy metals come from liver not working they build up...since gluten doesn't let nutrients cells are not made right in the liver or work right. Rancid fats hurt me...make free I am sure fresh ground is better, but gluten may still hurt certain people.

Friday, August 19, 2011

detoxify or simply support your liver

These comments are from the above link in the comments section (a post):
If you want to detoxify or simply support your liver, either as part of a treatment or as a precaution, there are some supplements that deserve to be mentioned:
* Milk thistle silymarin: known to clean the liver and to support the regeneration of liver cells.
* Turmeric root extract: boosts the liver enzyme production which supports the breakdown of sugar and fat.
* R-Alpha Lipoic Acid: Supports the liver function by breaking down toxins before the process begins in the liver. Especially if one is heavily medicated and thus compromising the liver, R-ALA should be considered.
* N-Acetyl Cysteine (should be supported by a strong C-Vitamin supplement): will support the liver function by influencing and optimizing the blood inflow.
* Astaxanthin: Of its multitude of benefits one is the detoxification of liver cells.
* Omega 3: for overall support of the blood and its fatty acid balance
In a more general note, vitamin E and A standout, but be wary if supplementing as their liver benefits will counteract when the dosage is too high. For E it is often advised not to exceed 1.200 IU.  If it is the pure form of vitamin A, do not exceed 5.000 UI a day as your liver will otherwise be severely compromised.  However, If the form of A is as beta carotene then there is no problem at all even in very high dosage.
The above article also mentions;  Chlorella, Spirulina, Ginger, Green tea, Resveratrol and Holy Basil. Naturally I agree, but when it comes to detoxification I think especially Chlorella and Spirulina together with Resveratrol offer a supreme program.

-That is a fantastic list.  Another supplement worth mentioning is Burdock Root, which can heal a damaged liver and protect it from further damage.

therkildsen, This looks like a useful list. However, I see you have listed Alpha Lipoic Acid. I want to point out that ALA is not the most bioactive form of Lipoic Acid. ALA is synthetic; RLA is the biologically active component. Google differentiates between the two, or look here:

( Be carefull not to mix ALA with ALA. Or said differently, to mix “alpha linolenic acids “ (a plant based Omega3 fatty acid) with “Alpha Lipoic Acid” the one I mention above. Despite the somewhat similar name they have completely different properties.)
(To clear up any possible confusion, the ALA in our Astaxanthin is Alpha-Linolenic Acid, not Alpha Lipoic Acid, and completely avoids the use of synthetic preservative chemicals. 100% natural and non-GMO ingredients are used.--Mercola)

@ Islander: You are absolutely right. The stabilized form of ALA (R-Alpha Lipoic Acid) of this magnificent nutrient has indeed superior absorption. I have read your advocating this form under other topics earlier and I concur completely. I have taken the liberty to correct it in my list above. Thanx.
@ kolibakoliba: I wondered to, but Omega 3 are beyond doubt crucial. Thank for you backup in source material.
@ elenajo: Thank you. In all fairness there are many other supplements that have a recorded benefit for the liver. Consider my list as a kind of program that supports on multiple levels and therefore work in synergy. The Burdock Root has proofed interesting effect and is used in some liver-detoxification programs, but to my knowledge this effect is not completely understood other than its antioxidant properties. Another one that could also be mentioned is Dandelion Root that is said to clean the liver of toxins, largely attributed to its antioxidating abilities and does therefore (IMO) not add much to my list. I am sure some will disagree. A third one that I find interesting and I did not know of until recently is the Artichoke Leaf which, apart from tasting good cooked, is also claimed to boost the production of bile in the liver. Perhaps not relevant for this article, but for general Liver support it has value.
The articles mention several  natural agents that can help restore  child's metabolic health. Surprisingly,  authors   failed to mention  n-3 PUFA.
The idea that  n-3 PUFA may prevent and reverse   changes in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease   has been controversial until recently. Indeed, the dietary supplementation of PUFAs in fatty liver has been questioned by findings in a murine model of steatohepatitis, in which n-3 PUFAs failed to prevent the development of steatohepatitis because of accumulation of hepatic lipoperoxides (1). Another study in rats published recently showed similar effect (2). However,   such effect,  may be encountered by combination with other antioxidative strategies, such as treatment with vitamin E.  
Other studies, however,  showed  that lipids called protectins and resolvins derived from n-3 PUFA can actually reduce hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance, in obese people (3).  Importantly, a pilot study showed that  prolonged n-3 PUFA supplementation ameliorates hepatic steatosis in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease(4).  Moreover,  recent randomised placebo controlled trial  showed that  DHA supplementation (250 and 500 mg/day) improves liver steatosis and insulin sensitivity in children with NAFLD (5).

For whom ever this may help.I looked in to ways to help the liver for my brother a former drug addict and alcoholic with end stage cirrhosis and ascites(So severe he had to be drained a number of times) facing a liver transplant if he was lucky enough to get one.What I suggested to him and he has been doing every day for months now is a spinach smoothey with various fruits especially blueberries a salad and I think most important outdoor grown flash frozen wheatgrass juice.He is addicted to sugar and won't give up his candy. Despite this a week or so ago his Dr told him that in all his years of practice he has never told a patient that they needed a liver transplant and then told them they don't but that is what he told my brother!His Dr said he was sure he was going to die.He is shocked.
His ascites has improved remarkably also and he looks and feels so much better.It's worth noting that he also has a great tan so I'm sure his vitame d is up and he also takes a supplement that has milk thistle in it.I had been reading about Anne Wigmore and that is what led me to wheatgrass. I also read a study a man did with chickens. Some were fed wheat grass and others a normal diet. The wheat grass fed chickens produced double the amount of eggs and when examined the most notable result was the difference in the appearance of the liver.

The wheatgrass fed ones were deep burgundy in color and shiny vs the dull and beige color of the non wheatgrass group.  Jesus was said to have people chew it to heal and the results I've seen are nothing short of miraculous!Just a gut feeling I have makes me suspect that the sudden rise in liver problems are more associated with GM foods and all the chemicals additives,sugar substitutes and pharmaceuticals combined than fructose alone. I think the fructose in soda is mostly from GM corn right?
The B vitamins, Choline and Inositol will help remove fats from the liver, and the Amino acid, L-Carnitine will turn the fats into energy.

Laurie2   - Sorry to hear about your brohter´s diagnosis.  As a hepatology specialist, I see  about  5-10 such cases daily and 80% of them improve when they  STOP DRINKING.   In some cases, it is even possible to REVERSE CIRRHOSIS.   Of course,  healthy nutrition  including  low carbo diet and wheatgrass and some  supplements and  hepatoprotective agents  are also important.  In particular,  I would like to emphasize the need of adequate amounts of vitamin K (both K1 and K2),  vitamin D,  thiamin (especially in alcoholic hepatitis),  low carbohydrate diet,  grass-fed raw milk,  medium chain triglycerides (coconut oil),  branched chain amino acids (BCAA), probiotics, milk thistle and Liv-52 (only in compensated cirrhosis). Other usefull tips you can find here:

By the way, regarding  wheatgrass  it is worth mentioning  it is also thought to be superior to other vegetables in its content of Vitamin B12, a vital nutrient. Contrary to popular belief, B12 is not contained within wheat grass or any vegetable, rather it is a byproduct of the microorganisms living on plants.  If plants are washed prior to consumption the water soluble B12 will be removed making most plants unreliable sources of B12.   Importantly,  raw wheat grass is entirely gluten free,  as the grass top is cut off before juicing and so there is no gluten berry in wheatgrass.
As a hepatology specialist, it is my duty to warn  on the dangers of  some herbal preparations.
Although physicians and patients recognize that many conventional drugs cause liver damage, they are less likely to consider the hepatotoxic potential of herbal remedies. Identification of toxicity from herbal preparations is often difficult, because patients generally self-medicate with these products and may withhold this information. Patients may not even consider herbals as medications in the belief that “natural” products are automatically safe.  They  should recognize that any over-the-counter product, whether natural or synthetic, has the potential for harm.
At least 42% of the general population and a similar proportion of liver disease patients use some form of CAM on a regular basis. Herbal preparations are used by 20% of liver disease patients,  the most common herb used being milk thistle or silymarin. Other candidate herbals for liver disease are glycyrrhizin, HM861, TJ-9, and Phyllanthus amarus and Liv-52.. Many of these have been shown to protect against experimental liver injury in vivo, and most possess one or a combination of antioxidant, ntifibrogenic, immune modulatory, or antiviral activities
However, a wide spectrum of liver injury can occur by using herbal preparations. Veno-occlusive disease may be caused by pyrrolizidine alkaloids, such as senecio, heliotropium, crotalaria, and symphytum (Comfrey), compounds are generally ingested as soluble extracts in teas. Chapparal leaf ingestion can lead to the development of either fulminant hepatic failure or cirrhosis.  Germander,  pennyroyal (squawmint oil), kava, margosa oil, and callilepsis laureola have all been identified as causing an acute, sometimes severe hepatitis. Many traditional Chinese herbal preparations have also been described to cause hepatotoxicity and rarely liver failure.
@kolibakoliba: excellent advice on the wheatgrass and a very useful list of herbs, both the protective and the dangerous ones. I want to add that among other things, pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) is an abortifacient and definitely contraindicated for pregnant women.

How Consuming Fructose Can Damage Your Liver

Fructose (HFCS is the worst) is very hard on your liver, in much the same way as drinking alcohol.
  1. Liver burden number one: After eating fructose, 100 percent of the metabolic burden rests on your liver—ONLY your liver can break it down. This is much different than consuming glucose, in which your liver has to break down only 20 percent, and the remaining 80 percent is immediately metabolized and used by the rest of the cells in your body.
  2. Liver burden number two: Fructose is converted into fat that get stored in your liver and other tissues as body fat. Part of what makes fructose so bad for your health is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar. For example, if you eat 120 calories of fructose, 40 calories are stored as fat. But if you eat the same amount of glucose, less than one calorie gets stored as fat. Consuming fructose is essentially consuming fat.
In the United States HFCS has been re-named "Corn Sugar". Americans should watch out for that on food-package labels in future. 

Vital organ transplantation--not truly dead

By Paul A. Byrne, M.D. and Peter Damian Fehlner, F.I., S.T.D.

The August 29, 2000 Address of Blessed John Paul II is often quoted by those in support of obtaining vital organs for transplantation, but other statements by Pope John Paul II and a more recent statement by Pope Benedict XVI are ignored.

Blessed John Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae: "Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly " (Ev. Vitae 52). On Feb 11, 2003, World Day of the Sick, His Holiness stated, "Every therapeutic procedure, all experimentation and every transplant must take into account this fundamental truth. Thus it is never licit to kill one human being in order to save another."

Pope John Paul II's Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences February 3-4, 2005 included, "It is well known that the moment of death for each person consists in the definitive loss of the constitutive unity of body and spirit. Each human being, in fact, is alive precisely insofar as he or she is 'corpore et anima unus' (Gaudium et Spes, 14), and he or she remains so for as long as this substantial unity-in-totality subsists."

Many in support of vital organ transplantation base their position on the August 29, 2000 Address by Pope John Paul II: "This consists in establishing, according to clearly determined parameters commonly held by the international scientific community, the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity (in the cerebrum, cerebellum and brain stem). This is then considered the sign that the individual organism has lost its integrative capacity."

A survey of the leading neurological institutions showed that there is no consensus of the many (more than 30, probably 100, or even more) disparate sets of criteria (Neurology, Jan 2010). Then, in Neurology, July 2010, it was published that "brain death" is not evidence based. Thus, for "brain death" can there be "clearly defined parameters commonly held by the international scientific community"? ["Evidence based is the modern standard that doctors are encouraged to follow; but it doesn't exist for "brain death"!]

Many misconceptions about criteria for determining "brain death" revolve around "irreversibility." Irreversibility cannot be observed by a doctor like a change in function or even destruction of tissue or an organ. Thus, "irreversibility cannot serve as evidence, nor can it rightly be made part of an observable criterion of death." [1]

A presumption of irreversibility of a lack of brain functioning, even if "cerebrum, cerebellum and brain-stem" are included, is insufficient grounds for removing a patient's vital organs or for immediate autopsy, cremation, or burial. Even though cerebellum is included, none of the many sets of criteria include evaluation of the cerebellum.

ABSOLUTE irreversibility of brain functioning, among other characteristics of a cadaver, reflects the fact of death. But such irreversibility can be known by us only if we already know the fact of death. Death is the criterion of absolute irreversibility, not vice-versa. RELATIVE irreversibility, viz., relative to our capacity to reverse the non-functional character of this brain, is not a criterion of death. If we are not sure of absolute irreversibility, then we are not sure that real death, as distinct from a clinical declaration of "brain death," "heart death," "as good as dead," "soon to be dead," etc., has occurred. Without such certainty organ extraction cannot begin without violating the fifth commandment.

The declaration of Pope John Paul II is a conditional one that has not been met because there are no "clearly determined parameters commonly held by the international scientific community."

Pope Benedict XVI on November 7, 2008 specified: "Individual vital organs cannot be extracted except ex cadavere." Pope Benedict XVI made his teaching clear and specific by using Latin, "ex cadavere," which translates as "from a dead body." Pope Benedict continued, "The principal criteria of respect for the life of the donator must always prevail so that the extraction of organs be performed only in the case of his/her true death (cf. Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 476)." Thus, Pope Benedict is very clear, vital organs cannot be taken except from a dead body after his/her true death. A dead body does not have a beating heart, circulation and respiration.

Genuine certainty must exist prior to any declaration of death. A very simple test of the certainty that this key condition concerning "brain death" has been fulfilled is the following: could it be wrong and is it often wrong? If the reply is yes, then the condition required for moral certainty to be genuine certainty in the sense of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, namely that this human body is not a living body, but is a cadaver, has not been realized. Can there be certainty of any kind if one would say a cadaver has a beating heart, circulation, and respiration? A cadaver (dead body) does not and cannot have signs of life like a beating heart, circulation and respiration; a cadaver is suitable for autopsy, embalming, cremation and burial.

Over time it has become clear that "brain death" is not true death. Many do not accept that "brain death" is true death. These include: "Brain Death is Not Death: A Critique of the Concept, Criterion, and Tests of Brain Death" [2] Rix, 1990; McCullagh, 1993; Evans, 1994; Jones, 1995; Watanabe, 1997; Cranford, 1998; Potts et al., 2000; Taylor, 1997; Reuter, 2001; Lock, 2002; Byrne and Weaver, 2004; Zamperetti et al., 2004; de Mattei, 2006; Joffe, 2007; Truog, 2007; Karakatsanis, 2008; and Verheijde et al., 2009. Even the President's Council on Bioethics (2008) in its white paper, has rejected "brain death" as true death.

There are many news accounts of people recovering after a declaration of "brain dead." [3] Zack Dunlap from Oklahoma was declared "brain dead." There was no blood flow to his brain as evidenced by a PET scan. The helicopter was landing to extract Zack's organs. A cousin who is a nurse in the ICU did another test. A response was observed. The transplant was stopped. This and others were recorded for the national and international community. Even one such patient should be enough to wake people up to the fact "brain death" is not true death. And there are many!


[1]  Byrne PA,O'Reilly S, Quay PM:Brain Death — An Opposing Viewpoint. JAMA 242:1985-1990 . 1979.

[2]  Joffe, A. Brain Death is Not Death: A Critique of the Concept, Criterion, and Tests of Brain Death. Reviews in the Neurosciences, 20, 187-198 (2009), and

References that "brain death" is not true death include: Rix, 1990; McCullagh, 1993; Evans, 1994; Jones, 1995; Watanabe, 1997; Cranford, 1998; Potts et al., 2000; Taylor, 1997; Reuter, 2001; Lock, 2002; Byrne and Weaver, 2004; Zamperetti et al., 2004; de Mattei, 2006; Joffe, 2007; Truog, 2007; Karakatsanis, 2008; Verheijde et al., 2009. Even the President's Council on Bioethics (2008), in its white paper, has rejected "brain death" as true death.

© Paul A. Byrne, M.D. and Peter Damian Fehlner, F.I., S.T.D.

NASA Data Disproves Global Warming

U.N. Climate Models Flawed - Grossly Exaggerate Warming Effect
by Steven W. Mosher
We have all heard, ad nauseum, about the so-called “greenhouse effect.” Even little children can tell you how the build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps heat by increasing humidity and thickening the cloud layer.
Except that it doesn't — at least to the degree that the U.N climate models have been programmed to “believe.”
Instead, as soon as the climate begins to warm, the Earth's atmosphere begins releasing much of this energy into space.
How do we know this?
Two University of Alabama scientists, Dr. Roy Spencer and Dr. Danny Braswell, compared eleven years of data from the real world with U.N. climate model predictions — and found the models grossly flawed. The study, rather pointedly called On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth's Radiant Energy Balance, appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, Remote Sensing, in late July. (Remote Sensing. 2011, 3, 1603-1613.)
As Dr. Spencer stated in a press release, “The [NASA Terra] satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show. There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”
This new study supports earlier National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA data showing that humidity and cloud cover did not increase the way that the flawed U.N. computer models predicted.
James M. Taylor, managing editor of the Environment & Climate News, also notes that “The Terra satellite data also support data collected by NASA's ERBS satellite showing far more longwave radiation (and thus, heat) escaped into space between 1985 and 1999 than alarmist computer models had predicted. Together, the NASA ERBS and Terra satellite data show that for 25 years and counting, carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.”
This may sound to some like an abstract question of scientific research. It is not. There are many, including the President's science czar, who would like to make fundamental changes in our way of life — even dictating how many children we can have — in order to combat the threat of “man-made global warming.”
To such anti-people ideologues we may add the profiteers. The United Nations, joined by dozens of nonprofits, has literally raised billions of dollars by frightening both politicians and ordinary people with the specter of the planet overheating. It is safe to say that there are thousands of people who, one way or another, profit from climate alarmism.
In a sane world, the Spencer-Braswell study should sound the death knell for the theory that, by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, we are making the planet unlivable.
Unfortunately, radical environmentalist and population control groups are largely immune to facts. For example, they continue to propagate the myth of overpopulation even as the populations of country after country age and die. Why should the myth of man-made global warming be any different?
Then, too, the Global Warming establishment has built up considerable forward momentum by this point. Movements with millions of adherents and billions of dollars in resources simply do not go quietly into their graves.
Still, while Global Warming alarmists like Al Gore continue to hyperventilate over the supposed danger of increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — and call for increased funding for abortion and fertility reduction programs — the rest of us can breathe easier.
It's becoming abundantly clear that the only thing “man-made” about Global Warming is the hoax itself.
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Steven W. Mosher, M.S. Oceanography, M.A. East Asian Studies, M.A. Anthropology, is the President of the Population Research Institute and has a research interest in historical climate change. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Vegetarianism and Nutrient Deficiencies


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Written by Chris Masterjohn   
I decided to go vegetarian when I was 18 and vegan soon after, believing I would save the animals, the environment and my health. I thought that my low intake of saturated fat would protect me from heart disease and that my low intake of animal protein and high intake of soy isoflavones would protect me from tooth decay and bone loss. Instead, over the next two years my health took a series of blows: my digestion fell apart; fatigue set in; anxiety took hold; and tooth decay overran my entire mouth—a single visit to the dentist yielded a treatment plan that would take the following year to complete. I was a mess, and I didn’t know why.
When I read Weston Price’s Nutrition and Physical Degeneration about three years after first removing animal products from my diet, I finally understood why my health had fallen apart. I had always associated nutrition with fruits and vegetables. Meat was for protein; milk for calcium; but vitamins were something you got from plant products. Yet the groups that Price studied had a very different idea of nutrition. They valued foods like liver, shellfish and deeply colored butter for their life-promoting qualities. Price used cod liver oil, butter oil and organ meats to supply the fat-soluble vitamins to his patients. These were mostly foods I had never eaten, and the foods with only small amounts of important animal-based nutrients—meat, eggs, and milk—were precisely the ones I had banished from my diet.
Not all vegetarians develop overt health problems in such a short length of time from abandoning animal foods and some—especially those who eat eggs, milk, or occasional fish and shellfish—may maintain good health for decades. A strictly vegetarian diet, however, clearly lacks nutritional qualities that an omnivorous diet possesses. If the people most sensitive to deficiencies of these nutrients suffer the types of problems that I did, those who are less sensitive and not suffering obvious problems may nevertheless fail to achieve optimal health without optimal levels of nutrients from animal sources. This article will discuss those nutrients, their functions and their sources, starting at the beginning of the alphabet with vitamin A.

Vitamin A

The roles of vitamin A in vision, growth, immunity, reproduction and the differentiation of cells and tissues are well known.1 Vitamin A also plays a number of lesser known functions: it is a powerful antioxidant in cell membranes,2,3,4 protects against environmental toxins,5 contributes to the regulation of bone growth,6 protects against asthma and allergies,7,8 prevents the formation of kidney stones,9 and protects against fatty liver disease.10
“Fat-soluble A” originally referred to the ability of butter or egg yolks to support weight gain and prevent mortality in laboratory rats. One of the discoverers of vitamin A, Elmer Verner McCollum, initially attributed the ability of cod liver oil to treat both the eye disease xerophthalmia and the bone disease rickets to its content of this vitamin. Eventually, researchers recognized vitamins A and D as two different vitamins because heating cod liver oil destroyed its ability to cure xerophthalmia but not its ability to cure rickets. Although they would determine over time the fact that the vitamin D content of butter depends on the season and the condition of the cows producing it, the observation that both cod liver oil and butter could cure xerophthalmia but only cod liver oil could cure rickets also contributed to the differentiation of vitamins A and D.11 Vitamin A, then, was originally discovered because of the life-promoting properties of three animal fats.
Research conducted soon after, however, showed that the yellow lipid fraction extracted from yellow-orange vegetables possessed the same activity.12 These vegetables contain betacarotene and other carotenoids that humans and animals can convert into retinol, the functional form of vitamin A found in animal products. In 1949, Hume and Krebs induced vitamin A deficiency in three human subjects; they treated one with retinol and treated the other two with a concentrated dose of beta-carotene dissolved in oil. They concluded that 3.8 units of carotene are required to produce one unit of retinol. A similar experiment conducted in 1974 established a conversion factor of two and several others established conversion factors between two and four.13
In 1967, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) released a joint recommendation stipulating that six units of beta-carotene and twelve units of other carotenoids with vitamin A activity should be considered equivalent to one unit of retinol, a recommendation they renewed unchanged in 1988. This led H.P. Oomen, the prominent researcher who first highlighted the problem of vitamin A deficiency in the Third World, to write, “The whole procedure of vitamin distribution would be wholly superfluous if adequate carotene were present in the children’s diet.” Oomen believed that just 30 grams per day of dark green leafy vegetables would be sufficient in and of itself to provide adequate vitamin A to undernourished children.14
Yet in the 1990s, this view began to change. In 1994, Suharno and others observed that pregnant Indonesian women were consuming enough carotenes to yield three times the recommended amount of vitamin A based on the WHO’s conversion factor, yet large numbers of them were suffering from marginal vitamin A deficiency. Subsequent intervention studies aimed at Indonesian school children and breastfeeding women in Vietnam found that the conversion factor for carotenes to vitamin A in vegetables was 26 and 28 respectively, and 12 when the carotenes were consumed in fruit. In 2002, the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) established a conversion factor of 12 for beta-carotene, 24 for other carotenoids with vitamin A activity, and two for beta-carotene dissolved in oil. West and others criticized the selective use of studies employed by the IOM, and suggested that beta-carotene from fruits and vegetables in a mixed diet has a conversion factor closer to 21.14
In 2003, Tang and colleagues showed that even the efficiency of beta-carotene dissolved in oil had been grossly overestimated. The researchers gave a concentrated dose of radio-labeled beta-carotene dissolved in oil to 22 adult volunteers and traced its conversion to vitamin A both in the intestine and after intestinal absorption. The mean total conversion rate for the oil-soluble carotene in this experiment was 9.1, and individual rates varied from 2.4 to 20.2.13
Figure 1 compares the vegetables richest in carotenes to the animal foods richest in vitamin A. Eating liver once a week or taking a half teaspoon of high-vitamin cod liver oil per day provides the RDA of 3,000 IU. To obtain the same amount with plant foods, one would have to consume two cups of carrots, one cup of sweet potatoes, or two cups of cooked kale every day. The presumed conversion rate, however, is just an average—by definition, many people will convert carotenes more efficiently than the average and many will convert them less efficiently than the average. People who convert carotenes poorly may suffer from vitamin A deficiency even if they are careful to eat large amounts of carotene-rich foods every day.
Many traditional diets contained much more vitamin A than our government recommends. In 1953, for example, Greenland Inuit subsisting on traditional foods consumed an average of 30,000 IU per day.15 Since researchers are still discovering new roles for vitamin A and still poorly understand many of those already discovered, it would be prudent to assume that the ten-fold increase over the RDA found in traditional diets may have some benefit—providing it is accompanied by a rich array of other fat-soluble vitamins, especially vitamin D, which protects against its toxicity.16
It would be virtually impossible to obtain this amount of vitamin A from plant foods without either juicing or using supplemental beta-carotene. Even these methods may be insuffi cient, however, since larger doses of carotenes are converted less efficiently than smaller ones.13 Massive doses of beta-carotene, moreover, increase levels of oxidative stress and stimulate the production of enzymes that degrade true vitamin A. By inducing a cellular vitamin A deficiency, large doses of beta-carotene cause cancerous changes in lung tissue even worse than those seen from cigarette smoking. For this reason, high-dose beta-carotene supplementation led to increases in cancer mortality and total mortality in two human trials.17 Although no studies have demonstrated this type of harm from juicing, carrot juice has the potential to raise blood levels of beta-carotene to the extremely high levels found in the aforementioned trials and large amounts of it may theoretically pose a risk.18 By contrast, the amount of beta-carotene found in a diet rich in vegetables protects against oxidative stress and cancer.17
The best plant source of vitamin A is red palm oil. Its oily matrix makes its carotenes more readily converted to vitamin A and its high content of vitamin E and low content of the polyunsaturated linoleic acid further augment the convertibility of its carotenes and also protect against their potentially destructive effects. It is pure speculation, however, to suppose palm oil can be considered functionally equivalent to vitamin A-rich foods such as liver and liver oils. Vegetarians should use red palm oil, but those who are willing to include liver or liver oils in their diet would be better off for doing so.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is best known for its relation to calcium metabolism. By supporting the absorption of calcium from food, it prevents and cures the childhood bone disease rickets and its adult counterpart osteomalacia. It also protects against tetany, convulsions and heart failure in newborns, helps prevent osteoporosis in the elderly, prevents the development of type 1 diabetes, and is believed by some researchers to have additional roles in protecting against cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and various other diseases.19
Vitamin D was originally associated with cod liver oil and exposure to ultraviolet light. It is found in the highest amounts in fish livers, the flesh of fatty fish, and the blood of land animals; and in smaller amounts in butter and lard from animals raised with plenty of exposure to sunshine. Skin contains a precursor to cholesterol called 7-dehydrocholesterol that converts to vitamin D upon exposure to sunlight in the UV-B range, which is available year-round in the tropics but absent during an increasing portion of the year with increasing distance from the equator.19
While humans and animals synthesize vitamin D3, a second form of the vitamin called vitamin D2 is found in some vegetarian foods, especially mushrooms that have been exposed to ultraviolet light. Although the relative safety and efficacy of the two forms is still controversial, vitamin D2 appears to be five to ten times less effective at supporting long-term nutritional status.19
The RDA for vitamin D is 200 IU for infants and adults through the age of 50, 400 IU for adults between the ages of 50 and 70, and 600 IU for adults over the age of 70. Evidence strongly suggests, however, that the true requirement is far higher. Supplements of 2,000 IU per day in infants under the age of one nearly obliterate the life-long risk of type 1 diabetes while supplements of 800 IU or higher are required to reduce the risk of fracture in the elderly. Nebraskans need to supplement with 1,000 IU per day during the coldest six months of the year to achieve blood levels that maximize calcium absorption and with almost 5,000 IU per day during the same period of time to achieve blood levels similar to those achieved in sun-rich living conditions without supplementation. These amounts of vitamin D should only be consumed in the context of a diet rich in vitamin A and vitamin K2 for maximal efficacy and safety.19
Figure 2 shows the distribution of vitamin D in foods. The easiest way to obtain dietary vitamin D is to eat fatty fish or supplement with high-vitamin cod liver oil. Obscure mushroom products can provide large amounts of vitamin D2, but the safety and efficacy of this form is questionable. For most people living outside 35 degrees latitude from the equator, animal foods supply needed vitamin D in the diet.

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K is the king of the fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A and D cooperate to tell cells which proteins to make; vitamin K is responsible for activating these proteins and making them functional by conferring upon them the ability to bind calcium. In addition to its classically understood role in blood clotting, vitamin K is necessary for the deposition and organization of calcium salts in bones and teeth; the protection of blood vessels, kidneys and other soft tissues from abnormal calcification; and the synthesis of important lipids involved in brain metabolism.20
Vitamin K comes in two forms: K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is found in green plants, while vitamin K2 is found in animal fats and fermented foods. Vitamin K1 is preferentially used for the activation of blood clotting factors, while vitamin K2 is preferentially used for all of vitamin K’s other functions. The two K vitamins are therefore not interchangeable. The clearest demonstration of this is the fact that only vitamin K2 is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. In the Rotterdam Study, subjects consumed nearly ten times more K1 than K2; a high intake of K2 reduced the risk of severe arterial calcification by 52 percent and reduced heart disease mortality by 57 percent, while a high intake of K1 had no effect.21
Figure 3 shows vitamin K2 contents of selected foods. Animal products dominate the list—especially goose liver and goose meat, cheeses and egg yolks—but natto, a strong-tasting fermented soy food common in Eastern Japan, actually has the highest amount. Natto contains a specific form of vitamin K2 called menaquinone (MK-7), rather than MK-4, the form found in animal products; the relative efficacy of these two forms is currently unknown. It is therefore possible for a vegetarian diet to be rich in vitamin K2. Most vegetarians do not consume natto, however, and most vitamin K2 consumed by participants in the Rotterdam Study came from meat, eggs and cheese.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is required for the synthesis of new DNA, the degradation of certain amino acids, the production of energy, the formation of red blood cells and the formation of myelin, the sheath that insulates neurons. Its deficiency occurs in four stages, beginning with declining blood levels of the vitamin (stage I), progressing to low cellular concentrations of the vitamin (stage II), an increased blood level of homocysteine and a decreased rate of DNA synthesis (stage III), and finally, pernicious anemia (stage IV). Irreversible nervous system degeneration also occurs in cases of severe deficiency.24
Pernicious anemia is a condition in which red blood cells are immature, oversized and cannot function properly. Because DNA synthesis is compromised, the cells do not divide as they should. The disease was first identified in 1824 and was considered incurably fatal until the 1930s when physicians discovered that it could be treated with liver. Soon after, they found that stomach juice could be used in conjunction with the liver to enhance its effect.25
Conventional nutritional wisdom considers vitamin B12 as the one vitamin found exclusively in animal products. There are some bacteria in the small intestine that synthesize absorbable B12, but their presence is unreliable and they face competition from bacteria that synthesize inactive analogues that compete with B12 for absorption.26 Most supplements supply cyanocobalamin, in which each molecule of B12 is attached to a molecule of cyanide. Since vitamin B12 detoxifies cyanide by binding it and causing its excretion in the urine, this form might have very poor bioavailability in many people. Cyanide can also be detoxified in the liver by the enzyme rhodanese or by the amino acid cysteine,27 so people with a low activity of this enzyme or a low intake of animal protein to supply the cysteine might be especially unable to derive any benefit from cyanocobalamin. Thus, even vegetarians who supplement with standard B12 supplements could be at risk for deficiency. Those needing B12 supplements should take methylcobalamin, dibencozide or hydroxycobalamin, forms that are more easily utilized by the body; additionally, some people with certain genetic defects or heavy metal toxicity may require methylcobalamin specifically.
The role of vitamin B12 in DNA synthesis and red blood cell production is primarily to recycle folate. A high intake of folate, however, can compensate for insufficient folate recycling. Unfortunately, this means that a high-folate diet can forestall the development of anemia, which is easily detectable with a simple blood test, while potentially irreversible nervous system degeneration progresses without warning. Vegetarians who consume large amounts of folate-rich green leafy vegetables could therefore be at risk for a form of vitamin B12 deficiency that is not considered severe until it is too late.24
A recent study using a biochemical blood test for B12 deficiency—a test that is not vulnerable to the confounding effect of a high-folate diet—found that 16 percent of the elderly, 43 percent of lacto-ovo vegetarians and 64 percent of vegans are deficient in B12.28 Since deficiency can take decades to fully develop, the proportions of vegans and vegetarians who develop deficiency over time if they stick with the diet is probably close to 100 percent.
Some vegetarians and vegans maintain that these diets must be raw in order to be truly healthy. But raw foodists are no better off. The only large-scale study of raw foodists to date examined the B12 status of over 200 men and women. Although 58 percent of the subjects consumed some meat and fish and only 21 percent were lacto-ovo-vegetarian and only 21 percent were vegan, a full 97 percent of all foods consumed were plant products. Those eating a mixed diet were thus eating very little animal food. Nevertheless, vegetarians were 3.1 times as likely and vegans were 5.4 times as likely to have deficient blood levels of B12. Twelve percent of the subjects, all of whom were vegans, had stage IV B12 deficiency.29 Even though the average length of time the subjects had followed the raw food diet was only 3.6 years, over half the vegans were developing pernicious anemia; if many of them were eating folate-rich diets, the proportion of vegans developing irreversible nervous system degeneration might have been even higher than the proportion the study suggested were suffering from severe deficiency. Clearly, animal foods must be used if even in small amounts to prevent the worst form of B12 deficiency from destroying a person’s mental and physical health.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 contributes to myriad functions within the body. It is necessary for the production of histamine, which is involved in inflammation in most of the body but is essential to alertness in the brain; the production of dopamine, which is a precursor to adrenaline and noradrenaline in the adrenals, a precursor to melanin in pigmented tissues, and is involved in memory, attention, and problem-solving in the brain; the storage of carbohydrate as glycogen; the production of the elongated versions of essential fatty acids such as arachidonic acid (AA) and docosohexaenoic acid (DHA); the synthesis of cysteine, the precursor to glutathione, which is the master antioxidant of the cell; the synthesis of glycine, which is involved in detoxification in the liver; the synthesis of heme, which carries oxygen throughout the body in hemoglobin and is a component of drug- and steroid-metabolizing, energy-producing, and antioxidant enzymes; the synthesis of carnitine, which helps burn fat for energy; and the synthesis of taurine, which plays important roles in the brain and eye and assists the digestion of fat and assimilation of fat-soluble vitamins in the intestines. The requirement for B6 is directly proportional to the intake of protein and increases with the use of oral contraceptives and under conditions of hyperthyroidism, liver disease, trauma and stress.24
Vitamin B6 occurs in three forms: pyridoxine, pyridoxamine and pyridoxal. Plant foods contain pyridoxine, while animal foods contain a mix of pyridoxal and pyridoxamine. Most reactions within the human body require pyridoxal but some require pyridoxamine. Pyridoxine, by contrast, plays no role in the body whatsoever but can be converted into the other two forms in the liver using vitamin B2.24
The plant form of vitamin B6 has three strikes against it, making it inferior to the form found in animal foods: its conversion to the active form depends on B2 status, and vitamin B2 levels tend to be higher in animal foods; most plant foods simply contain much less B6 than most animal foods; and most plant foods contain much of their B6 bound up with sugars that make it difficult or impossible to absorb. Figure 4 shows some of the foods richest in vitamin B2. Supplementation with baker’s yeast and the use of enriched white flour can boost B2 intake, but the level found in natural plant foods is much lower compared to the levels in many animal foods. Figure 5 compares the plant foods richest in B6 to the animal foods richest in the vitamin. Tuna and liver are the best sources, and, in general, animal foods contain twice as much as plant foods. Figure 6 shows the proportion of pyridoxine bound to sugars in various plant foods, which ranges from zero percent in almonds to 82 percent in cauliflower.
The sugars that bind to pyridoxine can be broken down by microbial enzymes and the mammalian intestine appears to produce a limited quantity of the enzyme as well.30 Studies conducted with humans suggest that the sugar-bound form has at most fifty percent bioavailability and at worst, none at all. One study conducted in men with a purified form of glucose-bound pyridoxine, for example, examined the urinary output of a B6 breakdown product and found that roughly half of the pyridoxine was absorbed. A more realistic study conducted in women using whole plant foods, however, examined not only the urinary output of breakdown products, but also the concentration of the active form in red blood cells and the activity of enzymes dependent on it. This study suggested that the portion of plant-based B6 in the diets bound to sugars had no activity at all.30
Heating destroys vitamin B6. The effect is rather mild, leading to only five percent loss in scrambled eggs, ten percent loss after heating of milk for ten minutes and 45 percent loss after heating milk for one hour.31 The true effect on the biological activity of B6, however, is much greater because heat-damaged B6 can interfere with true B6 and when fed in purified form can actually accelerate the symptoms of deficiency.32 Cooking most animal foods leads to a 25-30 percent decrease in activity while cooking soybeans leads to a 40 percent decrease in activity.33 Many plant foods require more extensive cooking than animal products, which could further decrease the yield of active B6 in vegetarian diets.
One striking comparison between lactating Nepalese vegetarian women and their American omnivore counterparts illustrates the low bioavailability of B6 from plant foods. The Nepalese women in this comparison were consuming twelve percent more B6 but had 35 percent lower serum levels of the active form after three months of lactation and 77 percent lower levels after six months. Their breast milk had the same amount of B6 as that of American women, but a large proportion of it was glucose-bound pyridoxine. Despite the fact that the Nepalese vegetarians were consuming more B6 in the diet and had equivalent levels in their breast milk, their infants had 83 percent lower levels of the active form at four months and 87 percent lower levels at six months.33
Vegetarians should select plant foods that have the least amount of their pyridoxine bound up in sugar complexes. Bananas are an excellent source because the sugar-bound form is low, their total content is comparable to many meats, and they are typically eaten raw. Most plant foods are relatively poor sources, however, and B6 intake would be much higher on a mixed diet including muscle meats, seafood and organ meats.


Zinc is a cofactor for literally hundreds of enzymes. It is an essential structural component of all nuclear hormone receptors as well as some hormones themselves, such as insulin. It acts as an antioxidant in cell membranes by displacing pro-oxidant metals like iron and mercury and is also a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. A small sample of its biological functions include cell and tissue growth, cell replication, bone formation, skin integrity, immunity, digestion, glucose tolerance, maintenance of a high basal metabolic rate and taste acuity.24
Figure 7 shows the distribution of zinc in foods. Although present in grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, it is found in much lower amounts compared to animal foods and is much less bioavailable. Oysters contain between four and twenty times as much zinc as beef, while beef contains two to four times as much as other meats, four times as much as eggs, ten times as much as milk and four or more times as much as virtually all plant products. Moreover, zinc absorption is inhibited by plant compounds such as phytate, oxalate, polyphenols and fiber, and enhanced by compounds present in meat. Its absorption is greater than 50 percent in the absence of inhibitors but less than 15 percent in the context of a high-phytate meal.34 While a well planned vegetarian diet may escape overt zinc deficiency, it would be virtually impossible to maintain a truly robust zinc status without the inclusion of animal foods.

Essential Fatty Acids

The essential fatty acids as a group are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, small amounts of them are required for the synthesis of various biologically important hormones and hormone-like molecules; on the other hand, they are highly unsaturated and their multiple doublebonds are highly vulnerable to oxidation. Even fresh, non-oxidized DHA, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and omega-3-rich perilla oil increase oxidative stress markers when fed to rats.35
Since it is the elongated forms of the essential fatty acids that are especially important—including AA, DHA, EPA, and dihomo-gammalinolenic acid (DGLA)—and since the conversion of precursors in plant oils is inefficient, it makes sense to consume small amounts of these fatty acids preformed from animal foods so we can reduce the total amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) we need to obtain them. Moreover, some people with particularly low levels of the enzymes that make these conversions may be vulnerable to an actual deficiency of the elongated forms even while consuming plenty of pro-oxidant PUFA from plant oils.
Vegetarians have 30 percent lower levels of EPA and DHA than omnivores, while vegans have over 50 percent lower EPA and almost 60 percent lower DHA. By contrast, vegetarians have 10 percent higher levels and vegans have over twenty percent higher levels of linoleic acid, the omega-6 precursor fatty acid.36 If this situation is characteristic of omnivores eating a standard diet high in polyunsaturated oils, we can imagine what the comparison might look like between vegans and vegetarians with a population that avoids PUFA-rich vegetable oils and consumes elongated EFA-rich liver, egg yolks, and small amounts of cod liver oil. The latter diet allows no deficiency of these fatty acids but provides a minimum of total PUFA, and therefore a minimum of oxidative stress and aging-related damage.

Conditionally Essential Amino Acids

There are a number of amino acids and related compounds that are not technically essential, but are useful in the diet, possibly essential under certain conditions, and found exclusively or almost exclusively in animal products. These include carnitine, taurine, creatine and carnosine.37
Carnitine shuttles fatty acids into the mitochondria, the so-called “power house of the cell,” to be burned for energy, and recycles pantothenic acid, an important B vitamin. Omnivorous diets provide between two and twelve times as much carnitine from meat as the body can produce by endogenous synthesis. Moreover, its synthesis requires vitamins C, B12, and B6. Vegetarian diets tend to be rich in vitamin C but poor in these B vitamins, so synthesis could be compromised. A reduced rate of synthesis and little or no intake could lead to an impaired ability to utilize fat for energy and a lower pantothenic acid status.37
Taurine and glycine are both incorporated into bile acids, but those incorporating taurine are absorbable much further down in the intestines and are therefore much more effective at maximizing the absorption of fat and fat-soluble vitamins. Taurine is also involved in preventing drug-induced cardiac arrhythmia, maintaining the electrical activity of the retina and supporting the development of the brain. The developing brain contains three to four times as high a concentration of taurine as the adult brain, so taurine is particularly important for nursing infants. It is found almost exclusively in animal products and its endogenous synthesis requires vitamin B6. The serum concentrations of vegans and infants nursing from them are lower than that of their omnivore counterparts, which may compromise the development of the nervous system.37
Creatine is necessary for the maintenance of the cellular energy supply, especially during bursts of physical activity, and its supplementation is therefore useful for athletic performance. The endogenous synthesis is one to two grams per day while meat provides one gram per serving, so meat-inclusive diets make a substantial contribution to total creatine status. While vegetarians may not be at risk for an actual creatine defi- ciency, the additional creatine from meat could be helpful in boosting physical performance.37
Carnosine functions as a neurotransmitter and is a powerful inhibitor of a process called glycation, whereby sugars and PUFA bind up with proteins and produce advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are believed to contribute to the adverse effects of aging. It is found exclusively in animal products, which may be one reason why vegetarians and vegans have higher levels of AGEs than omnivores.37,38


Most people make enough cholesterol to fulfill their body’s needs; cholesterol is therefore not considered an essential nutrient. There are, however, millions of people with genetic defects in cholesterol synthesis for whom dietary cholesterol is likely an essential nutrient.
Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLOS) is the best-understood cholesterol deficiency syndrome. It results from a genetic defect in the enzyme that converts 7-dehydrocholesterol (a common precursor of vitamin D and cholesterol) to cholesterol. Most commonly, it results in spontaneous abortion within the first sixteen weeks of gestation so it shows up in only one in 60,000 live births. Children who are born with the defect may suffer from mental retardation, autism, facial and skeletal malformations, visual dysfunctions and failure to thrive. The current treatment is dietary cholesterol.39
Because both parents must supply a defective copy of the gene in order for SLOS to manifest, and because most pregnancies that would result in an SLOS birth are spontaneously terminated, the number of people who carry a single copy of the defective gene is far higher than the number of people with the full-blown syndrome. One in a hundred North American Caucasians and as many as one in fifty or even one in thirty Central Europeans carry the defective gene. These people, called “SLOS carriers,” have a decreased rate of cholesterol synthesis, but still synthesize enough to escape the severe risks and abnormalities that characterize clinical SLOS.40
One small study has examined possible mental health effects in 105 SLOS carriers. Carriers were more than three times as likely to have attempted suicide as those who do not carry the gene, and the methods of committing suicide were more violent. Unfortunately, the study was not statistically powerful enough to conclusively determine whether or not these associations were due to chance, but it was powerful enough to show a conclusive relationship between carrying the gene and having biological relatives who attempted suicide. Carriers were more than four times as likely as controls to have at least one biological relative and almost six times as likely to have a first-degree relative who attempted or committed suicide.41
It may be the case, then, that dietary cholesterol is an essential nutrient for one to three percent of the population. There may also be additional genetic defects or variations in cholesterol synthesis that may make dietary cholesterol essential. For these groups, animal foods are absolutely necessary.

The Essentiality of Animal Foods

When Weston Price traveled to the South Sea Islands of the Pacific, he hoped to find “plants or fruits which together, without the use of animal products, were capable of providing all of the requirements of the body for growth and for maintenance of good health and a high state of physical efficiency.” He was disappointed. On the island of Viti Levu, he instead found inland-dwelling groups relying largely on plant products who found it so essential to consume shellfish at least once every few months that they would trade plant foods from the mountains for shellfish with coast-dwelling groups even when these groups were at war with each other. Shellfish are especially dense in animal-based nutrients. One serving of clams per month provides the same amount of vitamin B12 as two servings of salmon per week. One serving of oysters per week likewise provides the same amount of zinc as a quarter pound of beef per day. People who wish to minimize their intake of animal products would do best to consume small amounts of shellfish to obtain these nutrients. For those who do not wish to eat shellfish, the requirement for animal products might be much higher.
Price’s research led him to the following conclusion about vegetarianism: “As yet, I have not found a single group of primitive racial stock which was building and maintaining excellent bodies by living entirely on plant foods. I have found in many parts of the world most devout representatives of modern ethical systems advocating restriction of foods to the vegetable products. In every instance where the groups involved had been long under this teaching, I found evidence of degeneration in the form of abnormal dental arches to an extent very much higher than in the primitive groups who were not under this influence.”
Thus, we can conclude from Dr Price’s studies and a large body of subsequent research that animal foods should be used throughout childhood development, especially those animal foods that are richest in vitamins and minerals, such as liver, shellfish, egg yolks, bone broths, and high-quality dairy products. Depending on their individual constitutions, adults may have varying needs for animal products and those who object to the use of meat should either consume shellfish on a weekly or monthly basis, or high-quality dairy and egg products on a daily basis. Additionally, red palm oil and bananas would respectively be useful sources of carotenoids and vitamin B6.
Many people may last a long time on a diet that does not contain optimal levels of animal products, while others like myself may develop health problems very quickly. Given all the nutrients that are so much more easily obtained from animal products, it should not be surprising that some people adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet may develop deficiencies very quickly. Each person has to pay careful attention to his or her own body and give it the nutrients it needs—and for many people this will mean giving up on the myths of vegetarianism and consuming the animal products we require by nature.


Figure 1. Vitamin A Yield of Plant and Animal Foods

All values are derived from the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Release 17, except cod liver oil, which is derived from the information provided by commercial manufacturers. All values of vitamin A yield are expressed per 100 grams of food, except cod liver oil, which is expressed per teaspoon. Vitamin A yield values follow West et al. (2002) in assuming that the retinol activity equivalent (RAE) figures for vegetables overestimate the true conversion by 75 percent. These values, however, represent an average conversion factor from a mixed diet and therefore do not represent differences in bioavailability between specific foods—the carotenoids in carrots, for example, are five times more bioavailable than those in spinach.
Plant Foods Vitamin A Yield IU per 100g Animal Foods Vitamin A IU per 100g
Sweet Potatoes 1,500 Turkey Giblets 35,800
Carrots 1,145 Beef Liver 25,800
Kale 1,295 High-Vitamin Cod Liver Oil (1 tsp) 5,750
Spinach 997 Commercial Eggs 570
Collard Greens 770 Commercial Butter 330

Figure 2. Vitamin D Content of Selected Foods

These figures are obtained from Reinhold Vieth’s chapter in the second edition of the textbook, Vitamin D, edited by Feldman and others, except cod liver oil, which is taken from information provided by commercial manufacturers, and pork or bovine blood, which is estimated based on blood concentrations expected in a sun-rich environment. All values are assumed to be vitamin D3 unless otherwise specified.
Food (100g unless otherwise specified) Vitamin D (IU) Food (100g unless otherwise specified) Vitamin D (IU)
Dried Woody Ear or Silver Ear Fungus 16,000 (D2) Grunt and Rainbow Trout 600
Anglerfish Liver 4,400 Eel 200 - 560
Summer Pork or Bovine Blood (1 cup) 4,000 Cultured Red Sea Bream 520
High-Vitamin Cod Liver Oil (1 tbsp) 3,450 Mackerel 345 - 440
Indo-Pacific Marlin 1,400 Salmon 360
Chum Salmon 1,300 Canned Sardines 270
Standard Cod Liver Oil (1 tbsp.) 1,200 Chicken Egg 120
Herring 1,100 Common Mushroom 100 (D2)
Cultured Bastard Halibut 720 Pork Liver 50
Fatty Bluefin Tuna 720 Unfortified Summer Milk (1 liter) 40
Duck Egg 720 Beef Liver 30
Dried Shitake Mushroom 640 (D2) Pork 28

Figure 3. Vitamin K2 Content of Selected Foods

Values taken from references 22 and 23. MK-4 is the type of vitamin K2 synthesized by animal bodies from vitamin K1. Whether it has special value apart from other forms of vitamin K2 has yet to be determined.
Food Vitamin K2 (mcg/100g) Percentage MK-4 Food Vitamin K2 (mcg/100g) Percentage MK-4
Natto 1103.4 0% MK-4 Chicken Liver 14.1 100% MK-4
Goose Liver Paste 369.0 100% MK-4 Salami 9.0 100% MK-4
Hard Cheeses 76.3 6% MK-4 Chicken Breast 8.9 100% MK-4
Soft Cheeses 56.5 6.5% MK-4 Chicken Leg 8.5 100% MK-4
Egg Yolk (Netherlands) 32.1 98% MK-4 Ground Beef (Medium Fat) 8.1 100% MK-4
Goose Leg 31.0 100% MK-4 Bacon 5.6 100% MK-4
Curd Cheeses 24.8 1.6% MK-4 Calf Liver 5.0 100% MK-4
Egg Yolk (US) 15.5 100% MK-4 Sauerkraut 4.8 8% MK-4
Butter 15.0 100% MK-4 Salmon 0.5 100% MK-4

Mackerel 0.4 100% MK-4

Figure 4. Vitamin B2 Content of Selected Foods

Vitamin B2 is necessary for the conversion of pyridoxine found in plant foods to pyridoxal, the active form of B6, which is found preformed in animal foods. Data from the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Release 17.
Food Riboflavin (mg/100g) Food Riboflavin (mg/100g)
Baker's Yeast 5.47 Pork Ribs 0.38
Beef Liver 3.42 Veal 0.35
Chicken Liver 1.99 Boiled Mushrooms 0.30
Pork Liver Sausage 1.53 Boiled Beet Greens 0.29
Turkey Giblets 1.50 Boiled Soy Beans 0.28
Chicken Giblets 1.05 Boiled Spinach 0.24
Fried Shrimp 0.55 Skim Milk Yogurt 0.23
Enriched White Flour 0.51 Ricotta Cheese 0.20
Eggs 0.48 Milk 0.18
Roasted Duck 0.47 Salmon 0.17
Clams 0.43 Tomato Paste 0.15

Figure 5. Vitamin B6 Content of Selected Foods

The richest animal foods tend to be about twice as rich as the richest plant foods. Although not shown in the table, the plant foods contain pyridoxine rather than pyridoxal and pyridoxamine, which must be converted to the active forms in the liver, and contain it in varying amounts bound up to sugars, making it unavailable. Data taken from the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Release 17.
Plant Foods B6 mcg/100g Animal Foods B6 mcg/100g
Buckwheat Flour 582 Fresh Tuna (Dry Cooked) 1,038
Roasted Chestnuts 497 Beef Liver (Pan Fried) 1,027
Canned Chickpeas 473 Beef Top Sirloin (Broiled) 631
Hash Browns 472 Pork Chops (Bone In) 513
Banana (Raw) 367 Pacific Cod (Dry Cooked) 462
Whole Wheat Flour 340 Roasted Turkey 460
Sweet Red Peppers 291 Roasted Ham 449
Brussels Sprouts 289 Halibut (Dry-Cooked) 435
Spinach (Boiled) 242 Rainbow Trout (Dry-Cooked) 435
Soy Beans (Boiled) 234 Chicken Breast With Skin 430
Pinto Beans 229 Swordfish (Dry-Cooked) 381
Prune Juice 218 Haddock (Dry Cooked) 346
Carrot Juice (Canned) 217 Pacific Rockfish (Dry Cooked) 270
Tomato Paste 216 Roasted Duck 250

Figure 6. Percentage of Vitamin B6 in Plant Foods that Exists as Pyridoxine Glucoside

Pyridoxine glucoside is the sugar-bound form that has little if any bioavailability in humans. Data taken from reference 33.
Food % Pyridoxine Glucoside Food % Pyridoxine Glucoside
Cauliflower, frozen 63-82 Peanut butter 18
Carrots 51-75 Whole wheat bread 17
Orange juice, fresh 37-69 Bananas 3-16
Soy beans, cooked 57-67 Peas, frozen 15
Broccoli, frozen 65 Apricots, dried 14
Raisins 65 Rice (white), cooked 14
Green beans, canned 28-58 Whole wheat flour 11
Broccoli, raw 35-57 Green beans, raw 10
Orange juice, concentrate 47-53 Corn, frozen 6
Cabbage 46 White bread 6
Navy beans, cooked 42 Fortified wheat flakes cereal 5
Wheat bran 37-36 Cauliflower, raw 5
Spinach 35 Rice bran 4
Tomato juice 32 Filberts, raw 4
Shredded wheat cereal 28-31 Avocados, fresh 3
Dark rye bread 23 Walnuts 1
Peaches, canned 21 Almonds, raw 0

Figure 7. Zinc Content of Selected Foods

The zinc content of animal foods is not only much more bioavailable than that of plant foods, but also much higher. Data taken from reference 24.
Animal Foods Zinc (mg/100g) Plant Foods Zinc (mg/100g)
Oysters 17.0-91.0 Legumes (Cooked) 0.6-1.0
Crabmeat 3.8 - 4.3 Rice and Pasta (Cooked) 0.3-0.6
Shrimp 1.1 Whole Wheat Bread 1.0
Tuna 0.5 - 0.8 White Bread 0.6-0.8
Liver 3.1 - 3.9 Vegetables (All) 0.1-0.7
Chicken 1.0 - 2.0 Fruits (All) <0.1
Ground Beef 3.9 - 4.1
Veal 3.1 - 3.2
Pork 1.6 - 2.1
Eggs 1.1
Milk 0.4
Cheeses 2.8 - 3.2

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This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2008.
About the Author

Chris MasterjohnChris Masterjohn is a frequent contributor to Wise Traditions and the creator and maintainer of Cholesterol-And-Health.Com, a website dedicated to extolling the virtues of cholesterol and cholesterol-rich foods.  He has authored three publications published in peer-reviewed journals: a letter in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology criticizing the conclusions of a study on saturated fat, a letter in the American Heart Journal arguing that safety trials of cholesterol ester transfer protein inhibitors should test the effect of these drugs on vitamin E metabolism, and a full-length hypothesis paper published in Medical Hypotheses about the molecular mechanism of vitamin D toxicity.  Chris holds a Bachelor's degree in History and is currently a doctoral student in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut.
Chris Masterjohn is a frequent contributor to Wise Traditions and the creator and maintainer of Cholesterol-And-Health.Com, a website dedicated to extolling the virtues of cholesterol and cholesterol-rich foods.  He has authored three publications published in peer-reviewed journals: a letter in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology criticizing the conclusions of a study on saturated fat, a letter in the American Heart Journal arguing that safety trials of cholesterol ester transfer protein inhibitors should test the effect of these drugs on vitamin E metabolism, and a full-length hypothesis paper published in Medical Hypotheses about the molecular mechanism of vitamin D toxicity.  Chris holds a Bachelor's degree in History and is currently a doctoral student in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut.  He will be a speaker at Wise Traditions 2010.

Last Updated on Monday, February 07 2011 08:22