Why a heart surgeon ditched statins for good

If you have been following my blog, you know that I’ve stopped eating wheat several years ago, and reading this article about the heart surgeon is one more proof that I did the right thing – as you can see in the article he was eliminating sugar (including alcohol and starchy foods such as bread) and eating more animal fat…



By Haroun Gajraj
9:50PM GMT 23 Mar 2014

As experts clash over proposals that millions more of us take statins to prevent heart disease and stroke, a vascular surgeon explains why he feels better without them:
When I had a routine health check-up eight years ago, my cholesterol was so high that the laboratory thought there had been a mistake. I had 9.3 millimoles of cholesterol in every litre of blood — almost twice the recommended maximum.
It was quite a shock. The GP instantly prescribed statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs that are supposed to prevent heart disease and strokes. For eight years, I faithfully popped my 20mg atorvastatin pills, without side effects. Then, one day last May, I stopped. It wasn’t a snap decision; after looking more closely at the research, I’d concluded that statins were not going to save me from a heart attack and that my cholesterol levels were all but irrelevant.
When I informed my GP of my decision three months later, I wasn’t entirely honest. Rather than say I was sceptical about the drugs, I told my doctor I’d quit the statins because they were causing pain in my arm.
He didn’t bat an eyelid. Evidence from the drug industry published this month – evidence I suspect was heavily reliant on data from the drug industry, as Dr James Le Fanu pointed out on these pages last week – may suggest that side effects are uncommon, but previous studies have found that one in five people on statins suffers adverse side effects, from muscle pain and diarrhoea to memory loss and blurred vision.
The GP simply suggested I try another brand of statin. The sooner the better, he said, given that I’d already been off my prescription for three months. “Hang on,” I said. “Could you give me a blood test first?” When the results came back, he was amazed that my total blood cholesterol was lower than when I’d been on statins. After three months without the pills, it was 5.4mmol/l (5.4 millimoles per litre of blood) compared with 5.7 mmol/l a year earlier.
The only major changes I’d made to my lifestyle since coming off statins were eliminating sugar (including alcohol and starchy foods such as bread) and eating more animal fat. Many experts now believe that sugar is emerging as a true villain in the heart-disease story; while after decades of demonisation, saturated fat has been acquitted of causing heart disease by a recent “meta” analysis of 70 studies by Cambridge University.
Typically, I was eating red meat three or four times a week and enjoying butter, full-fat milk and plenty of eggs. You would have thought that after three months on a diet so high in saturated fat, my cholesterol would have shot back up to pre-statin levels — but no, it came down and has stayed down seven months on. Not only that, but my levels of LDL (so-called bad cholesterol) were also lower than when I’d been on statins, and my ratio of HDL (so-called good cholesterol) to LDL was under four for the first time, an excellent sign, according to medical wisdom.
Not that I cared about any of this.
Yes, it was the statins that originally reduced my cholesterol levels so dramatically. But so what? I believe that high cholesterol has been a scapegoat for too long. Yes, it may, in some circumstances, be an indicator of heart disease but there is no evidence of a causal link. In my view, high total blood cholesterol or high LDL levels no more cause heart attacks than paramedics cause car crashes, even though they are present at the scene.
Just lowering cholesterol with drugs without sorting out the dietary and lifestyle factors that actually cause heart disease is nonsensical. Besides, there are plenty of other, more reliable indicators of heart-disease risk. What further astonished my GP was that on these indicators I was now apparently better off in other ways than when I’d been on statins. My blood pressure was down. For the first time in years, I was slimmer, especially around the belly. My triglycerides — a type of blood fat with a causal link to heart disease — were lower than at any time in the preceding eight years. My fasting blood glucose was at the optimum level, whereas a year earlier it had been too high. My total white blood count — a marker of inflammation — was lower.
My blood test for a marker called glycated haemoglobin (A1c), high levels of which are associated with heart disease and overall mortality, were bang on normal. Finally, my level of c-reactive protein (CRP) — a protein that rises in response to inflammation — was extremely low. So, biochemically, I was in excellent shape, better than when I’d been on the statins. “Have you taken up running?” asked my bemused GP.
No, I’d always run. For years, I’d exercised three times a week, eaten plenty of fish, refrained from smoking and tried to keep my stress levels low. The only thing I’d changed was my intake of sugar and animal fat.
That check-up was seven months ago and now, at 58, I’m not on a single tablet. My GP is happy. I feel better than I have in years and, at the same time, deeply concerned about proposals advising even wider use of statins.
Until 2005, statins were prescribed only to those with at least a 30 per cent or greater risk of having a heart attack within 10 years. This was then reduced to a 20 per cent risk. Now, draft NHS guidelines would have them dished out to those with just a 10 per cent risk — in other words, most men over the age of 50 and most women over the age of 60.
I am a vascular surgeon. Before founding a private clinic in Dorset 11 years ago, specialising in varicose veins, I worked in the NHS for 13 years. Back then, I didn’t question medical guidance on cholesterol, and thought statins were a wonder drug. And so they probably are, for men who have heart disease — not necessarily because they lower cholesterol, but because they may cut other risks such as the inflammation-marker CRP. Exercise, weight loss and omega 3 supplements also lower CRP.
But what about other groups — women, the elderly and people like me who have not been diagnosed with heart disease? The evidence that we will benefit from cholesterol-lowering drugs is ambiguous at best. The 2011 Hunt 2 study, one of the most recent and largest, followed 52,000 men and women in Norway aged 20-74 with no pre-existing heart disease, for 10 years.
The results for women were crystal clear. The lower a woman’s total cholesterol, the greater her risk of dying, either of heart disease or anything else, including cancer. This reflects findings in previous studies.
For men, high cholesterol was associated with heart disease and death from other causes. But so, too, was low cholesterol — below 5mmol/l. Again, this is only an association, not a causal link. A range of between 5mmol/l and 7mmol/l was the optimum level. Guess what? This is already the national average. In addition, numerous studies have linked high cholesterol levels with increased longevity in the elderly.
As for me, I have not been diagnosed with heart disease, and nobody in my family has had a heart attack. However, all four of my paternal uncles and my sister have diabetes. Research from Canada, published last year in the BMJ, has shown that statins raise the risk of diabetes, so that gives me little faith. The controversy over these drugs was reignited last week when Prof Sir Rory Collins from Oxford University warned that doctors’ hesitancy about prescribing them to those at risk could cost lives.
GPs are, by definition, generalists. They don’t have time to read and analyse data from every paper on every medical condition. Even so, in a recent survey by Pulse magazine, six in 10 GPs opposed the draft proposal to lower the risk level at which patients are prescribed statins. And 55 per cent said they would not take statins themselves or recommend them to a relative, based on the proposed new guidelines.
If that doesn’t speak volumes, I don’t know what does.

Newsletter from Shendao Hälsocenter, about Ian Harris 5 day Jin Shin Jyutsu class in Uppsala, Sweden

5 dagars kurs i Jin Shin Jyutsu
“Change FEAR into FUN ”
– Mary Burmeister, “mother” of Jin Shin Jyutsu

Alla är varmt välkommen till nästa Jin Shin Jyutsu 5 dagars kurs på Shen Dao 14-18e maj!

Presenterad av Ian Harris, en erfaren lärare och student hos Mary Burmeister. Ian använder enkel och tydlig engelska, och ska ge tid för översättning när det behövs.

“Jin Shin Jyutsu, Physio-Philosophy lectures and demonstrations offer a way of Being to help MYSELF, help others and to KNOW Cosmic Oneness. In attending lectures one’s insight of innate potential and foundation for expanding one’s awareness and understanding are awakened.”
– Mary Burmeister in the introduction of her Text 1, 1971

Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient Japanese practice that balances your bodies energy by using the fingers and hands to eliminate stress, create emotional equilibrium, relieve pain, and alleviate acute or chronic conditions. Through the application of our hands and a listening attitude, our awareness is awakened to our essence and innate potential.
Taken to America in the mid 1900’s by Mary Burmeister, a student of the great Japanese sage Jiro Murai (born 1886), Jin Shin Jyutsu began to spread first in America and later to Europe and then more widely around the world. So far in Scandanavia, Denmark has had classes and we in Sweden are now offering our second 5 day class.

5-DAY CLASS consists of two parts:
Part 1, the foundation, introduces the dynamic qualities of the 26 Safety Energy Locks, the Trinity Flows, the concepts of Depths within the body, and the Physio-Philosophy of Jin Shin Jyutsu. Interspersed with lecture are ample periods of hands-on application.
Part 2 introduces the 12 organ flows,listening to pulses, the Special Body Flows and how these contribute to harmonising body, mind and spirit.

After attendence of one full seminar (part 1+2), a certificate of completion is issued. Upon completion of a student’s third full seminar, a second certificate is issued, signifying attainment of minimum practitioner-level training.
Investment: New students 5970 SEK Review students 3730 SEK
En anmälnings avgift av 1000 SEK behövs senast 1 April
Anmälan till Claire Boelhouwersclaire_jsj@hotmail.com
Maila eller ring 0733 906 259 med frågor

About what to do with “growing pains” (minerals and vitamins)

I can still experience the same “growing pains” sometimes, even though I am a middle age woman nowadays, but usually I can help myself, getting rid the pain by taking extra magnesium..


Teenagers often come to the doctor’s office with various types of aches or pains.  Sometimes the pains are short-lived, and other times the pain may last for several weeks to several months. “Growing pains” is often the diagnosis given for aches that come and go. Having recently seen a few teenagers with these complaints, it reminded me of how these are not always growing pains but a signal from that body that nutrition needs supported.

The body goes through a tremendous amount of growth throughout childhood that must be supported through the teenage years. So often, girls and boys may suffer from significant pain in many joints such as the knees, feet and hands as well as the muscles, not knowing that the source of their pain is a nutritional deficiency. The rapid skeletal growth seen in puberty requires plenty of magnesium,calcium and other minerals and vitamins such as vitamin D. Teenagers are also hitting an age of establishing independence. This includes what they choose to eat and drink. So much of what is available for kids at school or through fast food is not going to be enough to sustain a healthy body. When the body is not getting the nutrients it needs, it will let us know. The joints will ache due to lack of nutrients to keep the bones strong, the connective tissue limber and lack of essential fatty acids to control inflammation. Soft drinks and coffee can become the beverage of choice for many. This means less water and also less calcium and magnesium as soft drinks will deplete these minerals.

The treatment for growing pains is to feed the bones and muscles what they need to be healthy. Minerals are a very important part of joint and muscle health. This includes calcium, magnesium and zinc. The diet needs healthy sources of protein such as grass-fed beef, beans and eggs to supply these minerals. Dairy products supply calcium, but if dairy products are not tolerated, be sure to include a lot of leafy greens in the diet such as kale.  In order to better absorb and utilize calcium, the body must have optimal amounts of vitamin D. This is a critical point as vitamin D is so easy and cost-effective to obtain, yet low levels of vitamin D can missed. It is known to be a contributing factor to pain and should be checked with ongoing, chronic pain [1]. The body also needs essential fatty acids (EFA) to maintain healthy skin and hair, as well as heart and brain health. Essential fatty acids make a nice win-win for teenagers with pain because they help control inflammation that is affecting the joints or muscles, and EFA’s can also help acne. Essential fatty acids are found in nuts, avocadoes (guacamole), pumpkin, coconut milk or oil as well as fish and flax. Three servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables (at least) will help supply the potassium needed to replace losses through perspiration and is much needed to prevent muscle cramps.

If the child is a healthy eater but still experiencing frequent joint or muscle aches, they are not meeting their body’s needs through diet. Supplements may be needed. The vitamin D level should be checked through a simple blood test called the 25-OH vitamin D or 25 hydroxy vitamin D level. The goal of this result would be about 50-70. Values less than 20 represent severe deficiency, but values even in the 20-30’s are lower than goal. Vitamin D can be increased with simple and cost-effective vitamin D supplements or with regular and increased sun exposure done without burning the skin. Calcium and magnesium can also be supplemented at 400-600mg of calcium and 200-400mg of magnesium. Essential fatty acids can be supplemented in two to three capsules a day with food. Muscle pain and cramps that continue in spite of mineral supplements may require additional help from vitamin E (200-400 IU). In addition, vitamin E and selenium may help with growing pains that occur below the knee.

Treatment for ongoing pain requires a healthy lifestyle. If the pain is not improving, check with a doctor about potential causes of the pain. Is diet an issue? If so, try to explain to the child how eating better will help them feel better. Are they getting enough sleep? The body repairs itself during deep sleep. Regular, consistent sleep in a dark room with the TV or computer off is needed to help the bones and muscles grow. Teenagers in physical sports such as football, basketball or wrestling need to know that sleep is an important and essential part of muscle building. I have also seen some vegetarian patients struggle with fatigue, muscle and joint aches because of the lack of certain nutrients. Typically, it is the ones listed above in addition to B12 and iron. This does not mean that vegetarianism is wrong, but children and teenagers who are vegetarian need to strongly consider at least a multivitamin/mineral supplement to meet the needs of the body they may miss from avoiding certain proteins. Water is another part of the prescription. Replace the super-sized soft drinks with water to keep the muscles loose and the connective tissues hydrated. Most sports drinks contain high-fructose corn syrup or many sugar additives that do not make the grade for optimal health. Water is truly the drink of choice.

Don’t be sidelined by “growing pains.” Talk to your doctor and listen to your body. Growing pains are usually a sign of at least one nutrient need not being met. Explore the diet, replenish the nutritional needs and help the body through those growing pains.

Ancient touch therapy Jin Shin Jyutsu gains popularity in Connecticut

New Haven Register
By Sandi Kahn Shelton
POSTED: 02/23/13, 12:00 AM EST

Nini Munro-Chmura of New Haven knows what it’s like to suffer from debilitating pain all the time. There were years she was bedridden with chronic Lyme disease, hurting so badly that she couldn’t turn her head or lift her arms. She had to rely on an attendant to take complete care of her.

Today, even though Munro-Chmura hasn’t stumbled upon a miracle cure, she walks for an hour each day, works out at the gym, and easily turns her head. She’s back to being independent.

She says she owes a debt of thanks to an ancient form of touch therapy from Japan, Jin Shin Jyutsu (pronounced “jin shin jitsu”), which is said to be natural, gentle and non-invasive and can bring relief — sometimes immediately — to those suffering from pain or disease.

Its proponents describe it as an energy healing technique that uses the same principles as acupressure, except that no pressure is used. It works by using touch to free up places in our bodies where our energy might be blocked, says Sally Jane Algiere, a registered nurse and practitioner in Madison, who treats Munro-Chmura.

Admitting that it’s hard to talk about the body’s need to balance energy without sounding “all woo-woo,” Algiere says the principles of Jin Shin Jyutsu are simple.

“We do pulse readings,” she says. “I know how to listen to the organs in the body to get a sense of where the dams are. Jin Shin Jyutsu is an art, and it’s really about clearing toxins and clearing dams in the body that lead to stagnation or disease or discord or imbalance.”

During a session — which takes about an hour — the patient lies face-up on a padded table, fully clothed except for shoes, and the practitioner places her hands on different points along the body, known as “safety energy locks,” which are similar to acupressure points. These are the places where energy might get blocked as it moves throughout the body.

“When there is stagnation in the pathways, it can lead to pain and disease or imbalance,” said Algiere. “So we’re listening to the pulses, and by stimulating the different points in the circuit in order, we can free up the stagnation. The body does the healing itself. Our hands are conductors of energy, and when we correct the flow, we correct the physical.”

There is no grasping or manipulation.

“The idea is that we have an electrical system, and Jin Shin Jyutsu functions like a jumper cable, creating a connection between two points, and completing the circuit,” said Dr. Steven Jacob, a doctor of Chinese medicine and co-owner of Health Options Center for Wellness in Guilford. “When I put my hands on the body, I feel a pulse, a rhythm. The longer I hold the point, the more they synchronize.”

Algiere, who worked as a nurse at Yale-New Haven Hospital for 17 years, said she believes very strongly in western medicine and wasn’t immediately willing to accept at face value anecdotal evidence of Jin Shin Jyutsu’s effectiveness. After taking an intense class at New York University, she was impressed with the studies and theory of how this practice worked.

“I was blown away,” she said. “This wasn’t something that was weird. It was being taught by really bright, grounded people, and it aligned well with western medicine. I fell in love with it.”

Jin Shin Jyutsu, which predates acupuncture, is not nearly as well-known as other Eastern practices, such as acupuncture, acupressure and Reiki. Brought to this country in the 1950s by a Japanese-American woman named Mary Burmeister, who learned it during her years in Japan, it has not been advertised or widely promoted.

“Mary didn’t see the need to go out and scream about it from the rooftops. She was more concerned with the depth of her studies of the art,” said Algiere. “She felt that the people who needed it would come to it on their own.”

Now it has a national headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz., and is being more widely taught, gaining proponents everywhere.

In recent years, Jin Shin Jyutsu has been incorporated into some hospitals, providing a way of easing pain and the fears of patients undergoing procedures for cancer or for debilitating illnesses. The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center in Lexington, Ky., recently did a study with 159 cancer patients who were given Jin Shin Jyutsu treatments and asked to rate their pain and stress both before and after. Patients reported a two-point diminishment of their pain and a three-point lessening of their stress after their sessions, with benefits lasting for many hours or days.

Perhaps one of the best things about Jin Shin Jyutsu is that it is designed to be a self-help practice, with people encouraged to learn the techniques and manage their own pain and stress.

“We do things that harmonize ourselves all the time,” Algiere said. “When we stroke our heads when we’re tense or clasp our thumbs when we’re worried, we’re using the principles of Jin Shin Jyutsu.”

In fact, she said, one of the best things you can do for yourself every day is simply to hold each finger one by one, wrapping the fingers of your other hand around them for a few minutes each day. Each finger has its own corresponding organ and attitude:

If you’re worried, hold onto your thumb. Fearful? Hold the index finger. And if you’re angry or indecisive, grasp the middle finger. For sadness, hold onto your ring finger, and when you’re feeling insecure or overwhelmed, hold the pinky finger.

Algiere stressed that Jin Shin Jyutsu is not meant to take the place of appropriate medical care, and she often refers people to medical specialists. But, she added, it can be a supplement and can help optimize the quality of life for patients who are facing health challenges, or who simply want to maintain a healthy, harmonious body.

For more information about Jin Shin Jyutsu or to find other local practitioners, go to http://jsjinc.net. To see a youtube video about the practice, go to http://bit.ly/122iTX1. Algiere can be reached at 203-245-6767.

Jin Shin Jyutsu with Lance Lappin

Get rid of worry fast with Jin Shin Jyutsu


and here’s his website:

FlowsForLife Self help hold for fatigue – Jin Shin Jyutsu video

Here’s Astrid Kauffmann’s Jin Shin Jyutsu video, self help hold for fatigue:

and here’s her website:

10 Things Everyone Can Learn From Paleo (Even If You Hate It)

I have been a vegetarian for many years, but a couple of years ago I felt that I needed to start to eat chicken and fish again, so I did – but there’s many good reasons here why to eat like this… the main thing is to try to not eat thing that has an ingredient list 🙂 to cook food “from the start”, not processed, fast food etc… or as little as possible anyway. I stopped eating wheat some years ago, that made a big difference for me, as in lesser inflammations, colds, muscle problems and other things…
So here’s an article from Amy Shah:


I hate meat. I’ve been vegetarian all my life. I remember a few years ago at a Pizza Hut when they mistakenly brought out a “meat lovers” pizza instead of “veggie lovers” pizza. I think I threw up a few times that night.

So, naturally, when I learned out about the Paleo diet and its emphasis on bacon, bone broth and lamb legs, I was turned off. All I could picture was a burly caveman with a club in one hand and a hunk of meat in the other. (No thanks!)

But I also knew that although, I was plant-based, I was not always in the best of health. (Muffins and smoothies, anyone?) So I started to read about Paleo and realized I was learning a ton by just absorbing certain parts of the diet. Seriously, these 10 things changed the way I eat and move forever.

1. Eat like your great (or great-great) grandparent.

While I had a hard time picturing myself as a cavewoman, I thought about my ancestors and the foods that they might have favored. Bottom line: throw away the “modern” convenient packaged foods. Literally, go into your pantry, fridge, office desk, or kitchen and throw away everything that comes in a package. If you’re nervous (like I was) just put it away for two weeks. If you still want it later, you’ll have it there.

2. Cut the sugar.

In the Paleolithic era, refined sugar was non-existent and anything really sweet was difficult to get. This one is the hardest for most people because our taste buds are used to constantly craving sweet. And everyone has a different tolerance level—you may be able wean it entirely or you may use dried fruit or natural sweeteners like Stevia (not exactly Paleo) sparingly.

3. Try ditching dairy for 30 days.

Add it back after 30 days. If you don’t feel as good, keep it out of your diet. Dairy is one area where vegans and Paleo folks say about the same thing: it’s inflammatory (for many).

4. Try going off wheat for 30 days.

Same advice as above. For me, this was life-changing. I do have wheat in bread or pasta at restaurants once in a while and then, when I feel terrible, I realize why I stay off it 90% of the time.

5. Stop counting calories.

For example, a 100-calorie pack of cookies is still … cookies. If you focus on food quality, and not quantity, it makes being healthy a hell of a lot more fun. Plus it works.

6. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.

When I was younger, I thought I could just exercise an extra hour and “burn off” the cookies. To my dismay, it doesn’t work that way. I strongly believe that it’s 80% about your diet and 20% about the exercise. The Paleo lifestyle has a strong emphasis on diet—that’s why people lose weight on it.

7. Don’t fear the fat.

I’m pretty sure that we didn’t have fat-free muffins in ancestral times. So what can you do? Start using more avocado and coconut in your meals. Healthy fat is filling and nutritious! The processed and trans-stuff are the problem.

8. Eat as many vegetables as possible.

So it turns out that in the Paleolithic era, people ate mostly plants. And not surprisingly, plant-based folks agree! Eating greens several times a day is a point where all diets intersect.

9. Enjoy treats in moderation.

Think about it: in the Paleolithic era, when fruit ripened in one tree, they shared the fruit with everyone in the clan. Even just 50 years ago, desserts and other treats were not as commonplace as they are today. The point? Treat a treat like a “treat.” Friends’ birthday’s, farewells, baby showers or horrible days at work don’t ALL have to end with a slice of cake.

10. Move.

No, entry into the 2014 CrossFit games isn’t a prerequisite for following the Paleo diet. Whether it’s yoga, CrossFit, running or weight lifting, moving your body helps digestion, mood, and manages your weight. All day movement with burst of sprints is probably the MOST effective exercise out there but honestly it all works as long as you are doing something.

So, instead of organizing a big brawl pitting vegans against Paleos so we can figure out who “wins,” let’s just learn from each other and pluck some universal tips. That way you can label yourself whatever you want or not label yourself at all.

About the Author:

Amy Shah, M.D. is a displaced New York native who pursued her medical training at Columbia University Medical Center in NY, Beth Israel Deaconness/Harvard Medical School, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Cornell University.

Her goal is to help you combine Eastern, Western, and Internet medicine to achieve a life, and body you love. Join her on her brand new website www.amyshahmd.com

Video: Autoayuda Jin Shin Jyutsu. Las Actitudes

Holding your finger, explanation in spanish:

And here’s the website adress (Alicante, Spain):

Video: Autoayuda Jin Shin Jyutsu para descansar mejor

Jin Shin Jyutsu selfhelp, video in spanish:
A través de este video compartimos unos simples ejercicios para relajarse antes de ir a dormir

And here’s the website adress (Alicante, Spain):

Vilka livsmedel, kosttillskott och hudvårdsprodukter är fria från GMO?

En artikel om GMO av Beatrice Wicklund:

Idag råder en stor debatt angående GMO, d.v.s. genetiskt modifierade organismer, genmodifierade organismer eller genmanipulerade organismer, som de flesta kritiker väljer att kalla det. Men vad innebär egentligen GMO och vad är det för skillnad mellan genmodifiering och traditionell växtförädling?
Finns det några särskilda livsmedel och tillsatser som man bör vara särskilt vaksam mot i det fall man önskar undvika genmodifierade produkter? Hur är det med kosttillskott och hudvårdsprodukter?
Här finner du svaren.

Vad är GMO?
En genetiskt modifierad organism (GMO) är en organism som produceras genom genetisk modifiering (GM). När man pratar om växter kan organismen t.ex. vara majs, soja eller någon annan gröda, varför man istället för att säga GMO-majs eller GMO-soja använder begrepp som GM-majs för genmodifierad majs, GM-soja för genmodifierad soja och GM-grödor för att beskriva genmodifierade grödor. GMO-soja skulle alltså bli genmodifierad organism soja alternativt genetiskt modifierad organism soja, vilket blir lite överflödigt.
En relativt vanlig missuppfattning när det gäller GMO, är att det skulle vara organismer som flyter omkring i grödan, men i detta fall är det alltså själva grödan som är organismen. Organism är den term som i detta fall används för att hänvisa till levande ting. Att man sedan kan överföra en främmande gen till ett stycke växtvävnad med hjälp av en bakterie (mikroorganism) är inte vad man syftar till i detta avseende, även om processen är vanligt förekommande vid genmodifiering.

Genmodifiering respektive traditionell växtförädling
Genmodifierade växter eller djur har skapats genom genteknik, vilket går ut på att man på ett målmedvetet sätt har förändrat arvsmassan så att dessa får de egenskaper som önskas. Denna experimentella teknik för samman DNA från olika arter, skapar instabila kombinationer av växter, djur, bakterie- och virusgener som inte förekommer i naturen eller i traditionell förädling.
När man genmodifierar en växt, införs en främmande gen i växtens egna gener. Det kan till exempel vara en gen från en bakterie som är resistent mot bekämpningsmedel, vilket resulterar i att den genmodifierade växten blir motståndskraftig mot bekämpningsmedel.
Genteknik används också för att ta fram grödor med bättre näringsinnehåll. På så sätt har man fått fram raps med bättre oljesammansättning och ris som innehåller mer A-vitamin. Genteknik kan även användas när man framställer exempelvis vitaminer, aminosyror och enzymer som sedan används i livsmedelsindustrin.

Genmodifiering av växter sker i flera steg:
1. Först isoleras den gen som bär på de önskade genetiska egenskaperna (denna process kallas mappning).
2. Därefter gör flera kopior av den isolerade genen (denna kopieringsprocess kallas PCR, Polymerase Chain Reaction).
3. Sedan överförs de önskade generna till växtens egna gener i ett stycke växtvävnad, vilket antingen kan göras genom att använda en ”genkanon”, en bakterie eller ett material som kallas protoplast (denna överföringsprocess kallas transformation).
4. En ny planta skapas sedan från den genmodifierade växtvävnaden.
5. Därefter kontrolleras att de överförda generna fungerar som avsett och att de överförda generna även finns i växtens avkomma.

Långt innan man började använda genteknik har bönder förbättrat sina grödor genom traditionell växtförädling. Med traditionella metoder kan egenskaper bara överföras mellan samma art eller nära besläktade arter. Vid traditionell växtförädling sker ingen konstlad manipulation av enskilda gener. Traditionell förädling går istället ut på att man korsar exemplar med önskade egenskaper, så att dessa sedan stärks över generationer.

Den stora skillnaden mellan genmodifiering och traditionell växtförädling är alltså att man med gentekniken kan överföra arvsanlag mellan arter som inte alls är släkt med varandra. Ett djur kan få en gen från en växt och en växt kan få gener från en bakterie. Med genmodifiering har man överskridit den naturliga barriär som annars finns mellan olika arter.
Oron över GMO
De främsta anledningarna till varför man genmodifierar grödor är för att göra dem mer tåliga mot bekämpningsmedel och hålla skadeinsekter borta.
Eftersom ogräsmedel inte kan skilja mellan växter som är grödor och växter som är ogräs, kan konventionella jordbrukssystem endast använda “selektiva” ogräsmedel. Sådana herbicider är inte effektiva för att ta bort alla typer av ogräs. Om jordbrukarna använder herbicidresistenta grödor så kan “icke-selektiva” ogräsmedel användas för att ta bort allt ogräs i ett svep, vilket innebär mindre besprutning, mindre arbetsinsats och lägre kostnader.
Man modifierar även grödorna till att producera ett eller flera insektsdödande proteiner, i syfte att göra grödorna mindre utsatta för insektsangrepp.
Detta låter naturligtvis toppen, men det finns även en baksida på myntet.
Bland annat har forskning visat att genmodifieringen leder till att insekterna förlorar sin näringskälla, vilket skadar den biologiska mångfalden i flera led, eftersom insekterna är föda till bland annat fåglar.
Man bör även komma ihåg att drivkraften att överleva är stor hos alla organismer. Förändrar man en organism eller dess miljö kommer det snart att påverka andra organismer som på ett eller annat sätt är beroende av den första. Ett tydligt exempel på sådana förhållanden är den antibiotikaresistens som vi idag kan se som ett resultat av vår utbredda användning av antibiotika, där många av de bakterier som tidigare gick att oskadliggöra med antibiotika numera är motståndskraftiga. Detta innebär att vi måste utveckla nya gifter för att kunna skydda oss mot dessa bakterier.
Att ett liknande scenario kan uppstå för olika skadeinsekter är mycket tänkbart. I det fall skadeinsekterna utvecklar resistens mot de nya genmodifierade grödornas toxin som gör dem extra motståndskraftiga mot dessa insekter, så kan detta resultera i att man måste öka användningen av bekämpningsmedel eller tvingas utveckla ännu skadligare varianter.
I USA har Monsanto lanserat en rad genetiskt modifierade växtsorter som är “Roundup ready”, vilket innebär att de är motståndskraftiga mot det glyfosatbaserade ogräsmedlet Roundup, som även det tillverkas och säljs av Monsanto.
Enligt en rapport från The Organic Center har dessa GM-grödor lett till uppkomst av glyfosatresistent ogräs, vilket därmed resulterat i en kraftigt ökad användning av bekämpningsmedel.
Flera djurstudier har visat att utfodring med GMO-grödor bland annat ge upphov till lever- och njurskador, ökad förekomst av tumörer och ökad dödlighet.
Grisar som blivit utfodrade med genmodifierad majs och soja uppvisade förändringar i bland annat mage och livmoder, med en betydligt högre förekomst av allvarlig maginflammation än de grisar som inte fått genmodifierade grödor.
Hur GM-grödor påverkar oss människor vet man ännu inte, men med tanke på de fysiologiska likheterna mellan grisar och människor, finns all anledning till oro.

En annan berättigad fråga är hur man kan undvika att vanliga grödor befruktas av pollen från genmodifierade grödor, eftersom pollen lätt kan spridas över till de andra odlingsmarkerna.
Sedan Monsanto började lansera sina GM-grödor har de stämt ett stort antal jordbrukare för patentintrång, trots att jordbrukarna inte självmant överfört pollen eller frön från genmodifierade grödor till sina marker.

Monsanto lanserade sina första genetiskt modifierade grödor år 1996. Eftersom man inte vet vad som händer på lång sikt när man introducerar genetiskt modifierade organismer anser många att man därför måste vara väldigt försiktiga och ha ett välfungerande regelverk och stor kontroll kring GMO.
Oavsett vad GMO-förespråkarna säger så är kunskapen om de långsiktiga effekterna av eventuell genspridning från genetiskt modifierade organismer fortfarande mycket begränsad och vi gör rätt i att vara försiktiga.
En studie har kommit fram till att genetiskt modifierade organismer (GMO) kan äventyra vår framtida försörjning och slutsatserna forskarna drar är att det inte finns några vetenskapliga bevis att vi har behov av GMO för att försörja världen, utan att det påståendet snarare är ett uttryck för företagens intressen.

I början av 2000-talet sade Vietnam, Kina, Iran och Thailand nej till import och produktion av GM-ris. Ungern införde Europas striktaste GMO-lagstiftning. Polen förbjöd handel av GM-utsäde och användning av GM-foder. I Indien förstördes GM-risfält. Grekland förbjöd GMO helt, likaså en fjärdedel av alla italienska städer. I Sverige har man ännu inte tagit ställning mot GMO.
Genmodifiering är inte tillåtet i ekologisk produktion inom EU.
USA planerar däremot nya regler för ekologisk odling som bland annat tillåter genmodifiering.
Man får inte ange ”GMO-fri” eller motsvarande när man märker eller marknadsför KRAV-certifierade produkter. Däremot får man ange att produktionen och förädlingen skett utan användning av GMO.

Märkning av genmodifierade produkter inom EU och i USA
Inom EU finns ett regelverk kring GMO och märkning av genmodifierade produkter, men bara om de förekommer i livsmedel.
Alla livsmedel som består av, innehåller eller har framställts av GMO ska märkas, med vissa undantag som redovisas nedan. På ett livsmedel kan det till exempel stå ”framställd av genetiskt modifierad majs”. Detta gäller även om produkten genom olika processer inte längre innehåller DNA från GMO.
Det är tillverkaren själv som ansvarar för att innehåll av GMO i produkten märks på ett korrekt sätt och varje företagare har ansvar för att informera nästa led i handelskedjan om livsmedlet innehåller GMO. Därmed är det bara till att hålla tummarna och hoppas på att man har att göra med ärliga livsmedelsföretagare.
Det finns även en hel del undantag från märkningskraven. Till exempel så behöver enzymer, aminosyror och vitaminer framställda av så kallade genetiskt modifierade mikroorganismer (GMM) inte märkas om materialet inte går att finna i slutprodukten.
Livsmedel som av tekniska skäl tillförts små mängder GMO oavsiktligt behöver heller inte märkas.
Upp till 0,9 % av råvaran får vara GMO, utan att det behöver redovisas på produkten.
Animaliska produkter såsom kött, mjölk och ägg från djur som har utfodrats med genetiskt modifierat foder behöver inte märkas.
I USA behöver inte genetiskt modifierade livsmedel märkas över huvud taget.

Genmodifierade ämnen i livsmedel och kosttillskott
Livsmedel som ofta är genmodifierade är soja, majs, alfalfa, bommullsfrön, canola (raps), sockerbetor, papaya, vissa sorters zucchini och squash. När det står vegetabilisk olja på förpackningen innebär detta oftast sojaolja eller majsolja.
Andra vanliga ingredienser som ofta utvinns från genmodifierade källor är aminosyror, aspartam, askorbinsyra, natriumaskorbat, vitamin C, citronsyra, natriumcitrat, etanol, smaktillsatser (”naturlig” och ”konstgjord”), fruktosglukossirap (HFCS), hydrolyserat vegetabiliskt protein, mjölksyra, maltodextriner, melass, natriumglutamat (MSG), sackaros, texturerat vegetabiliskt protein (TVP), modifierad stärkelse, xantangummi, vitaminer, lecitin, enzymer och jästprodukter.
Vill man undvika genmodifierade produkter gör man bäst i att undvika livsmedel innehållande högriskråvaror som är konventionellt odlade samt de livsmedelstillsatser som utvinns från dessa råvaror. Dessutom bör man vara noga med sin kosttillskottsleverantör.

Kosttillskott och genmodifiering
Att företaget har en policy som innebär att de är emot GMO, är inte samma sak som att de inte använder genmodifierade ingredienser i sina produkter.
Eftersom jag vill rekommendera mina klienter bästa tänkbara tillskott, kontaktade jag de fyra främsta företagen som tillhandahåller högkvalitativa kosttillskott i Sverige och frågade om de använder genmodifierade ämnen i sina produkter. Här kommer deras svar.

Thorne Research:
“Thorne Research, Inc. does not make any products that contain Genetically Modified Organisms (known as GMOs).
It will always be the policy of Thorne Research to be sensitive to public health-related issues raised by our health-care practitioner-customers. One such issue is the presence of GMOs in our environment and especially in our food and food-related products, such as nutritional supplements consumed to promote good health. This requires that we closely analyze and examine the dietary ingredients Thorne Research uses to manufacture our nutritional supplements to be absolutely certain these ingredients are not derived from GMO sources nor that they utilize GMOs in their production.”

”Vi använder bara GMO-fritt i våra produkter. Produkterna analyseras regelbundet.”

Alpha Plus:
”Respektive tillverkare garanterar att ursprungsmaterialet, exempelvis soja och majs, är GMO-fritt. Vi arbetar kontinuerligt med att följa upp detta.
I vissa fall (t.ex. Mighty DTX, Mighty Sport Nitro Ndure, Optimalis Pulver) har vi låtit tillverkaren göra specifika GMO-tester för att säkerställa detta.”

“Helhetshälsa är ett certifierat företag, vilket innebär att vi har analyscertifikat på samtliga produkter. Inget av våra kosttillskott utvinns från genmodifierade råvaror.”

Hudvårdsprodukter och genmanipulering
Inom EU finns det inte något regelverk kring GMO och kroppsvårdsprodukter och många ämnen som används för att tillverka kroppsvårdsprodukter utvinns från genmodifierade råvaror, framförallt majs och soja, men inte alla. Väljer man kroppsvårdsprodukter innehållande 100 % ekologiska ingredienser finns det dock ingen större anledning till oro.

W Lifestyle Organics:
”Eftersom våra produkter är 100 % ekologiska, så använder vi inte tensider, emulgeringsmedel, konserveringsmedel, antioxidationsmedel eller andra ämnen som ofta tillverkas från genmodifierade råvaror i våra produkter
Då vi vill erbjuda hälsosamma hudvårdsprodukter som tar hänsyn till både vår planet och de som ska leva där, har vi valt att avstå från att använda ingredienser som utvinns från genmodifierade råvaror.”

Vill du veta mer om GMO?
Här kan du ladda ner filen GMO Myths and Truths – An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops. GMO_Myths_and_Truths_1.31

Om du önskar citera denna artikel så kom ihåg att uppge källan: Beatrice Wicklund – nutrition and wellness. Vilka livsmedel, kosttillskott och hudvårdsprodukter är fria från GMO? 2014-03-19. http://beatricewicklund.com/portfolio-view/vilka-livsmedel-kosttillskott-och-hudvardsprodukter-ar-fria-fran-gmo/

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