Hidden toxins in your home.
The same goes for other sensitivities. Some people can eat sugar all day and feel fine, while others eat a cookie or even a baked potato and get exhausted. This may be caused by an insulin sensitivity. Certain foods trigger the pancreas to secrete insulin, lowering your blood sugar rapidly and causing fatigue. This response can differ from person to person depending on a genetic predisposition and your past health history. Alcohol abuse and eating a lot of sweets over a long period of time, for example, can result in insulin sensitivity.
Thousands of women have silicone breast implants and some have had devastating illnesses. Scientific studies say there is no link between breast implants and autoimmune diseases. Yet the women who have become sick would disagree vehemently. And some women have died. Science can't explain this phenomenon through its randomized, double-blind studies because if you're one in a hundred who is remarkably sensitive to silicone, it doesn't matter who else can tolerate it. The culprit appears to be a toxic overload.
We are all exposed to toxins in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the foods we eat, and the chemicals we live with--from clothes that have been dry-cleaned to an artist's paints and glazes and the cleaning supplies we use every day. But everyone's sensitivity is unique.
The accumulation of various toxic substances, along with our particular sensitivities, determine whether or not they will make us sick either now or in the future. By reducing your toxic load today, you may be able to avoid illnesses in the future.
Most of us have at least one substance to which we're sensitive. Is yours a food, pollen, perfume, or polyester? Have you grown more sensitive over the years? A sudden sensitivity may be an early warning sign of a possible health problem. Talk with your doctor or health practitioner about this. Perhaps your immune or digestive systems have become weakened.
There are a number of toxins we come in contact with every day. You're probably aware of some of them, but others you might be surprised to learn about. So let's take a look at some common toxins you may be exposed to regularly and what you can do about them.
The Danger in Common Household Products
Household cleaners and synthetic pesticides may be harming your health.
If you suffer from chronic fatigue, extreme lethargy, breast cancer, Parkinson's disease, or symptoms your doctors can't trace back to any particular cause, the culprit may be a lifetime buildup of toxins from everyday products you commonly use. Your liver is a potent detoxifier, but some substances are harder to eliminate than others. Detox formulas found in natural food stores may not be strong enough or specific enough to work. Your best solution is to reduce your exposure to the toxins in everyday products, then find ways to eliminate specific toxins.
Ordinary products you use in your kitchen, your bathroom, your garage, and garden can make you sick. They can attack your nervous system, put you at an increased risk for cancer, and contribute to a variety of health problems in you, your children, grandchildren, and pets. In addition, during their manufacturing they produce toxic wastes that further add to environmental pollution, continuing the cycle of toxic exposure. The pesticides you use on your plants may be increasing your toxic burden.
All Pesticides Are Not Alike
Pesticides include insecticides (which kill insects), herbicides (which destroy unwanted plants), and fungicides (which eliminate molds and fungi). They also upset the balance of nature and destroy the eco-system. In addition, using pesticides results in stronger strains of pests that are more resistant to pesticides. Truly, pesticides harm more than pests.
Synthetic pesticides are more toxic than natural ones, but all can affect your health. The EPA estimates that 280 million pounds of pesticides are used in our homes, offices, schools, lawns, and gardens. Most homes, about 85 percent of them, in fact, contain three to four pesticides including bug foggers, cleaning agents, pest strips, flea collars and pet shampoos, and snail bait.
How Harmful Are They?
If pesticides and cleaning compounds are synthetic, the answer to this question is, possibly very harmful--especially to women. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides may lead to cancer. One classification of pesticides called organochlorines, used commercially in agriculture, act like estrogen and have been linked to breast cancer. These organochlorines get into estrogen receptors and displace healthy estrogens. It's not just your lifetime exposure to estrogen that determines your risk for breast cancer. It's the form of estrogen that counts, as well. But organochlorines don't just affect breast health. A study in The Lancet (December 18/25, 1999) found a correlation between exposure to organochlorines and pancreatic cancer.
Sherry A. Rogers, MD, has written a number of books about chemical sensitivity and environmental illness. In her book, Chemical Sensitivity (Keats Publishing, 1995), she explains that when pesticides break down, they produce substances called "metabolites." These metabolites are even more toxic than the neurotoxins and metabolic interrupters that kill pests. And because pesticides are so unstable, often these metabolites can't even be identified. "Pesticides are one of the main causes or contributors to the emergence of chemical sensitivity," she asserts.
Research oncologist Daniel Clark, MD, who advises hundreds of medical doctors worldwide on cancer protocols, agrees. He told me that many cancers start with exposure to environmental toxins. His mantra to the doctors who consult with him is: "Detoxify, and support the immune system." I would add to Dr. Clark's mantra: Reduce your exposure to all toxins in your home and yard.
A number of studies have shown a link between pesticides and childhood cancers, leukemia, lymphomas, neuroblastomas, and brain cancers. Children are exposed to pesticides by touching no-pest strips, walking on lawns sprayed with fungicides and herbicides, and getting into cupboards containing common household cleaning agents. Their little bodies are even more sensitive to toxic substances than ours.
Peter Montague, writing for the Environmental Research Foundation, says there seems to be a strong link between brain cancers and products used to kill fleas and ticks like pyrethrins (natural) and pyrethroids (synthetic pyrethrins: permethrin, tetramethrin, allethrin, resmethrin, and fenvalerate), and chlorpyrifos (known as Dursban). It's time to reduce your exposure to pesticides. This includes those found in the foods you eat.
12 Foods to Avoid
The majority of pesticides--around 90 percent of them--are in a dozen common foods. Avoid these, unless they're organic, and you'll cut your pesticide intake drastically. They are: apples, butter, celery, cherries, nectarines, peaches, peanuts, pears, potatoes, raspberries, spinach, and strawberries.
It can be difficult to pass up a basket of luscious-looking strawberries or cherries. They look so healthy. But unless they're organic, they're not.
Pesticides and Parkinson's
There appears to be a strong connection between Parkinson's disease and pesticides. A study from Stanford University's School of Medicine looked at nearly 500 people who had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's and their exposure to pesticides in their homes or gardens. This study found those who were exposed to insecticides in their homes were 70 percent more likely to get Parkinson's than those with no exposure. The average amount of time of exposure was only 77 days--less than three months!
Exposure to garden insecticides doubled a person's risk for developing Parkinson's. Herbicide exposure also increased their risk. Exposure over one month resulted in a 40 percent increased risk for Parkinson's, while exposure for five months boosted their risk to 70 percent.
How to Identify Toxic Products
Look for the following words:
* Danger = the most toxic
* Warning = the next most toxic
* Caution = the least toxic--but still dangerous
Store all household cleansers and pesticides (synthetic or natural) where children and pets can't have access to them. Lock them up, if necessary.
Dispose all toxic products safely, through a Toxic Recycling Program in your area. Call your City Hall to find out how and when you can do this. Do not bury them in your yard or put them in the trash where they can eventually pollute the water system.
Stop buying products that say Danger or Warning on their labels. Replace them with safer products found in natural food stores and some supermarkets, hardware stores, and garden centers that don't carry these warnings.
Become more aware. Read any book by Debra Lynn Dadd, such as Home, Safe Home (Putnam, 1997), for information about effective and safe alternatives to toxic household and garden products. For cleaning almost anything, I like the line of products made by Bi-O-Kleen (call them at 800-477-0188 for information on where they're sold). In addition to being non-toxic, they contain grapefruit seed extract that kills bacteria like E. coli. And they have no chemical smell of chlorine, ammonia, or artificial fragrances.
Buy and eat organic foods. Consumer's Union looked at the USDA's Pesticide Data program and found that the produce highest in pesticides included winter squash, peaches, apples, pears, grapes, green beans, spinach, and strawberries. A friend of mine who sold organic produce throughout the world told me to never eat artichokes unless they were organic due to their high pesticide content. Different people and different agencies list different foods as being high in pesticides.
The USDA says that the foods with low pesticide residues included bananas, broccoli, frozen peas, and corn. Your safest path to take is to eat organic produce whenever possible.
Use organic gardening methods to improve your soil and grow healthier organic plants. Read Dr. Sherry Rogers' book Wellness Against All Odds (Prestige Publishing, 1994) for information on how you can effectively detoxify the harmful chemicals found in pesticides from your body.
What About the New Fruit and Vegetable Washes?
Do the fruit and vegetable washes that claim to remove pesticides from food work? To some degree. But they can't remove systemic poisons, only those applied externally. So organic foods are always best, but these washes may help you lower your exposure to toxins.
A representative from Proctor & Gamble, the company behind a fruit and vegetable wash called Fit, sent me an independent lab analysis that shows it removes from 21-72 percent of pesticides that are not soluble in water. Twenty-one percent is not a lot, and Fit contains some synthetic chemicals. Try Environne Fruit & Vegetable Wash (800-282-WASH). It removes pesticides, waxes, dirt, and oil. Or wash your produce in Clorox. That's right--Clorox bleach.
I wrote about the Clorox bath in my first book, The Nutrition Detective (1985, now out of print), and my friend, Ann Louise Gittleman included this formula in her book on parasites, Guess What Came to Dinner? (Avery, 2001). An added benefit is that it keeps fruits and vegetables fresher longer.
Take half a teaspoon of Clorox (not any other brand of bleach) and add it to one gallon of water. Place your food in the Clorox bath for the following times. Then rinse in plain water or 10 minutes.
* leafy veggies--15 minutes
* root or thick-skinned veggies--30 minutes
* berries, peaches, plums - 15 minutes
* thick skinned fruits - 30 minutes
Detoxify Your Liver
Your liver has more than 300 tasks it performs throughout every day. One of its jobs is to store toxins your body doesn't know how to eliminate. I suggest you detoxify your liver at least once a year. When you reduce your liver's chemical burden, your whole body will function better.
If you eat foods containing pesticides you might think they are just traveling through your intestines and being eliminated. But your body can only get rid of toxins when the usual channels--liquid waste, solid waste, breath, and skin--are working optimally. Otherwise, your liver, fat cells, and kidneys end up storing them.
In the past, people thought that fasting was the only way to detoxify. That isn't true. There are many ways to help your body release trapped substances that tend to break down your health. Spring is when nature rejuvenates itself, and it's also the best time of year to rejuvenate your liver (the Chinese call spring Liver Time).
Give your liver a yearly tune-up by detoxifying it each spring. You may already be doing some aspects of detoxification. Consider doing more. Here are some tips.
Liquid Waste: Water helps move unwanted substances out of your body through your kidneys. How much water is enough? Try drinking half a glass per hour, not two or three glasses at a time. Small amounts of water sipped throughout the day whenever your mouth is a little dry (pay attention, your body will tell you when it wants more) will help you eliminate some unnecessary substances.
Good, pure water is better than any other liquid for this purpose. Many women don't drink more water because frequent urination is bothersome. But every time you go to the bathroom, you get rid of toxic substances and help your kidneys regulate your fluid levels. That's why drinking more water often reduces edema.
There are numerous water purifiers on the market and I've checked out many of them. The one I use filters out pesticides and chlorine, among many other contaminants. It is the RS7000 model made by Rainshow'r. You can get more information about this effective and reasonably-priced water purifier by calling (800-791-3395). They also have a showerhead and bath ball that remove chlorine from your bathing water. My hair has never looked so good since using the Rainshow'r shower head. And I'm no longer absorbing chlorine through my skin when I shower.
Solid Waste: A diet high in fiber helps you eliminate unfriendly bacteria, gasses, and toxic materials formed in your intestines. The fiber found in beans, fresh fruits, and vegetables helps move this unwanted debris out of your body. A high fiber diet is essential in any detox program. Eat fresh vegetables, raw or cooked, at least twice a day.
Breathing: Deep breathing helps removes toxins through your lungs. You don't need to run or exercise vigorously to breathe deeply. You can simply sit in a chair in an upright position and fill your lungs from the bottom, to the middle, to the top. After you do, hold your breath for a few seconds and slowly exhale. Begin by breathing deeply like this for a few minutes. Increase gradually to 15-30 minutes. Combine these cleansing breaths with walking, other exercises, or do them alone.
Skin and Lymphatic System: Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and your lymphatic system lies just underneath its surface. One sign that a cleansing program is appropriate is having your skin break out for no apparent reason.
Massage (whole body or feet only) and activities that produce sweating (such as exercise, steam rooms, and hot baths) are all ways to encourage your body to move out toxins from your skin and lymphatics. For best results, follow any sweat-producing activity with a shower. This removes toxins on your skin's surface and prevents them from being reabsorbed.
Give yourself a quick dry massage with a clean loofa sponge or natural bristle brush. This stimulates circulation and eliminates dead skin from the surface of this huge organ. Vigorously towel dry all over (especially fatty areas) after bathing or showering. This has a similar effect.
A Cleansing Diet: The first part of a cleansing diet is to eliminate toxic substances whenever and wherever possible. Avoid chemicals and preservatives in your foods and cleaning products. Stop taking any unnecessary drugs (talk with your doctor before stopping any prescribed medications). Work with your doctor to reduce the number of medications you're taking. You may be able to take less of them if you do more (better diet, more exercise, etc.).
Next, eliminate any foods to which you are allergic or sensitive. In many people, the first foods to eliminate would be wheat and dairy.
Stop eating foods that are deep-fried at least temporarily. Reduce or eliminate all refined foods--white sugar and white flour. Eat more vegetables and fruits. Hearty vegetables like winter squashes and potatoes, and small quantities of whole grains and beans, can help fill you up.
Drink plenty of fluids in the form of pure water, diluted juices (1/2 juice and 1/2 water), soups, and herb teas.
For more detailed information on general, as well as specialized and specific detoxification and cleansing programs, read The Detox Diet, Updated by Elson Haas, MD (Celestial Arts Publishing, 2004).
Putting It All Together
Begin with three or more suggestions listed below that you are not currently doing. Follow them for the next 30 days:
* Every day, whenever possible, drink around four ounces of water an hour. (This should be a lifetime habit.)
* Increase dietary roughage, aiming for daily regularity. (This too, should be a lifetime habit.)
* Set aside five to 15 minutes daily for cleansing breaths. (For the next 30 days, then as desired.)
* Get a full-body or foot massage monthly, give yourself a loofa or dry brush massage weekly, and train yourself to towel dry vigorously after every bath and shower. (Can be continued indefinitely.)
* Make yourself sweat every third day using the method of your choice: exercise, hot bath, etc. (For the next 30 days, then as desired.)
* Follow a cleansing diet. (For 30 days, then as desired.)
As you take time to take better care of your body, you become more in tune with it and its needs. During the course of this 30-day program, headaches and other complaints may disappear, only to return. That can be a message to resume what you were doing. Experiment a little and you may discover that one or more changes can chase away a problem forever.
Even the simple urge to "spring clean" your house can be your body's way of telling you it actually wants cleaning. And an intensive cleaning of your house does, of course, include some of the same elements of a detox plan especially if you get rid of products with toxic chemicals Cleaning can also work up a sweat, make you thirsty so you drink more water, and hours of scrubbing (no toxic cleaners, please) can produce deep cleansing breathing. Best of all, you don't have to wait for spring to start making changes. You can do them anytime. Just use spring as a time to evaluate and modify aspects of the detox program to fit your needs. You'll be glad you did.
Heavy Metal Detoxification
A lifetime exposure to heavy metals may be putting you at risk for cancer or other illnesses. You can get a urine test to measure how much of these known carcinogens (which include cadmium, lead, arsenic, and mercury) you have. Cadmium is found in cigarette smoke, instant coffee, some soft drinks, and fungicides. Mercury can leak from dental fillings, and you can get it from some paints and eating large fish. Your doctor can order a test to evaluate these four toxic heavy metals and 10 other potentially toxic substances including aluminum, nickel, and strontium. It also evaluates essential minerals and nutrients.
The test, called ToxMet is available from MetaMetrix Medical Laboratory in Norcross, Georgia (800-221-4640). If you have high amounts of heavy metals, your physician can work with the doctors at MetaMetrix to develop a protocol to remove them.
Removing mercury and pesticides
As you know, our waters are polluted. Increasing numbers of fish have been found to contain pesticides and mercury. These toxins get stored in your fat cells where they're difficult to eliminate. Eventually, they can lead to serious health problems. The toxins in fish are even more dangerous for women than for men, since as we age, we tend to gain weight. It's no longer easy to find fish that are free from contaminants. But you can rid your body of some of these stored contaminants.
Detoxification supplement formulas in health food stores don't usually remove mercury or pesticides effectively. These are stubborn toxins that are hard to eliminate. Chelating chemicals like DMPS and EDTA are harsh and can have side effects. They should be used only under the direction of an experienced doctor. Here are some safe detoxification products and programs.
MCP removes mercury: Modified citrus pectin (MCP) is a nutritional supplement made from the pectin in oranges. I'm impressed with modified citrus pectin's ability to bind to heavy metals and remove them from the body. But not all MCP works. One Russian study compared the ability of various forms of MCP to remove heavy metals. Some had larger molecules; some had smaller ones. PectaSol, the supplement used in all the research studies, has smaller molecules and worked best.
You may be interested in a pilot trial currently under way in a Northern California clinic. The researcher, Dr Elias, is using 15 grams of PectaSol a day in divided doses to significantly increase the excretion of mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium in a group of people who were not exposed to high levels of heavy metals. In one case, a patient known to have high levels of toxic metals, including mercury, lead, and arsenic, had a dramatic reduction in nine months.
For more information on PectaSol, or to find out if you qualify for inclusion in future studies, contact EcoNugenics at 800-308-5518 or http://www.dreliaz.com.
Pectin products vary in price and effectiveness. Stick to the one proven to be effective. Take three to five grams of MCP a day for three to 12 months. This is the dosage that removed lead in people with an occupational exposure to mercury. You can read more about MCP in my booklet on the subject. You can order this booklet by calling 800-610-2107.
Iodine removes mercury: When Dr. Guy Abraham began investigating iodine insufficiency in women, he thought he would find a connection between low iodine and both breast cancer and hypothyroidism. He did. Every woman he tested was low in iodine. But he also found that his iodine supplement, Iodoral, eliminated heavy metals in many women.
Dr. Abraham developed the only test that measures iodine sufficiency. This test is available without a doctor's prescription through FFP Lab (887-900-5556) for just $75 including shipping. To get the iodine supplement Dr. Abraham developed for his research (Iodoral), you need this iodine-loading test first. It determines your need for iodine. If you want your mercury level checked as well, tell them. This is an additional test at an additional cost. If your mercury is high and your iodine low, you can order Iodoral from Dr. Flechas at the lab who will monitor your condition.
Nutritional detox programs to remove either mercury or pesticides are available to your doctor through ProThera (888-488-2488) or Tyler Encapsulations, a division of Integrative Therapeutics (800-869-9705). The folks at either company will help your doctor design a safe and effective program for you. If you have no doctor to do this, ask either company for recommendations of experienced doctors in your area.
Dr. Sherry Rogers, MD is a doctor of environmental medicine with a wealth of information on detoxification. She has detailed information on mercury and heavy metal detoxification in her excellent book, Detoxify or Die.
Detoxification and Cancer
Every illness has a cause. Cancer often begins with exposure to a variety of toxic substances that encourage tumor production. Your risk for this and other diseases accelerates when your body can't remove enough toxins. Many of these carcinogenic (cancer-causing) or mutagenic (causing cell mutation) agents start in our diet and environment.
Devra Lee Davis, a professor at the Carnegie Mellon University, found Canadian and Danish studies that showed high levels of carcinogenic toxins in women appearing years before their cancer was diagnosed. These toxins, found in cured meat, red meat, plastic wrap, synthetic pesticides, cigarette smoke, and car exhausts are the same cancer-inducing agents that are removed by the body naturally through a detoxification process called glucaronidation. You may not be able to escape exposure to these toxins, but you can do something to increase the rate at which they're removed.
Calcium d-glucarate is a natural substance found in fruits and vegetables that actually helps your liver remove carcinogenic chemicals by increasing glucaronidation. Caffeine, cigarettes, and marijuana contain toxins and increase the excretion of glucarate. This means they slow down glucaronidation. The more coffee or colas you drink and the more cigarettes you smoke, the more toxins you accumulate and the more glucarate you lose. Exposure to dietary and environmental toxins, and a family history of cancer, are two reasons to increase your intake of fruits and cruciferous vegetables (foods high in glucarate), and to consider adding calcium d-glucarate to your supplement regime.
What Is Calcium D-Glucarate?
Glucarate, d-glucarate or DGA (for its active ingredient, d-glucaric acid) is a natural substance found in many fruits and vegetables. High levels of glucarate are found in apples, grapefruit, bean sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Glucarate binds itself to some harmful environmental pollutants and other toxins in foods, beverages, and cigarette smoke, and attaches itself to excessive estrogen, removing these unwanted materials. Chemically, calcium d-glucarate is glucarate attached to calcium. The calcium is a carrier that allows glucarate to be present much longer. Instead of having glucarate remain in your body for one hour, by binding it to calcium, calcium d-glucarate stays in your body for five hours!
According to Dr. Slaga, 200-2,000 mg of glucarate gives a protective effect. But remember that calcium d-glucarate supports glucoronidation for about five hours. So eat a healthy diet and consider taking calcium d-glucarate supplements two or three times a day.
Shocking Link Between Microwave Popcorn and Lung Disease
Artificial butter flavoring appears to be causing a rare lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans in workers in a popcorn plant in Missouri who have been inhaling its fumes. Health officials believe the chemical used in the artificial flavoring is responsible for this lung ailment. Because the exposure to these fumes is much greater than you can ever have when you make microwave popcorn with artificial stuff in it, health officials are saying it's safe to eat. At the same time, laboratory animals that ate large quantities of artificial butter flavoring died of lung cancer.
This is an easy problem to solve. Buy a product like Pop's Corn (Newman's Own Organics), which uses only natural butter flavor. And when you go to the movies, pass on the artificial butter. It leaves a thin unpleasant film on the roof of your mouth, anyway. If you're going for taste or health benefits, a little bit of real butter is better for you than any artificial product.
Get Rid of Household Insects Without Pesticides
Insects can be pests, but that doesn't mean you should reach for a pesticide. Most are toxic to you as well as the insects. To make an insect repellant you can apply to your skin, add a few drops of rose geranium essential oil to a few drops of peppermint or lemongrass oils. Add to a little almond or olive oil and apply topically.
To get rid of insects in your home, make a mixture of a few drops of oil of eucalyptus, a teaspoon of liquid soap and water in a spray bottle. Shake gently and spray on the bugs. Or paint a line of oil of pennyroyal across an ant track. You can find essential oils in health food stores.
Drink Enough Good Water
Your body contains 10 to 12 gallons of water. Every cell needs water to help remove toxins and transport nutrients. Toxins suppress your immune system; nutrients support it. If you're tired, fighting a cold, or just want a stronger immune system, drink more water.
Drink good, clean purified water. I use a water purifier from Rainshow'r (which you can order by calling 800-243-8775) that removes pesticides, chlorine, and harmful bacteria. Some purifiers only remove chlorine. If you're not sure of the quality of a purifier, buy bottled water. Trinity Springs brand is the best quality bottled water I have found. It is contaminant-free.
Q: My business just moved into a new building, and I'm sensitive to all of the chemicals used in its construction and furnishings. I get a sore throat and headache every day. Is there anything I can do other than change my job?
--MN, Sarasota, FL
A: An article in New Science magazine (July 22, 2000) talks about an easy method of removing formaldehyde, a chemical that is found in new buildings and in the off-gassing of pressed board furniture. Simply buy a big box of tea bags (either green tea or black tea will do) and liberally scatter them around your office. The tannin in the dried tea actually soaks up the formaldehyde. This study found that the formaldehyde in the air was reduced by 60-90 percent.
If you can reduce one chemical like formaldehyde, you may find your symptoms are reduced or eliminated. If not, keep windows open when you can to air out the rooms. Unfortunately, many new buildings only have a central air conditioning system that has replaced windows that open and shut. These systems recirculate air laden with formaldehyde and other chemicals. Should this be the case for you, it may be necessary to be in a different and safer setting.
If you can't find calcium d-glucarate in your health food or drugstore, it's available through Advanced Physicians Products (800-220-7687) and Natrol, Inc. (800-326-1520). Call for stores near you that carry their products. Or you can order it directly from ProThera (888-488-2488).
D-Glucaric Acid in: Whole apple 311 mg 1/2 pink grapefruit 443 mg 1 cup broccoli 530 mg 1 cup Brussels sprouts 419 mg From D-Glucarate: A Nutrient Against Cancer, Slaga, 1999.
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|Publication:||Women's Health Letter|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2010|
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