Ohio Banning Sales of Kratom and CBD

At a time when many pain sufferers are turning to natural supplements to relieve their pain, the state of Ohio is moving to ban two of the most popular ones.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy voted Monday to classify kratom as a Schedule I controlled substance alongside heroin, LSD and other dangerous drugs. The move came two months after the board issued an advisory warning that sales of CBD-infused products are illegal under Ohio’s new medical marijuana program.

The pharmacy board considers kratom – which come from the leaves of a tree that grows in southeast Asia – a “psychoactive plant” that can cause hallucinations, psychosis, seizures and death. State health officials have identified six recent deaths in Ohio in which kratom “was indicated as the primary cause of death.” You can find kratom for sale at a wide range of online retailers based across the country.

A recent report from the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network raised the demonization of kratom to a new level by comparing it to heroin — and falsely claiming it was common for people to inject kratom.

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Ketogenic Diet: Does It Make You Feel Athlete?

A recent study, published in the journal Sports, poses a different question: Can the ketogenic diet make you a better athlete? A team based at the School of Kinesiology at Auburn University asked 12 participants to partake in a 12-week study to measure body composition, metabolic, and performance parameters in CrossFit practitioners.

The researchers wanted to better understand how the ketogenic diet affects resistance training, as a previous study with mice demonstrated that a low-carbohydrate diet reduces muscle mass. The authors addressed this controversy by pointing to their own six-week study with mice, noting that a ketogenic diet does not impair muscle glycogen levels or affect muscle protein synthesis in comparison to an isocaloric Western diet (consuming the same quantity of calories from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates each day).

For this study, seven volunteers in the ketogenic group were asked to return food logs after being given basic keto dietary guidelines. Only four complied, but given blood ketone levels measured in abstaining volunteers, researchers were confident they’d followed the diet for the duration of the study. The control group did not have to keep track of food intake.

Read the full article at Big Think

Debate Over GM Foods Continues

According to Dick, there thousands acres of land being farmed within 25 miles of Fort Morgan. The need for food in Colorado is rising higher as the population grows, but the understanding of what that takes to produce enough food for all, according to Dick, is shockingly low.

“A lot of people don’t realize what it takes to get the food on their plate. They just think it comes from the grocery store,” said Dick.

“The bottom line is that there is no particular reason to believe that currently available GMO crops pose any health risk, or that they are different with regard to their safety and nutrition from their conventional analogues. There is also nothing about the current processes used to generate GMOs that would theoretically pose a unique health risk,” state a report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

According to studies, it takes about one acre to feed a person for a year. The study also states that the average American consumes about 2,000 pounds of food annually. Dick explained that crops are not only used as a direct food product to consumers, but also to feed livestock for meat production and even, in the case of corn, used to produce ethanol gas.

Reports by the USDA, the average corn harvest is about 147 bushels per acre, or about 8,250 lbs. The vast majority of corn, according to the report, is roughly split between ethanol factories and animal feed, with perhaps 10 percent or less used for food directly.

According to Dick, a lot of science beyond GMOs is also implemented when planting and growing crops. Growing crops, he said, can be a complicated and delicate process. Even when crops have been planted under perfect conditions, severe weather can destroy them or prohibit them from harvesting.

Read more at Fort Morgan Times Agriculture

Genetically Modified Organisms Can Help With Food Security

Abu Dhabi: Despite the controversy surrounding it, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) used for food can play a big role in meeting the world’s future food security needs, with scientific studies thus far showing that genetically modified foods pose no harm to humans, said a distinguished researcher in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Held at New York University Abu Dhabi, the talk was given by Nina Fedoroff, a molecular biologist who has served as science adviser under former US secretaries of state, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton. During her talk, Fedoroff acknowledged that a public mistrust towards GMO foods existed, but pointed out that the use of GMOs was growing around the world.

“GM crops were grown by roughly 18 million farmers in 26 countries on 457 million acres [of land in 2016],” she added, highlighting an official study that was carried out by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications.

“More than 90 percent of the farmers growing [GM foods] are resource-poor farmers in developing countries, [and] the overall profits were roughly equally divided between the developed and the developing world. So it’s not a simple case that this only benefits big farmers,” she said, highlighting how farmers were also benefiting.

Continue Reading to Gulf News

Do Household Remedies Really Work?

Do household remedies really work? Whether it’s superstitions, family remedies passed down through the generations, or simply little tricks that you swear on, almost everyone has some unusual methods for fighting off common illnesses.

Indeed, many of us have anecdotes of strange things our parents made us do because they promised it would rid us of our ailments. Others resolutely believe there are items in their kitchen cupboards better at fighting off the common cold than anything you can buy from a pharmacy.

A mouthful of salty water

One of the standout findings was that over half of Britons – 56%, to be exact – have tried gargling salty water to get rid of a sore throat. And of this sizeable group, 68% say it does the trick. But does it work? Well, gargling warm salty water can actually help people with a sore throat; it provides symptomatic relief as well as having preventative benefits by pulling fluids out of the infected tissues in the throat.

Buttering up a burn

Turning to the more bizarre health remedies people rely upon, PharmacyOutlet.co.uk’s research showed that 19% of the UK public have applied butter to the burnt skin to ease the pain. However, this is not advisable – rubbing butter onto a burn could make the injury worse as it will slow the release of heat from the skin.

Read more at The Hippocratic Post

Why We Cannot Gamble On Genetically Modified Foods

It is nevertheless also important to recall the many instances where for-profit scientific breakthroughs have brought humanity dangerous products marketed by those with financial interests in them as silver bullets to our many problems.

Think asbestos, think DDT, think plastics and hundreds of other products. Think also of such disasters as Bhopal, Chernobyl, Fukushima and similar catastrophes whose damaging effects will last for thousands of years.

And nothing can be scarier than handing our food security to the ones whose abiding interest is to maximize their own profits, without any concern for the externalities they generate in pursuit of that narrow self-interest.

In falsely claiming no adverse health effects from GMOs (when they have done everything in their considerable power to prevent long-term studies of such effects), the GMO industry and their well-funded army of lobbyists already show they cannot be trusted. Thus the need to fully apply the precautionary principle to the introduction of their products and to put the onus on them to prove both the benefits and benign health effects of this highly-chemically impregnated ‘foods’.

Food is too critical to the survival of all living things and our environment to transfer to the control of those whose sole interest is narrow profit-maximization. Let us not commit mass suicide.

The News Times

Can A GM Banana Solve Uganda’s Hunger Crisis?

Trials for a GM banana variety, which is resistant to wilt and contains vitamin A, have been ongoing since 2004 in an effort to improve production. The law will mean this crop can be released to the public.

“Now that the law has been passed, we’re able to go for open-field trials [of the technologies] before releasing them to the public,” says Priver Namanya Bwesigye, a plant biotechnologist at the National Agricultural Research Organisation. She adds that GM bananas could be released for public use in 2021.

Other GM trials include developing cassava resistant to brown streak, drought-resistant maize, and bollworm-resistant cotton.

Critics say GM crops will make farmers beholden to big agribusiness by having to buy seeds every season. Farmers in Uganda produce between 80% and 85% of their own seeds (pdf), saving some of their harvest as seed for the next planting season.

Scientists say the GM banana will fight vitamin A deficiency. In Uganda, on average, 30% of people do not get enough of this vitamin, Bwesigye says: the World Health Organization classifies the situation as grave if 15% of the population is deficient.

“[Malnutrition] is rampant in communities feeding a lot on staple [crops],” she says. “We are addressing communities feeding on these bananas every day.” She says the culture in Uganda is still for people to feed on staples and little else, rather than having a more varied diet that includes vegetables.

Read more at The Guardian

Want More Brain Energy? Try this Diet!

What doesn’t kill brain cells might make them stronger. The brain cells of mice who regularly fast may grow more than usual once they get food again, according to research presented at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting in November and first reported by New Scientist.

One particular protein may be behind the growth: brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In humans, BDNF may be involved in learning and memory. Levels of this protein tend to decline as a person gets older, especially if someone is diagnosed with a disease that can affect cognitive functions like Alzheimer’s. However, levels of this protein increase in mice that have been fasting by up to 50 percent.

In theory, Mattson said, BDNF might be stimulating cells to produce more mitochondria. Mitochondria are often described as the powerhouse of the cell—they’re what are responsible for transforming chemicals into an energy form that a cell can use to function. Having more of these mitochondria may allow brain cells to make more connections to other brain cells, too.

However, that’s still speculation. For now, so is the idea that fasting might make your brain work better. What Mattson can say, though, is that it might—“if you’re a mouse or a rat.”

News Week

How Cargill is addressing GMO concerns, and looking to Asia for growth

American agribusiness Cargill has its sights set on moving up the food chain and focusing on the aquaculture and meat segments, with Asia expected to be a key market.

Since the company spent $1.5 billion acquiring Norwegian salmon-feed manufacturer EWOS in 2015, it has realigned its portfolio to focus on its core food production business, Cargill Chairman and CEO David MacLennan told CNBC’s “Managing Asia.”

“(T)he rate of growth of fish consumption in the world greatly exceeds pork consumption in the world. We see that trend and we’re getting on it,” MacLennan said.

MacLennan expressed interest in the prospects Asia offers, adding that Cargill has made recent investments in the region. Among them are a chocolate facility in Indonesia, feed mills in Vietnam and South Korea, and joint ventures in the chicken business in the Philippines and Indonesia, he said.

As for the controversy surrounding genetically-modified food, Cargill is attempting to satisfy both ends of the spectrum by acknowledging the growing group of people against genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

The company reportedly drew the ire of farmers after it was linked to the Non-GMO Project, a non-profit anti-GMO group. Cargill responded by reaching out to farmer groups to discuss how the company could better acknowledge how it remains in favor or GMOs.

“We don’t believe in attacking GMOs as a technology. It’s a valid and legitimate technology … At the same time, there are some consumers that don’t want it,” MacLennan said.

CNBC