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Food and herb safety – Two examples
There has been considerable concern regards the use of herbs and certain foods apparently being found to be dangerous. I will take two examples, Soy and Comfrey.
Soybeans contain thiocyanates and isoflavones said to cause thyroid problems. They also contain hemagglutinins which clot blood. Finally there are phytates. Phytates are said to prevent the absorption of minerals by binding them.
Let’s look at Phytic acid, also called phytate.
This substance is known as Inositol Hexaphosphate (IP6) and has been claimed to bind minerals and prevent their proper absorption. This assumption has been shown to be incorrect. It does bind minerals in order to transport them and release them in the body when needed. It is the truck that transports the goods. Inositol is a B group vitamin, IP6 is inositol with 6 phosphates attached to it. It is a naturally occurring substance in grains, especially corn, and in legumes. Wheat has the highest amount of phytic acid, higher than soy. If soy is dangerous because of phytates, why is nothing said about grains and other legumes?
Benefits of Phytic Acid:-
Action of the parts is not the action of the whole.
Please take note that phytic acid inhibits platelet aggregation and put that together with the hemagglutins mentioned above. We have a substance the causes clotting, and one that inhibits clotting in the same plant. This is typical of all plants. We eat a combination of complex substances every day. Garden Thyme contains no less than 64 biological active constituents. Soy is said to cause thyroid problems because of some substances in it. Lettuce, onion and shallots contain Caffeic acid which is stated the literature to be anti-Thyroid. The active constituents of plants interact in a way that is synergistic, i.e. the combined effect is greater than the sum of the parts. They also complement and moderate each other so that we find they usually are normalizers. How can that happen by the whims of evolutionary chance? I find it a most compelling evidence for intelligent design. Research has been done on active constituents in order to find substances that can be isolated, synthesized, patented and used as drugs, so we have scientific studies showing what the actives do, the problem is that they are considered in isolation.
BENEFITS OF SOY:
Anticancer; Improves & protects kidney function; arresting osteoporosis; stimulates bone formation; reducing cardiovascular disease, reduces menopausal conditions lowers cholesterol; weight loss by increasing thyroid hormone levels in overweight people to burn up fat (normalizing).
Soy contains two ostrogenic substances Diadzein and Genistein, both are cancer preventatives. Both are anti-Oestrogenic. Sound like a contradiction? They are actually oestrogen normalizers, if it’s high, they will reduce them, if low they raise them. By occupying hormone receptor sites they prevent xenoestrogens from filling the sites. Xenoestrogens can have 1000x the effect of intrinsic oestrogen, whereas Diadzein and Genistein have much less effect than intrinsic oestrogen. They are weakly estrogenic. Hormone disruption comes from pesticides (xenoestrogens) used in the growing of the crops, not from soy.
Many plants contain aluminium, and in higher quantities than soy. Soy contains organic aluminium, i.e. it has carbon attached enabling the body to utilise. Latest research indicates that if my even be an essential mineral to the body.
Traditional use of Soy is predominately fermented (tofu, miso, temeh, soy source) which greatly improves the bodies ability to utilise it.
The cause of the problems:
In the late 70’s the Loma Linda University was commissioned to do a study to assess the toxicity of plants. One plant studied was Comfrey. There are two types of comfrey, common medicinal comfrey, Symphytum officinale and, Symphytum x uplandicum often used for composting. It is unclear which type was used in the study, but the composting type is believed to have been used. This plant was found to contain pyrrolizidine alkoids. This isolated constituent was injected into baby rats at very high levels. I would be very difficult, if not impossible for a person to consume the equivalent amount. This has many problems. Not only was the constituent removed from the moderating effects of the other substances in Comfrey, but was not exposed to digestion which alters things dramatically. How do can we compare the body system of a baby rat, or any animal to the human system? The stomach of dog, for instance, has 5 times as much acid as humans and digests rotting meat that would kill us. The result of this study was that pyrrolizidine alkoids cause liver damage and on the strength of that result the use of Comfrey taken orally was banned.
Finally I would like to point out that Cabbage contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids and to be consistent we need to ban cabbage and other vegetables containing this substance. Also Lettuce contains a narcotic. Should we consider banning lettuce?
Why are plants that have been consumed for the benefit of mankind for thousands of years all of a sudden become poisons?
Ian Ridgeway ND