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Newsletter #15: Plant-based Diets, Tinnitus, and more

May 2023

Medical News and Commentary

Ringing in your ears? Maybe it's the artificial sweetener.  Although rare, aspartame was linked to tinnitus(ear ringing) and hearing loss in a man who consumed aspartame-containing foods on a regular basis (i.e., two cans of Diet Coke along with a bowl of aspartame-containing cereal each day). His symptoms generally resolved over two months when he stopped consuming aspartame-containing foods. When he started drinking a can of Diet Coke daily for 4 days in a row mild tinnitus and hearing loss reoccurred for 2 to 3 hours each day. His sister also reported adverse effects (nausea, headaches, and vertigo) when exposed to aspartame (from Crystal Light and Diet Pepsi).



Not all plant-based diets are created equal. In a study that used data from more than 120,000 middle-aged adults followed for over 10 years in the UK Biobank, those who consumed a healthful plant-based diet – with higher amounts of foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts – and lower intakes of animal products, sugary drinks, and refined grains had a 16% lower risk of dying during follow-up, compared with those with the lowest intakes of the healthful plant-based foods.

By contrast, an unhealthy plant-based diet was associated with a 23% higher total mortality risk. The authors state “This study supports the idea that not all plant-based diets are created equally. For health benefits the plant-based sources need to be whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, etc., rather than processed plant-based foods"


Dr Paz comments: French fries and soda are technically plant-based and so are gummy bears, white bread, and ultra-processed breakfast cereals. Eat real food!


Using Zinc to prevent/treat Covid? Be careful with long-term use. While zinc can be beneficial in treating and preventing viral illness, long-term use has the potential for problems. Long-term use of zinc can result in copper deficiency by interfering with its absorption. Symptoms of copper deficiency include immune suppression, anemia, heart problems, difficulties with balance and walking, and mood changes. In the absence of a deficiency, you may want to limit zinc therapy to 10-14 days. While taking it, consider increasing your intake of copper-rich foods, such as liver, oysters, chocolate, mushrooms, cashews and sunflower seeds. 


Feeling anxious? Depressed? Maybe it's your french fries. A research team in Hangzhou, China, found that frequent consumption of fried foods, especially fried potatoes, was linked with a 12% higher risk of anxiety and 7% higher risk of depression than in people who didn’t eat fried foods.

The study evaluated 140,728 people over 11.3 years. After excluding participants diagnosed with depression within the first two years, a total of 8,294 cases of anxiety and 12,735 cases of depression were found in those that consumed fried food. The link was more pronounced among younger people, especially men.



Using a Zero Water filter? You better read this. Much of the world's tap and bottled water is now contaminated with microscopic bits of plastic called microplastics. Human research is ongoing, but in animal studies, microplastics have been found accumulating in the liver, kidney and gut. These have been found to affect blood markers of energy and fat metabolism, oxidative stress, neurotoxicity and brain development in the unborn. Consumer Lab recently reviewed 6 of the major brand water filters. While most do a good job removing things such as chlorine, fluoride and arsenic, Zero Water filters were actually shown to ADD microplastics to the filtered water. They showed a >1000% increase!




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