Monday, 24 June 2019

Vitamin C protects against water pollution

The Importance Of Vitamin C



Story at-a-glance

  • Despite a massive lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric in 1996, spearheaded by Erin Brockovich, the known carcinogen, hexavalent chromium, pollutes water supplies across the U.S.; research shows vitamin C and epigallocatechin gallate found in green tea, protect cells against the cytotoxic effects
  • In 2010 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found hexavalent chromium affected 74 million U.S. citizens; by 2016 the number jumped to 200 million, and researchers from Olivet Nazarene reported 250 million in 2019
  • Even in small amounts, hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6, may trigger skin burns, pneumonia and complications during childbirth; the EWG maintains a database and interactive map of water testing for chromium-6 where you may search for your home county
  • Vitamin C is also effective against air pollution, reducing the symptoms of asthma, and epigallocatechin gallate may help prevent obesity, improve exercise performance and lower your risk of heart attack and stroke
In 1996, the little town of Hinkley, California, won a massive arbitration against Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). You might recall the story as the basis for the movie “Erin Brockovich,” in which a single mother and small-town attorney went up against a utility company that had been dumping hexavalent chromium into an unlined pond.1
At the time of the settlement, the case was the largest payout ever awarded for a direct-action lawsuit and environmental advocates were excited about the possibilities. Unfortunately, Hinkley has become a ghost town and hexavalent chromium has continued to contaminate water supplies across the U.S.
Back in Hinckley, a resident found levels of hexavalent chromium had recently increased in her water supply. Upon investigation, she discovered the plume had grown over the last 15 years, stretching miles from the original contamination site. In 2014, a feasibility study from PG&E found eliminating the chromium from the hardest hit areas may take up to 50 years.2
In the meantime, town properties have been classified as uninsurable wasteland. Hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6, is a carcinogen.3,4 While Hinkley struggles with contamination of their water supply, researchers have found varying levels of chromium-6 in the water sources of more than 250 million Americans.5
Although there are current water regulations for total chromium level exposure, despite a well-publicized lawsuit and full knowledge of the devastation caused by chromium-6, there are not yet permissible exposure limits for this carcinogen.6
In a study undertaken by researchers at Olivet Nazarene University, data demonstrated antioxidants, such as vitamin C, may help reduce the effects of hexavalent chromium commonly found in drinking water.7,8

Vitamin C and tea may mitigate water pollution

The research paper was presented at the Experimental Biology 2019 conference9 held in Orlando, Florida. The thesis paper was supervised by Ryan Himes, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Life and Health Sciences at Olivet University.
The allowable concentration of hexavalent chromium in drinking water is currently under review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The study was designed to determine how antioxidants might prevent cell toxicity when two types of human cells were exposed to different concentrations of chromium-6.10
Chromium-6 is a known powerful oxidizing agent, although the specific mechanism through which it causes cancer has not yet been determined.11 There has been no known preventive treatment for exposure. Researchers tested the hypothesis chromium-6 cytotoxicity might be prevented using antioxidants.12
They exposed human embryonic kidney and human intestinal epithelial cells, finding chromium-6 was significantly toxic in cell culture at concentrations of 200 parts per billion (ppb) and higher.13 The researchers found toxicity was blocked by vitamin C at 10 parts per million (ppm) or the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the primary antioxidant in green tea, at 15 ppm.
The researchers found the cytotoxic effect was blocked by vitamin C or EGCG alone. They then exposed bacteria to 20 ppb or more of chromium-6 and observed DNA mutations. However, when the bacteria were also treated with 20 ppm of vitamin C, the cytotoxic effect was again blocked.


Water pollution affects millions in the US

In 2010, the Environmental Working Group (EWG)14 published an executive summary showing at least 74 million U.S. citizens in 42 states were drinking tap water contaminated with chromium, much of it likely in the form of cancer-causing hexavalent chromium.
By 2016 the number had jumped to 200 million15 and, according to researchers at Olivet Nazarene, 250 million Americans are currently drinking water contaminated with hexavalent chromium.16 In 1972, the U.S. Clean Water Act17 was supposed to ensure clean water for swimming, fishing and drinking. Unfortunately, after nearly five decades of regulation, waterways are in serious jeopardy.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 2 billion people worldwide do not have safe drinking water.18 Forced to drink contaminated water, hundreds of thousands die from preventable diseases.
U.S. drinking water is contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, antibacterial products and medications.19 In one ambitious project,20 researchers gathered samples from the Hudson River to measure levels of pharmaceutical pollution.21
Past testing had detected antidepressants, blood pressure medications, decongestants and other drugs. Unlike the volumes of information available on the effect of pathogens, the science on long-term exposure to slight amounts of a chemical soup mixture of pharmaceuticals and other chemicals is still in its infancy.

Where is the chromium?

Keeping the public in the dark is not new. A report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease registry showed widespread water contamination near military bases, chemical plants and elsewhere. They warned these chemicals could harm health at levels significantly lower than those deemed safe by the EPA.22
According to Politico,23 which obtained internal EPA emails, the report had been kept from the public for months to prevent a “potential public relations nightmare.” Although hexavalent chromium occurs naturally in the environment, high amounts are produced through industry.
Even in small amounts, it may trigger skin burns, pneumonia and complications during childbirth. You may search your county for chromium-6 testing using the EWG interactive map.24 During their evaluation, EWG found Oklahoma, Arizona and California have the highest averages; Phoenix has the highest level of any city.
Past EPA assistant administrator of toxic substances, Dr. Lynn Goldman, told PBS,25 “There should be no carcinogen in water. The overall problem here is, what does it take for EPA to speed up its standard-setting process?”
In a press release from the EWG announcing their interactive map, they stated two-thirds of American water supplies have levels above what scientists say are safe for hexavalent chromium. Of the more than 60,000 water samples collected between 2013 and 2015, more than 75% contained hexavalent chromium. Consumer advocate Brockovich commented on the results:26
“Houston, we have a problem. More than 20 years ago, we learned that this dangerous chemical poisoned the tap water of California communities, and now these tests and EWG’s report show that roughly 218 million Americans are being served drinking water polluted with potentially dangerous levels of this known carcinogen.
But in that time the EPA hasn't set drinking water standards for any previously unregulated contaminant, and there are disturbing signs the agency may again do nothing about chromium-6. This is an abject failure by the EPA, including members of Congress charged with overseeing the agency, and every American should be outraged by this inaction.”

Vitamin C may also reduce the effects of air pollution

Vitamin C is a water-soluble micronutrient humans do not have the ability to synthesize and must get from their diet.27 It is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymatic reactions and there is some evidence to suggest it may be useful as an adjunct to conventional medical practices to reduce heart injury and arrhythmia after a cardiac procedure.28
Oregon University29 reports no evidence that large amounts, up to 10 grams per day in adults, will have any toxic effect. However, 2 grams per day and greater may trigger diarrhea or gastrointestinal disturbances in some adults. The usefulness of vitamin C is related to its ability to donate electrons and reduce oxidative stress.30
In this manner it contributes to your immune system, supporting various cellular functions and epithelial barrier function against pathogens. While a gross deficiency results in scurvy, functional deficiency will impair the immune system31 and leave you susceptible to infection.
In addition to helping protect cells against water pollution as demonstrated in the featured study on hexavalent chromium,32 vitamin C may also help to mitigate oxidative stress response to air pollutants. There is substantial evidence particulate matter air pollution increases oxidative stress and those with higher dietary intake of specific vitamins may experience a lower negative response.33
The WHO34 places air pollution as one of the world's largest environmental health risk factors. In one meta-analysis,35 the review found evidence for vitamin supplementation in reducing the effects of pollution on asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases, including supplementation with carotenoids, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids.

More benefits from antioxidants in tea

The featured study also found EGCG, an antioxidant found in green tea, was effective against the cytotoxic effects of chromium-6. Green tea has been prized for generations in China, Japan and Britain. It has also made a name for itself in the U.S., where many drink it daily to enjoy the many health benefits attributed to EGCG.
Studies have found EGCG increases fat oxidation36 and may help prevent obesity.37 It may also improve exercise performance38 and lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.39 However, not all green teas are created equal.
If you drink it, you probably assume you're getting the same dose with each cup, but an analysis of strength and purity of 105 products found the levels varied widely from product to product.40 It is important to seek out high quality green tea to enjoy some of the additional health benefits.
These benefits include inhibiting bacterial and viral growth,41 protecting against oxidation in the brain and liver,42 improving mental alertness43 and reducing blood pressure.44 The type of tea you purchase may make a difference in the amount of beneficial antioxidants and flavor.
There's also an art to brewing tea using loose leaves that brings out full flavor and reduces your exposure to unwanted additives, which I discuss in my previous article, “What's in your green tea?

Vitamin C potent adjunct to cancer treatment

Vitamin C has also been shown to be selectively cytotoxic to cancer cells when administered intravenously or in liposomal form in high doses. The presence of vitamin C generates hydrogen peroxide, which is ultimately what kills the cancer cells.45
Normal tissue is unharmed46 by high levels of hydrogen peroxide as they have several ways of removing it before it builds to toxic levels.47 High doses of vitamin C administration in combination with chemotherapy and radiation may also significantly improve the effectiveness of these treatments.48
Cancer cells have unstable iron particles, also known as redox active iron molecules, making them more vulnerable to oxidative damage triggered by high dose vitamin C. Hydrogen peroxide is generated when the redox active iron reacts with the vitamin C, subsequently damaging the cancer cells’ DNA and making them more vulnerable to chemotherapy and radiation.49
Administration of vitamin C also helps those suffering from cancer by lowering levels of inflammation, a hallmark of cancer. Vitamin C appears to slow the growth of liver and lymphoma cancers in animal studies.50
+ Sources and References


Saturday, 22 June 2019

3D scanners can help young women focus on body appreciation

Body Image

 With so many young girls and women comparing themselves to Models and Celebrities, this scheme could be of great benefit to them.

3D technology has transformed movies and medical imaging, and now it might be able to help young women better appreciate their bodies.

Virginia Ramseyer Winter, assistant professor in the School of Social Work and director of the MU Center for Body Image Research and Policy, is a nationally recognized body image expert. In a new study, she found that images from 3D scanners can be used to help young women focus on body appreciation, which might in turn improve mental health.
3D body image scanning is a relatively new tool in social science research, and the research on using 3D tools for improving body image is scant. We wanted to see if it could provide a way to help young women shift their focus away from appearance and toward function."

Virginia Ramseyer Winter, Director of the MU Center for Body Image Research and Policy
In her study, young adult women between the ages of 18 and 25 were scanned in a 3D scanner used by researchers and students in MU's Department of Textile and Apparel Management. The researchers used modeling software to convert the scans to 3D avatars. Participants then digitally "painted" body parts that they appreciated for various reasons such as their utility or role in their relationships.

"In digitally painting their avatars, women could think about how, for example, their thighs help them run or how their arms can help hold others in an embrace," Ramseyer Winter said. "It provided the participants a way to visual their bodies in a completely different way. It allowed the participants to recognize how our bodies are much more than a size or a number on a scale."

Immediately and then again three months after digitally painting their avatars, participants reported increased body appreciation over time. Moreover, participants reported lower depressive and anxiety symptoms.

"While more research still needs to be done on the relationship between the 3D image intervention we used and its impact on mental health, we did see a significant effect on body appreciation," Ramseyer Winter said. "Prior research has shown that body appreciation is related to depression and anxiety, which leads us to think that we are on the right track in creating an intervention that can improve not only body image, but mental health as well."


Future research will look at how painting the 3D avatars impacts young women with more severe depression.

Antoinette Landor, co-director of the Center for Body Image Research and Policy, co-authored the study. Other MU researchers who worked on the project were Michelle Teti, Kristen Morris, Erin Schliep, Danielle Pevehouse-Pfeiffer and Emily Pekarek.

The study is part of the newly created Center for Body Image Research and Policy, an interdisciplinary research center housed in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. The center was built around the goal to improve body image, health and wellness for individuals, families and communities.



Thursday, 20 June 2019

Three Keys To Help You Rise To The Top

Rising to the Top




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This past Thursday I had the privilege of being a guest on Maria Bartiromo’s Fox Business show, Mornings with Maria. We talked about women being represented on boards, and we agreed that, though the trend is up slightly, progress is still moving too slowly.

That troubles me. I and others like me are on a fervent mission to educate, write to and encourage women to rise. And while a few women have risen to be CEO’s and corporate board members, many more have climbed the ladder only to stall several rungs below top management. They are clearly top leadership material, but they are mired in the middle, a frustrating development for both them and their organizations who could really use their unique talents and gifts to be even more successful.

A couple of years ago I interviewed top women leaders, women who have managed to move through the maze and end up at the top, for my book, Women Make Great Leaders. I thoroughly enjoyed these conversations and I learned a great deal about how they got there. There were quite a few aha moments for me during those exchanges. I discovered some truths--keys if you will--to help unlock the door to high level leadership for women.

First, let’s look at some facts and figures:

Women have made progress, but they haven’t consistently progressed to the top

According to Pew Social Trends , the share of female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies reached an all-time high of 6.4% in 2017, with 32 women heading major firms. But the share fell to 4.8% in 2018 after several high-profile women left their posts, including Denise Morrison of Campbell Soup Co. and Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The late Katherine Graham, of The Washington Post Co., was the first female CEO to make the Fortune 500 list, in 1972. As recently as 1995, there were no female CEOs on the Fortune 500 list.

On the other hand, the share of women sitting on the boards of Fortune 500 companies has more than doubled, from 9.6% in 1995 to 22.2% in 2017. Again, good progress, but not enough.

There’s economic benefit in having women in leadership

The Peterson Institute for International Economics did a survey with 21,980 firms from 91 countries and found that having women at the C-Suite level significantly increases net margins.
“A profitable firm at which 30 percent of leaders are women could expect to add more than 1 percentage point to its net margin compared with an otherwise similar firm with no female leaders,” the report notes. “By way of comparison, the typical profitable firm in our sample had a net profit margin of 6.4 percent, so a 1 percentage point increase represents a 15 percent boost to profitability.”

Women make teams smarter.

And, all of the evidence says that women make teams smarter. In their June 2011 Harvard Business Review article “Defend Your Research: What Makes a Team Smarter? More Women,” Anita Woolley and Thomas W. Malone wrote: “There’s little correlation between a group’s collective intelligence and the IQ's of its individual members. But if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises.” The authors and their assistants had given standard intelligence tests to subjects between 18 and 60 years old. Each team was asked to solve one complex problem along with completing such tasks as brainstorming, visual puzzles and decision-making exercises. “Teams were given intelligence scores based on their performance. Though the teams that had members with higher IQs didn’t earn much higher scores, those that had more women did.”

What I Learned from My Interviews 

The successful women I interviewed for my book gave me much to think about and ponder. There was so much important information that space doesn’t permit me to share all of it with you. So, let me boil it all down to a few thoughts.

If you want to be successful, you’ll need three critical elements that seems to be a part of every successful woman’s journey:
  • Ask for what you need and want.
  • Be a generous team player
  • Know how to help drive the firm’s strategy and financial results from where you sit.
I would only add this piece of advice: Don’t make the men in charge of your organization your enemy. You will need champions, trusted advisers to help you interpret the business landscape, inside the firm and out. And you can’t be mentored by an adversary.
So, work really hard. Make friends. Be kind. Listen carefully. Say yes to opportunities when they come your way. Make yourself invaluable, and you and your organization will rise.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.
I am passionate about helping ambitious people to rise. I am an independent public board director, Harvard “Working Knowledge” author; and founder of Jill Griffin Ex...

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Overcoming Struggles, Going To College, And Striving To Build A Legacy

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Body Composition Shown to Affect Energy Spent Standing Versus Sitting | Newswise: News for Journalists

Body Composition Shown to Affect Energy Spent Standing Versus Sitting 


 Findings support increased standing time as a simple way to boost energy expenditure


Newswise — A person’s body composition could influence the difference between the amount of energy they spend while sitting versus standing, according to new research published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. Conducted by Francisco J. Amaro-Gahete of the University of Granada, Spain, and colleagues, this work adds to mounting evidence that more energy is expended while standing than while sitting or lying down.

Sedentary lifestyles are linked to increased risk for a variety of health conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and cancer. The difference in energy a person expends while standing versus sitting or lying down may be a key factor influencing health risks, but previous studies have found conflicting results about the actual size of these differences. Also, body composition—the proportion of fat in a person’s body—could impact these differences, but its role has been unclear.

To address these issues, Amaro-Gahete and colleagues measured energy expenditure differences between lying, sitting, and standing for 55 young adults aged 18 to 25. In line with previous research, the participants burned significantly more kilocalories per minute while standing than while sitting or lying, while no difference was seen for sitting versus lying.

Notably, the researchers also examined associations between energy expenditure in different positions and body composition of the participants. They found no significant associations when comparing energy spent lying versus sitting or lying versus standing. However, they did find that participants with a higher lean body mass had a smaller difference in energy spent sitting versus standing.
These findings lend new support to the idea that a simple way for a person to increase their energy expenditure is by increasing their time spend standing. The results could also aid efforts to better understand, monitor, and counteract sedentary lifestyles.
Amaro-Gahete adds: “Increasing the time spent standing
 could be a simple strategy to increase energy expenditure.”

Monday, 17 June 2019

How To Build (And Rebuild) Trust




Trust is the foundation for everything we do. But what do we do when it's broken? In an eye-opening talk, Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei gives a crash course in trust: how to build it, maintain it and rebuild it -- something she worked on during a recent stint at Uber. "If we can learn to trust one another more, we can have unprecedented human progress," Frei says. This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

 About the speaker Frances Frei · Culture builder Frances Frei is a professor of technology and operations management at the Harvard Business School.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

The Power Of Introverts



Introverts will love this talk!





In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated. This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

About the speaker Susan Cain · Quiet revolutionary Our world prizes extroverts -- but Susan Cain makes a case for the contemplative. She's leading a social revolution that's showing millions that looking inward is a virtue, not a problem.