Nitrates in Food Linked to Alzheimer's & Diabetes
> 7/8/2009 11:31:50 AM

An elite team of researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health has released a report on degenerative diseases and the American diet that leaves no doubt about the importance of the things we eat. Their bold thesis states that the dramatic increase in American cases of age-and-insulin-related conditions like diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease can be tied directly to the increasing presence of nitrates in our food, water and livestock. They even believe that these elements may facilitate swifter degeneration in HIV patients.  

Nitrates are man-made compounds that serve preservative and cosmetic purposes in agriculture and manufacturing - inorganic substances that can prevent the growth of bacterias and have been used to help to keep food fresh, and thereby safe, for much longer as well as to improve its color and appearance. They're also commonly present in fertilizers fed to both plants and animals. But when combined with nitrites or other synthetic proteins often used in conjunction, they undergo a reaction that creates nitrosamines, which are well-noted for adverse and possibly carcinogenic properties. NIH researchers note that the genetic changes creating this substance are very similar, on a cellular level, to those that affect the human body during the aging process and related conditions like Alzheimer's et al. These diseases also share a near-universal symptom: problems with the body's ability to process insulin. Researchers believe that their prevalence rates, which have risen exponentially over recent decades, stand as clear evidence that exposure to some foreign substance or element plays a role in their spread.

Studying troves of historical health data, the scientists observe that death rates for many age-related conditions have declined due to advances in health care treatment (if not administration). This means that the higher rates of the select conditions did not stem from an aging population or more effective surveys. The actual incidence of these diseases has increased.

In their conclusion, researchers use food sale and consumption data to tie the rise in diagnoses to the over-consumption of plants and animals fed with nitrate-laced feeds/fertilizers as well as processed foods that contain low levels of the same nitrosamines. They note that sales levels for fast-food companies, meat-processing plants and granaries increased by factors of 200% to 800% in the latter third of the 20th century - right before a nationwide wave of obesity and insulin-related conditions began. In short, they think that an overabundance of nitrate-heavy grains and meats in our diet, as well as its presence in our water, led to a wave of Americans developing diabetes and related conditions, many of which facilitate more severe degenerative diseases.

Organic trends in food and advertising may relieve some of the problems that come with this true epidemic, but manufacturing procedure and national lifestyle changes must be dramatic. Due to the common use of these nitric elements, they're now present in a disturbing share of the food we consume and, if this study holds true, may play a prominent role in the development of serious and increasingly common diseases.

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