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      Strange tastes after brushing your teeth

      Strange tastes after brushing your teeth

      Why do some food and drink taste bad after brushing your teeth?  

      The main culprit here is a foaming and wetting agent found in most conventional toothpaste called Sodium Laureth Sulfate, also known as Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES), or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). SLS has the ability to inhibit the receptors that detect sweet-tasting compounds.

      Additionally SLS can break up the phospholipids of fatty substances on the tongue that keep bitter tastes from being too overpowering. When these phospholipids are broken down by the SLS, bitter tastes become enhanced. This is why when drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth you are likely only tasting the bitter citric acid or citrus bioflavonoids until the SLS can be fully removed from the oral cavity, either by ingesting it with saliva or rinsing with water.

      SLS is an ingredient that would be best to avoid, especially putting in your mouth. (The bucal membrane is one of the most highly absorbable areas of the body). SLS is the esters of Sulphuric acid – also known as “Sulfuric acid monododecyl ester sodium salt”, the result of the ethoxylation process as previously discussed here

      What do we know about taste?

      What do we know about taste?

      Turns out that many of us were taught incorrectly about how our sense of taste work. (and possibly our visual and  olfactory senses as well). Many of us in North America were taught about the ‘taste map’ of the tongue where certain areas were responsible for one of the four tastes – sweet, salty, sour, bitter. It is now understood that all of these taste sensations arise from all regions of the oral cavity that include the tongue, soft palate, and epithelium of the pharynx and epiglottis.

      Each taste bud contains approximately 100 taste receptor cells that can detect compounds in each of the five basic tastes.  The fifth being the now recognized taste sensation known as umami, a Japanese word to describe the taste sensation of amino acids or savoriness. The umami taste came about with the invention of MSG or glutamic acid (the dubious ingredient that makes non-fresh food taste good). 

      A recent study suggests that the taste bud may also have receptors able to differentiate the taste of fatty acids and maybe even metallic and water tastes. 
      Taste like many of our senses is quite complex in that it engages our sense of smell and feel including thermal receptors. We don’t often think about this however we are also able to experience sensations of the previously mentioned fattiness and metallic nature and also dryness (tannins- astringent), prickliness or hotness (spicy peppers), coolness (peppermint – spearmint), numbness (again from hot peppers) and even recent science suggests a receptor for calcium. 

      Take a minute next time you are eating your favorite meal and reflect on the incredible sense that we call taste.

      Nanoparticles in Sunscreens

      Nanoparticles in Sunscreens

      Nanoparticles in sunscreens.
      The topic of nanoparticles in personal care continues to heat up. Firstly nanoparticles or nanomaterials are particles of extremely small size with the purpose to improve their intended applications. One nanometer (nm) is one-thousandth of a micrometer (m), one-millionth of a millimeter (mm) and one billionth of a meter (m). To put that size in perspective, 1 nanometer is roughly 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

      One of the obvious concerns with regards to nanomaterials in personal care products is that their size allows them to penetrate the skin and enter into the bloodstream accessing organs and tissues. To compound this concern, there are virtually no studies that indicate the safety of these materials once they enter the body.

      In the case of sunscreens, using physical reflective block UV filters like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide creates a white caking or heavy feel on the skin. With these ingredients now available as nanoparticles, the lotion can be a more smooth and silky feeling. Zinc Oxide is often referred to as a natural mineral present in the earth’s crust however, most zinc oxide used commercially is produced synthetically. The other misleading claim for nanoparticle zinc oxide and titanium dioxide was that they were more effective in their ability to block UV rays than their counterparts, a claim that has been proven not be true.  

      With relation to nanoparticles in sunscreens, it would appear the risks far outweighing the benefits. I believe that environmental and public interest groups are wise to demand government and industry complete testing and approval of nano-containing products before commercialization, not just for human health but also for their environmental impact.

      Ingredients of Concern

      Ingredients of Concern

      DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine) & TEA (triethanolamine)

      These three ingredients are commonly found today in our personal care products.
      TEA, DEA, and MEA are amino alcohols used in personal care as emulsifiers, thickeners, wetting agents, detergents, and alkalizing agents (pH adjusters).
      Often they are used in combination with fatty acids to convert acid to salt (sterate).

      Stearate can form the base a cleanser. Monoethanolamine is produced by reacting ethylene oxide with aqueous ammonia, the reaction also produces diethanolamine and triethanolamine. In my previous post, I discussed the ethoxylation process using the known toxic carcinogen ethylene oxide.

      It is my understanding that monoethanolamine, diethanolamine, and triethanolamine already have limitations for use in personal care in many European countries due to an increase in the incidence of liver and kidney cancer.  Best to avoid wherever possible.

      Probiotic Supplementation reduces infant eczema up to 60%

      Probiotic Supplementation reduces infant eczema up to 60%

      Recently I learned of some great research that was conducted in the Netherlands via Dr Mercola’s website regarding the treatment of infant eczema otherwise known as atopic dermatitis. I have mentioned this treatment option in a previous post based around advice for managing this troubling skin condition. This research confirms that by using specific probiotic bacteria strains (Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Lactococcus lactis; Ecologic((R)) Panda) the likelihood of infant eczema could be reduced by up to 60%. 

      As I also mentioned in my previous post, there is also a strong genetic predisposition to eczema, if one of your parents has eczema, you have a 40% chance of inheriting the same condition. If both parents has eczema you have an 80% chance.

      Now if you, your spouse or both of you suffer from eczema and you are planning a family, it would be recommended to investigate this preventative treatment option. It is important to note that this study was done on high-risk children by administering pre- and postnatal supplementation (Both mother (prior to birth) and baby received the probiotics).