“Does the Herbal Supplement Kratom Really Contain Opioids?”, LiveScience

In this February 7, 2018 article (4 minute read), “Does the Herbal Supplement Kratom Really Contain Opioids?”, published by LiveScience, we learn about recent US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) research showing that many of the natural compounds found in Kratom bind to opioid receptors in the brain, which then classify the plant as a restricted substance. Last summer, NHPPA received a letter from a Kratom advocate. It shared a number of considered thoughts including a reference to an upswing in fear-based media coverage in both Canada and the US surrounding the use of Kratom products, and a report that retailers who offered Kratom were being intimidated into forfeiting sales of the supplement through unannounced visits by Health Canada. In the letter, NHPPA was asked if we had a stance on the use of Kratom as a natural health supplement. We were unfamiliar with the tree native to Southeast Asia, where its leaves have traditionally been used to treat aches, pains and other maladies. Any informed thoughts on Kratom out there?

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Canada’s Greenest Employers (2017)

Commitment to social and environmental responsibility is increasingly central to an organization’s development. Canada’s Greenest Employers runs a yearly competition to recognize leaders in creating a culture, of not only environmental awareness, but impact in social, cultural, financial and educational programs. Many focus on the physical work space, training and skills development, hiring strategies, diversity and an area resonate with our work–immersive wellness initiatives and the promotion of natural health product and practices. Every 2017 winner has their own webpage with the full rationale behind their selection. Worth a look. You’ll be motivated and inspired to raise the bar! Make a list of “green” questions so that local, independent spaces thriving in communities across Canada, deserve a chance to attract your dollars with values that match your own.

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MedEffect e-Notice from Health Canada | Nintedanib vs Green Tea Extract

On January 11, 2018, Health Canada released a MedEffect Notice regarding OFEV (Nintedanib), a drug manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd., which is used for the treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibroses (a type of lung disease). The drug, released October 16, 2014, has been flagged due to risk of Drug Induced Liver Injury (DILI). According to the Alert, as of October 15, 2017 (after 3 years on the market), there have been 32 confirmed cases of DILI worldwide, one of which occurred in Canada. There has also been 1 confirmed fatality caused by the drug.

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“Studying Studies: Part II – Observational Epidemiology”, Peter Attia, MD

“…there is so much more to the ways in which we might fool ourselves: whether it’s reading the latest headline, pouring over a publication of a clinical trial, or just understanding what “statistical significance” truly means (and, more importantly, doesn’t mean), the literature and media abound in cognitive tripwires.”

This January 15, 2018 article (8 minute read) by Peter Attia, MD, “Studying Studies: Part II – observational epidemiology”, is the follow up to his January 8, 2018 article, “Studying Studies: Part I – relative risk vs. absolute risk”, which we shared on January 15, 2018.

 

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“Studying Studies: Part I – Relative Risk vs. Absolute Risk”, Peter Attia, MD

“Statistics can be both persuasive and misleading if we’re not extremely careful. It is self-persuasion that we must vigilantly guard against if we want to establish reliable knowledge about the world, and ourselves”. This January 8, 2018 article, “Studying Studies: Part I – relative risk vs. absolute risk” (8 minute read), by Peter Attia, a US-based medical doctor specializing in the applied science of longevity, discusses the challenges in making sense of media coverage of scientific studies, and the importance of taking the time to question their validity.

Attia writes, “It’s too damn hard to always think critically—and we are not wired to do it as humans—but we must always strive for it. Whether we like it or not, it’s more helpful to be “difficult” people when judging the merits of an argument or hypothesis—even (especially) when it’s our own. It behooves us to understand the difference between relative risk and absolute risk—and to always report both to provide context.”

Critical thinking, opinion, context, facts. If you take a bit of time to understand the parameters of an argument, however polarized a point of view from yours it is, the ability to have meaningful discussions increases exponentially. NHPPA asks supporters of natural health products and practices to read and understand the material that we publish and how it relates to the material being generated by Health Canada. This makes for accurate, and influential, exchanges with your MP, Health Canada bureaucrats, industry members, friends, colleagues and of course your detractors. Your authority on the subject will make you more effective as an educator and activist for the issues that matter.

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“FDA: All Homeopathic Drugs Illegal”, Alliance for Natural Health (USA)

“In one fell swoop, the FDA has declared that virtually every single homeopathic drug on the market is being sold illegally”. On January 11, 2018 the Alliance for Natural Health (USA) reported that a new guidance document (linked in their Action Alert) issued by the US Food and Drug Administration defines its new, risk-based approach to the regulation of homeopathic drugs. The article (2 minute read), “FDA: All homeopathic drugs illegal”, goes on to assert “We suspected the agency was planning to tighten its grip on homeopathy, which, after all, competes with the pharmaceutical drugs that fund the FDA”. Health Canada’s proposed new risk-based regulations that capture NHPs in the “Modernization of Self-Care Product Regulation” is looming release. Canadians’ access to safe and effective homeopathic remedies will be affected. Manufacturers and Practitioners will continue to be dispossessed of their product base.

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“New Care Guidelines Released as Number of Babies Born Dependent on Opioids Increases”, Edmonton Journal

This current medical practice includes women who have been given prescription pain pills while pregnant. The concept of using a “rooming-in program” instead has shown to have better results in cases where a withdrawal is necessary. “About 50 to 75 per cent of infants born to women on opioids will need treatment for withdrawal. Traditionally, morphine has been used, with clinicians administering increasingly smaller doses over time until a baby is completely weaned off the replacement drug.” Read Meghan Potkin’s article (3.5 minute read), “New care guidelines released as number of babies born dependent on opioids increases” published January 11, 2018 in the Edmonton Journal.

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Raw Milk Update, Obstruction Appeal

Earlier today, Michael Schmidt’s Facebook feed had three text only posts that read: “Justice Sutherland has rendered his ruling. WE LOST. No Raw milk for anybody.” “In case people don’t know they now have the power to enter the farm ANYTIME”. “IF THEY COME TO SHUT US DOWN, I can be jailed because I informed you that they can come anytime”.

York Region and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture were successful with their injunction actions. York Region had brought an injunction seeking to make the distribution of raw milk within the region illegal. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture brought a separate injunction seeking to essentially shut down the raw milk operations of at Glencolton Farms. The two proceedings were subsequently amalgamated, and the court released its decision earlier today.

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“Inside Bell’s Push to End Net Neutrality in Canada”, CanadaLand

Happy end-of-net-neutrality-in-Canada Year! A month ago, this December 4, 2017 article (5 minute read), “Inside Bell’s Push to End Net Neutrality in Canada”, written by Robert Hiltz for CanadaLand, gave us insight into Bell’s proposal to force all internet service providers in the country to block access to websites with what they deem as copyright infringing content. The proposal includes no court oversight. The dangers in this lack of judicial review will inevitably lead to wider censorship.

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