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My intention is to provide the general public with reliable and truthful information on antioxidants, foods, beverages, supplements, cosmetics, and natural products. The volume of information that becomes available every day is such that even the professionals working in the respective fields are having difficulty keeping up with it. For a layperson, it is impossible to read the original sources, to evaluate them, and to understand their scientific value. These "informational pieces" will help the general public to make educated choices, at the time when the federal and state agencies do not adequately protect them from potentially hazardous compounds.

    New videos on youtube

I am glad to inform you that new videos on "hot" topics are now available on youtube. Hopefully, you will enjoy watching them. If you like these videos, please do not hesitate to share them with your social circles (Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, friends, relatives, and family members). (1) Title: Resveratrol Myth Busted by Chemistry Professor ; URL: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKm6_IzWiZk (2) Title: "Antioxidant Science Is Fundamentally Flawed," Says Chemistry Professor ; URL: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V1T5d2tZ9I (3) Title: Obsession with Natural Compounds Criticized by Chemistry Professor ; URL: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPHY7nBxQ9M By the way, the latest radio interview with KCSN Conversations is now available at vod.csun.edu/~hcchm025/KCSN%20Conversations.mp3

    Finally ... the FDA requires disclosure of harmful tobacco ingredients

The FDA selected 93 chemicals from the more than 7,000 compounds found in tobacco products and smoke, and requires manufacturers to report the quantities of each of them (C&EN, 2012, April 9, p.29). The information will become available to the general public by April 2013. As stated by the FDA official, "Tobacco products are the only mass-consumed product for which consumers do not ... know what is in them." I would disagree. What about natural supplements or natural extracts of plant origin? As you probably know, supplements do not pass through the rigors of FDA approval. These products are available without prescription and millions of people are using them, on a daily basis. When will we learn about their chemical composition and long-term impact on the human body? Another point is that the same information on tobacco-derived harmful chemicals should be made available to the customers of hookah bars who are mostly under the impression that what they inhale is not harmful to them, or it's much less toxic than tobacco smoking itself. The solid scientific evidence points to the contrary: under comparable conditions, the amounts of carcinogenic aldehydes (formaldehyde) and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are much higher in hookah smoke than in cigarette smoke.

    Calcium supplements and heart attack

A recent study on 24,000 men and women reported that people taking calcium supplements are twice as likely to develop a heart attack. This finding will come as a surprise to the general public. Over the last decade, the idea of "supplementation" has become well embedded in the public's conscience due to relentless advertisement by mass media. They are available without any prescription and are generally perceived as harmless and beneficial. It is true that calcium is an important chemical element and has an important role to play in heart and vascular systems. But, there is also a possibility that calcium can contribute to calcification of the blood vessels, i.e., a precondition to clogging of an artery. While more research needs to be done, people should exercise caution and refrain from loading their bodies with seemingly benign chemicals - of any origin. What will be the scientific approach to this problem? Only if the need for calcium supplements is established, such as calcium deficiency or bone disorders, then calcium supplements should be taken under doctor's supervision. In the best case scenario, supplements should not be sold to the general public without prescription and they should be taken only if there is an established deficiency inside the human body. Hopefully, these reports will move us, as a society, in the right direction and the public perception with respect to dietary supplements will gradually change.

    Dental X-rays linked to brain tumor

A new study by the Yale School of Medicine scientists suggests that ionizing radiation to the head increases the incidence of meningioma, the most commonly diagnosed brain tumor in the United States. The research was carried out on 1,433 brain cancer patients and 1,350 healthy volunteers. The types of dental X-rays considered were as follows: (1) bitewing (a focused image of one area), full-mouth (a number of images of the full mouth), and panorex (a single panoramic view of the full mouth). The researchers found that those diagnosed with meningioma were at least twice as likely as the comparison group to report having bitewing images taken in the past. Regardless of the age when the bitewings were taken, the incidence of brain tumors was between 40 to 90 percent higher for those patients who had them yearly, or even more frequently. Most alarmingly, if panoramic X-rays were taken at a young age, especially if done every year before age 10, the cancer incidence spiked by up to five times! Please remember this the next time you go to your dentist. Ask the right questions and allow them to irradiate your head - again - only if there is a valid reason for it. I know there is a lot of pressure. At times, it is very difficult to stand up, to resist, and to refuse. But it's your health, it's your life, and it's your only body.

    Is it still "natural," or how the most expensive coffee and tea are made?

Kopi Luwak or civet coffee is the most expensive type of coffee on the market today. It costs $160 per pound! How is it made? Coffee beans are eaten by the wild civets, then beans are defecated, washed, sun-dried, and light roasted. While in the civet's body, coffee beans undergo certain enzymatic transformations, acquiring a specific taste. Most probably, not everyone would be ready to consume this beverage ... given the "technology" of its preparation. But, most importantly, do we know what kind of compounds are present in this product? Do we know what their structures are? What about their metabolism inside the human body? Or the long-term consequences? Even if the knowledge is not there, some people are ready to consume this product because it's not synthetic, it's "natural"! But wait, more is coming! Panda droppings are now used to produce "tea" that will cost around $40,000 per lb! Pandas have an inefficient digestive system and their droppings are rich in fiber and nutrients. Is this a good justification for spending money on their feces? Isn't it more economical just to eat "panda food"? Most importantly, do we know what kind of compounds are present in this product? What will the long-term consequences be of exposure to these compounds and their metabolites?It's scary even to imagine what else the wildlife experts will come up with while abusing the words "natural," "coffee," and "tea."

     Good news

I would like to share good news with you. The "Guilty" has won another award in the "Science" category, this time from the 2012 International Book Awards competition! As much as this news is rewarding to me, as an author, most importantly, it further elevates the profile of this book and hopefully will allow me to reach out to a wider audience. If you haven't checked out the Guilty's website recently, please do so at www.csun.edu/gmelikyan. You can read a sample chapter on natural compounds and learn a whole lot more about the book (Novelty, Significance, Book outline, Customer reviews, Press releases, Public presentations, etc.). You can also read the previous issues of the newsletter published by the Alliance of Concerned Citizens.


cid:part2.01030803.02090607@csun.eduBook information: Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Antioxidants, Foods, Supplements, and Cosmetics, 376pp, Dec 2010. This book is the only one on the market that tells the truth about antioxidants, green tea, red wine, coffee, hair color, food supplements, sunscreen lotions, natural compounds, and parabens, which are widely used in cosmetic formulations. It is written for the general public, and also for professionals from academia, food industry, government agencies, public and university libraries, business world, consumer protection and advocacy groups.

The book is available through Amazon, $29.99 (incl. tax & S & H), and also from Matador bookstore, CSUN campus.

    You can help

Public presentations are critically important for disseminating this knowledge about foods, supplements, antioxidants, and natural compounds that our bodies are exposed to. During the last three months, I have made seven presentations for students, faculty, doctors, dieticians, pharmacists, engineers, businessmen, and also the public at large. Extensive Q&A sessions and book signing usually concluded the events.

You can assist the general public by helping me to organize more presentations at different venues, such as churches, synagogues, professional and health-related organizations, interest groups, business forums, and public gatherings of an educational nature. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please give me a call (818-677-2565) or just drop me a line (gagik.melikyan@csun.edu).

About this email message
This is an informational piece, which I am sending to my students, colleagues, community members and other interested parties to inform them of the latest developments pertaining to consumer products.
I expect to send these messages on a regular basis. Besides the scientific updates, you will also learn about my upcoming public presentations and book signing events.
If your friends and family are interested in receiving these messages, please send an email request to gagik.melikyan@csun.edu. If you prefer to be removed from this email list, please respond to this message with the word “unsubscribe” in the subject line.
No part may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or by any information, storage or retrieval system, without a written permission from the author. Suggestions and feedback are welcome at gagik.melikyan@csun.edu.