Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Salicylates in organic vegetables

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Because organic vegetables are healthier plants with better functioning immune systems, they contain less water and higher quantities of minerals, vitamins, and other chemicals, including salicylates.

Salicylates are substances that make up part of the plant’s immune system and they form in higher quantities when plants are under attack from pests, as a form of self-defence.

Though benzene is acknowledged to be a carcinogen, salicylic acid which is benzene ring with a couple of extra oxygen and hydrogen atoms attached, is considered to be an anti-cancerous. This is partially based on speculation due to its anti-clotting abilities and antioxidant capacity. Salicylates strip the ‘legs’ off platelets, impairing their normal ability to clot. Blood clotting increases the risk of cancer. Therefore artificially preventing the blood from clotting should decrease the risk of cancer. Salicylates also depress the thyroid whilst boosting aerobic energy production in the cell. Since cancer cells only live by anaerobic metabolism, salicylates are thought to push cells back towards aerobic metabolism and thereby normalise them.

This anti-cancer theory has led to some wild speculation:

Soup made using organic vegetables was found, in their experiments, to contain six times the level of salicylic acid. This has been linked in other studies with a protective effect against heart attacks, cancer and strokes. The same team has already conducted research which claimed to find higher levels of the acid in the blood of vegetarian Buddhist monks compared to meat eaters. Organic veg given health boost

Unfortunately it has led some scientists to speculate that creating genetically engineered plants containing higher quantities of salicylates would be a really good idea! This is a perfect example of what happens when science starts to meddle in the unknown.

Basically, we are talking about the ‘health benefits’ of aspirin, which have largely been discounted in recent years:

Plants contain a variety of substances – some good, some bad, most neutral. Organic plants are more concentrated than conventionally grown plants, with respect to all of these substances – vitamins and toxins alike. The trick is knowing which substances are which.

We do not need aspirin to prevent cancer, nor have we proven that aspirin actually does prevent cancer. Since fat can only be burned as an energy source in aerobic metabolism – in fact requires more oxygen than aerobically burned glucose – it seems that fat would do exactly the same thing as salicylates, without the margin for error and the nasty side effects of salicylates.

Regardless of the debatable ‘benefits’ of aspirin, due to the effects on behaviour and physical health of many people, it would be wise to hold back before charging in with high salicylate GM crops of dubious value to all but farmers with a pest control problem.


Written by alienrobotgirl

19 March, 2006 at 7:46 pm

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