November 2023

Published by the Atlanta Chapter of the Human Ecology Action League (HEAL), Inc.
P.O. Box 28116, Atlanta, GA 30358-0116www.atlantaheal.org

President: Andrew Heyward, First Vice President, Program Chairman: Sydna Fisher, Second Vice President,
Membership: Joyce Taylor, Secretary: Joyce Taylor,Treasurer: Andrew B, Webmaster: Ian Greenberg, Newsletter: Sydna Fisher


Citric Acid is a weak organic acid that occurs naturally in citrus fruits. In the 18th and 19th centuries, commercial citric acid was produced from lemon juice, but the product was expensive, so the search was on for alternative production methods. American food chemist James Currie began experimenting with a process of making citric acid from mold, and discovered that strains of aspergillus niger (black mold) produced high yields. Pfizer started producing citric acid using this method in 1919, a process that is still used. Today, the global citric acid market production is over 2.5 million tons a year, with China as the largest producer. To increase manufactured citric acid production, aspergillus niger has undergone significant genetic modifications. Due to its GRAS status, it has escaped proper scrutiny for over a century.

Citric acid is used for pH control and as a preservative and flavor enhancer. It is widely used in processed and prepared foods, snacks, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, nutritional supplements, vitamins, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.

While manufactured citric acid (MCA) has the same chemical formula as the naturally occurring form, it can contain fragments of black mold and other impurities. If someone has a genetic predisposition to a black mold allergy or is otherwise sensitive to aspergillus niger, ingestion may lead to harmful inflammatory musculoskeletal, neurological, respiratory, or gastrointestinal responses. Muscle pain, joint pain, stiffness, headaches, hives, physical and mental fatigue, cramping, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, acid reflux, increased food allergies, and other allergic reactions are all possible symptoms and consequences of ingesting MCA.

The ubiquitous presence of MCA in common foods and beverages means repeated exposure to aspergillus niger proteins or byproducts. This has led to the hypothesis that MCA induced inflammatory reactions might be playing a causative role in allergic asthma, fibromyalgia, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and chronic fatigue syndrome as well as gastrointestinal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.

- Medical News Today, Toxicology Reports, Wise Traditions


Alia Crum PhD has been called the preeminent health psychologist of her generation. She describes the purpose of her work at Stanford as helping improve people’s health and happiness through increased understanding of the mind-body connection. She says that the total effect of anything we do is a combined product of what we’re actually doing and what we think about what we’re doing. We deploy mental filters, or mindsets, to simplify and respond to a complex outside world. These mindsets affect what we pay attention to, what we expect to happen, and how we respond. Mindsets can be tweaked and tuned to improve well-being and health.

- Stanford Magazine


Over a third of the population reports one or more health problems such as migraines, skin reactions, and respiratory difficulties when they are exposed to fragrance in consumer products. Fragrance sensitivities trigger the immune system to make cells to fight that substance, causing inflammation, redness, swelling, and itching.

A psychologist who studies the psychological aspects of odor perception has found that just the fear of a scent can lead to a physiological response. Perhaps this is because olfactory bulbs are part of the brain’s limbic system, which includes the hippocampus, involved in memory, and the amygdala, which is involved in emotion.

Chemicals used in fragrances readily react with ozone in the air to create hundreds of secondary compounds. Some chemicals, such as limonene, produce formaldehyde.

-New Scientist, Experience Life


Honey and vinegar, a traditional combination known as oxymel, dates to the ancient world. Hippocrates prescribed it and apothecaries in the Middle Ages sold it. Honey stresses bacteria and fights infections with its high sugar content and acidity, while acetic acid, vinegar’s active component, is a natural antiseptic that breaks down bacterial DNA and proteins. The combination works better than either component alone, and researchers say that oxymel could be particularly valuable for chronic wound infections.


[] Dr. Susan Tanner is a local MD who approaches wellness with a holistic and integrative approach. On-line consultations include a review of your general and specific health concerns, creating a plan of action, and following up to ensure success. Specific labwork may be recommended, or if already completed, will be reviewed. To book a consultation go to thebodynexus.com/services/

[] Kay Richardson has chemical, mold, and electrical sensitivities. She is looking for a camper which would allow her to travel and check out places to live with no cellphone signal. kayrichardson9@gmail.com.


November: Anna Heltzer 2nd, Rebecca Stuckey 10th, Lori Caress 20th, Joyce Brenner 21st

December: Jay Hodin 31st

Thank you to Mark Fisher and Ian Greenberg for their assistance in this newsletter.

This newsletter is meant for information only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition and is not a substitute for professional advice.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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