The revelation that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos has opened the door for local law firms to take on the multinational pharmaceutical giant for any Australian victims who may have been exposed to the toxic mineral.
News agency Reuters revealed on Saturday that internal reports and other confidential documents showed J&J knew about the presence of small amounts of asbestos in its products from at least 1971.
The evidence surfaced after people who suspected that its talc had caused their cancers hired lawyers experienced in the decades-long deluge of litigation involving workers exposed to asbestos.
By David Estcourt
15 December 2018 — 7:45pm
Johnson & Johnson have been accused of knowing asbestos was in their talcum powder. Credit:AP
When asked about the potential risks faced by Australian consumers and whether the ingredients used in the Australian product was the same as its US-equivalent, a Johnson & Johnson Australia spokeswoman would not respond.
Instead, she referred the Herald to a generic statement – which derides the Reuters report – provided by its parent company and referred questions to its US head office.
Theodora Ahilas, the national head of Maurice Blackburn’s asbestos practice, said the development opened the door for the firm to further investigate the possible source of asbestos exposure in Australia.
“These reports regarding asbestos in baby powder are deeply concerning,” Ms Ahilas said.
“There is no safe amount of exposure to asbestos, and when we’re talking about a product that’s used on babies, we need to be extra vigilant.”
Some other Australia law firms are also considering whether to pursue the matter.
Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder.Credit:AP
More than 11,000 plaintiffs have been identified by US lawyers to be potentially impacted by the presence of asbestos in their baby powder – including thousands of women with ovarian cancer.
Documents that surfaced during the lawsuit also said the company had commissioned and paid for studies of its baby powder productsand hired a ghostwriter to redraft the article that presented the findings in a journal.
News of the cover-up slammed US shares of Johnson & Johnson, causing a fall of 10 per cent on Friday, putting it on track to post their biggest percentage drop in more than 16 years.
The decline in shares erased about $55.7 billion ($US40 billion) from the company's market capitalisation, with investors worrying about the impact of the report as it faces thousands of talc-related lawsuits.
In response to the report, the company said "any suggestion that Johnson & Johnson knew or hid information about the safety of talc is false".
"This is all a calculated attempt to distract from the fact that thousands of independent tests prove our talc does not contain asbestos or cause cancer," Ernie Knewitz, Johnson & Johnson's vice president of global media relations, wrote in an emailed response.
"The Reuters article is one-sided, false and inflammatory. Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is safe and asbestos-free."
If you have symptoms of leaky gut syndrome, there are many ways in which you can begin to heal your gut, including following a leaky gut diet plan and taking nutritional supplements. We’ve compiled a list of the top 6 leaky gut supplements to take for reducing intestinal inflammation, strengthening the gut lining, improving digestion, and regaining your overall health.
Disclaimer: Always check with a licensed healthcare practitioner or your physician before taking a new supplement for safety and dosage. Nutritional supplements can interact with medications and cause serious health problems, so please run any new supplement by a healthcare professional before adding it to your diet.
Top 6 Leaky Gut Supplements
Betaine HCL is a hydrochloric acid supplement, which helps increase stomach acid production to improve the digestion, absorption and assimilation of all nutrients, especially protein.
The reason why betaine HCL is at the top of our leaky gut supplements list is because low stomach acid is one of the most common causes of leaky gut. When you aren’t producing enough stomach acid, your body can’t properly digest and absorb the nutrients in the food you that eat. Not only can this lead to nutrient deficiencies, but it also lets food “linger” in your GI tract, where bacteria can ferment and putrefy it (yuck, we know!).
If left untreated, these bacteria can set up shop in your small intestine and cause chronic inflammation, leaky gut, and a bacterial overgrowth condition called SIBO (1). If you have symptoms such as bloating, acid reflux, constipation, and abdominal pain, you could have low stomach acid.
Taking a stomach acid supplement like betaine HCL is a good starting point to help increase your stomach acid production, aid digestion, and improve nutrient absorption. However, it’s also important to consider why you have low stomach acid in the first place.
Many diet and lifestyle factors can contribute to low stomach acid production, such as frequent antibiotic use, alcohol consumption, a low fiber diet, and chronic stress. So while taking betaine HCL is helpful for healing leaky gut, it’s only part of the equation when it comes to improving your gut health in the long term.
To find out if you have low stomach acid, try taking The Baking Soda Stomach Acid Test at home. It’s quick, painless, and easy. All you need is baking soda and cold water.
How to Take it: Take a betaine HCL supplement right before each meal.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found all over your body, and they form the foundation of a healthy digestive system. Probiotics help with nutrient absorption, help reduce inflammation, produce certain vitamins, and prevent “bad” or opportunistic bacteria, such as yeast, from overpopulating your system.
Probiotics can help heal leaky gut by strengthening the gut lining, and replenish your natural stores of good bacteria to reduce inflammation. Since probiotics play such a crucial role in digestion, you may also notice physical improvements soon after you start supplementing with them. It’s not uncommon to experience improved bowel movements, increased energy, and less gas and bloating once you find the probiotic strain (or strains) that work best for you.
However, there are many different strains of probiotic supplements, and not all of them provide the same benefits. For example, certain strains of bacteria are known to be most beneficial for immune function, while others do a better job at improving digestion. This is where you’ll need to do a bit of research or speak with a healthcare practitioner to find the appropriate probiotic supplement to match your specific needs.
How to Take it: Probiotics are best taken on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning, or right before bed (assuming your last meal was at least three to four hours beforehand). This allows the probiotics to recolonize in the intestinal lining without the interference of any other foods.
You can also get probiotics in your diet by eating fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, beet kvass, and coconut milk yogurt. However, if you’re also dealing with candida (yeast overgrowth), you may want to supplement with a yeast-eating strain of bacteria called saccharomyces boulardii (sac b) (3).
A Plant-Derived Mineral SupplementThere’s one plant-derived mineral supplement we’ve heard of for leaky gut called Restore, which is made from lignite extract. If you’ve never heard of lignite extract, don’t worry: you’re not the only one.
Lignite extract comes from decomposed plants (it sounds weird, but bear with us), which break down peat into lignite. The reason why lignite is helpful for leaky gut is because it’s rich in carbon, which has the ability to bind to toxins in your GI tract, and allow them to pass safely through your system.
Now, one of the reasons why leaky gut happens in the first place is due to an overload of toxins in your GI tract, which contribute to breaking apart the tight junctions of the intestinal lining (4). Due to its ability to filter out these toxins, Restore can help lay down the framework for a healthier gut microbiome, which will support your body’s ability to heal on its own.
Unlike some detoxification supplements, Restore doesn’t cause intense die-off symptoms or harm the kidneys when taken at high doses.
How to Take It: Take one teaspoon three times a day, 30 minutes before meals. Work your way up to two tablespoons, three times daily to support healing. For more information, head over to Restore’s website.
4. L-GlutamineGlutamine is an amino acid that contributes to healing leaky gut by repairing the gut’s mucosal lining and closing up the tight junctions in your intestine. Glutamine helps reduce intestinal inflammation, which may also provide relief for digestive symptoms.
Glutamine is most effective when it’s taken as a powder, especially when you’re dealing with a weakened digestive system, which may not be able to properly break down or absorb capsules and food sources of glutamine.
How to Take it: The amount of glutamine you need to take each day will depend on your current state of health. For the correct dosage and form of l-glutamine to take, consult your healthcare practitioner.
Quercetin is an antioxidant found in plant foods that may help stimulate the production of proteins in the GI tract that can heal and seal the gut lining, which is exactly what the body needs to repair leaky gut (5).
Quercetin is also known for being an extremely powerful anti-inflammatory, which can reduce intestinal inflammation, keep allergies at bay, and even improve symptoms of autoimmune conditions. Allergies, food sensitivities and autoimmune conditions all can stem from leaky gut syndrome.
How to Take it: We hate to sound like a broken record, but the amount of quercetin you need will depend on your symptoms and the severity of those symptoms. Consult your healthcare practitioner for dosage, frequency, and the best time of day to take it.
6. Vitamin D
There are many things vitamin D does for your body, but in the case of a leaky gut it activates killer T-cells for defense against infections and bacteria. It can also reduce chronic inflammation. Vitamin D is said to be a key player in holding the tight junctions of the intestinal lining together, which means deficiency could actually contribute to the onset of leaky gut (9).
How to Take it: To find out how much vitamin D your body truly needs, it’s best to run some lab tests. From here, your doctor or healthcare practitioner can prescribe the best dose for you, based on the current picture of your health. Don’t forget to get outside and get your vitamin D from the sun, too!