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Money has had a corrupting influence in the field of nutritional science. Financial considerations decide which foods get studied, which studies get published, and which findings get disseminated to the public. And when a company funds its own research, you always have to worry if the inherent conflict of interest is biasing the results. Public funding is on the decline, so what about truly public funding–crowdfunding science? If that appeals to you, please consider chipping in.

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Project #1: Testing the Lead Levels in Popular Brands of Nutritional Yeast

California Prop 65 warnings on nutritional yeast packaging alerted us to the potential presence of the toxic heavy metal lead, but how much? As you can see in my video Nutritional Yeast to Prevent the Common Cold, two of the companies ignored our inquiries and we got unsatisfactory answers from most of the others, so we decided to test them ourselves at an accredited lab.

The results can be found here: Three Brands of Nutritional Yeast Contain Detectable Lead Levels But the Risk is Minimal

In short, we found detectable amounts of lead in samples of Frontier, KAL, and Whole Foods brand nutritional yeast, but the lead levels were so low that they all comply with the exceedingly (and justifiably) strict California Prop 65 standards. Still, I advise pregnant women who eat more than a third of a cup a day on a regular basis choose a different brand. No detectable lead levels were found in Bob’s Red Mill, Bragg, Dr. Fuhrman, Red Star, or NOW Foods brand nutritional yeast.

What do you think we should test next? Want to know if there’s heavy metals in popular brands of amla or turmeric? Should we check Eden Foods preliminary bean results? Check for oxidation by-products in DHA supplements? Thallium in Kale? You tell us!

Leave your suggestions and comments below and we’ll post all the results when they come in.

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