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Ask Dr. Mike: Eating Spoiled Food & Vertigo Treatments

Here you'll find the answers to a wealth of health and wellness questions posed by Healthy Talk fans. Listen in because what you know helps ensure healthy choices you can live with. Today on Healthy Talk, you wanted to know:

Is it really okay to eat food past its "sell by" date?

When it comes to food, this can be tricky. And, it depends on what kind of food it is. Unfortunately, food waste has become a huge issue within the U.S.

Most food is okay, but it may not be as fresh.

For example, food items containing dairy can cause the food to go bad after the sell-by date and wouldn't be okay to eat.

Are there any new treatments for vertigo?

Vertigo is an inner ear issue that may cause unbalance, dizziness, and extreme spinning. The first thing you should do is talk to your doctor to rule out other health issues. Coq10, ginger, and B6 can help eliminate vertigo.

If you have a health question or concern, Dr. Mike encourages you to write him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call in, toll-free, to the LIVE radio show (1.844.305.7800) so he can provide you with support and helpful advice.

RadioMD Presents:Healthy Talk | Original Air Date: April 27, 2015
Host: Michael Smith, MD

You're listening to Radio MD. It's time to ask Doctor Mike on Healthy talk. Call or e-mail to ask your questions now. E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 877 711 5211. The lines are open.

DR. MIKE: So, this is not a listener question, this is my question.

It is really okay to eat a food past its "sell by" date?

There are a couple of reasons that I'm bringing this up. So, there's a report on Let's see... The headline, "Government Says It's Okay to Eat Some Food 12 or 18 Months After It's "Sell By" Date". Plus, I get a lot of questions, not related to food, but to supplements. You know, "Is it okay to take my fish oil? Or, my curcumin?" or you know, whatever? "Past that date usually stamped on the bottom of the bottle." In terms of supplements, it pretty simple. It's not that it isn't safe, it just may not be as potent.

That's the thing with supplements, you know, that they sell by date insures the dose, the potency of that active ingredient and as you get further and further, beyond that sell by date, we just can't guarantee dose anymore. You know, everything breaks down and in this life. Everything breaks down, so the dose is not going to be what's stated on the label a month, two months, three months, four months down the line after they sell by date. So, with supplements is not as safety issue, you just don't get the best bang for your buck. What about food, though?

I found this really interesting, so, it says here "According to the US DA the average American tosses out 36 pounds of food a month". That's over 20% of available food that goes and eaten in this country. That's a lot. 36 Pounds. And it's becoming more and more of an issue, we all have to just admit this and deal with the reality of the fact that there are billions of people on this planet. What was it? Like by 2059, a billion people or something like this, some crazy number. Listen, food and water. They're going to start becoming like gold. And so, I think that I like this. I like that we're addressing this topic now and I like that government is getting on board here because we definitely do waste a lot of food. So, let's talk about what is sell by date actually is. You know again, in terms of supplements, it's really about potency and terms of food it's really more about freshness. And just because you go past the sell by date, it doesn't mean like some crazy, sinister reaction happens and now the food becomes poisonous or something.

Obviously, come on, it's just common sense, right? There are some foods? No. I mean, things had have a lot of fat, dairy and that kind of stuff, obviously, come on. That stuff, once that's done, you probably need to throw it out and get something new, but most other foods, packaged foods although, we want to be eating even less of that, but we don't in this country, unfortunately. Packaged food, frozen food, and stuff like that, it's really more about freshness issue than it is dangerous issue. And so, often the sell by date it's a way the manufacturer of that food can say "If you eat this, on this day or before, hey! I'll guarantee you that freshness! It's going to be awesome. The color's going to be right. It's going to taste good. After that, eh. Can't guarantee all that stuff." So, it's not a dangerous thing to eat the food. Using common sense. It's not dangerous thing to eat a food past the sell by date.

But, there's an app now. Did you know that? There's an app now that can help you to, I guess, decide whether or not you should throw the food out or not. It's an app called Food Keeper.

It's lunched earlier this month and it's part of joint effort between the USDA and the US Environmental Protection Agency to reduce food waste. The project US Food waste challenge focuses on education, recycling, connecting potential food donors to those in need as well as encouraging suppliers to properly label perishable food products like meat, poultry and egg products to cut down on unnecessary waste.

Apparently, the app has storage advice for foods, for more than 400 food and beverage products, baby food, included and all that, and you can also get cooking tips. Ultimately, what it's helping you to decide is when the certain type of food, when do you want to throw it out or when you can keep it and use it in different types of recipes.

So, it's giving you ideas of how to use maybe some food that's lost its freshness but you can use it in these types of recipes to bring back the flavoring and all that kind of stuff. This just came to me. I watched this on... If you're one of my listeners, you know that I can't cook. I've said that many times. I can eat, enjoy food. I'm half Greek, my mom's side is completely Greek. Everything is done around food. We'd spent hours at the dinner table, so I enjoy that.

So, I watched a Food Channel or any type of food show, I'm mesmerized by this. And so, I remember watching this. I think it was on the Food Channel--there was the show where the chefs compete in certain amount of time who can produce the best food from some starting ingredient, whatever it was, and one of them, one of the show's themes was leftovers. It was awesome! How to basically take something that you've might be prone to throw out but how to bring back the flavoring using spices and cooking techniques and I think that's a lot what this Foodkeeper app does.

It's going to help us to maybe utilize some of that food that we may have been throwing out to quickly. So, the sell by date is a freshness thing. It doesn't mean just because the food is passed that, minus the thing that have fat, like dairy fats and stuff like that. So, that's the exception but other types of food, packaged foods, the sell by date is just a freshness thing and you can actually use it, according to the government for 12 to 18 months after the sell by date. Okay?

And there's different---On this app, again, it's Foodkeeper app, they'll teach you how to use some of that food and bring back the freshness. So, I just thought I would kind of explain. I like this. I think this is awesome. We waste a lot of food in this country and it's going to become a bigger and bigger issue. And we know that we're throwing away the food, so how about figure out using the Foodkeeper app and bring back the freshness and take it to a homeless shelters or something? Maybe that's a great way... Or eat it yourself? Whatever. We don't need to be throwing out the food so quickly and far as the supplements go, you can still take the supplements past the sell by date but we just can't confirm that the dose will be the same. You're going to lose some of that potency.

Okay. Let's go on to another question. I got a couple minutes left. This came from a listener:

"Are there any new treatments for vertigo?"

So, what is vertigo? Vertigo is when you get kind a like dizzy spell, not passing out, that's different. That's called syncope. Vertigo is a kind of inner-ear thing and you just get off balance. You can have waves of like getting off balance and stuff, a little dizzy, hard to see something because it's moving, and that kind of stuff. And that's all vertigo. And, there are different degrees of it. Some people have vertigo really, really bad, and then there are other people that just kind deal with it off and on. It's normal to get a little attack of vertigo on occasion but usually when people ask me this kind of question, this is somebody who's dealing with this a lot.

So, I think the first thing you're going to do when you do have vertigo, is you're going to make sure it's not something more serious. Right? You have to rule out things like orthostatic hypotension which is where you stand up and you're not able to maintain the fluid and you get kind of dizzy.

You've got to make sure you're not actually passing out because of the heart issue or something like that. So, your doctor has to rule those things out. And if there's ringing in the ear, that's Meniere's disease, that's a form of vertigo. What's really good for that is aldosterone and glutathione. So, if you have Meniere's Disease consider taking aldosterone, which is a hormone, and glutathione. Now, if you just have old-fashioned regular vertigo, it's definitely causing some issues, making hard to function: B6, ginkgo, CoQ 10 and ginger. Those four together had been shown to reduce the symptoms of vertigo. B6, gingko, CoQ 10 and ginger.

This is Healthy talk on Radio MD. I'm Dr. Mike. Stay well.