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  • Cheap vitamins are made from GMO glucose syrup fed to bacteria, analysis finds... Don't buy low-grade vitamins
    published on May 22nd, 2017 at 11:58 AM
    (Natural News) Last year, Brits spent more money on vitamins than painkillers. On the surface, this sounds like good news because painkillers have been associated with many concerning side effects. However, it turns out that some of the vitamins on the market are not exactly doing their bodies any favors. The UK multivitamin industry is...

  • Study confirms toxic environments cause cancer, not merely genetics
    published on May 22nd, 2017 at 11:58 AM
    (Natural News) Many people look to genetics or lifestyle choices to determine their cancer risk, but a new study shows that environment — a decidedly more inescapable factor — has a huge hand in cancer risk too. The study, published in Cancer, has found that areas with poor environmental quality overall displayed the highest incidence...

  • This is what happens when you drink celery juice for one month
    published on May 22nd, 2017 at 11:58 AM
    (Natural News) What would happen to your gut if you drank a glass of celery juice everyday for a month? It’s not a question that everyone asks, but is one that Fern Olivia of MindBodyGreen.com answered. Inspired by Anthony Williams’ glowing praise of celery juice, Olivia decided to give the “powerhouse of a drink” a...

  • Zinc lozenges proven to greatly speed recovery from colds and flu by 300%
    published on May 22nd, 2017 at 11:58 AM
    (Natural News) Zinc acetate lozenges were found to effectively accelerate recovery from common colds, according to a recent analysis published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases. As part of the research, a team of health experts from the University of Helsinki, Finland analyzed data from three randomized controlled trials with a total cohort population of nearly 200 patients. The patients...

  • CDC pushing scare stories about RAW MILK, but won't dare talk about the health risks of mercury in vaccines
    published on May 22nd, 2017 at 11:58 AM
    (Natural News) The boom in sales of raw milk and other raw dairy products countrywide has the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a tizzy, and the U.K.’s Daily Mail is reporting that the agency is speaking out against the “fad.” Should you be concerned if, for health or other reasons, your...

  • More NASA images confirm Saturn's massive hexagonal cloud formation
    published on May 22nd, 2017 at 11:58 AM
    (Natural News) The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released new images of the mysterious  hexagonal-shaped cloud pattern circling Saturn’s north pole. The Cassini spacecraft, which has orbited Saturn for 13 years, took the latest batch of photos. The spacecraft is now in what is called its grand finale, perhaps giving a new...

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson demands "science totalitarianism" across America, says anyone who disagrees with him is automatically "anti-science"
    published on May 22nd, 2017 at 11:58 AM
    (Natural News) Perhaps the world’s biggest asshat with a superiority complex in all things “science,” charlatan Neil deGrasse Tyson, is on a mission to eradicate “anti-intellectualism” from the U.S. –  a.k.a. any belief that deviates from what he personally holds to be true about the world. In a recent video he released for Earth Day,...

  • Plastic BAN List highlights the 9 top sources of plastic pollution
    published on May 22nd, 2017 at 11:58 AM
    (Natural News) In a bid to reduce the amount of plastic pollution, the state of California banned the statewide use of plastic bags. Known as California Proposition 67, the ban took place almost immediately after it was passed on November of last year. Although the law has amassed a great amount of support, environmental groups...

  • Cancer patient speaks out about the devastating effects Monsanto's Roundup has had on her life
    published on May 22nd, 2017 at 11:58 AM
    (Natural News) As the lawsuits filed by cancer patients against Monsanto continue to pile up, more personal stories are coming to light of people who have suffered from exposure to the company’s deadly herbicide. Christine Sheppard knew something was wrong when her leg swelled up dramatically. An ultrasound led to a diagnosis of stage IV...

  • JUNK SCIENCE: Climate change now being blamed for mental health problems... is there anything it doesn't cause?
    published on May 22nd, 2017 at 11:58 AM
    (Natural News) Climate change not only affects the environment, but may also adversely impact mental health, according to a collaborative report by the American Psychological Association, Climate for Health and ecoAmerica. According to researchers, natural disasters may spur trauma and shock in individuals due to loss of property, livelihood, or relatives. In turn, traumatic experiences may give rise to...

Mercola Natural Health Articles Get a healthy dose of natural health news that you can actually use! In this podcast, Dr. Joseph Mercola provides you with practical lifestyle tips and important health alerts. Dr. Mercola is an internationally renowned natural health physician and a doctor of osteopathy. He has made significant milestones in his mission to bring people practical solutions to their health problems. A New York Times Best Selling Author, Dr. Mercola is author of The No-Grain Diet and Take Control of Your Health. He has also been featured in TIME magazine, LA Times, CNN, Fox News, ABC News with Peter Jennings, Today Show and other major media resources. To know more about him visit www.mercola.com.

  • The Case Against Beans and Other Foods Containing Toxic Lectins
    published on May 21st, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    While whole foods are healthy, there are certain caveats to consider even here. Lectins (not to be confused with the phospholipid lecithin) are carbohydrate-binding proteins that are widespread in the plant kingdom. An estimated 30 percent of fresh foods contain lectins.1

    Even dairy contains lectins. Grass fed butter is an exception. Grass fed milk is also lower in lectins than grain-fed milk, thanks to higher amounts of SlgA, an immunoglobulin that binds to lectins.2 Lectins get their name from the Latin word legere, from which the word "select" derives — and that is exactly what they do: They select (attach to) specific biological structures that allow them to do harm, as part of the plant’s self-defense mechanism.

    It’s nature’s ingenious way of keeping natural enemies like fungi and insects at bay. Unfortunately, some of these glycoproteins may also cause trouble in humans. Lectins were first discovered in castor bean casings, which contain the lectin ricin. Ricin is so toxic that a dose the size of a few grains of salt can kill an adult if injected or inhaled.

    The Plant Paradox

    Dr. Steven Gundry’s newly released book, “The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in ‘Healthy’ Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain” has gained widespread media attention, reigniting the discussion — and concern — about lectins.3,4 Gundry has also completed a human study on lectins. In the Selfhacked interview above, he discusses some of his findings, and the reasoning behind his lectin avoidance diet.

    There’s a load of interesting information there, so I recommend taking the time to watch it, and/or read through the accompanying article.5 Many are now familiar with the problems of gluten, but lectins could potentially be just as problematic. That’s not to say the issue lacks controversy. There’s plenty of that to go around. Still, I believe the issue of lectins — toxic lectins, to be more exact — in the diet warrants a closer look.

    While Gundry goes so far as to declare lectins the greatest danger in the American diet, especially for those with autoimmune disease, the reality is likely to be far different. Authority Nutrition6,7 points out that lectins in small amounts can actually provide valuable health benefits, including immune and inflammation modulation, and that problems will only arise when you’re getting high amounts of them.

    Indeed, I believe it would be a mistake to assume all lectins are bad for you. For example, avocados contain the lectin agglutinin (persea Americana agglutinin),8 but that hardly places them on the list of foods to avoid! Avocados are among the healthiest foods I can think of, and research9 shows the agglutinin found in avocado is devoid of specificity for carbs. It interacts with proteins and polyamino acids instead.

    Beans, on the other hand, not only contain lectins that can cause problems for many people, they also have the added drawback of being high in net carbs, and are therefore best avoided in the initial transitional stages of a ketogenic diet. So, there are pros and cons to consider, depending on the food in question. The presence of lectin is by no means a sole determinant. That said, certain lectins have more potent toxic or allergenic effects,10 and the lectins found in beans fall into this category.

    Lectins and Their Harmful Effects

    Among the most problematic lectin-containing foods11,12 are wheat and other seeds of the grass family,13 beans, soy and other legumes, peanuts, and members of the nightshade family14 such as eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers.

    Grains and legumes such as black beans, soybeans, lima beans, kidney beans and lentils contain the highest amounts. Generally speaking, lectins are a type of glyca-binding protein, meaning proteins that bind to carbohydrates in your body. There are many types of lectins, and the main difference between them is the type of sugar each prefers and binds to in your body.

    As noted by Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof.com,15 “One of the reasons wheat is so bad for you is that the lectin in wheat is attracted to glucosamine, the polysaccharide that covers your joints.” Some — including wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), found in wheat and other grass-family seeds — bind to specific receptor sites on your intestinal mucosal cells and interfere with the absorption of nutrients across your intestinal wall.

    As such, they act as "antinutrients," and can have a detrimental effect on your gut microbiome by shifting the balance of your bacterial flora — a common precursor to leaky gut.

    Lectins Are Highly Inflammatory

    One major concern is that most lectins are proinflammatory, meaning they trigger inflammation and create advanced glycation end products. C-reactive protein (CRP) is one example of the many lectins you have circulating in your body right now, and it’s used as a marker of inflammation.

    They are also immunotoxic (capable of stimulating a hyperimmune response), neurotoxic and cytotoxic, meaning they’re toxic to cells and may induce apoptosis (cell death). Certain lectins may also increase your blood viscosity by binding to your red blood cells.

    This makes the blood cells sticky, resulting in abnormal clotting. Some lectins (such as WGA) may even interfere with gene expression and disrupt endocrine function. Lectins also promote leptin resistance, thereby increasing your risk of obesity. All of these factors can predispose you to disease.

    Who Should Avoid Beans and Other Lectin-Rich Foods?

    People who may need to be particularly careful with lectin-containing foods — specifically those in the nightshade family, all grains, legumes and beans — include those struggling with inflammatory or autoimmune conditions,16,17 including but not limited to:

    Caution may also be warranted if you’re taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as they’ve been shown to increase gut permeability.18 This allows toxic lectins to enter your bloodstream, thereby raising your risk of experiencing an adverse reaction.

    Avoid Beans During Initial Stage of Ketogenic Diet

    Foods high in both net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber) and lectins deliver double the harm, and this includes grains and beans. In fact, I recommend abstaining from both grains and beans during the initial stages of my metabolic mitochondrial therapy (MMT) program, which involves cyclical nutritional ketosis, detailed in my new book, “Fat for Fuel.”

    Once you’re through the initial stage where strictly limiting net carbs is crucial, and your body is efficiently burning fat for fuel, then beans (and other net carbs such as grains) can be reincorporated, especially during your “feasting” days. Feast-and-famine cycling or pulsing is an important component of the MMT program. This simply means you cycle in and out of nutritional ketosis rather than staying in ketosis indefinitely.

    Initially, you limit your intake of net carbs to 40 or 50 grams per day and replace them with healthy fats. This will transition your body into primarily burning fat for fuel and radically reduce your risk for most chronic diseases. If your insulin level is below 3, then your carbohydrate consumption may be ideal for you even if it’s higher than 40 or 50 grams. However, if your insulin level is higher, then you are best advised to scale back net carbs from your diet.

    The higher your insulin levels are, the fewer carbohydrates you should eat. Unless your fasting insulin is below 5, avoid carbs like beans, legumes and grains such as rice, quinoa and oats in this initial phase. These foods not only drive your insulin levels up but also increase your chances of becoming leptin resistant, which interferes with your ability to lose weight.

    Once your body is burning fat for fuel, you then begin cycling in and out of ketosis. As a general rule, I recommend increasing your net carbs and protein one or two days a week — days on which you can go as high as 100 grams or more of net carbs — and then cycling back into ketosis on the remaining five or six days. During these high-carb days, beans are acceptable if you like them. Just be sure to cook them properly to neutralize most of the lectins.

    Why Beans Must Be Carefully Cooked

    Red kidney beans contain the highest amounts of the toxic lectin phytohaemagglutinin. Many other beans also contain it, albeit in lower amounts, including white kidney beans and Greek butter beans. This lectin is why you should never eat beans raw or undercooked, lest you come down with bloody vomiting and other symptoms reminiscent of severe food poisoning. As few as five undercooked beans can cause severe symptoms.

    Cooking at high heat deactivates this lectin, making the beans safe to eat. Research has shown cooked red kidney beans contain only 200 to 400 hemagglutinating units (hau), compared to the 20,000 to 70,000 hau found in the raw beans. While most people would never consider eating dry beans without cooking them, skipping steps or undercooking them are common kitchen faux pas that send many to the hospital. As noted in The Atlantic:19

    “Stories of lectin poisoning are not especially rare. In ‘The Independent’20 the food writer Vicky Jones describes a dinner party in which she used Greek butter beans in a dish without boiling them first. Soon everyone was violently ill. It came on so quickly that before they could consider going to the emergency room, death seemed preferable to [trekking to the] hospital. Jones recovered fully, as most lectin-poisoned people do.”

    General Cooking Recommendations and Other Lectin-Reducing Strategies

    Here are some general preparation and cooking guidelines to reduce toxic lectins in beans:

    Soak the beans in water for at least 12 hours before cooking, frequently changing the water. Adding baking soda to the soaking water will boost the neutralization of lectins even further21

    Rinse the beans and discard the water used for soaking

    Cook for at least 15 minutes on HIGH heat. Cooking beans on too-low a heat can actually increase toxicity levels up to five times or more.22 Avoid any recipe calling for dry bean flour, as the dry heat of your oven will not efficiently destroy the lectins

    The best way to destroy lectins is to use a pressure cooker.23,24,25 Many swear by the InstaPot,26 a multipurpose pressure cooker. Avoid slow cookers, as they will actually increase lectin content due to the low temperature used.

    A study27 that compared the phytic acid content of soaked peas that were then either boiled regularly or cooked in a pressure cooker found pressure cooking reduced phytic acid content by 54 percent, compared to 29 percent through regular boiling. Pressure cooking may also preserve more nutrients than other cooking methods

    Sprouting and fermenting will also dramatically reduce the lectin content of foods that contain it, making them far safer. This is one of the reasons why traditionally sprouted grain bread is easier on your digestion than conventional bread made with processed, unsprouted grains.




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  • Resveratrol Improves Arteries
    published on May 21st, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    New evidence confirms that the antioxidant compound resveratrol, found in raspberries, mulberries and other dark berries, pomegranates, red wine, dark chocolate and the skin of red grapes, may improve blood vessels in people with type 2 diabetes.1

    Resveratrol works by relaxing the stiffness that occurs with atherosclerosis, known as hardening of the arteries — a serious health concern because this condition can increase your stroke and heart attack risks. WebMD, which said the study results should be considered preliminary until its publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal, quoted lead researcher Dr. Naomi Hamburg, chief of the vascular biology section at Boston University School of Medicine, who explained:

    "In treatment with resveratrol among people with diabetes, there was a trend toward improvement in the stiffness. And in people with higher stiffness, there was more of a benefit."2

    Arteries tend to stiffen as people age, leading to an increased heart disease risk, but for people who are obese or have type 2 diabetes, the process starts sooner and the consequences are worse, Hamburg said.

    While Hamburg believes a longer study is needed to determine whether resveratrol does indeed have the ability to reduce the incidence of heart attack and stroke, she noted that enough evidence exists to support further research. In the meantime her "overall recommendation is to have a diet that's rich in fruits and vegetables."3

    The Study: Resveratrol Seems to Do the Trick on Aortic Stiffness

    The main player examined in the study, the aorta, is the largest of your body's arteries with the job of transporting blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Scientists used carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (CFPWV) tests to measure the aorta thickness of 57 patients, as well as the health of their blood vessels.

    The study subjects all had type 2 diabetes in common, were an average age of 56 and most were obese, with an almost-even mix between men, women, African-Americans and Caucasians. Some of the participants were given resveratrol supplements, while the rest were given a placebo. The result wasn't deemed "statistically significant," but study results on the first group did indicate a trend toward reduced aortic stiffness with the use of resveratrol.

    However, 23 patients with exceptionally stiff aortas when the study started were given daily 100 milligram (mg) doses of resveratrol for two weeks, after which tests indicated a nearly 5 percent reduction in stiffness.

    The latter group's regimen was then followed up with 300 mg doses for another two weeks, resulting in decreased aortic stiffness by 9 percent. Perhaps the most telling portion of the research was that the placebo-dosed patients showed an increase in aortic stiffness at the end of the study. Significantly, an American Heart Association news release quoted Hamburg:

    "The effect of resveratrol may be more about improving structural changes in the aorta, and less about the relaxation of blood vessels, and people with more normal aortic stiffness may not get as much benefit."4

    Funded by the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the study results were presented at the American Heart Association's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Peripheral Vascular Disease 2017 Scientific Sessions.

    Resveratrol Activates Gene SIRT1

    Animal studies had already determined that resveratrol activates the gene SIRT1, a protein that researchers say appears to delay aging and the development of several diseases.

    To find out if it might do the same in humans, the same scientists used blood vessel lining samples from seven patients to check SIRT1 activity and found that it increased after they were given resveratrol supplements. WebMD asserted, "This doesn't prove that resveratrol activates the longevity gene, only that there was an association."

    But Dr. Byron Lee, professor of medicine at the University of California in San Francisco, observed that it's a fact, not just conjecture, that people who drink red wine and eat nuts live longer, statistically, and expressed excitement that scientists are getting to the bottom of the significant differences resveratrol can make. He added:

    "Impressively, the effect was seen after just a few weeks of treatment. Who knows what more prolonged antioxidant treatment could do to the arteries and other organs."5

    Additional studies have shown that SIRT1 also helps prevent disease by recharging or speeding up what you could call your cell's energy production centers, the mitochondria6 and, further, by providing antiaging benefits, particularly in arteries.

    That study's senior author, David Sinclair, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, said that in the history of pharmaceuticals, no drug has ever been able to bind to a protein to make it "run faster" the way resveratrol-activated SIRT1 does in trials, because nearly all the drugs they'd tried either slowed or blocked them.

    Sinclair, who incidentally is a cofounder and scientific adviser of GlaxoSmithKline's company Sirtris, said that when it became known how resveratrol activates SIRT1 in cells, the plan became one to "engineer even better molecules that more precisely and effectively trigger the effects of resveratrol."7

    But when supplementation and eating the right foods can truly be your medicine, as Hippocrates advised, it's the best way to seek health, not eating unhealthily and seeking pharmaceuticals to fix the subsequent problem.

    If You Think Red Wine Is Your Resveratrol Source, Think Again

    Resveratrol belongs to a family of compounds known as polyphenols, recognized as viable tools to combat damaging free radicals in your body, from environmental toxins and unhealthy foods to chemicals you might encounter. Further, resveratrol helps to optimize your cholesterol levels, including raising beneficial HDL cholesterol. There are studies that maintain that because it's highly soluble in alcohol, your body may absorb more resveratrol from red wine than from other sources.

    Muscadine grapes, for instance, have the highest concentration in nature due to their extra thick skins and many seeds, where resveratrol is concentrated, but that's not a reason to ingest wine like an elixir.

    First of all, with no other factors attached, alcohol is neurotoxic and can damage your brain and other organs. It also increases your insulin levels. Wine has even been shown to contain glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, and the most used agricultural chemical in history. The most potent aspect of resveratrol is as an antioxidant, and there are far healthier sources to obtain this potent free radical scavenger.

    How to Obtain the Benefits of Resveratrol

    One of the most dramatic aspects of resveratrol is its neuroprotective effects, even to the point of slowing the onset or progression of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, which accounts for 20 percent to 30 percent of all dementia cases, caused by blocked or reduced cerebral blood flow that results in oxygen deprivation.

    A U.K. study showed that a single dose of resveratrol can improve blood flow to your brain and may enhance several aspects of brain function.8 The benefits include lowered inflammation and may extend to protection again depression and improved learning and memory skills. A CBS News report described resveratrol's initial function as:

    "A phytoalexin, an antimicrobial compound that is produced by plants to protect them from rough environments like excessive ultraviolet light, infections and climate changes. Resveratrol has been linked to protection against obesity and diabetes, a reduced risk for blood clotting and a way to … [optimize] cholesterol, due to the compound's ability to dilate blood vessels, increase nitric oxide and block the stickiness of platelets."9

    Studies also show that as resveratrol nails free radicals, it helps prevent DNA damage, which, among other negatives, leaves your system vulnerable to disease, including cancer.

    Resveratrol Included in List of World's Most Powerful Healing Compounds

    One study10 listed a large number of some of the most powerful disease-preventive agents and the foods they're derived from, and included resveratrol and some of its sources, among others:

    Curcumin (turmeric)

    Limonene (citrus fruits)

    Lycopene (tomato)

    Capsaicin (red chili)

    Diosgenin (fenugreek)

    6-gingerol (ginger)

    Ellagic acid (pomegranate)

    Indole-3-carbinol (cruciferous vegetables)

    Ursolic acid (apple, pears and prunes)

    Anethol (anise, camphor and fennel)

    Catechins (green tea)

    Eugenol (cloves)

    Resveratrol (red grapes and berries)

    Fiber

    Beta carotene (carrots)

    Allicin (garlic)

    While dark chocolate and cacao are included on the list as sources of resveratrol, keep in mind that your best bet is raw cacao nibs, which can be eaten whole or ground into powder for use in recipes. This also excludes milk chocolate, which contains much more sugar, and white chocolate, which contains no resveratrol at all. Plus, it's always better to get your nutrition from as many good sources as possible, so eat those blueberries.




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  • How Important Is It to Calculate Net Carbs?
    published on May 21st, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    When people sit down to enjoy a meal or snack, most have no idea what vitamins, minerals or other nutritional aspects the food contains, or the amounts. Often, when such individuals resolve to lose or maintain their weight, they read ingredient labels to see if they can figure out how they’re doing.

    The Atkins Diet, designed to limit sugar and carb intake for this purpose, says to figure the net carbs, start with the grams of carbohydrates listed on food labels, subtract the dietary fiber, then subtract the sugar alcohol if applicable. That’s backed up by Mother Nature Network, but goes further:

    “Net carbs is a calculation representing mostly just the starches and sugars in a food after some fiber and sugar alcohol contents have been subtracted. Some types of carbohydrates do not affect blood sugar in the body as much as others, so the thought is that net carbs only account for carbs that affect blood sugar.”1

    Mother Nature Network maintains that the key to calculating net carbs is to figure out how much of an impact fiber has on blood glucose. Here’s how they say you can calculate net carbs:

    “First subtract all of the insoluble fiber (if listed) from the total carbs and total fiber. If more than 5 grams of total fiber remain, you can also subtract half of the remaining fiber from total carbs. Then look at the sugar alcohols. If there are more than 5 grams of sugar alcohols, subtract half that amount from the total carbohydrates. If erythritol is the only sugar alcohol listed, you may not subtract any sugar alcohols.”2

    ‘It’s a Numbers Game’

    Registered dietitian and “Clean Eating for Busy Families” author Michelle Dudash says food manufacturers coined the term “net carbs” when the low-carb craze became a thing in the 2000s. One reason it did, she says, was because dieters could basically eat as much sweet and salty foods as they wanted without worrying.

    But another reason people are intrigued by a low-carb diet is because it allows them to eat more; the lower the total carb count is, the higher your chances of staying under the amount you should eat per day. “It’s a numbers game,” she said, adding:

    “There is no legal definition for net carbs; therefore it’s not regulated by the FDA on food labels and calculations can vary by each manufacturer … The problem is that going on a low-carb diet typically includes cutting out food groups like grains, fruit and some vegetables, so important nutrients can be overlooked.”3

    In fact, only carb information that can be broken down into dietary fiber and sugars is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Atkins site notes:

    “The Net Carbs number reflects the grams of carbohydrate that significantly impact your blood sugar level and therefore are the only carbs you need to count when you do Atkins. Foods that are low in Net Carbs such as nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits don’t have a significant impact on blood sugar and therefore are less likely to interfere with weight loss.”4

    Low Net Carbs — Not Low Total Carbs

    Net carbs are defined as total carbs minus fiber. Keep in mind that when seeking to limit your net carbs, this is not the same as eating a low total carb diet — it is a low net carb diet. Seeking to limit carbs from fiber would be counterproductive, as your body requires large amounts of fiber carbs for two primary reasons.

    First, fiber is used as a prebiotic for your beneficial bacteria and, second, most of the fiber is converted to short chain fats that can be used as fuel for your cells in place of sugar. Most people are burning carbs as their primary fuel.

    The problem with this is that carbs do not burn as cleanly as fat and produce 30 percent to 40 percent more free radicals than fat. These free radicals damage important cellular structures, such as your mitochondrial DNA, cell membranes and proteins like the mitochondrial electron transport chain.

    The goal of counting your net carbs is so you can eventually radically limit your intake to under 40 to 50 grams of net carbs per day and replace them with healthy fats, as this will transition your body into primarily burning fat for fuel and radically reduce your risk for most chronic diseases.

    The Best Way to Track Your Nutrition, Fitness and Health Data

    It’s important to understand how to burn fat for fuel. In fact, you may need an “educational intervention” of sorts to understand how foods, specifically carbohydrates, impact your body.

    A lot of information is required to learn what foods are best to eat (and what to avoid), and how much to get the most “bang for your buck,” in the weight loss department, but still provide the nutrition needed for optimal results. How do you eliminate the guesswork and calculate your net carbs with accuracy?

    If you’re making the commitment to burn fat for fuel, an online nutrient tracker is the easiest, most efficient way to determine your net carb intake. In lieu of all the math required for the net carb calculations noted above, a food tracker makes it so much easier, and Cronometer is one of the best.

    As a “premium web application for tracking your nutrition and health data,” Cronometer takes the mystery out of how to get the most nutrition from a reduced-calorie or low-net-carb diet. Cronometer can provide you with a quick overview of your diet over time, factoring in your weight and daily calorie intake, for example, and even macronutrient ratios. But amazingly, this device also tracks more than 40 micronutrients, with a focus on nutrition analysis.

    If you want complete accuracy, rest assured that Cronometer uses data from two of the most reliable databases available: the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Nutrition Coordinating Center's (NCC) Food and Nutrient Database. Professionally analyzed and validated, both are heavily relied on by the scientific community.

    In fact, it can tell you how much fat, protein and carbohydrates you’ve consumed, the grams and percentages of your total calories, as well as ratios for omega-6 to omega-3, zinc-to-copper and potassium-to-sodium.

    Cronometer Benefits for Nutrition, Balance and Health

    Another valuable benefit of using the Cronometer system is that you can preplan your meals and enter the information before you actually eat. My Nutrition Plan contains all the information you need to get healthy. At the same time you’re looking at your carb intake, it’s equally important to look at the other basics for nutritional health, such as protein, fiber and healthy fats. Cronometer.com explains:

    “Calorie-reduced diets require a lot of information to perform optimally. In order to restrict caloric intake, but remain healthy, users of the diet must track their vitamin, mineral and protein intakes with great care.”5

    Additionally, the site offers discussion forums and a blog that cover a wide range of topics regarding your health journey, from the ketogenic diet to the importance of vitamin D to new applications.

    The Cronometer mobile app is available for iOS and Android and offers easy-to-use touch screen optimization so that even when you’re out and about, its streamlined data entry site is readily accessible. It’s important to understand that it’s not something you’ll have to do daily for the rest of your life; it’s just a short-term intervention.

    Net Carbs, Fiber and How They Impact Your Blood Sugar

    Net carb declarations on some packaged foods may not reflect the number of carbs you actually absorb. Additionally, every human body processes nutrients, including carbs, slightly differently. Other terms for “net carbs” are digestible or impact carbs, which your body can absorb, whether they’re simple or complex. As Authority Nutrition observes:

    “Simple carbs contain one or two sugar units linked together and are found in foods like fruits, vegetables, milk, sugar, honey and syrup. Complex carbs contain many sugar units linked together and are found in grains and starchy vegetables like potatoes. When you eat a carb-containing food, most of the carbs are broken down into individual sugar units by enzymes produced in your small intestine. Your body can only absorb individual sugar units.”6

    But while some carbs can’t be broken down into individual sugars, others, such as fiber and sugar alcohols, are only partially broken down and absorbed. Therefore, most fiber and sugar alcohols are subtracted to calculate net carbs.

    When it comes to types of fiber, soluble or insoluble, the latter is bulkier and can help prevent constipation. Further, it has no impact on your caloric intake, blood sugar or insulin levels.7 But soluble fiber dissolves and forms a gel-like substance that helps food move smoothly through your system, making you feel full.8

    Soluble fibers are fermented by bacteria into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Food containing 6 grams of fiber contributes around 4 calories from SCFAs, but not only doesn’t increase blood glucose, but may even help reduce blood sugar levels.9

    Sugar Alcohol and How Your Body Reacts to It

    What are sugar alcohols? Authority Nutrition describes them as sugar alternatives, but with the ethanol their name implies. They’re hybrids of sugar molecules and alcohol molecules, and aside from all the chemically-concocted types, several can be found in fruits and vegetables.

    But xylitol (which is highly toxic to dogs10), erythritol, sorbitol, maltitol and numerous others are very controversial. Sorbitol, for instance, is cited by Authority Nutrition as possibly causing “significant digestive distress.”

    “If you eat a lot of sugar alcohols in a short period of time, this can lead to symptoms like gas, bloating and diarrhea. If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or a sensitivity to FODMAPs, then you may want to consider avoiding sugar alcohols completely. Sorbitol and maltitol appear to be the biggest offenders, while erythritol causes the least symptoms.”11

    FODMAP, which stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols, are short-chain carbohydrates that some people find difficult to digest. It’s very common in individuals who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).12 Erythritol, Authority Nutrition states, seems to be the winner in the alternative sweetener category, although xylitol is also one of the better options. However, using natural substances, such as pure stevia, is always best.

    Increasing Your Healthy Fats and Limiting Net Carbs Is Imperative for Optimal Health

    It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s not just limiting your net carb intake that’s important for improving your metabolic health. It’s also important to increase your healthy fat intake. In fact, the type of fuel you burn makes all the difference in your quest to lose or maintain your weight, as the Atkins site explains:

    “A typical diet reduces calories, but is still high in carbohydrates (and thus sugar). As a result, many people constantly cycle between sugar ‘highs’ (where excess sugar is actually stored as fat in the body) and sugar ‘lows’ (where you feel fatigued and ravenously hungry — for more carbs and sugar). For many, it’s really hard to lose weight that way.”13

    Accurately tracking your net carbs and determining and maintaining your body’s crucial balance for its best function is extremely important. A tracker like Cronometer may be the key you need for optimizing your nutrition so you feel good and look good, and are not always wondering what you’re missing.

    Good Health Starts by Counting Net Carbs

    To sum up, virtually all disease, including obesity, is rooted in metabolic mitochondrial dysfunction, so this is the foundational aspect that must be addressed. Improving your mitochondrial function through diet involves radically reducing the net carbs in your diet and replacing them with high-quality fats.

    The reason why it's so important to limit your net carbs is because high-sugar foods will cause your blood sugar to rise, and glucose is an inherently "dirty" fuel that generates large amounts of free radicals — far more than fat does when burned. The crux of the problem is that in order to be able to burn fat for fuel, your cells must be healthy and normal.

    Cancer cells, for example, do not have this type of metabolic flexibility. They primarily burn glucose anaerobically (without oxygen) to survive. This is likely a primary factor why a healthy high-fat diet appears to be such an effective cancer prevention strategy.

    Ultimately, when you switch from burning glucose as your primary fuel to burning fat as your primary fuel, your cells are more effectively and efficiently nourished and supported while cancer cells are frequently starved to death. As your body becomes increasingly efficient at burning fat for fuel, oxidative damage is reduced and mitochondrial function is optimized. This is the key to good health, disease treatment and prevention and longevity.

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  • Basic Introduction to Metabolic Mitochondrial Therapy
    published on May 20th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Modern food manufacturing processes have utterly failed at improving health and increasing longevity. The evidence is both clear and overwhelming: Cyclical net carbohydrate intake is the primary factor that determines your body's fat ratio, and processed grains and sugars (particularly fructose) are the primary culprits behind our skyrocketing obesity, diabetes and chronic disease rates.

    Today, two-thirds of the American population are overweight or obese;1 1 in 5 deaths is obesity-related;2 half have pre-diabetes, diabetes or other chronic illness;3 and 1 in 3 women and half of all men will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime.

    There’s an answer to all of these terrible health trends, and it all starts with the nutritional composition of your diet. Most people simply eat far too many processed foods, net carbs and too few healthy fats, and too many unhealthy fats, which results in gaining and retaining extra body fat and becoming increasingly insulin resistant.

    Most also eat too much protein for optimal health and, while exercise cannot compensate for the damage done by a high-carb, low-fat diet, most do not get enough physical movement either. These factors set in motion metabolic and biological cascades that deteriorate your health.

    The Root Cause of Most Degenerative Conditions

    In the featured video, Dr. David Perlmutter4 and I discuss my new book, “Fat for Fuel,” which was released May 16. This book, which is the most important book I’ve written to date, explains the metabolic advantages you gain once your body regains the ability to burn fat for fuel.

    The book was peer-reviewed by dozens of leading natural health experts and researchers, including Perlmutter. Peer-review is a gold standard in science and the medical literature, but there are very few peer-reviewed books, which is a feature that sets “Fat for Fuel” apart from many others. I’m deeply grateful for everyone’s input.

    As explained in the interview, and in my book, a foundational cause of most degenerative diseases is the fact that your mitochondria, the little powerhouses located in most of your body’s cells, are not receiving sufficient amounts of proper fuel. As a result, your mitochondria start to deteriorate and malfunction. This dysfunction lays the groundwork for subsequent breakdowns of various bodily systems.

    Your mitochondria generate the vast majority of the energy (adenosine triphosphate or ATP) in your body. Were all mitochondria to fail, you’d be dead in seconds.

    In addition to generating the energy currency of your body, ATP, your mitochondria are also responsible for apoptosis (programmed cell death), and serve as important signaling molecules that help regulate the expression of your genes. This is a function that even most doctors are unaware of.

    Your mitochondria are nourished by certain nutrients and harmed by others. So, a healthy diet is a diet that supports mitochondrial function and prevents dysfunction, and having the metabolic flexibility to burn fat is the key.

    The vast majority of people on the planet who eat a primarily processed food diet are burning carbohydrates as their primary fuel, which has the devastating effect of shutting down your body’s ability to burn fat. This is why obesity is so prevalent, and why so many find it nearly impossible to lose weight and keep it off.

    Fats Versus Carbs

    Ideally you will have the metabolic flexibility to burn either carbs or fats for fuel. Unfortunately, saturated fats have been wrongly demonized as being harmful, and when food manufacturers started removing the fats from their processed foods, they added sugar instead. For a long time, this was viewed as a healthy substitution. Today, the evidence clearly demonstrates the fallacy of this view.

    When your body burns primarily carbs for fuel, excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals are created, which damage cellular mitochondrial membranes and DNA, leading to the degenerative diseases that are so prevalent today. Healthy dietary fats, which are a cleaner-burning fuel, create far fewer ROS and free radicals. This lays the groundwork for many of the metabolic benefits of this program. Fats are also critical for the health of cellular membranes and many other biological functions.

    Metabolic Mitochondrial Therapy — Fat and Carb Basics

    The program I’ve developed is called metabolic mitochondrial therapy (MMT). The initial phase of the MMT program — which ends once your body is able to effectively burn fat for fuel — can take anywhere from weeks to months or longer, depending on how metabolically damaged you are.

    It is called MMT because I review a variety of other strategies to improve your mitochondria other than diet, such as cold thermogenesis, photobiology, detox, exercise and the importance of electromagnetic fields.

    The initial strategy of this program is the restriction of net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) to 20 to 50 grams per day, but only until you start burning fat for fuel. To replace the lost carbs, you increase healthy fats, so that you’re getting anywhere from 50 to 85 percent of your daily calories from fat. Examples of high-quality healthy fats include:

    Avocados

    Coconuts and coconut oil (excellent for cooking as it can withstand higher temperatures without oxidizing)

    Animal-based omega-3 fat from fatty fish low in mercury like wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies and/or krill oil

    Butter made from raw grass fed organic milk

    Raw nuts (macadamia and pecans are ideal as they’re high in healthy fat while being low in protein)

    Seeds like black sesame, cumin, pumpkin and hemp seeds

    Olives and olive oil (make sure it's third party certified, as 80 percent of olive oils are adulterated with vegetable oils)

    Grass fed (pastured) preferably organic and humanely raised meats. Avoid CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) animal products

    MCT oil

    Ghee (clarified butter), lard and tallow (excellent for cooking)

    Raw cacao butter

    Organic, pastured egg yolks

    Fats to avoid include trans fats and highly refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils.5 The former acts as a pro-oxidant; the latter are high in damaged omega-6 and produce toxic oxidation products like cyclic aldehydes when heated.

    Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, when taken in large amounts, cannot be burned for fuel. Instead, they’re incorporated into cellular and mitochondrial membranes. Here, they become highly susceptible to oxidative damage, which ultimately damages your metabolic machinery.

    It’s important to emphasize that MMT is not merely adding more healthy fat to your current diet or eating as much fat as you want. It is absolutely crucial to restrict net carbs, or else you’re merely increasing the number of calories you consume. Raising the amount of fat and decreasing net carbs is what pushes your body into burning fat for fuel. Eating high amounts of both fat and net carbs will NOT allow your body to make this shift, as your body will use whatever sugar is available first.

    Metabolic Mitochondrial Therapy — Protein Basics

    The program differs significantly from Paleo in that it restricts protein to adequate levels. A general recommendation is to limit your protein to one-half gram of protein per pound (1 gram per kilo) of lean body mass. To determine your lean body mass, subtract your body fat percentage from 100.

    For example, if you have 30 percent body fat, then you have 70 percent lean body mass. Then multiply that percentage (in this case, 0.7) by your current weight to get your lean body mass in pounds or kilos. As an example, if you weigh 170 pounds, 0.7 multiplied by 170 equals 119 pounds of lean body mass. Using the "half-gram of protein" rule, you daily protein requirement would be 59.5 or just under 60 grams.

    Certain individuals and life circumstances do raise your protein requirements. This includes seniors, pregnant women and those who are aggressively exercising (or competing). As a general rule, these individuals need about 25 percent more protein.

    Why Limit Protein?

    The reason for limiting protein is because excessive protein has a stimulating effect on a very important biochemical signaling pathway called the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), which has significant, adverse metabolic consequences. Importantly, this pathway plays a significant role in many cancers. It's also a significant regulator of the aging process. When you reduce protein to just what your body needs, mTOR remains inhibited, which helps minimize your chances of cancer growth.

    Perlmutter recently interviewed professor of biology Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D., on this very topic, so for additional discussion, have a look at that interview.6 Seyfried is the leading expert on the metabolic foundation of cancer, and a large portion of the proceeds of “Fat for Fuel” will be used to support his leading edge research.

    Excessive protein can also be converted into body fat and, through some pathways, sugar. So, net carb restriction normalizes the insulin pathway while protein restriction normalizes the mTOR pathway, both of which are important for optimal health. It’s well worth noting that cancer is just one expression of the same metabolic problem found in most other degenerative diseases. The same pathways are involved in most if not all of them.

    Feast-Famine Cycling Basics

    Another crucial difference between MMT and most other ketogenic diets is something called feast-famine cycling. Continuously remaining in nutritional ketosis can actually cause counterproductive side effects, and is likely not optimally healthy in the long term. The ketogenic cycling is implemented once you’re out of the initial stage and your body has regained the ability to burn fat. At that point, you begin cycling in and out of nutritional ketosis by upping your carb and protein intake once or twice a week.

    After a day or two of “feasting,” you then cycle back into nutritional ketosis (the “fasting” stage) for the remainder of the week. By periodically pulsing higher carb intakes, consuming, say, 100 or 150 grams of carbs opposed to 20 to 50 grams per day, your ketone levels will dramatically increase and your blood sugar will drop.

    Why is this pulsing so important? It goes back to the workings of insulin. The primary function of insulin is not merely to drive sugar into the cell but rather to suppress the production of glucose by your liver (hepatic gluconeogenesis). When you suppress insulin for too long, however, your liver starts making more glucose to make up for the deficit.

    The result? Your blood sugar starts rising even if you’re not eating any sugar at all. In this situation, eating a high-sugar meal will actually LOWER your blood sugar (because you activated insulin, which then suppresses glucose production in your liver). In the long term, this is not a healthy metabolic state, and cycling in and out of nutritional ketosis will prevent this from occurring.

    The Role of Iron Is Also Vital in Mitochondrial Function

    Iron also plays an important role in mitochondrial function, and contrary to popular belief, excessive iron levels are far more prevalent than iron deficiency. Virtually all men over the age of 16 and post-menopausal women are at risk of high iron. Menstruating women are protected since they lose blood, and hence iron, each month. While most people damage their mitochondria by eating a high-carb, low-fat diet and/or excessive protein, elevated iron levels can cause profound mitochondrial damage as well.

    When you have high iron levels in your mitochondria, it enhances oxidation, creating high levels of damaging ROS and free radicals. Fortunately, high iron is simple to fix. Simply check your iron level with a serum ferritin test, and if your level is high, donate blood two or three times a year to maintain a healthy level.

    An ideal iron ferritin level is between 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), the same as vitamin D. Below 20 ng/mL is a deficiency state, and you definitely do not want to be above 60 or 80 ng/mL.

    Getting Started

    To be successful on this program, precision is important. You cannot guess when it comes to the amount of fat, net carbs and protein you eat. In the beginning, you have to measure and track them. To do this you need:

    A kitchen scale to weigh food items

    Measuring cups to measure food amounts

    A nutrient tracker. I recommend using www.cronometer.com/mercola, as it is the most accurate nutrient tracker available, it’s free, and it’s already set up for nutritional ketosis.

    Based on the personal base parameters you enter, such as height, weight, body fat percentage and waist circumference, it will automatically calculate the ideal ratios of net carbs, protein and healthy fats (including your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio) to put you into nutritional ketosis

    From a metabolic perspective, once you become an efficient fat burner, one of the most astonishing things that happens is that your food cravings disappear. No longer will sugar rule your world. It’s incredibly freeing for most people. Your energy level and mental clarity will also dramatically increase.




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  • Energy-Boosting Coconut Green Tea
    published on May 20th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    Recipe From My Longevity Kitchen

     

    Tea is one of the simplest drinks you can prepare, and it happens to be one of the healthiest as well. The great thing about it is that there are various types of tea to please everyone’s palate, and you can add more ingredients to further enhance the taste and the nutritional profile. But out of all the varieties sold in the market, green tea is probably the best.

     

    This green tea recipe from My Longevity Kitchen is a great mid-afternoon snack that will lift your spirits. It can even be used as a pre-workout drink to maximize your performance at the gym.

     

    Ingredients:

    ·         1 serving of prepared hot, organic green tea

    ·         1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil

    ·         Grass fed vanilla whey protein powder

    ·         Generous dash of cinnamon

    ·         1 tablespoon medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, optional

     

    Procedure:

    1.       Using a blender, blend together the hot tea and coconut oil.

    2.       Carefully touch the mixture with your finger to test the temperature. If it’s too hot to touch, then it needs to cool a little longer before you add the whey protein powder (to avoid damaging the nutrients).

    3.       Once it’s at a temperature you can comfortably touch, add the protein powder and cinnamon. Blend again. Enjoy!

     

    Note: Different brands of whey protein powders have varying levels of nutritional content and sweetness. Try adding 2 tablespoons first and then adjust to your preferred taste.

     

    Green [TNAS1] Tea Is an Amazing Source of Powerful Antioxidants

     

    Green tea contains a high concentration of polyphenols, which offer around 25 to 100 times better antioxidant activity compared to vitamins C and E. Many studies have been done regarding this super food, and findings suggest that it may help with:

    ·         Cardiovascular health: Consuming green tea regularly can help lower harmful cholesterol levels (LDL) and raise good cholesterol levels (HDL).[i]

    ·         Weight management: The catechins in green tea can help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism and promoting fat burning in your body.[ii]

    ·         Cancer: Results from various studies suggest that green tea may help lower your risk of pancreatic,[iii] breast,[iv] esophageal,[v] colorectal,[vi] ovarian,[vii] skin[viii] and stomach[ix] cancers.

    ·         Diabetes: Findings from a 2013 study indicate that green tea may have a positive effect against the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.[x]

    ·         Brain function: Green tea may help improve cognitive performance as you age. In a 2010 study, researchers discovered that the polyphenols helped suppress brain beta amyloid plaque formation in mice.[xi]

     

    Coconut [TNAS2] Oil Adds Healthy Fats to Make This Beverage ‘Energy-Boosting’

     

    The medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in coconut oil provide a clean, healthy source of energy because they don’t add to your weight. That’s because this type of fat is immediately absorbed and converted by your liver into fuel. And that’s not all — the MCFAs help improve the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

     

    I use coconut oil as much as I can in my cooking due to the benefits mentioned above, as well as for the following reasons:

     

    ·         Immune system boost: The various fatty acids and lipids in coconut oil can boost your immune system. They have been found to help combat harmful microbes such as yeast, viruses and bacteria.[xii]

    ·         Heart health: Similar to green tea, consuming coconut oil can help lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and increase good (HDL) cholesterol levels.[xiii]

    ·         Hunger reduction: Coconut oil’s MCFAs can help you feel full longer, helping reduce your overall calorie consumption. In one study, participants who ate MCFAs consumed 256 fewer calories on average compared to high-fat diet eaters.[xiv]

     

    Whey [TNAS3] Adds Important Proteins That Can Help With Muscle Repair

     

    Whey is a high-quality protein isolated from cow’s milk. It is essentially a byproduct formed during cheese-making when enzymes are added in the milk to create curds. The liquid portion that’s left is the whey protein, which is then turned into a powder.[xv]

     

    The main benefit of whey is that it is quickly absorbed by your muscles within 10 to 15 minutes of consumption. It also contains leucine, an amino acid that helps speed up muscle repair, making it a popular supplement for fitness enthusiasts. If you exercise regularly, whey protein can benefit your routine.

     

    However, make sure to consume whey and other protein-rich foods in moderation. Excess protein can negatively affect your mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a signaling pathway that can play a role in the development of cancer. Only purchase whey protein made from grass fed milk to ensure you are consuming a high-quality product.

     

    Cinnamon [TNAS4] Adds More Nutrients to Boost the Tea’s Nutritional Profile

     

    Cinnamon is a spice derived from the inner bark of the cinnamomum tree, which is then left out to dry to produce the color, flavor and aroma for which it’s known. Studies have found that cinnamon contains different compounds that may provide health benefits, such as:

     

    ·         Increasing antioxidant function: Cinnamon is rich in polyphenols, which can help eliminate free radicals throughout your body.[xvi]

    ·         Regulating inflammation response: Consuming cinnamon can help promote proper inflammatory response, thanks to its various essential oils.[xvii]

    ·         Controlling insulin sensitivity: According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Diabetes of Science and Technology, cinnamon has the potential to lower your risk of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.[xviii]

     

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  • How Hugs Heal — Have You Had a Hug Today?
    published on May 19th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    From the time you were born until the day you die, touch is an important part of your emotional and physical health. Infants deprived of touch grow up with developmental and cognitive delays, attachment disorders and higher risk of serious infections.1 On the other hand, premature infants who are held skin-to-skin exhibit better cognitive skills, are more resilient to stress and have more organized sleep patterns, even 10 years later.2

    These early touch-based interventions demonstrate the need for touch in psychological regulation. The benefits of touch don’t diminish with age. The late Virginia Satir, psychotherapist and generally acknowledged as a pioneer in family therapy,3 spoke about the importance of touch and hugs as it relates to a person’s emotional health, saying:4

    “We need [four] hugs a day for survival. We need [eight] hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

    This may represent the minimum and optimum thresholds to generate sufficient oxytocin, a hormone released by your pituitary gland in response to physical touch. The simple act of hugging may not only increase your bond with others, but may also boost your physical and emotional health.

    The Importance of Touch

    In the absence of touch, children become almost unrecognizable, developing personality disorders and other conditions that make it difficult for them to live in society.5 Historical reports of children who grew up “feral,” or in the wild without the benefit of touch, show they often have difficulty assimilating into a group.

    Touch is the primary language to communicate compassion and is fundamental to communication, bonding and health.6 It supports the immune system, reduces stress, encourages sleep and has no side effects. It doesn’t drain your batteries, but recharges you instead.

    Western cultures often experience a deficiency in touch. Before he passed in 1974, psychologist Sidney Jourard completed a study in which he measured touch between friends in the U.S., England, France and Puerto Rico.7 In England, people didn’t touch at all. In the U.S. friends touched up to two times an hour.

    This is in deep contrast to friends in France who touched up to 110 times in an hour, or in Puerto Rico where they touched up to 180 times in an hour.

    Health Benefits of Oxytocin

    Humans are wired so that hugs make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Whether it’s a mother-child embrace, a hug from a friend or a squeeze from your significant other, research suggests these touches deliver some real emotional and physical health benefits.8

    The basis for several of the benefits psychologists associate with hugging is the result of release of oxytocin. Also called the “love hormone” or “cuddle hormone,” it is released from your pituitary gland, triggering a flood of emotions depending upon the environment in which you associate the hormone.9

    In other words, in cases where the hormone was released during situations that were not pleasant, such as during poor relationships, it can make you less accepting of people. The hormone was first recognized for the role it played in bonding mother and child during pregnancy and nursing.

    While oxytocin appears to be related to the bond a mother feels to her infant, those interactions also increase the amount oxytocin secreted by the infant.10 The bonding experience of oxytocin is not limited to infancy, but also translates into adulthood, triggering feelings of trust and support between people who hug.

    These reactions are the result of actions as a neurotransmitter on the emotional center of the brain. It promotes feelings of contentment and may even promote monogamous behavior,11 especially in men who are already bonded to a woman.12

    The release of oxytocin with hugging triggers feelings of compassion for the other person, a necessary form of connection and support during times of psychological stress or grief. Feelings of intimacy and closeness give you an optimistic sense of where you fit socially and a positive sense of well-being.13

    Relationship Between Hugs and Cortisol

    The release of oxytocin reduces your levels of stress hormone, or cortisol. This reduction in stress, combined with a sense of emotional support, appears to support your immune system and make you less susceptible to the common cold.14

    Research has found your perceived social support and the number of hugs you give and get could predict your susceptibility to developing a cold, finding that hugs could explain 32 percent of the beneficial effect.15 Even those who got a cold had less severe symptoms when they had more frequent hugs.

    The pressure of a hug may stimulate your thymus gland, responsible for the regulation and balance of your white blood cells,16 another way in which hugging may support your immune system. This reduction in cortisol and perceived stress may also help you stay calm during a stressful event, such as a presentation at work or medical test. The reduction in stress also lowers your heart rate17 and blood pressure,18 which may reduce your potential risk for heart disease.

    The reduction of stress may also have a direct response on the prevention of other diseases. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine has carried out multiple studies on the significance of touch and found a reduction in pain, lowered glucose levels in children with diabetes and improved immune system in people with cancer.19

    Hugs Each Day May Help Keep Depression at Bay

    A hug is also one of the easiest ways to demonstrate appreciation and acknowledges the person you are hugging as important to you. Nearly 55 percent of all communication is nonverbal,20 so a single gesture of hugging is an excellent method of communicating love and care.

    Hugs stimulate your brain to release several other chemicals that affect your mood and emotions. The first, dopamine, is a hormone that evokes pleasure in the brain. Endorphins and serotonin are also released, helping to reduce pain and feelings of sadness.21 According to Debra Castaldo, Ph.D., relationship expert and couples and family therapist:22

    "We also know that hugging our loved ones promotes healthy emotional attachment and intimacy, which is the foundation of a happy, healthy long-term relationship.”

    Unfortunately, with age, the number of touches and hugs received often goes down. Seniors who live alone may not experience a touch on a daily basis.23 Affection may make a big difference in the emotional and physical health of seniors. Sharon Farber, Ph.D., commented in Psychology Today:24

    “Being touched and touching someone else are fundamental modes of human interaction, and increasingly, many people are seeking out their own professional touchers and body arts teachers — chiropractors, physical therapists, Gestalt therapists, Rolfers, the Alexander-technique and Feldenkrais people, massage therapists, martial arts and T’ai Chi Ch’uan instructors.

    And some even wait in physicians’ offices for a physical examination for ailments with no organic cause — they wait to be touched.”

    Hug Evolution: Mindful Hugging

    Yogi masters also recognize the health benefits associated with physical touch, and specifically with hugging.25 Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who made hugging meditation famous, is a global leader whose key teaching is that through mindfulness people can learn to live in the present moment.26 He believes that a good hug may have life-changing effects on the individual. He writes about his pursuit of hugging meditation:27

    "When we hug, our hearts connect and we know that we are not separate beings. Hugging with mindfulness and concentration can bring reconciliation, healing, understanding and much happiness."

    Hugging meditation can be practiced with your mother, father, sibling, spouse or even a tree, according to Hanh. The practice begins with the recognition of each other's presence and then an embrace that encompasses three deep breaths. The first breath is designed to help you acknowledge your presence in the present moment.

    With the second breath you become aware of the presence of the other and with your third breath you celebrate with gratitude your presence with the other person. Hanh believes that hugging in such a way brings reality into the present moment, and possibly reconciliation. At the same time, this practice releases the other health benefits mentioned above.

    Fun Facts About Hugging

    Hugs are healthy for your emotional and physical well-being. Even a 10-second hug may give you most of the benefits listed above. Based on one study, those health benefits may include reduced fatigue, improved heart health and reduced depression.28

    Cuddling, a longer form of hugging, with your partner, releases more dopamine and may increase your sexual desire.29 Hugging may also reduce fear of, and worry about, mortality. One study found that even hugging an inanimate object, like a teddy bear, may reduce these fears.30

    The release of oxytocin from hugging may also help reduce social anxiety.31 Getting a hug right before going to a party where you don't know anyone may help you feel more confident and social. Researchers found marriages where couples hugged frequently lasted longer than those where they rarely hugged.32

    A national holiday was founded in 1986 to encourage hugging.33 It has been recognized by the U.S. Copyright Office but is not a public holiday. The purpose is to help people show more emotion in public in a country where this type of display is not common.

    Founder Rev. Kevin Zaborney from Michigan encourages people to hug in public and post to social media on January 21 with #NationalHuggingDay. The person who is giving the hug gets as much benefit as the person being hugged, although you may experience greater benefit from hugging someone you trust.

    5 Ways to Get Your Hug On

    In this short video Cordero Roman does an inexact social experiment on hugging. Watching the video you may be able to “feel” the difference between the hugs just from the individuals experience on film.

    It may be difficult to get hugs each day living in a country where physical touch is not encouraged, or if you live alone. If you put your mind to the task, there may be ways to get healthy touch. These suggestions may feel like they are out of your comfort zone, but you won't enjoy the results unless you take the first step.

    Teddy bear

    While not as satisfying as hugging another person, hugging an inanimate object may help reduce fear and anxiety.

    Greetings

    While it may feel strange at first, make it a habit to greet your friends with a hug. Ask before you hug. This may be more difficult between two men. However, unless you step out of your comfort zone and ask, you won't find the friends who are looking for the same nonsexual touch contact.

    Therapeutic touch

    Chiropractors, massage therapists and reiki masters all must touch you in order to practice their craft and most understand the health benefits associated with touch. You'll likely not get a massage daily, but it may be something you can work into your monthly schedule.

    Give one

    You may not get one unless you give one. If you usually do not hug your children, siblings, parents or friends, then it may be up to you to take the first step and initiate a hug.

    Be mindful

    Some people don't want to hug fearing cold viruses. Others don't want to hug or may be afraid of how another person may interpret the hug. Be mindful of how the other person feels and seek out others who may also want a hug that day. Remind yourself as you meet people, others do need hugs each day. As you look for opportunities, more will appear.




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  • ‘Before the Flood’ — A Global Exploration for Answers to Climate Change
    published on May 19th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    In the National Geographic film, "Before the Flood," actor, environmental activist and United Nations messenger Leonardo DiCaprio explores what must be done to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on planet Earth.

    We all accept that we are harming this planet to our own detriment and we must stop our wasteful and polluting ways. Whether you are an adversary or proponent of the highly politicized phrase “climate change,” the solutions we need to implement for our long term viability are obvious, necessary and beneficial for everyone that desires a regenerative world.

    There are four primary components that can unite everyone and bypass further arguments. Protecting and improving our air, water and soil is simply essential — not doing so is suicide. I recommend you think about four indisputable actions that can help avoid arguments and preserve regenerative systems. These practices are essential and universally agreeable; getting caught up in any debate is unnecessary.

    1. Support Regenerative Agriculture
    2. Protect our lakes, rivers, oceans and aquifers
    3. Reduce Waste
    4. Improve Energy Use and Sourcing

    Before the Flood

    Whether you believe man-made climate change is real or not, I urge you to lay your judgments aside for an hour-and-a-half and watch this film. A fact that cannot be denied is that our world has become increasingly and devastatingly toxic, and these toxins are damaging our ecosystem, thereby placing the survival of mankind at risk.

    We are eroding soils, polluting water, draining aquifers and contaminating our air. Any one of these issues progressing will have devastating consequences, and at our current pace we have roughly 50 years before time will run out. Some instances of pollution, such as the plastic now choking our oceans, or agricultural runoff contaminating our fresh water supplies, highlight serious damage that we can and must stop.

    The decimation of forests, be it for the purpose of tar sands operations or paper milling or building cities and suburbs, also has an impact on the Earth. Whether man-made CO2 is instrumental in climate change or not, what's clear is that our Earth is in peril, and it's up to all of us, corporations included, to reassess our impact on the world at large.

    We Must Reassess Our Dependence on a Fossil Fuel Economy

    To sustain our dependence on fossil fuels, we've had to implement increasingly risky and environmentally devastating extraction methods, such as fracking for natural gas, mountaintop removal to extract coal, offshore drilling for oil and tar sands for synthetic crude. All of these methods are extremely disruptive and destructive to the environment. The past few years alone are rife with examples of massive spills and accidents causing environmental damage of absolutely epic proportions.

    This is no overnight change, but first and foremost we can all be more efficient with our energy consumption in our homes, businesses and transportation. Solar energy will likely play the largest role in this transition, but in the meantime we need to look at all aspects of how we use energy and use less while minimizing pollution.

    Melting in the Arctic

    DiCaprio visits Baffin Island, situated in the Canadian Arctic, above the Arctic Circle. There, he interviews National Geographic explorer-in-residence Enric Sala, Ph.D., and Jake Awa, a native Arctic guide and hunter.

    Awa recalls that in earlier years, they always used to have solid, frozen ice. Today, it has a slushy consistency, with large puddles everywhere. According to Sala, if the melting trend continues, by 2040 we will be able to sail across the North Pole. There will be no Arctic ice left.

    This in turn will have wide-ranging consequences, changing currents and weather patterns across the globe. Floods and droughts will become more severe and catastrophic. As noted by DiCaprio, we're now far beyond the point where making small changes — such as changing your light bulbs to more energy efficient versions — can have an impact.

    Even if the temperature were to stabilize at the levels we've seen in the past decade, Greenland will still vanish. In the past five years alone, one lower Greenland weather station has seen about 30 feet of ice melt, amounting to hundreds of cubic kilometers of ice.

    Will China Lead the Next Green Revolution?

    China has now overtaken the U.S. as the No. 1 polluter in the world. There, people have become quite familiar with the realities of pollution in the water, air and soil. Chinese media are being "very helpful," in this regard, says Ma Jun, founding director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs.

    Faced with the immediate (and easily recognizable) threat to health posed by pollution, most civil protests are now over environmental issues, with people demanding greater transparency and solutions. In most cities, people will wear face masks when venturing outside, as the pollution burns the lungs.

    Jun created a website showing which of the 9,000 factories are in or out of compliance with pollution standards on any given day, allowing people to continuously pressure those factories to meet the standards.

    As a result of public pressure, China has resolved to invest in "green," energy solutions such as solar. And, while the country is still heavily vested in fossil fuels, they are transitioning to renewables faster than anticipated. The question is: Can developing countries make the same transition, or will they simply repeat the mistakes of the developed world?

    Balancing Immediate Energy Needs With Global Pollution Ramifications

    In India, about 30 percent of households, more than 300 million people, do not have access to electricity. As noted by Sunita Narain with the Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi, India stands poised to follow in the footsteps of the developed world, because coal is both abundant and inexpensive in India.

    "If you created the problem in the past, we will create it in the future," she says. "We have 700 million households that cook using biomass fuel today. If those households move to coal, you have that much more use of fossil fuels. Then the entire world is fried."

    However, she also notes that if using solar is so simple, convenient and inexpensive, why hasn't the U.S. made the conversion already? The U.S. needs to put its money where its mouth is, and if we're so concerned about climate change, then we need to take a long, hard look at our own consumption first, before we lay eyes on India.

    According to Narain, the average American uses the energy equivalent to 1.5 citizens of France, 2.2 citizens of Japan, 10 citizens of China, 34 citizens of India, and 61 citizens of Nigeria, each and every day of the year.

    "Your consumption is really going to put a hole in the planet," she says. "The fact of the matter is, we need to put the issue of lifestyle and consumption at the center of climate negotiations."

    In short, Narain believes Americans must take responsibility, both for our bloated energy consumption and our own addiction to fossil fuels. If we were to invest in and transition to renewable energy, then others, including India, could pressure its leadership to follow.

    Crisis in Kiribati

    In Kiribati, an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean, rising seawater has now started to enter homes, farmland and the freshwater ponds used for drinking water. According to Anote Tong, president of Kiribati, the projections put forth by scientists is that the islands will eventually be completely submerged by rising sea levels. The question is what can be done about it?

    Short-term, people have been relocated inland, but Tong realizes that a long-term solution must be prepared, for eventually the island will not be able to accommodate all of its inhabitants. Ultimately, migration is inevitable. Kiribati has acquired part of the Fiji Islands, and if people choose to migrate, now or later, they have someplace to go. As noted by one Kiribatian, many of the island nations that contribute the least to global warming are the ones experiencing the worst, and earliest, impact.

    Industrialization and pollution have also taken a dramatic toll on oceanic ecosystems. In the last three decades alone, HALF of all coral has been lost. And with the death of coral the entire ecosystem falls apart, ultimately leading to starvation — as more than 1 billion people worldwide depend on fish for sustenance — and loss of livelihood, which leads to poverty.

    The ocean soaks up about one-third of the CO2 dumped into the atmosphere. This makes oceans a stabilizing force in climate. The problem is we have been, and certainly still are, creating CO2 at a faster rate than the oceans can process and filter. Ultimately, that is the problem: We're killing ALL of the systems that would normally help stabilize the Earth's climate, such as oceans and rainforests.

    Carbon displacement is real, and soil erosion and the burning of fossil fuels are taking carbon from the land and moving it to water and air. Regenerative agriculture is the most promising and productive means we have to remedy this situation while improving the quality of our foods and water efficiency.

    Destroying the Lungs of the World

    Another type of oil that is robbing our grandchildren of a future is palm oil, an inexpensive oil found in countless household products, from soaps and cosmetics to processed foods and cooking oils. In Indonesia, massive fires are intentionally set to clear rainforest for palm oil plantations.

    As noted in the film, "This cheap commodity is making companies tremendous profits." The ultimate price: rainforests — the lungs of the world. Today, palm oil plantations have taken over about 80 percent of the rainforest in Indonesia.

    The forest fires of 2015 released more carbon into the atmosphere than the entire U.S. economy, each and every day. In the process, populations of rhino, orangutans, elephants and tigers were also decimated. The reasons these forests are being destroyed is because people keep buying products containing palm oil. This is yet another case where the purchasing decisions of consumers are driving an incredibly destructive process.

    Is Transition to Solar Energy a Feasible Goal?

    Revisiting the issue of transitioning to renewable energy like solar, DiCaprio talks to Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. Would it actually be possible to transition not only the U.S., but the entire world, to solar energy?

    At Tesla's gigafactory in Reno, Nevada, Musk is working on producing batteries that can efficiently store solar energy. This is a much-needed component of the solution, as the sun does not always shine, no matter where you live. A massive advantage of solar panels and batteries is that you avoid having to build any kind of electrical power plants.

    A single battery pack could store energy collected by solar panels and supply power to an entire village, without having to build a power plant and draw power lines.

    "It's like what happened with landlines versus cellular phones," Musk says. "A lot of developing countries didn't do the landline phones. They went straight to cellular."

    Musk has calculated how many gigafactories like the one in Reno would be required to transition the whole world to renewable energy. The answer? One hundred gigafactories, measuring about 15 million square feet each. That's all that would be required to make enough solar powered batteries to give solar energy to not just the U.S., but every nation on the globe.

    As noted by Musk, were larger industry giants to get in on this, along with nations like China, the transition could be accomplished rather quickly. It would be even quicker if governments were to implement laws and regulations favoring renewable energy. Some countries are already well on their way.

    About 30 percent of Germany's energy comes from solar energy, for example. Denmark uses as much as 100 percent solar, and Sweden recently declared its intention to become the first fossil fuel-free nation in the world.

    The Easiest Way to Opt Out of a Destructive System

    As noted by Gidon Eshel, Ph.D., a research professor of environmental physics at Bard College, one of the absolute easiest ways to opt out of destructive systems — without appealing to or waiting for governments and corporations to change — is by changing your own diet.

    Eshel is a scientist who studies the effects of agriculture on climate. According to Eshel, 47 percent of the land is used for food production and, of that, 70 percent is used to grow feed for cattle in feedlots. Fruits, vegetables and nuts account for a mere 1 percent of the agricultural land.

    While I believe everyone needs some beef, most Americans do eat as much as five times more than they need, so cutting back on beef could also have a number of health benefits. An even more important change would be to switch to grass fed beef which reduces the carbon footprint and improves the soil, water and environment.

    Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) create an enormous amount of waste that pollutes soil, air and water. CAFOs also routinely use antibiotics, thereby promoting antibiotic-resistant disease and drug-resistant pandemics.

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    Voting for a Cleaner World With Every Meal

    Hopefully you can find the time to watch "Before the Flood." I think you'll find it to be an eye-opener. And, while realizing the extent of the environmental destruction can be distressing, it's important to realize where your power lies. In this case, the greatest power you have as an individual is your purchasing power.

    Each decision you make either adds to the problem or facilitates the solution. So take responsibility for your decisions. As mentioned, one of the easiest ways to opt out of a number of destructive systems is to change your diet.

    By supporting your local farmers and choosing fresh, local produce over "cheap" conventional varieties commonly sold in larger grocery chains, you help steer the agricultural industry toward safer, more sustainable systems. You can also slash your food bill by focusing on locally grown foods that are in season, typically a bargain at that time of year, or by growing some of your own. Remember to choose organic, grass fed/pasture-raised beef, poultry and dairy, in addition to organic produce.

    While many grocery stores now carry organic foods, it's preferable to source yours from local growers whenever possible, as much of the organic food sold in grocery stores is imported. If you live in the U.S., the following organizations can help you locate farm-fresh foods:

    EatWild.com

    EatWild.com provides lists of farmers known to produce wholesome raw dairy products as well as grass fed beef and other farm-fresh produce (although not all are certified organic). Here you can also find information about local farmers markets, as well as local stores and restaurants that sell grass fed products.

    Weston A. Price Foundation

    Weston A. Price has local chapters in most states, and many of them are connected with buying clubs in which you can easily purchase organic foods, including grass fed raw dairy products like milk and butter.

    Grassfed Exchange

    The Grassfed Exchange has a listing of producers selling organic and grass fed meats across the U.S.

    Local Harvest

    This website will help you find farmers markets, family farms and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass fed meats, and many other goodies.

    Farmers Markets

    A national listing of farmers markets.

    Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals

    The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, hotels and online outlets in the United States and Canada.

    Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)

    CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.

    FoodRoutes

    The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, Community Supported Agriculture memberships (CSAs) and markets near you.

    The Cornucopia Institute

    The Cornucopia Institute maintains web-based tools rating all certified organic brands of eggs, dairy products and other commodities, based on their ethical sourcing and authentic farming practices separating CAFO "organic" production from authentic organic practices.

    RealMilk.com

    If you're still unsure of where to find raw milk, check out Raw-Milk-Facts.com and RealMilk.com. They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state, and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area. The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund1 also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.2 California residents can also find raw milk retailers using the store locator available at www.OrganicPastures.com.





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  • Lemongrass Oil Can Lighten Up Your Mood and More
    published on May 17th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    You may have tasted the refreshingly mild flavor of lemongrass, an herb that's commonly added to foods and beverages. But have you ever tried using lemongrass oil, an all-around herbal oil with many health benefits? Keep on reading to discover more about lemongrass oil.

    What Is Lemongrass Oil?

    Lemongrass (Cymbopogon) is a tall perennial plant from the Poaceae grass family, which thrives in tropical and subtropical regions, such as in India, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China and Guatemala. This plant grows in dense clumps and has bright green, sharp-edged leaves, similar to grass.1

    Lemongrass is a popular flavoring in Asian cooking — added to curries and soups, or paired with beef, fish, poultry and seafood. Fresh lemongrass is also used to make lemongrass tea.2

    The two varieties of lemongrass most popularly used today are Cymbopogon citratus and Cymbopogon flexuosus.3 While they can be used interchangeably, especially for making lemongrass oil, C. citratus is more popularly known in culinary applications, while C. flexuosus is more dominant in industrial applications, such as perfumery.4

    Lemongrass oil is extracted from the leaves of the plant. It has a thin consistency, and a pale or bright yellow color. It has a strong, fresh, lemony and earthy scent.

    Uses of Lemongrass Oil

    Lemongrass oil is a great addition to various skin care and cosmetic products, such as soaps, deodorants, shampoos, lotions and tonics. It also works as an air freshener and deodorizer, especially when blended with other essential oils like geranium or bergamot. Simply put it in an oil burner, diffuser or vaporizer.5

    Lemongrass oil is also known for its ability to repel insects, such as mosquitoes and ants, due to its high citral and geraniol content.6 Spray it around your home, diffuse it or rub a diluted mixture on your skin.

    Lemongrass oil's refreshing scent makes it a valuable aromatherapeutic oil. Its clean and calming aroma helps relieve stress, anxiety, irritability and insomnia, and prevent drowsiness.7,8 Lemongrass oil can also help relax and tone your muscles, as well as relieve muscle pain, rheumatism, period cramps, stomachache, toothache, migraines and headaches.9,10 Here are some ways to use lemongrass oil:

    Make a refreshing foot bath. Add two drops to a bowl of warm water, and soak your feet for 10 minutes. If your feet are aching, add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts.11

    Make a massage oil by mixing it with sweet almond oil.12

    Kill your dog's fleas and lice by spraying diluted lemongrass oil all over his coat. You can also soak his collar in it, add it to his final rinse after shampooing, or spray it on his bedding.13 Do not use lemongrass oil on your cat, however, as it can be very toxic to felines, and even cause liver damage to them over a period of time.

    Blend it into your favorite bath products or add it to your bath water.

    Composition of Lemongrass Oil

    Lemongrass oil's main compounds include are geranyl acetate, geraniol, myrcene, nerol, myrcene, citronellal, terpineol, methyl heptenone, terpineol, dipentene, geraniol, neral, farnesol, limonene, and citral and farnesol.14 These are known to have antifungal, antiseptic, insecticidal and counterirritant properties.15,16

    Citral is known for its antimicrobial effects, and can help kill or suppress the growth of bacteria and fungi. It's said that lemongrass oil's quality is generally determined by its citral content.17 Limonene, another one of lemongrass' beneficial compounds, is known for helping reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.18,19

    Benefits of Lemongrass Oil

    Lemongrass oil has analgesic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, carminative, astringent, antipyretic, fungicidal, bactericidal, and antidepressant properties,20 making it one of the most versatile and health-promoting essential oils. It works well for:

    Inflammation — Lemongrass is an analgesic that can help reduce pain and inflammation, which can lead to many chronic diseases. Sue Chao, an essential oil researcher, also noted that lemongrass oil is one of the top six essential oils with anti-inflammatory benefits.21

    Hair problems If you're struggling with hair loss, oily hair and other scalp conditions, lemongrass oil may be beneficial, as it can help strengthen your hair follicles. Just apply a diluted solution onto your scalp, and then rinse out.22

    Infections — Lemongrass can help kill both internal and external bacterial and fungal infections, such as ringworm and athlete's foot.23 In a 2008 study at Weber State University in Utah, it was found that out of 91 essential oils tested, lemongrass ranked highest in inhibitory activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection.24

    Fever — The antipyretic effect of lemongrass oil helps bring down very high fever, especially when it is beginning to reach dangerous levels.25

    Digestive issues — A diluted lemongrass mixture may assist in facilitating nutrient assimilation and boosts the functioning of the digestive system, which is helpful alleviating bowel problems and digestive disorders.26 It may also prevent the formation of excessive gas and increases urination, which helps eliminate toxins from the body.

    How to Make Lemongrass Oil

    Lemongrass oil sold in the market today is made via steam distillation. But if you have lemongrass growing in your backyard, you can easily make this oil by infusing it with another carrier oil. Here's a simple method from EHow:27

    Lemongrass Oil

    • 2 or more lemongrass stalks
    • Fine cheesecloth
    • Mortar and pestle/rolling pin
    • Carrier oil (Olive, rice bran, grapeseed, or any unscented natural oil)
    • Two jars
    • Dark glass container

    Procedure

    1. Get two lemongrass stalks and crush them with the mortar and pestle. This will help release the oil. A rolling pin makes an effective substitute if you don’t have a mortar and pestle.

    2. Place the crushed stalks inside the jar and cover them with oil. Seal the jar with an airtight lid and place in a sunny location for two days. Make sure the spot gets ample sunlight and heat throughout the day.

    3. Using a cheesecloth, strain the lemongrass oil and into a second quart jar.

    4. Repeat step 1. Add the crushed stalks to the second quart jar, and then place back in the sun for two more days.

    5. Repeat these steps as necessary, until your oil reaches your desired level of potency. You can determine this by smelling the mixture.

    6. Once you’ve reached the desired potency, drain the oil again through a cheesecloth and into dark bottles for storage. Fasten lids on the bottles tightly and store in a cool, dark place.

    How Does Lemongrass Oil Work?

    Lemongrass oil is a tonic that may influence and help keep the systems in your body working properly, including the respiratory, digestive, nervous and excretory systems. It also allows nutrients to be absorbed into the body, which helps keep your immune system strong and robust.28

    Lemongrass oil can be diffused using a vaporizer, inhaled, applied topically or ingested. To ensure the efficiency of lemongrass oil, you should use it depending on the health condition that you want to improve. For example, if you want to quell stress and anxiety, diffuse the oil using a vaporizer. But if you want to relieve muscle pain or use it to treat infections, it's better to massage a diluted solution on the affected areas.

    For internal health ailments, such as digestive issues, lemongrass oil can be taken internally in a diluted form. However, I do not recommend taking this oil orally without the supervision of a qualified health care provider.

    Is Lemongrass Oil Safe?

    Lemongrass oil is generally safe as long as it is used in small quantities (it is one of the strongest-smelling oils in aromatherapy) and properly blended with a carrier oil. Undiluted lemongrass can actually burn and injure your skin due to its high citral content, so it's best to mix it with a carrier oil like olive or coconut oil.29 I advise doing a patch test before applying lemongrass oil on your skin, to see if you have any adverse reactions to this essential oil.

    Side Effects of Lemongrass Oil

    Skin irritation, discomfort, rashes and a burning sensation are some topical side effects experienced by people with sensitivity to lemongrass oil. Using the oil may also lead to lowered blood glucose, and may have contraindications for people who are taking oral diabetes drugs or anti-hypertensive medications, as well as those who are diabetic and hypoglycemic.

    I do not recommend children, pregnant women or nursing moms to use lemongrass oil orally. Those with liver or kidney disease and other health conditions should also consult their physician before using lemongrass oil.




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  • Are You Sleep Deprived? A Simple Test
    published on May 17th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Are you tired? If your answer is yes, it would seem relatively straightforward to assume you're not getting enough sleep. Yet, signs of sleep deprivation may not always be this obvious (and there are other factors besides sleep loss that can make you feel fatigued). The late Nathaniel Kleitman, Ph.D., professor emeritus in physiology at the University of Chicago, came up with one of the simplest tests to determine if you're sleep deprived — and as a pioneer in sleep research, he was well qualified to know.

    Not only did Kleitman co-discover REM sleep, but he published the first major textbook on sleep ("Sleep and Wakefulness" in 1939). He even stayed awake for 180 hours to figure out what sleep deprivation does to your body. Kleitman also spent more than one month underground in a cave — an environment without sunlight or schedules — in order to track changes in wakefulness and circadian rhythm.1 So when he suggested a way to test yourself for sleep deprivation, people took notice.

    Sleep Deprived? Take the Sleep Onset Latency Test to Find Out

    Kleitman's sleep onset latency test sounds complicated, but it's quite simple. And, "It's based on solid science," said Dr. Michael Mosley, who is both a physician and a journalist for BBC in the U.K.2 Here's how it works: In the early afternoon, grab a spoon and head off to your darkened bedroom to take a nap. Place a metal tray on the floor beside your bed, and hold the spoon over the tray as you attempt to fall asleep.

    Be sure to check the time as well. Next, when you inevitably fall asleep and the spoon crashes down onto the tray, waking you up, immediately check the time again and note how much time has passed.

    If you fell asleep within five minutes, it means you're severely sleep deprived, according to Kleitman. If it took you 10 minutes to fall asleep, this is still a sign that you could use more sleep. If, however, you managed to stay awake for 15 minutes or more before falling asleep, you're probably well rested.3 If you don't happen to have a spoon and metal tray handy, you can still take this test by setting an alarm for 15 minutes to see if you fall asleep before it goes off, Dr. Mosley adds.

    More Signs You're Sleep Deprived

    In the video above, Health shares more signs that indicate you could use more shut eye, some of which may surprise you.

    1. You Always Feel Hungry

    Lack of sleep influences hormone levels, including increasing the "hunger hormone" ghrelin and decreasing leptin, which is involved in satiety. By activating your endocannabinoid system, which is involved in modulating appetite and food intake, sleep deprivation can even give you the munchies, similar to marijuana use.

    2. You've Gained Weight

    One of the consequences of eating more when you're sleep deprived is weight gain, although lack of sleep also promotes metabolic dysfunction that further fuels weight gain. Losing as little as 30 minutes of sleep each night can disrupt your metabolism enough to cause weight gain. In fact, each half-hour of sleep debt incurred during weeknights raised one study's participants' risk for obesity and insulin resistance by 17 percent and 39 percent respectively after one year.4

    What this means is that if you need eight hours of sleep but consistently only get seven, you may theoretically raise your risk of obesity by about 34 percent and simultaneously jack up your chances of insulin resistance — which is a hallmark of most chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes — by 78 percent.

    3. Your Memory Fails You

    The process of brain growth, or neuroplasticity, is believed to underlie your brain's capacity to control behavior, including learning and memory. However, sleep and sleep loss modify the expression of several genes and gene products that may be important for synaptic plasticity.

    Furthermore, certain forms of long-term potentiation, a neural process associated with the laying down of learning and memory can be elicited in sleep, suggesting synaptic connections are strengthened while you slumber.

    4. It's Difficult to Make Decisions

    Sleep deprivation leads to accidents both big and small, some of which prove to be fatal, in part because it leads to blunted reaction times and difficulty making decisions. Participants in one study underwent two nights of total sleep deprivation followed by two nights of recovery sleep, then performed a decision-making test.5

    A well-rested control group (who had slept normally) performed better on the tests than the sleep-deprived group, but, worse yet, when the test rules were reversed none of the sleep-deprived volunteers got the right answer, even after 40 tries, leading the study's lead author to state their ability to take in new information was "completely devastated."6

    5. Your Reaction Time Slows

    In the aforementioned study, the researchers concluded that sleep deprivation is particularly problematic for decision-making involving uncertainty and unexpected change. This leads to blunted reaction times that can have tragic consequences while you're driving or on the job.

    6. You're Overly Emotional

    Lack of sleep kicks your emotions into high gear, which means you're likely to overreact when expressing emotions like fear and anger. Your brain's frontal cortex, for instance, plays a key role in the regulation of emotions, and sleep is vital for its function. Not to mention that research shows even one night of too little sleep may lead to unwanted behavior at work the next day, such as acting rude toward co-workers, theft or going home early without notifying the boss.7

    7. You're Always Getting Sick

    Sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or illness,8 which may help explain why lack of sleep is tied to an increased risk of numerous chronic diseases and acute illnesses like colds and flu. In fact, research shows adults who sleep less than six hours a night have a four times higher risk of catching a cold when directly exposed to the virus than those who get at least seven hours.9

    Sleeping less than five hours per night resulted in a 4.5 times higher risk. The study found that sleep was more important than any other factor when it came to protecting against the cold virus, including stress levels, age and smoking. In short, if you want your immune system to be at its best, adequate sleep is essential. The researchers, writing in the journal Sleep, explained:10

    "Growing evidence demonstrates that short sleep duration (< 6 or 7 h/night) and poor sleep continuity are associated with the onset and development of a number of chronic illnesses, susceptibility to acute infectious illness, and premature mortality. Experimental evidence in animals and humans suggests that the immune system serves as a key biological pathway.

    For instance, total and partial sleep deprivation in humans results in modulation of immune parameters critical to host resistance, including diminished T cell proliferation, shifts in T helper cell cytokine responses, decreases in natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity, and increased activation of proinflammatory pathways."

    8. Your Vision Seems Unfocused

    Even your vision is affected by lack of sleep. According to Health, when you're tired your ciliary muscle, which helps your eyes focus, will not work up to par and "the extraocular muscles, which move the eye from side to side and up and down, may start to track improperly, resulting in double vision."11 So, if you seem to be having trouble seeing after a night of little sleep, it's probably not in your imagination.

    9. Your Physical Appearance Suffers

    Lack of sleep affects your physical appearance significantly, in part because it alters your hormonal balance, which can lead to acne, and decreases collagen production, which may increase the appearance of wrinkles.

    Further, one study took photos of 23 people with the same hairstyles, facial expressions and bare (no makeup) skin. The only difference between them was the amount of sleep they'd had — one group had a full night's sleep while the other group had been awake for 31 hours straight and then slept for just five hours.

    Not surprisingly, when the photos were shown to a separate group of people, they rated the sleep-deprived group as less healthy, less attractive and more tired, suggesting that the idea of "beauty sleep" is not just a fairy tale.12

    10. You Nod Off During the Day

    You might be able to fool your body into believing you can function normally on little sleep, but as reported in the journal Sleep, as soon as you let your guard down, overwhelming sleepiness ensues.13 Your body will likely cave in to these episodes of "microsleeps" or nodding off, which can be tragic depending on your line of work or if you fall asleep while behind the wheel.

    In a report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, researchers compared driving drowsy to driving with a blood alcohol concentration considered legally drunk.14 Lack of sleep, even by one or two hours, nearly doubled study participants' risk of a car accident the following day. If sleep deprivation increased, with participants sleeping just four or five hours a night, their risk of a car crash quadrupled.15 According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:16

    "Previous research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has estimated as many as 7 percent of all crashes, 13 percent of crashes that result in hospital admission and 21 percent of fatal crashes involve driver drowsiness."

    What Works to Help You Get More Sleep?

    Mosley, who says he is one of the many who struggle to get enough sleep, organized the BBC Sleep Challenge to help determine which approaches help people to sleep better. It wasn't a rigorous scientific study, but rather asked people to share their experiences using the following strategies to get a better night's sleep:17

    Getting up at the same time every morning

    Going on a morning walk or run most days

    Eating two kiwifruit an hour before bed

    Practicing mindfulness

    Having a warm bath or shower one to two hours before going to bed

    Removing electronic devices from the bedroom and turning off all screens at least an hour before bed, including TV, computers, mobile phone and all social media

    Skipping alcohol

    Eating foods richer in fiber

    When the results came in, all of these seemed to offer some benefit.18 I would add, though, that perhaps the most important natural "trick" of all for improving your sleep is to make sure you're getting proper exposure to bright light during the day and no exposure to blue light at night. In the morning, bright, blue light-rich sunlight signals to your body that it's time to wake up. At night, as the sun sets, darkness should signal to your body that it's time to sleep.

    Ideally, to help your circadian system reset itself, get at least 10 to 15 minutes of natural light first thing in the morning. This will send a strong message to your internal clock that day has arrived, making it less likely to be confused by weaker light signals later on.

    Then, around solar noon, get another "dose" of at least 30 minutes' worth of sunlight. A full hour or more would be even better. If your schedule is such that you have to get up and arrive at work before sunrise, aim to get at least that half-hour of bright sunlight sometime during the day.

    In the evening when the sun begins to set, put on amber-colored glasses that block blue light. You can also dim your lights (whether they're LED, incandescent or compact fluorescent lamps [CFLs]) and turn off electronic devices to reduce your exposure to light that may stifle your melatonin production.

    Better still, swap out LEDs for incandescent or low-voltage incandescent halogen lights. After sundown, you can also shift to a low-wattage bulb with yellow, orange or red light if you need illumination.

    A salt lamp illuminated by a 5-watt bulb is an ideal solution that will not interfere with your melatonin production. Candle light also works well. If you've already optimized your light exposure and are still struggling with sleep, see my 33 healthy sleep secrets for a more comprehensive list of strategies for a better night's rest.




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  • Curcumin — A Novel Treatment Alternative for Depression
    published on May 17th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Curcumin, the active ingredient in the Indian spice turmeric, is a polyphenol with over 160 potentially therapeutic activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects.1

    Importantly, it has the ability to cross your blood-brain barrier and exhibits potent neuroprotective properties, suggesting it may be useful for neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease. Recent research also suggests it may be helpful against depression.

    Remember, though, that curcumin is very poorly absorbed, so if you want to use it therapeutically, make sure you use a supplement that is optimized for maximum absorption; otherwise you won't get the results described below. Many believe that using black pepper helps. And while it does, it is only a marginal increase. 

    Curcumin Helps Relieve Depressive Symptoms

    According to a meta-analysis2 of six short-term, placebo-controlled clinical trials, curcumin "appears to be safe, well-tolerated and efficacious among depressed patients," and could serve as a "novel antidepressant." Three of the trials also reported significant anti-anxiety effects.

    Another recent study3,4 evaluating curcumin's effect on depression was done in Australia. A total of 123 people diagnosed with major depressive disorder were included in the double-blind, randomized study, receiving one of four treatments for 12 weeks:

    1. Placebo
    2. Low-dose (250 mg) curcumin extract
    3. High-dose (500 mg) curcumin extract
    4. Low-dose curcumin extract with 15 mg of saffron

    Compared to placebo, all three treatment groups experienced improvement in their symptoms. Curcumin was particularly effective for those with atypical depression. Interestingly, there was no significant difference in efficacy between high and low dosages. According to the authors:

    "These findings suggest that there was insufficient power in the study to detect group differences, or that there was a ceiling antidepressant effect of these natural spices. This ceiling may have been achieved with the administration of the low-dose curcumin alone. The inclusion of a stand-alone saffron condition would be desirable in future studies."

    Saffron Also Has Antidepressant Effects

    Indeed, saffron may actually have antidepressant effects in its own right. Other studies have shown two of its active components, crocin and safranal, have antidepressant effects.5

    In one study,6 depressed patients taking 30 mg of Crocus sativus (saffron) each day for eight weeks experienced the same amount of relief as those taking 20 mg of fluoxetine (generic Prozac). Two additional studies7,8 have confirmed saffron has an effectiveness equal to that of fluoxetine.

    Curcumin May Benefit Many Neuropsychiatric Disorders

    Another scientific review9 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, which assessed curcumin's beneficial effect on depression and other psychiatric disorders, noted that:

    "[C]urcumin can influence an array of biological activities. Many of these, such as its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, neuroprotective and monoaminergic effects are dysregulated in several neuropsychiatric disorders …

    [I]n vitro, animal and human studies investigating … curcumin as a treatment for neuropsychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder … and autism are reviewed … It is concluded that curcumin is a promising, natural agent for many of these conditions …"

    One of the mechanisms behind curcumin's beneficial impact on neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression appears to be its ability to tame the flames of inflammation, which can wreak havoc on your psychiatric health.

    Gastrointestinal Inflammation Raises Depression Risk

    Previous research10 suggests gastrointestinal (GI) inflammation in particular may play a critical role in the development of depression, as depression is often found alongside GI inflammation and/or autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

    Chronic low-grade inflammation is a hallmark of and significant contributing factor to all of these conditions, leading researchers to suggest "depression may be a neuropsychiatric manifestation of a chronic inflammatory syndrome." The study of these connections is known as psychoneuroimmunology, i.e., the impact of inflammation on behavior. As noted in a 2012 study:11

    "Elevated biomarkers of inflammation … have been found in depressed patients, and administration of inflammatory stimuli has been associated with the development of depressive symptoms.

    Data also have demonstrated that inflammatory cytokines can interact with multiple pathways known to be involved in the development of depression, including monoamine metabolism, neuroendocrine function, synaptic plasticity and neurocircuits relevant to mood regulation …

    Psychosocial stress, diet, obesity, a leaky gut and an imbalance between regulatory and pro-inflammatory T cells also contribute to inflammation and may serve as a focus for preventative strategies relevant to both the development of depression and its recurrence."

    Controlling Inflammation Is Best Done Through Lifestyle Changes

    According to Dr. Hyla Cass,12 whom I've interviewed on this topic, approximately one-third of depressed patients have high levels of inflammation, and anti-inflammatory drugs have actually been shown to favorably alter neurochemical pathways involved in depression.13

    The arthritis drug sirukumab is currently being tested on depressed patients. GlaxoSmithKline and others are also working on developing anti-inflammatory drugs targeting depression. The problem with this approach is that most drugs have side effects — sometimes terminal, as the 60,000 who died from the anti-inflammatory Vioxx. Fortunately, you don't need drugs to combat inflammation.

    One of the most effective ways to quell inflammation is to eat a cyclical ketogenic diet. In fact, one of the most remarkable effects of nutritional ketosis is that your C-reactive protein (CRP) level (an inflammatory marker) virtually disappears. It can really drive your inflammation levels about as low as they can go.

    Other important anti-inflammatory strategies that are strongly recommended for prevention and treatment of depression are animal-based omega-3 and vitamin D. It appears curcumin may be a valuable adjunct as well, judging by recent studies. Another crucial contributor to inflammation is to reduce your exposure to EMF. This means keeping your cellphone in airplane mode unless you are using it and never holding it next to your ear. Turning off your Wi-Fi router at night is also crucial.

    Aside from general GI inflammation, a number of studies have concluded the primary cause of inflammation is related specifically to dysfunction of the gut-brain axis,14 which is largely lifestyle driven. Diet, exercise and toxic exposures, for example, all have the ability to influence your gut microbiome, thereby affecting your gut-brain axis.

    One of the reasons sugar is so detrimental to your mental health is because it triggers a cascade of chemical reactions — starting with elevated insulin — that promote chronic inflammation. Excess sugar and processed fructose also distort the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut. Sugar does this by serving as a fertilizer/fuel for pathogenic bacteria, yeast and fungi that inhibit the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

    Chronic Inflammation May Be More Than a Risk Factor for Depression

    What this all boils down to is that chronic inflammation not only disrupts the normal functioning of many bodily systems, it can also wreak havoc in your brain and affect your psychological health. In fact, at least one previous study15 has suggested chronic low-grade inflammation may be the very root cause of depression. Published in the International Breastfeeding Journal, the researchers stated:

    "Research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) has revealed that depression is associated with inflammation manifested by increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines. The old paradigm described inflammation as simply one of many risk factors for depression. The new paradigm is based on more recent research that has indicated that physical and psychological stressors increase inflammation.

    These recent studies constitute an important shift in the depression paradigm: inflammation is not simply a risk factor; it is the risk factor that underlies all the others. Moreover, inflammation explains why psychosocial, behavioral and physical risk factors increase the risk of depression. This is true for depression in general and for postpartum depression in particular …

    [L]evels of proinflammatory cytokines significantly increase during the last trimester of pregnancy … Moreover, common experiences of new motherhood, such as sleep disturbance, postpartum pain and past or current psychological trauma, act as stressors that cause proinflammatory cytokine levels to rise."

    Inflammation and Depression 101

    In this model, depression is the result of your body's attempts to protect itself from an inflammatory response, and involves hormones and neurotransmitters. Depressive symptoms most strongly associated with chronic inflammation include:16

    • Flat mood
    • Slowed thinking
    • Avoidance
    • Alterations in perception
    • Metabolic changes

    Cytokines in your blood, or inflammatory messengers such as CRP, interleukin-1, interleukin-6 and TNF-alpha are all predictive of17 and correlate18 to depression. In melancholic depression, bipolar disorder and postpartum depression, white blood cells called monocytes express pro-inflammatory genes that provoke secretion of cytokines.19

    At the same time, cortisol sensitivity goes down, and cortisol is a stress hormone that buffers against inflammation. Together, these inflammatory agents transfer information to your nervous system, typically by stimulating your vagus nerve, which connects your gut and brain.20

    During inflammatory states, brain cells called microglia are activated. When this happens, an enzyme called indoleamine 2 3-dioxygenase directs tryptophan away from the production of serotonin and melatonin, instructing it instead to produce an NMDA (an amino acid derivative) agonist called quinolinic acid, which can trigger anxiety and agitation.21

    Curcumin Goes Head-to-Head With Blockbuster Antidepressant

    One last study22 on curcumin and depression worth mention is a randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy of curcumin and fluoxetine (generic Prozac) in patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Sixty patients were given one of three treatment protocols:

    1. 20 mg fluoxetine
    2. 1,000 mg curcumin (500 mg standardized curcumin extract taken twice a day)
    3. Combination of fluoxetine and curcumin

    According to the authors:

    "The proportion of responders as measured by the HAM-D scale was higher in the combination group (77.8 percent) than in the fluoxetine (64.7 percent) and the curcumin (62.5 percent) groups; however, these data were not statistically significant. Interestingly, the mean change in HAM-D score at the end of six weeks was comparable in all three groups.

    This study provides first clinical evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with [major depressive disorder] without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders."

    Certain Supplements Boost Effectiveness of Antidepressants

    Other research has shown nutritional supplements can boost the effectiveness of antidepressants. Unfortunately, they did not look at supplementation only, which might have offered valuable insights. The analysis in question looked at 40 clinical trials in which supplements were added to the drug regimen.23,24,25 

    Four supplements were found to improve the impact of the medication — which included serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants — compared to medication only:

    • Animal-based omega-3 (in the form of fish oil)
    • Vitamin D
    • Methylfolate (an effective form of folic acid)
    • S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe)

    In my view, there's reason to suspect the supplements provided the true benefit. Other studies have shown both omega-3 and vitamin D can improve mental health all on their own — in part by regulating inflammatory processes and responses — and studies have repeatedly demonstrated that antidepressants are right on par with placebo in terms of effectiveness.

    In one vitamin D study,26 seniors with the lowest vitamin D levels were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who had normal levels. It makes little sense to take the extra risks with a drug if they don't add anything of real value.

    Addressing GI Inflammation May Ease Your Depressive Symptoms

    If you suffer from depression, it may be well worth your effort to take steps to reduce the level of inflammation in your body. Remember, no drugs are necessary for this. In fact, the most effective strategies for this are to:

    Address your diet. Limiting net carbs in all its forms (think added sugar, processed fructose, refined grains and most processed foods in general) is a key step. A ketogenic diet, high in healthy fats, low in net carbs with a moderate amount of protein can really drive inflammation levels way down.

    Make sure to get enough animal-based omega-3.

    Optimize your vitamin D level, ideally through sensible sun exposure, as sunlight has been shown to improve depression in ways that are unrelated to vitamin D as well.

    Address your gut health, as impaired gut flora is frequently involved in depression. Regularly "reseed" your gut with beneficial bacteria (probiotics and prebiotics), as this is the foundation of a healthy GI tract. Eating plenty of fermented foods is your best bet. It's also the most economical.

    If you do not eat fermented foods, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement makes of sense considering how important probiotics are for your mental health. In fact, probiotics are thought to have a direct effect on brain chemistry, transmitting mood- and behavior-regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.




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  • How Your Tax Dollars Are Used to Promote Corporate Propaganda
    published on May 16th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Did you know that the 2017 spending bill1,2,3 includes a rider allocating $3 million for consumer education and outreach by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to "promote understanding and acceptance of" biotechnology?

    The deal was recently passed by the Senate, 79 to 18, "under a bipartisan agreement to keep the government funded through the end of September," The Washington Post reports.4 In other words, if you are American, you are paying for Monsanto to spread their pernicious propaganda. The fact that they can get away with this and slip it in to avoid government shutdown is dystopian, to say the least.

    Not only have the government and the food and chemical technology industries fought to prevent the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), your tax dollars are now to be spent on efforts to "assure" you that genetically engineered (GE) foods are of no concern.

    FDA and USDA to Promote Biotech and Chemical Technologies

    To quote The Washington Post, "The money is to be used to tout 'the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic and humanitarian impacts' of biotech crops and their derivative food products." This joint effort by the FDA and USDA is an outrage. As noted by Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., who unsuccessfully fought to get the rider struck from the bill:5

    "It is not the responsibility of the FDA to mount a government-controlled propaganda campaign to convince the American public that genetically modified foods are safe. The FDA has to regulate the safety of our food supply and medical devices. They are not, nor should they be, in the pro-industry advertising business."

    A Pew Research Center study6 published last year found 39 percent of Americans believe GMO foods are worse for health than conventionally-grown foods; 55 percent believe organics are healthier than conventional; and 40 percent report eating mostly or some organic foods.

    Still, nearly half of all Americans (48 percent) believe GMOs are no different from non-GMO foods and 10 percent believe GMOs are actually better for health than non-GMOs. Clearly, the chemical technology industry wants to prevent growth of anti-GMO sentiment, but using tax dollars for indoctrination purposes simply should not be permitted.

    Army of Shills Steer Online Discussions

    In related news, plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Monsanto say the company hired an army of shills via third parties to steer online conversations about Roundup — the chemical most commonly used on GE crops — to counter any and all negative comments with corporate propaganda, thereby manipulating and stifling public knowledge about its dangers.7 As reported by Reuters:8

    "The plaintiffs alleged that Monsanto targeted all online materials and even social media comments that indicate potential dangers of its products … 'Monsanto even started the aptly-named 'Let Nothing Go' program to leave nothing, not even Facebook comments, unanswered …

    [T]hrough a series of third parties, it employs individuals who appear to have no connection to the industry, who in turn post positive comments on news articles and Facebook posts, defending Monsanto, its chemicals and GMOs,' the document reads.

    On a larger scale, Monsanto allegedly 'quietly funnels money to 'think tanks' such as the 'Genetic Literacy Project' and the 'American Council on Science and Health' — organizations intended to shame scientists and highlight information helpful to Monsanto and other chemical producers,' according to the plaintiffs.

    The accusations are backed by a batch of emails, used in court as evidence … [Ph.D] William Moar … reportedly said at a conference in January 2015 that the company had 'an entire department,' dedicated to 'debunking' science which disagreed with the agrochemical giant's own research."

    EPA Official Colluded With Chemical Giant on Public's Dime

    Documents entered into evidence in the lawsuits against Monsanto also strongly suggest at least one Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official has been working on Monsanto's behalf — another breach of public trust and misuse of public funds. After the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen9,10 in 2015, Monsanto has relied on the EPA's 2016 determination that glyphosate is "not likely to be carcinogenic" to humans.11

    Based on the IARC's determination, the California agency of environmental hazards declared glyphosate a carcinogen under Proposition 65, and will require all glyphosate-containing products to carry a cancer warning.

    However, evidence suggests Jess Rowland, former associate director of the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), conspired with Monsanto to protect the company's interests by manipulating and preventing toxicological investigations. Rowland was a key author of the EPA's controversial glyphosate report, and correspondence between EPA toxicologist Marion Copley and Rowland suggests Rowland colluded with Monsanto to find glyphosate non-carcinogenic.12,13

    Documents also reveal Rowland warned Monsanto of the IARC's determination months before it was made public,14 giving the company time to plan its defense, which included a vicious, coordinated attack on the IARC,15 going so far as to calling on the U.S. government to defund the organization, despite its reputation for being the global gold-standard for carcinogenicity studies.16

    In January 2017, the American Chemistry Council formed a front group called Campaign for Accuracy in Public Health Research17 (CAPHR), the express purpose of which is to discredit the IARC18 and seek to reform the IARC Monographs Program, which evaluates and determines the carcinogenicity of chemicals.

    The day CAPHR launched, the organization took to Twitter with a #glyphosateisvital campaign, proclaiming the weed killer is essential to "maintain the production of safe, affordable food." All of this goes to show you simply cannot trust the information you get from social media. Many industry defenders are nothing more than sock puppets paid to spread corporate propaganda while posing as independent experts and/or well-informed regular Joes.

    Corporate Ghostwriters May Have Influenced US and European Regulators

    Court documents also suggest Monsanto employees ghostwrote parts of two scientific reports — one in 2000 and another in 2013 — which the EPA then relied on to conclude glyphosate is non-carcinogenic.19

    This, we are expected to believe, is better science than that of the IARC — a world-renowned, global, independent research organization. These ghostwritten reports may also have influenced the European Union's (EU) decision that Roundup was safe. According to Euro Observer:20

    "A Monsanto employee admits in one of the emails that the company wrote a study on glyphosate and later attributed the work to academics. Another study on glyphosate was 'redesigned' with help of company scientists in order to create a more [favorable] outcome, the internal emails suggest.

    EUobserver and OneWorld have discovered that both of the studies were relied on by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) when it evaluated the safety of glyphosate in 2015 as part of the EU [license] renewal process."

    Correspondence also shows Rowland helped stop an investigation into glyphosate by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry on Monsanto's behalf. According to the email, Rowland said he should "deserve a medal," were he to pull it off.21,22,23 As it turns out, the review was in fact canceled, suggesting Rowland's value to the company.

    Indeed, emails suggest Monsanto was planning to lean on Rowland's significant influence for their glyphosate defense after his retirement from the EPA,24 and Rowland's post-EPA work indeed includes consulting for three chemical companies that are close associates of Monsanto.25,26

    Dow Chemical Pulls Strings to Void Government Pesticide Findings

    Monsanto clearly isn't the only multinational company pulling strings within the U.S. government. During the Obama administration, the EPA concluded chlorpyrifos, a nerve gas-cum-pesticide made by Dow Chemical, which is widely used on citrus, apples, cherries and other crops, could pose health risks to consumers.

    Even tiny doses were found to impact brain development in infants. A ban of the chemical's use on food had been proposed, but the Trump-installed EPA chief, Scott Pruitt,27 recently denied the petition.28,29

    Earth Justice called the decision "unconscionable," vowing to fight the decision in court. A major problem with this chemical is that it's become a common water contaminant, and the EPA's own evaluation found it poses serious risks to 1,778 of the 1,835 endangered plants and animals assessed.

    Despite this damning evidence, a legal team representing Dow Chemical and two other organophosphate manufacturers sent letters30 to the agencies responsible for joint enforcement of the Endangered Species Act,31,32,33 asking them to ignore the EPAs findings, saying the agency's scientific basis was unreliable.

    It's interesting how on the one hand, Monsanto claims the EPA is the best judge of toxic chemicals when it suits them, while other industry giants accuse EPA scientists of not knowing what they're doing when the evidence impacts their bottom line.

    Bloomberg recently reported Dow Chemical's first-quarter lobbying expenditures for 2017 are nearly eight times greater than its 2008 expenditures,34 and financial filings reveal the company hired a lobbying firm to meet with Congressmen in the weeks before the USDA's and EPA's deadline to take action on chlorpyrifos.

    Trump also appointed Dow CEO Andrew Liveris to head a White House manufacturing council. All of that considered, is it any surprise that chlorpyrifos gets a free pass? With conflicts of interest such as these running the show, the health of Americans is in serious jeopardy. You simply cannot depend on government agencies to protect your best interests anymore.

    International Reports Call for Global Phase Out of Pesticides

    When you consider the volume of evidence against pesticides, it's easy to understand why the chemical technology industry is so keen on having government promote their propaganda. They are losing the information war, so they're upping the ante. Several heavy-hitting, international reports have surfaced in recent years, highlighting the serious impact agricultural chemicals are having on human health, including but not limited to the following:

    According to a recent United Nations (UN) report,35 pesticides are responsible for 200,000 acute poisoning deaths each year, and chronic exposure has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, hormone disruption, developmental disorders and sterility.36

    The latest USDA report on pesticide residues in food reveals only 15 percent of all the food samples tested in 2015 were free from pesticide residues, compared to 41 percent the previous year.37 This goes to show just how quickly our food is being poisoned, and how significant a source food is when it comes to chemical exposures.

    According to Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno,38 founding president of the internationally recognized Bastyr University, toxins in the modern food supply are "a major contributor to, and in some cases the cause of, virtually all chronic diseases."

    The answer, the UN report says, is reducing or eliminating pesticides around the world. It proposes a global treaty to phase out toxic pesticides and transition to a more sustainable agricultural system. Contrary to industry PR, many studies have confirmed pesticide use can be significantly reduced without impacting production:39

    A World Health Organization (WHO) report warns environmental pollution — which includes but is not limited to pesticides — kills 1.7 million children annually. To address this problem, the authors recommend reducing or phasing out agricultural chemicals

    A report by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics40 warns that chemical exposures, which includes pesticides, now represent a major threat to human health and reproduction41,42

    An Endocrine Society task force has also issued a scientific statement43,44 on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs, i.e., chemicals that alter the normal function of your hormones), noting that the health effects are such that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them.

    On the list of known EDCs are organophosphate pesticides and DDE, a breakdown product of DDT. Since it lingers in the environment, exposure still occurs via food even though DDT is no longer in use.

    Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals costs the European Union (EU) €157 billion ($172 billion) annually in women's health care costs, infertility and male reproductive dysfunctions, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurobehavioral disorders45,46,47

    One in 5 cancers are thought to be due to environmental chemicals and, according to recent studies, not only can miniscule amounts of chemicals amplify each other's adverse effects when combined,48 this even applies to chemicals deemed "safe" on their own.

    Basically, the analysis49 found that the cumulative effects of non-carcinogenic chemicals can act in concert to synergistically produce carcinogenic activity — a finding that overturns and more or less nullifies conventional testing for carcinogens

    Could Your Health Be at Risk From Glyphosate-Contaminated Food?

    Glyphosate-contaminated food may pose serious health risks, and this is perhaps one of the greatest selling points of organic foods. Tests by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) show 93 percent of Americans have glyphosate in their urine,50 and food is the biggest source unless you live in an agricultural area or dispense glyphosate-based chemicals at work or at home.

    Contaminated drinking water is another. Disturbingly, a recent animal study51 found Roundup causes fatty liver disease at 0.1 parts per billion (ppb) in drinking water, which is 14,000 times lower than the concentration permitted in U.S. drinking water (700 ppb). According to Health Research Institute Laboratories, the average level of glyphosate in the U.S. population is 3.3 ppb52 — 33 times higher than the level at which rats developed fatty liver.

    The OCA's urine testing also suggests Americans have a daily intake of glyphosate that is about 1,000-fold higher than the level found to cause fatty liver disease in animals. Another recent study found Roundup adversely affects the development of female rats' uteruses, increasing the risk for both infertility and uterine cancer.53 So why is no action taken to protect human health?

    It really boils down to the fact that without glyphosate-based herbicides the GE seed business would collapse, and chemical technology companies, with their vast resources and revolving doors into government regulatory agencies, have managed to deceive people into thinking there's no problem.

    How to Get Tested for Glyphosate

    The USDA promised to begin testing food for residues of glyphosate as of April 1, but then canceled the plan,54 further delaying the truth about glyphosate contamination55 from emerging.

    According to Health Research Institute Laboratories, desiccated crops such as non-GMO oats, wheat, garbanzo beans and lentils can contain glyphosate levels exceeding 1,000 ppb. I recently used this test for glyphosate and had no detectable levels — likely because I eat organic foods and rarely eat at restaurants.

    The Health Research Institute has developed a glyphosate test kit for public use. I've recently gained access to a limited number of these kits, and no profit is made on their sale. I provide both a glyphosate water test kit and an environmental exposure test kit in my online store for those who want to assess their exposure.




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  • What Toxic Chemicals Are in Your Room?
    published on May 16th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Wondering whether your son or daughter will be able to successfully complete the required coursework may no longer be your biggest worry when sending your child off to college. New studies suggest dorm life may be more hazardous than you might expect due to the presence of extraordinarily high levels of toxic flame retardants.

    According to Newsweek,1 scientists studying dust samples collected from college dormitories suggest students may be living among, and breathing in, chemical toxins that may negatively affect their health.

    Why the Dust in College Dorms Is a Cause for Concern

    Research published in Environmental Science & Technology2 indicates that scientists uncovered large quantities of chemicals designed to suppress fire — also known as flame retardants — in 95 dust samples collected from dormitory common areas and student rooms at two U.S. colleges.

    Scientists found all 47 flame retardants that were targeted by the study, some of which are believed to cause cancer and disrupt hormones. Two flame retardants, which are classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs,3 were detected in the dorm dust at record levels:

    • Decabromodiphenyl ether, or DecaBDE: a flame retardant largely phased out in 2013, which the U.S. EPA has tagged as a “possible carcinogen” due to it having been shown to cause cancer in lab animals
    • Pentabromodiphenyl ether, or PentaBDE: a chemical the U.S. EPA banned from manufacture in 2005, mainly because it is a known endocrine disruptor

    Dorms Found to Contain Alarmingly High Concentrations of Flame Retardants

    Certain PBDEs, which are used as flame retardants in applications such as automobiles, plastics, textiles and wire insulation, have been shown to be “persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic to both humans and the environment,” states the U.S. EPA.4 Researchers suspect college dorms contain a higher level of flame retardants because they are small, somewhat-confined spaces containing a lot of electronics and furniture.

    Due to their limited budgets, college students often use old furniture and bedding, some of which may contain flame retardants that have since been banned. Because PBDEs are not chemically bound to fabrics, foam, plastics or the other products in which they are used, they are susceptible to leaching. Chemical-laden particles from electronics and furniture leach over time and are collected in room dust.

    In the study, levels found and cited for the primary chemical within DecaBDE were a shocking nine times higher than anything previously recorded. Concentrations of PentaBDE were four times higher than levels found in any other environment.

    How Do Flame Retardants Affect Your Health?

    Four particular flame retardants were found in 100 percent of the dust samples studied, and three of them are suspected carcinogens believed to be capable of causing cancer. Of the three suspected carcinogens, one of them, known as TCIPP or tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate, was found in dorms at levels twice the median quantities found in other indoor environments.

    While the effects of TCIPP require further study, chemicals similar in structure have been shown to have toxic effects on animal brain cells and are thought to decrease sperm counts and thyroid levels in humans.5 About the fourth chemical, named TPHP (triphenyl phosphate), the Environmental Working Group states, “[T]here is growing evidence that the chemical could affect hormones, metabolism, reproduction and development.”6

    In a 2013 study,7 rats were exposed to the flame-retardant mixture Firemaster 550®, which is used in foam-based products and contains up to 20 percent TPHP. Scientists found that components of the chemical accumulated in tissues of rats, both before and after birth, resulting in obesity and early puberty for female rats. As such, researchers suspect TPHP is an endocrine disruptor.

    Miriam Diamond, Ph.D., a professor in the department of earth sciences at the University of Toronto, says it will take time to quantify the health risks of these substances. She states:8

    “One reason why it’s not possible [to quantify the health risks] is because these chemicals tend to have effects that take a long time to manifest. Those effects are endocrine disruption … where the strongest evidence shows effects due to fetal exposure. The second reason is that the effects are not known for all the [flame retardants], and we don't know the impact of exposure to the complex mixture of chemicals people come into contact with in the U.S. and elsewhere.”

    Industry Groups Try to Make Flame Retardants Seem Better Than They Really Are

    Industry groups are notorious for making product-based toxins seems less harmful than they really are, and flame retardants are no exception. According to Newsweek, Bryan Goodman, a spokesman for the powerful and well-funded American Chemistry Council, an industry group, said the threat of toxicity is outweighed by the perceived need for flame retardants. He suggests:9

    “[M]any of the chemicals found in this study have been phased out. The quantities of flame retardants found in dust were also ‘far lower than the levels at which toxicological responses have been observed in animal studies.’

    ‘Fire is still a real threat to life and property, and college campuses are no exception. … [F]lame retardants, which are used at times by manufacturers to meet these flammability standards, can be an important line of defense for those living on college campuses.’”

    Do Flame Retardants Even Work?

    Goodman’s comments sound well intentioned until you realize the evidence that suggests flame retardants are effective in making fires less deadly is actually quite weak.

    In the video below, an investigative story produced by the Chicago Tribune,10 it’s clear that some household items treated with flame retardants burn at rates similar to untreated items. Furthermore, flame retardants can give rise to toxic fumes that are thought to cause cancer, hormone disruption and neurological deficits.

    According to Jon Whelan, director of the 2015 documentary “Stink!,”11 trade associations like the American Chemistry Council seek to influence policymakers to support greater use of chemicals in the baby-care products, furniture, household goods and personal products you use every day. He states:12

    “The American Chemistry Council is the most powerful trade association anywhere, and it spends hundreds of millions of dollars to influence public opinion, fund political campaigns and underwrite aggressive lobbying efforts. Their goal is to avoid regulation that would impact profits of the largest chemical companies in the world.”

    Citizens for Fire Safety Revealed as Chemical-Industry Front Group

    After the release of the Chicago Tribune’s investigative report in 2012, a nonprofit organization known as Citizens for Fire Safety was outed as an industry front group. Prior to the investigative report, as the name seems to imply, Citizens for Fire Safety presented themselves as a band of concerned Americans advocating for fire safety.

    In reality, the organization was a trade association formed by three of the largest makers of flame retardants in the world: Albemarle Corporation, Chemtura and ICL Industrial Products. At the time, these three companies were believed to produce 40 percent of the flame retardants used worldwide.13

    These companies used Citizens for Fire Safety to wage what the Tribune called “a deceptive campaign to fuel demand for the chemicals in household furniture, electronics, baby products and other goods.”14 In terms of the activities undertaken by Citizens for Fire Safety, the Tribune said:15

    “Citizens for Fire Safety played an active role in states where legislators have proposed banning certain flame retardants. Its tactics included distributing videos featuring ominous music, footage of burning houses and narrators warning that restrictions on the chemicals would endanger children. The group also sponsored witnesses who testified before state legislators in favor of flame retardants.”

    American Chemistry Council Was Backing Citizens for Fire Safety All Along

    The American Chemistry Council long maintained it had nothing to do with the enormously successful, albeit deceitful, lobbying campaigns employed by Citizens for Fire Safety since 2007 to defend the use of flame retardants. Notably, during the five years of its existence, Citizens for Fire Safety was successful in defeating 58 of 60 pieces of legislation to ban chemical flame retardants across 21 U.S. states.16

    Evidence of the council’s involvement emerged in 2015. At that time, Grant Gillham, the executive director of Citizens for Fire Safety, revealed that although the American Chemistry Council denied involvement, it actually helped create Citizens for Fire Safety. Gillham said the two organizations frequently coordinated activities. “They flat out lied about it," Gillham stated. "They denied that they ever did anything with us."

    About the flame-retardant industry overall, a seemingly disillusioned Gillham later told the Los Angeles Times,17 “I don't believe the industry has the science to support their claims that these products are safe, and that they work.”

    Tips on Protecting Yourself From Flame Retardants

    Regardless of your opinion about flame retardants, based on the findings to date, it is a good idea to limit your exposure to them as much as possible. Robin Dodson, Ph.D., research scientist at the Massachusetts-based Silent Spring Institute, was lead author of the dust study. She and Diamond share the following recommendations:18

    • When purchasing new items, seek out electronics and furniture that do not contain flame retardants
    • Avoid using older furniture in college dorm rooms, because the foam padding and other materials may very likely contain flame retardants
    • Remind your college student to vacuum and dust on a regular basis to remove toxic debris that leaches into their living area from electronics and furniture (Good luck with this one!)
    • Ensure dorm rooms are well ventilated to avoid a build-up of leached chemicals
    • Take care to wash your hands after touching electronics such as cell phones, keyboards, laptops and tablets, most of which contain flame retardants

    You should be aware that polyurethane foam products manufactured prior to 2005 — including foam used in mattresses, pillows and upholstered furniture — likely contain PBDEs. If you are not ready to replace these items, at least take care to ensure the foam is in good repair and remains covered.

    Older carpet padding is another major source of PBDEs, so take precautions when removing old carpet. You'll want to isolate your work area from the rest of your house to avoid spreading it around. For best results, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to clean up. When replacing furniture and household items, look for products filled with cotton and wool, or even polyester, because they tend to be safer than chemical-treated foam. Look for items labeled as "flame-retardant free."

    High-Quality, Nontoxic Bedding Is Vitally Important to Your Health

    As you replace PBDE-containing items around your home, I recommend you select those that contain naturally less flammable materials, such as cotton, leather and wool. This is particularly important for items you sit or sleep on for many hours each day.

    Since you spend hours a day in bed, you’ll want to give special attention to your mattress and bedding. Having purchased bedding for eight family members, Wellness Mama recommends organic bedding that is GOTS (global organic textile standards) certified.19 If you are concerned about toxic chemicals in your mattress, it’s worth your time to review some of my previous recommendations.

    Cleaning Products Are Another Likely Source of Toxins in Your Living Space

    As you attempt to clean up and keep up with leaching flame retardants, take caution with the cleaning supplies you choose. If you don’t, you may end up dousing your living space with even more toxic chemicals, many of which are not clearly identified on product labels. Concerns about the safety of cleaning products is growing nationwide.

    Newsday reports New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is working on a measure that will require manufacturers to disclose all ingredients used, as well as any trace contaminants added during processing.20 In part, the state is focused on a chemical known as 1,4-dioxane, a probable carcinogen, which has shown up in Long Island’s aquifers. Although 1,4-dioxane is primarily used as a solvent in manufacturing, it often ends up in cleaning and personal care products as a byproduct, and eventually lands in water supplies.

    During the manufacture of products like cosmetics, deodorant, shampoo and toothpaste, 1,4-dioxane develops through a process known as ethoxylation, which increases foaming and makes products less abrasive.21

    Beyond 1,4-dioxane, the governor hopes to draw more attention to the thousands of other chemicals that are believed to be asthma inducers, carcinogens, eye and skin irritants, endocrine disrupters and neurotoxins. About the pending regulation, Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State commissioner of health, said:22

    “[It] will give New York consumers the tools they need to make informed choices for themselves and for their families, and limit unknown exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.”

    Healthy Cleaning Products You Can Make at Home

    Healthy Holistic Living (HHL) provides two graphics containing tips on how to create nontoxic cleaning products for use in your home and college dorm room. You may have some of the primary ingredients in your pantry already:23

    Apple cider vinegar

    Castile soap

    Coconut oil

    Lemon juice

    Castor oil

    White vinegar

    One suggested HHL “recipe” is for nontoxic grout cleaner:

    • In a container, mix one-half cup baking soda with one-quarter cup of white vinegar.
    • Use a toothbrush to apply the paste to your floor or shower grout, and scrub.
    • Let mixture sit for five minutes, and rinse.

    Even Small Steps to Reduce Your Toxin Load Can Make a Positive Difference

    While the amount of potentially-toxic chemicals in your living environment may seem overwhelming and beyond your ability to control, I encourage you to focus on even the smallest of areas you are able to control.

    Start by reading the labels on your most-used personal care products and household cleaning products. As you are able to replace bedding and furniture, be sure to look for those comprised of organic, naturally flame-retardant materials in lieu of those doused in toxic chemicals. With one small, intentional step at a time, you can begin recovering your personal health and safety, whether you are at home or away at college.




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  • 5 Ways Grains Destroy Your Skin
    published on May 16th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    You may prudently care for your skin each day, cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing and hydrating. But, did you know that the sandwich you had at lunch may be doing more damage to your skin than skipping one of your nightly rituals?

    Your skin is the largest organ in your body, responsible for temperature control, protection and excreting toxins to name just a few. Far from being an inactive covering for your internal organs, your skin is an intricate system of nerves, glands and cell layers that plays a fundamental role in your overall health and wellness.

    If you want to protect your skin, age gracefully and reduce problem breakouts, it is time to care for your skin in the same way you care for your heart, control your weight and lift your mood. In other words, pay attention to the foods you eat every day.

    Wheat is one of the grains in many of the processed foods at your grocery store that interferes with a healthy complexion and contributes to psoriasis and eczema outbreaks. Proteins in wheat are responsible for inflammation and changes to your gastrointestinal tract, nervous system and cardiovascular system.

    Number of People with Gluten Sensitivity Rising

    The extreme form of gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, affects people differently. Over 200 symptoms have been attributed to the condition. Approximately 3 million people in the U.S. suffer from celiac disease1 and close to 20 million suffer from gluten sensitivity.2 Dr. Alessio Fasano is the director for Celiac Research and the chief of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition at Massachusetts General Hospital. In a Celiac Disease Foundation blog, Fasano said: 3

    "We also know that prevalence is rising and we're in the midst of an epidemic. Based on our study it seems that prevalence has doubled every 15 years in North America.

    Why? I think it goes back to the microbiome. There are antibiotics, our diet has changed, we travel more. There have been so many changes in the past 50 years … We don't digest gluten completely, which is unlike any other protein. The immune system seems to see the gluten as a component of bacteria and deploys weapons to attack it, and creates some collateral damage we call inflammation."

    In the press release announcing the publication of his new book, "Gluten Freedom," Fasano said: 4

    "We've shown now that gluten sensitivity actually exists. It's moved from a nebulous condition that many physicians dismissed to a distinctly identifiable condition that's quite different than celiac disease. Gluten sensitivity affects six to seven times more people than celiac disease."

    5 Skin Conditions Triggered by Grains

    There are several different skin conditions associated with the changes that happen in your body when you eat wheat and other gluten-containing foods. Whether you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, you are at higher risk for suffering these skin conditions when you eat gluten:

    Acne: This skin condition affects nearly 80 percent of all people between ages 11 and 30 in Western cultures.5 In contrast, the condition is virtually nonexistent in primitive societies. Hunter-gatherer communities in Paraguay were observed for three years, during which no acne on individuals were found.6

    The type of symptoms from gluten sensitivity are different from celiac disease, but both include an increase in adult onset acne.7 Researchers have found a link between what you eat, how it affects your brain and your skin.8

    Atopic Dermatitis: Researchers have found that atopic dermatitis is three times more likely in people with celiac disease and two times more likely in families who have members with celiac disease.9

    Psoriasis and Eczema: Psoriasis is uncomfortable and sometimes disfiguring, while eczema is a term applied to a wide range of different rashes that are itchy, red and dry.

    One-third of the U.S. population will experience eczema at some point in their lives. Prevalence at least doubled between 1995 and 2008. Eczema is driven in part by an allergic response and often linked to other allergic reactions, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis and acid reflux.10

    Psoriasis often affects large areas of skin and is an immune reaction linked to grain proteins, namely gliadin. In a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, participants who tested positive for antibodies to gliadin improved when they were placed on a gluten-free diet.11

    The National Psoriasis Foundation also recommends those with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity adhere to a gluten-free diet to reduce or eliminate their symptoms.12

    Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis (RAS): Although they appear similar on the surface, these mouth ulcers or canker sores are not related to cold sores caused by the herpes virus. They can be a minor annoyance or become so painful they inhibit eating and speaking. In a paper published in BMC Gastroenterology,13 the authors propose that RAS may be the only visual symptom of gluten sensitivity and recommend patients presenting with RAS are evaluated also for celiac disease.

    Vitiligo: In this skin condition, the pigment is lost, causing white patches to appear. Although not dangerous, it can have a profound effect on an individual's life. A case report of a 22-year-old young woman with vitiligo was published in Case Reports in Dermatology.14

    After previously undergoing medical therapy without success, she was placed on a gluten-free diet. Partial, but rapid repigmentation occurred in the first month and stabilized after four months of remaining gluten-free. The authors suggest that diet modifications, including a gluten-free diet, should be considered for treatment of vitiligo.

    Wheat Proteins Cause Problems

    You may have learned that whole grain foods are a healthy addition to your dietary plan. However, according to a growing number of experts, including Loren Cordain, Ph.D., professor at Colorado State University and an expert on Paleolithic lifestyles featured in the video above, humans are not designed to digest grains. He explains:15

    "There's no human requirement for grains. That's the problem with the USDA recommendations. They think we're hardwired as a species to eat grains. You can get by just fine and meet every single nutrient requirement that humans have without eating grains. And grains are absolutely poor sources of vitamins and minerals compared to fruits and vegetables and meat and fish."

    Two of the substances found in wheat responsible for many of the associated cellular problems you face are:

    Gliadin: Gliadin is the primary immunotoxic protein found in wheat gluten and is among the most damaging to your health. Gliadin gives wheat bread its doughy texture and is capable of increasing the production of the intestinal protein zonulin, which in turn opens up gaps in the normally tight junctures between intestinal cells (enterocytes).

    If you suffer from celiac disease, your body will make antibodies to gliadin, resulting in damage to the delicate, absorptive surfaces of your intestines. Many people who have gluten sensitivities also experience adverse effects of the gliadin protein. This may explain why new research is clearly demonstrating an increase in intestinal permeability after exposure to gliadin in those with and without celiac disease.

    Lectins: Lectins are a key mechanism plants use to protect themselves and perpetuate the plant species. They are found in highest concentration in their seed form. When animals eat foods with lectin they may experience digestive irritation; the degree of which depends upon through how many generations the animal has been eating the particular plant food.

    Humans have been consuming unsprouted grains for approximately 500 generations, and we suffer more than some rodents and birds that have adapted over thousands of generations. Bread wheat has played a prominent role in lectin-induced adverse effects since it is a relatively new form and contains a wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), not eliminated through sprouting and found in higher concentrations in whole wheat.

    Other Grains Act Like Wheat

    If you suffer from celiac disease or have a gluten sensitivity you may want to avoid all types of gluten to reduce your potential for skin problems. There are other non-wheat grains, and even some vegetables, that have similar properties to wheat. The following foods contain chitin binding lectins that are similar in nature to wheat lectin (WGA) described above. Chitin binding lectins and wheat lectins are functionally identical and may cause similar responses in your body.

    • Barley
    • Potato
    • Rice
    • Rye
    • Tomato

    Gut Permeability Releases Toxins

    Gluten increases the permeability of your intestinal tract, also called leaky gut. Gaps develop between the cells that make up the lining of your intestines, allowing undigested food, bacteria and metabolic waste products to leak into your blood stream. Hence, the name leaky gut syndrome. These foreign substances challenge your immune system and increase inflammation in your body.16

    Research published in Gut Pathogens has theorized that an inflammatory response that starts in your gut will spread through the rest of your body and affect your skin.17 Researchers called it the gut-brain-skin connection.18

    Glutinous proteins, called prolamines, increase the permeability of your intestinal tract, sensitizing your immune system and contributing to worsening acne. Leaky gut syndrome may be associated with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, but even those without illness can have varying degrees of intestinal permeability.

    Blood Sugar and Insulin Spikes Affect Your Skin

    Wheat affects both your blood sugar levels and your release of insulin. Wheat is a carbohydrate and once metabolized increases your blood glucose levels and triggers the release of insulin and insulin-like growth factor, called IGF-1. This growth factor may increase the secretion of male hormones, such as testosterone.

    The release of male hormones is not enough to trigger growth of secondary sex characteristics, such as hair or muscle growth, but may be enough to increase the secretion of sebum. This is a greasy substance on your skin that traps acne-promoting bacteria. IGF-1 may also cause skin cells known as keratinocytes to multiply, a process associated with acne.

    Individuals who have an increase in intestinal permeability may also experience a release of insulin when the immune system is activated by the bacteria and protein invaders. This results in both an increase of IGF-1 and an increase in your risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.19

    However, it isn't only wheat that spikes your blood sugar and insulin release. I strongly recommend you consider focusing on eating a diet high in whole foods, with little to no processed foods.

    A study found in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found young men who suffered from acne exhibited significant improvements in both acne and insulin sensitivity after eating a low-glycemic diet for 12 weeks.20 Another study demonstrated that a high glycemic diet and frequent dairy consumption are also linked to acne.21

    The Paleolithic Option

    Controlling acne requires a whole-body approach. You can read more suggestions in my previous article, "Foods to Avoid If You Have Acne." Removing wheat and gluten from your diet is highly recommended to reduce inflammation and your potential for further skin damage.

    Thousands of years ago, during the Paleolithic period, people were hunter-gatherers and ate primarily the meat they could hunt and plants from their environment. Missing from this ancestral diet was refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup or refined wheat products — ingredients we now know are strongly associated with insulin resistance and poor health.

    It was only after the introduction of these processed foods that people began to experience the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome. Returning to a diet made almost exclusively of whole foods including organic, pastured meats and dairy products with non-genetically engineered (non-GE) plants may help you become heathier and enjoy clearer skin. As Cordain states:22

    "The nutritional qualities of modern processed foods and foods introduced during the Neolithic period are discordant with our ancient and conservative genome. This genetic discordance ultimately manifests itself as various chronic illnesses, which have been dubbed 'diseases of civilization.'

    By severely reducing or eliminating these foods and replacing them with a more healthful cuisine, possessing nutrient qualities more in line with the foods our ancestors consumed, it is possible to improve health and reduce the risk of chronic disease."




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  • Stay Away From This Brand of Organic Dairy
    published on May 15th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    In the U.S., organic dairy brings in about $6 billion in sales annually.1 Consumers pay a premium for the milk expecting they are getting a superior product. Organic milk (and meat) from cows raised primarily on pasture have been repeatedly shown to be higher in many nutrients, including vitamin E, beta-carotene and beneficial conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

    Organic milk also contains about 25 percent less omega-6 fats and 62 percent more omega-3 fats than conventional milk,2 and the animals, when given appropriate access to pasture, are raised in a more humane environment than cows raised on CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations).

    Unfortunately, not all organic dairy is created equal, and just seeing the USDA organic label on a gallon of milk is not enough to verify its quality (or lack thereof). An investigation by The Washington Post revealed that some organic dairies are nothing more than CAFOs in disguise, selling higher-priced milk that is scarcely different from conventional CAFO dairy.

    Milk From Large Organic Dairies May Not Be as Organic as Promised

    When the Post visited Aurora Organic Dairy in Colorado, the company that provides organic store brands to corporations like Wal-Mart, Target and Costco, a few problems were evident right off the bat. For starters, the farm is massive, housing 15,000 cows, "making it more than 100 times the size of a typical organic herd," the Post noted.

    Further, organic standards require that cows have free access to certified organic pasture for the entire grazing season, but there are large loopholes in the requirement.

    As Aurora spokeswoman Sonja Tuitele told the Post, "The requirements of the USDA National Organic Program allow for an extremely wide range of grazing practices that comply with the rule."3 The Post investigation indeed revealed that Aurora Organic Dairy appears to be stretching the limits of the rule:4

    " … [D]uring visits by The Washington Post to Aurora's High Plains complex across eight days last year, signs of grazing were sparse, at best. Aurora said its animals were out on pasture day and night, but during most Post visits the number of cows seen on pasture numbered only in the hundreds.

    At no point was any more than 10 percent of the herd out. A high-resolution satellite photo taken in mid-July by DigitalGlobe, a space imagery vendor, shows a typical situation — only a few hundred on pasture."

    The Post even had samples of Aurora's organic milk tested for "a key indicator of grass-feeding" (its fatty acid profile), which revealed the milk matched conventional, not organic milk. Adding to the problem, farmers are allowed to hire their own inspectors in order to be certified USDA Organic.

    In Aurora's case, the Post investigation revealed the inspectors had visited the farm outside of the grazing season, which means they had no way of knowing whether the dairy's grazing habits met the organic requirement. In 2007, the USDA even sanctioned Aurora Organic Dairy for willfully violating organic standards, but the farm was allowed to continue operating after a settlement was reached.

    Half of the Organic Milk Sold in the US May Come From CAFOs

    It's very much a buyer beware market when it comes to organic dairy. Theoretically, choosing organic milk makes sense, but this holds true only if the farmers are giving the cows actual free access to pasture. Mark Kastel, co-director of the nonprofit Cornucopia Institute, told the Post that right now, "About half of the organic milk sold in the U.S. is coming from very large factory farms that have no intention of living up to organic principles."5 It's a widespread problem.

    When the Post visited seven other large organic dairies in 2015 (these located in Texas and New Mexico), they found the cows were primarily kept on feedlots, not pastures. Cornucopia also noted that aerial photography, backed up by satellite imagery, from 14 "industrial scale" organic livestock operations revealed "few if any animals" out on pasture.6

    As a result of the Post investigation, Cornucopia has filed legal complaints against Aurora Dairy and Colorado Department of Agriculture, their organic certifier. They've also asked for the removal of the USDA's lead organic regulator, Miles McEvoy. Kastel explained:7

    "The rigorous investigative work by Peter Whoriskey at The Washington Post clearly illustrates a pattern of long-term corruption by both Aurora Dairy and the USDA's National Organic Program. Our organic regulators have turned a blind eye as giant industrial operations place ethical family-scale dairy farmers at a distinct competitive disadvantage.

    … These gross violations of the law were well-documented in a series of complaints we filed against Aurora operations in Texas, and other 'organic' CAFOs in the U.S., as well as their certifiers that have languished at the USDA for over a year and a half without enforcement action."

    What's Better Than Organic? Grass Fed

    Unfortunately, the USDA certified organic label is not the last word on food quality. Until the loopholes are closed and the standards adjusted to ensure dairy cows receive regular access to pasture, you've got to do your homework to ensure your favorite organic dairy brand isn't ripping you off.

    There are organic dairies out there that are doing it right, like Organic Pastures, which provides organic raw milk from cows that graze 365 days a year, going above and beyond the organic standard.

    They call their milk "grass-grazed" as opposed to "grass fed," the latter of which they point out could mean virtually anything, like "grazed at some point," leading to milk with questionable nutritional value.8 As it stands, dairy can be sold as "grass fed" whether the cows ate solely grass or received silage, hay or even grains during certain times.

    Fortunately, the American Grassfed Association (AGA) recently introduced much-needed grass fed standards and certification for American-grown grass fed dairy,9 which will allow for greater transparency and conformity.10 As reported by Organic Authority:11

    "The new regulations are the product of a year's worth of collaboration amongst dairy producers like Organic Valley as well as certifiers like Pennsylvania Certified Organic and a team of scientists. 'We came up with a standard that's good for the animals, that satisfies what consumers want and expect when they see grass fed on the label, and that is economically feasible for farmers,' says AGA's communications director Marilyn Noble of the new regulations."

    Considering how important a cow's diet is when it comes to the quality of its milk, especially when we're talking about raw milk, as well as the potential for grasslands to restore health and diversity to the environment, I would strongly advise you to ensure your dairy is AGA certified as grass fed.

    Why Grass Fed Dairy Is Supreme

    There are a number of reasons to seek out grass fed dairy products. For foodies, the seasonal variations in flavor are a huge draw. For the health-conscious, milk from cows raised primarily on pasture has been shown to be higher in many nutrients, including vitamin E, beta-carotene and the healthy fats omega-3 and CLA.12

    On an environmental level, grass fed dairy has a considerably reduced footprint compared to the way most dairy is produced on CAFOs. When cows eat grass, it's a closed-loop system that, as Maple Hill Creamery put it, "bypasses the considerable resources used to produce the [genetically engineered] corn, soybeans or grains to feed dairy cows."13

    Farms producing grass fed dairy products are able to naturally regenerate the soil and maintain ecological balance without relying on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. And on an ethical level, cows are designed to eat grass.

    When they eat corn and grain, not only does the quality of their milk degrade but they live in a state of chronic inflammation, which increases their risk of infection and disease. When a cow eats grains in a CAFO instead of the grasses they were designed to eat three adverse events happen:

    1. The cow becomes acidotic (acidic) as a result of using glucose from the grains as their primary fuel rather than short-chain fatty acids derived from the nondigestible fibers in the grasses
    2. It becomes over protonated, which harms the cow's kidneys. As a result, the cow can only provide milk for 1.7 lactations, which is 44 months, after which they get slaughtered
    3. Grain can contain mold mycotoxins that can make the animal sick

    So while organic, raw grass fed dairy is ideal, keep in mind that the grass fed portion should be non-negotiable. You may find grass fed dairy farmers who have not yet gone through (or who cannot afford to go through) the USDA's organic certification process. In that case, speak to the farmer directly to find out how the animals are raised.

    Cornucopia's Organic Dairy Scorecard

    Getting your raw milk from a local organic grass fed farm or co-op is best, but if you're considering milk from another source, check out Cornucopia's Organic Dairy Scorecard.14 The Cornucopia Institute is an organic industry watchdog whose core constituencies are family farmers across the U.S. and consumers concerned about the availability and quality of organic foods. Their goal is to empower you to make informed purchasing decisions.

    You might be surprised to see many big-name organic brands that rank near the bottom of the list, even receiving a "zero" rating. In this case, it's not worth your money to pay for an "organic" product that's likely no better than conventional.

    You'd be better served by supporting the ethical farms that received a 4- or 5-cow rating instead (meaning their farming practices are either excellent or outstanding). While you'll certainly notice the difference in flavor when purchasing truly grass fed, organic dairy, you can even see the difference.

    Grass fed organic milk tends to be yellowish, not pure white. The coloration comes from the natural antioxidant carotenoids found in the grass, which is a precursor to vitamin A. When cows are raised on dried grass or hay, as opposed to fresh-growing grass, you end up with a whiter product, which is an indication of reduced carotenoid and antioxidant content.

    'So-Called Organic Milk' Pushing Real Organic Farmers Out of Business

    If you're not a dairy farmer, you may not be aware that we're in the midst of a massive milk glut. Thanks to the unnatural efficiency of swiftly growing dairy CAFOs, milk supply has outpaced demand, causing milk prices to tank. This is even true of organic milk. John Boere, a California dairy farmer, used to be an organic farmer but was unable to find a market for his milk, forcing him to switch back to conventional farming at a steep loss. He told Cornucopia:15

    "The surplus of milk is so bad here in California that some organic handlers are being forced to divert organic milk onto the conventional market, at a substantial loss. This contributes to the crumbling farm-gate pricing, and for some, like me, being forced out of organic altogether.

    .. If all organic dairies were forced to get 30 percent of their dry matter intake (feed) from pasture, as the law requires, there would be a shortage of organic milk, not a surplus!"

    Another small organic farm in Wisconsin told Cornucopia they've lost about 30 percent of their income due to the "so-called organic milk" glut. Simply by getting informed about what's really going on at the organic farms you support, you can directly support the farmers who are raising cows the right way while voting against the rest.

    How to Support the ‘Real’ Organic Dairy Farmers

    As Kastel put it, “Shoppers can vote in the marketplace … There is a higher authority than the USDA, or even the federal courts, and that’s the consumer dollar.” The Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA) responded to the Post investigation, understandably concerned that the headlines knocking organic dairy would tarnish the images of ethical, small family farms producing organic dairy the right way.

    How can you tell the difference among the organic brands of milk at your supermarket? In addition to using Cornucopia’s dairy scorecard, Liz Bawden, New York organic dairy farmer and NODPA president, suggests:16

    “I can’t guarantee that the milk in your carton comes from a family farm that has values and not from one owned by a group of investors in Boston, but check the plant code on the top of the containers to make sure it’s not 08-29 (Aurora Dairy)[and] choose name-brand over generic or store brand organic dairy products (as they have a reputation to preserve).”

    American Grassfed Association

    The goal of the American Grassfed Association is to promote the grass fed industry through government relations, research, concept marketing and public education.

    Their website also allows you to search for AGA approved producers certified according to strict standards that include being raised on a diet of 100 percent forage; raised on pasture and never confined to a feedlot; never treated with antibiotics or hormones; and born and raised on American family farms.

    EatWild.com

    EatWild.com provides lists of farmers known to produce raw dairy products as well as grass fed beef and other farm-fresh produce (although not all are certified organic). Here you can also find information about local farmers markets, as well as local stores and restaurants that sell grass fed products.

    Weston A. Price Foundation

    Weston A. Price has local chapters in most states, and many of them are connected with buying clubs in which you can easily purchase organic foods, including grass fed raw dairy products like milk and butter.

    Grassfed Exchange

    The Grassfed Exchange has a listing of producers selling organic and grass fed meats across the U.S.

    Local Harvest

    This website will help you find farmers markets, family farms and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass fed meats and many other goodies.

    Farmers Markets

    A national listing of farmers markets.

    Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food From Healthy Animals

    The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, hotels and online outlets in the United States and Canada.

    Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)

    CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.

    FoodRoutes

    The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSAs and markets near you.

    The Cornucopia Institute

    The Cornucopia Institute maintains web-based tools rating all certified organic brands of eggs, dairy products and other commodities, based on their ethical sourcing and authentic farming practices separating CAFO "organic" production from authentic organic practices.

    RealMilk.com

    If you're still unsure of where to find raw milk, check out Raw-Milk-Facts.com and RealMilk.com. They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state, and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area. The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws. California residents can also find raw milk retailers using the store locator available at www.OrganicPastures.com.




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  • Malaria Vaccine Will Be an Expensive Failure
    published on May 15th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by plasmodium parasites. When an infected Anopheles mosquito bites a person, it can spread the disease, leading to flu-like illness that can progress to life-threatening complications if left untreated.

    It's estimated that close to half of the global population is at risk of malaria, with 91 countries experiencing ongoing transmission. According to the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2015 there were 212 million cases of malaria along with 429,000 deaths, occurring primarily in children living in sub-Saharan Africa.1

    WHO set a goal to eliminate malaria by 2040, with the primary mode of prevention currently being mosquito control. They recently announced, however, that a malaria vaccine will be tested on African children beginning in 2018. While being hyped as a potential breakthrough in the fight against this deadly disease, there's reason to believe the pilot program may end up being nothing more than an expensive failure.

    World's First Malaria Vaccine to Be Given to Infants in 2018

    Starting in 2018, GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) RTS,S (brand name Mosquirix) malaria vaccine will be given to some children living in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. The vaccine has completed a Phase III clinical trial via a partnership between GSK, several African research sites and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).2

    The vaccine is not the only malaria vaccine in the pipeline, but it's the one that's furthest along in development and, reportedly, the only one to show a protective effect against malaria in Phase III clinical trials.3 After testing the vaccine in the real world, further reports on the vaccine's efficacy and safety profile are expected to be provided by 2020.

    According to GSK, during the Phase III trial, malaria cases were reduced by almost half in children aged 5 to 17 months after three doses of the vaccine, and by 27 percent in those aged 6 to 12 weeks, when used alongside other malaria prevention measures, like the use of insecticide-treated mosquito netting.

    After four doses of the vaccine, malaria cases were reduced by 39 percent over four years in children and by 27 percent over three years in infants. GSK, which has major incentive to get their vaccine to market, considering the global malaria vaccines market is expected to top nearly $592 million by 2024,4 further stated:5

    "RTS,S aims to trigger the body's immune system to defend against the Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite when it first enters the human host's bloodstream and/or when the parasite infects liver cells. It is designed to prevent the parasite from infecting, maturing and multiplying in the liver, after which time the parasite would re-enter the bloodstream and infect red blood cells, leading to disease symptoms."

    Doubts about the vaccine surfaced in 2016, however, when a study found it didn't actually prevent malaria infection but rather delayed it until the children were older. When three doses of GSK's malaria vaccine were given, the protection waned within four years.6 Their solution was to add a fourth shot to the schedule, but even this may not be enough.

    Research Casts Serious Doubt on Malaria Vaccine's Efficacy

    Research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paints a very different picture regarding RTS,S and other malaria vaccines in development.7 The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, used DNA fingerprinting to show that the malaria parasite has wide genetic diversity. Among 600 children with malaria living in Gabon, each child's malaria was caused by a different strain of the parasite with upward of 60 varying genes. According to Bloomberg:8

    "The group found that the malaria parasite swaps genes during sex to create new variants that can evade the immune system and reinfect the same people, much like influenza can.

    The finding of distinctly different strains in infected children — as many as 10 at once — means that even small human populations in malaria-endemic areas are constantly being infected with the parasite, said [study author Karen] Day, a professor of population science and dean of science at the University of Melbourne."

    She compared malaria to influenza (another disease against which vaccines have a dismal record of effectiveness), except "much more complicated," noting there could be thousands of different strains. According to Day, the vaccine would need to be 100 percent effective against all malaria strains in order to work; otherwise "it can persist and bounce back to pre-control levels."9

    Day's work also revealed that malaria may not be transmitted as easily as once thought, causing perhaps only five or six secondary infections instead of dozens. "This suggests malaria isn't as difficult a foe to control as previously thought," Bloomberg noted, which suggests efforts to find effective ways to control mosquitoes may be all the more important.

    Rates of Malaria Are on the Decline

    While malaria still causes a tragic number of deaths among young children living in certain parts of the world, its incidence is on the decline. WHO reported that malaria incidence rates fell by 21 percent between 2010 and 2015, while malaria mortality rates fell by 29 percent globally and 31 percent in the African region.10

    During the same time period, the rate of malaria mortality among children under 5 years also fell by 35 percent. The use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets has been touted as the "cornerstone of malaria prevention efforts" in sub-Saharan Africa, according to WHO, with 53 percent of those at risk sleeping under a treated net in 2015 (compared to 30 percent in 2010).

    Indoor spraying of insecticides is also used in some areas, marking a sad trade-off of one set of health risks for another, as insecticides are toxic in their own right. Even the widely banned DDT is still used to control mosquitoes in some countries. Further, there is some concern that mosquitoes are developing resistance to at least one class of insecticides used in the nets and spraying. Malaria is treatable, but growing resistance to malaria drugs is a concern. WHO reported:11

    "In many countries, progress in malaria control is threatened by the rapid development and spread of antimalarial drug resistance. To date, parasite resistance to artemisinin — the core compound of the best available antimalarial medicines — has been detected in [five] countries of the Greater Mekong subregion."

    In addition, the ability to resist diseases like malaria requires a strong immune system, and for that, you require good nutrition, clean drinking water and sanitation — three elements that are lacking for many children affected by this disease. If we want to help lower malaria rates, it would be wise to focus on these basics first. In order to eradicate infectious disease from a nation, you have to first address compromised immune systems.

    Safer Solutions for Combating Malaria

    The global fight against malaria is centered on insecticide application and distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, along with anti-malaria drugs and new malaria vaccines. But both mosquitoes and parasites are developing drug resistance, and the spraying of toxic insecticides is not a safe or sustainable solution.

    It's likely, too, that malaria vaccines will prove to be lacking in effectiveness. Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Germany has called for safer, non-chemical means of targeting this disease, with significant impacts seen during a pilot program in West Africa.

    The program began by increasing residents' knowledge and awareness of the sources of malaria. This included sharing strategies for reducing mosquito breeding sites, as many of the villagers were unaware that potential breeding sites existed nearby in areas of food waste, refuse and standing water.

    Villagers were educated about how to help prevent indoor mosquito infestations via cleaning and garbage removal, as well as how to cover outdoor wells and septic tanks with lids. Fish were introduced to certain areas to help with mosquito larval control. The local health center was also educated on how to better treat malaria, leading to a significant drop in school absenteeism due to the disease, from up to 30 percent from 2009 to 2011 down to 4.6 percent in 2012.12 As PAN International noted:13

    "The only effective and sustainable way to control malaria in the long term is through integrated vector management, which deploys a range of methods and emphasizes non-chemical approaches with pesticides used as a last resort to minimize the buildup of pesticide resistance."

    Indeed, a study published in the journal Pathogens and Global Health also found that maternal education had a significant effect on childhood malaria — even more so than a vaccine.14

    In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the prevalence of malaria among children of mothers with no education was 30 percent, compared to 17 percent in in those with mothers who received primary education and 15 percent among those with mothers educated beyond the primary years. Senior author Michael Hawkes, assistant professor at the University of Alberta in Canada, told Hindustan Times:15

    "The World Health Organization is rolling out a new vaccine in countries across Africa that has an efficacy of about 30 percent … But children whose mothers are educated beyond the primary level have a 53 percent reduction in their malaria rates."

    While the pharmaceutical industry is certainly pinning their hopes on a malaria vaccine taking off, it's important to remember that malaria once occurred in the U.S. as well, but was eliminated without the use of vaccines. How? Karl Tupper of PAN North America said in a press release:16

    "It was improved sanitation, environmental management and access to health care that beat malaria in the U.S. — not DDT … Rising standards of living were also key — bringing things like screened windows to rural areas in the southern states of the U.S. where the malaria problem was the worst."




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  • The Greatest Public Health Mistake of the 20th Century
    published on May 15th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Vitamin D received its name because scientists initially assumed it was a vitamin, but further research showed it had been incorrectly categorized. It’s actually a prohormone, produced by your body from cholesterol in response to sunlight striking your bare skin. As a prohormone, vitamin D has enormous influence on your health, and it’s the only known substrate for a powerful repair-and-maintenance steroid hormone.1 Receptors that respond to vitamin D have been found in almost every type of human cell.

    So, far from being a mere aid in bone formation, vitamin D is involved in a wide range of repair and maintenance functions, influences genetic expression, helps regulate immune function and more. Unfortunately, dermatologists have spent decades promoting sun avoidance2,3 and urging people to wear sunblock before venturing outside. As a result of this misguided advice, the field of dermatology has done tremendous harm to public health.

    Sun Exposure Does Your Body Good

    It was long thought that sun exposure was the primary cause of melanoma, the most lethal form of skin cancer. However, mounting evidence now tells us sun avoidance actually raises your risk of skin cancer while higher vitamin D levels from UVB exposure are protective.4

    Vitamin D also improves survival outcomes for melanoma patients.5,6 It’s the burning as a result of intermittent overexposure that primarily impacts your skin cancer risk.7 While Americans have dutifully followed sun avoidance advice, the melanoma rate in the U.S. has actually risen rather than declined.8

    Rates of melanoma have been rising for at least the last three decades, and research9 published in the British Journal of Dermatology in 2009 suggests the sun is likely nothing more than a scapegoat. According to this study, the rise in melanoma appears to be “an artifact caused by diagnostic drift.”

    Diagnostic drift, according to the study, refers to a hefty increase in disease diagnoses fueled by detection and misclassification of benign lesions as stage 1 melanoma.

    Sun avoidance also increases your risk of a number of other health problems stemming from vitamin D deficiency, including internal cancers10,11,12 that claim far more lives than skin cancer, as well as heart disease,13 multiple sclerosis,14 infertility15 and all-cause mortality.16,17,18

    Studies Show Higher Sun Exposure Protects Health and Increases Longevity

    One 2005 study19 found that vitamin D may prevent 30 deaths for each death caused by skin cancer. According to lead author Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a Harvard professor of nutrition:

    "I would challenge anyone to find an area or nutrient or any factor that has such consistent anticancer benefits as vitamin D. The data are really quite remarkable."

    Another 2013 study20 found that for every skin cancer death in northern Europe, between 60 and 100 people die from stroke or heart disease related to hypertension — a health problem associated with vitamin D deficiency, and lack of sun exposure in particular. Research21 published in 2012 also concluded that, “The overall health benefit of an improved vitamin D status may be more important than the possibly increased cutaneous malignant melanoma risk resulting from carefully increasing UV exposure.”

    Indeed, a two-decades-long Swedish study published in 201622,23 found that while women who got regular sun exposure had a higher risk for melanoma compared to sun avoiders, they also had a lower all-cause mortality. The authors concluded that sun avoidance is “a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking.” Aside from vitamin D, ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun also has a long list of other health benefits, including:24,25,26  

    • Enhancing mood through the release of endorphins and reducing your risk of depression27
    • Lowering blood pressure through nitric oxide release28
    • Synchronizing important biorhythms
    • Treating many skin diseases
    • Preventing and curing tuberculosis (TB)29,30,31 — a disease that alone kills more people than melanoma each year32 — including antibiotic-resistant TB33

    The Cure for Vitamin D Deficiency Is Right Outside Your Door

    According to a recent study,34 vitamin D deficiency now affects nearly 1 billion people worldwide. The reason for such widespread deficiency? Lack of sun exposure caused by overuse of sunscreen.35,36 As reported by Daily News:37

    “The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association says people are staying inside too much and putting on too much sunscreen for fear of skin cancer. ‘SPF 15 or greater decreases vitamin D3 production by 99 percent,’ the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) says.

    The study, led by Dr. Kim Pfotenhauer, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and assistant professor at Touro University, says that recommended levels of vitamin D should be about 6,000 international units (IU) per day … [which] equals about ‘5 [to] 30 minutes in midday sun twice per week. However, it is important to forgo sunscreen during these sessions.’”

    Darker-skinned individuals need far more time in the sun to optimize their vitamin D levels. Pfotenhauer notes African-Americans likely need about 30 minutes of sun exposure, depending on their location, whereas a light-skinned person might only need five minutes. This is a crucial piece of information that dermatologists completely ignore.

    Dermatologists Make No Allowances for Skin Color

    The American Academy of Dermatology issues the same recommendations for everyone, without regard for skin type. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they view all sun exposure as all risk and no gain, regardless of who or where you are. According to their advice, even if you have the deepest black skin and find it impossible to sunburn, you should always seek shade and wear protective clothing and/or sunscreen when outdoors. This stance is both nonsensical and unscientific.

    The Skin Cancer Foundation issues the same advice. When asked why the recommendations fail to take skin type and color into account, Dr. Henry Lim, who sits on the Skin Cancer Foundation’s photobiology committee, replied that such information is irrelevant because vitamin D supplements can address deficiency.

    Lim has also stated that adding recommendations based on skin tone would make the public health message “too complicated.” But by oversimplifying the matter, dermatologists place many at grave risk for vitamin D deficiency. Adding to the problem is that once vitamin D-related health problems become apparent, doctors will typically fail to link it back to a deficiency problem, instead resorting to drug treatment.

    Dermatologists Fail to Understand Sun Exposure Is About Far More Than Vitamin D

    There is no question in my mind that the best way to obtain vitamin D is from the sun, and that supplements are an inferior — necessary but far less than ideal — choice for a number of reasons. Most fail to appreciate that vitamin D is a biomarker for UVB exposure. When you take artificial vitamin D supplements your body believes it has received UVB exposure when it actually hasn’t, which confuses many vital biologic processes.

    Additionally, sunlight is not just UVB but has all visible and important non-visible wavelengths like infrared, which may be every bit as important as UVB. Red and near-infrared energize cytochrome c oxidase in your mitochondria to facilitate cellular energy production. So, aside from ignorance, why are dermatologists so reluctant to admit sun exposure is a vital component of optimal health? Sure, many are probably blinded by specialization — their focus is on skin, not internal health or all-cause mortality.

    Yet the resistance to finding a reasonable middle ground, where a limited amount of sun exposure can be promoted to ensure overall health and disease prevention raises suspicions. Surely they don’t actually want their patients to become ill and die from problems unrelated to skin cancer?

    Could part of the problem be rooted in conflicts of interest? A recent paper38 in JAMA Dermatology found that dermatologists “received substantial payments form the pharmaceutical industry,” but that the impact on patient care was still unclear.

    Dermatologists Have a Lot of Catching Up to Do

    Whatever the reason for the resistance, what seems clear is that most dermatologists have abandoned reading the medical literature on vitamin D over the past two decades. Bizarre statements made by Dr. Barbara A. Gilchrest, acting president and vice chair of the American Skin Association, and Dr. Susan Roper, at the American Academy of Dermatology’s annual meeting offer a case in point.

    To quote Dr. Marc Micozzi, who has degrees in both medical anthropology and epidemiology, dermatologists “have spotty, ‘skin deep’ understanding of vitamin D”39 — a comment referring to Gilchrest’s comments40 specifically, which include the following:

    "This preoccupation with vitamin D status has led to an enormous amount of testing, which is expensive and not as reliable or consistent as we might like … [I]f you have a level of 20 ng/mL, you have a 97.5 percent chance that you're getting all the vitamin D you need …

    [F]or many people, 16 or 12 ng/mL is adequate. Half the population is believed to have totally adequate vitamin D at a level of 16 ng/mL … [A] supplement of 1,000 IU/ day for adults is safe and sufficient.”

    You might be aware that this deluded statement is in conflict with virtually every knowledgeable vitamin D researcher in the world, as levels below 20 ng/mL are a sign of severe deficiency leading to enormous pathology.

    Roper, a dermatologist with Countryside Dermatology & Laser Center in Clearwater, Florida, expressed similar concerns with overtesting, saying many elderly patients are “put on toxic levels of vitamin D, sometimes 4,000 to 10,000 IU a day. A lot of my patients already have arthritis, and that high level of vitamin D makes it worse."

    Roper’s profound ignorance in this area is beyond shocking as what she describes as a toxic dose is actually the recommended dose for the 80 percent of Americans or more that are vitamin D deficient and are unable to normalize their levels due to inability to obtain sensible sun exposure.

    What Does the Science Say?

    If you’ve been following the vitamin D research that has emerged over the past several years, in this newsletter or elsewhere, you will have no trouble spotting the fallacies in Gilchrest’s and Roper’s statements. Again, to suggest that a vitamin D level of 12 ng/mL is adequate is reprehensibly medically negligent.

    Studies have very clearly determined 40 ng/mL is the cutoff point for sufficiency to prevent a wide range of diseases, including cancer. As just one example among many, once you reach a serum vitamin D level of 40 ng/mL, your risk for cancer diminishes by 67 percent compared to having a level of 20 ng/ml or less.41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48 

    Studies have also shown vitamin D deficiency is rampant in those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune diseases. From my perspective, it is inexcusably negligent to treat a person with RA and not aggressively monitor their vitamin D levels to confirm that they are in a therapeutic range of 40 to 65 ng/mL.

    As for dosage when you’re taking a supplement, the National Academy of Medicine, formerly the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends 600 IUs of vitamin D per day for adults. However, the IOM underestimates the need by a factor of 10 due to a mathematical error 49 that has never been corrected.

    GrassrootsHealth has created a petition for the IOM and Health Canada to re-evaluate its vitamin D guidelines and correct this mathematical error.50 You can further this important cause by signing the petition on ipetitions.com. More recent research51 suggests 9,600 IUs of vitamin D per day would be required to get a majority (97.5 percent) of the population to reach 40 ng/mL.

    Such levels, by the way, are not toxic. Studies have found no toxic effects up to 50,000 IUs.52 To be clear, such high amounts are typically only taken as a bolus (a large single dose) on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis for a short amount of time, NOT daily.

    Your Body Is Designed to Optimize Health From Sun Exposure

    The recommendation to address vitamin D deficiency with supplementation rather than sensible sun exposure really has no solid base in science. While there’s overwhelming evidence that your body knows how to process UV exposure to maximize health benefits, there’s no solid evidence supporting the notion that supplements are equivalent to sunshine.

    In fact, there’s evidence suggesting the opposite: Supplements cannot provide the same benefits. For starters, while your body has built-in feedback systems that prevent sun exposure from causing unhealthy vitamin D levels, the same cannot be said for vitamin D supplements.

    And, while vitamin D appears to be quite safe even at megadoses up to 50,000 IUs,53 vitamin D works in tandem with several other nutrients, including magnesium, calcium and vitamin K2; when using a supplement, you can easily force an imbalance between these nutrients.

    The vitamin D produced by your body in response to UVB exposure also helps counteract the skin damage caused by UVA. There’s no evidence supplements have the same effect. Recent research54 even suggests the impact of vitamin D supplementation can be affected by gender, type of vitamin D (D2 versus D3, the former of which I do not recommend), dosing frequency and body mass index (BMI). In summary, the study found that:

    • Taking a biweekly bolus of vitamin D3 produced the greatest increase in 25-hydroxy levels, followed by the monthly bolus
    • Vitamin D3 was consistently more effective than D2 supplements when taken biweekly or monthly, whereas D2 was more effective when taken daily (I still would not recommend vitamin D2 supplements as they’re associated with other adverse effects)
    • Increases in vitamin D levels were inversely related to baseline levels, meaning those with the lowest levels saw greater increases compared to those with higher starting levels
    • Women also increased their vitamin D levels in response to supplementation to a greater degree than men
    • There appears to be a complex relationship between BMI, type of vitamin D used and the dosing schedule

    What we know for sure is that your body was not designed to get its vitamin D from supplements, which are a modern invention. This alone suggests that sun exposure is the ideal way to raise your vitamin D level. For these and other reasons, vitamin D experts such as William Grant, Ph.D., and Dr. Michael F. Holick believe sensible sun exposure is far preferable to vitamin D supplementation.

    Sunscreens May Sabotage Health in More Ways Than One

    The scientific basis for the dermatologists’ advice to use sunscreen is also lacking. For starters, an analysis55 by epidemiologist Marianne Berwick, Ph.D., shows there’s very little evidence to suggest that sunscreen use will prevent skin cancer. After analyzing a dozen studies on basal cell carcinoma (which is typically non-lethal) and melanoma, Berwick found that people who use sunscreen are more likely to develop both of these conditions.

    Only two of 10 melanoma studies found that sunscreen was protective against this condition; three found no association either way. None found sunscreen use protected against basal cell carcinoma.

    The safety of the ingredients used in sunscreens is also a significant concern. Clinical laboratory scientist Elizabeth Plourde, Ph.D., warns many chemical sunscreens, especially those containing vitamin A and/or its derivatives, have been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer.56

    At least nine of the sunscreen ingredients the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved are also known endocrine disruptors.57 Oxybenzone, found in 70 percent of sunscreens, is one of them. This chemical has been linked to reduced sperm count in men and endometriosis in women.58

    How Much Sun Do You Need?

    Safe exposure to sunshine is possible by understanding your skin type, the UV strength at the time of exposure and your duration of exposure. To determine the current strength of the sun’s rays, different calculators have been created. The late Dr. Robert Heaney,59 who studied vitamin D for more than 40 years and  was one of the most prominent leaders in the field, helped develop The D Minder app.60

    There’s a Goldilocks zone in which you reap maximum rewards with minimal risk. A key guideline is to always avoid sunburn. That said, discerning just how much vitamin D you’re actually getting when you are outside is a complex formula that requires taking multiple factors into account.

    It’s impossible to say that a specific number of minutes will give you a certain amount of vitamin D. The variables are just too varied, and they change from day to day, season to season. This is why it’s so important to get your vitamin D level tested, ideally twice a year, in the peak of summer and winter. There’s no other way to determine the impact your sun exposure and/or supplementation is having.

    According to Heaney, your body requires 4,000 IUs daily just to maintain its current vitamin D level.61 So to actually raise your level, you’d have to increase either your exposure to sunshine or supplement with oral vitamin D3.

    If you opt for a supplement, GrassrootsHealth has a helpful chart showing the average adult dose required to reach healthy vitamin D levels based on your measured starting point. Many experts agree that 35 IUs of vitamin D per pound of body weight can be used as an estimate for your ideal dose.

    As for how much vitamin D you might create from sun exposure, results from a recent Spanish study suggests Spaniards can normalize their vitamin D level without risk to their health by spending 10 to 20 minutes per day, around mid-day, in the sun during spring and summer. As reported by News Medical Life Sciences:62

    “In July, an individual with skin type III (the most common one among the population of Spain) must not spend more than 29 minutes in the sun if they wish to avoid erythema. However, in January, the same individual can remain in the sun for 150 minutes.”

    General Guidelines for Sensible Sun Exposure to Optimize Vitamin D

    The results above would apply to people living in Spain, not necessarily people living in Alaska or New England. As a general rule, the best time to get sun exposure to optimize your vitamin D levels is between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., on solar noon.

    So, in the summer in most of the U.S. that is 1 p.m., not noon. You must be careful to arrange the timing to optimize your UVB exposure. If you live in Florida like I do, it is not necessary to go out at solar noon in the summer as you may overdose. Remember, the key is sensible sun exposure.

    However, in the winter, when there is far less UVB, then going out around solar noon makes perfect sense. Again, the only way to determine how much vitamin D you need, either from sun exposure or supplements, is to get tested. The level you’re aiming for is 40 to 60 ng/mL. Following are more general guidelines that may still help you maximize benefits from sun exposure while mitigating the risks:

    • Know your skin type based on the Fitzpatrick skin type classification system.63 The lighter your skin, the less exposure to UV light is necessary. Lighter skin is also more vulnerable to damage from overexposure. For very fair skinned individuals and those with photodermatitis, any sun exposure may be unwanted and they should carefully measure vitamin D levels while ensuring they have an adequate intake of vitamin D, vitamin K2, magnesium and calcium
    • Always avoid sunburn. Be particularly careful if you have not been in the sun for some time. Your first exposures of the year are the most sensitive, so limit your initial time in the sun
    • Build up your tolerance by starting early in the spring and gradually increase the time you spend in the sun to avoid getting burned. Once your tolerance has been built up, aim for enough sun exposure to keep your vitamin D level around 40 to 60 ng/mL
    • Expose as much skin as you can, not just your arms and face. As soon as your skin starts to turn pink, discontinue exposure and cover up your skin to avoid burning
    • Boost your “internal sunscreen” by eating antioxidant-rich foods and healthy fats. Astaxanthin can be a helpful supplement



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  • Can Ginkgo Give Your Brain a Boost?
    published on May 14th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Years ago, a public service announcement in the U.S. concluded with this powerful statement: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” While that tagline promoted an education fund for minority college students, it could just as easily be used to underscore the importance of taking care of your brain health. I say that because of the prevalence of degenerative brain diseases, such as age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

    Like me, you may have coworkers, neighbors, friends and family members who are affected by one of these progressive “mind-robbing” diseases. The numbers of those affected continue to grow at alarming rates, with more than 5 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s.1

    While it’s terrible to watch a loved one slip away and literally “lose their mind,” it’s also important to remember that dementia and Alzheimer’s are not a normal part of aging. Rather than try to counteract the effects of these diseases once they develop, it’s better to adopt a healthy lifestyle now that will help you successfully avoid them.

    Over the years, many studies have considered the effectiveness of ginkgo biloba for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and dementia. The latest research demonstrates ginkgo’s protective effects on the brain when exposed to aluminum chloride, a neurotoxin previously linked to Alzheimer's and other cognitive impairments.

    What Is Ginkgo Biloba and How Does It Help?

    Given that the ginkgo tree is among the oldest trees in the world, ginkgo seeds have been used in traditional Chinese medicine and other types of treatment for thousands of years.Over the years, ginkgo has been transformed into capsules, cosmetics, extracts, tablets and teas. Today, ginkgo biloba is a top-selling extract and dietary supplement. Beyond what was mentioned above related to its potential cognitive- and memory-boosting properties, some of ginkgo’s benefits are thought to be as follows:2

    • Decreases leg pain caused by narrowing of your arteries (intermittent claudication)
    • Treats eye problems, such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic eye issues and glaucoma
    • Supports the treatment of multiple sclerosis, sexual dysfunction and tinnitus, among other health conditions

    Ginkgo is believed to positively affect your body by increasing blood supply, reducing blood viscosity, boosting neurotransmitters and reducing harmful free radicals.3

    According to WebMD,4 an adult dose of 120 to 240 milligrams (mg) of ginkgo biloba per day seems to be effective for addressing memory problems. Some have suggested even better results may be achieved by taking ginkgo in combination with panax ginseng or codonopsis. In the video below, Tom O’Brien, master herbalist, presents 10 health benefits of ginkgo biloba.

    Ginkgo Now Shown to Protect Your Brain Against Aluminum Chloride

    In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that aluminum toxicity plays a role in neurodegenerative diseases. Because aluminum targets the same areas of your brain and nervous system, people with aluminum toxicity display many of the symptoms shared by those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, dementia, Parkinson's and other neurological diseases.

    Inhaling aluminum dust or vapors sends aluminum particles directly into your lungs in a highly absorbable form. From there, they pass into your bloodstream and are distributed throughout your body, including your bones and brain.

    Exposure to aluminum is an occupational hazard for workers in agriculture, factories, mining and welding. Furthermore, you ingest aluminum vapors every time your nose catches a whiff of cigarette smoke. Studies of the health effects of aluminum vapors are grim, pointing to high levels of neurotoxicity.5

    In a 2016 study published in Nutrition,6 ginkgo biloba was shown to protect the brain from toxicity associated with aluminum chloride. Exposure to aluminum chloride has been linked to Alzheimer's and other cognitive impairments. The study, which lasted three months, was composed of four groups of lab rats as follows:

    • Group 1 (control group): daily normal diet and water
    • Group 2: daily oral dose of ginkgo biloba — 200 mg/kilogram (kg) body weight
    • Group 3: daily oral dose of aluminum chloride — 10 mg/kg body weight
    • Group 4: daily dose of both ginkgo biloba and aluminum chloride through a stomach tube — 200 and 10 mg/kg body weight, respectively

    The rats given aluminum chloride showed:

    A significant increase in thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS), which signals damage produced by oxidative stress (similar to rust on your car, oxidative stress is a sign of aging in your body)

    A decrease in antioxidants catalase, glutathione and superoxide dismutase in brain and testis tissues

    A significant decrease in dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin levels in brain tissue

    A significant decrease in serum copper and zinc levels

    A significant increase in serum iron

    A significant decrease in testosterone

    In contrast, rats administered both ginkgo biloba and aluminum chloride had:

    • Lower TBARS
    • More of the antioxidants catalase, glutathione and superoxide dismutase in brain and testis tissues

    Overall, the research demonstrates that ginkgo biloba plays a positive role in protecting the brain neurons of rats from oxidative stress caused by the intake of aluminum chloride. The study authors stated:7

    “The histologic examination showed some degenerative changes in both brain and testis tissues [of the rats receiving aluminum chloride], while significant improvement in biochemical and histologic changes were observed in the ‘aluminum chloride plus ginkgo biloba’ group. It could be concluded that the protective effect of ginkgo biloba may be attributed to its antioxidant properties.”

    These findings are in line with previous studies involving the extracts of ginkgo biloba, which are known to contain antioxidant compounds that protect your cells from free-radical damage within your circulatory and nervous systems.8

    Ginkgo Also Shown to Help Slow Aging Process in Your Mitochondria

    A 2012 study published in International Psychogeriatrics9 suggests ginkgo biloba may slow the aging process within mitochondria of your cells, which can affect the progression of Alzheimer’s. The authors of the study said:

    “A growing volume of data confirms that ginkgo biloba extract reduces oxidative stress and improves mitochondrial respiration, and thus may be useful in preventing or slowing down the progression of [Alzheimer’s disease].”

    Other research has suggested the mitochondrial anti-aging effect of ginkgo biloba is not limited to just neurons, but also extends to blood platelets, endothelial cells, fibroblasts, heart cells and liver cells.10 Later in this article I will present some diet and lifestyle tips to boost your brain health.

    By far, one of the best strategies to support your brain and your mitochondria is to convert your body to burning fat instead of glucose as its primary fuel. You can learn more about metabolic mitochondrial therapy by reading my latest book, “Fat for Fuel.”

    Risks and Cautions Related to Ginkgo Intake

    According to the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health,11 intake of ginkgo biloba is thought to be safe for healthy adults when taken by mouth in moderate amounts. Potential side effects of ginkgo may include allergic skin reactions, dizziness, headache and stomach upset.

    An increased risk of bleeding is possible with ginkgo if you are older, pregnant or have a known bleeding risk. Ginkgo has been shown to interact with blood thinners (anticoagulants), so do not take it if you are currently on a blood-thinner medication. For similar reasons, you should not take ginkgo before undergoing surgery or dental procedures. Also, do not eat raw or roasted ginkgo seeds, because they can cause serious side effects and may be poisonous.

    A 2013 study12 investigating the potential toxicology of ginkgo suggested consumption of it may raise your risk of developing liver cancer and thyroid cancer. However, that research has come under considerable criticism for the large doses of ginkgo extract that were administered to rodents daily during the two-year study.13

    You Need B Vitamins If You Take Ginkgo Biloba

    A word of caution related to ginkgo biloba: Its seeds contain ginkgotoxin (4'-O-methylpyridoxine), an “antivitamin” that may lead to neurological problems in certain people, particularly those who are deficient in certain B vitamins.14 B vitamins are important not only when you consume ginkgo, but they are also useful in helping to reduce brain shrinkage and prevent degenerative brain diseases. In particular, folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 have been shown to play a powerful role in preventing Alzheimer's.

    High levels of the amino acid homocysteine have been linked to brain shrinkage and an increased risk of Alzheimer's. B vitamins are known to suppress homocysteine. In a 2010 study,15 participants received relatively high doses of the three B vitamins mentioned above. Two years later, those who had received the vitamin-B regimen suffered significantly less brain shrinkage compared to those who had received a placebo.

    Participants with the highest levels of homocysteine at the onset of the trial experienced brain shrinkage at half the rate of those taking a placebo. The study authors concluded: “The accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment can be slowed by treatment with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins.”

    A 2014 study by some of the same scientists again underscored the importance of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 to slow brain shrinkage. Additionally, they noted B vitamins helped slow shrinkage specifically in brain gray-matter regions known to be most vulnerable to Alzheimer's.16 One of the targeted areas was the medial temporal lobe. Researchers said:17

    “Our results show that B-vitamin supplementation can slow the atrophy of specific brain regions that are a key component of the [Alzheimer's disease] process and are associated with cognitive decline."

    Prevention Is Still Your Best Option When It Comes to Alzheimer's

    As with any chronic illness or disease, your best strategy for beating Alzheimer’s is prevention. The following four dietary recommendations are vital for maintaining brain health and staving off Alzheimer's:

    Eat real food, ideally organic. Be sure to choose organic grass fed meats and animal products, as animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are routinely fed genetically engineered (GE) grains contaminated with pesticides. Also, they are given a variety of drugs.

    Research has shown vegetables to be particularly beneficial for slowing age-related cognitive decline, mainly due to the antioxidants they contain. Avoid processed foods of all kinds because they contain items that are harmful to your brain, such as refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, glutinous grains, GE ingredients and pesticides.

    Ideally, you'll want to keep your total fructose below 25 grams per day if you are in good health, or below 15 grams per day if you are insulin/leptin resistant or are battling a chronic disease.

    Replace refined carbohydrates with healthy fats. Contrary to what most people think, your brain does not need carbs and sugars. What it does need is healthy fats, such as saturated animal fats and animal-based omega-3s, which are far more important for optimal brain function. Healthy fats also support your mitochondria, a topic addressed more thoroughly in my book “Fat for Fuel.” Healthy fats to add to your diet include:

    Animal-based omega-3s, such as those found in krill oil and small fatty fish like anchovies and sardines

    Avocados

    Butter made from raw, grass fed, organic milk

    Coconuts and coconut oil

    Ghee (clarified butter)

    Grass fed meats or pasture-raised poultry

    Olives and olive oil (Avoid cooking with olive oil. Use it cold.)

    Organic pastured egg yolks

    Raw cacao butter

    Raw dairy

    Raw nuts, such as macadamias and pecans

    Seeds like black sesame, cumin, hemp and pumpkin seeds

    Avoid all trans fats and hydrogenated fats that have been modified to extend their longevity on the grocery store shelf. This includes margarine and various butter-like spreads. Vegetable oils such as soybean and canola should also be avoided.

    Avoid gluten and casein. The main items to forego in this category are wheat and pasteurized dairy, but not dairy fat, such as butter. Research shows that your blood-brain barrier is negatively affected by gluten. Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream where they sensitize your immune system. Once there, they promote autoimmunity and inflammation, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer's.

    Optimize your gut flora. By avoiding the processed foods noted above, which discourage healthy bacteria in your gut, you can strengthen your gut microbiome. Other gut-harming items to avoid include antibacterial products, antibiotics and fluoridated water.

    You can easily fortify your gut by regularly eating cultured and fermented foods, or intaking a high-quality probiotic. In my 2015 interview with Dr. David Perlmutter, he explores the compelling connection between your gut microbes and brain health, relating it to a number of neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's.

    Additional Alzheimer's Prevention Strategies

    In addition to the dietary recommendations mentioned above, the following additional prevention strategies will help you avoid Alzheimer’s.

    Get sufficient sleep

    To be healthy, it’s vital you get enough sleep according to the sleep needs of people your age, targeting around seven to nine hours per night for adults, and even more for teenagers and children.

    Exercise regularly

    Strive to sit less than three hours a day, move as much as you can during your non-exercise hours and exercise regularly. Try some of my personal favorites, such as daily walking, high-intensity exercises, stretching and strength training.

    Scientists have suggested exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized, thereby slowing down the onset and progression of Alzheimer's.18 Exercise also increases your levels of the protein PGC-1alpha. Research has shown people with Alzheimer's have less PGC-1alpha in their brains.

    Intermittently fast

    Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool to kickstart your body into remembering how to burn fat and repair the insulin/leptin resistance that is a contributing factor for Alzheimer's.

    Optimize your vitamin D levels with sensible sun exposure

    Sufficient vitamin D helps your immune system combat inflammation associated with Alzheimer's. The optimal vitamin D level for general health ranges between 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter. The ideal way to raise your level is by regularly exposing large amounts of your skin to sunshine.

    If you cannot get sufficient UV-sun exposure, taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement along with vitamin K2 and magnesium is highly advisable.

    Remove dental amalgam fillings

    Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity. If you have amalgams and are in reasonably good health, review my mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist who can help you with the removal.

    Avoid and eliminate aluminum from your body

    Sources of aluminum include antiperspirants, non-stick cookware and vaccine adjuvants. Learn more about how to detox aluminum.

    Avoid flu vaccinations

    Many flu vaccines contain both mercury and aluminum.

    Avoid statins and anticholinergic drugs

    Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence and certain narcotic pain relievers.

    Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10, vitamin K2 and neurotransmitter precursors.

    Challenge your mind daily

    Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer's.

    Age-Related Declines Are Not Caused by a Lack of Ginkgo Biloba

    No matter how good the research related to ginkgo biloba is today, or becomes in the future, I strongly caution you from looking to a single supplement as a “quick fix.” Aged-related cognitive decline and signs of accelerated aging are most certainly not caused by a lack of ginkgo biloba or any other supplement!

    Therefore, it is essential you carefully and thoroughly evaluate your diet and lifestyle choices and habits to ensure you are doing all you can now to prevent and/or address dementia and Alzheimer’s. Choose one or two areas for positive change, and start today taking steps toward optimizing your health.




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  • Health-Conscious Public Increasingly Embraces Ketogenic Diet
    published on May 14th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Your body is designed to have the metabolic flexibility to use both fat and glucose for fuel — not just one or the other. The reason conventional dietary advice has failed so miserably is because eating a high-carb diet for a long period of time results in the loss of this metabolic flexibility, making you unable to effectively burn fat for fuel.

    Last year, the British National Obesity Forum and the Public Health Collaboration issued a joint report based on the analysis of 43 obesity studies, warning the policy to promote a low-fat, high-carb diet is having a "disastrous impact on health."1,2,3 In conclusion, the report issued a strong recommendation to overhaul dietary guidelines to recommend a low-carb, high-fat diet instead, along with intermittent fasting or skipping meals, as chronic grazing or snacking between meals is a significant contributor to obesity.

    In short, most people not only eat the wrong foods and too much of them, they also eat too frequently. Lately, the ketogenic diet has become increasingly popular, and its popularity is largely driven by the sheer number of success stories. A recent article4 by CNBC, for example, notes how Silicon Valley has embraced the ketogenic diet in hopes of reversing type 2 diabetes and living longer.

    Efficient Fat-Burning Is Crucial for Optimal Health and Longevity

    When your body is able to burn fat for fuel, your liver creates water-soluble fats called ketones that:

    1. Burn far more efficiently than carbs, thereby creating fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals that can damage your cellular and mitochondrial cell membranes, proteins and DNA
    2. Decrease inflammation, as they are histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors
    3. Mimic the life span-extending properties of calorie restriction, which includes improved glucose metabolism and reduced inflammation5
    4. Have a similar structure to branched-chain amino acids, thereby aiding the building of muscle mass and promoting longevity6

    Healthy dietary fats also play an important role in maintaining your body's electrical system — an area I've recently started delving deeper into. All cellular membranes are made of fats, which act as insulators and are connected through a conductor. This arrangement sets up a biological capacitor to store electrons — but only if the fats are healthy.

    If you consume damaged fats, or worse, heated and hydrogenated oils, the fatty acids in your cell membranes become functionally impaired and have limited capacity to store body voltage, thus increasing the risk for disease. This is yet another reason why it is so vital to eat healthy fats.

    Last Chance to Preorder 'Fat for Fuel'

    Conventional advice suggests attaining an ideal weight is a matter of balancing the calories you eat with your exercise, i.e., the flawed calories in/calories out hypothesis. Tens of millions have failed to achieve long-term results following this advice.

    The real key to both weight management and optimal health is to properly feed your microbiome and mitochondria, and that requires eating fewer net carbs and more healthy fats and fiber. This can be relatively easily achieved by following the principles outlined in my new book, "Fat for Fuel."

    Shipments of "Fat for Fuel" begin tomorrow, May 16. Preordering your copy today will entitle you to six free bonuses and help push this book onto the best-seller list, which will give it wider exposure to people who might not read this newsletter.   

    It's by far the most important book I've ever written, as it addresses what appears to be at the very heart of virtually all chronic disease, namely mitochondrial dysfunction. If your mitochondria are not functioning properly, your entire metabolism will be seriously impaired. I provide important details you need to understand to improve your mitochondrial health in the book.

    It is my sincere belief that this book has the potential to save many lives. More than half of all Americans struggle with chronic illness and 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S. are obesity-related. It doesn't have to be this way, and my book details the way forward, out of chronic disease into optimal health. 

    >>>>> Click Here <<<<<

    Three Keys to Nutritional Ketosis

    A cyclical ketogenic diet focuses on the three keys to achieving nutritional ketosis:

    1. Minimal net carbohydrates, to prevent inflammation and facilitate the burning of fat as your primary fuel
    2. Adequate amounts of high-quality protein, to give your body just enough building blocks to maintain tissue health and muscle without overactivating the mTOR pathway, which plays a crucial role in the aging process and cancer formation
    3. High amounts of healthy dietary fats, to prevent inflammation, nourish healthy cells and optimize mitochondrial health and function

    As a general guideline, a dietary intake of 20 to 50 grams (or less) per day of net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber) while also keeping protein low-to-moderate is usually low enough to allow you to make the shift to nutritional ketosis. Nutritional ketosis is the metabolic state associated with an increased production of ketones in your liver; i.e., the biological reflection of being able to burn fat, and is defined as having blood ketones in the range of 0.5 to 3.0 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).

    Remember that once your body starts to burn fat for fuel you need to switch to a cyclical ketogenic diet, as long-term continuous ketosis is unhealthy. This is why we call the program a cyclical ketogenic diet.

    The Many Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet

    The health benefits of this type of diet — which basically involves turning the conventional food pyramid upside-down, although there are several different variations on the ketogenic diet to choose from — include:

    Weight loss

    Switching from a high-net-carb diet to a fat and adequate protein diet will help rebalance your body's chemistry, and a natural side effect of this is weight loss and/or improved weight management once you're at an ideal weight.

    In one study, obese subjects were given either a low-carb ketogenic diet or a low-fat diet. After 24 weeks, the low-carb group lost nearly double the amount of weight than the low-fat group (20.7 pounds compared to 10.6 pounds).7 Low-carb, high-fat diets also reduce hunger and carb cravings, thereby reducing your risk of overeating and weight gain.

    Less inflammation

    When burned for fuel, dietary fat releases far fewer ROS and secondary free radicals than sugar.

    Reduced cancer risk

    While all cells (including cancer cells) can use glucose for fuel, cancer cells lack the metabolic flexibility to use ketones for its energy needs, which your regular cells can. Once your body enters a state of nutritional ketosis, cancer cells are more susceptible to be removed by your body.

    Increased muscle mass

    Ketones share a close structural similarity to branched-chain amino acids and seem to be preferentially metabolized. In other words, ketones spare those branched-chain amino acids, leaving higher levels of them around, which promotes muscle mass.8 However, it is important to use a cyclical approach, otherwise your muscle mass will decrease.

    Lowered insulin levels

    Keeping your insulin level low helps prevent insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and related diseases. Research has demonstrated that diabetics who eat a low-carb ketogenic diet are able to significantly reduce their dependency on diabetes medication and may even reverse the condition.9

    Lowering insulin resistance will also reduce your risk of Alzheimer's. Recent research strengthens the link between insulin resistance and dementia even further, particularly among those with existing heart disease.10,11,12

    Increased longevity

    As noted by Jeff Volek, Ph.D., a registered dietitian and professor in the Human Science Department at Ohio State University, one of the reasons you can survive a long time without food is due to the process of ketosis, which spares protein breakdown.

    A fairly consistent effect seen in people on a ketogenic diet is that blood levels of leucine and other important structural proteins go up, allowing these proteins to perform a number of important signaling functions.

    As mentioned, ketones also mimic the life span-extending properties of calorie restriction13 (fasting), which includes improved glucose metabolism, reduced inflammation, clearing out malfunctioning immune cells14 and reduced IGF-1.

    This is one of the factors that regulate growth pathways and growth genes and is a major player in accelerated aging and cellular/intracellular regeneration and rejuvenation (autophagy and mitophagy). As noted in a recent study on this topic:15

    [E]xtension of life span results from decreased signaling through the insulin/insulin-like growth factor receptor signaling (IIS) pathway … An effective method for combating free radical damage occurs through the metabolism of ketone bodies …

    A dietary ketone ester also decreases circulating glucose and insulin leading to decreased IIS … [K]etosis results in transcription of the enzymes of the antioxidant pathways. In addition, the metabolism of ketone bodies results in a more negative redox potential of the NADP antioxidant system, which is a terminal destructor of oxygen free radicals."

    Feast and Famine Cycling Is an Important Component of Nutritional Ketosis

    In my book I also explain why cycling through stages of feast and famine, as opposed to continuously remaining in nutritional ketosis, is so important. Once you are able to burn fat as fuel, having a day or two each week where you eat more net carbs and protein is important, especially when you're doing strength training, to prevent sarcopenia.

    After a day or two of "feasting," you then cycle back into nutritional ketosis (the "fasting" stage) for the remainder of the week. By periodically pulsing higher carb intakes, consuming, say, 100 or 150 grams of carbs opposed to 20 to 50 grams per day, your ketone levels will dramatically increase and your blood sugar will drop.

    Paradoxically, long-term uninterrupted use of a ketogenic diet can trigger a rise in blood sugar by driving your insulin level too low. The reason this situation can occur is because the primary function of insulin is not to drive sugar into the cell but to suppress the production of glucose by your liver (hepatic gluconeogenesis). Cycling in and out of nutritional ketosis will prevent this situation from occurring.

    Refeeding Phase Is Where the 'Magic' Takes Place

    Additionally, from a metabolic perspective, clearance of damaged cell and cell content occurs during the fasting phase (much in the same way exercise produces damage to your muscles) while the "metabolic magic" of rejuvenation occurs during the refeeding phase. This is when cells and tissues are rebuilt.

    As just one example, recent research shows fasting actually triggers the regeneration of the pancreas in both type 1 and type 2 diabetics.16,17 But again, these regenerative effects are largely triggered during the refeeding phase. If you don't pulse in and out of ketosis, you end up missing out on many of the benefits that occur during this rebuilding and rejuvenation phase.

    The rejuvenation that occurs during refeeding is also one of the reasons intermittent fasting is so beneficial. Put another way, the fasting phase helps your body clean out toxic debris, while the refeeding phase builds your body back up. The cycling can also make this type of diet easier to maintain.

    Yet another important factor is avoiding late-night eating. Feeding your body at a time when it needs the least amount of energy encourages cellular damage due to excess production of free radicals. For this reason, I suggest limiting your eating to breakfast and lunch — a "Peak Fasting" strategy that allows you to fast for 16 or more hours each day.

    How to Implement a Ketogenic Diet 

    To implement a ketogenic diet:

    1. Eliminate packaged, processed foods. The emphasis is on real whole foods, plenty of healthy fats and as few net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) as possible. This typically involves dramatically reducing or temporarily eliminating all grains and any food high in sugar, particularly fructose, but also galactose (found in milk) and other sugars — both added and naturally-occurring

    2. Monitor your nutrient ratios. As a general rule, you'll need to reduce your net carbs to 20 to 50 grams a day or less; restrict protein to 1 gram per kilogram of lean body mass; and get anywhere from 50 to 85 percent of your daily calories from healthy fats.

    To make sure you're meeting your nutritional requirements and maintaining the ideal nutrient ratios, use a nutrient tracker such as www.cronometer.com/mercola, which is already set up for nutritional ketosis. Based on the personal parameters you enter, such as height, weight, body fat percentage and waist circumference, it will automatically calculate the ideal ratios of net carbs, protein and fats to put you into nutritional ketosis

    Say Yes to More of These Fatty Foods

    Selecting the right fats is crucial to your success on a cyclical ketogenic diet. One of the reasons many ended up experiencing health problems on the Atkins Diet was because no distinction was made between healthy and harmful fats. As a general rule, any fat found naturally in animal foods and plants is good for you.

    It's really the processed fats and vegetable oils used in processed foods and fried restaurant meals that wreak havoc and should, ideally, be eliminated altogether. That said, examples of high-quality healthy fats include:

    Olives and olive oil (make sure it's third party certified, as 80 percent of olive oils are adulterated with vegetable oils.

    Also avoid cooking with olive oil. Use it cold)

    Coconuts and coconut oil (excellent for cooking as it can withstand higher temperatures without oxidizing)

    Animal-based omega-3 fat from fatty fish low in mercury like wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies and/or krill oil

    Butter made from raw grass fed organic milk

    Raw nuts, such as macadamia and pecans

    Seeds like black sesame, cumin, pumpkin and hemp seeds

    Avocados

    Grass fed meats

    MCT oil

    Ghee (clarified butter); lard and tallow (excellent for cooking)

    Raw cacao butter

    Organic, pastured egg yolks

    Cyclical Ketosis Is the Answer for Most Ailments

    To improve your mitochondrial function through diet, the key is to eat in such a way that your body is able to burn fat as its primary fuel rather than sugars. Ketogenic diets are very effective for this, as is intermittent fasting and longer water fasts for those who are overweight.

    Switching from a high-carb diet to one high in healthy fat with adequate protein and low in net carbs helps rebalance your body's chemistry. A natural side effect of this is weight loss, and improved weight management once you're at an ideal weight.

    It's really important to understand that you will not get fat from eating healthy fat. Nor will you lose weight simply by eating fewer calories and exercising more. Obesity stems from eating a high-carb diet, which over time leads to an inability to burn fat for fuel — and exercise alone cannot correct this metabolic dysfunction.

    To correct it, you need to alter your nutrient ratios, making healthy fats the largest source of calories, not net carbs. Add just the amount of protein your body needs and no more, cut way back on net carbs and chances are you'll be amazed at the health improvements you will gain.




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  • Hot Chilies Can Cool Gut Inflammation
    published on May 14th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Research has recently discovered that hot chilies may help soothe your gut when you suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is not to be confused with inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a less serious functional disorder that doesn't cause ulcers or intestinal damage as does IBD.

    IBD is an autoimmune condition that may have serious consequences. Currently there are nearly 3 million Americans who suffer from IBD, with nearly 70,000 new cases diagnosed each year.1 This is nearly triple previous estimates, which may be due to a combination of rising rates and improved diagnostic criteria.

    The rising rates of the condition may be related to genetics, environmental factors, diet and changes in your gut microbiome. Research has demonstrated your microbiome is so important that physicians may even use it as a diagnostic tool.2

    While improving your microbiome plays a significant role in reducing or eliminating your symptoms, capsaicin and endocannabinoids may also play a role in reducing your symptoms through control of your neuroimmune axis.3 Before understanding how it works, it's helpful to understand the condition.

    What Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

    IBD is a chronic inflammation of part or all of your intestinal tract that may result in ulcerations, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and weight loss. The condition is often debilitating and may lead to a life-threatening situation. There are two different types of IBD: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC).

    UC is generally more common in men, while more women suffer from Crohn's disease.4 Both forms of IBD are more common in developed countries, while ex-smokers and nonsmokers more commonly have UC, and smokers more commonly develop Crohn's.

    People who experience UC will often suffer from ulcers and inflammation in the lining of the large intestines, while Crohn's is a disease that affects your entire digestive tract. Doctors believe your symptoms are the result of widespread recurring immune response focused in your intestines.5

    Your immune system mistakes substances in your intestines for a foreign material and sends out white blood cells that trigger inflammation.6 Without significant changes to your lifestyle, symptoms continue to get worse and affect your quality of life.

    Unfortunately, the symptoms are often associated with stigma, fear and isolation that have resulted in the disease being relatively hidden and people suffering in silence. While there is no real cure for the condition, there are strategies that may reduce or eliminate your symptoms.

    Why Hot Chilies May Calm Your Gut

    Recent research has found when mice were fed capsaicin, the substance in chili peppers that makes them "hot," they had less inflammation in their gut — and some were even cured of a mouse model type 1 diabetes.7 Researchers found capsaicin acted on receptors, causing local production of anandamide.

    Anandamide acts through your cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) that increases the number and function of immune macrophages in your gut. You have endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids produced in your system from glycerophospholipids. Anadamide is an endogenous intestinal cannabinoid.

    It controls your appetite and energy balance through the nervous system in your intestinal tract. This study uncovered the immunological role anandamide and endocannabinoids play in the regulation of immune tolerance in the gut,8 and in maintaining immune homeostasis between the nervous and immune systems.

    Following the discovery of endogenous cannabinoid production in the mid-2000s, a large number of studies exploring the system and regulatory function were initiated, as scientists were hopeful for a pharmaceutical approach to health.9

    Interactions in the endocannabinoid system are much like those that occur in the brain, as your gut has a very large nervous system affected by the endocannabinoids produced after ingesting chili peppers. Researchers question if people who use edible cannabinoids may experience the same relief.10

    What Is Cannabidiol or CBD?

    The cannabis plant, commonly known as marijuana, has two major active ingredients. The more famous molecule is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), known for the psychoactive properties that leave people feeling "high" or "stoned."11 The second chemical compound found in the cannabis plant is cannabidiol (CBD). This doesn't have the psychoactive effects but still has an effect on your body. CBD may actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC.12

    How much THC and CBD in the plant depends upon the strain. In the past decade much research has been undertaken to ascertain the medical efficacy of CBD in the treatment of specific conditions. There has been promising evidence of positive effects as an antidepressant,13 anti-inflammatory,14 antioxidant15 and neuroprotective.16

    Often used in oil form, medicinal cannabis oil is extracted from strains of the plant grown specifically high in CBD and low in THC. CBD works by binding to cannabinoid receptor cells, some heavily concentrated in your nervous system. However, there are receptors in almost every organ of your body.17

    The combination of your endogenous cannabinoid and receptors make up your endocannabinoid system, involved in many of your organ systems. However, the four primary purposes appear to be neuroprotection, immune balance, stress recovery and homeostasis regulation.18

    Although both THC and CBD are cannabinoids, they react with your body in different ways. THC engages your CBD1 receptors, many of which are in your central nervous system, or brain. Combined with the psychoactive properties, this results in feeling "high."19

    CBD Results Push Further Research

    Neurologist Dr. Ethan Russo discussed the difference between THC and CBD and the way they interact with your receptors in an interview with Project CBD. He points out that cannabis has been selectively bred over the years for high THC levels to increase the psychoactive effects of the plant.20

    However, the medicinal plant bred for high levels of CBD and low levels of THC do not engage your CBD1 receptors in the same way. He explains:

    "It doesn't tend to bind directly, what's called the orthosteric site where THC binds. Rather, it binds on what's called an allosteric site, another site on the receptor, and it so it alters the binding of both THC and the endogenous cannabinoids, the endocannabinoids.

    So, cannabidiol is what's called the negative allosteric modulator, which is a fancy way of saying that when THC is present it interferes with its activity — which is a good thing in terms of wanting too much psychoactivity and again limiting side effects like anxiety or rapid heart rate that can be a problem if someone has too much THC."

    This difference has fueled a group of "medical cannabis refugees," who have moved to Colorado in search of medicinal plants that have demonstrated unique and powerful success in the treatment of conditions like intractable seizures,21 Parkinson's disease22,23 and obsessive compulsive disorder.24,25

    In the past decade the endocannabinoid system has been implicated in a number of biological and physiological functions that show increasing promise in treatment of a wide variety of disorders, including IBD, neuropathic pain and multiple sclerosis.26

    However, while great strides have been made in research, the socially unacceptable psychoactive properties of the cannabis plant have presented a significant challenge to families seeking treatment. The use of selective receptor agonists could potentially improve treatment options.

    How CBD May Affect Your Gut Health

    Research from the University of Vermont found those who ate red-hot chili peppers experienced a 13 percent reduction in risk of death, primarily from heart disease or stroke.27 Data suggested participants benefited from the result of capsaicin cellular and molecular mechanisms, especially in the gut.

    The outcome of an excessive inflammatory response in your gut is intestinal damage and disturbances in motility and secretion — the hallmarks of IBD.28 With no known current pharmaceutical cure, success of treatment modalities is measured by severity of symptoms.

    Active inflammation in the gut may be mediated by enteric glial cells that release factors, amplifying the immune response.29 This represents an important connection between your nervous system and immune system inside your gut. CBD can control these glial cells in your nervous system without psychoactivity, and therefore reduce the inflammatory response in your intestinal tract. These results indicate that CBD meets criteria for a therapeutic strategy to treat IBD.30

    The gut-brain connection offers a strong explanation of how your intestinal health responds to stress and, conversely, why acute or chronic abdominal distress may result in emotional complaints. CBD is becoming more recognized for the important role it plays in treating this neuroimmune axis.31

    And finally, the side-effect profile for CBD oil and other medicinal preparations of CBD is very low. In fact, the preparations have fewer side effects than current medications used to treat UC and Crohn's disease.32,33

    Prevention and Treatment Without Drugs

    Like most health conditions, prevention is the best medicine. Your gut bacteria have a powerful influence over your immune system and the inflammatory response in your body as I discuss in the video above.34,35 Individuals who suffer from IBD often share an altered microbiome resulting in a protracted state of inflammation and symptoms.36 Reseeding your gut to achieve a more normal composition should be high on your list to reduce your symptoms or prevent the condition.

    Traditionally fermented and unpasteurized cultured foods are loaded with healthy bacteria, and are easy to make from scratch at home. To learn more about fermenting vegetables, see my previous article, "Tips for Fermenting at Home." Other helpful foods that are important if you struggle with IBD include:

    Blueberries. These little berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber, and research has demonstrated they may help alleviate and protect against inflammation in your gut.37,38 They are rich in polyphenols that have both antimicrobial and antioxidant effects.

    When combined with probiotics, blueberries may reduce inflammatory-inducing bacteria in your gut and increase the amount of healthy Lactobacilla. The fiber doesn't degrade in your large intestines, protecting your intestinal lining from substances that cause inflammation.

    Coconut oil. This is a wonderful overall addition to your diet and has anti-inflammatory effects that may help heal injury to your digestive tract.39 Coconut oil also has antimicrobial properties that may kill microorganisms, including yeast that may cause chronic inflammation.

    Caprylic acid. This is a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT oil) that is also a potent antifungal. Dr. Leon Chaitow, author of "Candida Albicans: Could Yeast Be Your Problem?" recommends it in lieu of antifungal drugs for Candida overgrowth.

    Animal-based omega-3. This is another essential element for preventing and controlling IBD. The omega-3 fats in krill oil, EPA and DHA, have immune-boosting qualities along with anti-inflammatory properties proven to benefit disorders of the gut, including Crohn's disease and UC.40

    Fiber-rich foods. Fiber foods such as organic psyllium seed husk, flax, hemp and berries, vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, root vegetables and tubers, raw nuts and beans, help nourish beneficial microbes in your gut.

    Aim for 50 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed. Supplementing with organic psyllium husk can help bring you closer to this ideal amount. Just make sure that the psyllium is organic, as non-organic psyllium is typically severely contaminated with pesticides.




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  • Groundbreaking Database Helps Improve Cancer Treatments
    published on May 13th, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Cancer will affect half of all men and one-third of all women at some point in their lives. Having the metabolic flexibility to burn fat for fuel can significantly reduce your chances of cancer and improve your chances of recovery, but it's certainly not the only way to address this devastating disease.

    Dr. William LaValley is one of the world's most advanced clinical researchers and medical doctor practitioners in the field of integrative cancer treatment. He has broken new ground by creating state-of-the-art databases of tens of thousands of studies covering the molecular biology of cancer and the anticancer benefits of nutritional supplements and repurposed drugs (drugs used off-label).

    LaValley is one of the more than two dozen experts who helped proof my new book, "Fat for Fuel," which helps you understand how to burn fat as your primary fuel, and the importance of this metabolic flexibility in the treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases. His feedback, which included landmark studies explaining the newfound mechanism, helped me gain a much deeper understanding of the way insulin works. Most physicians are under the mistaken belief that it works by driving glucose into your cells.

    It turns out that insulin primarily works by suppressing hepatic gluconeogenesis, meaning your liver's ability to make glucose. This was a crucial piece of information that helped me understand the importance of "feast and famine cycling," which I explain in the book.

    LaValley Protocols — The Other Half of Cancer Treatment

    LaValley, a family physician, has spent the last decade researching the scientific literature, ultimately developing a set of comprehensive databases that he now uses to educate other physicians about science-backed integrative treatments for cancer. He also trains physicians to treat cancer patients using evidence-based molecularly targeted treatments.

    "When I was in medical school in the mid-1980s, we didn't learn molecular biology as part of the medical school curriculum. I always felt incomplete and inadequate because I didn't understand molecular biology," he says. "In the beginning of 2006, I took a self-imposed sabbatical … to learn the molecular biology of cancer.

    Since that time, I have developed relational databases that connect cancer cell types, molecular pathways and chemotherapy and pharmaceuticals, as well as natural products — how they interact and how they're cross-referenced with each other.

    I have spent well over 13,000 hours developing these databases that now can be used to greatly accelerate the selection of these options, because the data is organized. It's collated. I can then go in and select specific recommendations because I know where to go look.

    That information, I think, has great value for the medical community because now doctors don't have to go and do all of that. This information is now encapsulated and in a way predigested. It has great value for the broad spectrum of cancer cell types because there's so much data out there."

    Many Nutritional Supplements Have Anticancer Activity

    LaValley's work shows there are large amounts of data showing nutritional supplements have molecularly targeted, anticancer effects. Some readily available, commonly utilized drugs also increase anticancer activity in those with cancer, and both can be used to boost the effectiveness of conventional chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

    "The challenge is that most doctors, because they are already overwhelmed … don't have the time to dig into this information," he says. "[There] are two other important reasons that doctors aren't being taught about this. One is that pharmaceutical companies are restricted by law and regulation from educating about the use of their drugs except for how they're approved …

    The concept is repurposing of drugs. Doctors do it all the time, except they don't learn about it except from other doctors. There are now doctors teaching about these commonly available drugs for anticancer activity.

    In addition to that, supplement companies are forbidden from educating and marketing about the use of their products for disease treatment, specifically cancer treatment. Yet there are large amounts of data that show scientifically proven anticancer molecular effects from a whole range of natural supplements, in a whole range of cancers."

    Metformin Versus Berberine

    There are instances where older, inexpensive drugs can be repurposed for their useful anticancer properties. LaValley mentions metformin as an example, noting it is very low cost, has a long history of safety, is widely available and has significant evidence across a whole range of cancer cell types as having anticancer activity on multiple different molecular targets.

    Personally, I have concerns about metformin, as it has been shown to be toxic to the mitochondria. Many of its benefits, at least at a molecular level, are replicated by a nutraceutical called berberine, which doesn't have the mitochondrial toxicity. LaValley weighs in, saying:

    "I call myself a molecular agnostic. I'm interested in using the molecules that are available. When you talk about metformin, yes, it does have some toxicity to mitochondria at a particular target within the mitochondria. It also has many other anticancer targets within cancer cells and cancer stem cells. It's widely available. I weigh all of those and I make the recommendations to the doctors. I show the doctors the references, the scientific citations …

    I strongly encourage people diagnosed with cancer to access this emerging specialty of integrative medicine and the particular subspecialty within it that I do, molecular integrative medicine — looking at the spectrum of molecules that can add anticancer effects.

    You're absolutely spot-on about berberine having specific activity that's anticancer, like metformin specifically, in that adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) target. They're not the same; they're overlapping.

    None of these molecules have only a single target, these natural products or these generic pharmaceuticals. That's why I'm using [them]. Essentially, the goal is to use networks of therapeutic molecules to target networks of cancer molecular pathways."

    Natural Medicine Has a Place in Personalized Precision Medicine

    There are several important aspects of cancer: cancer metabolism in general; the molecular pathways within the cancer cells; and the microscopic environment adjacent to the cancer cells, the latter of which includes your immune system, which has anticancer immune cells that detect and eliminate cancer cells and precancer immune cells that protect and support cancer cells. There are natural supplements that can increase or boost your anticancer immune cells and decrease your pro-cancer immune cells.

    Now, what kills most cancer patients is actually the mechanism by which circulating cancer stem cells are distributed throughout the body. If you can target and eliminate these cancer stem cells, then it's relatively easy to control the cancer. LaValley says:

    "When I describe cancer to patients or to their doctors, I'm looking at targeting cancer metabolism, which is what you spend a great deal of time and effort on. 'Fat for Fuel' is a great book and has great supporting materials.

    In addition [to] molecular pathways within the cancer cells, there are a whole range of cancer-supporting and protecting cells in the microscopic environment immediately adjacent to the cancer cells. That microenvironment includes a population of stem cells that can replenish cancer cells even when those cancer cells are eliminated.

    Whether it's cancer cells or those stem cells or some of the immune microenvironment cells, they can … leave the cancer tumor … and circulate throughout the body to other positions … and start growing additional cancer tumors called metastatic cancer … Using natural products, we can target all of these … There are many options available. Those options can be personalized depending on the molecular characteristics … of those patients' cancer cells.

    They can be evaluated using technology called genomics, DNA assessment, or look at RNA or look at the proteins in the cancer cells, to give a much better idea of how to target … treatment on that particular person's cancer. That's personalized precision medicine, in addition to patient-centered medicine, which is where the integrative medicine doctors are giving people choices for natural medicine in addition to their conventional medicine."

    Cancer Cells Are Sugar Addicts

    One strategy that can be enormously helpful if you're getting chemo or radiation treatment is to periodically fast prior to and on the day of treatment. I recently interviewed Dr. Abdul Slocum about the stacked ketogenic treatment protocol used at the ChemoThermia Oncology Center in Turkey. There, they've successfully used nutritional ketosis and fasting in conjunction with chemotherapy — at significantly reduced doses — to treat a number of very aggressive late-stage cancers.

    LaValley also recommends and supports the use of either calorie restriction or fasting. We also now know that, by far, the most dangerous food you can possibly eat if you have cancer (or if you want to avoid it) is sugar in all its forms.

    "People have to understand [this] and make their own choices, which is why I spend the time educating them about cancer metabolism. 'Fat for Fuel' is going to make it a lot easier," LaValley says. Limiting sugar also helps optimize mitochondrial function, which is another important component of health and disease prevention.

    "Food matters. What you eat and drink really matters … That's the foundation. If you understand that, you're going to increase the likelihood of getting a better outcome … The second thing is to understand that there are different specialties within medicine. Don't expect from any specialist what they don't have expertise in.

    When you're looking for additional expertise for scientifically targeted anticancer utilization of natural supplements, then it's probably best to go to an integrative medicine doctor, [or] at least a doctor that has expertise in integrative medicine. Because that's the specialty where there is a focus on using natural products scientifically, as well as integrating that within the conventional medicine," LaValley says.

    "There are vast amounts of data that support the use of supplements for molecularly targeted anticancer activity, as well as some of the already available … drugs … that can have additional anticancer effect. Those two things are really important to empower people."

    Building Your Cancer Treatment Team

    All of that said, LaValley warns against taking a do-it-yourself approach when you have cancer. It's very important to work with a qualified team of physicians who have access to the scientific literature and know how to personalize protocols for your particular cancer. Fortunately, there is now a large network of integrative medicine doctors in the U.S. and in Canada who are available for collaboration with your oncologist and integrative medicine doctor.

    This is precisely what LaValley does. He collaborates with doctors to give to them evidence-based, molecularly-targeted, anticancer treatment recommendations for supplements, as well as off-label or repurposed pharmaceuticals.

    Another important member of the team is the nutritionist. I am now in the process of creating a certification program for nutritionists (and physicians who are interested) on how to implement a ketogenic anticancer diet. We'll have that certification available later this year.

    "All of [my recommendations are] specifically designed to be integrated with whatever their chemotherapy and or radiation therapy is, and not expected, recommended or designed to be 'instead of.' Most people are getting chemo and radiation. That's where they are. They don't know that they can get this significantly greater increased benefit …

    The doctor receives the protocol recommendations and then considers and decides [on] each one … with that patient. Then, with our team, we can help those people implement the selections that doctor has made so that we make it very efficient.

    It's a very organized systematic approach. People can implement very complex, very effective, broad-spectrum protocols and get robust anticancer results, basically really healthy, good, long lives. They can do it because this system is made efficient for implementation at home on a daily basis."

    Hope for Late-Stage Cancer Patients

    When we're talking about cancer and cancer treatment, there's a really wide range of patients and potential options. If you've been recently diagnosed and have very localized stage 1 cancer, it is possible that you could control it by carefully implementing the principles laid out in "Fat for Fuel." The more aggressive your cancer, and the later the stage at which you're diagnosed, the more comprehensive your treatment strategy needs to be.

    Now, what if you've just been diagnosed with a stage 4 aggressive cancer? Should you just write your will and wait to die? As demonstrated by the ChemoThermia Oncology Center in Turkey, these days there's often hope even for those given mere weeks to live. LaValley also sees many patients with stage 4 cancer.

    "If they're able to implement at least a minor protocol or a medium-sized protocol, it's very common for us to see they're getting significant benefit. In other words, slowing down the progression, even getting the tumor amount, the tumor load, to decrease," he says. "There are ways to decrease the symptoms, decrease the suffering that people have as well.

    There are ways to increase the anticancer part of the immune system with people in stage 4 cancer, because stage 4 can be a very end-stage, very dramatic, very difficult part. Or it can be an early aspect of stage 4 where they still have a really robust quality of life and they are able to manage and have a good full life doing what they want to do … I think it really matters to the degree that they're willing to implement [the protocols].

    What I tell people is try it for three months. See how you're able to implement. Collaborate with your doctor, your conventional oncology team, as well as your integrative medicine doctors. Assess how you are at one, two and three months.

    These kinds of protocols, they take a while to get up and running. It may take a month or so just to get things up and running. Then over the next two months [of] very diligently implementing, reassess and determine whether there's value. If somebody has a rapidly progressive cancer and then it doesn't rapidly progress, that's progress. That's benefit. That's value. They're able to extend their length of life."

    New Technology Can Identify Cancer Markers

    Cancer patients also have more and better options today in terms of post-care, or that time after their cancer has gone into remission and can no longer be seen on a computed tomography (CT) scan, positron emission tomography (PET) scan, magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) or other kind of scanning tool. Just because the tumor can no longer be seen on a scan does not automatically mean there are no cancer cells left in the body.

    Today, there are tools that can identify tumor markers, such as particular proteins in the blood. Should such markers be present, continuing the anticancer protocol would be prudent, and could mean the difference between living cancer free for the rest of your life or having to address a recurrence down the road.

    More Information

    If you've been diagnosed with cancer, or know someone who has been diagnosed, you may want to consider tackling it from more angles than just one. Chemotherapy and radiation are hardly magic bullets. Overall, they have fairly low success rates for many cancers.

    If you decide to go that route, please know that you can significantly increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation by implementing a ketogenic diet, specific nutritional supplements (based on your cancer profile), and/or repurposed drugs (again based on your cancer profile).

    Also know that LaValley and his team, as well as other integrative medicine doctors, are available to help, regardless of where you live. Oftentimes LaValley will initially be contacted by the patient. He can then contact your chosen oncologist or integrative medicine doctor to establish a collaborative team. If you don't have an integrative medicine doctor, or oncologist, he and his team can also help you find one.

    Once a collaboration has been set up, LaValley can develop a customized treatment protocol just for you for your integrative medicine physician to consider in your treatment. Remember, it's important to have an integrative team that are working together to ensure the entire spectrum of care is properly covered.

    You can find more information on his website, www.LaValleyMDProtocols.com. It's a phenomenal resource that both you and your doctor can peruse. To set up a consultation with LaValley, see the "Get Started" tab.

    "We're developing resources for patients and their doctors to make it easier for them to understand [the information] and to have a discussion, as well as [make] this database access easier," he says. "Medicine is undergoing such a great evolution that it's going to come across the full spectrum. That's what we're aiming to do. It's to make people have access to these [protocols] from whatever practice or whatever licensed physician they're going to."





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