" Look Into It - Health News










  • Above the law: NFL caught in Big Pharma cover-up
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 10:23 PM
    (Natural News) Addiction, like other illnesses, knows no bounds; it can strike anyone, regardless of their position in life. The abuse of prescription painkillers has spread far and wide across the United States — and the epidemic of addiction has even sunk its hooks into some of the nation’s top athletes. The NFL has recently...

  • Zika hysteria spreads to sperm donors as CDC orders halt to donations in three Florida counties where Zika has done virtually nothing
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 10:23 PM
    (Natural News) If it’s not Swine Flu it’s Ebola, and if it’s not Ebola it’s Zika, the latest manufactured epidemic that the government wants everyone to fear. Though Zika has mostly been a non-issue in the U.S., officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have made a proclamation that men who live...

  • Vitamin C breakthrough discovery: Low-cost nutrient halts growth of cancer stem cells... 1000% more effective than cancer drug... peer-reviewed science confirms powerful effects
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 10:23 PM
    (Natural News) An exciting medical breakthrough published in the science journal Oncotarget has discovered the astonishing ability of concentrated vitamin C to halt the growth of cancer tumor stem cells. The study, conducted at the University of Salford in Manchester — (see full text of the study at this link) — tested the impact on...

  • Rand Paul predicts Ryan-backed Obamacare replacement legislation will be pulled before Thursday vote
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 10:23 PM
    (Natural News) Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, one of a number of GOP lawmakers opposed to the American Health Care Act, has predicted there won’t be enough votes to pass it, causing it to be withdrawn and forcing Republican leaders to start over. The AHCA is the bill touted by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and...

  • Trump signs NASA funding bill, hopes to send humans to Mars
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 10:23 PM
    (Natural News) President Donald J. Trump has signed legislation aimed at funding the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in what may become a down payment on a future manned mission to Mars. As reported by The Hill, the bill’s authors and sponsors – including Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla. – were...

  • Dental dangers – How to protect your health
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 10:23 PM
    (Natural News) Over 150 million people in the United States currently have dental amalgam fillings (loaded with mercury) in their mouth – which are toxic to the body. At the same time, the occurrence of chronic degenerative diseases has never been higher, with the Centers for Disease Control estimating that over 117 million Americans suffer...

  • The BIG LIE upon which all government is founded
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 10:23 PM
    (Natural News) Every government in the world today is founded on a “big lie” that you’re about to see explained below. This is true regardless of party affiliation, nationality or era in which the government operates. All governments — past, present and future — are founded on this “big lie,” without exception. What is this...

  • Coincidence? Monsanto patented glyphosate as an "antibiotic" drug, claiming weed killer is medicine
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 10:23 PM
    (Natural News) While you’d be hard pressed to find anyone willing to use a known herbicide for medicinal purposes, that hasn’t stopped Monsanto from patenting the star ingredient of their flagship herbicide, Roundup, as a type of antibiotic. In 2003, the corporate giant first submitted a patent for glyphosate as a parasitic control-type antimicrobial agent...

  • Judge allows preposterous "Pink Slime" lawsuit to move forward against ABC
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 10:23 PM
    (Natural News) You can’t just sue someone for saying something you don’t like, and you certainly can’t successfully pursue litigation against a media outlet for merely telling the truth — unless, of course, you’re a powerful food industry conglomerate with backing from your buddies in Big Agriculture and the state government. Beef Products Inc., the...

  • Why Attorney General Jeff Sessions is wrong on marijuana
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 10:23 PM
    (Natural News) The newest top dog governing federal legal affairs on behalf of United States citizens is openly defiant not only to the will of the American people, the collective employer for whom he works, but also to science and common sense. In case you somehow missed it, Attorney General Jeff Sessions hates the cannabis...

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.

  • Can Pink Noise Help You Sleep?
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    You probably don't think of noise in terms of colors, but there is a rainbow of noise out there — from the familiar white noise that occurs when a TV turns to static to the higher-pitched blue noise, which sounds similar to a hissing spray of water.1

    Somewhere in the middle is pink noise, gentle sound similar to that of rushing water or wind blowing through leaves on a tree.

    Pink noise contains frequencies from 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz, just like white noise, but the lower frequencies are louder and more powerful than the higher frequencies (white noise, in contrast, has equal power in all of its frequencies).2

    However, pink noise has equal power per octave (a range of frequencies whose upper frequency limit is twice that of its lower frequency limit), which is why most people hear it as an even noise.3

    To an untrained ear, pink noise may sound quite similar to white noise, but the former, it seems, may have particular promise for helping you sleep and improving other areas of human health, including that of your brain.

    Pink Noise at Night May Help You Sleep Better and Improve Memory

    Research published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience revealed that listening to pink noise could improve sleep and memory among 60- to 84-year-olds, a population that tends to have reduced slow wave sleep, or deep sleep, compared to younger individuals.4 Slow wave sleep is also associated with memory consolidation.

    While spending the night in a sleep lab, participants listened to pink noise one night and no noise the next. Notably, the pink noise was played in bursts to match the timing of participants' slow wave sleep.

    Not only did the pink noise enhance slow wave sleep, it also was linked to better scores on memory tests. The participants scored about three times better on memory tests the morning after listening to pink noise in their sleep.5

    Senior study author Dr. Phyllis Zee, professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told Time, "The noise is fairly pleasant; it kind of resembles a rush of water … It's just noticeable enough that the brain realizes it's there, but not enough to disturb sleep."6

    Does the Timing of Pink-Noise Exposure Matter?

    Zee and her team are working on developing a device you can use to deliver pink noise at home, although there are many apps already available that claim to do so.

    Zee said that the memory benefits, however, may depend on the pink noise enhancing slow wave sleep, which means the noise may need to be administered at appropriate times to be most effective.7 She said in a press release:8

    "This is an innovative, simple and safe non-medication approach that may help improve brain health … This is a potential tool for enhancing memory in older populations and attenuating normal age-related memory decline."

    Past research also found that steady pink noise helped to regulate brain waves and led to more stable sleep and improved sleep quality in adults, both during the night (a 23 percent improvement with pink noise) and during naps (a 45 percent improvement).9

    Seventy-five percent of the study participants also said they experienced more restful sleep when exposed to pink noise.10

    Sleeping Too Much or Too Little Linked to Higher Weight

    Sleep influences far more than your energy level; it's intricately involved in virtually every aspect of your health, including your weight. Among people genetically predisposed to obesity, the amount you sleep may also make a difference.

    A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who slept less than seven hours or more than nine hours a night weighed more, on average, than those who slept the recommended seven to nine hours.11

    The short sleepers weighed about 4.5 pounds more while the long sleepers weighed nearly 9 pounds more than the normal sleepers.12

    The association persisted regardless of diet, and it was also found that shift work and daytime napping was associated with higher weight among this population. Study co-author, research associate Carlos Celis-Morales, BHF Cardiovascular Research Centre at Glasgow, said:13

    "It appears that people with high genetic risk for obesity need to take more care about lifestyle factors to maintain a healthy body weight. Our data suggest that sleep is another factor which needs to be considered, alongside diet and physical activity."

    In this study, there was not as strong a link between sleep duration and weight among people with low genetic obesity risk; however, other studies have shown links between weight and sleep.

    For instance, people who typically slept five hours or less a night showed a 32 percent gain in visceral fat (a dangerous type linked to heart disease and other chronic diseases) versus a 13 percent gain among those who slept six or seven hours per night, and a 22 percent increase among men and women who got at least eight hours of sleep each night.14

    Night Owls May Eat Less Healthy Than Morning People

    There are various reasons why sleep affects weight. Lack of sleep also decreases levels of the fat regulating hormone leptin while increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. The resulting increase in hunger and appetite can easily lead to overeating and weight gain.

    In addition, according to a study in the journal Sleep, later bedtimes correlate to greater weight gain even in healthy, non-obese people.15

    Late-night snacking further increases that risk. In fact, avoiding food at least three hours prior to bedtime is one of my standard recommendations as it helps to make sure that your body is burning fat as its primary fuel which will keep you lean.

    A recent study published in the journal Obesity further revealed that the types of foods chosen by morning and evening types of people differ, with night owls tending to eat less healthy, perhaps as a consequence of "living against their internal biological time."16

    Specifically, on weekdays the night owls tended to choose breakfast foods that were higher in sugar and lower in fiber compared to those chosen by the morning types. In the evening, the night owls also tended to eat more sugar.

    "On weekends, the differences were even greater," The New York Times reported. "Evening people ate significantly more sugar and fats, had more irregular mealtimes, and ate meals and snacks twice as often as morning people."17

    Since "our society is pretty much structured to suit morning types better," the study's lead author Mirkka Maukonen of the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare told the Times, "awareness of one's own chronotype [when you are naturally predisposed to sleep and wake] may encourage paying more attention to overall healthier lifestyle choices."18

    Sleeping More Than Nine Hours a Night Linked to Dementia

    Your brain is also affected by how much you sleep, and research again shows that there appears to be a "Goldilocks" zone that's best — neither too much nor too little.

    Those who sleep for more than nine hours a night consistently, for instance, had a six-fold greater risk of developing dementia in the next 10 years compared to those who slept less.19

    Long sleep duration was also associated with smaller brain volume and poorer executive function, which suggests prolonged sleep duration may be a marker of early neurodegeneration, the researchers said. Too little sleep has also been linked to dementia.20 As Newsweek reported:21

    "Missing out on deep non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep may allow proteins linked to dementia to have easier access to the brain.

    Beta-amyloid, a protein suspected of triggering Alzheimer's, aggregates in higher concentrations in the brains of those who chronically suffer from poor sleep. As beta-amyloid accumulates, the protein further inhibits the ability to sleep, which feeds into a terrible cycle linked to dementia."

    The Link Between Sleep and Mental Health

    Episodes of insomnia may also be predictive of mental illness, while addressing sleep problems may support mental health. Russell Foster, professor of circadian neuroscience at the University of Oxford, wrote in Epoch Times:22

    "To date a surprisingly large number of genes have been identified that play an important role in both sleep disruption and mental illness. And if the mental illness is not causing disruption in sleep and circadian rhythm, then sleep disruption may actually occur just before an episode of mental illness under some circumstances.

    Sleep abnormalities have indeed been identified in individuals prior to mental illness. For example, we know that sleep disruption usually happens before an episode of depression. Furthermore, individuals identified as "at risk" of developing bipolar disorder and childhood-onset schizophrenia typically show problems with sleep before any clinical diagnosis of illness."

    In the case of schizophrenia, for instance, up to 80 percent of those affected have sleep disturbances such as insomnia.23 Separate research found that 87 percent of depression patients who resolved their insomnia had major improvements to their depression, with symptoms disappearing after eight weeks whether the person took an antidepressant or a placebo pill.24

    Interestingly, exposure to dim light at night, which can also interfere with your sleep, has also been linked to depression. The link could be due to the production of the hormone melatonin, which is interrupted when you're exposed to light at night.

    There are many studies that suggest melatonin levels (and by proxy light exposures) control mood-related symptoms, such as those associated with depression. For instance, one study about melatonin and circadian phase misalignment (in which you are "out of phase" with natural sleeping times) found a correlation between circadian misalignment and severity of depression symptoms.25

    Does Daylight Saving Time Affect Your Health?

    Daylight Saving Time (DST), the practice of moving clocks ahead one hour in the summer months and returning them back an hour in the winter, may not seem like a big deal in the scheme of things, but it's enough of a shift to throw off your body's sensitive circadian rhythm. As such, there are consequences to both health and productivity.

    One study found that the shift to DST results in a "dramatic increase in cyberloafing behavior," or the tendency to waste time surfing the web while at work.26 This drop in productivity was linked to lost sleep (quality and quantity wise) the night before.27 Night owls also fared worse following the DST switch, feeling more fatigued during the day for up to three weeks compared to those who went to sleep earlier.28

    Your heart health may also suffer. One 2012 study found that heart attacks increased by 10 percent on the Monday and Tuesday following the time change to DST.29 Heart attacks decreased by 10 percent on the first Monday and Tuesday after clocks are switched back in the fall. Other consequences include an increase in workplace accidents and injuries, increases in traffic accidents and a compromising effect on immune function.

    While some studies have suggested a slight benefit to the extra hour of daylight for people suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as well as the potential to burn more calories during exercise (because it stays light outside later),30 it's likely not enough to compensate for the negative effects.

    Pink Noise and Other Tips for Improving Your Sleep

    Taking steps to improve your sleep quality is crucial for optimal health. Adding soothing noise to your bedroom, such as pink noise, soothing music, nature sounds, white noise or a fan, is one simple tip that helps many people sleep better.

    If you're having trouble sleeping, I also suggest reading my Guide to a Good Night's Sleep for 33 tips on improving your sleep. Getting back to the basics of improving your sleeping environment is important. No. 1 on my list? Avoid exposure to blue light, including LEDs, after sunset. Wearing blue-blocking glasses is a simple way to achieve this. Further:

    Avoid watching TV or using your computer/smartphone or tablet in the evening, at least an hour or so before going to bed.

    Make sure you get BRIGHT sun exposure regularly. Your pineal gland produces melatonin roughly in approximation to the contrast of bright sun exposure in the day and complete darkness at night. If you are in darkness all day long, it can't appreciate the difference and will not optimize your melatonin production.

    Get some sun in the morning. Your circadian system needs bright light to reset itself. Ten to 15 minutes of morning sunlight will send a strong message to your internal clock that day has arrived, making it less likely to be confused by weaker light signals during the night.

    Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even the tiniest glow from your clock radio could be interfering with your sleep, so cover your clock radio up at night or get rid of it altogether. Move all electrical devices at least 3 feet away from your bed. You may want to cover your windows with drapes or blackout shades, or wear an eye mask when you sleep.

    Install a low-wattage yellow, orange or red light bulb if you need a source of light for navigation at night. Light in these bandwidths does not shut down melatonin production in the way that white and blue bandwidth light does. Salt lamps are handy for this purpose, as are natural, non-toxic candles.

    Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes too warm (particularly their upstairs bedrooms). Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 to 68 degrees F.

    Take a hot bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime. This increases your core body temperature, and when you get out of the bath it abruptly drops, signaling your body that you are ready to sleep.

    Avoid using loud alarm clocks. Being jolted awake each morning can be very stressful. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, you might not even need an alarm, as you'll wake up naturally.

    Be mindful of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in your bedroom. EMFs can disrupt your pineal gland and its melatonin production, and may have other negative biological effects as well.

    A gauss meter is required if you want to measure EMF levels in various areas of your home. If possible, install a kill switch to turn off all electricity to your bedroom. If you need a clock, use a battery-operated one.

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  • Cassia Bark Oil: Why It's Valuable in Traditional Chinese Medicine
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    What Is Cassia Bark Oil?

    Cassia bark oil is derived from the Cinnamomum cassia plant of the Lauraceae family. It is frequently compared to cinnamon bark oil and cinnamon leaf oil, which are both extracted from the same plant species.

    Also known as the Chinese cinnamon, cassia is native to China and is a slender, evergreen tree that grows up to 20 meters or 65 feet tall. It has thick, leathery leaves and tiny, immaculately white flowers.

    Cassia bark oil is widely available and sourced in China and the U.S., where it is distilled. It is a dark brown liquid with a strong warm and woody-resinous odor and sweet balsamic undertone. The tannins in the bark give the essential oil a dark color if copper stills are used. Rectified cassia bark oil, on the other hand, has a yellowish color.

    Uses of Cassia Bark Oil

    Although cassia bark is very seldom added to perfume products because of its dark color, it is commonly used as a flavoring agent in food, beverages and pharmaceutical preparations just like cinnamon.

    As an herbal preparation, cassia bark can be used to assist in improving digestive issues, such as flatulence, colic, dyspepsia, and diarrhea. Cassia bark oil, on the other hand, has been found beneficial in helping treat fevers, colds, flu, and chills when used in vapor therapy.

    Composition of Cassia Bark Oil

    The main chemical components of cassia bark oil are cinnamic aldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, benzaldehyde, linalool and chavicol.1 Similar to cinnamon bark oil and cinnamon leaf oil, cinnamaldehyde is also one of the major constituents of cassia bark oil.

    Benefits of Cassia Bark Oil

    Traditionally, the cassia bark plant is extensively used in Chinese herbal medicine, particularly in vascular disorders. Cassia bark oil, however, is said to be effective in improving cardiovascular, digestive, genito-urinary, circulation and immune system disorders.2 It is also known to deliver remarkable effects in:3

    Helping treat nausea and vomiting

    Lowering body temperature in fever

    Improving blood circulation

    Relieving viral infections

    Aid in curing diarrhea

    Easing depression

    Relieving joint pain

    Fighting microbial infections in the body

    Strengthening the gums, hair roots, and muscles

    How to Make Cassia Bark Oil

    Cassia bark oil is produced through the process of steam or water distillation. This essential oil is usually extracted from the leaves, barks, twigs and stalks of the slim, perennial cassia tree.

    Produced on a large scale in China and the United States, cassia bark oil is often adulterated, which in turn results in high levels of toxicity.

    To ensure that you only get cassia bark oil at its highest possible quality, I highly recommend that you buy only from trusted and reputable manufacturers that only produce their oils from wholesome organic ingredients and safe practices.

    How Does Cassia Bark Oil Work?

    Cassia bark oil is one of the many essential oils worth adding in your medicine cabinet due to its well-documented healing properties.

    It works well as a febrifuge (reduces fever), antiemetic (helps stop vomiting), carminative (lessens instances of gas or flatulence) and anti-arthritic agent. Suggested applications for cassia bark oil include:4

    Antiseptic. Dilute cassia bark oil in a mild carrier oil and apply a small amount to the reflex points of the feet.

    Anti-diarrhea. For diarrhea and other digestive issues, dilute and massage the essential oil into the reflex points of the feet and over the abdomen.

    Antifungal. Apply a small amount of diluted cassia bark oil to the affected area at least once or twice daily.

    Antiviral. For colds and flu, diffuse the essential oil through the room.

    Is Cassia Bark Oil Safe?

    Cassia bark oil can be a potential skin irritant and dermal sensitizer. Cassia bark oil is definitely not safe to be used on babies and small children, given the extremely delicate nature of their young skin.

    Because of its 100 percent sensitization value, I strongly discourage topical applications of pure cassia bark oil. You may dilute it in a mild carrier oil in low concentrations to reduce its strength.

    Nevertheless, I still say it's best to seek the expert advice of an experienced aromatherapy practitioner before doing anything to avoid unfortunate incidents.

    In addition, cassia bark oil also has potent emmenagogue (stimulate blood flow) and antigalactogogue (prevent or decrease the secretion of milk) properties, which is why I do not advise pregnant or lactating women to take any form of it.

    Side Effects of Cassia Bark Oil

    While there may be existing recommendations to use cassia bark oil in aromatherapy or vapor therapy, let me warn you that too much inhalation of this warm essential oil may possibly induce insomnia, debility or depression in some individuals.

    I recommend that you seek expert medical opinion practitioner first before incorporating cassia bark oil, or any herbal oil, into your health and wellness regimen.

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  • Simple Brain Training Techniques Can Turn You Into a Memory Master
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    How’s your memory these days? If you’re like most, you could probably use some help in this area. Your memory holds a record of your entire life and helps shape your identity, but the ability to form memories does not occur until around the age of five

    In the video above, two-time world memory champion Alex Mullen and fellow medical student Cathy Chen explain a memorization system called Memory Palace, also known as Method of Loci,1 which can help you improve your short-term recall.

    The process involves using a space or location you’re familiar with to memorize unfamiliar or new things. The reason it works so well is because most people have very good spatial and visual memory.

    As noted by Chen, “Visualizing an image makes it way more memorable and interesting to your brain than, say, random names or numbers.”

    As an example, Chen and Mullen explain how you might memorize items on your grocery shopping list. You probably know your dining room really well, so to memorize “eggs” on your list, mentally travel into your dining room, look at a bowl of, say, fruit, and imagine a hen has laid eggs in your fruit bowl.

    Then, when you’re in the store, you can mentally travel around the space (your dining room), recall the bowl of fruit — and the funny image of eggs laid in the bowl. Another example: Imagine toothpaste smeared all over your placemats. When you recall the placemats, you automatically remember the item on your list, namely the toothpaste.

    You Too Can Become a Memory Master

    According to recent research,2,3,4 anyone can become a memory master by training their brain using these kinds of techniques. In fact, people who had never used memory techniques prior to the study were able to master it, and in just six weeks, their brains began resembling those of the world’s top-ranked memory masters.

    The study also confirmed what Chen and Mullen say — that the memory centers in memory masters’ brains communicate very strongly with their visual and spatial centers, and this appears to be a key to their impressive feats of memorization. As noted by CNN:5

    “[Researcher Boris Nikolai] Konrad said this is because of how memory athletes train: by picturing familiar places and filling them with imaginary objects, like a cow eating moss to represent the city of Moscow.”

    Essentially, what you’re doing is improving and expanding the connectivity between different centers in your brain. You’re not altering the actual structure.

    Compared to using a technique like Memory Palace, memory training involving repetition showed only minor gains in recall. They also didn’t improve the connectivity in their brain, which was evaluated using brain scans. If you want to try it out or learn more about Memory Palace, visit MemoCamp.com.6 

    Other mnemonic devices — tools to help you remember words, information or concepts — include using:

    • Acronyms (such as PUG for "pick up grapes")
    • Visualizations (such as imagining a tooth to remember you have a dentist's appointment)
    • Rhymes (if you need to remember a name, for instance, think "Shirley's hair is curly)
    • Chunking, which is breaking up information into smaller "chunks" (such as organizing numbers into the format of a phone number)

    Other Activities That Help Improve Memory and Keep Your Brain Sharp

    Advances in brain research have revealed the human brain has remarkable plasticity, or the ability to regenerate and form new connections throughout your life.

    “Use it or lose it” applies here, and previous research7 has shown engaging in stimulating social activities, artistic pursuits and crafts such as knitting or quilting8 help keep your mind sharper with age and prevent cognitive decline. As reported in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services:9

    “Chess and bridge are leisure activities that demand working memory and reasoning skills. Older adults who play bridge score higher on working memory and reasoning measures compared to non-players and working crossword puzzles has also been associated with maintained cognition in older adults.”

    Other helpful pastimes include the following:

    Learn a new language. Language lessons have been shown to provide a beneficial brain workout and increase neuronal connections10

    Meditate. While it may seem you’re not doing much of anything in terms of challenging your brain when meditating, research shows it alters the structure of your brain for the better and has a number of neurological benefits, including improved attention and concentration11

    Listen to Mozart. It's long been theorized that listening to music may boost your brainpower; you've probably heard of the "Mozart Effect," which suggests listening to classical music can help make you smarter.

    Indeed, research12 shows people who listen to Mozart’s classical music have an increase in brain wave activity linked to memory, understanding and problem solving. Interestingly, music composed by Beethoven showed no such effect.

    According to the researchers:13 “These results may be representative of the fact that Mozart's music is able to “activate” neuronal cortical circuits (circuits of nerve cells in the brain) related to attentive and cognitive functions”

    Sniff rosemary oil. Engaging your olfactory senses may also have an effect on memory. Smells get routed through your olfactory bulb, the smell-analyzing region in your brain, which is closely connected to your amygdala and hippocampus, brain regions that handle memory and emotion.

    One study14 found people who sniffed rosemary essential oil performed better on memory tasks than those who did not. The aroma of peppermint has also been shown to enhance memory and increase alertness.

    Indeed, research shows that odors are especially effective as reminders of past experience, much more so than cues from other senses, such as sights or sounds15

    Laugh it up. Laughter has been shown to improve memory by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.16 As explained by study co-author Lee Berk, doctor of public health:

    "It's simple, the less stress you have the better your memory. Humor reduces detrimental stress hormones like cortisol that decrease memory hippocampal neurons, lowers your blood pressure, and increases blood flow and your mood state …

    There are even changes in brain wave activity towards what's called the gamma wave band frequency, which also amp up memory and recall. So, indeed, laughter is turning out to be not only a good medicine, but also a memory enhancer …"

    Sources to Add to Your Brain Training Arsenal

    If you’re not quite ready to take up a foreign language, piano lessons or knitting, you may still be able to bolster the growth of new brain cells and neural connections by challenging your mind with various games and puzzles. Here are a few resources you can try:  

    Lumosity:17 This brain-training app provides personalized brain workouts using more than 50 different cognitive games designed to boost memory, attention, problem solving and more.

    Brain HQ:18 Developed by Michael Merzenich, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of California, who has pioneered research in brain plasticity (neuroplasticity) for more than 30 years, Brain HQ is a computer-based brain-training program that can help you sharpen a range of skills, from reading and comprehension to improved memorization and more.

    Like Lumosity, the website allows you to track and monitor your progress over time. While there are many similar websites, Brain HQ is one of the oldest and most widely used.

    Iota: Iota19 is a card game involving placing cards in grids according to simple rules that require complex moves and strategic thinking on your part. This game must be played with at least one other person, so it makes for a fun social activity while also improving spatial relation skills, visual discrimination and strategic thinking.

    The Puzzle Book. Nancy Linde's “399 Games, Puzzles and Trivia Challenges”20 is a popular book with games designed to improve neurogenesis, or the formation of new brain cells. Each puzzle is designed to get your brain thinking in new ways and targets cognitive functions such as logical thought, language and attention.

    Physical Exercise Also Boosts Cognitive Functions and Memory

    Last, but certainly not least, no article on improving memory would be complete without at least a brief mention of physical exercise. As noted by psychiatrist Dr. John J. Ratey, author of “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” there’s overwhelming evidence that exercise produces large cognitive gains and helps fight dementia.

    For example, studies show those who exercise have a greater volume of gray matter in the hippocampal region, which is important for memory.21,22 Exercise also prevents age-related shrinkage of your brain,23 preserving both gray and white matter in your frontal, temporal and parietal cortexes, thereby preventing cognitive deterioration.24,25

    One of the mechanisms by which your brain benefits from physical exercise is via a protein called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Exercise initially stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5, which in turn triggers the production of BDNF, which is a remarkable rejuvenator. In your brain, BDNF preserves existing brain cells26 and activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, effectively making your brain grow larger.

    Another mechanism at play here relates to a substance called β-hydroxybutyrate, which your liver produces when your metabolism is optimized to burn fat as fuel.27 Your brain can use both glucose and fat for fuel, but the latter is preferred. When glucose is depleted from exercise, your hippocampus switches over to use fat as a source of energy, and it is this fuel switchover that triggers the release of BDNF and subsequent cognitive improvement.

    When your blood sugar level declines, β-hydroxybutyrate serves as an alternative source of energy. That said, β-hydroxybutyrate also blocks histone enzymes that inhibit the production of BDNF. So, it seems your body is designed to improve BDNF production via a number of different pathways in response to physical exercise.

    Interestingly, research also shows that exercising four hours after learning something new helps you retain what you’ve just learned long-term.28,29 The same effect was not found when the exercise was done immediately after learning.

    Why this four-hour delay boosted memory retention is still unclear, but it appears to have something to do with the release of catecholamines, such as dopamine and norepinephrine — naturally occurring chemicals in your body known to improve memory consolidation. One way to boost these catecholamines is through exercise, and apparently delayed exercise is part of the equation.

    One of the best ways to have your body create ketones is to teach it to burn fat as your primary fuel. Not only will this radically improve your memory and brain function but will address the primary cause of chronic disease, which is mitochondrial dysfunction. One of the most effective ways to learn how to burn fat as your primary fuel is my new book "Fat for Fuel" which can be pre-ordered now with some exciting bonuses.

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  • Why Colon Cancer Scare Is Fake News
    published on March 21st, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Colorectal cancer, which includes both cancers of the colon and rectum, is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.

    An estimated 135,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year (about 95,500 cases of colon cancer and 39,900 cases of rectal cancer1), and more than 50,000 die from it.

    Historically, colon cancer has been confined to those over the age of 50, but that’s changing. According to a recent report2 by the American Cancer Society, prevalence among younger people is rising.3,4,5 As reported by STAT News:6

    “Among adults between the ages of 20 and 39, colon cancer has increased by 1 percent to 2.4 percent a year since the mid-1980s. This rise has been so dramatic that those born in 1990 and afterward have rates of colon cancer not seen since 1890.”

    The findings made headlines and, not surprisingly, younger people are now urged to consider colon cancer screening, which is typically done by colonoscopy.

    What the study and many news sources fail to mention, however, is that if you’re in your 20s and 30s, your mortality risk from colonoscopy is FAR greater than your risk of colon cancer! This is a vitally important consideration that simply isn’t given the proper attention.

    It’s a mistake to equate screening with prevention and, if anything, the findings are a wakeup call to Gen-Xers and Millennials that they really need to reassess their lifestyle choices, as the ramifications of poor diet and sedentary behavior are catching up to them at an increasingly younger age.

    Colon and Rectal Cancer Rates on the Rise Among Young Adults

    According to the featured report, while colon cancer incidence is on the decline overall, we’re seeing a rather rapid rise of incidence in 20- and 30-somethings. Rectal cancer is also on the rise. Some statistics revealed in the report include the following:7

    • Since the mid-1980s, rates of colon cancer in adults between the ages of 20 and 39 increased by 1 percent, now affecting 2.4 percent of the population in this age-group annually
    • Since the mid-1990s, colon cancer rates in adults between the ages of 40 and 54 have risen by 0.5 percent, now affecting 1.3 percent of this age group
    • In adults aged 20 to 29, rectal cancer incidence rates increased 3.2 percent annually between 1974 and 2013
    • In adults under the age of 55, rates of rectal cancer doubled, from 14.6 percent in 1990 to 29.2 percent in 2013
    • An estimated 13,500 new cases of colon and rectal cancers will be diagnosed in adults under the age of 50 this year

    According to the authors: “Consequently, compared with adults born circa 1950, those born circa 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer.”

    Based on these findings, the American Cancer Society is reassessing its colon cancer screening guidelines, which currently recommend screening to begin at age 50.

    Comparing Your Risk of Cancer With Risks of Screening

    While all of that may sound frightening, let’s take a deeper look at your risk, and compare that to the risks of colonoscopy screening. The rate of colon cancer mortality among young adults has risen by about 1 death per 100,000 among young adults, to a 3-in-100,000 risk.

    However, the risk of death from colonoscopy is anywhere from 1 out of every 16,318 procedures,8 to 1 for every 1,000 procedures,9 depending on the source!

    With some 15 million colonoscopies being done each year in the U.S.,10 that means as many as 15,000 Americans die as a result of this routine screening test, and numbers are likely to increase further if guidelines are changed to encourage people under 50 to get tested.

    Again, an estimated 13,500 new cases of colon and rectal cancers will be diagnosed in adults under the age of 50 this year, and if you extrapolate the potential number of deaths at 37 percent (the average death rate for all age groups), then less than 5,000 individuals under the age of 50 will die from colorectal cancer.

    This means you may be three times more likely to die from the screening procedure than the disease itself. Serious complications for colonoscopy also occur at a rate of about 1 per 20011 to 35012 procedures, again depending on the source of the data.

    According to the report “Complications of Colonoscopy in an Integrated Health Care Delivery System,” the combined injury and kill-rate of colonoscopy-related complications is 0.5 percent, or about 70,000 per year.13

    Recall, for comparison, 50,000 die each year from colon cancer and rectal cancer combined, so in the final analysis, if you’re still young, your risk of serious harm and/or death from colonoscopy is FAR greater than your risk of colorectal cancer.14

    Other large studies have found that 1.5 to 3 colon cancer deaths are prevented for every 1,000 people screened once every 10 years, while 2.5 per 1,000 people screened are severely harmed or killed.15

    That seems like a toss-up in terms of risk, but at least if you’re older and are in a higher risk category, screening becomes a more reasonable risk.

    Also beware that X-ray exposure from virtual colonoscopy raises your lifetime risk of all forms of cancer by 20 percent. As noted by GutSense.org,16 “Virtual colonoscopies are now recommended every five years.

    By age 70 one’s risk of developing any other form of cancer grows to 100 percent. Killing you with another form of cancer before the colon gets affected is one hell of [a] way to ‘prevent’ colon cancer.”

    Other Side Effects of Colonoscopies

    Aside from the chance of death, other risks of colonoscopy include the following:17,18

    Perforation of the colon, which occurs at a rate of 1 in 80019 (people at higher risk include those with diverticulitis, diseases of the colon and adhesions from pelvic surgery). Research20 shows the risk of death subsequent to perforation is nearly 52 per 1,000 colonoscopic perforations and 64.5 per 1000 sigmoidoscopic perforations

    Dysbiosis and other gut imbalances, caused by the process of flushing out your intestinal tract before the procedure with harsh laxatives21

    Complications from the anesthesia. Many experts agree you should opt for the lightest level of sedation possible, or none at all, as full anesthesia increases risks

    Infections caused by poorly disinfected scopes

    False positives. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation,22 an estimated 30 to 40 percent of men treated for prostate cancer have harmless tumors that would never have caused problems in their lifetime. As noted by to Jessica Herzstein, a preventive-medicine consultant and member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, “you’re going to die with them, not of them.”

    False positives lead to unnecessary treatments that are nearly always harmful, in addition to the anxiety a cancer diagnosis brings. For example, incontinence and erectile dysfunction are two common side effects of radiation therapy, and hormone therapy has been linked to osteoporosis and depression

    Sigmoidoscopies Are Far Safer but Not Used as Often

    Sigmoidoscopies tend to have 10 times fewer complications, yet most doctors still recommend colonoscopy 95 percent of the time. Moreover, while there are three acceptable methods to screen for colon cancer,23 colonoscopy — which is the riskiest of the three — is still most commonly recommended by doctors and chosen by patients.

    Aside from getting a colonoscopy every 10 years, colorectal cancer can also be diagnosed using fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) on an annual basis (to check for signs of blood in your stool), or a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years. Researchers have found that in most instances, doctors fail to review all of these options — and the benefits and drawbacks of each — with their patients.

    Interestingly, other developed countries favor the FOBT stool test. Part of the reason for this is that in other countries doctors do not get paid for procedure referrals. In the U.S., however, doctors typically do get financial kickbacks when referring patients for various procedures, and as noted by Greger, “it’s estimated that doctors make nearly a million more referrals every year than they would have if they there were not personally profiting.”

    A Simple Pre-Procedure Question That May Save Your Life

    As discussed in my previous interview with David Lewis, Ph.D., a retired microbiologist with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), non-disposable tools used for colonoscopies and flexible sigmoidoscopies carry serious risks for patients. Since these tools must be reused, they require careful cleaning and sterilization before each use.

    However, these kinds of tools cannot be autoclaved (heat sterilized), and testing reveals the disinfection techniques and agents used 80 percent of the time are grossly inadequate. As a result, the tools can spread all manner of infections from one patient to another.

    Considering multi drug-resistant bacterial infections are on the rise, this is a tremendous concern. The good news is you CAN protect yourself and dramatically reduce your risk of infection by asking the right questions before you schedule your appointment:

    How is the endoscope cleaned between patients?

    Specifically, which cleaning agent is used?

    If the hospital or clinic uses peracetic acid, your likelihood of contracting an infection from a previous patient is slim

    Glutaraldehyde, or the brand name Cidex (which is what 80 percent of clinics use), does NOT properly sterilize these tools. If glutaraldehyde is used, cancel your appointment and find a clinic that uses peracetic acid

    How many of your colonoscopy patients have had to be hospitalized due to infections?

    Asking these questions, specifically which type of cleaning agent the clinic or hospital uses, could literally save your life. And, if you’re a health care professional, I urge you to start addressing this issue from the inside. You really need to be aware of how improper disinfection is placing your patients at risk for serious — and potentially untreatable — infections.

    What Causes Colon Cancer and How Can You Prevent it?

    Your colon, also known as your large intestine, plays an incredibly important role in your health. As food passes through your colon, liquid and salt are removed to prepare it for elimination. Aside from helping to form, store and eliminate waste, your colon contains billions of bacteria, a healthy balance of which is essential for optimal health.

    While colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., evidence suggests many of these cases are preventable using simple lifestyle changes. Generally speaking, researchers have concluded anywhere from 90 to 95 percent of cancers are caused by environmental and lifestyle factors. As noted in a 2008 study, “Cancer Is a Preventable Disease That Requires Lifestyle Changes,”24 some of the most prominent lifestyle factors contributing to cancer are:

    • Smoking and environmental pollutants
    • Diet
    • Infections
    • Stress
    • Inactivity

    In terms of diet, fried foods, excessive amounts of protein, processed meats, alcohol, lack of fruits and vegetables and excess caloric intake have all been linked to an increased cancer risk. Processed meats such as hotdogs, sausages and lunch meats, have been linked to colorectal cancer specifically, being classified as a Group 1 carcinogen (meaning it is considered carcinogenic to humans) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015.25

    The institute explicitly warns that that "there is no safe threshold" for eating processed meats, as it poses the same cancer risk as cigarette smoking and asbestos. It also recommends limiting red meat to a maximum of 18 ounces per week, to avoid raising your risk for colorectal cancer.

    Common-Sense Tips to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

    Below are several diet and fitness suggestions that may significantly lower your risk of colorectal cancer, regardless of your age:

    Eat more vegetables

    Vegetables contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else, like magnesium. Results from one meta-analysis indicated that for every 100-milligram (mg) increase in magnesium intake, the risk of colorectal cancer was lowered by 12 percent.26

    The researchers noted magnesium’s anti-cancer effects may be related to its ability to reduce insulin resistance, which may positively affect the development of tumors.

    Beyond magnesium, plant chemicals called phytochemicals can reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce, get rid of old cells and maintain DNA.

    Vegetables are also one of the best forms of dietary fiber. Studies have repeatedly shown that people with higher vegetable intake have lower rates of cancer.27

    Cruciferous vegetables may be particularly beneficial due to the sulforaphane they contain. If you’re healthy, consuming fruit in moderation may also be beneficial. According to one study, dried plums (i.e. prunes) may lower your risk of colon cancer.28

    Eat more fiber

    For optimal health, I recommend getting about 50 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories. If you follow the tip above and eat more vegetables, you’ll naturally be eating more fiber from the best possible source.

    Psyllium seed husk, flax seeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds also provide valuable sources of soluble and insoluble fiber that nourish healthy gut bacteria, promote healthy bowel movements and lower your risk of colorectal cancer.

    Optimize your vitamin D level

    Vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. According to one recent study:29 “Evidence suggests protective effects of vitamin D and antitumor immunity on colorectal cancer risk.

    Immune cells in tumor microenvironment can convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D to bioactive 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, which influences neoplastic and immune cells … High plasma 25(OH)D level is associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer with intense immune reaction, supporting a role of vitamin D in cancer immunoprevention through tumor–host interaction.”

    Sensible ultraviolet exposure, ideally from the sun, and/or vitamin D3 supplementation can get your vitamin D levels into the optimal range of 45 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). You’ll need to monitor your level to be sure you stay within this target range.

    Lower your protein intake and avoid processed meats entirely

    Most Americans eat far more protein than they need, thereby raising their risk for cancer. A more ideal protein intake is likely around one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.

    The quality of your animal protein and mode of cooking should also be considered. When it comes to beef, I recommend eating organically raised grassfed meats only, and cooking your steak only lightly (rare, not well-done), to avoid heat-generated toxins.

    Avoid processed meats of all kinds, i.e., those preserved by smoking, curing, salting or the addition of chemical preservatives. This includes bacon, ham, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, some sausages, hamburgers (if preserved with salt or chemical additives) and more.

    Get regular exercise

    There’s convincing evidence that regular exercise can significantly reduce your risk of colon cancer.30 For instance, one study31 revealed physically active men and women have about a 30 percent to 40 percent reduction in the risk of developing colon cancer compared with inactive persons.

    Exercise drives your insulin levels down, and controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risk. It's also been suggested that apoptosis (programmed cell death) is triggered by exercise, causing cancer cells to die.

    Exercise also improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood. The job of these cells is to neutralize pathogens throughout your body, as well as destroy precancerous cells before they become cancerous.

    The better these cells circulate, the more efficient your immune system is at defending itself against infections and diseases like cancer.

    Maintain a healthy weight and control belly fat

    A number of studies have linked obesity to an increased risk for about a dozen different cancers, including colon cancer. If you’re overweight or obese, even a modest amount of weight loss can lead to significant benefits for your health.

    In terms of cancer prevention, losing excess belly fat is particularly important, as belly fat is linked to an increased risk of colon cancer regardless of your body weight.

    Limit alcohol and quit smoking

    Both excessive alcohol intake and smoking are associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. When it comes to alcohol, I generally define "moderate" alcohol intake (which is allowed in the beginner phase of my nutrition plan) as a 5-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce beer or 1 ounce of hard liquor, with a meal, per day.

    As you progress further in the nutrition plan, I recommend eliminating all forms of alcohol. If you’re a smoker, you can find tips for quitting here.

    Eat more garlic

    Research has shown that women who regularly ate garlic (along with fruits and vegetables) had a 35 percent lower risk of colon cancer.32 Another study also found that those who consume high amounts of raw garlic have a lower risk of stomach and colorectal cancers.33

    When you add raw garlic in your diet, the fresh clove must be crushed or chopped in order to stimulate the release of an enzyme called alliinase, which in turn catalyzes the formation of allicin.

    Allicin, in turn, rapidly breaks down to form a number of different organosulfur compounds. So to “activate” garlic’s medicinal properties, compress a fresh clove with a spoon prior to swallowing it, chop it finely to add to a salad, or put it through your juicer to add to your vegetable juice.

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  • Fatal Forecast: Lyme Disease Will Plague America
    published on March 21st, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    National surveillance for Lyme disease began in 1982 and since then the number of reported cases have grown over 25-fold.1 Between 1990 and 2015, the number of reported cases in the U.S. doubled.2 The disease has also spread geographically.3

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it's the fastest growing vector-borne infectious disease in the U.S.4

    The CDC reports the disease, and the ticks that carry the disease, are concentrated in the northeast and upper Midwest.5 Ticks carry more than Lyme disease, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever and human babesiosis, a rare microscopic parasite that infects red blood cells.

    Each year approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the CDC.6 However, this number does not reflect all cases diagnosed in the U.S. Following two studies by the CDC, researchers estimate 10 times that number are infected with Lyme disease each year, for a total ranging between 296,000 and 376,000 cases.

    Lyme disease is often called "the great imitator,"7 as it may mimic a number of other disorders, such as arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer's disease.

    Outwardly, most infected individuals appear healthy, in spite of suffering severe symptoms. Vague and dispersed pain complaints may be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia.

    What Lyme Disease Is and How It's Spread

    Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by ticks that have previously fed on an infected host. However, some top authorities on Lyme disease, like Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, warn the bacteria that cause the disease may also be spread by other insects such as fleas, mosquitoes, mites and spiders.

    Lyme disease remains one of the most serious and controversial epidemics today. The disease usually starts with fatigue, fever, headaches and joint or muscle pain.

    It can then progress to muscle spasms, loss of motor coordination, intermittent paralysis, meningitis and even heart problems. Lyme disease was named after the east coast town of Lyme, Connecticut, where the illness was first identified in 1975.

    It wasn't until 1982 that Willy Burgdorfer, Ph.D., discovered the bacteria responsible for the infection — a cousin to the spirochete that causes syphilis. They look almost identical under a microscope.

    Burgdorfer named the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. The corkscrew shape allows the bacteria to hide in a variety of different body tissues, causing a wide range of symptoms.

    The bacteria may also live inside your cells in an "L-form" or coated as a cyst. The ability to change forms explains why diagnosis and treatment is so challenging and why recurrence of symptoms may result after standard antibiotic protocols.

    Ticks are not born with the bacteria, but acquire it after feeding on a host. White-footed mice, which are a common carrier, infect an estimated 75 to 95 percent of larval ticks that feed on them. Urban sprawl and reduction in natural predators have allowed the mouse population to quickly multiply, and with them the infected ticks.

    The growing number of infections are not surprising, but how the medical community may respond will determine the extent of the damage in the coming years.

    Although chronic Lyme disease is more widely recognized as an actual disease, there continues to be resistance in the medical community and with insurers. Sufferers are often told the problem is psychiatric.

    Early Spring Is Creating the Perfect Lyme Storm

    The majority of time Lyme disease is spread through tick bites. However, it can also be spread by mosquitoes, spiders, fleas and mites.

    According to data from the U.S. Geological Survey, spring was scheduled to arrive three weeks early this year for nearly half of the U.S.8 If you love being outside without layers of clothing, this may sound like a good thing. However, the warm weather will also pose public health challenges.

    Early spring may have an effect on the spread of insects that spread diseases, such as mosquitoes and ticks. Dr. Aaron Bernstein, associate director of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Center, commented on the spread of disease and diseases for which no good treatment is currently available:9

    "There's no question that when it's too cold, ticks and mosquitoes cannot thrive. An overall warming trend opens up the chance for them to live in new places and to stay alive for longer periods of time.

    We don't want to have to resort to spraying potentially harmful pesticides over large swaths of land to kill mosquitoes, or quarantining people who enter the country from certain parts of the world, or exposing our children to vaccines that haven't been tested thoroughly."

    The combination of higher risks of flooding with an early spring, milder temperatures, growing populations of ticks and Lyme infected mice and more people being more active outdoors, may increase the number of people infected with Lyme disease.

    Interestingly, the ticks do not get sick from the bacteria they carry. Joao Pedra, Ph.D., studies microbiology and immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He wanted to know what was happening in the ticks' immune system and found several genes necessary for mosquito immunity was absent in ticks.10

    Instead of identifying a foreign invader by sugar molecules, a tick's immunity identifies lipid molecules, making them uniquely adapted to handle a bacteria that uses lipids to keep the cell structure intact. Pedra speculates the bacteria may also enable ticks to live through cold weather.

    Areas Affected by Lyme Disease in the United States Are Growing

    Areas of the U.S. affected by Lyme disease are growing, and most notably in the coldest, more northern states. The CDC estimates the two states to be hardest hit by Lyme disease this season are New Jersey and Pennsylvania.11 Researchers in New York have also found the regional mouse population is exploding.

    Lyme disease is not exclusive to the eastern U.S., but also has a presence in Wisconsin and Minnesota. However, in recent years the tick population has spread to Michigan, in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

    The number of diagnosed cases increased five times over a four-year study period, indicating an expanding geographic distribution northward.12

    The increasing number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease may be the result of better diagnosis and an increasing number of physicians who suspect Lyme disease. It may also be attributed to an increasing number of people who are moving to suburban areas that are being reforested.13

    Although the number of areas affected by Lyme disease is growing, another challenge is convincing people the threat of this condition is real.

    According to a survey of more than 11,000 people done by the CDC between 2009 and 2012, 21 percent of households had one person bitten by a tick in the past year,14 but only 10 percent of those reported seeing a health professional.

    Unfortunately, over 50 percent of the respondents to the survey reported they did not take any precautionary or preventive measures during warm weather.

    The survey found that exposure to ticks was common and the understanding of Lyme disease was widespread, but preventive methods were used infrequently. This may indicate a poor understanding of the secondary effects of chronic Lyme disease, or a belief that the respondents would not contract the disease.

    Symptoms of Lyme Disease May Baffle Your Physician

    In this video, U.S. Congressman for New Jersey's 4th District, Chris Smith, describes the challenges patients are facing in the recognition and treatment of Lyme disease. People with Lyme disease are often described as "looking good" and their blood work often comes back normal, making diagnosis of the acute and chronic condition challenging.

    In fact, the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) doesn't believe there is a chronic condition, stating symptoms should be gone in two to four weeks after antibiotic treatment.15 As a result, many patients are referred to a psychiatrist and some doctors have gone so far as to accuse patients of being attention seekers fabricating their symptoms. A significant contributing challenge is the disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose using lab testing.

    The bacteria is able to infect your white blood cells. Testing measures the antibodies white cells produce, but infected cells don't respond appropriately. Antibodies to the disease appear only after your white cells are functioning normally. This means that to get an accurate blood test, you first have to undergo treatment.16 To overcome this challenge, the CDC recommends a two-step testing process.17

    IGeneX lab, which specializes in Lyme testing, has a potentially more accurate test. They are accredited by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and hold licensure in several states. Their test is highly specific for bacterial strains and co-infections. They check for bacterial DNA, ideal for people who do not produce antibodies to Lyme disease.18,19

    There is great variation in presenting symptoms and the characteristic "bulls-eye" rash is not present in nearly half of patients. The difficulty in diagnosis has led to resistance in acknowledging both the acute and chronic phase of the disease. This occurs in patients who are medical professionals as well. Dr. Neil Spector, oncologist at Duke University, recounts his journey with Lyme disease in his autobiographical book, "Gone in a Heartbeat."20

    Spector's doctors attributed his symptoms to stress as his blood work was negative, until severe heart failure required a transplant. He commented:21

    "Heaven help the patient whose diagnostic tests do not point to a specific disease. They are likely to end up neglected by the very system that was designed to help them … despite my instincts and research into the field, I was largely being discounted by the medical community. If this can happen to a physician-scientist with extensive knowledge of medicine, just imagine what is happening to others who lack a medical background."

    Important to Take Prevention Seriously

    The treatment for Lyme disease is challenging and often controversial, making prevention vital. Many people are unaware that young ticks are the size of poppy seeds and may crawl over your shoes and up your pants. Adult ticks are more likely to drop from trees or crawl under an untucked shirt.22

    If you live or travel through a high-risk area, maintain your guard against tick bites. Here are several ways you can prevent contracting Lyme disease:23,24,25

    Avoid tick-infested areas, such as leaf piles around trees. Walk in the middle of trails and avoid brushing against long grasses path edgings. Don't sit on logs, wooden stumps, stonewalls or the ground.

    Ticks are very tiny. You want to find and remove them before they bite, so do a thorough tick check upon returning inside and take a shower.

    Continue to check your body and bedding for several days after being in an area likely to have ticks.

    Considering the high infection rate of rats, you'd be wise to take precautions if you're in an area where rats have been sighted.

    Tuck your pants into socks and wear closed shoes and a hat, especially if venturing out into wooded areas. Also tuck your shirt into your pants.

    Wear light-colored long pants and long sleeves with a tight weave, to make it easier to see the ticks.

    Once you return home, place your clothing in the dryer (before washing) on high heat for 60 minutes to kill any ticks on your clothes.

    Your pet can become a host for ticks and may also become infected with Lyme disease, although it is more likely they will test positive but won't experience symptoms.

    I don't recommend using chemical repellents directly on your skin as this introduces toxins directly into your body. If you choose to use them, spray the outside of your clothes while outside and avoid inhaling the fumes.

    Keep long hair tied back, especially when you are gardening. Remove leaves from your lawn each fall, as ticks will seek shelter from cold weather and snow under piles of leaves.

    If you find that a tick has latched onto you, it's very important to remove it properly. For detailed instructions, please see lymedisease.org's tick removal page.26

    Once removed, make sure you save the tick so that it can be tested for presence of pathogenic organisms.

    Antibiotics Are NOT the Best Treatment Option

    While early treatment is critical to prevent complications, traditional treatment involving a course of antibiotics is often unsuccessful in preventing complications, including arthritis, cognitive deficits, heart rhythm irregularities or neurological symptoms.27 Antibiotics damage your gut microbiome and increase your risk of yeast and fungal infections.

    For these reasons, it is advisable to exhaust natural strategies to help your body fight Lyme disease. One example is the Nutramedix line of herbal antimicrobials, recommended by one of the most prominent alternative medicine experts, Dr. Lee Cowden. The best feature of this natural treatment for Lyme disease is that it rotates various herbal antimicrobials, so you don't have to worry about bacteria developing resistance.

    To help your body fight the infection, you should consume a nutritious diet rich in antioxidants. You can also take antioxidants and other supplements, to help your body fight the infection and relieve symptoms. Here are some supplement recommendations if you are embracing a natural treatment approach:

    Astaxanthin: neutralizes toxins and relieves joint pain

    Probiotics: optimizes gut flora and supports immunity

    Grapefruit seed extract: may help treat Borrelia in cyst form

    Cilantro: a natural chelator for heavy metals

    Krill oil: helps in reducing inflammation and relieving Lyme symptoms

    Resveratrol: helps with detoxification and it may treat the common co-infection, Bartonella

    Quercetin: reduces histamine, which is usually high in Lyme patients

    Whey protein concentrate: may help with nutrition, a common problem in Lyme patients who are unable to eat properly

    Andrographis and Artemisinin: herbs that treat the common co-infection, Babesia

    Curcumin: helps reduce brain swelling and eliminates neurological toxins

    GABA and melatonin: addresses insomnia, which is common in people with Lyme disease

    CoQ10: supports cardiac health, alleviates muscle pain and reduces brain fog

    Transfer factors: helps boost immune function

    Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt is one of the top authorities on Lyme disease. He has a Lyme disease protocol that can help you recover from the infection. His website explains the protocol in detail, but here are the basic steps to give you an idea of what it entails:28

    1. Evaluate all external factors, and address as appropriate. These include molds, electromagnetic fields, electrosmog and microwave radiation in connection to wireless technologies. Klinghardt advises shielding your home using Y shield (special graphite paint) in order to reduce microwave radiation coming from the outside. Cloth coated with silver is used for curtains. Patients are advised to turn off all fuses at night and eliminate all cordless telephones until they recover from the illness.
    2. Address stress and emotional issues. Energy psychology tools like the Emotional Freedom Techniques can be helpful to address the emotional components of Lyme.
    3. Address parasitic, bacterial and viral infections. Parasites need to be addressed first, followed by bacteria and then viruses. Klinghardt uses an antimicrobial cocktail composed of wormwood, vitamin C, phospholipids and different herbs. Viral infections are addressed with BioPure's Viressence, a tincture of Native American herbs.
    4. Address other lifestyle factors. Determine your need for supplementation (antioxidants) to address nutritional deficiencies.

    Additional Resources

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  • Damage and Death From Toxic Chemicals Are Reaching Epidemic Levels
    published on March 21st, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    You are likely aware that air pollution may affect your lungs, but did you know it has a significant effect on your brain and your cognitive functioning? These changes affect not just adults, but have also been linked to lower IQ testing, development of ADHD in children1 and an increased risk of death.

    Toxins from the environment, both inside and outside, are almost impossible to avoid. Moreover, the traditional view of toxin exposure is outdated, so you'll need to consider different factors if you're attempting to reduce your exposure and susceptibility to disease and illness triggered by toxic chemicals.

    Today toxins can be inhaled, applied to your skin, injected or eaten with your food. The Environmental Working Group reports the average person has 91 toxic chemicals in their body.2

    Unfortunately, while exposure to some chemicals are studied, researchers have no idea how this combined toxic soup and chemical interactions affect your health.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 25 percent of all deaths worldwide are attributable to poor environmental conditions, including air pollution. Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, commented:3

    "A healthy environment underpins a healthy population. If countries do not take actions to make environments where people live and work healthy, millions will continue to become ill and die too young."

    America Has Lost 41 Million IQ Points

    Reduced ability for U.S. education to compete against other countries around the world may be the result of more than the educational system.

    According to Philippe Grandjean, professor of environmental health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Dr. Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan, rates of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder are rapidly increasing.4

    Problems with cognitive function that are not severe enough for diagnosis are becoming even more common than neurobehavioral development disorders.

    In 2012, David Bellinger, Ph.D., professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, published a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he demonstrated a reduction in the IQ of children exposed to toxins.5

    The children, born to mothers exposed to organophosphates, mercury or lead during pregnancy, suffered a loss of 16.9 million IQ points. Researchers calculated a collective loss of 41 million IQ points in the U.S. from the same exposures.6

    Later Grandjean and Landrigan announced 12 substances, easily found at home, are believed to be linked to lower IQ, ADHD and autism disorder. Both Grandjean and Landrigan recommend organic foods to reduce exposure to pesticides, especially for expectant mothers. Landrigan told The Atlantic:7

    "I advise pregnant women to try to eat organic because it reduces their exposure by 80 or 90 percent. These are the chemicals I really worry about in terms of American kids, the organophosphate pesticides like chlorpyrifos."

    Standardized Test Scores Are Falling

    In standardized testing across 73 countries, the U.S. ranked 23rd in science and reading and 39th in math.8 Some believe poor test scores are the result of averaging scores, including a large number of poor and disadvantaged students in the U.S.9

    However, this does not account for the fact that only 2 percent of American students reach the highest level of math performance, while the average in other tested countries was 3 percent of students.

    Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan commented on the impact poverty may have on the educational system in the U.S., saying:10

    "While our poverty rate is about 22 percent, in Vietnam [ranking significantly higher than the U.S. in science and math], the poverty rate is about 79 percent. The real educational challenge in America is not just about poor kids in poor neighborhoods.

    It's about many kids, in many neighborhoods. The PISA results underscore that educational shortcomings in the U.S. are not just the problems of other people's children."

    That American students are consistently outranked by other countries has a significant public health and economic impact. However, as with most social and public health challenges, there is more than one factor.

    Lack of quality education, access to quality teachers, early preschools and good health are just some of the factors that play a role in educating the youth of America.

    Kris Perry, executive director of the First Five Years Fund, a bipartisan advocacy group whose mission is to increase access to early childhood education for disadvantaged students, commented on the U.S. test scores, saying:11

    "It is no coincidence that the countries with the strongest PISA scores also have rapidly growing economies. Global leaders recognize that in order to continue strong economic expansion, they must invest in their youngest learners.

    But the U.S. trails behind almost every developed country in the world when it comes to access to high-quality preschool."

    Scientists also acknowledge the impact that toxins have on the development of young children's neurological system.12 This includes cognitive development, a reduction in IQ and ADHD. In his comments, Grandjean compared the challenges with toxic chemical exposure in children to climate change:13

    "We don't have the luxury to sit back and wait until science figures out what's really going on, what the mechanisms are, what the doses are, and that sort of thing.

    We've seen with lead and mercury and other poisons that it takes decades. And during that time we are essentially exposing the next generation to exactly the kind of chemicals that we want to protect them from."

    How Many Children Must Die Before Responsible Decisions Are Made?

    Children are suffering even greater consequences for decisions made by governmental agencies and industrial giants.

    While falling IQs, plummeting test scores and increasing numbers of children suffering from ADHD and autism spectrum disorder will significantly impact the future economic health of the U.S. and other countries, it is not the ultimate price children are paying.

    Untested chemicals should not be presumed safe,14 as they are contributing to the worldwide problem of environmental pollution.

    The WHO finds a polluted environment, including indoor and outdoor air pollution, toxic exposure, unsafe water and second-hand smoke, kills 1.7 million children every year.15 The top five causes of death for children under 5 are related to their environment.

    Chan reports only 1 in every 10 people around the world live in an area that meets WHO air quality standards.16 She commented on the susceptibility of children, saying:17

    "A polluted environment is a deadly one -– particularly for young children. Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water."

    A recent report from CHEMTrust, a British charity working internationally to prevent man-made chemicals from triggering damage to wildlife or humans, found current chemical testing is not adequately picking up chemicals that cause developmental neurotoxicity.18

    Their "No Brainer" report19 evaluated the impact of chemicals on the development of a child's brain. The report praised the European Food Safety Authority for work on risk assessment of pesticides and recommended their approach be expanded to include chemicals from other sources.20

    They also recommended chemicals used for food contact material be routinely tested and screened for developmental neurotoxicity. The report also called for a taskforce to identify and develop better ways to screen chemicals before use.

    Pollution Affects Cellular Changes in Humans and Bacteria

    More than four decades after the war on cancer began, science is no closer to finding a cure. Progress has been made in treating breast and colon cancers, both with relatively high diagnosis rates.21

    But the rate of cancer diagnosed during childhood has continued to rise22,23 with the majority of those cancers being acute lymphocytic leukemia and cancers of the brain and nervous system.24

    Although cancer is often considered a disease of old age, exposure to environmental carcinogens that occur early in life increase the risk of childhood cancer. While the latency period between exposure to toxins and the development of disease is longer for most adult onset cancers, children's developmental status place them at greater risk with shorter periods before cancer develops.25

    It is evident that past efforts have been focused on the wrong factors. In 2010, President Bush's Cancer Panel made it clear that a majority of cancers occur in people with healthy genes and as a result of exposure to toxins.26 Winning the battle against cancer has less to do with understanding the triggers than it has to do with fighting large industries who have a massive financial stake in production.27

    For example, the 1930s saw a significant rise in the rate of smoking, as physicians prescribed cigarettes to their patients.28 At the same time that questions arose about the health risks associated with smoking, Philip Morris Tobacco Company devised ad campaigns to protect their financial interests. It wasn't until 1964, over 30 years later, and following 7,000 research studies,29 that a warning from the Surgeon General was printed on cigarette packages.

    The answers have less to do with what is known about cancer prevention and potential treatments, and more to do with affecting policy change on energy, building, food and manufacturing. You can read more about how the health of your mitochondria are affected by toxins that trigger an abnormal cell growth pattern in "How Roundup Damages Your Mitochondria and Makes You Sick."

    Bacteria Affected by Air Pollution

    Air pollution has an effect on bacteria that cause respiratory infections in humans, increasing the resistance to antibiotics and making them more difficult to treat and for your body to fight. Recent research evaluated the effects of exposure to black carbon that results from the burning of fossil fuels. The researchers focused on two bacteria that are the major causes of respiratory illnesses, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae.30

    They found exposure to black carbon alters the antibiotic tolerance to penicillin, increasing resistance by inducing structural and functional changes to the bacteria biofilm that allows bacteria to adhere to surfaces. Lead researcher Julie Morrissey, associate professor in microbial genetics at the University of Leicester's Department of Genetics commented:31

    "This work increases our understanding of how air pollution affects human health. It shows that the bacteria which cause respiratory infections are affected by air pollution, possibly increasing the risk of infection and [ed. note: reducing] the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment of these illnesses."

    Industry Profits Placed Over Public and Environmental Health

    Manufacturers and industrial giants have had an influence in several sectors of the public health, including governmental agencies. At present, President Trump is planning to dismantle current policies that govern the emission of carbon dioxide and regulate water pollution.32

    He already signed legislation to repeal regulations that require coal mining companies to clean the water once they're done using it, calling protection of the waterways a "wasteful regulation."33

    US Air Pollution Impacted by Asia

    Air quality in the U.S. is also being affected by pollution from other countries. Over the past 25 years, increasing smog (particulate pollution) on the west coast has occurred as pollution has traveled over the Pacific Ocean from China, India and several other Asian countries.34

    Ozone layers have been measured over 16 national parks in the western U.S. for the past 25 years. Levels in the spring and summer months are well above normal as the pollution from eastern countries is pushed by wind and weather patterns to the western U.S. Despite a 50 percent reduction in U.S. emissions, smog levels in the western states have increased. The same increases have not been found in the Midwest and eastern states.

    Researchers believe pollutants from Asia contribute at least 65 percent of the increase of ozone in the west, with much of the remainder coming from methane gas and wildfire emissions. As the Trump administration begins dismantling environmental protections, the U.S. may well begin to suffer a reduction in both air and water quality, and an increase in disease and illness attributed to pollution.

    Reduce Your Toxic Load

    How you react to toxins is highly individualized and dependent on several factors. These factors include:35

    Level, duration and frequency of exposure

    Genetic variation, including gender

    Nutritional status and current diet

    Health of your gut microbiome

    Epigenetics, how your genes are turned on and off by environmental factors

    Methylation status, or the ability of your body to detoxify, which may be impaired by lifestyle choices or genetics

    There are specific choices you may make to reduce the toxic burden you and your family experience. In the following two articles you'll find strategies to keep you and your child safe from toxic chemicals. Read more at, "Warning: Your Child's Car Seat May Be Loaded With Toxic Chemicals" and "Why the U.S. Doesn't Crack Down on Toxic Chemicals."

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  • United Nations Calls for Worldwide Treaty to Phase Out Pesticides and Transition to Sustainable Farming
    published on March 20th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    In a 2013 survey, 71 percent of Americans expressed a concern over the number of chemicals and pesticides in their food supply.1 And no wonder — research has linked long-term pesticide exposure to infertility,2 birth defects,3,4 endocrine disruption5 and obesity, reduced IQ,6 neurological diseases7 and cancer.8

    It is only a common-sense conclusion that reducing your pesticide exposure would result in improved health.

    The amount of pesticides used both commercially and in residential areas has grown immensely since 1945. More than 1 billion pounds are used each year in the U.S. alone. Worldwide, an estimated 7.7 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops each year, and that number is steadily increasing.9

    According to a 2012 analysis,10 each 1 percent increase in crop yield is associated with a 1.8 percent increase in pesticide use. Logic tells us this is an unsustainable trajectory when you consider the health and environmental ramifications associated with pesticide use and exposure.

    As just one example, studies done by the Chinese government show that 20 percent of arable land in China is now unusable due to pesticide contamination!11 Every now and then, though, a ray of hope descends.

    Earlier this month, two United Nations (UN) experts called for a comprehensive global treaty to not only regulate but actually phase out toxic pesticides in farming, and to move food production across the world toward more sustainable agricultural practices.

    This is a significant change in stance that can — and hopefully will — have far-reaching consequences.

    UN Calls for Global Treaty to Promote Sustainable Farming Without Toxic Pesticides

    The two experts, Hilal Elver, the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food and Baskut Tuncak, the special rapporteur on toxics, shared research with the Human Rights Council in Geneva showing pesticides are responsible for 200,000 acute poisoning deaths each year.

    Chronic exposure has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, hormone disruption, developmental disorders and sterility. As reported by Sustainable Pulse:12

    “The experts particularly emphasized the obligation of States to protect the rights of children from hazardous pesticides … The experts warn that certain pesticides can persist in the environment for decades and pose a threat to the entire ecological system on which food production depends …

    The experts say the use of neonicotinoid pesticides is particularly worrying because they are accused of being responsible for a systematic collapse in the number of bees around the world. Such a collapse, they say, threatens the very basis of agriculture as 71 percent of crop species are bee-pollinated.

    While acknowledging that certain international treaties currently offer protection from the use of a few pesticides, they stressed that a global treaty to regulate the vast majority of them throughout their life cycle does not yet exist, leaving a critical gap in the human rights protection framework.”

    The special rapporteurs challenged the pesticide industry’s “systematic denial of harms” and “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics,” noting the industry is spending massive amounts of money to influence policymakers and contest scientific evidence showing their products do in fact cause great harm to human and environmental health.

    Toxic Pesticides Are Not an Irreplaceable Farming Necessity 

    Even more importantly, their report firmly denies the idea that pesticides are essential to ensure sufficient amounts of food for a growing world population, calling the notion “a myth.”13

    Not only have decades of heavy pesticide use failed to eliminate global hunger, they said, the same chemicals have now become a troubling food contaminant — contaminants made all the worse by the fact that they cannot be washed off like many older generation pesticides could. According to Elver and Tuncak:14

    “The assertion promoted by the agrochemical industry that pesticides are necessary to achieve food security is not only inaccurate, but dangerously misleading.

    In principle, there is adequate food to feed the world; inequitable production and distribution systems present major blockages that prevent those in need from accessing it …”

    Moreover, the report highlighted developments in sustainable and regenerative farming, where biology can completely replace chemicals, delivering high yields of nutritious food without detriment to the environment.

    “It is time to overturn the myth that pesticides are necessary to feed the world and create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production,” they said.

    Which Foods Are the Most Contaminated?

    According to the 2017 Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” reports,15,16,17 which rank foods based on highest and lowest pesticide contamination, strawberries still top the list of foods most likely to contain the highest amounts of residues, containing a minimum of 20 pesticides — twice the amount of the second-most contaminated crop — while non-GMO sweet corn has the lowest amounts.

    EWG’s Dirty Dozen — Foods containing the highest amounts of pesticide residues and therefore best to purchase organic include:

    1. Strawberries

    2. Spinach

    3. Nectarines

    4. Apples

    5. Peaches

    6. Pears

    7. Cherries

    8. Grapes

    9. Celery

    10. Tomatoes

    11. Sweet bell peppers

    12. Potatoes

    EWG’s Clean 15 — Foods containing the lowest amounts of residues, and therefore safer to buy conventional if you cannot afford organic varieties include:

    1. Non-GMO sweet corn

    2. Avocados

    3. Pineapple

    4. Cabbage

    5. Onions

    6. Frozen sweet peas

    7. Non-GMO papaya

    8. Asparagus

    9. Mangos

    10. Eggplant

    11. Honeydew melon

    12. Kiwi

    13. Cantaloupe

    14. Cauliflower

    15. Grapefruit

    European Parliament Report Highlights Benefits of Organic Foods

    Another favorable piece of news is the recently released report,18 “Human Health Implications of Organic Food and Organic Agriculture,” by the European Parliament, detailing the many benefits of organics. The report is unusually comprehensive in that it reviews a wide range of effects of organics, from nutritional content and the benefits of fewer pesticides to environmental impacts and sustainability.

    Its conclusions are based on hundreds of epidemiological and laboratory studies and food analyses. The clearest benefits of organics on human health were found to be related to lowered pesticide, antibiotic and cadmium exposure. As noted by Civil Eats:19

    “Most striking in its findings is the evidence suggesting organic food can help protect children from the brain-altering effects of some pesticides. And while there is evidence of greater nutrient content in some organic food — particularly milk and meat — as health benefits, these differences appear to be less significant than organic food’s lack of hazardous chemicals …

    The report was prepared for a European audience, but its findings clearly apply to the U.S. ‘They did a really comprehensive job of a global literature search, so I don’t think anything in the report wouldn’t be applicable,’ said Boise State University assistant professor of community and environmental health Cynthia Curl, who researches links between diet and pesticide exposure …

    ‘As a consequence of reduced pesticide exposure, organic food consequently contributes to the avoidance of health effects and associated costs to society,’ write the authors, noting that research suggests these costs are currently ‘greatly underestimated.’”

    Consumer Rights Group Sues EPA Over FOIA Violations

    Although the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide — as a probable human carcinogen in 2015,20 the product has not been pulled from the market. Citing this finding and other research, more than 60 cancer patients are coordinating lawsuits against Monsanto.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), contradicted the IARC’s findings when it, in September, 2016, declared glyphosate “not likely to be carcinogenic” to humans21 — a determination that has been met with severe criticism and accusations of violating EPA guidelines22 and protecting Monsanto’s interests23 at the expense of public health.

    Now the consumer rights group, U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), has filed a federal lawsuit against the EPA for violating Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provisions. As reported by USRTK:24

    “The lawsuit … seeks documents related to EPA’s assessment of … glyphosate … [USRTK] requested the EPA records after the EPA posted an internal memorandum titled “GLYPHOSATE: Report of the Cancer Assessment Review Committee” to the agency’s website on April 29, 2016.

    The internal EPA report, known as the CARC report, concluded that glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” The EPA then deleted the public posting on May 2, saying that the document was posted inadvertently.

    But before it was deleted Monsanto officials copied the document, promoted it on the company website and on social media and made reference to it in a court hearing dealing with lawsuits filed by agricultural workers and others who allege Monsanto’s herbicide gave them cancer.

    The May 12, 2016 FOIA request asked for certain records relating to the CARC report on glyphosate as well as records of communications between Monsanto and EPA officials that discussed glyphosate issues. Under FOIA, the EPA had 20 working days to respond to the request, but well over 190 working days have now passed and the EPA has yet to produce any records in response to the request …”

    Glyphosate — A Most Troublesome Toxin

    Glyphosate is most heavily applied on GE corn, soybeans and sugar beets, but it's also commonly used to desiccate conventional (non-GMO but non-organic) wheat and protect other conventional crops from weeds. Disturbingly, glyphosate and Roundup may actually be even worse than DDT, having been linked to an ever-growing array of health effects, including but not limited to:25,26

    Nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, as glyphosate immobilizes certain nutrients and alters the nutritional composition of the treated crop

    Disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (these are essential amino acids not produced in your body that must be supplied via your diet)

    Increased toxin exposure (this includes high levels of glyphosate and formaldehyde in the food itself)

    Impairment of sulfate transport and sulfur metabolism; sulfate deficiency

    Systemic toxicity — a side effect of extreme disruption of microbial function throughout your body; beneficial microbes in particular, allowing for overgrowth of pathogens

    Gut dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria, inflammation, leaky gut and food allergies such as gluten intolerance)

    Enhancement of damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and environmental toxins as a result of glyphosate shutting down the function of detoxifying enzymes

    Creation of ammonia (a byproduct created when certain microbes break down glyphosate), which can lead to brain inflammation associated with autism and Alzheimer's disease

    Increased antibiotic resistance by priming pathogens to more readily become resistant to antibiotics

    Increased cancer risk.27,28,29,30 Since the IARC’s determination, agricultural personnel have begun suing Monsanto over past glyphosate exposure, claiming it played a role in their bone cancer and leukemia31,32

    The Many Drawbacks of Industrialized Agriculture

    The UN’s special report on pesticides and call for a transition toward sustainable agriculture worldwide adds ammunition to an already well-stocked munitions store against conventional agriculture and genetic engineering. I’ve detailed a wide range of drawbacks of chemical-dependent industrial farming in previous articles, including the following:

    Degrades and contaminates soil

    Grains account for about 70 percent of our daily calories, and grains are grown on about 70 percent of acreage worldwide. The continuous replanting of grain crops each year leads to soil degradation, as land is tilled and sprayed each year, disrupting the balance of microbes in the soil.

    Top soil is also lost each year, which means that, eventually, our current modes of operation simply will no longer work. Soil erosion and degradation rates suggest we have less than 60 remaining years of topsoil.33

    Forty percent of the world's agricultural soil is now classified as either degraded or seriously degraded; the latter means that 70 percent of the topsoil is gone. Soil degradation is projected to cause 30 percent loss in food production over the next 20 to 50 years. Meanwhile, our global food demands are expected to increase by 50 percent over this span of time.

    As explained in Peter Byck’s short film, “One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts,” farm animals form symbiotic relationships where one species helps keep parasites from overwhelming another. It is the separation of crops and animals into two distinctly different farming processes that has led to animal waste becoming a massive source of pollution rather than a valuable part of the ecological cycle.

    Contaminates water and drains aquifers

    Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of our fresh water use. When the soil is unfit, water is wasted. It simply washes right through the soil and past the plant's root system. We already have a global water shortage that's projected to worsen over the coming two or three decades, so this is the last thing we need to compound it. On top of that, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are a major water polluter, destroying what precious little water we do have.

    The EPA has noted that U.S. states with high congregations of CAFOs report 20 to 30 serious water quality problems each year.34 According to a report35 by Environment America, corporate agribusiness is “one of the biggest threats to America’s waterways.” Tyson Foods Inc. is among the worst, releasing 104.4 million pounds of toxic pollutants into waterways between 2010 and 2014; second only to a steel manufacturing company.

    Contributes to greenhouse gas emissions

    While fertilizer production produces its share of greenhouse gases, most of the emissions occur upon application. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, 1 out of every 100 kilos of nitrogen fertilizer applied to farm land ends up in the atmosphere as nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas (300 times more potent than CO2) known to deplete the ozone.36

    In 2014, the amount of N2O created by nitrogen fertilizer spread on American farmland was equal to one-third of the N2O released by all cars and trucks in the U.S. More recent research suggests the real number is three to five times higher than that.

    Reduces biodiversity

    The efficiency model of large-scale industrialized agriculture demanded a reduction in diversity. Hence, we got monoculture: farmers growing all corn, or all soy, for example. Monoculture has significantly contributed to dietary changes that promote ill health. The primary crops grown on industrial farms today — corn, soy, wheat, canola and sugar beets — are the core ingredients in processed foods known to promote obesity, nutritional deficiencies and disease.

    According to a report by the Royal Botanic Gardens in the U.K., one-fifth of all plants worldwide are now threatened with extinction, primarily through the expansion of agriculture.37 Ethanol and corn sweetener subsidies have also led to farmers abandoning conservation measures designed to preserve fragile lands and protect biodiversity in the natural landscape.38

    Worsens food safety and promotes pandemic disease

    Agricultural overuse of drugs, especially antibiotics, has led to the development of drug-resistant disease,39 which has now become a severe health threat. Pandemic outbreaks are also becoming more prevalent in CAFOs, revealing the inherent flaws of industrialized animal farming.

    In 2015, an avian flu outbreak spread across 14 states in five months. The year before that, a pig virus outbreak killed off 10 percent of the American pig population. As noted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy:40 “The rapid spread of new disease strains ... is one very visible reason why the expansion of factory-style animal production is viewed as unsustainable.”

    Threatens food security by decimating important pollinators such as butterfly and bee populations.41

    Promotes nutritional deficiencies and poor nutrition

    Industrial farming is set up and subsidized to grow ingredients used in processed foods. This is the cheapest way to feed the masses. However, what people really need more of in order to thrive is fresh produce.

    According to research42 presented at the 2016 American Heart Association's Epidemiology meeting, reducing the price of fruits and vegetables by 30 percent could save nearly 200,000 lives over 15 years by lowering rates of heart disease and stroke.

    If people added just one additional serving of fruits and vegetables a day, up to 3.5 million deaths from heart disease could be prevented in just two years. Testing also reveals nutrient content of foods has dramatically declined across the board since the introduction of mechanized farming in 1925. For example:

    • To receive the same amount of iron you used to get from one apple in 1950, by 1998 you had to eat 26 apples; today you have to eat 36
    • Between 1950 and 1999, levels of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C levels in 43 different vegetables and fruits significantly declined43
    • Analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that, on average, calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels dropped 37 percent; vitamin A levels dropped 21 percent; vitamin C levels declined by 30 percent

    Healthy soils contain a large diversity of microorganisms, and it is these organisms that are responsible for the plant’s nutrient uptake,44,45 health and the stability of the entire ecosystem. The wide-scale adoption of industrial farming practices has decimated soil microbes responsible for transferring these minerals to the plants.

    If we do not change, we will eventually reach a point of no return, where soils will be too depleted and microbially “dead” to grow food. Conventional may be more efficient, and may provide somewhat greater yields in some cases, but in the long term it’s unsustainable.

    Necessitates the use of toxins, poisons and harmful mechanical farming methods

    Industrialization led to the separation of crops and livestock farming into two different specialties. That change alone has done tremendous harm, as livestock are actually a core component of regenerative agriculture. As a result, a whole host of land maintenance services that animals serve for free have had to be replaced with chemical and mechanical means — all of which have detrimental effects on human health and the environment.

    Is less profitable than organic farming and cannot affordably and sustainably increase production

    Research has even shown that conventional farming cannot significantly compete with organic in terms of profitability. At least 1,000 studies have compared organic and conventional farming in terms of productivity, environmental impact, economic viability and social wellbeing.

    One such study46,47 found that organic farms are more profitable,48,49 earning farmers anywhere from 22 to 35 percent more than their conventional counterparts. They also produce equally or more nutritious foods with fewer or no pesticide residues. Organic farms also use far less energy, were found to be at a distinct advantage during droughts, and provide unique benefits to the ecosystem, along with social benefits that are hard to put a price tag on. According to one of the authors:

    “If I had to put it in one sentence, organic agriculture has been able to provide jobs, be profitable, benefit the soil and environment and support social interactions between farmers and consumers. In some ways, there are practices in organic agriculture that really are ideal blueprints for us to look at feeding the world in the future. Organic may even be our best bet to help feed the world in an increasingly volatile climate.”

    Assures decimation of food production should feared climate changes turn into reality

    Recent research50,51 indeed confirms that conventional farming methods cannot protect us from a repeat of the devastating conditions experienced during the 1930s “dust bowl,” a time when consecutive droughts decimated food production in the U.S. According to simulations, if the U.S. were to experience the same kind of drought as in 1936, we’d lose 40 percent of our corn and soy, and 30 percent of our wheat.

    These losses are very similar to those back in 1936. But when including current climate change trends into their calculations, crop losses increase by 25 percent for each 1-degree increase in temperature. A 4-degree increase in average temperature would reduce crop yields by a staggering 80 percent over the course of a season. As noted by bioethicist George Divorsky:52

    “Given recent predictions53 that parts of the U.S. could soon experience “megadroughts” lasting for as long as 35 years (yes, you read that correctly), these results should serve as a serious wakeup call.”

    Directly promotes ill health and chronic disease

    Health statistics suggest the average toxic burden has become too great for children and adults alike. More than half of all Americans are chronically ill, and toxins in our food appear to play a primary role. According to Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno,54 founding president of Bastyr University, toxins in the modern food supply are now “a major contributor to, and in some cases the cause of, virtually all chronic diseases.”

    A recent report55,56 by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.57 which represents OB-GYNs in 125 countries, warns that chemical exposures, including pesticides, now represent a major threat to human health and reproduction. Pesticides are also included in a new scientific statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals by the Endocrine Society task force.58,59

    This task force warns that the health effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals is such that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them — especially those seeking to get pregnant, pregnant women, and young children. Even extremely low-level pesticide exposure has been found to considerably increase the risk of certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.

    What Can You Do to Protect Your Family Against Pesticides?

    In order to reduce your exposure to toxic pesticides, you’d be wise to make some changes in your lifestyle choices. Here are just a few suggestions to help you get started.

    • Eat organic foods. Look for organic produce and grassfed meats and dairy products. Investigate the farmers markets in your area and consider planting your own garden to supply produce through the summer months. Although buying organic foods may be slightly more expensive today, they help to reduce your overall health costs in your future.
    • Go green in your lawn and garden care. You don’t have to give up a green lawn if you want to remove pesticides from your garden. However, it may take a season or two in order to get the growth you’re looking for.
    • Talk with your school board about lawn care at your children’s school. Pesticides sprayed on the school lawn and play areas can increase your child’s exposure. You may be able to change how they care for the lawn when you educate the administration about the risks involved to the children.
    • Play in a healthy environment. Before joining a golf club or playing frequently, talk with the course superintendent about the pesticides they use to control weeds and insects. Bring members together to request cleaner and safer lawn care. Talk to your city administrators about the care given to the lawn in your local parks. Educate them about the risks to adults, children and pets from pesticides.

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  • Surprising Recycling Mistakes Most People Make Daily
    published on March 20th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    In the U.S., nearly 260 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) are generated annually. Nearly 90 million tons of this MSW are recycled or composted, for a recycling rate of close to 35 percent.1

    It's a good start, but there's clearly room for improvement, especially because many of the items Americans throw in their recycling bins are not actually recyclable.

    Many people toss questionable items in their bins hoping to give them a shot at being recycled, but the reality is that certain non-recyclable items will only be tossed into the trash bin at the recycling center.

    Worse, some of the items may end up contaminating entire loads of recyclables that would otherwise have gone on to other uses. During a visit to Denver's recycling facility, and specifically the waste management sorting facility, The Denver Post identified some of the top mistakes well-meaning recyclers make.2

    Six Top Recycling Mistakes

    Recycling requirements vary by municipality, but in general you can use these suggestions from Denver, Colorado to determine if you're making common recycling mistakes. To verify the recycling guidelines in your area, contact your local facility.

    1. Plastic Bags Shouldn't Go Into Your Recycling Bin

    Municipal recycling facilities often do not recycle plastic bags, which can get caught in their machinery causing damage. Many grocery stores, however, have collection bins where you can drop of plastic bags to be recycled.

    2. Avoiding Putting Your Recyclables Into Trash Bags

    If you put your recyclables into closed trash bags, they'll get thrown straight into the trash. This is because sorters don't have time to open them, and they're also considered to be a safety hazard.

    3. Greasy, Wet or Food-Soiled Items Cannot Be Recycled

    Grease, liquids (even water) and food are considered contaminants. If they make it down the sorting line without being tossed out, they can contaminate an entire load of recyclables, causing it to be thrown out. Examples of items that cannot be recycled include:

    • Foil potato chip bags
    • Greasy pizza boxes (if you rip off the unsoiled cardboard lid, that can be recycled)
    • Foil lids from yogurt containers (however foil food trays and pie tins may be accepted as long as you remove as much food as possible)
    • Paper cups with shiny coatings, such as hot-serve coffee cups
    • Paper food bowls with plastic lining (such as those used for Chipotle burrito bowls)

    4. Very Small Items Cannot Be Recycled

    The Denver Post described it as "anything smaller than a Post-it note" cannot be recycled, because it's too small to be sorted properly. This includes plastic bottle caps, unless you screw them onto the bottle (be sure to empty all liquid out first, or the bottle will be discarded).

    5. Don't Flatten Milk Cartons

    Waxy milk cartons can be recycled, but if they're missed via hand sorting an infrared optical sorter will pick them out (and certain other three-dimensional items) from the mix. If you crush the cartons, they may be missed.

    6. These Items Can't Be Recycled

    Anything that enters a recycling center that cannot be recycled is considered a contaminant and will be thrown out. If too many contaminants are found in a bundle of recyclables, it runs the risk of being rejected. Examples of non-recyclable items in Denver include:

    Scrap metal

    Plastic that does not hold a shape

    Christmas tree lights

    Wire hangers

    Electronics (there are specialized centers for this)

    Auto parts

    Propane tanks


    Bowling balls


    Reducing Food Waste Via Composting Is Another Form of Recycling

    Food waste is actually the second largest component of waste sent to U.S. landfills, making up 18 percent of the waste stream, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).3

    Yard trimmings make up another 7 percent. When combined, this organic waste makes up the largest share of U.S. trash, more than any other material, including paper and plastic. In all, the food waste alone amounts to more than 30 million tons of waste entering U.S. landfills every year.

    Fortunately, food recycling, also known as composting, is catching on throughout the U.S. Residential food composting programs are currently being tested in a number of U.S. cities, including New York City, Austin and Milwaukee, and more than 180 communities collect food waste from residences.4

    As of 2013, there were about 3,560 large-scale community composting programs in the U.S.5 Many of the programs started out by allowing residents to add food scraps to their yard waste recycling bins, but some areas, including New York City, also have food-scrap drop-off sites.

    San Francisco was the first U.S. city to make composting food waste mandatory — back in 2009 — as part of a zero-waste initiative to send to no materials to landfills by 2020.

    As of 2013, San Francisco had succeeded in recycling or composting about 80 percent of its waste, compared to just 15 percent in New York City.6

    Companies Save Money by Reducing Food Waste

    A report by Champions 12.3, a coalition of executives from governments, businesses, international organizations, research institutions, farmer groups and civil society working to reduce food loss and waste, found that businesses have significant financial incentive to reduce food waste, saving an average $14 for every $1 spent toward that end.7

    The report noted that "[food waste] amounts to economic losses of $940 billion per year," and while some companies, like Kellogg, are getting involved by revamping confusing food expiration dates or improving food production and delivery processes, businesses can get involved in composting, too.

    North Carolina (NC) State University Extension has a publication on how to start compost bins at summer camps and childcare centers, for instance, not only reducing food and yard waste but also educating children in the process.

    "Composting is an easy, natural way to recycle and absolutely fascinates children as they begin to understand nature as a process of transformation," NC State explains.8 The EPA also maintains success stories from businesses that have saved money by implementing composting programs. Among them:9

    New Seasons Markets, which operates 12 grocery stores in the Pacific Northwest, has increased the amount of organic materials, including food waste, composted by 109 percent since 2006. Since 2011, they've kept more than 2,410 tons of food out of landfills and saved more than $25,000 in waste expenses.

    Petco Park, a baseball park in San Diego, California, started a food composting program in 2005. In 2011, they diverted 164 tons of waste from landfills and have saved $75,000 since 2005.

    Middlebury College, in Middlebury, Vermont, started a food waste composting program in 1993. Ninety percent of their food waste (370 tons) was composted on campus in 2011, saving them more than $100,000 in landfill fees (from composting and recycling).

    Composting Helps Lock Carbon Into Soil

    You may be aware that compost adds nutrients and valuable organic matter to soil, but did you know it also helps soil absorb carbon? It's estimated that one-third of the surplus carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stems from poor land management processes that contribute to the loss of carbon, such as carbon dioxide, from farmlands.10

    So-called carbon farming is a simple premise that involves using agricultural methods like composting that can naturally trap carbon dioxide in the ground (for decades, centuries or more), while also absorbing it from the air. The process, known as "carbon sequestration," could help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions while regenerating the soil and more.

    The Marin Carbon Project in Northern California, which began in 2008, is the poster-child for composting and its potential to radically help the environment. Researchers applied one-half inch of compost over land used for grazing cattle and have been observing the land for nearly a decade.11 SF Gate reported:12

    "The research showed that if compost from green waste — everything from household food scraps to dairy manure — were applied over just 5 percent of the state's grazing lands, the soil could capture a year's worth of greenhouse gas emissions from California's farm and forestry industries.

    The effect is cumulative, meaning the soil keeps absorbing carbon dioxide even after just one application of compost, the researchers found.

    In theory… if compost made from the state's green waste were applied to a quarter of the state's rangeland, the soil could absorb three-quarters of California's greenhouse gas emissions for one year, due in large part to the one-time offset from waste diversion."

    It's Easier to Compost Than You Think

    Composting may sound intimidating at first, but it's actually incredibly easy and, when done correctly, poses little risk of unpleasant odors or attracting rodents or other pests.

    "If you create the proper balance of materials, you'll have aerobic conditions, and the microorganisms that thrive there break down scraps with little to no odor," says Darby Hoover, senior resource specialist in the National Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) Food and Agriculture program.13 The formula she refers to is 2 to 3 parts "browns" to 1 part "greens," such as:

    Browns (2 to 3 parts) Greens (1 part)

    Browns (2 to 3 parts): Shredded newspaper and other paper

    Greens (1 part): Fruit and vegetable scraps

    Browns (2 to 3 parts): Dead leaves

    Greens (1 part): Breads and grains

    Browns (2 to 3 parts): Food-soiled paper (but not coated paper)

    Greens (1 part): Coffee grounds and filters, tea bags

    Browns (2 to 3 parts): Cardboard

    Greens (1 part): Grass clippings

    Greens (1 part): Crushed eggshells

    You'll first need a space to compost, such as a fenced off corner of your yard or a bin made for the purpose. The latter is very convenient but can cost upward of $200. Less expensive options include making your own from wood, recycled plastic or even chicken wire.

    Tumblers (rotating drums) are great because they make aeration a breeze — all you have to do is turn the drum every few days, which takes less effort than turning a pile with a fork or shovel. They are also much faster to compost; you can get great compost in as little as one to two weeks, while the piles will take many months to digest.

    Many local municipalities also have bins available for a reasonable price. You can even compost if you live in an apartment. According to NRDC, "Indoor bins stocked with red worms, critters you can order online, process food scraps in a smaller space."14

    Turning Kitchen Scraps Into Valuable Organic Matter

    Keep a small compost pail in your kitchen to collect scraps, then empty into your compost bin daily. As you dump food scraps into your bin, try to cover it up with a layer of leaves or yard clippings to discourage attracting animals. You can also add in a sprinkling of soil to introduce beneficial organisms.15

    Next, you simply wait for the materials to break down, giving your bin a tumble or turn over once a week or so. You may need to add a bit of water on occasion to keep the moisture level to damp, similar to a wrung-out sponge.

    As for what can't be composted, although some community-wide composting programs accept meat, dairy and certain plastics, you shouldn't put these items in your backyard compost bin. Other items to avoid include eggs (the shells are fine), oils or grease, meat or fish bones, pet feces and litter or yard trimmings that have been treated with pesticides.16

    The next question is what to do with the "black gold" you've created. If you garden, add compost to your flowerbeds and vegetable garden. You can also add it to houseplants and even onto your lawn. If you don't have a yard to use up your compost, don't let that stop you. NRDC recommends "[sharing] the bounty by offering friends, the whole office, or your children's school a free donation. Another tactic is guerrilla composting: Dump some compost at the base of street trees."17

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  • The War on Water Is a Very Real Crisis
    published on March 20th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    One of the hidden costs of industrial agriculture is its intensive water usage. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), about 80 percent of U.S. consumptive water (and more than 90 percent in many Western states) is used for agricultural purposes.1

    Only about 3 percent of the water on Earth is fresh water, which is dependent on rain for replenishment. Fresh water stored in aquifers, meanwhile, is being increasingly depleted, at a rate that cannot be naturally restored.2

    In some areas, pollution has left water largely undrinkable while industry (often the same ones responsible for the pollution) is draining underground aquifers at alarming rates. Irrigation is necessary to grow crops (including alfalfa hay used primarily for cattle feed) in arid regions of the U.S., but experts say it's unsustainable.

    Some farmers are responding by using new forms of irrigation technology and farming methods to improve water efficiency, but will it be enough to offset the impending water crisis?

    Farmers Attempt to Use Less Water in the Southwest

    Farmers in the Southwest are using methods such as laser-leveling technology, which ensures smooth fields to prevent water pooling, and cover crops to help reduce water usage.

    However, strained aquifers, droughts and lack of verification of farmers' water usage is resulting in less-than-impressive gains. The Christian Science Monitor reported:3

    "One way or another, farms are likely to have to keep getting more efficient with their water resources, as … drought years [become] more common in this region. Despite a wet winter in the West, the groundwater aquifers upon which farmers rely remain strained.

    That will likely be the case for decades. Efforts to reduce water waste might need to come through policy.

    Western water rights are awarded to users on a 'first come, first served' basis and typically require rights owners to use all their allocation to maintain their rights. On top of that, most states have incomplete data on groundwater or can't easily verify whether farmers are using more water than allowed."

    Flood irrigation, which drenches fields with water, allowing the excess to run off into nearby streams, is one of the top water wastes and facilitates pollution.

    While laser-leveling technology may help reduce waste, drip irrigation, which delivers water directly to roots of the plants, is much more efficient and could cut such water usage by 30 percent to 70 percent.4

    Cover crops also help to enrich soil and reduce water waste, while other farmers are adding magnesium and clay to soil to help reflect sunlight and reduce the effects of the heat.5

    Lawsuit Over Water Rights in Kansas

    In the U.S. Midwest, meanwhile, corn and cattle are kings, but both require large amounts of water to be sustained.

    This double blow to water supplies in the region has led to the rapid depletion of one of the most important water sources to Midwestern farmers — the High Plains Aquifer System, also known as the Ogallala aquifer.

    It is this extensive underground aquifer that allowed farmers to grow crops in what was previously known as the "Great American Desert."

    However, it's been estimated that within the next 50 years, 70 percent of the High Plains Aquifer System may be depleted.6 Already, many wells in southwestern Kansas are dry, putting strain on the region's farmers.

    The state uses a "first-in-tie, first-in-right" water rights system, which means those who have owned wells the longest get first dibs on water. In 2012, a farmer filed a lawsuit alleging that his neighbor's pumping was impairing his own water supply. The farmer who filed the suit also held "senior" water rights over the neighbor.

    In 2017, a judge ruled in the filing farmer's favor, calling for two wells to be shut down in order to protect the water rights of the plaintiff. Ultimately, however, the issue is one of too much demand for water and too little supply in return.

    The Desert Sun cited Haskell County District Court Judge Linda Gilmore, who noted the area aquifer drops by an average of 6 feet every year while being naturally recharged at an estimated rate of 1 inch per year — or less.7

    Pumping Groundwater Is Leading to Sinking Land in California

    Meanwhile, in California expanding agriculture as well as urban growth are leading to increased pumping of groundwater that, in turn, is causing land to sink.

    Richard Howitt, a professor emeritus of agricultural and natural resource economics at the University of California, Davis, described underground groundwater as "the reserve bank account."8

    However, anyone living in the state can drill a well in their backyard. With water becoming more scarce, a drilling company in Fresno, California, told NBC News they have a year-long backlog of customers waiting and are drilling deeper wells on properties, "taking water that hasn't been touched in millions of years."9

    Land subsidence, or the sinking of the Earth's surface, has since become a serious problem in areas of California.10 In the San Joaquin Valley, an agricultural mecca, for instance, groundwater pumping has caused land to sink by one foot a year.

    The resulting sinking is uneven, which means drops upstream or downstream can affect surface water canals that carry snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada to area farmers, essentially crippling the delivery of surface water that's available.11 The U.S. Geological Survey California Water Science Center explained:12

    "Reduced surface-water availability during 1976-77, 1986-92, 2007-09, and 2012-2015 caused groundwater-pumping increases in the San Joaquin Valley, declines in water-levels to near or beyond historic lows, and renewed aquifer compaction.

    The resulting land subsidence has reduced the freeboard and flow capacity of the Delta-Mendota Canal — as well as the California Aqueduct and other canals that transport floodwater and deliver irrigation water — requiring expensive repairs."

    There are other risks of land subsidence as well, including damage to buildings and infrastructure and increased flood risk.

    Mexico City Is Also Sinking and Struggling With Water Stress

    Like areas of California, Mexico City, plagued with rising demand for water, high temperatures and drought, is struggling due to subsidence. The New York Times reported:13

    "More heat and drought mean more evaporation and yet more demand for water, adding pressure to tap distant reservoirs at staggering costs or further drain underground aquifers and hasten the city's collapse.

    In the immense neighborhood of Iztapalapa — where nearly [2] million people live, many of them unable to count on water from their taps — a teenager was swallowed up where a crack in the brittle ground split open a street. Sidewalks resemble broken china, and 15 elementary schools have crumbled or caved in."

    An estimated 20 percent of the city's residents also lack a reliable water supply from their tap. These people depend on water trucked in via delivery trucks at a price that's often much higher than what residents in wealthier neighborhoods pay.

    Even then, residents may have to wait days (even 30 days) for water deliveries, and must plan their lives around being home when the truck arrives, lest the delivery be canceled. Mireya Imaz, a program director at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told the Times:14

    "Women in Iztapalapa can spend all night waiting for the pipas, then they have to be home for the trucks, and sometimes they will ride with the drivers to make sure the drivers deliver the water, which is not always a safe thing to do.

    It becomes impossible for many poor women to work outside the home. The whole system is made worse by corruption."

    Nearly 36 Percent of Americans Could be Unable to Afford Water in Five Years

    Water affordability is a serious problem in the U.S. as well. A new report from Michigan State University suggests that if water prices continue to rise in the U.S., nearly 36 percent of Americans may be unable to afford water within the next five years.15 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that water and wastewater should account for no more than 4.5 percent of household income, but nearly 12 percent of U.S. households may surpass this level. The report found:16,17

    "Mississippi has the highest concentration of 'high-risk' areas with families that make less than $32,000 and cannot afford water bills. Southern states dominate the "high-risk" list, though Ohio ranks ninth and Michigan ranks 12th. Further, water rates have increased 41 percent since 2010, and if they continue at that pace over the next five years the number of households that cannot afford water and wastewater services could soar to an estimated 40.9 million, or 35.6 percent of all households."

    Farm Runoff and Pollution Has Tainted the Mississippi River

    The Mississippi River was named the second-most polluted waterway in the U.S. in 2012,18 but it still maintained swatches that were considered to be relatively pristine, particularly in the Upper Mississippi in Minnesota.

    However, hundreds of miles of forest, marshes and grasslands in the area have been lost to agriculture (mostly corn, soy and potato fields) and urban development in recent years. As a result, the natural areas that played a part in keeping the Upper Mississippi pristine are being quickly lost.

    Remember, what is upstream will travel downstream, so pollution in this area — the headwaters of the Mighty Mississippi — will quickly become pollution throughout much of the U.S. Among the environmental assaults already being seen include increased nitrate contamination in drinking water, which is the result of fertilizer pollution. Park Rapids, Minnesota spent $3 million to dig deeper wells due to nitrate contamination.

    It's estimated that 10 percent of private drinking wells in the area may have nitrate levels that pose dangers to pregnant women and infants.19

    In a report released by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, they noted, "It's hard to overstate the river's importance as a drinking water source to millions of Minnesotans and (other) Americans downstream."20 The PCA identified the major threats facing the upper Mississippi in northern Minnesota, including:21

    • Development leading to loss of shoreline and aquatic habitat
    • Increased sedimentation due to forest management practices
    • Stormwater runoff from development, leading to increased nutrient, contaminant and sedimentation loading
    • Loss of biodiversity due to invasive species

    There Were 295 Chemical Spills From Trains Into the Mississippi River in 2015

    The U.S. Coast Guard manages, and the EPA uses, the National Response Center database to track oil and chemical spills.22 It listed 295 chemical spills from trains into the Mississippi in 2015, for instance, which is noteworthy because more than half of them do not contain information on the amount spilled.

    This omission of data is not unusual, unfortunately. As Reveal of The Center for Investigative Reporting stated, the database also lists "0" as the amount of metam sodium, a pesticide, spilled into California's Sacramento River due to a train accident in 1991. The disaster actually contaminated the river with 19,000 gallons of the toxic chemical.23

    Lark Weller, water quality coordinator with the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, called the lack of data concerning, noting "it's sort of difficult to get information" from rail companies after spills, even though they're required to report such data to the Coast Guard. According to Reveal:24

    " … [F]ive spills alone dumped nearly 190,000 gallons of toxic chemicals into the upper portion of the Mississippi. Chemicals flow downstream toward the Gulf of Mexico until a response team arrives at the scene.

    … Weller is a lead author of the 2016 State of the River Report, an assessment of the Mississippi and its ecosystem published in September. The report found the greatest source of chemical contamination to the Mississippi is agricultural runoff. Although train spills are also a source, Weller said her team doesn't receive much information regarding this means of pollution, including spill volumes."

    Tiny Pieces of Plastic Are Polluting the Ocean

    In addition to chemicals, it's estimated that 165 million tons of plastic are polluting the world's oceans, but when you calculate microplastic, the kind that's found deep beneath the surface, the number is probably far higher.25 Plastic trash is of particular concern, as bits and pieces of plastic are mistaken for food by birds and sea animals.

    Debris in the ocean also blocks sunlight from which plankton and algae sustain themselves, and this has negative implications on up the food chain as it eventually becomes micronized and winds up in some of the seafood you eat. Also, once in the waterways, plastic particles also act like sponges for waterborne contaminants such as PCBs, pesticides like DDT, herbicides, PAHs and other persistent organic pollutants.

    This phenomenon makes plastics far from benign, and scientists have yet to determine the full extent of the dangers posed by their consumption, or the effects higher up the food chain — which is where you are. As noted by Scientific American:26

    "The worry now is these tiny toxic pieces of plastic may affect more than just fish — possibly causing cancer in humans, altering our hormones and maybe even killing us. 'In a little more than 60 years, we know we've littered more than 150 million tons of plastic into the oceans,' says Henrik Beha Pedersen, founder and president of the Danish nonprofit Plastic Change.

    'Where does it all end up? Is it in the fish? Is it in the birds? Is it on the beaches? Is it on the deep-sea floor? Where has all the plastic gone? Is it in us, us humans?'"

    Plastic, along with pollution from industrial waste and the agriculture and aquaculture industries, is also adding to pressure from overfishing, leaving once-rich marine ecosystems like the Bay of Bengal in India largely depleted and struggling with dead zones. The Guardian reported:27

    "What is unfolding in the bay is a catastrophic convergence of flawed policy, economic over-exploitation, unsustainable forms of waste management, and climate change impacts that are intensifying in unpredictable ways.

    The scientists who identified the bay's dead zone warn that this stretch of ocean is approaching a tipping point that will have serious consequences for the planet's oceans and the global nitrogen cycle. Should the bay's fisheries collapse there will also be very serious human consequences, including intensified conflict and mass displacement."

    A Simple Way to Conserve Water

    It's going to take change on a global scale — to industry, agriculture and public policy — to stop the water pollution that's already taking a health and environmental toll, but you can also act on an individual level to help the problem and protect yourself. For starters, choose organically grown foods, which are grown without the synthetic fertilizers that are now devastating so many waterways.

    In addition, it's best to assume yours is less than pure and take steps to remedy it, such as using a high-quality water filtration system (unless you can verify the purity of your water). If you have well water, it would be prudent to have your water tested for nitrates and other contaminants. If you have public water, you can get local drinking water quality reports from the EPA.

    To be certain you're getting the purest water you can, filter the water both at the point of entry and at the point of use. This means filtering all the water that comes into the house, and then filtering again at the kitchen sink and shower. In addition, adding a rain barrel or two to your backyard is a simple way to help conserve water. This is simply a large container that you use to capture stormwater (that would otherwise be lost to runoff) from your roof.

    The collected rain water should not be used for drinking water unless you filter it as it is contaminated with pollutants, but you can easily collect thousands of gallons of water in a season — plenty for watering your flower beds and vegetable garden. Be sure you choose a natural material, such as food, for your rain barrel, as plastic versions have chemical-leaching issues.

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  • Latest Perk for Coffee Drinkers: A Boost of Beneficial Enzymes
    published on March 19th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    A recent study has revealed even more evidence to indicate coffee has more to offer than just a boost of energy. Caffeine offers much more, actually, as it may help protect against the development of dementia.

    Researchers at Indiana University discovered that caffeine and 23 other compounds kick-start an enzyme known as nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyl transferase 2, or NMNAT2, and it's this compound that scientists say may block the effects of neurodegenerative disorders.

    To identify substances with the potential to produce the NMNAT2 enzyme in the brain, the scientists screened over 1,280 compounds, including existing drugs, in order to identify 24 compounds that could potentially increase the enzyme's production.

    The study,1 led by Hui-Chen Lu of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, followed research done by Lu's team in 2016,2 which found that the NMNAT2 enzyme not only protects neurons in the brain from stress but binds to tau proteins via the "chaperone function."

    The enzyme prevents tau, which is similar to plaques that accumulate in the brain due to aging, from misfolding and causing subsequent cell death.

    Misfolded proteins are implicated in such neurodegenerative disorders as Parkinson's, Huntington's and Alzheimer's diseases, as well as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

    Dementia, Alzheimer's and How They Might Be Prevented

    Dementia is a group of symptoms, not a disease in itself, associated with diminished cognitive skills such as memory, reasoning and communication, severe enough to interfere with daily activities.3

    Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia, which worsens over time, and accounts for as much as 80 percent of known dementia cases. It affects more than 5.4 million people in the U.S., and the number of people affected is expected to triple by 2050.4 Medical News Today notes that:

    "Though researchers are still unclear on the precise causes of Alzheimer's, it is known that the condition arises as a result of brain cell death. The formation of 'tangles,' which are misfolded strands of a protein called tau, is believed to play a role in brain cell death."5

    Science is still at a loss in regard to what causes Alzheimer's, but the fact that it stems from brain cell death due to the "tangling" of tau proteins is an important clue in getting to the bottom of how to keep it from happening, reversing it or lessening its effects.

    The Significance of NMNAT2 for 'Blocking' Dementia

    The Epoch Times noted:

    "Lu's earlier research found that mice altered to produce misfolded tau also produced lower levels of NMNAT2.

    To confirm the effect of caffeine, researchers administered caffeine to mice modified to produce lower levels of NMNAT2. As a result, the mice began to produce the same levels of the enzyme as normal mice."6

    Other compounds also gave NMNAT2 a production boost, such as rolipram, an "orphaned" antidepressant discontinued since the mid-1990s, a few other drugs and retinoic acid, which is derived from vitamin A. However, caffeine was found to be one of the most effective at increasing NMNAT2 production.

    Significantly, 13 other compounds were identified that actually lowered this important enzyme's production. They're important, Lu says, because they help researchers understand how they might contribute to dementia. According to Lu:

    "This work could help advance efforts to develop drugs that increase levels of this enzyme in the brain, creating a chemical 'blockade' against the debilitating effects of neurodegenerative disorder.

    Increasing our knowledge about the pathways in the brain that appear to naturally cause the decline of this necessary protein is equally as important as identifying compounds that could play a role in future treatment of these debilitating mental disorders."7

    How Your Morning Brew Might Benefit Your Health

    As previously mentioned, coffee was one of the 24 substances that increased NMNAT2 formation to effectively inhibit neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia.

    While Lu says knowing this information will help other scientists create drugs to increase levels of the NMNAT2 enzyme for the purposes of combating dementia, coffee has been identified as having other substances that are useful. A plethora of studies indicate that coffee offers benefits in cancer prevention and treatment.

    One study showed that drinking four or more cups of caffeinated coffee daily lowered the risk of colon cancer recurrence or death by 52 percent.8 A meta-analysis on coffee and cancer risk published in 2016 concluded with the statement:

    "Our study demonstrates that coffee intake can reduce the risk of oral, pharynx cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer and melanoma by 31 percent, 13 percent, 54 percent, 11 percent, 27 percent and 11 percent respectively for the highest versus lowest coffee intake.

    Furthermore, coffee intake could reduce the risk of liver cancer, prostate cancer and endometrial cancer by 27 percent, 3 percent and 12 percent with an increment of 2 cups of coffee intake."9

    In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reversed its longtime position that coffee may cause cancer, and the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reported that coffee consumption may actually help reduce chronic disease.10

    Another study reported that drinking at least five cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of some brain cancers by as much as 40 percent.11

    A 2009 study showed that coffee increases the growth of beneficial gut bacteria called Bifidobacterium.12 Other diseases and conditions caffeine has been shown in clinical studies to positively impact include:

    Type 2 diabetes

    Parkinson's disease

    Liver, prostate, kidney and colorectal cancers

    Heart rhythm problems


    Beneficial gut bacteria

    It's What You Put in Coffee That Causes Problems

    If you haven't heard how damaging fake creamers and artificial sugars are — in some peoples' minds, the only way to make it palatable — you may want to sit up and take notice. Another way of saying it is: You know what's in your coffee, but do you know what's in your creamer?

    High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), implicated in mitochondrial malfunction

    Dipotassium phosphate, often used in fertilizer and cosmetics

    Partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which contains trans fats, known to cause inflammation

    Mono- and diglycerides may be synthetic, derived from partially hydrogenated oils or both

    Sodium stearoyl lactylate is an additive often used as a cleanser, foaming agent and emulsifier in cosmetics

    Sodium caseinate, often treated with the chemical sodium hydroxide, which can damage or suppress nutrient absorption

    Raw, organic cream from pastured cows is a far better creamer in your coffee because it's natural and contains a healthy amount of "good" fat, but your best option is to drink your coffee black.

    Sweeteners for Your Coffee: Best Left Out

    Then there's artificial sweeteners, another popular item in coffee circles, which can be worse for you than sugar and fructose. Aspartame, for instance, is shown in numerous studies to increase weight gain, worsen insulin sensitivity and even cause cancer and neurological problems.

    While natural sweeteners such as honey and agave syrup may seem to be much healthier than chemically contrived sweeteners, they contain high amounts of fructose and may be highly processed.

    If you like your coffee sweetened, you can try the herb stevia, which doesn't raise your blood glucose level like sugar does. It may be one of the safest alternatives for sugar. Luo han guo, also known as monk fruit, is another natural sweetener with this attribute and some say it has a superior flavor.

    The Importance of Choosing Organic Shade-Grown Coffee

    Conventionally grown coffee is one of the most chemically contaminated foods in the world. In contrast, organic coffee contains no chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. The beans have a richer flavor and come with natural antioxidants. It's healthy for you, more sustainable for the farms that grow it and vastly better for the planet.

    Additionally, coffee is a shade-loving plant, but growers often strip forests to make growing and harvesting easier. This destroys the ecological habitat of many natural pest deterrents, such as birds and lizards, while the pests flourish, resulting in additional pesticide use.

    The downward spiral to the environment involves chemical run-off, erosion and potentially contaminated water supplies. Organic shade-grown coffee is available at numerous retail markets, but you can also order it online.

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  • Eat This, Not That for Longer Life
    published on March 19th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    You've probably heard that "eating right" can go a long way toward keeping you healthy, while it stands to reason that if you don't, just the opposite will happen — at least sooner than it might have otherwise.

    It turns out this is more than just conjecture, since a new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reports that if you eat the right foods in the right amounts, your risk of dying from heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes — among the most common killers in the U.S. — could be cut nearly in half.

    That's pretty impressive, but what does "eat the right foods" even mean? It turns out there's a "substantial body of evidence" showing that "suboptimal" diets are undeniably culpable in causing the development of these illnesses, collectively known as cardiometabolic diseases (CMD), for several reasons. Specifically:

    "Dietary factors studied have included individual nutrients (macronutrients, micronutrients, minerals, vitamins, electrolytes, and phytochemicals), foods, and overall dietary patterns."1

    Lead study author Renata Micha, from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, said the scientists' most important finding of the review was that scientists now understand more about which foods would help keep people in the U.S. from dying prematurely from these diseases.

    The challenge, however, is getting people to sit up and take notice. But instead of focusing on foods that are bad for you, Micha asserts that a more compelling approach might be to emphasize the merits of eating beneficial foods and the nutritional aspects they offer.2

    Good Foods, Bad Foods and How They Affect Your Health

    If you're at a loss regarding what's really good for you and what's really not, the study examined several types of foods to clarify their good and bad aspects.

    Researchers combed through numerous studies, including National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 1999 to 2002, and 2009 to 2012, for evidence regarding what foods and/or dietary components affect your health most. Those included:



    Processed and unprocessed meats

    Soybean and corn oils

    Omega-3 fats

    Sugary drinks


    Grains, nuts and seeds

    Of the 702,308 deaths from the top three diseases, 318,656 were determined to be a result of dietary factors from eating too much — or not enough — of these foods or dietary components.

    Not surprisingly, information from this study echoed what scientists had already concluded regarding how the right foods can help, such as heart health.3

    Not eating enough nuts and seeds was tied to 59,374 deaths; too much processed meat like bacon was tied to 57,766 deaths; too little fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, were implicated in 54,626 deaths, and not enough vegetables to 53,410 deaths.

    Additionally, 51,695 deaths were tied to too many sugar-sweetened beverages. Interestingly, the study showed that more women than men die of cardiometabolic diseases due to unhealthy diets.

    Additionally, younger and less educated people, blacks and Hispanics are at greater risk than older, more educated and white people.4

    Eat More of These Foods for Optimal Health

    In the U.S., most people follow family tradition for meals so that generally, they'll consist of protein (meat), vegetables such as potatoes or corn, grains including bread, rice or pasta, a salad and, often, dessert.

    That's not all bad, but there are factors to consider. One is portion size, and the unfortunate trend nowadays is that too many people get too much of a good thing. Optimal amounts of good foods for a healthy diet, the study showed,5 will include:

    • 3 pieces of fruit a day
    • 2 cups of cooked or 4 cups of raw veggies per day
    • 5 1-ounce servings of nuts or seeds per week (about 20 nuts per serving)
    • 8 ounces of seafood weekly
    • 1 5- to 8-ounce serving of red meat per week

    Meat and Seafood: Eating to Optimize Your Health

    Protein is necessary for good health, but serving sizes are critical because your body can only use so much.

    Excess protein requires your body to rid itself of excess nitrogen waste from your blood, stressing your kidneys, and may lead to dehydration. It can trigger the pathways rapamycin (mTOR) and GCN2, involved in cancer and aging.

    Most people eat twice as much meat as they need, but how it's cooked is another factor to consider. Grilled meat, for instance, undergoes a chemical reaction that may produce heterocyclic amines (HCAs), advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), each linked to deadly diseases.

    As for chemically "enhanced" and processed meats, including bacon, salami, pepperoni, ham, pastrami, hot dogs, some sausages and hamburgers, you may be interested to know they're now classified as carcinogenic (along with tobacco and asbestos), as studies show they can cause cancer in humans.

    Further, they may cause male infertility. Most meat sold in the U.S. comes from animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), associated with antibiotic-resistant disease. Organic pastured meats have a better nutritional profile overall with far lower risk of pesticide contamination.

    There's also a reduced risk of contamination with drug-resistant microorganisms that can cause illness.

    Regarding seafood, there are factors that have changed the dynamics over past decades. Some of what was once considered good for you is now potentially toxic, including shrimp and tuna, two of the most popular.

    Fish from all over the world are now largely compromised due to toxic waste, fish farming operations and mercury contamination, which become cumulative as large fish consume smaller ones — all factors to consider when choosing seafood.

    Salmon, an excellent source of omega-3 fats, must be wild-caught Alaskan salmon, not farmed.

    Why You Need Omega-3 Fats, Nuts and Seeds

    To improve your health and advance your life, add optimal amounts of omega-3 fats, as well as nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables to your diet (if you haven't already). At the same time, eliminate sodas, as well as processed meats and meats from CAFOs.

    Omega-3 comes from both animal and plant sources. The primary animal sources are krill oil and fish oil, which provide eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are heart protective, and in fact markedly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and premature death.6

    What sets krill oil apart from fish oil is that its omega-3 fats are in a much more absorbable form that's ready to be used by your body. The primary plant sources of omega-3s are flaxseed, chia and hemp.

    That introduces the topic of healthy nuts and seeds, specifically tree nuts (peanuts have the name, but are actually legumes, and not one I recommend) and seeds.

    A handful of raw nuts is a great snack and contains healthy fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants and minerals and, as such, is great for your heart and may even help control your weight.

    Eating raw seeds, such as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, with their high level of good fats and oils, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, helps boost your immune system, fights free radicals and may help improve insulin levels, as well as benefit your heart and immune system.

    The Facts About Soda and 'Not Enough Fruits'

    One of the dietary components identified by the study involved fruit, with an admonition that people don't eat enough, which they attributed to 52,547 deaths. Closely connected is the fact that in the study, soda was a definite no-no, and there are exacerbating circumstances for both.

    Regarding fruits, they offer many vitamins, enzymes and minerals, but should be eaten in moderation due to fructose content. Drinking fruit juices with added sugars does not provide the same benefit as consuming whole fruits.

    Another important point is to eliminate high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS. In a laboratory, HFCS is considered similar to table sugar, but contains higher levels of fructose. Some manufacturers say it contains no more than 55 percent fructose (with 45 percent glucose), which is comparable to white sugar.

    But tests show the fructose in HFCS can reach as high as 65 percent, which explains why HFCS is so much worse for you than refined sugar. Soda consumption, even sugar-free soda, packs on pounds rather than helping you lose. Artificial sweeteners in diet sodas are not a suitable replacement for HFCS, as they're linked not only to weight gain, but to diabetes, insulin resistance and leptin resistance.

    It's worth noting that soda and fruit juice have something in common: Both can cause gout. Plus, one study showed that women who had a single soda or a 6-ounce glass of fruit juice had a 74 percent and 41 percent higher risk, respectively, of this debilitatingly painful foot problem.7

    Something else you should know is that virtually all processed foods contain HFCS, and much of it is hidden. My best recommendation for fructose is to limit it to 25 grams per day, from all sources, and as little as 15 grams a day if you're diabetic or have chronic health issues (including the fructose from whole fruits).

    Another thing to note is that pesticides render some of the most delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables rather contaminated. The "Dirty Dozen" list8 for 2016 reports the most pesticide-sprayed fruits and vegetables. Peeling them can greatly diminish the hazards contained in these fruits, but then you're also losing some of the most valuable nutrition. There's also the "Clean 15" list of the least contaminated.

    Excess Salt Isn't the Problem — Not Enough Potassium Is

    The featured study also noted that ingesting too much salt was tied to 66,508 deaths. However, it's an unbalanced sodium-potassium ratio that leads to hypertension. Studies show that 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure.9 To say that maintaining balanced levels is crucial for health is not an understatement.

    Potassium may be one of the least understood minerals. Suffice it to say that it's crucial not just for optimal health, but for life. Unfortunately, however, only about 2 percent of the U.S. adult population gets the recommended daily index (RDI) of 4,700 milligrams (mg) per day; the other 98 percent get far less than that.10

    Potassium needs to be kept in proper balance with sodium in your blood; if you consume too much sodium, which is common if you eat a lot of processed foods, you'll have an increased need for potassium. With enough potassium in your diet, your hypertension and stroke risks diminish.Also, when you eat the right vegetables, so too does your risk of developing heart disease.

    Potassium is an electrolyte and as such, helps conduct electrical charges in your body, along with calcium, magnesium, calcium and chloride. It's important to help maintain a balance between the chemical and electrical processes in your body.

    What Makes Potassium so Important

    Potassium is considered a "major" mineral because it helps your muscles contract, regulates your body fluids, balances low blood sugar, transmits nerve impulses and lowers blood pressure. Leafy greens are one of the best potassium sources.

    While getting the right amount can decrease your risk of stroke and heart disease, not getting enough can cause your blood sugar to plunge and kick in symptoms such as weakness, trembling, sweating and confusion. Further, low levels can contribute to the development of kidney stones and high blood pressure.

    One of the amazing things about including potassium-rich foods, such as beet greens, avocados, bananas, wild-caught salmon, raw organic, grass-fed yogurt and black beans, in your diet is how quickly your body responds by lowering your risk of such problems, including that of heart disease. Also, organic is always best.

    How to Change Your Eating Habits Without Becoming Overwhelmed

    While there's no "silver bullet" in regard to foods that will eliminate your risk of developing these or any other disease, the study's senior author, also dean of the Friedman School at Tufts University, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, believes the way the food system is set up needs to change.

    Mozaffarian's advice for people who feel overwhelmed by the prospect of changing their eating habits is to choose one area to improve and nail it down before moving on to another.

    An example, you might start your quest for better health by eliminating HFCS or soda, which undoubtedly would bring about a huge health improvement. With each upgrade, your risk factors for these and many other diseases will begin to diminish, and you'll even feel better. To quote Micha, "Eating healthy is key, and if we remember that simple fact, most of us can have healthier and better lives."11

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  • Superfoods That Give You the Most Bang for Your Buck
    published on March 19th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Ideally, food is your "medicine." It's certainly one of the best preventive strategy I can think of, and getting more raw organic foods and healthy fats in your diet are key considerations.

    However, while any type of whole food is better than none, some choices can give you more bang for your buck than others.1

    For example, while lettuce is a staple in most people's homes, even if they don't eat a whole lot of vegetables in general, and many may even spend the extra money on organic lettuce, there are far more cost-effective ways to get higher quality nutrients into your diet.

    Below are 17 of my personal favorites in no particular order, with some added cost-saving and nutrition-boosting tips thrown in along the way.

    1. Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon

    Research suggests eating clean fish like salmon, sardines or anchovies once or twice a week may increase your lifespan by more than two years and reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 35 percent.2

    However, the devil's in the details, and when it comes to salmon, it's quite crucial to buy the right kind.

    What you're looking for is wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Steer clear of all farmed and genetically engineered varieties.3 Virtually all salmon marked "Atlantic salmon" comes from fish farms, and researchers have shown farmed salmon may be one of the most toxic foods in the world.

    Levels of healthy omega-3 fats are also reduced by about 50 percent in farmed salmon compared to wild salmon, due to the use of grain and legume feed.

    Canned salmon labeled "Alaskan Salmon" is a cost-effective way to buy salmon, as it is far cheaper than whole salmon steaks. If you're not a fan of salmon, you can get many of the same health benefits by eating anchovies or sardines, ideally canned in water rather than olive oil, as inferior grades of olive oil are typically used.

    2. Avocado

    In addition to being an excellent source of healthy fats, avocados also have other unique health benefits, including enhancing your body's absorption of nutrients and inhibiting production of an inflammatory compound produced when you eat beef.4

    They also contain compounds that inhibit and destroy oral cancer cells,5,6 and being very high in potassium avocados will help balance your potassium to sodium ratio.

    Avocados are one of the safest fruits you can buy conventionally-grown, so you don't need to spend the extra money for organic ones. Their thick skin protects the inner fruit from pesticides.

    Another cost-saving measure is to keep them refrigerated. If you buy unripe avocado in bulk when they're on sale, storing them in the fridge will significantly slow down the ripening process and save a bundle.

    Simply place however many you want to use within the next day or two on the counter, and they'll rapidly ripen.

    3. Sprouts and Microgreens

    Many of the benefits of sprouts and microgreens relate to the fact that, in their initial and early phase of growth, the plants contain more concentrated amounts of nutrients.7,8,9

    As a result, you need to eat far less, in terms of amount, compared to a mature plant. Sprouts may be harvested within just a few days or a week of growth, while microgreens10 are typically harvested after two to three weeks, when they've reached a height of about 2 inches.

    Essential fatty acids heighten and the protein quality of several vegetables improves when sprouted. Sprouts can also contain up to 100 times more enzymes than their full-grown counterparts, and help protect against chemical carcinogens.11 Watercress may be the most nutrient-dense of all.12,13

    Sprouts and microgreens are easy and inexpensive to grow at home. They're a particularly excellent choice during winter months, when outdoor gardening is limited or ruled out.

    Another major benefit is that you don't have to cook them. A simple way to dramatically improve your nutrition is to swap out lettuce for sprouts and/or microgreens in your salad, or on burgers, sandwiches or tacos.

    Even a few grams of microgreens per day can "entirely satisfy" the recommended daily intake of vitamins C, E and K.14

    4. Broccoli

    Research shows this cruciferous veggie may reduce your risk for many common diseases, including arthritis, cancer, heart disease and more.

    When you eat broccoli, you're getting dozens of super-nutrients that support optimal, body-wide health, including fiber, the anti-cancer compounds sulforaphane15,16,17,18 and glucoraphanin,19,20 anti-inflammatory and free radical quenching phenolic compounds21,22,23 and immune-boosting diindolylmethane (DIM).24,25

    Three servings of broccoli per week may reduce your risk of prostate cancer by more than 60 percent.26 Sulforaphane also helps raise testosterone levels, inhibits the retention of body fat, helps detox carcinogens27 and helps protect your muscles against exercise-induced damage.28

    Ideally, choose raw broccoli, as frozen broccoli has diminished ability to produce sulforaphane. The enzyme myrosinase,29 which converts glucoraphanin to sulforaphane, is quickly destroyed during the blanching process.30

    Even better, opt for broccoli sprouts, which can contain 20 to 50 times more chemoprotective compounds than mature broccoli.31,32

    When using raw broccoli, steaming it for three to four minutes will optimize the sulforaphane content. Do not go past five minutes. If you want to boil your broccoli, blanch it in boiling water for no more than 20 to 30 seconds, then immerse it in cold water to stop the cooking process.

    The sulforaphane content can be further optimized by eating it with mustard seed, daikon radishes, wasabi, arugula and/or cole slaw.33

    5. Onions

    Onions are another potent anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer food. Recent research shows people with the highest consumption of onions have a lower risk of several different types of cancer.34,35,36,37

    Research has also revealed that the stronger the flavor of the onion, the better its cancer-fighting potential. In one analysis,38,39 shallots, Western yellow and pungent yellow onions were the most effective against liver cancer. The latter two were also particularly effective against colon cancer.

    Onions also contain compounds known to protect against cardiovascular disease and neurological dysfunction or decline. They also help prevent obesity and diabetes, in part by inhibiting certain enzymes in your digestive tract, and by supporting healthy blood sugar control.

    Antioxidants are most concentrated in the outer layers of the onion, so peel off only the outermost paper-like layer. Overpeeling can reduce important antioxidants and chemoprotective compounds by as much as 75 percent.40

    On the upside, the anti-cancer compound quercetin does not degrade when cooked over low heat. Store whole, dry bulbs in a cool, dry, dark place with plenty of air movement to maximize shelf life.

    6. Spinach

    Spinach is also rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamin K1 (good for your veins and arteries), magnesium and folate, the latter of which is important for short-term memory and helps lower your risk for heart disease and cancer by slowing down wear and tear on your DNA. It also contains more potassium than banana.

    One caveat and contraindication: If you have calcium oxalate kidney stones, spinach is on the list of foods to strictly avoid, as it is high in oxalate. Also keep in mind that boiling the spinach will leach valuable nutrients like vitamin C into the water. After 10 minutes of boiling, three-quarters of the phytonutrients in spinach will be lost, so you're better off eating it raw, or lightly steamed or sautéed.

    7. Coconut Oil

    Coconut oil provides a mix of medium-chain fats, including C6, C8, C10 and C12 fats, the latter of which (lauric acid), is most well-known for its antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.

    The shorter-chained MCTs, on the other hand, are more readily converted into ketones, which are an excellent mitochondrial fuel. Ketones also help suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin, and coconut oil has been shown to aid weight loss and improve your HDL to LDL cholesterol balance.41

    My new book, "Fat for Fuel," explains many of the health benefits associated with a diet high in healthy fats, including coconut oil. Indeed, the ketogenic diet, featuring low net carb and high fat intake, has been shown to be beneficial for many chronic health conditions, including cancer, and can significantly improve your chances of weight loss. 

    One way to save money on coconut oil is to buy it by the gallon. Big box stores like Costco also tend to have better prices on such bulk items. Unlike other healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut oil is very resistant to oxidation that occurs once you open the jar or apply heat, so buying in bulk is not a major concern.

    8. Fermented Cabbage

    Cabbage tends to be inexpensive, and you can supercharge its health benefits by fermenting it, thereby also significantly extending its shelf life. The fermenting process produces copious quantities of beneficial microbes that are extremely important for your health, as they help balance your intestinal flora and boost your immunity.

    These beneficial bacteria can even help to normalize your weight, and play a significant role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes, depression and other mood disorders.

    9. Organic, Pastured Eggs

    Free-range or pastured eggs are a relatively inexpensive and amazing source of high-quality nutrients, especially protein and fat. A single egg contains nine essential amino acids, high quality protein, lutein and zeaxanthin for your eyes, choline for your brain, nervous- and cardiovascular systems, and naturally-occurring B12.

    Ideally, you'll want to eat your eggs as close to raw as possible, such as soft-boiled or poached. Scrambled or fried eggs are the worst, as this oxidizes the cholesterol in the egg yolk. If you have kidney damage, you may want to discard the egg white. If you chose to use the egg white, avoid eating it raw unless it's in combination with the yolk. Eating only egg white could potentially lead to biotin deficiency.

    Besides superior nutrition, pastured chickens are much healthier than factory farmed chickens and therefore have a far lower risk of producing eggs infected with salmonella. To find a free-range pasture farm in your local area, check out www.eatwild.com or www.localharvest.org.

    Keep in mind that eggs sold as "cage-free" does not mean the chickens were raised under ideal conditions. They're not raised in cages, but they may still not have access to the outdoors. So, there are still significant differences between "cage-free" and "free range" or "pastured" eggs. To identify better commercial producers and brands, see the Cornucopia Institute's egg report and scorecard, which ranks 136 egg producers according to 28 organic criteria.

    10. Berries

    Berries are loaded with vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that impart a host of health advantages. Importantly, their antioxidant power helps keep free radicals in check and fights inflammation. Some of the most important antioxidants in berries are anthocyanins, flavonols, ellagic acid and resveratrol, which studies say help protect your cells and fight off disease.

    Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and blackberries are known as some of the world's best dietary sources of bioactive compounds associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, neurodegeneration, diabetes, inflammation and cancer. One way to prevent waste — as berries can get moldy within days if you don't eat them — is to buy frozen berries and simply thaw what you need. Frozen berries also tend to be less expensive pound-for-pound compared to fresh berries.

    11. Kiwi

    If you need vitamin C, which helps support immune function, look no further than the kiwi. One medium-sized fruit provides 117 percent of your daily recommended intake. They're also a good source of fiber, vitamins E and K, potassium and antioxidants that help ward off chronic disease. Interestingly, kiwis have also been shown to help lower blood pressure.42

    Acerola cherries are far better but they are not available commercially and need to be grown in subtropical environments. They are less than 10 percent the size of a kiwi and have more vitamin C. I have two trees that supply me with 50 to 75 or more cherries a day for about 8 months out of the year, which supplies me with many grams of a complete vitamin C matrix.

    12. Raw Yogurt and Kefir

    While most commercial yogurts are little more than glorified desserts loaded with sugar, yogurt and kefir made from cultured raw, organic grassfed milk are a real superfood, providing an array of healthy bacteria that support optimal health, along with high-quality protein, calcium, B vitamins and even cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

    If you want to know which commercial yogurts are healthy and which are not, refer to The Cornucopia Institute's Yogurt Report. Their investigation found many products being sold as yogurt do not even meet the standards for real yogurt. The report also includes a comparative cost analysis of commercial yogurt brands.

    The good news is many organic yogurts are actually less expensive, on a price-per-ounce basis, than conventional, heavily processed yogurts (although some of the organic brands of yogurt actually contained some of the highest amounts of sugar). Your absolute best bet — and also your least expensive — is to make your own kefir or yogurt using organic grassfed milk. It's a simple process requiring nothing more than the milk, some starter granules and a few mason jars.

    13. Grassfed Beef and Beef Liver

    Swapping grain-fed beef from concentrated animal feeding operations for organic grassfed beef is well worth the added price, as you get higher quality nutrients and less exposure to antibiotics and pathogenic bacteria. As for organ meat, it is a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other compounds vital to your health, many of which Americans are deficient in.

    Liver is particularly packed with nutrients. In fact, it contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food, including choline, B vitamins, bioavailable iron, vitamin D and CoQ10.

    You can save money by buying directly from a farmer and then freezing the meat. To ensure you're getting the highest quality possible, look for the American Grassfed Association's certification. 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; born and raised on American family farms.

    14. Grassfed Raw Butter

    Butter, when made from grassfed cows, is rich in CLA, known to help fight cancer and diabetes. Butter is also a rich source of easily absorbed vitamin A and other fat-soluble vitamins (D, E and K2) that are often lacking in the modern industrial diet, plus trace minerals such as manganese, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium (a powerful antioxidant).

    About 20 percent of butterfat consists of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which your body uses right away for quick energy. Real butter also contains Wulzen Factor, a hormone-like substance that prevents arthritis and joint stiffness, ensuring that calcium in your body is put into your bones rather than your joints and other tissues. The Wulzen factor is present only in raw butter and cream; it is destroyed by pasteurization.

    Here, you again have the option of making your own butter from raw grassfed milk. You may also find unpasteurized grassfed butter at your local farm or farmers market. The next best is pasteurized butter from grassfed cows, followed by regular pasteurized butter common in supermarkets.

    Even the latter two are healthier choices by orders of magnitude than margarines or spreads. Just beware of "Monsanto Butter," meaning butter that comes from cows fed almost entirely genetically engineered grains. This includes Land O'Lakes and Alta Dena.

    15. Mushrooms

    A number of different mushrooms — including shiitake, maitake and reishi — are known for their immune-boosting powers. In fact, some of the most potent immunosupportive agents come from mushrooms, and this is one reason why they're so beneficial for both preventing and treating cancer. Long-chain polysaccharides, particularly alpha- and beta-glucan molecules, are primarily responsible for the mushrooms' beneficial effect on your immune system.

    They're also rich in protein, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, selenium, calcium, minerals and antioxidants, including some that are unique to mushrooms. One such antioxidant is ergothioneine, which scientists are now beginning to recognize as a "master antioxidant."

    When it comes to mushrooms, make sure they're organic, as mushrooms tend to absorb and concentrate toxins from soil, air and water. Growing your own is an excellent option, but avoid picking mushrooms in the wild unless you are absolutely sure you know what you're picking. Some mushrooms are guaranteed lethal and have no known antidote.

    16. Kale

    The nutritional density of kale is virtually unparalleled among green leafy vegetables, boasting all essential amino acids and nine non-essential ones. One-half cup of raw kale provides 100 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin A, 340 percent of your vitamin K and 67 percent of your vitamin C. It's also loaded with both lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for good eyesight. Gram-for-gram, kale even contains more calcium than milk.

    Like many other superfoods on this list, kale contains potent chemoprotective agents, including the phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol — which has been shown to aid DNA cell repair and slow the growth of cancer cells — and sulforaphane. Its anti-inflammatory capabilities have also been shown to help prevent and even reverse arthritis, heart disease and several autoimmune diseases.

    17. Whey Protein Concentrate

    Whey protein, a byproduct of milk and cheese, has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including:

    Helping your insulin work more effectively, which helps maintain your blood sugar level after a meal

    Promoting healthy insulin secretion, which is imperative for optimal health

    Helping to promote your optimal intake of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals needed for your overall wellness

    Helping you preserve lean body tissue (particularly during exercise) as it delivers bioavailable amino acids and cysteine

    Supporting your immune system, as it contains immunoglobulins

    Maintaining blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range

    Whey protein concentrate (not to be confused with the far inferior whey protein isolate) is an ideal choice as it's a rich source of amino acids.

    It's also the best food for maximizing your glutathione levels as it provides all the raw materials for glutathione production (cysteine, glycine and glutamate). Glutathione is your body's most powerful antioxidant and has even been called "the master antioxidant." It is a tripeptide found inside every single cell in your body. When shopping for a whey protein, be sure to look for a product that is:

    • Cold pressed
    • Derived from organic grassfed cows
    • Free of hormones
    • Toxin-free
    • Free of artificial sweeteners and sugar

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  • Metabolically Supported Therapies for the Improvement of Cancer Treatment
    published on March 18th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Each and every day, more than 1,600 people prematurely die from cancer in the United States alone and 20,000 worldwide. While the situation can sometimes seem hopeless, there are effective ways to prevent becoming another statistic.

    And, as you will soon learn, even late-stage cancer patients have cause for new hope these days.

    In this interview, Travis Christofferson, author of "Tripping Over the Truth: How the Metabolic Theory of Cancer is Overturning One of Medicine's Most Entrenched Paradigms," and Dr. Abdul Kadir Slocum from the ChemoThermia Oncology Center in Turkey.

    They present data from one of the first  studies documenting the effectiveness of metabolic therapies and nutritional ketosis in the treatment of advanced stages of cancer.

    "I'm very excited for this data to be presented," Christofferson says. "[Cancer] diagnosis has gone up from 1 in 4 to 1 in 3 and is heading toward 1 in 2 ... It's set to surpass heart disease as the No. 1 killer in the Western world by 2020 …

    We've been treating this disease a long time. Nixon signed the Cancer Act in 1971 … Radiation and surgery have been around for over 100 years. Cytotoxic chemotherapy was developed right after World War II. [Yet] death rates from treatment have barely budged since the 1950s."

    The War on Cancer Has Been Lost Many Times Over

    In the mid-1970s, scientists believed they finally understood the molecular basis of cancer. The reigning hypothesis was that cancer was caused by sequential mutations to key oncogenes, which could then be precisely targeted using gene-based therapies. This ushered in the era of targeted therapy.

    Alas, targeted cancer drugs have been a bitter disappointment. They barely moved the needle on cancer death rates. Globally, $91 billion was spent on oncology in 2013. In 2014, no cancer drug was approved costing less than $100,000 for a course treatment.

    In 2015, eight drugs were approved that cost over $120,000 each for a course of treatment. As noted by Christofferson, this trajectory will eventually bankrupt the health care system. Adding insult to injury, these drugs have marginal efficacy at best.

    Consider Tarceva, for example. This cancer drug was approved about 10 years ago. It has significant side effects, it's expensive, and boosts median survival for pancreatic cancer patients by a mere 10 DAYS!

    "In the meantime, we have these non-patentable therapies sitting on the sidelines that could potentially be game changers for cancer, but they cannot get the billion-dollar backing to push through these huge trials to get the burden of proof to where the oncology community will actually incorporate them," Christofferson says.

    "We have all these interesting metabolic therapies. We have repurposed drugs that we could use. The oppressive regulatory environment just needs to be loosened so we can surmount the burden of proof, Phase 1, Phase 2 data, if we have good objective response.

    If they're safe — most of these drugs and therapies are extremely safe — that should be good enough.

    In the epilogue in my book, I ask the question, 'What would it look like today if we had a less onerous regulatory environment like they did in the '70s, and good oncologists were allowed to … try some of these therapies in the clinic and see what happens?'

    That's why I'm so happy we have Slocum here, because he's given us the first glimpse of what metabolic therapies will look like when they're incorporated into the clinic."

    Turkish Oncologists Apply the Metabolic Theory of Cancer

    Slocum, who is originally from the U.S. but grew up and completed his medical training in Istanbul, Turkey, is part of a four-member medical team at ChemoThermia Oncology Center.1

    The senior person of the team, professor Bulent Berkarda, was the first medical oncologist in Turkey. Educated in the U.S., Berkarda founded the first Department of Medical Oncology of Turkey at Istanbul University in 1974 and has now been practicing oncology for over 40 years.

    Together with Berkarda, the other medical oncologist of the team, assistant professor Mehmet Salih İyikesici completed his education in the leading medical schools of Turkey.

    "We started as a team back in 2010, asking the question, 'How can we help our patients in a better way? What can we add to our standard treatment protocols?," Slocum says. "In the last six years, we started applying the [metabolic] therapies and seeing how our patients respond.

    Now, for the last two years or so, we're doing retrospective analyses of our patients, publishing our treatment outcomes and sharing the remarkable outcomes we were able to achieve by combining metabolic therapies with standard conventional protocols."

    The treatment protocol at ChemoThermia Oncology Center includes:

    • Metabolically supported chemotherapy
    • Hyperthermia
    • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
    • Glycolysis inhibitors, especially 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) and dichloroacetate (DCA)
    • Ketogenic diet with phytopharmaceutical supplements

    Metabolically Supported Chemotherapy

    Metabolically-supported chemotherapy involves applying chemotherapy with a variety of interventions to support its effectiveness.

    At the center, all oncology patients are put on a ketogenic diet, which creates metabolic stress on the cancer cells. Then, prior to administering the chemo, the patient will do a 14-hour fast, which further increases the metabolic stress on the cancer cells.

    The patients will typically have a blood glucose level around 80 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) at this point. They then apply glycolysis inhibitors to inhibit the glycolysis pathway in the cancer cells, which creates a terrific amount of metabolic stress, as the cancer cells are already starved of glucose.

    Insulin is then applied to lower the blood glucose levels to around 50 or 60 mg/dL, to cause mild hypoglycemia. At that point, chemotherapy is applied.

    "[T]his increases the efficacy of chemotherapy in a tremendous way," Slocum says. "We've been applying this for the last seven years now. It's an improved version of insulin potentiation therapy (IPT). IPT is known for many years now, but it's not too widely applied.

    Our version of chemotherapy is actually an improved and a much more effective version of IPT because it combines the metabolic theory with the IPT. Metabolically supported chemotherapy is just a different way to apply conventional protocols. We have seen that it increases the effectiveness of the standard chemotherapy regimes. This way, it gives us the option to apply lower doses, see much lower side effects, but much [better] outcomes."

    As in the U.S., Turkish oncologists are bound by "standard of care" treatment protocols, which includes chemotherapy. As noted by Slocum, "according to the current regime worldwide … the patient, even in Turkey, must receive what's written in the guidelines. If you go against the guidelines and if the patient doesn't receive the standard of care, which is chemotherapy, then you're in trouble." They essentially get around this by just using the lowest dose possible that's written in guidelines.

    The upshot of this metabolic approach is that a far lower dose of chemotherapy can be effectively used, thereby lowering the risk of side effects. In the days following chemotherapy, hyperthermia and hyperbaric oxygen therapy is applied, plus a daily infusion of glycolysis inhibitor therapies with high-dose vitamin C (50 grams) and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO).

    Complete Response for Stage 3 Rectal Cancer

    In the team's first publication in 2016, they reported complete response for stage 3 rectal cancer. The standard of care for rectal cancer and the only curative option has been surgery or chemo-radiotherapy followed by surgery. In this case, they used metabolically supported chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hyperthermia. No surgery was necessary.

    "The reason we published that was to explain what metabolically supported chemotherapy is and show how effective it can be," Slocum says. "The patient we published was 81 years old back then.

    Generally, in an 81-year-old patient you won't be able to apply standard chemotherapy regimens. She won't be able to tolerate it. By the means of the way we apply chemotherapy, this patient was able to receive chemotherapy at lower doses in a metabolically supported fashion, together with radiotherapy and hyperthermia."

    In the video, Slocum shows the initial positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) scan of this patient. The patient had a 5.5 centimeter large rectal tumor. Three months later, the tumor was in full remission.

    "This publication mainly showed that chemotherapy, when applied in a metabolically supported fashion, can be applied to patients who normally can't receive treatment. Also, when it's applied with increased efficacy, responses that aren't normal, generally, which is a complete response in this stage of a disease, can be achieved by the means of metabolic support."

    Case Series on Pancreatic Cancer

    The second paper published last year was a case series of 33 patients with stage 3 and 4 pancreatic adenocarcinoma (pancreatic cancer) — one of the most aggressive and deadly cancers known. It was a retrospective analysis of patients treated at the clinic between 2011 and 2015. Eighty-one percent of these patients had stage 4 disease when the treatment began, and many of them also had large scale liver metastasis.

    Generally, if a patient has stage 4 pancreatic adenocarcinoma, their life expectancy is about six months, at most 10 months. If they have large-scale liver metastasis, death typically occurs within weeks or months. Yet despite the majority being end-stage advanced patients, they responded remarkably well to the treatment.

    Here, the standard conventional protocol using either gemcitabine-based chemotherapy or folfirinox was again applied in a metabolically supported fashion, together with hyperthermia, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the ketogenic diet, supplements and glycolysis inhibitors.

    When the paper was published in 2016, 54 percent of these patients were still alive, and most are still receiving follow-up treatments to this day. Following the conventional protocol, the expected median survival time for the gemcitabine-based protocol is 6.2 months. For the folfirinox regimen it's 11.1 months. Using a metabolically supported protocol, the median survival time shot up to 20 months — and 54 percent of the patients are still alive today.

    "The one-year survival rate for gemcitabine-based protocol is 20 percent. For folfirinox, it's 48 percent. We've seen in our metabolically supported chemotherapy regimen, [survival rate] is 82.5 percent. This shows how effective metabolic support can change the outcomes of treatments and how effective these kinds of treatments can be," Slocum says.

    "As all of us know, the scariest cancer diagnosis is pancreatic cancer. Currently in our regimens, we're seeing amazing outcomes. It's so exciting to see how small differences can change these patients' lives so much."

    Case Series on Stage 4 Lung Cancer

    Next, the team will be publishing a paper on stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. Here, they applied a chemotherapy regimen using carboplatin and paclitaxel. Large-scale clinical trials show an expected survival time of six to 11 months. Moreover, stage 4 patients typically cannot tolerate conventional chemo regimens so no large-scale studies have focused on such late-stage patients.

    Using the metabolically supported protocol, however, all of the 44 patients in the study were able to receive treatment, and the overall survival time is 43.4 months — that's more than 400 percent longer than the longest survival time mentioned in any standard chemotherapy regimen.

    "This is a dramatic result, even though the patient group we had had more advanced disease and had poor performance status," Slocum notes. "[P]atients who normally were sent home to just wait for the end, to die, and also patients that won't be able to receive treatment … can respond [well] to treatment … The advantage of metabolic treatments is that they're generally not toxic at all. They support the general wellbeing of the patient while also treating the disease."

    Survival Rates for Late Stage, Advanced Cancers Dramatically Improve With Metabolic Therapies

    In the video, Dr. Slocum shows PET scans and reviews a number of different patient cases, showing the remarkable response of patients with advanced cancer of the rectum, pancreas, stomach, lung and breast.  

    This is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time all of this data has been publicly shared. It's really exciting to reveal to the world the shocking effectiveness of what Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D., has been speaking about for some time now. And, if you're stage 1 or 2, your cancer is going to be far easier to treat. The results for early stage cancers are likely to be beyond phenomenal.

    "We hope that this kind of treatment will be the standard of care in the upcoming years. We are all trying to share what would work and how we're achieving these kinds of results," Slocum says. "Other clinics and other physicians will also hopefully start doing similar therapies."

    Christofferson adds:

    "[Thomas] Seyfried [Ph.D., a leading expert and researcher in the field of cancer metabolism and nutritional ketosis] and Slocum met in Tampa. They've started a collaboration ... Hopefully a year from now, when we talk about these shocking outcomes, they're even more shocking.

    Just to summarize, [Slocum's] upcoming stage 4 lung cancer paper is incredible … A certain percentage of them aren't going to make it no matter what, but if they can get through this metabolic protocol, the median survival would increase 400 percent.

    That's incredible. This stuff basically is free. It just took somebody motivated enough to do this. I mean 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) is expensive, but ketogenic diet is free. It just takes work. I couldn't be happier that this data is coming to life."

    Discipline Is Required When Your Life Is in Your Own Hands

    It goes without saying that when using metabolic therapies, the patient carries a significant responsibility for their own outcome. The doctors are not going to cook your food, force you to take supplements or withhold food when it's time to fast. You have to be very diligent and disciplined in following the specified regimen. As noted by Slocum, when patients don't respond as well as expected, probing will usually reveal the problem — they didn't follow the diet, for example.

    Essentially, if you have a life-threatening condition like stage 4 cancer, you need to be a bit obsessive compulsive and follow the regimen to the letter. You cannot veer from the protocol if you expect to achieve these kinds of results. You really need to remain in nutritional ketosis. That said, if you're merely seeking to optimize your health or slow down the aging process, cycling through "feast and famine" — opposed to continuously remaining in nutritional ketosis — appears to be a better approach.

    Nutritional ketosis is a powerful intervention, as Slocum's team has shown. But if you do it continuously, it can actually be highly counterproductive. You need to have days where you eat more net carbs and more protein, especially with strength training, to prevent sarcopenia that is common in cancer.

    This is because when cancer cells are deprived of glucose they have the ability to break down muscle tissue to extract glutamine. Interestingly, Seyfried is working with a glutamine inhibitor called DON to prevent this from happening, thereby making the therapy even more effective.

    It is important to understand that the "metabolic magic" actually occurs during that refeeding phase when net carbs and protein are increased, which increases muscle growth. After a day or two, you then cycle back into nutritional ketosis.  Typically, this is done once a week. To a degree, Slocum uses this technique on cancer patients as well, although they're only allowed to eat higher amounts of net carbs once every two or three weeks, on the day they receive chemo.

    "As an example, patients come and they're on a ketogenic diet. When they come in for chemotherapy after a 14-hour fast, then [we] apply glycolysis inhibitors to increase metabolic stress even more and insulin to lower the glucose and then apply chemotherapy.

    After applying chemotherapy, on the day of chemotherapy, they are able to eat whatever they want, especially because of the mild hypoglycemia caused by supplying insulin. The day of chemotherapy is when they get as much carbohydrates as they want … We also do intermittent fasting [for a minimum of 14 hours] every other week or so. It seems to be effective."

    More Information

    The ChemoThermia Oncology Center treats many international patients, including people from the U.S. and Canada. The center also has published protocols your oncologist could make use of, regardless of where you live.

    "We hope there will be physicians open to applying similar regimens to ours," Slocum says. "But a lot of patients who aren't able to come to our clinic, they can [still] do it. They first have to go on a ketogenic diet, which is very effective. Together with that, they should go to their chemotherapy in a fasting state, as long as they can stand it — a minimum of 12 hours. We generally recommend a 14-hour fast. The longer … the better."

    Ideally, a reduced amount of the chemotherapeutic agents would then be used. While the amount varies according to your diagnosis and condition, the center has included dose range recommendations in their publications. Typically, the lowest recommended dose is given, which will significantly reduce or avoid most of the complications associated with chemotherapy.

    "I hope people out there can see how effective metabolic therapies can be and how they can enhance conventional treatment protocols also. I encourage clinicians out there to ask similar questions to us, to read the literature and start applying similar therapies to ours," Slocum says.

    Christofferson adds:

    "What I would like to say is [that] patients who are confused by the ketogenic diet often don't know the difference between protein and carbohydrate. That's where they often get tripped up, because they're not sure what a carbohydrate is. Companies are stepping into this fray, making prepackaged ketogenic meals for cancer patients that take out the guesswork.

    The ones I've seen are really well done by gourmet chefs and [use] real ingredients. That's another option. There's enough on patients' plates to begin with … That's going to take a lot of the guesswork out for patients, I think."

    To learn more about nutritional ketosis and the metabolic theory of cancer, I highly recommend listening to the interview I did with Christofferson last year, and to read his book, "Tripping Over the Truth," which provides the background as to why and how this therapy works, and why the conventional approach to cancer is fatally flawed.

    If you're beyond that point and really want to implement this kind of metabolic therapy, I highly recommend preordering a copy of new book, "Fat for Fuel," which gives you all the details on how to do that. Anyone that preorders it will have access to my recent 2017 lecture that I have given at several events. Normally these lectures are never posted online. Incidentally, Christofferson was one of the experts who helped edit my book and actually wrote a section on Dr. Rosedale's work. I'm grateful for all his assistance.

    Besides the information in the book, you'll also find many collaborative supports, including a nine-hour-long free video series that we hope to launch in early May. Miriam Kalamian is also developing a certification course to go along with it through the American College of Nutrition, to have more qualified therapists out there.

    This certification will teach any qualified clinician — primarily certified clinical nutritionists but also physicians — how to practically implement nutritional ketosis. Eventually, I expect there will be a virtual army of clinicians available to assist patients with this kind of protocol. Hopefully, at that point we'll finally start making a dent in cancer statistics.

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  • This Guilt-Free Chia Seed Pudding Recipe Will Be Your New Favorite
    published on March 18th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    When the word “pudding” comes to mind, most people think of a very sweet and creamy food item. Pudding is usually made with a sweet milk base to produce a dish with a similar consistency to egg-based custards or mousse.[1] However, if you’re tired of that typical heavy texture, you can use seeds to make a light but delicious pudding.


    This Guilt-Free Chia Seed Pudding Recipe is everything that an ideal pudding should be. It’s sweet and flavorful, but has the right amount of texture, courtesy of the chia seeds. This recipe allows you to use your imagination, since you can add your favorite fruits as a topping. Clearly, it’s pudding that anyone, from kids to adults, can gladly enjoy.




    1/3 cup chia seeds[JC1] 

    1 cup organic coconut milk

    2 Tbsp. Dr. Mercola’s raw [MJU2] honey

    1/2tsp. Dr. Mercola’s vanilla extract

    1/4 tsp. cinnamon

    1/4 tsp. Dr. Mercola’s Himalayan salt, optional




    1. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for five to 30 minutes so the chia seeds absorb the moisture and becomes a pudding.
    2. If pudding is too thick, you can add more milk to thin it out to your desired consistency.
    3. Add your favorite topping such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or slices of banana and enjoy!


    This recipe makes 2 servings.

    Preparation time: 5 minutes

    Total time: 30 minutes


                                This Guilt-Free Chia Seed Pudding Is an Exceptional Delight for Your Health


    Various recipes for healthy puddings are rising in popularity, and this Guilt-Free Chia Seed Pudding Recipe is no exception. You can assemble this pudding in minutes and it will be ready within five to 30 minutes, making it a nutritious meal that’ll energize anyone, especially people who are usually on-the-go.


    Plus, with ample parental supervision, kids may help out in mixing the pudding’s main ingredients or by assembling the dish’s final touches by adding their favorite fruits.


    Choose Chia Seeds for Improved Well-Being


    Chia seeds are a staple in many healthy food lists today, and for good reason. The seeds are rich in a plant-based omega-3[JC3]  fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which offers health benefits like:[2]


    Decreasing triglyceride (bad cholesterol) levels

    Supporting healthy cholesterol levels

    Delivering anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties

    Reducing blood pressure and heart disease risk

    Possessing liver-protective properties

    Providing defenses against arthritis[JC4], autoimmune diseases and cancer


    Plant compounds in chia seeds, namely myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol, have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer capabilities.[3] Meanwhile, expect your body’s levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese to rise too, since these minerals work together to improve bone health, inhibit hypertension, maintain healthy weight, metabolize energy and synthesize your DNA.[4]


    If you want to increase your fiber intake, add chia seeds to your meals, since just two tablespoons can give you 10 grams of fiber. High fiber levels were shown to lower your risk for premature death from any cause. Lastly, chia seeds are also an excellent source of protein, antioxidants[JC5]  and vitamins.


    Chia seeds possess a mild flavor and are gluten-free, ideal for people with celiac disease[JC6]  or a gluten intolerance. Just remember to get animal-based omega-3s as well, in addition to plant-based omega-3s like chia seeds, to ensure that both types of fat are well-accounted for.


    Black and white chia seeds are available at local health food stores, grocery stores, warehouse stores and discount retailers.[5] While both types of seeds are healthy since these contain similar portions of omega-3s, proteins and fiber, dark-colored seeds tend to have more antioxidants.


    Eating a combination of these two chia seeds is ideal. When buying chia seeds, Bon Appétit recommends choosing those that are either a speckled black or white, but not uniformly brown. While all seeds are naturally vegan and gluten-free, these aren’t a guarantee that they are automatically organic and non-GMO, so check the labels first before picking them up.[6]


    Store the seeds in a cool and dry place.[7] Chia seeds can last for two years without refrigeration because they are rich in antioxidants.[8] Plus, these don’t require additional grounding prior to use, so you can sprinkle them on any of your favorite dishes anytime.


    Coconut Milk: A New Way to Enjoy ‘Milk’


    Made by grinding coconut meat and diluting it with plain water, coconut milk has a consistency that’s similar to fresh cow’s milk, and is a valuable source of health boosters. It is rich in protein and healthy fats like medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which the body can convert into energy instead storing it as fat.


    Lauric acid, a beneficial fatty acid rarely found in nature, is found in coconut milk. This possesses germ-fighting, anti-fungal and anti-viral capabilities that could eliminate viruses, bacteria and other illnesses from the body. It can also decrease your body’s cholesterol and triglyceride levels, thereby lowering your risks for heart disease and stroke.[9]


    Coconut milk is a storehouse of antioxidants that can prevent or reverse free radical damage and stall the aging process. Vitamins C and E in coconut milk can boost your immune system, while vitamins B1, B3, B5 and B6 deliver energy to your cells. Plus, these minerals in the milk are able to enhance your body, too:


    • Magnesium: responsible for some of the body’s vital biochemical functions like regulating the heart’s rhythm and supporting nerve cell function
    • Potassium: maintains tissues of the heart, kidneys, brain and muscles
    • Phosphorus: increases teeth and bone strength
    • Iron: forms blood cells and carries oxygen throughout the body[MJU7]


    If you’re lactose-intolerant, you can use coconut milk as a dairy substitute. You just have to be very careful if you’re buying boxed coconut milk, since these might contain preservatives, emulsifiers or stabilizers. Avoid purchasing canned coconut milk since these may contain harmful BPA chemicals that could leak into the milk.[10] Follow this checklist when buying coconut milk:[11]


    Choose brands without added sugar.

    Choose brands without carrageenan.

    Choose brands made with organic coconuts.

    Avoid brands with BPA-lined cans.

    Avoid brands that use preservatives like sulfates.

    Be wary of vitamin A palmitate, based on your total vitamin A intake.


    Why Raw Honey Is the Best Type of Honey


    Raw honey is responsible for delivering sweetness to this pudding recipe. Plus, it offers its own share of health benefits. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies honey as a demulcent, or a substance that relieves irritation in your mouth or throat by forming a protective film.[12]


    Research showed that honey works just as well as dextromethorphan, an ingredient in over-the-counter cough medicines, when it comes to treating children’s cough and sleeping difficulties[JC8]  caused by upper respiratory tract infections.[13]


    Raw honey is a good wound treatment, as its antiseptic properties are connected to an enzymatic process that releases hydrogen peroxide. If you have seborrheic dermatitis, a scalp condition that triggers dandruff and itching, dilute honey with a bit of warm water to improve the condition. Meanwhile, if you’re lacking energy, consume a spoonful of raw to kick start your day.


    One of raw honey’s most important health benefits is its ability to decrease allergy symptoms. Locally produced honey contains pollen spores picked up by the bees from local plants. The pollen spores will then introduce a small amount of allergens into your body, activating the immune system and allowing you to develop natural immunity against these allergens.


    A few months before the pollen season begins, eat a teaspoon of raw honey daily to enable your body to increase its immunity. This will only work, however, if you use locally produced raw honey that’s more likely to contain pollen from local plants you are allergic to. Raw honey made from other parts of the country may not have these types of pollen, so the effect won’t be the same.


    Sadly, not all honey is created equal. When buying honey, purchase raw, unfiltered and 100 percent pure honey from a trusted source. Honey sold in stores are often heavily processed and lack natural health benefits.


    Consume raw honey in moderation too, since a teaspoon already has nearly 4 grams of fructose[JC9] , which can worsen insulin resistance and damage your well-being, if consumed in large quantities. You can lower the amount of honey that you use in the pudding if you’re still adding fruits, to ensure you meet the ideal fructose requirement of less than 25 grams of total fructose a day.

    [3] See ref. 2

    [7] See ref. 6

    [8] See ref. 4

    [13] “Effect of Honey, Dextromethorphan, and No Treatment on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality for Coughing Children …,” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.



    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/10/20/health-benefits-honey.aspx http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/07/06/chia-seeds-benefits.aspx



  • How to Save a Life
    published on March 17th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Everyone is capable of learning how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but according to the American Heart Association, 70 percent of people living in the U.S. feel helpless during an emergency.1 This is alarming as 88 percent of all cardiac arrests happen at home, meaning the person you save may be someone you love.

    For the first time in 50 years, the American Heart Association released a snapshot of heart disease and stroke statistics that indicate those who are treated only by medical personnel after a heart attack at home, had a 10.6 percent survival rate, while those who received bystander CPR had a 31.4 percent survival.2

    However, CPR is not only useful in the event of a heart attack. The concepts can be used to save a life following an accident or injury as well.

    If bystander CPR is not performed, the survival rate drops by 7 percent every minute.3 If it takes 10 minutes for emergency personnel to attend to a cardiac arrest casualty, without bystander CPR, survival drops to 2 percent.4

    There are several places in your community where you can learn and practice CPR. Call your local police or fire department, YMCA/YWCA or community recreation center. Each of these locations may know where CPR classes are held in your community.

    What Is CPR?

    Cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction of the heart that may be triggered by a blockage to one of the coronary arteries or from an electrical condition. An irregular heartbeat will disrupt blood flow to your brain, lungs and other organs, leading to death.

    When CPR is performed in the first minutes after a heart has stopped it can double or triple the person's chance of survival.5

    In 1891 Dr. Friedrich Maass performed the first chest compressions on a person, but it wasn't until 1903 that Dr. George Crile reported the first successful resuscitation using chest compressions.6 The objective behind CPR and chest compressions is to circulate oxygenated blood to the brain and heart.

    Without oxygen, your brain can survive for an average of five minutes before becoming permanently damaged. When done properly, CPR may dramatically increase a person's chances of surviving.

    However, many people don't do anything during an emergency, saying they are concerned they will do more damage. Clive James, trainer with St. John Ambulance commented:

    "The most common thing people say to us is they wouldn't do anything because they wouldn't want to make things worse. But in the case of cardiac arrest, you can't make it worse because if you don't do something that person will die."

    The process of CPR helps push oxygen into the lungs and circulate it around the body. It is one of the easiest things you can learn that will make a critical difference to another person, possibly even someone you love.

    CPR may be used after a massive heart attack, drowning or drug overdose that renders a person unable to breathe on their own.

    During a heart attack the heart may have stopped first and breathing second. Conversely, during a drowning or drug overdose, the individual may stop breathing first and the lack of oxygen to the heart will stop the heart muscle. In both cases, CPR can be used to save a life.

    Recognize When CPR Is Necessary

    According to a report by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), embarrassment over doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation may stop 6 of every 10 people from doing CPR when it's needed.7

    The same report indicated that only between 30 and 40 percent of bystanders will intervene when they see someone collapse. Medical director of the BHF, Sir Nilesh Samani comments:8

    "There is definitely a certain amount of embarrassment about stepping in, as well as a lack of confidence.

    It is clear that we need a revolution in CPR by educating more people in simple lifesaving skills and the use of external defibrillators, and for the subsequent care of a resuscitated patient to be more consistent and streamlined."

    There are a couple simple ways of telling if someone needs CPR. Knowing when to give CPR is as important as knowing how. Be aware too that some criminals prey on empathetic people who may stop at the side of the road to help.

    This doesn't mean you shouldn't stop, but think twice about putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation, and call emergency personnel prior to stopping.

    These are some of the signs you may look for to determine that someone may need CPR.9,10,11 Your response is important and may make the difference between life and death. Remember, you don't have to be perfect in order to make a difference in someone's life.

    Someone appears fine one minute and you see or hear them collapse.

    You don't see or hear any respirations (breathing).

    You check for a heartbeat at the carotid artery and can't find a pulse.

    You don't get a response from shaking, yelling and otherwise looking for a response; look for eye movements, sounds from the mouth or movement of the arms or legs.

    A near drowning victim who is not responsive and/or doesn't appear to be breathing.

    You witness an electrocution injury.  Electricity may trigger an irregular heartbeat or stop the heart entirely.

    You suspect drug use and the individual is not breathing or doesn't have a pulse.

    You suspect exposure to large quantities of smoke, such as a burning building and the individual is unresponsive.

    How to Do CPR

    In this video produced by the BHF, Vinnie Jones demonstrates hands only CPR. Remember to dial the emergency number for your country, using 999 recommended in the video if you're in Britain.

    Hands only CPR is recommended by the American Heart Association if the individual is breathing on their own or if you are not trained in CPR, or not confident, or unwilling to do ventilation.12

    In their report, the BHF found people were not doing compressions quickly enough. They now recommend doing compressions in beat to the song "Stayin Alive" as it is exactly the rate needed. These are the recommended steps for CPR:13,14

    Before Starting CPR

    Ensure you and the individual who has collapsed are in a safe place, away from open electrical lines, out of the way of traffic or away from fire.

    Immediately call your local emergency number. Emergency personnel would rather arrive on scene to find the individual didn't need their services than you wait until it is too late. The individual may not require CPR; however, if they have collapsed, they likely need emergency services.

    Ensure the Individual Needs CPR

    Place the individual flat on their back and open the airway by tilting the head back with the hand closer to the head and lifting the jaw forward with your hand that is closer to the individual's feet.

    Listen for breathing. Check for a pulse at the carotid artery in the neck. While the head is tilted back, feel for the corner of the mandible or lower jaw. Run your first and second finger down one side of the neck and pause close to where you may feel for a swollen lymph gland.

    Do not use your thumb as your thumb also has a pulse. During a moment when your own heart may be racing, it will be difficult to tell the difference between the pulse in your thumb and the pulse in the individual's neck.

    Hold your fingers in place for at least 15 seconds. Do NOT check for a pulse on both sides of the neck at the same time as you may stop blood flow to the brain. If the individual is not breathing or does not have a heartbeat, then start CPR.

    Start CPR

    Your hand placement on the chest will be above the little bone (xyphoid process) at the end of the sternum or breast bone. If you are uncertain, open the individual's shirt so you can feel the little bone and go above it.

    Kneel on the side of the individual, with your shoulders over their chest. Extend your non-dominant hand, with your fingers extended. Place your dominant hand on the back of the extended hand and interlace your fingers. Keeping your fingers off the individual's chest, place the heel of your hand over the sternum.


    Keep your hand on the individual's chest at all times, without bouncing up and down. Your movements will come from your hips and not your shoulders or knees. This way takes less energy from you and will allow you to do CPR for a longer period of time without fatigue.

    Move your body up and down with your elbows straight, the heel of one hand on the sternum and your fingers off the chest. Compress the chest approximately 5 to 6 cm or about 2 inches. Do this to the beat of the song, "Stayin Alive" or approximately 100 to 120 beats per minute.


    If you have been trained and are comfortable doing so, incorporate two breaths for every 30 compressions.

    Continue CPR

    Continue CPR until the individual is breathing and has a heart rate independent of compressions, or when emergency personnel take over for you.

    Recovery Position

    This video demonstrates how to place someone in the recovery position. If an individual has a heartbeat and is breathing but unconscious, place them in the recovery position. In this position fluids are able to drain without being aspirated (breathed into the lungs) and the person is able to breathe without hindrance.

    Do NOT use this position if you suspect the person has a neck or back injury. To place a person in the recovery position, kneel next to them. Place the arm closest to you at a right angle to the body with the palm up.

    Pull the other arm away from you across their chest and place the back of the hand against their face next to you. Lift the leg furthest from you to bend the knee until the foot is flat to the floor.

    Next, roll them toward you using their knee and keeping their hand against their face. Make any adjustments necessary to their hand or knee to keep their airway open.

    How to Recognize a Stroke

    A stroke may also trigger the need for CPR and may require fast action to save a life. The type of medical treatment will be determined by the type of stroke the individual experiences. An ischemic stroke happens when a clot blocks the transportation of oxygen rich blood to the brain and a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures.15

    The faster a person is treated, the lower the risk of lingering disability or death from the event. The more quickly a stroke is recognized and the individual is taken to the hospital, the earlier treatment can be initiated. The National Stroke Association teaches the acronym FAST to identify someone who is suffering the symptoms of a stroke.16,17

    Damage from a stroke affects muscle actions, speech and thinking abilities. Using the following acronym will help you remember the symptoms.

    • Face: One area of the face will droop. Ask the person to smile to make a droop more obvious.
    • Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms above their head. They will either not be able to raise one of their arms (strokes usually affect one side of the body), or one of their arms will begin to drift downward.
    • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase and listen for a strange tone or slurred speech. If you are unsure, ask them to repeat a second phrase.
    • Time: Immediate action is essential to early treatment. If you see or experience any of these symptoms, call your local emergency number immediately. The individual may protest, but it's likely they aren't thinking clearly during an event.

    If someone having a stroke loses consciousness, it is important to assess if they are breathing and have a heart rate. If one or both are not present, initiate CPR until emergency personnel arrive. If they are breathing and have a heartbeat, place them in the recovery position until emergency personnel arrive.

    What to Do: Sharp Force Trauma

    Another instance that requires immediate and specific action is if someone suffers a penetrating wound or sharp force trauma. If an individual experiences significant blood loss or shock, they may require CPR. Any wound that has a penetrating object still inside the body should not be removed as the object may have transected an artery. When removed it may cause significant and life threatening bleeding.18

    Any injury that penetrates the chest may result in instant difficulty breathing, but should not be removed at the scene until medical professionals are present to stem bleeding and institute first aid to re-inflate the individual's lung. In these cases it is essential that emergency personnel are notified immediately.

    An object may also penetrate the eye and, while not life-threatening, may result in blindness. Corneal abrasions, blunt injuries and penetrating injuries may result from participating in sporting events, car accidents or recreational accidents. In these cases:19,20

    • Call your local emergency number for immediate help.
    • Do not touch the eye, rub it or try to remove the object from the eye.
    • Do not put pressure on the eyelid or eye and do not examine it
    • Ask the individual to close the other eye to prevent straining the eye muscles and moving the injured eye.
    • Protect the eye with a paper cup or by placing thick bandages above and below the eye.

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  • How Clothes and Personal Care Products Destroy the Environment and Circulate Plastic Back Into the Food Supply
    published on March 17th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    While most of our grandparents used natural products packaged in reusable, recyclable or degradable containers made from glass, metals and paper, the current generation has grown up surrounded by non-biodegradable plastics made with toxic chemicals.

    Saying that plastics are "everywhere" is hardly an exaggeration anymore. You can find it in virtually every area of your household: in containers of all kinds, bags, baby items, electronics and even clothing and personal care products, in the form of microfibers and microbeads.

    Discarded plastic — both large and microscopic — circles the globe, choking our oceans and polluting our food supply, ultimately finding their way into your body where they can accumulate over time.

    And, the potential for catastrophic environmental and biological consequences grows with every discarded bottle and bag, with every shower and every load of wash.

    Plastic — A Most Harmful Convenience

    Many of the chemicals used in the manufacture of plastics, like bisphenol-A (BPA) and bisphenol-S (BPS), disrupt embryonic development and have been linked to obesity, heart disease and cancer.

    Phthalates dysregulate gene expression and hormones, causing anomalies that may be passed down to future generations. DEHP (di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate), found in PVC pipes, may lead to multiple organ damage.

    According to the Worldwatch Institute, the world produces about 299 million tons of plastics annually, and up to 20 million tons of it ends up in our oceans each year.1 The UN's Environmental Program claims there are at least 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean.2

    Polycarbonate, polystyrene and polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) damage the ocean floor, and plastic that floats, such as low-density polyethylene (LDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene and foamed plastics accumulate into massive floating islands of trash.3

    Microfibers4 from clothing pose a serious threat to marine life and migrate into fields and onto our plates.

    And microbeads, the tiny plastic pellets found in body washes, facial scrubs and toothpaste travel right through wastewater treatment plants, clogging waterways and filling the bellies of sea animals with plastic that acts as a sponge for other toxins.

    Whether you look at environmental or biological effects, our careless use of plastics really needs immediate attention and revision.

    Microbeads Pose Severe Environmental Hazards

    According to a previous National Geographic report,5 an estimated 4,360 tons of microbeads were used in personal care products sold in the European Union (EU) in 2012, all of which get flushed down the drain.

    According to one 2015 study,6 there may be as much as 236,000 tons of microbeads filling the water columns of our oceans. As noted by National Geographic:

    "A study completed in 2015 from Environmental Science & Technology alarmingly found that [8] trillion microbeads were entering aquatic environments throughout the United States every day.

    This troubling statistic poses the question of how such massive quantities of microplastics are impacting aquatic wildlife

    … As reiterated from the study by the French Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea, 'Oysters that consume microplastics eat more algae and absorb it more efficiently … [their] ability to reproduce is almost halved' …

    Filter feeding organisms are vital components of marine food webs, and their demise could mean severe threats to numerous trophic levels, and perhaps to the humans who rely on these species as a source of food.

    Another concern with these foreign particles entering the oceans is that the chemicals comprising microplastics are causing reproductive complications in oysters, which is a very important point …

    Chemical toxins such as DDT and BPA have been found to adhere to microplastic particles … which then 'enter the food chain when ingested by aquatic life, accumulating in birds, fish, marine mammals and potentially humans.'"

    US and Canada Ban Microbeads While EU Dawdles

    In response to the Environmental Science & Technology study mentioned above, then-President Obama signed a bill in December, 2015, banning the use of plastic microbeads in personal care products to protect U.S. waterways.7 The ban takes effect as of July this year.

    Beginning July, 2018, microbeads will also no longer be permitted in cosmetics, and as of July 2019, they must be eliminated from over-the-counter drugs sold in the U.S. as well.8 As of July, 2018, a ban on microbeads in personal care products also takes effect in Canada,9 while the EU has taken no action on the matter.

    According to a recent article in the British paper Independent,10 the U.K.'s decision to follow suit in banning microbeads from cosmetics "could be in breach of EU free trade law," and if it's determined that banning microbeads would "restrict free movement of trade," the U.K.'s ban would likely be significantly delayed and ultimately unenforceable. The U.K. alone contributes up to 86 tons of microbeads into waterways each year.11

    Microfibers From Clothing Add to the Plastic Pollution

    Microfibers are another common water contaminant, and acrylic fibers release the most microparticles.12 Testing reveals each washing of a synthetic fleece jacket releases 1.7 grams of microfiber, and the older the jacket, the more microfibers are released.13

    Different types of machines also release different amounts of fibers and chemicals from your clothes. Researchers found that top loading machines released about 530 percent more microfibers than front loading models.14

    Up to 40 percent of these microfibers leave the wastewater treatment plant and end up in the surrounding lakes, rivers and oceans. To address the problem, scientists are now calling for appliance companies to consider the addition of filters to catch the microfibers.15

    Wexco is currently the exclusive distributor of the Filtrol 160 filter,16 designed to capture non-biodegradable fibers from your washing machine discharge. However, it doesn't actually solve the problem in the long-term, since the fibers will simply end up in landfills instead.

    Plastic Microparticles Threaten Ocean Life in Many Ways

    Once in the water column, all this plastic micro-debris blocks sunlight, which plankton and algae require to sustain themselves, and the ramifications of this reverberates throughout the entire food chain. Astonishingly, in some ocean waters, plastic exceeds plankton by a factor of 6 to 1.17

    Microfibers released during washing has also been shown to raise mortality among water fleas.18 In another study, the presence of the plastic fibers reduced the overall food intake of crabs, worms and langoustines (aka Norway lobster), thereby threatening their growth and survival rates.19,20 Not surprisingly, researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) have linked microplastics and microfibers to the pollution in fish.21

    The tiny beads cleverly mimic natural food sources, and the microfibers, which are even more prevalent than microbeads, are even easier to consume, both by fish and other seafood. Research shows these particles are not likely to leave, however. Once consumed, they tend to remain in the body and accumulate, becoming increasingly concentrated in the bodies of animals higher up the food chain.

    When Abigail Barrows, chief investigator for Global Microplastics Initiative, sampled 2,000 marine and freshwater fish, 90 percent had microfiber debris in their bodies. Near identical results were reported by Amy Lusher, a microplastics researcher based in the U.K. who co-authored a 2014 study22 on microplastic pollution in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean.

    Microfibers have also been found in most water samples collected from the Hudson River,23 and studies show concentrations of fibers tend to be particularly high in beach sediment near waste water treatment plants.24 Making matters worse, these microscopic plastic fibers soak up toxins like a sponge, concentrating PCBs, flame retardant chemicals, pesticides and anything else found in the water.

    And, since many of these toxins bind to fats, the fibers allow the toxins to bioaccumulate in the body much faster, reaching ever higher amounts as you move up the food chain. As noted in the featured video, these chemicals have been shown to cause liver damage, liver tumors and signs of endocrine disruption in fish and other seafood, including lowered fertility and immune function.

    Seafood Is a Significant Source of Plastic in Human Food Chain

    With all this plastic posing as food in the food chain, it's no wonder researchers are finding it in our dinners as well. Last year, citing a report25 by the British Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Daily Mail wrote:26

    "Microplastics have been found in a wide variety of species including zooplankton, mussels, oysters, shrimp, marine worms, fish, seals and whales. Chemicals on microplastics ingested by an organism can dissociate from plastic particles and enter body tissues … [DEFRA] said there is evidence from animal studies that small plastic particles can cross membranes into cells, causing damage and inflammation.

    Looking at the implications for humans, [DEFRA] said: 'Several studies show that microplastics are present in seafood sold for human consumption, including mussels in North Sea mussel farms and oysters from the Atlantic. The presence of marine microplastics in seafood could pose a threat to food safety.'"

    According to the DEFRA report, eating six oysters could introduce about 50 plastic microbeads into your body. One-third of the fish caught in the English Channel also contain microbeads, as do 83 percent of scampi sold in the U.K.27

    How You Can Be Part of the Solution

    Our "disposable culture" has left a trail of destruction, in terms of both environmental and human impact. Now, how can you contribute to the solution? In short, by becoming a more conscious consumer. Really give some thought to the manufacturing of the products you buy, how they may affect you during use, and what will happen to them once you dispose of them. Few of us are capable of living a zero-waste lifestyle at this point in time, but every single one of us can take small but definitive steps toward the goal of reducing plastic trash in all of its forms. Here are a few suggestions to consider:

    Reduce your use of all things plastic: Purchase products that are not made from or packaged in plastic. While the items involved are near-endless, here are a few ideas:

    Use reusable shopping bags for groceries

    Bring your own mug when indulging in a coffee drink, and skip the lid and the straw

    Bring drinking water from home in glass water bottles, instead of buying bottled water

    Store foods in glass containers or mason jars as opposed to plastic containers or bags

    Take your own leftover container to restaurants

    Request no plastic wrap on dry cleaning

    Avoid personal care items containing microbeads. Many products containing microbeads will advertise them on the label, although they may also be listed as "polyethylene" or "polypropylene" in the ingredients list

    Avoid microfiber clothing such as fleece, and/or wash them as infrequently as possible

    Recycle what you can: Take care to recycle and repurpose products whenever possible, and/or participate in "plastic drives" for local schools, where cash is paid by the pound

    Support legislation: Support legislative efforts to manage waste in your community; take a leadership role with your company, school and neighborhood

    Get creative: If you have a great idea, share it! People's capacity to come up with smarter designs and creative recycling and repurposing ideas are limitless, and creative innovations move us toward a more sustainable world

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  • Lavandin Oil: Reap the Benefits of This Sweet-Smelling Essential Oil
    published on March 15th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    Even though lavandin oil comes second only to its parent plant lavender, you can certainly place it as one of the top oils in your medicine cabinet because it offers truly exceptional benefits to your health. Read on to learn more about this essential oil.  

    What Is Lavandin Oil?

    Lavandin (Lavandin intermedia or Lavandin hybrida)1 is a hybrid plant of true lavender and spike lavender.2 It was first cultivated during the late 1920s, and is now grown in many parts of Europe.3 In South France, lavandin is known as "lavande gross," and every year thousands of tons are produced in this country.

    The plant is easier to cultivate and produces a higher yield than lavender, making lavandin oil a frequent substitute for lavender oil.4,5 Lavandin oil is widely used in perfumery and the cosmetic industry due to its availability.

    Lavandin oil inhibits a lavender-like but more camphoraceous odor,6 and exhibits a pale yellow color to an almost neutral hue. It relaxes your overall well-being and also sharpens your mind.7

    Uses of Lavandin Oil

    Lavandin oil is commonly used for additional fragrance in soap, body lotions, massage oils and candles.8 It's often used in baths and works great as a fragrant pouch for linen closets.9

    The essential oil may assist in removing scars and stretch marks. It may also enhance blood circulation and promote cell regeneration.

    Due to its high camphor properties, lavandin oil is used in cleaning agents.10 Meanwhile, lavandin flowers are used to make tea that may help remove mucus deposits in your lungs and may relieve breathing problems.

    Composition of Lavandin Oil

    Lavandin oil is composed of alcohols like n-Hexanol, d-n-Octanol, geraniol, borneol, and sesquiterpene alcohols, as well as ester variants like hexyl acetate, d-n-Octyl acetate, and butyric esters.

    Linalool makes up about 43 to 44 percent of the oil, while linalyl acetate composes 20 percent of it. Lavandin oil is made up various kinds of aldehydes and ketones like amyl ethyl ketone, d-camphor, diacetyl, n-hexanal, n-octanal, cuminaldehyde and furfural.

    The essential oil also has cineole, d-pinene and traces of sesquiterpenes such as bisabolene, phenols, eugenol, lactones and coumarin. Drops of free acids are also found, such as acetic, butyric, caproic and unsaturated acids.11  

    Benefits of Lavandin Oil

    Lavandin oil helps lift up your spirit by boosting your self-confidence and mental strength. It is beneficial for those who are going through depression or suffering from any failures in life.

    The essential oil also serves as a tonic for your nervous system and may help in the treatment of various neurological disorders like vertigo and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Here are some of lavandin oil's health benefits:

    Heals wounds or cuts. Lavandin oil has antiseptic properties that may help prevent infections from lacerations. It may also speed up the healing of your cuts. However, you should not use it to treat burns.

    Relieves pain and inflammation. The essential oil may alleviate pain in the muscles and joints that may result from influenza, fever, or pox.

    Boosts your respiratory system. It helps relieve lung ailments such as bronchitis and nasal congestion, as it aids in eliminating phlegm from your lungs.12

    How to Make Lavandin Oil

    Lavandin oil is extracted by steam distilling the plant stalks and flowers. About 1 to 1.8 kilograms of essential oil is produced from 100 kilograms of lavandin plant. The oil extracted from lavandin has lower ester content than lavender.

    Lavandin may also be steam distilled with the help of a volatile solvent like benzene. The concrete lavandin oil produced from this process is composed of volatile oil, odoriferous and non-odoriferous compounds, which are not distilled with steam.

    This version of lavandin oil exhibits a more authentic odor of lavender, and lasts longer when added to soaps.

    How Does Lavandin Oil Work?

    Lavandin oil is used in vapor therapies for treating colds and coughs. The essential oil may also be mixed in baths or blended with other oils for relieving muscle pain and clearing the lungs. Adding two to three drops of lavandin oil to your burner, diffuser, or bath may help relieve depression or sadness.

    Lavandin oil works as a great insect repellent — just apply it at the edge of your window to keep flies at bay. You can also ward off mosquitoes by rubbing it on your wrists.

    Mix two drops of lavandin oil and about 20 drops of coconut oil for fast healing of wounds. This essential oil is also beneficial for skin rejuvenation. Just mix three to four drops with 2 ml of olive oil (about 40 drops) to clear away skin problems like blemishes and dryness.

    Is Lavandin Oil Safe?

    Lavandin oil is considered to be generally safe since it is non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing.

    However, you should still dilute this with a carrier oil to avoid any adverse reaction on your skin. I also recommend doing a skin patch test to ensure that you do not have any allergies to this essential oil. Oral ingestion of lavandin oil is not advisable.

    Side Effects of Lavandin Oil

    Lavandin oil is not recommended for use in burns.13,14 Although lavandin oil is safe for topical use (only when diluted) I suggest consulting a health professional before using this oil, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or have a chronic disease.

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  • Can Prebiotic Foods Improve Your Sleep?
    published on March 15th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    The bacteria living in your gut do more than help your body digest and metabolize the food you eat. A myriad of research studies demonstrate these bacteria are integral to your health and well-being, and may positively influence the activity of hundreds of your genes and your immune system.

    When you add friendly bacteria to your intestinal tract they are called probiotics. Another way of impacting the friendly bacteria in your gut is to provide them with the nutrients they need to multiply. These nutrients are called prebiotics.

    Prebiotics are found primarily in fiber-rich foods. Friendly bacteria thrive on indigestible fiber. Inulin is one type of water-soluble fiber found in onions, garlic, leeks and asparagus that help nourish the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

    Now researchers have found dietary prebiotics have a significant effect on rapid-eye-movement (REM) and non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep cycles, which may positively affect your sleep quality.1

    Prebiotics Study

    Researchers studied the effect of prebiotics on gut health and REM sleep of young rats. The test animals were given a diet rich in prebiotics starting when they were 3 weeks old.2

    The researchers noted that in previous studies, results suggested daily stress could alter your gut microbiome in a way that would alter your sleep-wake cycle. Their goal was to determine if using prebiotics might help improve sleep quality under stress.

    The rats were fed a manufactured diet containing prebiotic fiber or a control diet for four weeks. After the first four weeks the researchers analyzed the excrement and found those eating prebiotics had an increase in beneficial gut bacteria, compared to the control group.3

    As the friendly bacteria metabolize the prebiotic fiber, they not only grow and multiply but also excrete a metabolite beneficial to your brain health.4 Rats eating the diet rich in prebiotics also spent more time in restful and restorative NREM sleep than those eating the control diet. The researchers wrote:5

    "Given that sufficient NREM sleep and proper nutrition can impact brain development and function and that sleep problems are common in early life, it is possible that a diet rich in prebiotics started in early life could help improve sleep, support the gut microbiota and promote optimal brain/psychological health."

    The test group also benefited when stressed. Researchers found they spent more time in REM sleep after being stressed, which is important for promoting recovery.6 Prior research has found people who get more REM sleep after a significant trauma are less likely to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.7

    Prebiotics May Improve a Depleted Gut

    While fiber is an excellent prebiotic for friendly bacteria, sugar and carbohydrates are the nutrients your unfriendly bacteria use to grow and multiply. If you eat a typical Western diet, high in processed foods and refined carbohydrates, your gut microbiome may not have enough beneficial bacteria to keep you healthy.

    The test group of rats in the study did not experience a stress disruption of their gut microbiome, as did the control group of rats, and returned to normal sleep patterns more quickly than the control group as well.8

    The results of this study only contribute to current research demonstrating the importance of gut health on inflammation, obesity, depression, metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.

    Although all prebiotics are fiber, not all fiber has a prebiotic effect on friendly bacteria.9 To be classified as a prebiotic the fiber must resist gastric acidity, resist absorption in the upper gastrointestinal tract, be fermented by intestinal flora, and stimulate the growth or activity of beneficial bacteria.

    The role of fiber in the diet has also been associated with improved bowel movements and reducing risk factors with cardiovascular disease, weight management, digestive health and immune function.

    Increasing your intake of foods rich in prebiotic fiber may help improve your gut health, your sleep-wake cycles and reduce your risk for health conditions affected by lack of fiber.

    Get Prebiotics Daily

    As the benefits of prebiotics are becoming better known, food manufacturers are climbing on the bandwagon, advertising the benefits of fiber in their products.

    However, as with most dietary choices, the best prebiotic fiber is found in raw, whole foods, since most manufactured foods also contain some form of sugar, which feeds your unfriendly bacteria.

    It is not always possible to eat enough foods rich in prebiotic fiber to nourish your beneficial bacteria. If you're looking for a healthy way to supplement your fiber intake, organic whole husk psyllium is a simple, cost-effective way to do it.

    Taking it three times a day could add as much as 18 grams of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble) to your diet, which brings you quite close to the recommended minimum of 50 grams per 1,000 calories consumed when added to a healthy, veggie-rich diet.

    Please keep in mind that psyllium is a heavily sprayed crop, which means many sources are contaminated with pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. For this reason, be sure to use only organic psyllium husk, and ensure it's 100 percent pure.

    Many supplement brands use synthetic or semi-synthetic active ingredients that do not contain psyllium, such as methylcellulose and calcium polycarbophil. The following whole foods help add prebiotic fiber to your diet and improve the health of your microbiome, thus improving your overall health.10,11,12




    Chicory root



    Konjac root

    Burdock root



    Jerusalem artichokes




    Fennel bulb

    Green peas

    Snow peas

    Savoy cabbage



    Red kidney beans








    Pistachio nuts

    Breast milk

    Dangers of Stress

    Stress not only can negatively impact your sleep quality, but has been implicated in the development of other health conditions such as anxiety, heart disease and stroke.

    Renowned author and award-winning neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D., speaks about this in the documentary, "Stress: Portrait of a Killer," which was jointly produced by National Geographic and Stanford University, where Sapolsky is a professor.

    In the film, Sapolsky warns us that13 "Stress is not a state of mind ... it's measurable and dangerous, and humans can't seem to find their off-switch." Your stress response saves lives when it enables you to run from predators or rescue someone from a burning building.

    But, this same "life-saving" reaction becomes chronic when you need to cope with the rising cost of fuel, fear of public speaking or managing a difficult work situation. The documentary demonstrates how stress may shrink your brain, add fat to your belly and even shorten your life.

    Stress also has a significant impact on the quality of your sleep, which in turn has an impact on your ability to cope with stress. It's a vicious cycle that may increase your risk of suffering negative health conditions.

    Importance of Quality Sleep

    You've probably experienced working through a day after a poor night of sleep. You feel groggy, you may not have been able to think as clearly and you likely spent the day yawning. Lack of sleep has a significant impact on your cognitive functioning,14 and driving on five hours of sleep or less is like driving drunk to your brain.15

    Quality sleep is not only important to your immediate health, mood, energy and daily functioning, but a chronic lack of sleep has a significant impact on your long-term health as well. Chronic loss of sleep puts you at risk for:16

    Heart disease

    Heart failure


    Irregular heart rate

    High blood pressure


    Loss of sex drive



    Impaired judgment

    Increased risk of dementia17

    Increased risk of accidents or injury

    Tips for Quality Sleep

    Eating enough foods rich in prebiotic fiber or taking an additional supplement is one way to help improve the quality of your sleep. Here are several more tips, that when combined, may help you enjoy a quality eight or nine hours of sleep each night and effectively reduce your potential risk for illnesses associated with chronic sleep deprivation. For more tips to a restful night of sleep see my previous article, "16 Chronological Tips to Improve Your Sleep."

    Enjoy Exposure to Bright Sunlight Every Morning

    Exposure to bright light first thing in the morning stops production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and signals to your body that it's time to wake up. Outdoor sunlight is best, so you might even want to take a quick walk outside.

    Daily Exercise

    Exercise leads to better sleep at night. Many people schedule their full workouts for morning, which makes it easier to also exercise while fasting (an added benefit). If you don't have time for a full workout, at least do some quick stretching or bodyweight exercises.

    Daily Walk Outside After Lunch

    Not only will this increase in physical activity help you sleep later, but taking your walk outdoors gives you more exposure to bright sunlight. Light intensity is measured in lux units, and on any given day, the outdoor lux units will be around 100,000 at noon.

    Indoors, the typical average is somewhere between 100 to 2,000 lux units — about two orders of magnitude less. The brightness of the light matters, because your pineal gland produces melatonin roughly in approximation to the contrast of bright sun exposure in the day and complete darkness at night.

    If you are in relative darkness all day long, it can't appreciate the difference and will not optimize your melatonin production. This, in turn, can have some rather significant ramifications for your health and sleep.

    I take a one-hour walk every day in the bright sunlight on the beach, so along with boosting my vitamin D, I also anchor my circadian rhythm at the same time and I rarely ever have trouble sleeping.

    Cut the Caffeine in Early Afternoon

    If you're a coffee drinker, take your last caffeinated sip in the early afternoon (this applies to caffeinated soda, too). The caffeine can linger in your body for hours, blocking a brain chemical called adenosine that would otherwise help you to fall asleep.

    Light Dinner and No Food Three Hours Before Bed

    If you eat a heavy meal too close to bedtime, your body will have to devote energy to digesting your food when it should be recharging during sleep. As part of Peak Fasting, I also recommend that you stop eating three hours before bed and don't have your first meal until 13 to 18 hours later.

    Take 15 Minutes to Unwind

    If you're stressed, it's harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Taking 15 minutes (at least) at the end of each day to relax may help your sleep significantly. You may try listening to music, journaling, meditation, chatting with a neighbor or the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). Do whatever works best for you.

    Avoid Blue Light at Night

    In the evening (around 8 p.m.), you'll want to dim your lights and turn off electronic devices. Normally, your brain starts secreting melatonin between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., and these devices emit light that may stifle that process. After sundown, 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. If using a computer or smartphone, install blue light-blocking software like Iris, which is an improvement over f.lux. The program automatically alters the color temperature of your screen as the day goes on, pulling out the blue wavelengths as it gets late.

    The easiest solution, however, is to simply use amber-colored glasses that block blue light. I found an Uvex model (S1933X) on Amazon that costs less than $10 and works like a charm to eliminate virtually all blue light.

    This way you don't have to worry about installing programs on all your devices or buying special light bulbs for evening use. Once you have your glasses on, it doesn't matter what light sources you have on in your house.

    Reduce Noise, Temperature and Light

    Noise louder than a normal conversation may stimulate your nervous system and keep you awake. You may want to use a fan or other form of white noise to drown out noise disturbances while you sleep.

    Thermoregulation — your body's heat distribution system — is strongly linked to sleep cycles. When you sleep, your body's internal temperature drops to its lowest level, generally about four hours after you fall asleep. Scientists believe a cooler bedroom may therefore be most conducive to sleep, since it mimics your body's natural temperature drop.

    Once you're ready to climb into bed, make sure your bedroom is pitch black. The slightest bit of light in your bedroom can disrupt your body's clock and your pineal gland's melatonin production. You may want to cover your windows with drapes or blackout shades to achieve this and, if this isn't possible, wear an eye mask.

    Dos and Don'ts to Optimizing Your Gut Microbiome

    Feeding your beneficial bacteria with prebiotics is more effective when you have a variety of friendly bacteria growing in your intestinal tract. Optimizing your gut microbiome may be one of the most important things you can do for your health. It is critical for a well-functioning immune system, and to help you normalize your sleep-wake cycles.

    However, while vital, it is not very complicated. You will need to take proactive steps to implement certain key strategies and actively avoid other factors. To optimize your gut microbiome, consider the following recommendations:

    Do: Avoid:

    Do: Eat plenty of fermented foods. Healthy choices include lassi, fermented grass-fed organic milk such as kefir, natto (fermented soy) and fermented vegetables.

    If you ferment your own, consider using a special starter culture that has been optimized with bacterial strains that produce high levels of vitamin K2.

    This is an inexpensive way to optimize your K2, which is particularly important if you're taking a vitamin D3 supplement.

    Avoid: Antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary (and when you do, make sure to reseed your gut with fermented foods and/or a probiotic supplement).

    While researchers are looking into methods that might ameliorate the destruction of beneficial bacteria by antibiotics,18,19 your best bet is likely always going to be reseeding your gut with probiotics from fermented and cultured foods and/or a high-quality probiotic supplement.

    Do: Take a probiotic supplement. Although I'm not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics are an exception if you don't eat fermented foods on a regular basis

    Avoid: Conventionally-raised, non-grassfed meats and other animal products, as CAFO animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics, plus genetically engineered grains loaded with glyphosate, which is widely known to kill many bacteria.

    Do: Boost your soluble and insoluble fiber intake, focusing on vegetables, nuts and seeds, including sprouted seeds.

    Avoid: Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water.

    Do: Get your hands dirty in the garden. Germ-free living may not be in your best interest, as the loss of healthy bacteria can have wide-ranging influence on your mental, emotional and physical health.

    Exposure to bacteria and viruses can help strengthen your immune system naturally, providing long-lasting immunity against disease.

    Getting your hands dirty in the garden can help reacquaint your immune system with beneficial microorganisms on the plants and in the soil.

    According to a recent report,20 lack of exposure to the outdoors can in and of itself cause your microbiome to become "deficient."

    Avoid: Processed foods. Excessive sugars, along with otherwise "dead" nutrients, feed pathogenic bacteria.

    Food emulsifiers such as polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols and xanthan gum also appear to have an adverse effect on your gut flora.21

    Unless 100 percent organic, they may also contain genetically engineered ingredients that tend to be heavily contaminated with pesticides such as glyphosate.

    Artificial sweeteners have also been found to alter gut bacteria in adverse ways.22

    Do: Open your windows. For the vast majority of human history the outside was always part of the inside, and at no moment during our day were we ever really separated from nature.

    Today, we spend 90 percent of our lives indoors. And, although keeping the outside out does have its advantages it has also changed the microbiome of your home.

    Research23 shows that opening a window and increasing natural airflow can improve the diversity and health of the microbes in your home, which in turn benefit you.

    Avoid: Agricultural chemicals, glyphosate (Roundup) in particular is a known antibiotic and will actively kill many of your beneficial gut microbes if you eat and foods contaminated with Roundup.

    Do: Wash your dishes by hand instead of in the dishwasher. Research has shown that washing your dishes by hand leaves more bacteria on the dishes than dishwashers do, and that eating off these less-than-sterile dishes may actually decrease your risk of allergies by stimulating your immune system.

    Avoid: Antibacterial soaps, as they too kill off both good and bad bacteria, and contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistance.

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  • Why the War on Salt Is Dangerous
    published on March 14th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    The theory that salt is bad for you and contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease is an idea that has become more or less cemented as dogma. Alas, the war on salt has had a number of drawbacks and unintended consequences.

    For starters, evidence shows having the correct potassium to sodium balance influences your risk for hypertension and heart disease to a far greater extent than high sodium alone, and the Western diet tends to be lacking in potassium.

    Moreover, when lowering salt in processed foods, many manufacturers took to adding monosodium glutamate (MSG) instead — a flavor enhancer associated with a number of health problems, including obesity, headaches, fatigue and depression.

    Due to its ability to overexcite neurons, MSG may even raise your risk for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's disease.

    War on Salt Is Misguided

    In 2010, New York City launched the National Salt Reduction Initiative, a salt-reduction plan aimed at lowering salt in processed foods and restaurant meals by 25 percent in the next four years.

    Two years later, Dr. Sean Lucan of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine wrote an article published online in the American Journal of Public Health, saying:1

    "We cannot extrapolate that lowering sodium consumption would reduce cardiovascular risk or premature death. Despite assertions to the contrary, we do not know that reducing mean population sodium intake would decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease or save lives."

    At the time, Lucan told The New York Post:2

    "We can't just swallow this as fact — there's actually debate about this. My concern is that they're focusing on a single ingredient that the food industry is going to have to replace with something — and what they replace it with might be more damaging."

    Lucan also noted that the relationship between sodium and blood pressure is inconsistent and from a clinical standpoint, insubstantial.

    Moreover, he stressed that some studies actually show a low-salt diet can worsen cardiovascular disease and raise rather than lower the risk for early death among patients at high risk of heart disease.

    In addition, lowering salt intake could also decrease insulin sensitivity and have an adverse effect on blood lipids. Correctly, Lucan noted that "Refined carbohydrates are a greater enemy."

    Potassium Level Impacts High Blood Pressure More Than Sodium

    Studies have clearly shown that having the correct balance of potassium to sodium is far more important than lowering salt alone. Potassium is a naturally occurring mineral your body uses as an electrolyte (substance in solution that conducts electricity), and it is vital for optimal health and normal functioning.

    Potassium works in your body to relax the walls of your arteries, keep your muscles from cramping, and lowers your blood pressure.3 The reduction in blood pressure with added potassium has also been associated in studies with a reduced risk of stroke.4

    While diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating (such as when using a sauna) and some drugs may deplete or disrupt your potassium balance, the most common reason for low potassium is eating a potassium-poor diet.

    If you're eating mostly processed foods, your sodium-to-potassium balance is virtually guaranteed to be inversed.

    The average reported intake of potassium from food is about half of the 4,700 mg recommended.5 Research demonstrates these low levels of potassium may have a significant impact on blood pressure, especially when combined with too much salt.

    Dr. Paul Welton, professor of epidemiology at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, analyzed 29 trials that demonstrated low levels of potassium resulted in higher systolic blood pressure readings.6 Studies performed since then have found similar results.7,8 According to Welton:9

    "The evidence is very strong and very consistent. A higher potassium intake may blunt the effects of excess salt on blood pressure. Potassium's effect is bigger in people who have higher blood pressure, bigger in older people, bigger in people who are consuming a lot of salt and bigger in black people."

    The Many Benefits of Potassium

    Recent research found that women without hypertension who consumed the most potassium (nearly 3,200 mg/day) had a 21 percent reduced risk of stroke. Further, women who consumed the most potassium were 12 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who consumed the least.10

    Adequate amounts of potassium are also associated with quicker recovery from exercise and improved muscle strength.11,12 As an electrolyte, potassium helps to regulate the fluid balance in your cells and throughout your body.13

    This fluid balance is essential to maintaining life, preventing dehydration at the cellular level and maintaining brain function.14

    For example, potassium is important in the transmission of nerve impulses in your brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system.15 Nerve impulses transmitting information from one nerve to the next happens as the result of electrical activity. This activity is what an electrocardiogram measures as it tracks heart activity.

    Low levels of potassium have also been linked with high levels of insulin and glucose, associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.16 These results have been found in several studies,17 leading researchers to recommend dietary choices that boost potassium levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

    Sodium/Potassium Ratio Is Key to Strong Muscles and Relaxed Arteries

    The key to relaxing your arterial walls and reducing your blood pressure is the sodium-to-potassium ratio. If you eat a lot of processed foods and few fresh vegetables, there's a good chance your sodium-to-potassium ratio is unbalanced.

    If you're unsure, use cron-ometer.com/mercola, a nutrient tracker that allows you to enter the foods you eat and then calculates the ratio automatically. It's generally recommended that you consume five times more potassium than sodium, but most Americans eat twice as much sodium as potassium.

    This ratio is far more important for your health than your overall salt intake,18 and a better strategy to promote public health would be to forgo the strict sodium reduction element and focus recommendations on a high-quality diet rich in potassium instead, as this nutrient helps offset the hypertensive effects of sodium.

    Imbalance in this ratio can not only lead to high blood pressure but also contribute to a number of other health problems, including:

    Kidney stones

    Memory decline



    Erectile dysfunction

    Stomach ulcers

    Rheumatoid arthritis

    Stomach cancer

    Less Salt, More MSG

    As Lucan suspected, in many cases, food manufacturers did indeed replace the salt with something more damaging, namely MSG. As noted by the International Glutamate Information Service in the article, "MSG Is Useful in a Reduced Sodium Diet":19

    "Since its discovery over 100 years ago, [MSG] has been used effectively to enhance the umami taste in food. It is also an effective means of reducing the levels of salt used in food preparation.

    Studies have demonstrated that people find food with low levels of salt much more acceptable when a small amount of [MSG] is added. MSG is mistakenly thought of as being high in sodium. However, MSG contains only one-third the amount of sodium as table salt …

    MSG is often an important ingredient for people on a low-sodium diet, because it improves the flavor of a dish while reducing the need for salt … [W]hen MSG is added … sodium levels can be lowered by up to 40 percent while maintaining the desired flavor."

    Health Hazards of MSG

    While MSG is touted as a safe food additive, having received "Generally Recognized as Safe" (GRAS) status in 1959, scientific evidence against it has stacked up. Ironically, MSG has even been linked to high blood pressure,20 effectively negating the proposed benefit of replacing sodium with MSG. Research has also linked MSG consumption to:

    Endocrine disruption, metabolic syndrome, obesity21,22 and weight gain.23 The weight gain, which was not associated with higher amounts of calories, is thought to be related to MSG's impact on leptin.

    People who ate more MSG produced higher amounts of leptin, a hormone involved in appetite regulation and metabolism.

    By causing leptin resistance, your body loses its ability to properly process the energy derived from the food

    Genotoxicity; specifically, MSG was found to be genotoxic to human peripheral blood lymphocytes (mature white blood cells/immune cells found in your blood circulation)24

    Thyroid damage, even at low doses25

    Kidney dysfunction26

    Intestinal damage, caused by progressive damage to epithelial cells in your small intestine27

    Liver damage that can lead to fibrosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and pre-cancerous lesions28,29

    Brain lesions,30 seizures and behavioral changes31

    Increased risk of infertility32,33

    Severe rhinitis in those with MSG intolerance34


    Acute Side Effects of MSG Ingestion

    Many also experience more immediate side effects from MSG, with a pounding headache being one of the most prominent. While the exact cause of MSG-induced headache remains unclear, research investigating the matter has demonstrated that MSG "induces a dose-dependent swelling and death of mature neurons,"36 which may be part of the equation. Other common side effects that may occur within an hour or so of eating MSG include:37,38


    Chest tightness

    Wheezing and/or difficulty breathing




    Flushing and/or tingling of the face

    Burning or numbness in the back of your neck and/or upper body

    Heart palpitations

    Abdominal pain


    Weakness in the legs

    The MSG Symptom Complex Is Real

    A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study39 published in 1997 investigated MSG symptoms by conducting an oral challenge in "self-identified MSG-sensitive subjects" to see whether they really had a higher incidence of symptoms after eating MSG, compared to a placebo. Sixty-one participants received 5 grams (gm) of MSG or placebo as an initial challenge. Of them:

    • 29.5 percent had no response to either MSG or placebo
    • 9.8 percent responded to both
    • 24.6 percent responded to placebo
    • 36.1 percent responded to MSG

    While many reported side effects from the placebo, the severity of symptoms were greater among those who received MSG than placebo. The participants were then rechallenged with placebo and 1.25, 2.5 and 5 gm of MSG. According to the authors:

    "Rechallenge revealed an apparent threshold dose for reactivity of 2.5 gm MSG. Headache, muscle tightness, numbness/tingling, general weakness and flushing occurred more frequently after MSG than placebo ingestion.

    Oral challenge with MSG reproduced symptoms in alleged sensitive person … According to Food and Drug Administration recommendations, the symptoms, originally called the Chinese restaurant syndrome, are better referred to as the MSG symptom complex."

    Vitamin C and Lycopene Offer Protection Against MSG's Effects

    Certain compounds have been found to offer some protection against MSG's adverse effects. Vitamin C was found to provide "significant protection against MSG toxicity" in one study,40 and lycopene has also been found to avert its neurotoxic effects. A study investigating the latter gave male rats either 5 milligrams (mg) per kilo (kg) of MSG, 10 mg/kg of lycopene, MSG with lycopene, or placebo, for 30 days. According to the authors:

    "The results showed that MSG induced elevation in lipid peroxidation marker and perturbation in the antioxidant homeostasis … Glutathione S-transferase … superoxide dismutase … and catalase … activities and gene expression were increased and glutathione content was reduced in the MSG-challenged rats, and these effects were ameliorated by lycopene …

    Our results indicate that lycopene appears to be highly effective in relieving the toxic effects of MSG by inhibiting lipid peroxidation and inducing modifications in the activity of cholinesterase and antioxidant pathways. Interestingly, lycopene protects brain tissue by inhibiting apoptosis signaling induced by MSG."

    Hidden Sources of MSG

    While added MSG must be listed in the list of ingredients as "monosodium glutamate," its absence is no guarantee of safety. MSG and synthetic free glutamate in varying amounts can still hide in processed foods under names such as:41

    Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

    Autolyzed or hydrolyzed yeast

    Yeast extract

    Soy extract

    Protein isolate

    Natural flavor

    Glutamate and monopotassium glutamate

    Calcium caseinate


    While not commonly known, MSG is even used as a stabilizer in certain vaccines,42 which seems to be a particularly bad idea considering its many adverse health effects, particularly on the brain. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MSG can be found in the following five vaccines:43

    • Adenovirus
    • Influenza quadrivalent (FluMist)
    • MMRV (ProQuad)
    • Varicella (Varivax)
    • Zoster (Shingles-Zostravax)

    Real Food Is the Answer

    Getting nutrients from your food instead of supplements is preferable as your food contains more than a single nutrient and in different forms. For instance, potassium found in fruits and vegetables is potassium citrate or potassium malate, while supplements are often potassium chloride. The citrate and malate forms help produce alkali, which may promote bone health44 and preserve lean muscle mass as you age.45

    Bone loss may lead to brittle bones or even osteoporosis. While potassium in fruits and vegetables may help build bone health, potassium chloride may not. As researcher Dr. Bess Dawson-Hughes from Tufts University explains:46

    "If you don't have adequate alkali to balance the acid load from the grains and protein in a typical American diet, you lose calcium in the urine and you have bone loss … When the body has more acid than it is easily able to excrete, bone cells get a signal that the body needs to neutralize the acid with alkali … And bone is a big alkali reservoir, so the body breaks down some bone to add alkali to the system."

    Research by Dawson-Hughes found that people who were in the neutral range for net acid excretion, meaning they had a fairly healthy balance for bone and muscle health, were eating just over eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day along with 5.5 servings of grains. When they rounded this out, it came to about half as many grains as fruits and vegetables.

    For many Americans, a simple recommendation to increase your alkali (and potassium) while reducing acid is to eat more vegetables and fewer grains and processed foods in general.47 When cooking from scratch, you have complete control over how much salt you add.

    In addition to that, when you do use salt, make sure its unrefined and minimally processed. My personal favorite is Himalayan pink salt, rich in naturally-occurring trace minerals needed for healthy bones, fluid balance and overall health. To learn more about the importance of unprocessed salt in your diet, see the related articles listed.

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  • California Tries to Cover Up Cellphone Hazards
    published on March 14th, 2017 at 04:15 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Cellphones have become commonplace. Users are able to call, text and use the Internet, all from the convenience of a piece of equipment that fits in a pocket. According to Pew Research Center, 91 percent of adults in the U.S. have one.1

    Pew found the number of people embracing the use of cellphones have made this device the most quickly accepted consumer technology in history. The latest survey found those over 65, living in rural areas and women, are less likely to own a cellphone, although this pattern has not been evident in previous surveys.

    Pew attributes the quick rise in popularity of the device to the development of smartphones. Unfortunately, this connection to technology places you in danger of disconnecting from what's real and really important. Use and overuse may lead to addiction. The New York Times observes:2

    "The near-universal access to digital technology, starting at ever younger ages, is transforming modern society in ways that can have negative effects on physical and mental health, neurological development and personal relationships, not to mention safety on our roads and sidewalks.

    As your usage increases, so does your exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation and, with it, your risk for developing cancer.

    Although proponents claim the power emitted from cellphones is weak, the most plausible explanation for the health and biological impact is related to the erratic nature of the signal and its ability to interfere with DNA repair.

    Study Links Cellphone Use to Increased Risk of Cancer

    Previous studies have linked EMF radiation emitted from cellphones with triggering abnormal cell growth and cancer,3,4 but it is a recent study and a California lawsuit that has increased attention to this link. In the video above, Devra Davis, Ph.D., shares what is known about absorption of radiation by the brain from cellphone use.

    The new research exposed rats to radiofrequency radiation from cellphones for approximately nine hours each day, after which the rats were more likely to develop tumors of glial cells in the brain and tumors in the heart.5

    Opponents believe there may be some difficulty generalizing the results to human cellphone use for several reasons.

    Some research using animal models are poorly designed and opponents have difficulty believing animal experiments may be extrapolated to human results.6 However, without purposefully exposing humans to toxins and radiation, animals are the first models used.

    In May 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared cell phones a Group 2B "possible carcinogen" based on the available research.7 According to IARC director Christopher Wild, Ph.D.:8

    "Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings, it is important that additional research be conducted into the long ‐ term, heavy use of mobile phones.

    Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands ‐ free devices or texting.'"

    While some studies have drawn links between cellphone usage and cancer, others have not been so definitive.

    However, in a paper published by the Policy Studies Organization, the authors determined there appears to be a relationship between funding, or the author's affiliation with industry during a study, and whether a correlation was found between cancer and cellphone use.9

    Such research bias holds dangerous public health repercussions, and it's certainly not the first time bias has been found to influence research results.10,11,12

    Judge Orders Papers Released

    To protect public health from the risks of cellphone radiation, California's Environmental Health Investigations branch developed a set of recommendations and warnings.

    However, no formal copy was ever publicly released. Joel Moskowitz, Ph.D., director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California Berkeley, requested access to this information.13

    When his request was denied, he sued the state under the California Public Records Act and won. Moskowitz explained his actions to local CBS station in San Francisco:14

    "I would like this document to see the light of day because it will inform the public that there is concern within the California Department of Public Health that cellphone radiation is a risk and it will provide them with some information about how to reduce those risks."

    However, while the document was released, it was stamped "Draft and Not for Public Release," which essentially negates the ruling from the Supreme Court Judge. Moskowitz, not yet satisfied with the actions of the state of California, explained that the Public Records Act was violated, since:15

    "That lettering states that the document is 'draft and not for public release' when the judge's tentative ruling stated exactly the opposite — that the document was not a draft, and must be publicly released."

    The director of the Environmental Law Clinic at UC Berkeley, Claudia Polsky, representing Moskowitz, also believes the arguments for not releasing the document are irresponsible since the public health impact may be critical. She was also dissatisfied with the stamped disclaimer on the guidelines.16

    The document contained summaries of studies suggesting long-term use of cellphones may increase your risk of brain cancer and that EMFs emitted from cellphones are frequently kept close to the head and body, potentially affecting nearby tissue.

    The sheet also listed recommendations to reduce exposure to EMF radiation. Moskowitz notes:17 "This could have perhaps saved some lives if it had been published by the department seven years ago."

    WiFi Illness and Sensitivities

    The health department's lawyer argued releasing the document would unnecessarily alarm the public.18 However, many of these studies have been published for nearly 10 years, having had little to no impact on the sale of smartphones that now reside in 9 out of 10 adult hands in the U.S.

    Although the sheer volume of WiFi and Bluetooth products is a relatively new phenomenon, the effects of these radiofrequency waves have been studied for decades.

    John Moulder, Ph.D., professor emeritus of radiation oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, co-authored a review of existing research going back to the 1950s. His review found few health effects at low doses of EMF.

    However, Moskowitz counters this argument, saying: "We have animal studies suggesting even low-level exposures to the kind of radio wave radiation associated with WiFi could have a variety of negative health effects." Moskowitz gathered study summaries and published them in one place.19

    There is reason for concern, not only from an outpouring of research painting a very different picture about cellphone safety than the telecommunications industry would have you believe, but also from a growing population of electrically sensitive individuals who may be the proverbial canaries in the coal mine.

    Dr. Thomas Rau, medical director of the world-renowned Paracelsus Clinic in Switzerland, shared during an interview he did with me that an estimated 3 to 8 percent of populations in developed countries experience serious electro-hypersensitivity symptoms, while 35 percent experience mild symptoms.

    Rau also believes that electromagnetic loads can lead to cancer, concentration problems, ADD, tinnitus, migraines, insomnia, arrhythmia, Parkinson's and even back pain. In a systematic review and meta-analysis of EMF radiation on sperm quality, researchers found an 8 percent reduction in motility and 9 percent reduction in sperm viability.20,21 Researchers in one study wrote:22

    "RF-EMR in both the power density and frequency range of mobile phones enhances mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation by human spermatozoa, decreasing the motility and vitality of these cells while stimulating DNA base adduct formation and, ultimately DNA fragmentation. These findings have clear implications for the safety of extensive mobile phone use by males of reproductive age, potentially affecting both their fertility and the health and wellbeing of their offspring."

    Is This a First Amendment Battle?

    The first amendment of the U.S. Constitution says:23

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    Berkeley, California, is the first in the nation to have a city ordinance requiring retailers to give consumers federal guidelines for safe cellphone use. While the notice hasn't drawn much attention from consumers, it did draw the attention of the trade organization representing some of the largest cellphone manufacturers and carriers in the nation.

    The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), took great offense and went to court arguing the sign infringes on the cellphone manufacturers and carriers First Amendment rights.24 They argue the ordinance is forcing retailers to "distribute its one-sided, innuendo-laden, highly misleading and scientifically unsupported opinion on a matter of public controversy."

    Berkeley denies the allegations, saying the signs are "nothing but an arrow that points to the very manuals written by manufacturers." The cellphone warning was cleared by U.S. District Judge Edward Chen of San Francisco who, in a hearing in 2015, read from an iPhone manual which cautioned the user that if the device was carried closer than five-eighths of an inch from your body, it could surpass the federal radiation exposure guidelines.25 Chen wrote:26

    "The mandated disclosure truthfully states that federal guidelines may be exceeded where spacing is not observed, just as the FDA accurately warns that 'tobacco smoke can harm your children.'"

    At this time, the iPhone manuals do not carry the RF recommendations. Instead, they're buried in the settings on the phone.27 Attorney for Berkeley, Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard law professor, pointed out the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) announced three years ago it would reassess cellphone radiation safety standards28 which have not changed since 1996, but has not taken further action. According to Lessig:29

    "The FCC would not be asking for comments about whether there was a health hazard if it had concluded that there was no possible way that a cellphone held against the body could constitute any health hazard."

    Court Determines Tumor Is From a Phone

    According to the Italian Supreme Court, a man's cellphone was responsible for a tumor growth in his trigeminal nerve, the fifth cranial nerve supplying sensation to your face and other structures in the head. The tumor grew very close to where the phone came in contact with Mr. Marcolini's face, paralyzing half his face. Following the ruling, Marcolini commented:30

    "This is significant for very many people. I wanted this problem to become public because many people still do not know the risks. I was on the phone, usually the mobile, for at least five or six hours every day at work. I wanted it recognized that there was a link between my illness and the use of mobile and cordless phones. Parents need to know their children are at risk of this illness."

    Dr. Angelo Gino Levis, a respected oncologist and professor of environmental mutagenesis, and Dr. Giuseppe Grasso, a neurosurgeon, testified for Marcolini, affirming the EMF radiation from mobile and cordless phones damages cells, making tumor growth more likely. Levis said:31

    "The court decision is extremely important. It finally officially recognizes the link. It'll open not a road but a motorway to legal actions by victims. We're considering a class action. Tumors due to radiation may not appear for 15 years, so three to five-year studies don't find them. We'll only realize in years to come the damage phones can cause children."

    Children May Be at Grave Risk

    Health risks are even greater for children than adults, for a couple reasons. Children are now exposed to EMF radiation at a very early age, whereas older people can still recall the days when every phone was hardwired to the wall.

    Hence the opportunity for harm to develop over time is exponentially greater for children than adults. The exposure is also pervasive. Most homes have WiFi routers, cellphones and tablets, and many public areas also provide WiFi these days. Children spend hours on their parent's smartphone and tablets, playing games and staying occupied.

    Digital equipment has become an addiction for children and adults. Whether it's a smartphone, tablet or WiFi enabled screen, children are spending between six and seven hour a day in front of a screen,32 a far cry from the two-hour max the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.33

    Holding a cellphone up to your ear allows 80 percent of the EMF radiation produced to penetrate your brain tissue up to two inches.34 Ronald Melnick, scientific adviser for the Environmental Health Trust, commented on the use of cellphones in the pediatric population:35

    "The penetration of the cellphone radiation into the brain of a child is deeper and greater. Also, the developing nervous system of a child is potentially more susceptible to a damaging agent."

    The California's Environmental Health Investigations guidelines concur, saying:36

    "EMFs can pass deeper into a child's brain than an adult's. The brain is still developing through the teen years, which may make children and teens more sensitive to EMF exposure."

    Take Precautions to Protect Your Children and Yourself From EMF

    Cellphones were first invented in 1973.37 Since the first mobile phone that was the size of a small box, cellphones have evolved into devices more easily carried in your pocket. However, while 40 years may seem like a long time, the cellphone did not become mainstream until the late 1990s, and many of the long-term side effects from overexposure to EMF radiation take years if not decades to develop.

    This means there is no good way of predicting the long-term effects on a generation of children who are exposed to chronic radiation throughout their lives. Today, many children are even exposed before birth.

    One study38 that evaluated the health of children in mothers who used cellphones during their pregnancy found a 25 percent increase in emotional problems, 34 percent increase in peer problems, 35 percent increase in hyperactivity and 49 percent increase in conduct problems than in mothers who did not use cellphones during their pregnancy. Another study found an increase in spontaneous abortions in mothers who used cellphones during their pregnancy.39

    For your child's and your own sake, I urge you to minimize these kinds of risks by taking some common-sense precautions. For a list of recommendations for lowering your EMF exposure, please see my previous article, "EMF Controversy Exposed."

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