Here’s compelling evidence that ultrasound scans may be the real cause of autism. Look at the evidence and then decide. I think there is possibly real cause to discard existing theories. We can only get a solution if we find the right cause of the problem, I’m sure you will agree.
I have made no secret out of the fact that it’s definitely NOT mercury. That has been disproven and the only people who cling to it are seriously underperforming intellectuals, who can’t accept real evidence that their pet ideas are WRONG!
I have repeated several times in my publications that children who never had ANY vaccine have been getting autism spectrum problems. That fits well with the model I like, which is live rogue measles organism. One sibling or vaccinated child could therefore, in theory, infect an unvaccinated child, who inherits the problem.
But here is a completely new model, right out of left field, which at least must have us all thinking… the evidence is just juicy!
For the source I turn to a new book by Jim West: Prenatal Ultrasound: A New Bibliography of Human Studies Conducted in Modern China. It’s an entirely new bibliography of ultrasound science and it’s something that, with a few exceptions, you will NOT see reproduced here in the West, where ObGyn is BIG money.
The word “ultrasound” commonly refers to diagnostic ultrasound, an acoustic technology utilized to view images of the fetus in real time, its position within the mother, and to view the mother’s reproductive organs. It is an economic boon to medical practitioners who advocate its routine use.
Diagnostic ultrasound has been in routine use for many decades. Ultrasound is far from ordinary sound, however.
It is a highly unusual form of sound when used for the purpose of prenatal or obstetric diagnostic examinations. Humans ordinarily are capable of hearing sounds in the range of 20 to 20,000 cycles per second (hertz). Ultrasound for fetal examination carries a frequency in the range of 3 to 9 megahertz, millions of cycles per second, above the EMF frequencies of the AM radio band.
Diagnostic ultrasound is widely declared to be “harmless” to the fetus1, despite some mothers describing via online forums such as The Thinking Mother’s Revolution, vaginal bleeding and pain, and others describing every detail related to ultrasound and pharmaceutical or vaccine associated damage to their child.
Ultrasound is now being applied to most of the entire world population during its fetal stage.
If it should emerge that there is real cause for concern–and it HAS now emerged–then this should stop, immediately, before it causes untold damage to the whole human psyche.
Critics argue, for example, that the exponential rise in autism incidence is a product of fetal exposure to ultrasound. If they are correct, then it may take many generations to recover from this misguided application of medical technology.
Remember the story of malaria? It means “bad air” (mal-aria) because that’s what was supposed to cause it at the time. Until the recognition that a mosquito-vectored parasite was the true cause, there was never going to be any effective progress. But people couldn’t see it at the time.
Is autism the new faulty “bad air” model? That it is being caused by widespread use of ultrasounds for in-utero imaging, at precisely the time when the fetus is most vulnerable.
Chinese Human Studies
These were carried out during the “explosion” of ultrasound use, in the years 1988 to 2011. The findings are pretty shocking. Jim West has also called on publicized trials carried out here in the West, where animal and cell studies clearly indicated a danger from diagnostic ultrasound. These were cancelled and had their funding withdrawn or were simply ignored by the greedy profession, dazzled by pretend science toys and anxious to reap a huge harvest of money.
In one sentence: ultrasound is NOT safe and damages the human fetus, precisely when it is most vulnerable.
By damage I mean: autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, personality abnormalities, eye damage, various malformations and possibly immune disorders.
Yet Western medical authorities loudly proclaim that diagnostic ultrasound is “harmless” and has “no known risks“. Well of course the risks are not known, if funding for studies of the dangers was deliberately withdrawn!
However, there are voices of caution, they are just not being listened to in the frenzy to sell this technique to a gullible public.
For example, Dr. Mendelsohn, former Chairman of the Hospital Licensing Committee of the State of Illinois and former National Director of Project Head Start’s Medical Consultation had this to say:
“Ultrasound is the latest example of an unproven technology being sold to the public as being ‘perfectly safe.’ It falls in the same class as painting radium on watches, fluoroscoping children’s feet in shoe stores, routine mammography, routine chest X-rays, radiation therapy for tonsils, exposing army personnel to atomic bomb tests – in each case, the medical profession failed to take the necessary steps to protect people against a malignant technology whose risks were already well understood.”2
And Caroline Rogers, referring to a large population study by Grether et al (2009) said this:
“Particularly confounding is the fact that Autism Spectrum Disorder plagues the children of high-income, well-educated families who have the best obstetrical care money can buy. Why would women who took their prenatal vitamins, observed healthy diets, refrained from smoking or drinking and attended all regularly scheduled prenatal visits bear children with profound neurologically based problems?”3
So, Do Ultrasounds Cause Autism?
Note that in his work, Jim West is wisely not stating that ultrasound “causes” autism. Simply that it adds to the toxic synergy and thus initiates vulnerability to other known stressors, such as vaccines, pesticides and other pollutants, stealth pathogens and pharmaceuticals.
Everyone is fixated on vaccinations, because autism often shows only after the routine vaccination program commences. The child appears healthy up to that time. I use the word “appears” advisedly. I already pointed out in a recent newsletter that Cuba, which has a vaccination rate around 95% (one of the highest uptakes in the world), still has very little autism, compared to Europe or the USA.
These demographic observations should cause us to think hard about what we suppose we know. Logically, you could say the Cuba story really counts against vaccination being the problem at all!
Let’s dig a little deeper into the Chinese figures…
Unknown to Western scientists, the hazards of ultrasound have been confirmed in China since the late 1980s, where thousands of women, volunteering for abortion, thousands of maternal-fetal pairs, were exposed to carefully controlled diagnostic ultrasound and the abortive matter then analyzed via laboratory techniques.
From these human studies, Professor Ruo Feng, of Nanjing University, published guidelines in 2000:
“Commercial or educational fetal ultrasound imaging should be strictly eliminated. Ultrasound for the identification of fetal sex and fetal entertainment imaging should be strictly eliminated. For the best early pregnancy, avoid ultrasound.”
Dr. Feng is very clear. Avoid is not an ambiguous word!
Jim West’s Book
The Chinese Human Studies are not generally available. You will not find them through Google or other search engines or medical databases. Even if a researcher knew the titles, the studies would not be found.
So Jim West has done a magnificent job.
If you are of childbearing age, or you have a daughter who is, you may want to read Jim’s compilation of missing data about the dangers of ultrasound in pregnancy. It is now available, published as a book with commentary, (or Kindle) with illustrative graphs and tables.
To read the entire press release about the book, go here.
1. Prenatal Ultrasound. WebMD. (2014, September 13) 2. Esther Thaler, “Dr Robert Mendelsohn on Pregnancy and the Dangers of Ultrasound,” YouTube video, circa 1983 3. Caroline Rodgers, “Questions about Prenatal Ultrasound and the Alarming Increase in Autism,” Midwifery Today no. 80 (Winter 2006)
Cutting out grains and sugar (particularly fructose), is a crucial step if you want to normalize your weight, but paying attention to what you replace them with is equally important.
One of your most basic health principles is to eat a diet of whole, nutritious foods rather than processed “diet” fare. Focusing on so-called “superfoods” might change the way you look at weight loss—and could even turn your struggles with weight into an issue of the past.
Feeding your body the right nutrients rather than stuffing it with “empty” calories will not only help you lose unwanted pounds, it’s also a key ingredient for living a long and healthy life. Believe it or not, many people who are overweight are actually malnourished.
Recent research1 also indicates that optimizing your vitamin D may help you lose weight if you’re deficient, and this is another basic that shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re struggling with weight issues.
What’s So ‘Super’ About Superfoods?
The term “superfood” was coined in 2004 by Dr. Steven Pratt, author ofSuperfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life. He points out that this kind of eating goes beyond the idea of dieting. It’s really a way of life. “It’s the non-diet diet. It’s food you can eat for a lifetime,” he told CNN a few years ago.2
More recently, Health magazine listed dozens of slimming superfoods.3 While the majority are excellent options, I disagree with some of them, particularly the recommendation to switch to low-fat dairy.
The only types of fats you should really be limiting are man-made varieties like trans fats, processed vegetable oils, and virtually any oil heated to high temperatures as toxic byproducts like cyclic aldehydes will form.
Full fat dairy—and in particular raw, unpasteurized dairy—is far preferable to low-fat varieties, both for overall health and weight loss. In one study,4 women who consumed at least one serving of full-fat dairy a day gained 30 percent less weight over a nine-year period than women who ate only low-fat (or no) dairy products.
Saturated fats provide the building blocks for your cell membranes and a large number of hormones and hormone-like substances that are essential to your health.
Healthy fats from animal and vegetable sources (such as meat, dairy, and tropical plant oils like coconut and avocado) also provide a concentrated source of energy in your diet—an important consideration when you’re cutting out carbs.
When you eat fats as part of your meal, they slow down absorption so that you can go longer without feeling hungry.
In addition, they act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes.
One of the cornerstones of successful weight loss is in fact consuming higheramounts of healthy saturated fats, so don’t fall into the low-fat trap. That said, below I will review seven of my superfood favorites which, if eaten more of, can help you achieve your weight loss goals with greater ease.
I just mentioned the importance of healthy fat for weight loss, and avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that is easily burned for energy, while also being low in fructose—a double-win. I typically eat one or two nearly every day.
Not surprisingly, improved weight management5,6 is indeed one of the documented health benefits of avocado consumption, and its high-fat, low-sugar content is likely a key factor contributing to this effect.
Research7 has also found that avocados are helpful for regulating your blood sugar levels. This is an important benefit for most people, considering that one in four American are either diabetic or pre-diabetic.
Studies8,9 have also shown that avocados help improve lipid profiles by naturally lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising beneficial HDL cholesterol. And, due to their high potassium content, avocados will also help balance your potassium to sodium ratio, which is really important for optimal health.
When peeling the avocado, keep in mind that the greatest concentration of beneficial carotenoids is located in the dark green fruit closest to the inside of the peel, so to get the most out of your avocado, be sure to peel it10 as you would a banana.
First, cut the avocado length-wise, around the seed; holding each half, twist them in the opposite directions to separate them from the seed. Discard the seed, and cut each half, lengthwise. Next, using your thumb and index finger, simply peel the skin off each piece.
All in all, avocado may be one of the most beneficial superfoods out there, and may be particularly valuable if you’re struggling with insulin and leptin resistance, which are precursors to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many other chronic health problems, including obesity.
#2: Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon
Another high-fat food to eat more of is salmon. It’s an excellent source of essential animal-based omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA), astaxanthin, and other antioxidants, along with high-quality protein. It also scores well in terms ofmercury contamination, which is a concern when adding more fish to your diet.
Just be sure to avoid farmed salmon, as their nutritional composition11 is inferior to wild caught varieties. For example, omega-3 fats have been reduced by about 50 percent in farmed salmon, compared to wild salmon, due to increasing amounts of grain feed.
Farmed salmon is also fed synthetic astaxanthin, which is not approved for human consumption and does not confer the outstanding health benefits of natural astaxanthin found in wild salmon.
To ensure your salmon is wild caught, look for “Alaskan salmon” or “sockeye,” as neither of these two are allowed to be farmed. An affordable option is to buy canned wild Alaskan salmon. Sources like Vital Choice are sustainable harvested and regularly tested and found to be free of any Fukushima radiation.
Virtually all salmon labeled “Atlantic Salmon” currently comes from fish farms. In restaurants, mislabeled salmon will typically be described as “wild” but not“wild Alaskan,” as authentic wild Alaskan is easier to trace.
#3: Sunflower Sprouts
Sprouts are an authentic “super” food that many overlook or have long stopped using. In addition to their superior nutritional profile, sprouts are really easy to grow if you’re an apartment dweller, as they don’t require an outdoor garden.
A powerhouse of nutrition, sprouts can contain up to 30 times the nutrition of organic vegetables grown in your own garden, and allow your body to extract more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fats from the foods you eat. During sprouting, minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, bind to protein, making them more bioavailable.
Furthermore, both the quality of the protein and the fiber content of beans, nuts, seeds, and grains improve when sprouted. The content of vitamins and essential fatty acids also increase dramatically during the sprouting process.
Sunflower seed and pea sprouts tend to top the list of all the seeds that you can sprout and are typically about 30 times more nutrient dense than organic vegetables. Sprouts in general also support cell regeneration, and are rich inantioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes that protect against free radical damage.
They also have an alkalinizing effect on your body, which is thought to help protect against disease, including cancer (as many tumors are acidic), and are abundantly rich in oxygen, which can also help protect against abnormal cell growth, viruses, and bacteria—none of which can survive in an oxygen-rich environment. Last but not least, sunflower sprouts are an excellent source of high-quality fiber, which is an important yet frequently overlooked weight loss aid.
#4: Broccoli and Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli has a solid scientific foundation showing it’s one of the most valuable health-promoting foods around. For example, a compound in broccoli, glucosinolate glucoraphanin, produces a metabolite called sulforaphane that can significantly improve your blood pressure, kidney function,12 and gut health13 by normalizing a process called DNA methylation. It also has anti-diabetic and antimicrobial properties, and kills cancer stem cells as well.
In simple terms, DNA methylation14 is the process by which a methyl group (one carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms) is added to part of a DNA molecule. This is a crucial part of normal cell function as it allows cells to “remember who they are and where they have been.” DNA methylation also suppresses viral- and other disease-related gene expression.
Broccoli sprouts may be an even better option, as they pack a greater punch in terms of nutrition, delivered in a much smaller package. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, a mere five grams (0.17 ounces) of broccoli sprouts contain concentrations of the compound glucoraphanin equal to that found in 150 grams (5.2 ounces) of mature broccoli.15
Sprouts can also contain up to 100 times more enzymes than raw fruits and vegetables, allowing your body to extract more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fats from the foods you eat. Another major benefit of broccoli sprouts relates to its ability to detox pollutants, as demonstrated in recent research.16,17,18 Best of all, you can easily and inexpensively grow broccoli sprouts at home, and you don’t have to cook them. They are eaten raw, usually as an addition to salad or juice.
In terms of weight loss, one of the “secrets” behind broccoli’s ability to help you lose weight is the fact that they’re high in fiber that nourish beneficial bacteria in your gut. Ideally, you’ll want to get around 30 grams of fiber per day. In one recent study,19,20,21 prediabetics who ate 30 grams of fiber per day lost nearly the same amount of weight as those who cut calories and limited their fat intake; they also improved their cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
#5: Organic Pastured Eggs
Eggs are an important part of a healthy diet, for a number of reasons. Not only do they contain high-quality protein and fat—nutrients that many are deficient in—they also contain valuable antioxidants,22 including lutein and zeaxanthin,23 which can help prevent age-related macular degeneration; the most common cause of blindness.
To get the most from your eggs, choose true free-range eggs, now increasingly referred to as “pasture-raised.” These eggs come from hens that roam freely outdoors on a pasture where they can forage for their natural diet, which includes seeds, green plants, insects, and worms. You may also want to look for certified organic eggs, as, unless you personally know the farmer, this is your only guarantee that the chickens are raised without antibiotics.
Barring organic certification, which is cost-prohibitive for many small farmers, you could just make sure the farmer raises his chickens according to organic, free-range standards, allowing his flock to forage freely for their natural diet, and aren’t fed antibiotics, corn or soy. Cornucopia.org offers a helpful organic egg scorecard that rates egg manufacturers based on 22 criteria that are important for organic consumers.
The reason for these recommendations is because organic pasture-raised eggs tend to be far more nutritious than their factory farmed counterparts, and you can tell the difference by the color of the yolk. A healthy organic free-range egg will have a very deep orange yolk, whereas your average egg from the supermarket is a light, pale yellow. Also bear in mind that cooking will alter or damage many of these nutrients, so the closer to raw you eat your eggs, the better.
One important caveat is that when you eat eggs raw or very lightly cooked, it becomes really important to make sure they’re truly organic and pasture-raised, as eggs harvested in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are far more prone to be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria like salmonella. As long as you’re getting fresh pastured eggs, your risk of getting ill from a raw egg is quite slim.
That said, an interesting 2009 study24 discovered that the proteins in cooked eggs are converted by gastrointestinal enzymes, producing peptides that act as ACE inhibitors (common prescription medications for lowering blood pressure), so soft-boiled may be an ideal middle of the road solution if you don’t like raw eggs. I typically eat at one to dozen eggs a week.
#6: Raw Nuts
Many shun raw nuts thinking their fat content contributes to weight gain, but research25 tells us differently. Not only can nuts help you curb your appetite and boost weight loss, they’ve also been linked to a boost in longevity.26 My favorite nuts are macadamia and pecans, as they provide the highest amount of healthy fat while being on the lower end in terms of carbs and protein. Pine nuts are also close contenders, and their small size, mild flavor, and soft almost buttery consistency lend themselves well to be added to salads.
The following list shows the nutrition facts27 in grams per one ounce for your most common tree nuts. One caveat to consider is how the nuts are processed. While almonds often receive top billing when health benefits of nuts are mentioned, all almonds sold in the US today are pasteurized—a mandatory requirement implemented in 2007.
Despite that, they can still be labeled as “raw.” It is possible to purchase truly raw, unpasteurized almonds in the US but it has to be done very carefully from vendors selling small quantities that have a waiver from the pasteurization requirement. In light of that, there are better nut options, as almonds are also higher in protein and carbs, while being lower in healthy fat, compared to macadamias, pecans, and pine nuts.
Tree Nut Numbers are grams per ounce
#7: Green Tea
Green tea is arguably one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. It’s packed with vitamins A, D, E, C, B, B5, H, and K, manganese and other beneficial minerals such as zinc, chromium, and selenium, and has been shown to benefit your brain and heart, boost metabolism, and has anti-cancer properties to boot. Research suggests this brew can be of particular benefit for those who are insulin resistant and/or overweight.
In one study,28 people who consumed six or more cups of green tea daily were found to have a 33 percent lower risk for type 2 diabetes than those who consumed less than one cup per week. In terms of weight loss, the positive effects of green tea appear to be related to the catechins it contains. A type of antioxidant, catechins promote weight loss by augmenting thermogenesis and lipolysis.29 In one study,30 unsweetened, brewed green tea was found to increase calorie burn by about 100 calories a day.
Buyer beware, however, as green tea can be contaminated with a variety of toxins, including fluoride and lead, both of which are readily absorbed from the soil. Areas with excessive industrial pollution, such as China (where nearly 90 percent of the world’s green tea is produced), may therefore contain substantial amounts of lead.31
Japanese teas tend to be less contaminated and are generally preferred for that reason. If you’re consuming Matcha green tea, one of my favorites, it’s especially important that it comes from Japan instead of China, as Matcha contains the whole leaf, ground to a fine powder. The best Matcha green tea comes from Japan and is steamed, rather than roasted or pan-fried.
To Lose Weight, Eat Right
A key principle of successful and lasting weight loss is to teach your body to burn fat instead of sugar and to do that, you need to replace non-vegetable carbohydrates with healthy fats. Avocados, salmon, and raw nuts are good sources, as is coconut oil and raw organic dairy. Also consider intermittent fasting, as this is one of the most effective ways to shed excess weight. Research32 has even shown that intermittent fasting is more effective for weight loss and improving insulin resistance than daily calorie restriction.
For more healthy eating guidance, please see my Optimized Nutrition Plan, which is a comprehensive and step-by-step guide to help you make health-promoting food and lifestyle choices. Some of the basics include:
Limit your fructose to less than 25 grams per day, and, ideally to less than 15 grams per day if you have signs of insulin resistance, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure
Limit or eliminate all processed foods. Replace them with whole, ideally organic produce and organically raised, pastured meats and animal products like eggs
Eliminate all gluten, and other allergenic foods from your diet
Increase the amount of fresh vegetables in your diet, and consider juicing
Eat at least one-third of your food uncooked (raw), or as much as you can manage
Dr. Perlmutter is a board-certified neurologist and a fellow of the American College of Nutrition (ACN). He also has a clinic in Naples, Florida, and he’s been very active in publishing his findings in peer-reviewed medical journals.
His previous book, Grain Brain, topped the New York Times bestseller list for 54 weeks. In my view, Dr. Perlmutter is probably the leading natural medicine neurologist in the US.
Certainly, most neurologists fail to consider how lifestyle impacts the neurological disorders they diagnose and treat every day, and prevention is an area of utmost importance as we still do not have effective treatments for many of the most common brain disorders.
“We’re now recognizing from research at our most well-respected institutions from around the globe that the gut bacteria are wielding this very powerful sword of Damocles,” he says.
They determine whether we’re going to have a healthy brain or not, whether our brain is going to function well or not, and whether our brain is going to become diseased or not. Who knew that we’d be referring back to the gut?”
Microbiome Research Shreds Notion of Reductionism
It turns out that this notion of reductionism—where your body is reduced to its individual parts—is completely nonsensical and grossly flawed. As explained by Dr. Perlmutter, every system in your body interrelates in a way that ultimately causes the manifestation of either health or disease.
In a previous interview, Dr. Perlmutter discussed specific dietary factors that influence your brain health, but one of the primary mechanisms of action that explains how a healthy diet “works” is that it upregulates, modifies, and improves the quality of your gut microbiome.
“These hundred trillion bacteria that live within your gut are so intimately involved in your brain at a number of levels. They manufacture neurochemicals, for example. Things like dopamine and serotonin.
They manufacture important vitamins that are important to keep your brain healthy. They also maintain the integrity of the lining of your gut,” he explains.
The latter is important because when your gut lining becomes compromised, you end up with permeability or leakiness of the gut. This increases inflammation, which is a cornerstone of virtually all brain disorders, from Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis (MS), to Parkinson’s and autism.
“We’ve got to really deal with it on a preventive basis,” Dr. Perlmutter says. “[We must] understand what in our Western culture, especially from a dietary perspective, is threatening the health of our commensals.
We call these bacteria ‘commensals’ because they share the table with us. We eat together with the bacteria. Basically, they eat what we eat. Our food choices have a dramatic effect on the health viability and even the diversity of those gut bacteria.”
Research Shows Swapping Gut Bacteria Can Reverse Type 2 Diabetes and Other Diseases
A researcher in Amsterdam, Dr. Max Nieuwdorp, has published a number of studies looking at changes in the microbiome that are characteristic of type 2 diabetes.
In one trial, he was able to reverse type 2 diabetes in all of the 250 study participants by doing fecal transplantations on them. Remarkable as it may sound, by changing the makeup of the gut bacteria, the diabetes was resolved.
Dr. Perlmutter has embraced this new information full force, and has even helped develop a peer-reviewed scientific journal, Medicus, that focuses on this kind of research. They’re also holding an annual conference to which the leading microbiome researchers in the world are invited.
In his view, and in mine, the understanding and practical adjustment and modification of the microbiome is an important part of the future of medicine. Fifteen years ago, we thought that the Human Genome Project (HGP) would allow modern medicine to leapfrog into new gene-based therapies that would solve all our ills.
That didn’t happen, as HGP discovered that genetics are only responsible for only about 10 percent of human disease,1 the rest—90 percent—are induced by environmental factors. Now we’re coming to realize that your microbiome is actually a driver of genetic expression, turning genes on and off depending on which microbes are present.
“The gut microbiome is 99 percent of the DNA in your body, and it is highly responsive and changeable based upon lifestyle choices, most importantly our food choices,” Dr. Perlmutter says.
“There’s this beautiful dance that happens between the gut bacteria and your own DNA. The gut bacteria actually influenced the expression of our 23,000 genes. Think about that. The bugs that live within us are changing our genome expression moment to moment.
Our genome has not changed over thousands of years. But now, suddenly, because we’re changing our gut bacteria, we are changing the signals that are going to our own DNA; coding now for increasing things like free radicals, oxidative stress, and inflammation. That is a powerful player in terms of so many disease processes…
Being a brain specialist dealing with brain disorders, my whole career I’ve been stymied by not having really powerful tools to implement to bring about changes in individuals who have these issues. Now we’re beginning to get those tools, and they are in the gut. Who knew?
In neurology school, we didn’t study the makeup of the gut bacteria and how that would ever influence the brain, and yet, this is leading-edge science.
This is what our most well-respected researchers and peer-reviewed journals are talking about: not only are the gut bacteria fundamentally involved in brain health, but you can change the gut bacteria by interventions – taking probiotics and choosing to eat foods that are rich in prebiotics and to enhance the growth of good bacteria – and even more aggressive therapies [such as fecal transplants]”
Nourish Your Microbiome, and It Will Nourish You
Two key strategies to nourish and protect your microbiome are to limit your consumption of antibiotics to when they’re absolutely necessary, and be judicious in terms of the foods you eat. Ideally, opt for whole, raw organic, non-genetically modified (GM) foods, along with traditionally fermented and cultured foods. Good examples include fermented vegetables of all kinds, including sauerkraut and kimchi, kombucha (a fermented drink), and fiber-rich prebiotic foods like jicama (Mexican yam), Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, and dandelion greens.
Avoiding confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) meats is also important, as the animals raised in these factory farms are raised on antibiotics, which changes their microbiome as well. This routine practice also promotes antibiotic-resistant bacteria that now threaten the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year. Pesticides have also been shown to alter gut bacteria and foster drug-resist bacteria in the soil and food, so organically-grown and raised foods are really your best bet.
“These are all very relevant lifestyle choices that we can make to enhance the health and the diversity of the gut bacteria. That’s going to give us a lifelong advantage in terms of being resistant to the very diseases that we dread the most,” Dr. Perlmutter says.
“The true definition of symbiosis: we’re supporting their health and they are supporting our health. We do that by the foods that we eat. They are, as I said, commensals. We’re sharing this meal. We treat them right by eating fermented foods that are rich in probiotic bacteria and prebiotic foods that contain prebiotic types of fiber like inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS).
These are nutrients that enhance the growth of good bacteria with multitudes of studies indicating things like weight loss, a better control of blood sugar, and reduction of inflammation… One study came out just last month showing how children with allergic rhinitis and breathing issues have improvements by just giving them fiber to enhance the growth of healthy bacteria.”
The Link Between the Microbiome and Autoimmune Disease
Inflammation is a hallmark of autoimmune diseases such as MS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Crohn’s, and inflammatory bowel disease, just to name a few. As explained by Dr. Perlmutter, many of the factors that affect permeability of the blood-brain barrier are similar to those that affect the gut, which is why leaky gut can lead to neurological diseases as easily as it can manifest as some other form of autoimmune disorder.
The permeability of your gut lining can be measured by looking at a chemical called lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which is the covering over certain groups of bacteria in your gut. When you have higher levels of antibodies against LPS in the bloodstream, it’s a marker of leaky gut.
LPS is also in and of itself a powerful instigator of the inflammatory cascade. Higher levels of LPS in the blood dramatically increase inflammation throughout your body, including your brain. Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease, for example, are both correlated with dramatically elevated levels of LPS.
“In Brain Maker I present pretty aggressive treatments for maintaining and restoring gut health using a variety of techniques – from using probiotic enemas to even going as far as having people get fecal transplantation. And do we see success? We sure do,” Dr. Perlmutter says.
“I have a case history in Brain Maker of a young man with MS who couldn’t walk without two canes and who underwent a series of fecal transplantations in Europe, and came back and walks without any assistance whatsoever. His videotape is linked to the book and is on our site. I use the video of this man walking when I do lectures to physicians. They look at this with their jaws hanging, because again, for you and me, this was never even a consideration in medical school…
If you did pay any attention to the gut you’d become a gastroenterologist, otherwise there’d be no interest in looking at it. But it turns out that it’s relevant whether you’re a gastroenterologist, a neurologist, a psychiatrist, a joint specialist, a skin specialist, or even a cancer specialist. We’ve got to pay attention to nurturing these bacteria if we’re going to keep people healthy.”
Seven Essential Keys to Rehabilitate Your Gut, from Birth to Death
In his book, Dr. Perlmutter delves into seven essential keys for rehabilitating your gut, starting at birth.
1. Vaginal birth
Do everything you can to avoid a Caesarian section. When you elect to deliver a child via Caesarian section – and there are times when it needs to be done to save the life of the mother or the baby—understand that by and large, you’re tripling the risk for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and doubling the risk for autism in your child. You’re also dramatically increasing the risk that your child will struggle with obesity, type 1 diabetes, and allergies. These are all inflammatory issues that are dramatically increased in children born via Caesarian section.
Dr. Perlmutter describes a simple and elegant technique developed by researchers at Yale University, whereby an organic gauze sponge is placed in the birth canal before the mother who is going to have a C-section is given the IV antibiotics. The sponge is then removed, the antibiotics are given, and as soon as the baby is born, the sponge is placed over the baby’s face, inoculating the child with its mother’s bacteria. This could be a good adjunct anytime a Caesarian is required. Unfortunately, at present it’s unlikely you’d be able to get your doctor to do it.
Aside from providing the most appropriate nutrients, breast feeding also affects your child’s microbiome via bacterial transfer from skin contact.
When you change your microbiome, certain groups of bacteria tend to be favored, such as the Firmicutes group. When present in excess, Firmicutes increase your risk of obesity. Animal research shows that when you change the animals’ microbiome using antibiotics, they gain weight. We also give antibiotics to cattle to make them fatter, faster. The same thing occurs in your body, which is why avoiding unnecessary antibiotics is so important.
Disinfectant products like antibacterial soaps and hand gels also fall into this category and should be avoided as much as possible.
4. Refined sugar and processed fructose
Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) preferentially increases the growth of pathogenic disease-causing bacteria, fungi, and yeast, so limiting the amount of refined and processed sugars in your diet is a key dietary principle for gut health.
According to Dr. Perlmutter, fructose in particular promotes gut dysbiosis, and there’s also a good correlation between fructose consumption and the levels of LPS, the inflammatory marker that shows your gut is leaking.
Fructose is also far more aggressive in terms of causing glycation of protein than other sugars, meaning high levels of sugar in your blood that bind to proteins. This too is correlated with leaky gut, and may explain why fructose consumption is related to increased gut permeability, and inflammatory diseases like obesity.
5. Genetically engineered foods and pesticides
Avoid genetically engineered foods. As noted by Dr. Perlmutter: “Yes, there is a clear and present danger in the notion of genetically modifying the food that we share with our gut bacteria. The gut bacteria are expecting the type of food that they have been provided for a couple of million years.
Suddenly, we’re introducing foods that are genetically unlike anything the human microbiome has ever seen. The research that allows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow genetically modified food has not even considered looking at the effects of GMOs on the human microbiome.”
Glyphosate, which is liberally used on genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops, and many non-organic non-GMO crops as well, has also been found to alter the human microbiome, so genetically engineered foods deliver a double assault on your gut bacteria every time you eat it.
“We’re poisoning the food that we eat. If that’s not bad enough, that’s the food we’re feeding our microbiome, which are going to determine whether we live or die,”Dr. Perlmutter says. “It’s a bit of a worry.”
6. Probiotic foods
Focus on eating probiotic foods, such as fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha (a fermented drink). A broad-spectrum probiotic supplements may also be advisable—especially if you have to take a course of antibiotics.
7. Prebiotic fiber
Consume plenty of prebiotic fiber. Not all fibers are prebiotic, so not any old fiber will do the job here. Whole foods are the best. Examples include dandelion greens, which can be lightly sautéd, Mexican yam or jicama that can be chopped up raw and put in your salad.
Onions and leeks are also excellent choices. These kinds of foods will allow your gut bacteria to flourish, which is the key to health, disease resistance, and longevity.
Optimal Health and Disease Prevention Begins in Your Gut
By making new choices, following the recommendations outlined above—which are not excessively complex by any means—you can rehabilitate your gut bacteria so that they will do “the heavy lifting” of preventing disease and promoting the healthy function of your body and mind.
Ultimately, it’s a magnificent handbook on how to take control of your health and prevent and/or treat many diseases that are considered “incurable” from the conventional point of view, including Alzheimer’s disease and MS.
The use of marijuana for medical purposes is now legal in 23 states and, as of this writing, 9 states have pending legislation or ballot measures to legalize medical marijuana.1 Estimates are that between 85 and 95 percent of Americans are in favor of medical cannabis, and nearly 60 percent support complete legalization of marijuana.
And doctors agree. In 2014, a survey found that the majority of physicians—56 percent—favor nationwide legalization of medical cannabis, with support being highest among oncologists and hematologists.2
However, many families are still unable, legally or otherwise, to obtain this herbal treatment. Families with a sick child are being forced to split up, just so that one parent can live in a place where medical cannabis can be legally obtained in order to help their child.
A major part of the problem lies at the federal level, where marijuana is classified as a Schedule 13 controlled substance—a category reserved for the most dangerous of drugs, including heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.
According to the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, Schedule 1 drugs are defined as those having a “high potential for abuse” and “no accepted medical use.” Research to date shows that marijuana meets neither of these criteria.
The featured documentary covers some of the most recent research on the medical applications of marijuana. In light of recent science, it’s clear that marijuana does not meet Schedule 1 criteria and it’s high time to revise this classification.
Prominent Physicians Shifting Their Stance on Medical Marijuana
This is a Flash-based video and may not be viewable on mobile devices.
The US seems to want it both ways. The federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. But in October 2003, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) obtained a patent for marijuana as a “neural protectant,” claiming it can protect your brain against stroke and trauma.5
How can HHS own a patent for the medical use of cannabis, while the federal government still classifies it as an unsafe drug with no medical value?
The US Has Much to Learn from Israel
The US is far behind many other countries in harnessing the healing power of marijuana. Israel is the marijuana research capital of the world, thanks to Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who was the first to investigate the medicinal properties of marijuana way back in the 1960s and the first to isolate THC and CBD.
Israel is now using marijuana to treat cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, and many other conditions. As shown in the film, even residents of Israeli nursing homes are being treated with marijuana.
But in the US, the fact that marijuana remains classified as a dangerous Schedule 1 drug has all but halted scientific progress. American scientists have to jump through a frustrating array of hoops, which are expensive and time consuming and ultimately discourage the majority of researchers from conducting marijuana studies.
Marijuana’s Miracle Molecules: Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are the general category of active chemical compounds found in marijuana, or cannabis. Cannabinoids can be separated into several subclasses—two of which are THC (tetrahydrocannabinols) and CBD (cannabidiols).6
CBD is the most abundant cannabinoid, contributing up to 40 percent of cannabis resin. Cannabinoids produce biological effects because, just like opiates interacting with your opiate receptors, cannabinoids interact with specific receptors located in your cell membranes.
The therapeutic and psychoactive properties of marijuana occur when particular cannabinoids activate their associated receptors, and the effects depend on the areas of your body and brain in which they interact.
Some cannabinoids are psychoactive, whereas others are not. THC is the most psychoactive, the one that produces the “high”—which is why marijuana plants have been bred over time to produce ever-increasing amounts of this compound.
However, selectively breeding pot for high THC has diminished its medicinal value and increased its likelihood of producing adverse effects. Although research is still in its infancy, the cannabinoids appear to work in tandem with each other, balancing one another out. According to the University of Washington:7
“CBD may actually have anti-anxiety effects and lessen the psychoactive effects of THC. This means that a plant with a greater percentage of CBD may reduce the intensity of the effects of the THC, which in effect lowers the potency of the plant.
Use of a cannabis plant with less CBD has been shown to have an increased psychological impact and result in unwanted effects such as anxiety.”
So, by breeding out the CBD, pot growers have created more intense psychoactive effects that lack any modulation, which is why some people experience adverse reactions such as anxiety and even psychosis. Mother Nature created a delicately balanced chemical system in this plant, which humans have upset with their tampering and manipulation.
Like It or Not, You Are Wired to Respond to Marijuana
The fact that there’s a plant that acts on your body’s own cannabinoid receptors is a phenomenon Dr. Mechoulam calls a “quirk of nature.” He’s referring to the fact that we didn’t develop these receptors in order to smoke pot—we have them because we have our own endogenous cannabinoid system.
Your body makes its own cannabinoids, similar to those found in marijuana but present in much smaller amounts. These endocannabinoids appear to perform signaling operations similar to your body’s neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. Cannabinoid receptors can be found on cell membranes throughout your body—in fact, scientists now believe they may represent the most widespread receptor system.8 Two receptor types have been identified:
CB1: Cannabinoid receptors that are extremely prolific in your brain (excluding your brain stem), but also present in your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and other parts of your body
CB2: Cannabinoid receptors primarily found in your immune system
Your endocannabinoid system is thought to help regulate nearly every physiological process and plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis—and yet, it’s not taught in medical school! We’ve shared this important system with all vertebrate species and even sea squirts for more than 600 million years. Science to date suggests that your endocannabinoid system is integral to the following biological processes, and chances are we’ve barely scratched the surface.9
The fact that your body is replete with cannabinoid receptors, key to so many biological functions, is why there’s such enormous medical potential for cannabis. If it can help restore homeostasis, it will prove itself as a very powerful therapy. CBD may be the most potent and beneficial of the cannabinoids, particularly for tamping down an overactive immune system, as is the case with autoimmune disease. CBD also has antipsychotic properties but does not get you high or stoned.
The response of cancer patients to cannabis treatment is very encouraging. Not only does cannabis help with the unpleasant side effects of traditional chemotherapy (including pain, nausea, and insomnia), but the cannabis itself appears to be a natural chemotherapy agent. Over the past several years, dozens of studies point to marijuana’s effectiveness against many different types of cancer, including brain cancer, breast and prostate, lung, thyroid, colon, pituitary, melanoma, and leukemia. It fights cancer by at least two mechanisms, making it difficult for a cancer to grow and spread:
Cannabis is pro-apoptotic, meaning it triggers apoptosis (cellular suicide) of cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells untouched
Cannabis is anti-angiogenic, meaning it cuts off a tumor’s blood supply
This may explain why chronic pot smokers have such surprisingly low rates of lung and other cancers, especially when compared to cancer rates among tobacco smokers. 10,11 In addition to cancer, cannabis has been found effective against an ever-growing list of illnesses. Research has been limited, but we may be turning the corner. It’s likely we’ll soon be expanding this list as the evolving political climate becomes more favorable to cannabis research.
Mental disorders, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), mood disorders, and Tourette’s syndrome
Pain and insomnia
Degenerative neurological disorders, dystonia, and tremor
Many prescription drugs are known to be dangerous. Pharmaceuticals in general are among the leading causes of death in the US, and some drugs have killed tens of thousands of individuals. The painkiller Vioxx is one classic example that killed over 60,000 before being pulled off the market. According to Dr. Margaret Gedde, MD, PhD, owner and founder of Gedde Whole Health and the Clinicians’ Institute of Cannabis Medicine, you don’t have to look far to find research confirming thatcannabis is safer and less toxic than many prescription drugs.
This includes liver and kidney toxicity, gastrointestinal damage, nerve damage, and of course death. Moreover, cannabinoids often work when pharmaceutical drugs fail, so not only is cannabis safer but it’s typically more effective. One of the strongest areas of research regarding marijuana’s health benefits is pain control.
In 2010, the Center for Medical Cannabis Research (CMCR) released a report12 on 14 clinical studies about the use of marijuana for pain, most of which were FDA-approved, double-blind, and placebo-controlled. The report revealed that marijuana not only controls pain, but in many cases it does so better than pharmaceutical alternatives.
If you compare prescription painkillers (opiates) to marijuana, marijuana is much safer. Opioid painkillers can lead to slowed respiration and death if an excess is taken—and the risks are compounded if you add alcohol to the equation. By contrast, cannabis overdose cannot kill you because there are no cannabinoid receptors in your brain stem, the region of your brain that controls your heartbeat and respiration.
The statistics speak for themselves. In 2010, prescription painkillers were responsible for 16,600 deaths, and painkiller overdoses claimed more women’s lives than cocaine and heroine combined. In the CDC’s Public Health Reports study,13prescription drugs were involved in fatal car crashes at three times the rate of marijuana.
In states where medical marijuana is legal, overdose deaths from opioids like morphine, oxycodone, and heroin decreased by an average of 20 percent after one year, 25 percent after two years and up to 33 percent by years five and six. As noted by Dr. Gedde:
“There’s an ongoing death rate from use of pain medications as prescribed. So, even as prescribed, they’re highly dangerous and they are open to abuse. As far as medications used in the pediatric population to control seizures, there are also severe toxicities to organs. Many of them are very sedating. The children become unable to function or really to interact because of the sedating effects. Other medications have a side effect of rage and behavioral problems.
Unprovoked rage is actually a known side effect of some of the anti-seizure medications. Cannabis and in particular cannabidiol has none of these issues. No toxicities. The main side effect of cannabidiol is sleepiness. As a child gets accustomed to it, that does wear off and the child can be very alert and functional on the cannabis oil once they have worked into the dosing. Once you put them against each other, there really is no comparison in terms of safety.”
Education Is Key
Because of the issues already discussed, it can sometimes be challenging finding accurate, science-based information about cannabis. Dr. Gedde offers the following suggestions for obtaining reliable information:
“The reason why it’s difficult is that the preponderance of research funds have been to show harm related to cannabis, as a drug of abuse… [L]ook for the real research that’s there on the endocannabinoid system and the ways that marijuana cannabis has been helping people for centuries. And look into the history of medical practice; that’s where the information starts to come out.”
She also recommends looking to current clinical practice, which is possible in states where cannabis is now safely and legally accessible. This is where you can learn more about optimal dosing and protocols found effective for various conditions. Other resources that may be helpful include the following:
Cancer.gov,14 the US government’s cancer website, contains research relating to the use of cannabis
PubMed15 is a searchable public resource containing a vast amount of medical literature, including studies involving cannabis
The Journal of Pain16 is a publication by the American Pain Society with a long list of studies on the pain-relieving effects of cannabis
National Institute on Drug Abuse17 is an excellent resource, including information about preclinical and clinical trials are underway to test marijuana and various extracts for the treatment of a number of diseases, including autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation, pain, and mental disorders.
It is clearly a move in the right direction and we have provided much of the impetus as our site comes up number two in Google for aspartame and many publications, like the LA Times,9 credit us for the increased awareness.
It’s hardly a major victory, however, as the company plans on replacing aspartame with sucralose, aka Splenda.10,11
The irony of this has not gone unnoticed. On April 26, US Right to Know tweeted the following message: “#DietSodaScam: @PepsiCo switching from aspartame to sucralose is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”
Indeed, sucralose is associated with many of the same adverse effects asaspartame, including:
Animal research13 published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health in 2008 also found that Splenda:
Reduces beneficial gut bacteria by 50 percent
Increases the pH level in the intestines
Affects a glycoprotein that can have crucial health effects, particularly if you’re on certain medications as it can cause the rejection of drugs such as chemotherapy, AIDS treatments, and treatments for heart conditions
Is absorbed by fat (contrary to previous claims)
Pepsi Is Just Switching One Hazardous Sweetener for Another
It’s really a toss-up as to which artificial sweetener might be better or worse than the other, but the fact that sucralose can destroy up to half of your beneficial gut microbes is by no means a selling point for aware consumers, as these bacteria are a vital part of your immune system and help support your general health—both physical and mental.
Disrupting your intestinal microflora is also one of the many mechanisms by which artificial sweeteners cause obesity and diabetes, according to recent research.14,15,16,17,18 Most importantly, this particular study actually showscausation.
Specifically, they found that the artificial sweeteners saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame cause decreased function in pathways associated with the transport of sugar in your body. They were also found to induce gut dysbiosis andglucose intolerance in otherwise healthy people.
Glucose intolerance is a well-known precursor to type 2 diabetes, but it also plays a role in obesity, because the excess sugar in your blood ends up being stored in your fat cells.According to the authors of this widely publicized study:
“[W]e demonstrate that consumption of commonly used non-caloric artificial sweeteners formulations drives the development of glucose intolerance through induction of compositional and functional alterations to the intestinal microbiota…
Collectively, our results link non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) consumption, dysbiosis, and metabolic abnormalities, thereby calling for a reassessment of massive NAS usage.”
Diet Pepsi Will Still Contain Ace-K
Diet Pepsi will also still contain the poorly tested acesulfame potassium19,20(ace-K), which has been linked to kidney problems. All in all, I believe ALL artificial sweeteners are bad news for your health, and Diet Pepsi will still contain two of them. Trading aspartame for sucralose in no way makes Diet Pepsi “better.”
They’re simply trading one hazardous ingredient for another, and it’s only a matter of time before consumers realize the ruse. Aspartame may have received far more bad press than any of the other artificial sweeteners because (in my view) it is the worst of the artificial sweeteners, but studies have consistently found harm from other no- or low-calorie sweeteners as well.
This is particularly true when it comes to the effect artificial sweeteners has on your weight. Studies have also shown that artificial sweeteners worsen insulin sensitivity to a greater degree than sugar, and that animals fed artificial sweeteners develop a disrupted metabolic response to real sugar.21
Artificial sweeteners also promote other health problems associated with excessive sugar consumption, including heart disease,22stroke,23,24,25 andAlzheimer’s disease.
Many astroturfers who insist that there’s “no scientific basis” for claims of harm conveniently ignore, or try to malign and downplay the many studies that actually do show harm, such as the cancer studies referenced above.
There are a number of industry front groups working to shape and mold public perception of “the facts,” which includes which studies to believe and which ones to ignore.
As I discussed in a previous article, the Calorie Control Council is a front group association that represents manufacturers and suppliers of low-calorie, sugar-free, and reduced sugar foods and beverages. It is, of course, a staunch defender of aspartame’s safety and effectiveness for weight management and diabetic control, and is quick to dismiss any research that suggests otherwise.
What many don’t realize is that the Calorie Control Council has strong ties to the Kellen Company, which is instrumental in creating and managing industry front groups specifically created to mislead you about the product in question, protect industry profits, and influence regulatory agencies.
Aspartame defenders also fail to admit that weight gain and insulin resistance are in fact harmful health effects—an ingredient doesn’t have to be acutely toxic or outright carcinogenic to be a health hazard.
When it comes to diet soda, this issue is particularly pertinent, as soda companies indeed advertise diet drinks as a means to lose weight, or at the very least to avoid weight gain, even though there’s absolutely no solid scientific foundation for that claim at all.
Use of the Word ‘Diet’ in Weight-Boosting Products Is Deceptive, False, and Misleading
False advertising is prohibited by federal law, and the term “diet” is only permitted on brands or labels when it is not false or misleading. In light of the burgeoning research demonstrating that artificially sweeteners actually increase your chances of gaining weight rather than help you shed it, the consumer group US Right to Know (US RTK) has asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo. Inc., and other companies for false advertising.26
RTK’s letter27 to FTC Director Jessica Rich, dated April 9, 2015, reads in part:
“Their use of the term ‘diet’ in advertising for these products appears to be deceptive under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act 2 as interpreted by the Commission in its ‘Statement on Deception,’3 because scientific evidence suggests artificial sweeteners contribute to weight gain, not weight loss…
We ask that the Commission conduct this investigation urgently, given the real possibility of consumer harm, in that companies are portraying products as assisting with weight loss, when in fact they may well contribute to weight gain. Such weight gain increases the risk of serious diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer.”
According to Gary Ruskin, executive director of US Right to Know:28
“The jump from aspartame to sucralose is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The bigger problem is that PepsiCo is selling a product as ‘diet’ that may well cause weight gain. They didn’t solve that problem. We have asked the FTC and FDA to shut down what appears to be a consumer fraud. We’re hopeful they will stand with consumers and do the right thing.”
In its citizen petition to the FDA,29 US RTK requests the agency to issue warning letters to Coca-Cola and Pepsi, concluding that the beverages are misbranded because the use of the term “diet” is false and misleading. RTK is also asking the FDA to investigate the use of the term “diet” in other foods and beverages that contain artificial sweeteners.
Many Studies Refute ‘Diet’ Claims of Artificial Sweeteners
This study examined nearly 78,700 women aged 50-69 for one year. Artificial sweetener usage increased with relative weight, and users were significantly more likely to gain weight, compared to those who did not use artificial sweeteners—regardless of their initial weight.According to the researchers, the results “were not explicable by differences in food consumption patterns. The data do not support the hypothesis that long-term artificial sweetener use either helps weight loss or prevents weight gain.”
This Purdue University study found that rats fed artificially sweetened liquids ate more high-calorie food than rats fed high-caloric sweetened liquids. The researchers believe the experience of drinking artificially sweetened liquids disrupted the animals’ natural ability to compensate for the calories in the food.
Data gathered from the 25-year long San Antonio Heart Study also showed that drinking diet soft drinks increased the likelihood of serious weight gain – far more so than regular soda.37 On average, for each diet soft drink the participants drank per day, they were 65 percent more likely to become overweight during the next seven to eight years, and 41 percent more likely to become obese.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 200538
In this two-year long study, which involved 166 school children, increased diet soda consumption was associated with higher BMI at the end of the trial.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study included 2,371 girls aged 9-19 for 10 years. Soda consumption in general, both regular and diet, was associated with increase in total daily energy intake.
This study delves into the neurobiology of sugar cravings and summarizes the epidemiological and experimental evidence concerning the effect of artificial sweeteners on weight.According to the authors: “[F]indings suggest that the calorie contained in natural sweeteners may trigger a response to keep the overall energy consumption constant. …Increasing evidence suggests that artificial sweeteners do not activate the food reward pathways in the same fashion as natural sweeteners… [A]rtificial sweeteners, precisely because they are sweet, encourage sugar craving and sugar dependence.”
This review offers a summary of epidemiological and experimental evidence concerning the effects of artificial sweeteners on weight, and explains those effects in light of the neurobiology of food reward. It also shows the correlation between increased usage of artificial sweeteners in food and drinks, and the corresponding rise in obesity. More than 11,650 children aged 9-14 were included in this study. Each daily serving of diet beverage was associated with a BMI increase of 0.16 kg/m.2
This report highlights the fact that diet soda drinkers suffer the same exact health problems as those who opt for regular soda, such as excessive weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, andstroke.44,45 The researchers speculate that frequent consumption of artificial sweeteners may induce metabolic derangements.
This study was able to clearly show causality, revealing there’s a direct cause and effect relationship between consuming artificial sweeteners and developing elevated blood sugar levels.People who consumed high amounts of artificial sweeteners were found to have higher levels of HbA1C—a long-term measure of blood sugar—compared to non-users or occasional users of artificial sweeteners.
Seven volunteers who did not use artificial sweeteners were then recruited, and asked to consume the equivalent of 10-12 single-dose packets of artificial sweeteners daily for one week.
Four of the seven people developed “significant disturbances in their blood glucose,” according to the researchers. Some became pre-diabetic within just a few days. The reason for this dramatic shift was traced back to alterations in gut bacteria. Some bacteria were killed off, while others started proliferating.
This study, which was done on rats, using aspartame, also found an increased risk of glucose intolerance. Animals that consume artificial sweeteners ended up with raised levels of propionate—short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) involved in sugar production. Consumption of artificial sweeteners shifted gut microbiota to produce propionate, which generated higher blood sugar levels.
Seniors aged 65 and over were followed for an average of nine years, and there was a “striking dose-response relationship” between diet soda consumption and waist circumference. This held true even when other factors such as exercise, diabetes, and smoking were taken into account.People who never drank diet soda increased their waist circumference by an average of 0.8 inches during the nine-year observation period. Occasional diet soda drinkers added an average of 1.83 inches to their waist line in that time period.
Daily diet soda drinkers gained an average of nearly 3.2 inches—quadruple that of those who abstained from diet soda altogether.
Reclaim Your Health by Switching to Water
Sweetened beverages, whether it’s sweetened with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, naturally occurring fructose, or artificial sweeteners, are among the worst culprits causing obesity and related health problems, including diabetes, heart and liver disease, just to name a few. Ditching ALL of these types of beverages can go a long way toward reducing your risk for chronic health problems and weight gain.
Your best, most cost effective choice of beverage is filtered tap water. Besides purification, I also believe it’s critical to drinkliving water. Last year, I interviewed Dr. Gerald Pollack about his book, The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor. This fourth phase of water is referred to as “structured water” and is the type of water found in all of your cells. This water has healing properties, and is naturally created in a variety of ways.
Water from a deep spring is one excellent source of structured water, and there’s a great website called FindaSpring.com49where you can find a natural spring in your area. You can also promote structured water through vortexing, i.e. stirring your water, creating a vortex in the glass or pitcher.
It’s a sad fact that we’ve more or less made an entire healthy food group toxic due to manmade pollution.
With just a few exceptions, most seafood is contaminated with environmental pollutants such as mercury and PCBs, and farmed seafood is typically fed antibiotics and other drugs.
In most respects, fish and shrimp farms are riddled with the same problems as land-based confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which include disease-promoting overcrowding, unnatural diets, and environmental pollution.
Even shrimp, which due to their small size have been considered one of the safer kinds of seafood in terms of contamination, are not recommended unless you can verify that it’s wild-caught from a clean source—and therein lies the problem.
What you see on the label isn’t always what you get, as many shrimp products are mislabeled and completely misrepresented.
Seafood Fraud Is Big Business
Last year, a report1,2 by the ocean conservation group Oceana revealed that over 30 percent of shrimp products sold in US grocery stores and restaurants are misrepresented. Fifteen percent were mislabeled in regard to production method (farm-raised or wild-caught) or species.
Farmed species were often labeled as “Gulf shrimp,” and different species were often mixed together in one bag, or otherwise mislabeled. One sample of frozen shrimp salad even contained a type of aquarium pet shrimp that is not intended for human consumption.
Ironically, if you’re looking for wild-caught shrimp, you may be best off purchasing products labeled simply as “shrimp,” as two-thirds of such packages contained wild-caught Gulf shrimp, while more than one-third of those labeled as “Gulf shrimp” were actually farm-raised!
Fish are also frequently misrepresented and mislabeled, and the ramifications can be more serious than simply overpaying for an inferior product. In an earlier test, published in 2013, Oceana3 discovered that 84 percent of white tuna sampled from US retail outlets were actually escolar—a fish that can cause severe digestive problems.
As noted by The Atlantic,4 seafood fraud is costing Americans an estimated $25 billion annually. But why misrepresent seafood?
For starters, less than one percent of imported seafood is inspected for mislabeling, and seafood businesses can avoid paying higher anti-dumping tariffs by misrepresenting the seafood being imported.
In one case, passing off Asian catfish as grouper saved the company more than $60 million in such tariffs.5 Grouper also sells for about four times the amount as catfish, so money is to be made on the resale end as well.
Lack of Inspection and Oversight of Imported Seafood Adds to the Problem
Today, the vast majority of shrimp (over 90 percent) come from industrial shrimp farms off the coasts of India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and other countries where industry regulations may be less strict than the US.
For example, the US does not permit the use of antibiotics in shrimp farming, but many other nations use antibiotics in their operations.6 As noted in the featured video by Consumer Reports,7 it’s illegal to import shrimp raised on antibiotics into the US.
Antibiotics can hide lack of hygiene in the shrimp ponds, and overuse promotes antibiotic resistance. Yet in one recent test, Consumer Reports detected antibiotics in 11 of 342 samples of imported raw farmed shrimp, and lack of enforcement of the laws is part of the problem.
Bacteria were also detected on 60 percent of the shrimp tested, including bacteria that can cause staph infection and food poisoning, which is suggestive of poor hygiene among food processors.
Why Farmed Shrimp Is an Unsustainable and Risky Choice
Aquaculture promotes itself as a sustainable solution to overfishing. But in reality, seafood farms cause as many problems as they solve, and may even be making matters worse.
Carnivorous sea animals such as prawns need fish in their diet, and dwindling fish stocks in the wild has led to illegal fishing; some of it within national park waters off the coast of Thailand—an area that now supplies much of the fish meal to feed factory farmed animals, including farmed shrimp and prawns.
Trawling for “trash fish” along the coast of Southeast Asia to meet the demand for shrimp feed is having devastating effects on the ecosystem.
All sorts of tropical fish, and even rare shark species, sea sponges, starfish, and octopi end up as fish feed in this process, and catching small, immature fish reduces overall fish stocks, as bigger fish are left without a suitable food source. The end result is rapidly decreasing fish stocks for human consumption. In short, the entire balance in nature is being destroyed.
Shrimp farms are also having dramatically negative ramifications for already impoverished people. In Bangladesh, for example, many native farmers have lost their land to industrial shrimp farms, and once fertile crop land now lies buried under manmade prawn ponds, owned by non-locals.
Illegal toxic pesticides are also routinely used to farm shrimp in some of these areas, including endosulfan, a broad spectrum insecticide that is banned not only in Bangladesh, but also in more than 80 other countries due to its environmental and human toxicity.
If You Choose Wisely, the Benefits of Seafood Can Still Outweigh the Risks
While seafood can be contaminated with a number of different toxins, one of the major ones to beware of is mercury. Fish is a great source of important fats—both saturated and omega-3s—but the benefits of eating fish can easily be negated by selecting varieties that tend to be highly contaminated with mercury.
So, while the recommendation to eat more fish would be solid advice in a toxin free world, today you need to take mercury content into account, as mercury levels can vary more than100-fold from one species to another.
For example, research8 published in 2010, which quantified the contributions to total mercury in the US seafood supply by 51 different varieties of fish and shellfish, found that tuna was responsible for more thanone-third of Americans’ total exposure to methylmercury.9
For a handy list that you can print out for reference, please see the Mercury Policy Project’s guide10 to mercury levels in different varieties of fish and shellfish. A recent article in Investigate West11 also addressed this issue, and includes a number of graphs showing not only mercury content in different fish, but also other contaminants such as PCBs. Tuna, snapper, and halibut top the list of fish containing the most mercury and PCBs (the results were from fish sampled in Washington State markets and the Puget Sound).
Among the safest in terms of contamination, and the highest in healthy omega-3 fat, are wild-caught Alaskan and sockeye salmon. Neither is allowed to be farmed, and are therefore always wild-caught. The risk of sockeye accumulating high amounts of mercury and other toxins is reduced because of its short life cycle, which is only about three years.
Additionally, bioaccumulation of toxins is also reduced by the fact that it doesn’t feed on other, already contaminated, fish. The two designations you want to look for on the label are: “Alaskan salmon” (or wild Alaskan salmon) and “Sockeye salmon.” Canned salmon labeled “Alaskan salmon” is a less expensive alternative to salmon fillets.
A general guideline is that the closer to the bottom of the food chain the fish is, the less contamination it will have accumulated, so other safer choices include sardines, anchovies, and herring. Shrimp is also low in mercury, but as noted above, there are many other issues with shrimp, especially imported and farm-raised shrimp that makes it less than desirable from a health and environmental perspective.
Canned tuna, mackerel, swordfish, grouper, marlin, and orange roughly have some of the highest levels of mercury levels and are best avoided—especially if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. For even more information about mercury in fish, I recommend reviewing the Mercury Policy Project’s website, Mercury and Fish: The Facts.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed When Purchasing Seafood
Under the US federal Country of Origin Labeling Law, also known as COOL, fresh seafood must disclose where the food was farmed or caught. However, this rule does not apply to processed foods, including seafood that is boiled, breaded, or added to packaged meals. Nearly half of all shrimp sold in the US are processed and therefore do not bear country of origin labels.
Restaurants are also exempt from this labeling requirement. This makes it virtually impossible to tell where it came from unless you’re buying unprocessed seafood—but even then it might be mislabeled… So how can you make sure you’re actually getting what you’re paying for?
If you’re buying wild shrimp, opt for shrimp that has been responsibly harvested. Consumer Reports recommends looking for products certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).12 This certification assures that every component of the manufacturing process – from how the raw materials are harvested to how the product is manufactured – has been scrutinized by MSC and has been independently audited to ensure it meets sustainable standards.
All of my krill products, for example, are MSC certified, allowing you to track where the krill oil came from in the Antarctic Ocean, as each batch of krill is carefully monitored all the way through, from catch to sale. Seafood Watch, which is part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, can also guide13 you in the direction of more sustainable seafood choices. They even offer a Sustainable Seafood app14 for your smartphone. Other labels that signify more sustainable products include:
Whole Foods Market Responsibly Farmed 3rd Party certification.
Fishwise: The Fishwise label identifies how the fish was caught, where it came from, and whether the fish is sustainable (or environmentally threatened).
Seafood Safe: The Seafood Safe label involves independent testing of fish for contaminants, including mercury and PCBs, and recommendations for consumption based upon the findings.
If you’re buying farmed shrimp (which I do not recommend), look for certifications by: NaturLand, Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), or Whole Foods Market’s Responsibly Farmed label. These three groups certify that the shrimp has been raised according to aquaculture guidelines that protect the environment and prohibits the use of antibiotics. As for making sure you’re actually getting what the label tells you, The Atlantic15 suggests buying your seafood from a member of the Better Seafood Bureau.16
This trade organization reports fraud found along the seafood supply chain. You’re also less likely to get scammed if you seek out seafood that has not been imported, as domestic fisheries tend to follow the rules for seafood labeling. Many inland areas have seafood markets dedicated to fresh, high-quality seafood that is brought in daily.
Here you can talk to the owner directly, who should be able to give you details about where the seafood came from. Last but not least, when possible, purchase the whole fish as it’s far more difficult to misrepresent the fish species when it’s not cut up and filleted.
I have been warning you for a long time about the dangers of vaccinations. You will not hear the truth on major U.S. media. The FDA will not tell you the truth. I bring you the news that the controlled news media will not tell you. Seventy-Five Percent damage rate is horridous. Big Pharma does not care about your children and anyone else. All their medicines are toxic and not fit for consumption. Ask yourself, why is most medicine made from petroleum products? Doctors in the Old West sold ‘snake oil’ as a cure-all, now Big Pharma is selling oil derivaties as a cure-all. It is all criminal and you have to protect yourself and your children from criminals. It should be your choice, not the government or the schools or the workplaces. What happened to the Medical Directive: “Do not harm”?
The US government has finally admitted they’ve overdosed Americans on fluoride and, for first time since 1962, are lowering its recommended level of fluoride in drinking water.1,2,3
About 40 percent of American teens have dental fluorosis,4 a condition referring to changes in the appearance of tooth enamel—from chalky-looking lines and splotches to dark staining and pitting—caused by long-term ingestion of fluoride during the time teeth are forming.
In some areas, fluorosis rates are as high as 70-80 percent, with some children suffering from advanced forms.
The former recommendation called for a fluoride level of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter (mg/L) of water. The new upper limit set by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is 0.7 mg/L, to prevent these visible signs of toxic overexposure.
Why Is a Drug Added to Water When the Dose Cannot Be Controlled?
It’s quite clear that when you add fluoride to drinking water, you cannot control the dose that people are getting, and fluoride is in fact not only a non-essential mineral but a toxic drug. This alone is one of the reasons why fluoride shouldn’t be added to drinking water at any level.
If a doctor somehow managed to force a patient to take a drug with known toxic effects and failed to inform them of the dosage and frequency, and never monitored their health outcome, they would be medically negligent and liable to legal and medical board action.
Yet water utilities administer this drug without a prescription, at the behest of the government, without any idea of who will get what dose and for how long, and without monitoring for side effects.
Fluoride is added to drinking water to, in theory, prevent a disease (tooth decay), and as such becomes a medicine by FDA definition. While proponents claim this is no different than adding vitamin D to milk, fluoride is not an essential nutrient. Moreover, fluoride isn’t even approved by the FDA for the prevention of cavities.
We now know that at a limit of 0.7-1.2 mg/L causes a great many people to overdose on the drug. Will an upper limit of 0.7 mg/L protect everyone forced to drink fluoridated water?
Considering the fact that people also get fluoride from toothpaste, dental rinses, processed foods, and beverages, the chances of overexposure are still present, even at this lowered level.
Many Will Still Be at Risk for Overexposure at Lowered Fluoride Level
At the previous level, 40 percent of US teens became “collateral damage.” What will the allowable damage be at the new level? The HHS said it will evaluate dental fluorosis rates among children in 10 years to assess whether they were correct about this new level.
Let’s say dental fluorosis goes down to 20 percent. Is 20 percent an acceptable level of harm? How about 10 percent? Who decides what the acceptable level of collateral damage is?
Remarkably, the Sacramento Bee5 reports that: “Recent unpublished federal research found there’s no regional differences in the amount of water kids drink. So it makes sense for the same levels to be used everywhere, health officials said.”
I’d be very curious to review that study, because I have a hard time imagining that kids everywhere drink the same amount of water!
It’s also a ludicrous assumption unless every single child is also exposed to the same amount of fluoride from other sources besides drinking water… and weighs the same… and has the same health status… and we know that’s simplynot the case.
According to the HHS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “uses the 90th percentile of drinking water intake for all age groups to calculate the relative contribution for each fluoride source.”
What this means is that if you drink more water than the 90th percentile, you are not protected by this reduced level. People most likely to fall into that category include infants receiving formula mixed with fluoridated water, people working outdoors (especially in hot climates), athletes, and diabetics.
Dental Fluorosis Is NOT the Only Risk of Water Fluoridation
Barbara Gooch, a dentist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told NPR6 that “The only documented risk of water fluoridation is fluorosis, and it is primarily a cosmetic risk. Fluorosis in the milder form is not a health risk.”
This hints at a really deficient understanding of the available science on fluoride’s health effects. Dental fluorosis is the most visible form of fluorosis, but it’s far from being “just cosmetic” and of no further concern.
It can also be an indication that the rest of your body, such as your bones and internal organs, including your brain, has been overexposed to fluoride as well.
In other words, if fluoride is having a visually detrimental effect on the surface of your teeth, you can be virtually guaranteed that it’s also damaging other parts of your body, such as your bones. Skeletal fluorosis, which isn’t visible, is very difficult to distinguish from arthritis. Symptoms indicative of early clinical stage skeletal fluorosis include:
Burning, prickling, and tingling in your limbs
Reduced appetite and weight loss
The second clinical stage of skeletal fluorosis is characterized by:
Stiff joints and/or constant pain in your bones; brittle bones; and osteosclerosis
Calcification of tendons, or ligaments of ribs and pelvis
Osteoporosis in the long bones
Bony spurs may also appear on your limb bones, especially around your knee, elbow, and on the surface of tibia and ulna
All of this has been known since the 1930s, so it’s rather disingenuous to proclaim that dental fluorosis is the onlydocumented risk of water fluoridation. If 40 percent of American teens have dental fluorosis, how many people suffer from skeletal fluorosis as a result of chronic fluoride overexposure? In one previous study, bone fracture rates also rose sharply with increasing severity of dental fluorosis. Studies have also demonstrated that fluoride toxicity, caused by overexposure, can lead to:
Inactivation of 62 enzymes and inhibition of more than 100
Inhibited formation of antibodies, and immune system disruptions
Fluoride Has No Benefit for Teeth When Swallowed
You are beyond naïve if you believe that fluoride somehow selectively goes to your teeth when you swallow it. Rather, it accumulates throughout your body’s bones and tissues. What little benefit fluoride may have is achieved through topicalapplication. Both the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have noted that there is no discernible difference in tooth decay between developed countries that fluoridate their water and those that do not.7
The decline in tooth decay the US has experienced over the last 60 years, which is often attributed to fluoridated water, has likewise occurred in all developed countries, most of which do not fluoridate their water. So declining rates of dental decay is not in and of itself proof that water fluoridation actually works. It’s also worth noting that well over 99 percent of the fluoride added to drinking water never even touches a tooth; it simply runs down the drain, into the environment, where you can be guaranteed it’s doing nothing that is beneficial…
Source: KK Cheng et al. BMJ 2007.8 Rates of cavities have declined by similar amounts in countries with and without fluoridation.
HHS Still Ignores Major Safety Concerns
According to Fluoride Action Network9 (FAN), in finalizing its new fluoride recommendation, the HHS has whitewashed a number of safety issues, failing to address recent research showing adverse effects ranging from lowered IQ in children (found in no less than 43 studies), underactive thyroid,10 and ADHD.11
For example, one recent study12 linking fluoridated water to higher prevalence of ADHD created a predictive model showing that every one percent increase in the portion of the US population drinking fluoridated water in 1992 was associated with 67,000 additional cases of ADHD 11 years later, and an additional 131,000 cases 19 years later.
FAN points out that the HHS even “resorted to deceit” when it dismissed research showing reductions in IQ. The HHS stated that “A recent meta-analysis of studies conducted in rural China… identified an association between high fluoride exposure (i.e., drinking water concentrations ranging up to 11.5 mg/L) and lower IQ scores…” First of all, there are in all 43 studies reporting a relationship between fluoride exposure and reduced IQ. The study mentioned by the HHS only looked at 27 of them.
But more importantly, when you seek to protect an entire population you have to look at the lowest level at which harm becomes apparent, not the highest. By noting only the upper level of the fluoride concentrations found in this study, it appears the HHS was trying to offer misleading reassurance that their recommended level is well beneath any level where risk may be present. But the lowest level at which IQ reductions were noted in that study was 0.88 mg/L, which isn’t that far from the new recommended upper limit of 0.7 mg/L.
Add fluoride from other sources, and you may very well get into the range of hazard. Interestingly, a number of studies13,14,15,16 have specifically shown that children who have moderate or severe dental fluorosis score lower on tests measuring cognitive skills and IQ, suggesting that if 40 percent of our kids have fluorosis, the water fluoridation scheme in the US is likely affecting our children’s IQ as well. As noted by FAN:
“In addition, in toxicology, it is not the concentration of fluoride (mg/liter) that is the relevant parameter but the dose in mg/day (how much you drink), and such a dose has to be compiled from all sources. In the case of the Chinese children in rural villages in these studies, they did not have two sources that US children commonly have: typically they are not bottle-fed and they do not use fluoridated toothpaste.
So, it is likely that some American children are getting higher doses than some of the Chinese children who had their IQ lowered… Because fluoride is an endocrine disruptor and has the potential to lower IQ in children, FAN urges HHS to adopt the Precautionary Principle and end fluoridation now.”
They Got It Wrong—HHS Does Not Consider the Fact That Fluoride Is an Endocrine Disruptor…
According to FAN:
“HHS also stated in its press release that a report on the toxicology of fluoride by the National Research Council of the National Academies (NRC, 200617) ‘found no evidence substantial enough to support effects other than severe dental fluorosis at these levels.’
What HHS failed to state is that the NRC report of 2006 stated18 for the first time that fluoride is an ‘endocrine disruptor,’ which means it has the potential to play havoc with the biology and fate of humans and animals. This is far more significant than severe dental fluorosis.”
In 2011, FAN submitted a number of concerns to the HHS, and none of them have been adequately addressed, FAN says. These concerns include:
Mass medicating the population via the water supply is unethical
The benefit and safety of ingested fluoride has never been proved by accepted medical standards
Any benefits of fluoride are primarily topical, not systemic
Americans will still be over-exposed to fluoride at 0.7 ppm
Infants will not be protected. Babies who receive formula made with fluoridated water will still receive 175 times more fluoride than breast-fed infants
African-American children and low-income children will not be protected
Fluoride as an endocrine disruptor, which the HHS still has not taken into consideration
HHS has not considered or investigated rates of skeletal fluorosis in the US
To Protect Your Health, Avoid Fluoride
No matter which scientific studies you examine or which population trends you view, the rational conclusion is that fluoride’s health dangers far outweigh the marginal dental benefits it might offer. Dental caries can be effectively prevented with meansother than fluoridation, thereby avoiding the adverse effects of fluoride.
It’s important to realize that fluoride is a cumulative toxin, which over time can lead to serious health concerns, from hypothyroidism to skeletal fluorosis and much more. The neurological effects are particularly disconcerting. Even scientists from the EPA’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a “chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.”
Water fluoridation needs to stop. The question is how. Despite all the evidence, getting fluoride out of American water supplies has been exceedingly difficult. After all, the US government has promoted it for over half a century. Were it to admit that they were wrong all along, and have in fact been poisoning everyone all this time, the ramifications could be enormous. It’s not impossible to abolish water fluoridation, however, as evidenced in areas that have successfully done it.
According to the late Jeff Green, national director of Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, a repeated theme in the cases where communities successfully removed fluoride from their water supply is the shifting of the burden of proof.
Rather than citizens taking on the burden of proving that fluoride is harmful and shouldn’t be added, a more successful strategy has been to hold those making claims, and the elected officials who rely on them, accountable for delivering proof that the specific fluoridation chemical being used fulfills their health and safety claims, and is in compliance with all regulations, laws, and risk assessments already required for safe drinking water. To learn more, please see this previousarticle, which discusses these strategies more in-depth.
The Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to end water fluoridation not only in the US, but worldwide, but they need your support to succeed. Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs, and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So, please, protect your drinking water and support the fluoride-free movement by making a tax-deductible donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.
Recent Victories in the Fight Against Water Fluoridation
There have been a number of recent victories in the fight against water fluoridation that are worth celebrating, including the following:
Clarksburg, West Virginia19—Water Board members voted 2-1 in April to end fluoridation due to the growing number of studies showing negative side effects. The decision by the Clarksburg board end fluoridation for over 25,000 citizens, including residents of Bridgeport and a number of other smaller communities20.
Oneida, New York21—On May 5th the Common Council voted 5-1 to reject fluoridation for the third time since 2002. For months, the council has held public hearings and debates on fluoridation, listening to an array of experts on both sides of the issue, including FAN’s Dr. Paul Connett and NY Dept. of Health’s Dental Representative Jay Kumar, who is a long-time promoter of fluoridation. Despite an aggressive lobbying campaign by the fluoride-lobby, the council and community couldn’t be tricked into believing that the practice was safe, effective, or necessary. The decision will protect the water for over 21,000 residents.
Kingsville, Ontario22—This Canadian City Council, representing over 20,000 citizens, passed a motion in April reaffirming its stance in opposition to fluoridation. The issue was raised by the former Deputy Mayor, who urged the council to pass the motion to send a message to the provincial government, which is considering mandating the practice. The community of Lakeshore, Ontario23 also recently publicized their opposition to fluoridation, and will be sending a letter to provincial officials opposing a mandate.
Carl Junction, Missouri24—Councilors voted to end fluoridation in April after considering a number of concerns they had regarding the effectiveness and safety of the practice. The community, which is home to approximately 8,000 residents, started fluoridating the water supply in 2005 after voters approved the use of the additive. Carl Junction isn’t alone in making this decision. According to a recent article,25 “over the past five years, [at least] seven cities and towns in Missouri have removed fluoride from their municipal water systems, and a half-dozen more have put the matter to vote.”
Bennington, Vermont26–Despite aggressive campaigning by a well-organized and well-funded pro-fluoridation coalition, in March residents of this community of 16,000 voted 1,539 to 1,117 in opposition to fluoridation in an advisory referendum vote. This is at least the fifth time Bennington residents have voted down fluoridation since the 1960s.
Gilford, Pennsylvania27–Gilford Water Authority officials have decided to end fluoridation after more than 60 years of practicing it. The authority sent a letter to water customers stating, “We believe we should not put anything into the water that is not required by regulation to maintain the potability and pH balance of your water.”
Sonoma City, California28—In March, City Councilors voted 3-2 to oppose a proposal by the County government to add fluoride to the city’s drinking water. The council will be sending a letter of opposition to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.
Help End the Practice of Fluoridation
There’s no doubt about it: fluoride should not be ingested. Even scientists from the EPA’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a “chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.” Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 41 percent of American adolescents now have dental fluorosis—unattractive discoloration and mottling of the teeth that indicate overexposure to fluoride. Clearly, children are being overexposed, and their health and development put in jeopardy. Why?
The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the first place. Fortunately, the Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation worldwide. Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs, and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So, please, protect your drinking water and support the fluoride-free movement by making a tax-deductible donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.
10 Facts About Fluoride: Attorney Michael Connett summarizes 10 basic facts about fluoride that should be considered in any discussion about whether to fluoridate water. Also see 10 Facts Handout (PDF).
Health Effects Database: FAN’s database sets forth the scientific basis for concerns regarding the safety and effectiveness of ingesting fluorides. They also have a Study Tracker with the most up-to-date and comprehensive source for studies on fluoride’s effects on human health.
Together, Let’s Help FAN Get the Funding They Deserve
In my opinion, there are very few NGOs that are as effective and efficient as FAN. Its small team has led the charge to end fluoridation and will continue to do so with our help!
Please make a donation today to help FAN end the absurdity of fluoridation.
Currently, Americans are standing at a crossroads: one way leads to certain labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods across the country; the other will lead toward the elimination of that possibility.
If you’ve never taken action on this issue before, I urge you to do so now. We need every single American who cares about this issue to make their opinion known very clearly to their federal representatives.
According to recent polls done by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), over 90 percent of the public definitely wants to know what’s in their food.
Demands for labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were recently stimulated even further when the prestigious International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization declared glyphosate a “probable carcinogen.”1,2
Research3 has also revealed that inert ingredients like ethoxylated adjuvants in glyphosate-based herbicides are “active principles of human cell toxicity.” They also suspect that4 Roundup might interfere with hormone production, possibly leading to abnormal fetal development, low birth weights, or miscarriages.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, is sprayed heavily on 84 percent of all GMO crops, including soy, corn, canola, and sugar beets—all the key ingredients in processed foods.
After reviewing 44 scientific studies, half of the IARC panel thought that glyphosate should be classified as a Group 1 “known carcinogen,” with the other half opting for a Group 2 “probable carcinogen” rating.
Environmental groups recently sent a letter5 to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling for the agency to reexamine the safety of glyphosate in light of the IARC’s determination.
As noted by Ronnie Cummins of the OCA,6 “Given the fact that new peer-reviewed studies damning glyphosate are being published nearly every week, the IARC may very well reclassify glyphosate as a ‘known carcinogen’ in the near future.”
But merely hoping and wishing for labeling that will help you avoid GMOs won’t make it happen. Action is absolutely required at this time, and here’s why.
Major Victory for Vermont—Federal Judge Upholds GMO Labeling Law
On April 16, 2014, the Vermont Senate passed the first no-strings-attached GMO labeling bill (H.112) by an overwhelming margin—28-2. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives on April 23.
The bill was immediately attacked by industry. Spearheaded by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), they sued Vermont to block the implementation of the law.
On April 27, 2015, Judge Christina Reiss ruled in Vermont’s favor.7 The law stands, and will go into effect on July 1, 2016. As reported by Vermont Right to Know GMOs:8
“The judge also dismissed a number of the plaintiffs’ claims including assertions that the law violates the commerce clause and was expressly preempted by federal law.
Possibly, the most important aspect of the ruling is that the law’s requirement that GMOs be labeled is constitutional under the First Amendment…
‘The GMO food giants aren’t used to losing, but they were just knocked on their collective keister by the state of Vermont,’ said VPIRG Executive Director Paul Burns. ‘Consumers across the country will no doubt take notice.'”
The Grocery Manufacturers Association has asked the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to overturn the April 27 ruling. GMA president Pamela Bailey issued a statement saying:
“The court’s opinion in denying our request to block the Vermont law opens the door to states creating mandatory labeling requirements based on pseudo-science and web-fed hysteria. If this law is allowed to go into effect, it will disrupt food supply chains, confuse consumers, and lead to higher food costs.”
Bailey also stressed that the federal court’s ruling—which determined that existing US law does not preempt state’s GMO labeling laws—“shows why Congress should pass the voluntary uniform GMO labeling bill quickly and federally preempt state mandatory GMO laws.”
It’s a big risk for them to appeal, because if they lose – and from the judge’s comments it’s going to be very hard to overturn – it’s going to be a tough blow to their federal ambitions of passing the Pompeo bill. That would then leave them with a final option, a Supreme Court ruling.
While there are questions about the impact former Monsanto man Clarence Thomas may have on the case, a Supreme Court ruling in GMA’s favor would invalidate 150 state laws that have existed for decades. From wild rice, maple syrup, and Alaskan seafood – these are all enforced labeling standards that were created by the states.
This would be extremely difficult for them to justify. Their only chance is through the interstate commerce clause, but it would be one of the most bizarre things to take place in the food industry.
That said, by the time they get to Supreme Court, Vermont’s law will already be in place—it will likely be in place before the appeal will even take place. July 1, 2016 is the date as of which GMOs must be labeled in Vermont. So while Monsanto and the GMA will most certainly push this all the way to the Supreme Court, in the meantime they still have to start labeling their foods. This is an enormous victory, and the Vermont team deserves much appreciation from all of us.
Defeat the Pompeo Bill, and GMO Labeling Can Become Reality!
As it currently stands, the GMA, Monsanto and other chemical technology companies now have only one solid option remaining: to pass the federal Pompeo bill (HR 1599) in 2015, which would trump state law and strip states of the right to pass GMO food labeling bills.
The bill also allows unscrupulous food and beverage companies to continue mislabeling GMO-tainted foods as “natural” or “all natural.” The Pompeo bill, ironically named “The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” is proposing nothing if notinaccurate labeling of foods, by preventing you from ever learning which foods may contain GMOs. Critics of the bill have dubbed it the DARK Act, aka “Deny Americans the Right-to-Know” Act, which is exactly what the bill does.
Stopping the passing of the Pompeo bill is THE most important action anyone concerned about GMOs can possibly take right now, and the outcome will quite possibly determine the future of agriculture. It’s the choice of a regenerative or degenerative food system; a choice of monoculture or diversity, of obesity or wellness, pollution, or nutrition.
The DARK Act (HR 1599) was introduced by Koch-sponsored Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS4). And while republicans are supposedly “standing together” to defend state rights, many republicans are joining with Pompeo to remove the rights of states, and to remove citizens’ right to know about genetically engineered foods.
It’s an indefensible republican position, and they need to hear about this hypocrisy. As noted by Colin O’Neil, director of Government Affairs for Center for Food Safety last year:9 “GMA’s selection of Congressman Pompeo as their champion shows how extreme the proposal really is.”
We need everyone to put pressure on your federal representatives, and demand they vote NO on the Pompeo bill. We need to do everything we possibly can to prevent this bill from passing. A list of all the sponsors of Pompeo’s bill can be found on the congressional website.10 Democrats shouldn’t be fighting against consumers based on their supposed purpose as democrats, yet many are cosponsoring the bill. And Republicans are supposed to stand up for state’s rights, yet they’ve put their names to this bill as well. In short, they’re all hypocrites fighting what a federal judge has already ruled as constitutional.
Don’t Fall for Front Groups’ Hollow Fear Tactics
One of the primary justifications for removing states’ rights to implement their own labeling laws is that a “patchwork” of state laws11 will create havoc and excessive expense. These arguments are complete nonsense.
The industry front group “Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food” is trying to confuse Americans about the need to label GMOs, ironically proposing that labeling will confuse you, and raise food prices. They also claim that state decisions to label GMOs will force food companies to create multiple supply chains, warehousing, and delivery mechanisms to comply. All of these notions are false, and perhaps the biggest fallacy of them all is the last item.
They are misleading and lying to you by conveniently not telling you that companies simply would not label a product as GMO when sold in one state, and not when sold in another. State laws effectively force companies to label their foods across the US, regardless of the state it’s being sold in. Anything less would be to commit public relations’ suicide.
They also want you to think that compliance is going to be a major hassle, when in fact compliance will be the same for all states, because the leading advocacy groups that are currently helping to enable GMO labeling are and will continue to support identical compliance for all state laws that will be passed.
All a manufacturer needs to do is print “Produced with Genetic Engineering” on the label. That’s all that is required.Enforcement of these laws, however, should be left up to each state. Different size states have different abilities and efficiencies to determine how best to enforce their laws (states get to decide capital punishment, why not let them determine how to enforce their own food labeling laws?).
Pompeo Bill Is Trying to Legalize Fraud
It’s important to recognize that not labeling transgenic food is fraud, so the Pompeo bill is essentially just trying to legalize it. As an example, salmon spliced with eel is no longer the salmon you would expect when seeing “salmon” written on a label. It’s a cross between salmon and eel, something akin to a “sEELmon,” and that must be disclosed. Not disclosing this fact is fraud because it is counter to a consumer’s expectation.
The burden should not be placed on the traditional salmon fishermen to get their nature-provided fish certified as GMO-free; the burden of truthful declaration of what the product actually is should be placed on the patent holder and producer of these transgenic organisms.
The same logic should apply to crops. Research12 has shown that there are significant compositional differences between genetically engineered (GE) soybeans and non-GE varieties, for example. Contrary to industry claims, the study found that they also differ in terms of nutritional quality, with organic soybeans having the healthiest nutritional profile. According to the authors, “This study rejects that genetically modified soy is ‘substantially equivalent’ to non-GM soybeans.”
For close to 20 years the American public has been exposed to these largely experimental, untested foods. The FDA claims GMOs can be presumed safe, and that there was an “overwhelming scientific consensus” backing up their decision to categorize GMOs as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) back in 1992. Yet, the evidence shows that is a bold-faced lie.
Steven Druker reveals this and much more in his book Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public.
The industry keeps replaying the old refrain that there is “overwhelming scientific consensus” that GMOs are safe, when in fact there really is no such consensus. To highlight and drive home this point, on January 24, a statement signed by 300 scientists, researchers, physicians, and scholars was published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe,13 unequivocally asserting that there isnoscientific consensus on the safety of GMOs.
Moreover, the paper, titled No Scientific Consensus on GMO Safety, states that the claim of scientific consensus on GMO safety is in actuality “an artificial construct that has been falsely perpetuated.” The paper also notes that such a claim “is misleading and misrepresents or outright ignores the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of scientific opinions among scientists on this issue.”
In fact, in an upcoming interview with Dr. Anthony Samsel, he reveals that he was able to force Monsanto to send him documents from their initial research in1981, showing clearly that glyphosate caused tumors in nearly all the rats that were exposed to it. In light of this, can there be any doubt whatsoever that the Pompeo bill, which would eliminate your right to know that you’re eating GMOs, is a last-ditch effort to legalize decades’ long fraud?
GMOs Have Led to Massive Increase in Toxic Pesticide Use—Not Less!
According to the industry front group Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, GMOs reduce water and pesticide use. Anyone who believes this standing PR talking point these days is unaware of the statistics, which clearly show that neither of these claims are true.
As noted in a 2012 article by Tom Philpott,14 Monsanto’s Roundup Ready technology “has called forth a veritable monsoon of herbicides, both in terms of higher application rates for Roundup, and… growing use of other, more toxic herbicides.” Philpott’s article includes eye-opening statistics compiled by Chuck Benbrook, a research professor at Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources. Benbrook discovered that:
Overall, GE technology drove up herbicide use by 527 million pounds (about 11 percent) between 1996 (when Roundup Ready crops were initially released) and 2011
Herbicide use dropped by about two percent between 1996 and 1999, but shortly thereafter, as weeds began developing resistance against the chemical, application rates skyrocketed
Rapidly increasing weed resistance is driving up the volume of herbicide needed by about 25 percent annually. The recent approvals of 2,4-D and dicamba resistant GE crops may drive it up by another 50 percent, according to research published in Environmental Sciences Europe15
In 2002, glyphosate use on Roundup Ready soybeans rose by 21 percent. Overall, American farmers increased their use of glyphosate by 19 million pounds that year
By 2011, farmers growing Roundup Ready crops (corn, soy, and cotton) used 24 percent more Roundup than farmers planting non-GE versions of the same crop, because by that time, glyphosate-resistance had become the norm. Farmers also began resorting to older, more toxic herbicides like 2,4-D
Toxins in Food Supply Are Now a Major Contributor to Chronic Disease
As noted by Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno,16 founding president of naturopathic Bastyr University and former advisor to President Clinton on complementary and alternative medicines, “toxins in the modern food supply are now a major contributor to, and in some cases the cause of, virtually all chronic diseases.” David Bellinger, a professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, estimates Americans have lost a total of 16.9 million IQ points due to exposure to organophosphate pesticides.17
The World Health Organization (WHO) has now acknowledged that glyphosate is a human carcinogen, and compelling research shows that bees and butterflies—critical food crop pollinators—are disappearing at alarming rates because of the toxic pesticides associated with these GMO monocultures. Glyphosate has also been found to be highly toxic to the soil surrounding a plant’s roots (the rhizosphere), woodland plants, amphibians, fish, aquatic environments, and mammals18–causing reproductive problems and disrupting the endocrine system.
Even IF genetically engineered crops could produce more food to feed a growing population (and research shows organic agriculture is actually more efficient at creating higher yields with less input), what good will it do to produce more food if it’s all toxic—to microbes, insects, animals, and humans alike? Ask yourself, who benefits from the idea that we “need” genetic engineering to survive? This notion is a manufactured one that has no solid basis in reality.
When you consider that Americans eat an average of 193 pounds of genetically engineered foods each year,19 the issues of compositional equivalency and glyphosate contamination are undoubtedly both important.
Avoiding Toxic Food Is Imperative for Optimal Health
The chemical technology industry, spearheaded by Monsanto, has managed to turn food into a literal poison. Glyphosate, which we know systemically contaminates the plant as it is integrated into every call of the plant and cannot be washed off, has a number of devastating biological effects, including the following:
Nutritional deficiencies, 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, 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
Ideally, you’d be best off opting for products bearing the USDA 100% organic label when buying processed foods in order to avoid exposure to agricultural chemicals, which certainly are not limited to Roundup. Don’t make the mistake of confusing the“natural” label with organic standards however.
The “natural” label is not based on any standards and is frequently misused by sellers of GE products. You’d also be wise to stop using Roundup around your home, where children and pets can come into contact with it simply by walking across the area.
More Chemical Technology ‘Bio-Ag’ Lies
Contrary to industry propaganda, GMOs are only making a bad situation worse. Chemical agriculture in and of itself is a hazard to human and environmental health, and must be addressed if we want to get a handle on runaway disease statistics. GE crops are chemical agriculture on steroids. Here are a few more inconvenient facts the industry is trying to sweep under the carpet:
Synthetic fertilizers are polluting our waters, including drinking water, thereby posing a direct threat to human health.
Aquifers are being drained to water corn, half of which is used for ethanol—a fact that makes the argument about “feeding the world” rather bizarre.
Glyphosate is not only carcinogenic, it’s also promoting antibiotic resistance, as evidenced in a groundbreaking study.20,21 Roundup was shown to increase the antibiotic-resistant prowess of E. coli and Salmonella—two bacteria responsible for a large portion of foodborne illness.
Dicamba and 2,4-D were also found to promote antibiotic resistance, which is particularly relevant in light of the recent approval of a new generation of GE crops resistant not only to glyphosate, but also to one or both of these pesticides.
This research implies that combating the weed and pest resistance caused by Roundup Ready GE crops by introducing dicamba- and 2,4-D-resistant varieties is probably only going to speed up the process of creating multi-drug resistant pathogens that are already killing 23,000 Americans each year. Experts are now warning that we may soon be at a point where ALL antibiotics fail, and once that happens, it will be the end of modern medicine as we know it.
It’s quite crucial to understand that glyphosate contamination in GE crops is systemic, meaning it is present in every cell of the plant, from root to tip. It’s not just an issue of topical contamination—although that certainly adds to the level of contamination.
Normally, you need to thoroughly wash your produce to remove topical residues, but you cannot remove glyphosate from GE produce, as it has been absorbed into the cells of the plant. And neither can food and animal feed manufacturers who use GE ingredients in their products.
Millions of acres of GMO corn and soy are used to make to human poisons—high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and hydrogenated vegetable oil (trans fats)—another fact that makes the argument about “feeding a growing population” completely ludicrous. The vast majority of GE crops grown in the US (corn, soy, canola, and sugar beets) are used to make cheap ingredients for processed foods that are grossly inferior in terms of nutrition to whole organic foods.
While the industry puts on this façade of supplying the world with critically needed foods, what they’re really doing is producing foods that have been scientifically proven to promote obesity, metabolic dysfunction, and associated chronic diseases—all while making a killing on royalties from patented seeds and pesticide sales.
The majority of the GE corn and soy grown is used to support confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which is the primary source of antibiotic resistance that kills tens of thousands of Americans annually.
Other Countries Stand to Lose Big Due to ‘Monsanto Provision’ in US Fast Track Legislation
As explained by Ben Lilliston in a recent interview, Fast Track (also known as trade promotion authority, or TPA) gives the President the right to negotiate and finalize a trade agreement, which Congress then votes on in its entirety. And, once the agreements are completed, you can no longer make any amendments.
Under the US constitution, Congress has the right to engage in trade agreements prior to this, and to set negotiating parameters. Under Fast Track, Congress forfeits this right, allowing the President to negotiate at will instead. According to a recent press release:22
“Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today spoke out against a provision buried in trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation that could help a government or multinational corporation attack state or national laws that require the labeling of genetically engineered foods…. The Obama administration is asking Congress for fast track authority in order to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade agreement with the European Union.
‘Call it the smoking gun,’ said DeFazio. ‘Proof that fast track and massive free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership are written by and for multinational corporations such as agriculture giant Monsanto. Instead of using trade deals as an opportunity to protect and strengthen consumer rights by joining the countries which require genetically engineered food to be labeled, this administration wants to benefit wealthy corporations at the expense of the public.'”
The provision in question is included in the Trade Negotiating Objectives, and requires American negotiators to fight for trade agreement rules that eliminate “barriers” to markets. One such barrier is the labeling of GE foods, which 64 countries already require. Some of our largest trading partners, such as Japan, China, Brazil, and the European Union, stand to lose the most from this legislation. As noted by Colin O’Neil, director of Government Affairs at Center for Food Safety:
“At a time when Americans overwhelmingly want a right to know what they are buying and feeding their families, it is appalling that Congress would encourage stripping other countries of their right to label genetically engineered foods. Each country has justifiably required the labeling of GE foods; the only thing that cannot be justified is why consumers in the US don’t have the same right to know as consumers in 64 other countries around the world.”
It’s Time to Take Decisive Action
I urge you to take action and get organized. Let your representatives know you will not accept a Yes vote on HR 1599 (aka the DARK act), and that they will not serve another term if they vote in favor of it. This may be the single most important action you can take this year, so please do not put this off. This is our chance to get GMOs labeled in the US—but we MUST stop the Pompeo bill to make that a reality. It’s really make or break time.
Vermont’s victory against the GMA has set the precedent that state GMO labeling laws are constitutional, and there’s nothing Monsanto et al. can do about it. And, as mentioned earlier, food companies simply are not going to produce two different kinds of packages, some with GMO label and some without, depending on which state the product is destined to be sold in.
What will happen is, they’ll label the product as GMO regardless of where it’s sold, and if sales are threatened, they’ll start trading out the GMO ingredients to avoid the dreaded label requirement.
The reason the industry is threatening you with higher food prices and convoluted distribution chains is because they know this, and they want to avoid having to replace the GMO ingredients. Were there price hikes when trans fats had to be labeled? Did you notice price hikes when any other ingredient had to be listed on the package? No? Then why would you expect a price hike now?
The fact of the matter is, Monsanto and its henchmen are trying to protect a huge cash cow with multiple golden teats—patented seeds, pesticides, and cheap tax-dollar subsidized ingredients with which to make processed foods—all of which hurts you while benefiting them. There’s nothing safe or accurate about Pompeo’s “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” and our representatives need to be told we will not tolerate it.
What Are GMOs?
GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I’ve stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.
Help Support GMO Labeling
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.
Public opinion around the biotech industry’s contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We’re fighting back. That’s why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically “lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.
The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.
Recently, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan) has reintroduced a bill (HR 1599) that would preempt states’ rights to enact GMO labeling laws. This bill would create a federal government program to oversee guidelines for voluntary labeling of products that do not contain GMOs. It would specifically prohibit Congress or individual states from requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods or ingredients. It would also allow food manufacturers to use the word “natural” on products that contain GMOs. TAKE ACTION NOW! Your local representatives need to hear from you! Please contact them today by CLICKING HERE
Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.
Together, Let’s Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve
Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption.
Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.
Without a doubt, one of the most important nutrients for optimal health is vitamin D. But questions still remain about just how much is needed. Dr. Robert Heaney M.D., is one of the premier vitamin D researchers in the world.
He’s also the research director of GrassrootsHealth, headed by Carole Baggerly, which is compiling data from a number of population-based studies like the D*Action project, which many of my readers are participants in.
What is clear is that the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) should really be 10 to 15 times what the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends.
Trained as a clinical endocrinologist, Dr. Heaney has spent a large part of the last 50 years doing clinical research; most of it in the field of vitamin D, working on quantifying the vitamin D economy.
This includes defining how much vitamin D is necessary to reach a certain effect, how large of an effect you might get at a particular dosage, how much vitamin D you make in your skin in response to sunlight, and how long it lasts.
“It’s the amounts coming in and out and the balance you have that really is important,” he says. “That’s where I’ve been focusing my work most of these past 25 years.”
Current Recommendations Are Inadequate Due to Flawed Math
As noted by Dr. Heaney, there are two issues with respect to the IOM stance on vitamin D requirements:
Did they select the appropriate number as an indication of adequacy? The IOM chose 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) of serum concentration of 25-hydroxy vitamin D as an adequate level, but many vitamin D researchers believe that’s too low
To maintain a level of 20 ng/ml, the IOM says you need to take 600 IUs a day up to age 70, and 800 IUs if you’re over 70
According to Dr. Heaney, the second statement is flat wrong, as it’s the result of a mathematical error.
Last year, two investigators from the University of Edmonton published a paper1in the journal Nutrients, which explicitly showed that the IOM had made a calculation error in defining the intake needed to reach and maintain 20 ng/mL. Had the IOM calculated it correctly, the RDA would have been at least 10 times greater than what was publically posted.
“The recommended dietary allowance, as I think most of us know, is the intake that is reckoned to be necessary to meet the nutritional need of 97.5 percent of the population…
How much is enough? The Institute of Medicine said 600 IUs was enough. But what’s very clear is that 600 IUs would not get 97.5 percent of the population above 20 ng/ml. That’s what the Edmonton investigators showed.
As a matter of fact…as many as half of the people getting 600 international units a day wouldn’t get up to 20 nanograms per milliliter… The Edmonton investigators calculated a number of 8,895 IUs per day, using the same set of studies on which the IOM had based its calculation…
When I was able to access the GrassrootsHealth (GRH) data, a completely different set from the one used by the IOM, we could directly calculate the intake needed…
That’s because, in the GRH database,we know exactly how much of an increase in 25-hydroxy D the participants got on whatever dose they were taking. Our calculation showed that about 3,800 IUs per day, in addition to everything they were already getting [from sun and food], would have been necessary to get 97.5 percent of that population to 20 nanograms per milliliter.
Factoring in the basal intake in the GRH population, we showed that you need about 7,000 international units per day in order to get 97.5 percent above 20 nanograms per milliliter. That’s very close to the figure that the Edmonton investigators had used: 8,895.”
You May Also Need a Higher Level of Serum Vitamin D Than Currently Recommended
As for a more precise dosage, more and better studies are needed. But what is clear is that the amount needed to get most people above 20 ng/ml is at least 10 times higher than what the IOM recommends, and their own data shows that as well, were it only calculated properly.
Dr. Heaney and colleagues recently challenged the IOM’s vitamin D recommendation,2 stating the RDA underestimates the need by a factor of 10. Most vitamin D experts also agree that a serum level of 20 ng/ml is too low for optimal health, which means the requirement for most people is even higher than that.
GrassrootsHealth, for example, believes a vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml is a more appropriate minimum level. According to Dr. Heaney, the evidence shows that 20 ng/ml is not even adequate for the prevention of osteomalacia.
“The point is the Institute of Medicine is dead wrong; not because it chose the wrong number, but because it made a mathematical mistake. They miscalculated, which is really kind of embarrassing if you think about it. Somebody didn’t check the work,” Dr. Heaney says.
“Now, having made that mistake, bureaucrats being bureaucrats, they’re unlikely to want to change. They’re not going to say, ‘Oops, we made a mistake. Here is the right answer.’
They seem to say, ‘No, we did the right thing. We are not wrong, [and] if no federal agency asks to have it reviewed, it could be 10 years from now before anybody ever looks at it again.'”
Flawed Recommendations Have Far-Reaching Consequences
Fortunately, vitamin D is sold over the counter as a supplement, and both you and your physician are free to disregard what the IOM says. However, the IOM’s RDA does affect certain government programs, such as military meals, meals for the elderly, and the school lunch program.
It’s also used as the standard for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). So there still are profound ramifications to the whole nutritional establishment of the United States. Canadians are also affected by the IOM’s mistake.
Canada jointly funded the effort of the IOM, and a particular problem for them is found in the First Nations people living in the Northern Tier of territories. In years past they had lived off of marine products such as oily fish, seals, and whale blubber – rich sources of vitamin D. They have now converted to more industrialized nation food sources that are poor in vitamin D.
In those Northern territories there’s also not enough sun to make sufficient vitamin D for yourself. So Canada is now faced with an epidemic of rickets and osteomalacia in the Northern Tier of its territories, and giving people 600 IUs simply isn’t going to be enough, yet that’s all that’s being recommended.
A recent paper from the Netherlands showed that giving people who were demonstrably vitamin D deficient 800 IUs of vitamin D per day resulted in less than half of them reaching 20 ng/ml.
“Here is a controlled trial providing exactly what the Institute of Medicine said for people over age 70, and yet it didn’t work. It didn’t produce the result the Institute of Medicine had said. The reason it didn’t, of course, is it doesn’t work. The Institute of Medicine had calculated it wrong. I cannot stress that too strongly. They made a mathematical error.”
Focus on Your Blood Serum Level, Not the Dose
While most people want to know what dose to take, it’s important to realize that there can be vast differences in the response to any particular dose from one person to another. So the focus should not be on the dose, but rather on how high your 25-hydroxy D level gets on a particular dosage. “I want mine to be above 40 nanograms per milliliter,” Dr Heaney says. “If it didn’t get above that on my starting dose, then I have to take more. It’s just that simple.”
There’s little risk of toxicity even at higher blood levels. In fact, research3 shows you have to get well above 200 ng/ml before there’s any risk of toxicity, and the risk even then is low. There is no risk of toxicity below 200 ng/ml.
So 200 ng/ml is the threshold for toxicity, and 40 ng/ml is the lower threshold for therapeutic activity, and the threshold thought to protect the health of the general population. That said, if you’re using vitamin D as a pharmacologic treatment under the guidance of a physician for a medical disorder, you can go far higher.
I typically recommend a level between 50-70 ng/ml for optimal health and general disease prevention, and 70-100 ng/ml as an adjunct to the treatment of heart disease and cancer. According to Dr. Heaney, “the sky is the limit there; so long as he or she knows what he or she is doing, there will be no problem.”
It’s worth noting that a common issue impairing your liver’s ability to produce 25-hydroxy D is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease(NAFLD), possibly aggravated by excess fructose consumption. NAFLD is associated with obesity, but excess visceral fat in and of itself does not store away vitamin D, thereby increasing your vitamin D requirement. The reason for this is because most people get their input vitamin D 25-hydroxylated so rapidly that there’s no native vitamin D left over to store in fat.
The only time you begin to store vitamin D in fat is when you’ve saturated your liver’s ability to make 25-hydroxy D. At that point, vitamin D starts backing up in your blood because it can’t be 25-hydroxylated quantitatively. “When it begins to rise in your blood, it diffuses into fat. But that doesn’t happen at doses of less than 50,000 IUs per week, which means that there is not very much fat storage in most of us,” Dr. Heaney says.
Take Control of Your Family’s Health with Vitamin D Testing
Many families have seen a rise in the proportion of their income spent on healthcare expenses. For many, the costs now exceed what they spend on food. Measuring your vitamin D performance and taking steps to optimize your level is one of the easiest and least expensive things you can do for your health, and could help you rein in out-of-control health care expenses.
GrassrootsHealth D*Action is an integrated set of performance and feedback systems to give you complete control of your individual vitamin D performance systems, which will help you gain a total picture of your health.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the D*Action programs can be a major key to help turn the current health paradigm from “treatment” to “prevention.” It’s exciting to consider that, within our lifetime, we may be able to prevent the majority of breast cancer, for example.
The D*Action Breast Cancer Prevention project began in 2012, and is a major step in that direction. While it still needs a few more years’ worth of data to be complete, the women enrolled in the project are already exhibiting fewer cases of breast cancer than would be expected within the general population. To learn more about this breast cancer prevention project, please see this previous article. (Women 60 and over with no current cancer or current treatment are eligible for the breast cancer prevention study. You can sign up here if you’re eligible.)
Optimizing Vitamin D Is One of Your Most Cost Effective Health Strategies
Remember, you’re not bound by the IOM’s mistakes, miscalculations, and flawed recommendations. You can take 8,000 IUs of vitamin D a day, or more, if that’s what you need to reach and maintain a level of at least 40 ng/ml. Vitamin D exerts epigenetic control of thousands of genes, and can vastly decrease your risk for heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, and much more. It’s a profoundly important nutrient that has massive health benefits.
Just remember that when you take oral vitamin D, you also increase your need for vitamin K2. Vitamin D also need sufficient amounts of magnesium and zinc to work properly, and is best taken with some healthy fat, as it’s a fat-soluble vitamin.
Also make sure your children have adequate vitamin D levels—especially during the first year of life. If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, get your vitamin D levels checked and make sure your vitamin D level stays within an optimal range, because your baby needs it during the developmental phase in utero as well. As noted by Dr. Heaney:
“It’s never too late to start, but it’s never too early to start either. It’s now becoming increasingly clear that there are midlife and late-life consequences of infancy vitamin D deficiency, and it is heartbreaking to see us ignoring this relationship. We need adequate vitamin D status in infants at a time when they are sorting out the immune system… If they don’t get that right, they are subject to the various autoimmune disorders from type 1 diabetes to multiple sclerosis.
It’s also recently been shown that women in their child-bearing years are more prone to preeclampsia [if they hadn’t received sufficient ] vitamin D in the first year of their own lives. It’s mind-shattering to realize that early life behavior has consequences later in life that are dreadful and expensive.”
How Vitamin D Performance Testing Can Help Optimize Your Health
A robust and growing body of research clearly shows that vitamin D is absolutely critical for good health and disease prevention. Vitamin D affects your DNA through vitamin D receptors (VDRs), which bind to specific locations of the human genome. Scientists have identified nearly 3,000 genes that are influenced by vitamin D levels, and vitamin D receptors have been found throughout the human body.
Is it any wonder then that no matter what disease or condition is investigated, vitamin D appears to play a crucial role? This is why I am so excited about the D*Action Project by GrassrootsHealth. Dr. Heaney is the research director of GrassrootsHealth and is part of the design of the D*action Project as well as analysis of the research findings. GrassrootsHealth shows how you can take action today on known science with a consensus of experts without waiting for institutional lethargy. It has shown how by combining the science of measurement (of vitamin D levels) with the personal choice of taking action and, the value of education about individual measures that one can truly be in charge of their own health.
In order to spread this health movement to more communities, the project needs your involvement. This was an ongoing campaign during the month of February, and will become an annual event.
To participate, simply purchase the D*Action Measurement Kit and follow the registration instructions included. (Please note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the kits go to fund the research project. I do not charge a single dime as a distributor of the test kits.)
As a participant, you agree to test your vitamin D levels twice a year during a five-year study, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient. There is a $65 fee every six months for your sponsorship of this research project, which includes a test kit to be used at home, and electronic reports on your ongoing progress. You will get a follow up email every six months reminding you “it’s time for your next test and health survey.”