How the Power of Your Mind Can Influence Your Healing and Recovery

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By Dr. Mercola

By definition, a placebo is an inert, innocuous substance that has no effect on your body. Placebos, such as sugar pills, are therefore used as controls against which the effects of modern-day medical treatments are measured.

However, the placebo-effect, in which a patient believes he or she is getting an actual drug and subsequently feels better, despite receiving no “active” treatment at all, has become a well-recognized phenomenon.

A number of studies have revealed that placebos can work just as well as potent drugs. Sham surgery has even been shown to produce results that are equal to actual surgery!

Indeed, mounting research suggests this “power of the mind,” or power of belief, can be a very healing force. Studies into the placebo effect also show that many conventional treatments “work” because of the placebo effect and little else.

The idea that “perception is everything” certainly appears to hold true when it comes to medical treatment, and this includes perceptions about quality and price. Oftentimes, the more expensive the drug is the more effective it isbelieved to be—even if there’s no evidence to support such a belief.

Cost is simply associated with quality in general. One recent study highlights this intriguing connection between perception of quality based on cost, belief in relief, and measurable recovery.

Parkinson’s Patients Improve from Belief in Expensive Drug Treatment

The randomized, double-blind study1,2 was small, comprised of only a dozen patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but the findings suggest that simply believing that you’re receiving an expensive drug can produce beneficial effects, including actual biological changes.

As reported by MedicineNet.com:3

“On average, patients had bigger short-term improvements in symptoms like tremor and muscle stiffness when they were told they were getting the costlier of two drugs. In reality, both ‘drugs’ were nothing more than saline, given by injection.

But the study patients were told that one drug was a new medication priced at $1,500 a dose, while the other cost just $100 — though, the researchers assured them, the medications were expected to have similar effects.”

Not only did patients exhibit greater improvements in movement after receiving the pricier of the two placebos, MRI scans also revealed differences in brain activity between the two placebo groups. In those who thought they were receiving a pricey new drug, the brain activity was more similar to people receiving an actual drug for Parkinson’s.

Neurologist Dr. Peter LeWitt noted that:4,5 “Even a condition with objectively measured signs and symptoms can improve because of the placebo effect,” adding that this phenomenon is not exclusive to Parkinson’s patients.

The placebo effect has been noted in a variety of treatments, including treatments for depression, headaches, and degenerative meniscal tears, just to name a few.

Juxtaposed to these latest findings is previous research in which the placebo effect was found to produce marked effects even when no deception was involved at all.

In one trial, nearly 60 percent of patients given a placebo pill, who were toldthey were receiving a placebo, reported adequate relief from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. Only 35 percent of those who received no treatment at all reported adequate relief.

What Makes the Placebo Effect Work?

The jury is still out on the exact mechanisms that make the placebo effect so effective. It does appear that simply going through the ritual of treatment is enough to cause a beneficial response…

Regardless of the mechanism, studies do show that if you think you’re receiving a treatment, and you expect that treatment to work, it often will. A previous article in Scientific American6 noted that:

“Placebo effects can arise not only from a conscious belief in a drug but also from subconscious associations between recovery and the experience of being treated—from the pinch of a shot to a doctor’s white coat.

Such subliminal conditioning can control bodily processes of which we are unaware, such as immune responses and the release of hormones.”

In the case of Parkinson’s, researchers have suggested that patients who believe they’re receiving a drug may trigger their brains to release dopamine. As noted in the featured article:7

“Parkinson’s disease arises when brain cells that produce dopamine become dysfunctional, leading to movement symptoms such as tremors, rigid muscles, and balance and coordination problems. And it so happens that the brain churns out more dopamine when a person is anticipating a reward — like symptom relief from a drug.

To [lead author Dr. Alberto] Espay, the new findings are more evidence that ‘expectations’ play an important role in treatment results.’If you expect a lot, you’re more likely to get a lot,’ he said.”

This was also demonstrated in another recent study,8 which found that people with back pain who believe that acupuncture might be helpful actually get more pain relief from it, compared to those who do not believe it will work.

According to study author Felicity Bishop, PhD: People who started out with very low expectations of acupuncture, who thought it probably would not help them, were more likely to report less benefit as treatment went on.”

Emotions Control Intensity of Pain

(Note: I could not get this video to install correctly, so here is the link where you can view it:)

As reported by NPR,9 pain is in a sense “all in your head,” as your “perception of pain is shaped by brain circuits that are constantly filtering the information coming from our sensory nerves.” Research has also shown that your emotions and/or expectations can significantly influence the perceived intensity of pain. As noted by NPR:

The brain also determines the emotion we attach to each painful experience, [professor of neuroscience David] Linden says. That’s possible, he explains, because the brain uses two different systems to process pain information coming from our nerve endings. One system determines the pain’s location, intensity and characteristics: stabbing, aching, burning, etc.

“And then,” Linden says, “there is a completely separate system for the emotional aspect of pain — the part that makes us go, ‘Ow! This is terrible.’ Linden says positive emotions — like feeling calm and safe and connected to others — can minimize pain. But negative emotions tend to have the opposite effect. Torturers have exploited that aspect for centuries.”

Mental focus also plays a role. By monitoring brain waves, and telling participants to place all of their focus on one specific body part, researchers have discovered that you can essentially “tell” your brain to ignore sensory input to parts of your body, thereby blocking information such as pain. This kind of focus also results in increased brain activity in a region that ignores distractions. As explained by Stephanie Jones, an assistant professor of neuroscience:10

“There’s coordination between the front part of the brain, which is the executive control region of the brain, and the sensory part of the brain, which is filtering information from the environment. That suggests that at least some people can teach their brains how to filter out things like chronic pain, perhaps through meditation.”

Knee Surgery—The $4 Billion Medical Hoax

Many are quick to say that the placebo effect is responsible for the benefits of alternative treatments and natural supplements—the implication being that the treatment doesn’t really work, and any benefit is “all in your head.”But few stop to consider the fact that many of the benefits of conventional drugs and other interventions are also due to the placebo effect. Drugs have an added downside, however, in that they may also cause very real and adverse side effects.One of the most dramatic examples of this was a knee surgery study11 published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002.

Not only does this double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center trial definitively prove the power of your mind in healing, it also reveals that most knee surgery for osteoarthritis is an utter waste of money. The results of this study show that it’s not actually the surgery itself that is responsible for the improvement, but rather it’s due to the placebo effect. More precisely, it’s the ability of your brain to produce healing when you believe it should be happening (such as after you receive knee surgery). According to the authors:

“In this controlled trial involving patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, the outcomes after arthroscopic lavage or arthroscopic débridement were no better than those after a placebo procedure.”

This was followed by another study,12 published in 2013, which also found that arthroscopic knee surgery for degenerative meniscal tears had no more benefit than “sham surgery.” Here, they even excluded people with knee arthritis, as they tend not to benefit as much from meniscus surgery anyway, and the researchers wanted to ascertain if the surgery helps under “ideal circumstances.” Well, at the post-operative one-year mark, all patients, regardless of whether they had real or sham surgery, reported equal amounts of pain reduction, which led the researchers to conclude that real knee surgery offers no better outcome than sham surgery (placebo).

This is a significant concession, as arthroscopic surgery on the meniscus is the most common orthopedic procedure in the US. According to this study, it’s performed about 700,000 times a year to the tune of $4 billion. But according to these findings, any surgeon who tells you this is “the best” or “only” option for your osteoarthritic knee pain will not have a leg to stand on when you show him or her the evidence to the contrary… It’s also worth considering these kinds of findings when you’re weighing your treatment options. Remembering that your mind is the real healer here may help you find a safer and less costly alternative.

Other Examples of the Medical Placebo Effect

Another excellent example of the placebo effect is that of antidepressants. Research13 published in 2010 suggests there is little evidence that antidepressants benefit people with mild to moderate depression, and they work no better than a placebo. An earlier meta-analysis14 published in PLoS Medicine concluded that the difference between antidepressants and placebo pills is very small – yet these drugs remain one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States.

Considering the long list of side effects associated with antidepressants, including worsening depression, it seems reasonable to conclude that a placebo would be a far preferable option to the real thing… A third example of research revealing the placebo effect at work in modern medicine is a study15 published just last year. Here, the researchers took advantage of the recurring nature of migraines to assess the effects of the migraine drug Maxalt (rizatriptan), compared to placebo. Among the results were the following findings:

  • Patients receiving Maxalt reported greater relief when told they were getting an effective drug for the treatment of acute migraine
  • When the pills were switched, patients reported similar pain reductions from placebo pills labeled as Maxalt as from Maxalt tablets labeled as placebo
  • Subjects reported pain relief even when they knew the pill theywere receiving was a placebo, compared with no treatment at all

According to the authors, the placebo effect accounted for more than 50 percent of the therapeutic value of this drug. As explained by co-author Ted Kaptchuk, Director of the Program in Placebo Studies and Therapeutic Encounter at Harvard Medical School:16

“This study untangled and reassembled the clinical effects of placebo and medication in a unique manner. Very few, if any, experiments have compared the effectiveness of medication under different degrees of information in a naturally recurring disease. Our discovery showing that subjects’ reports of pain were nearly identical when they were told that an active drug was a placebo as when they were told that a placebo was an active drug demonstrates that the placebo effect is an unacknowledged partner for powerful medications.” [Emphasis mine]

How to Harness the Placebo Effect in Your Own Life

There may be cases in your own life where you can use your mind to help heal your body or reduce your reliance on conventional medical care, including medications. And when I say that, I mean that if you strongly believe you will benefit from something, you radically increase the chances that you will. But there is one caveat: you may need to resolve any emotional blocks that are standing in your way first.

Such a block could be the belief that the pain or illness cannot go away. Maybe a parent or relative had the same problem and they never recovered, so you probably “can’t” get rid of it either. Another block could be resentment that you have the disease or the pain, or even an unconscious desire to keep your ailment because of the extra attention you gain from it.

The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is an extremely powerful tool that you can use to get to the root of your emotional conflicts, and release them, to help open your mind to the power of the placebo effect. It’s often possible to feel better just because your mind subconsciously believes it’s time, or your subconscious alters body processes in response to the placebo treatment without you even being aware of it. As often as possible, try to use the placebo option first. This is a new way of thinking about healing for most people, but can be extremely potent, especially when combined with a healthy outlook anddisease-preventive lifestyle.

EFT Offers Relief for a Number of Health Problems

This non-invasive technique can also provide more direct relief for certain problems. For example, EFT has been shown to cut the frequency of tension headaches down by half, as well as reducing the intensity of the headaches. If you look at it in terms of energy — pain is energy and your mind is also energy — you can see how one directly influences the other. EFT is actually a subject of intense research and has been studied in more than 10 countries, by more than 60 investigators, with results published in more than 20 different peer-reviewed journals.

In 2012, a critical review in the American Psychological Association’s (APA) journal Review of General Psychology17 found that EFT “consistently demonstrated strong effect sizes and other positive statistical results that far exceed chance after relatively few treatment sessions.” This brought EFT one step closer to meeting the criteria for evidence-based treatments proposed by the APA, an important step toward EFT’s acceptance by the wider professional community, and one that will bring its benefits to a wider group of people. The review found statistically significant benefits in using EFT for the following conditions:

Anxiety Athletic Performance Depression Pain and Physical Symptoms
Phobias Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Weight Loss Food Cravings

The Placebo Effect Is Real, and Can Be a Powerful Ally for Your Healing

While the exact mechanisms behind the placebo effect are still being explored, there’s no denying that the effect is real. And, most likely, the placebo effect takes on many different forms, impacting brain mechanisms and chemicals involved in expectation, anxiety, and reward. In short, a placebo really does change your brain, in a number of different ways. Writing in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology18 in 2011, the researchers noted the following observations:

  1. First, as the placebo effect is basically a psychosocial context effect, these data indicate that different social stimuli, such as words and rituals of the therapeutic act, may change the chemistry and circuitry of the patient’s brain.
  2. Second, the mechanisms that are activated by placebos are the same as those activated by drugs, which suggests a cognitive/affective interference with drug action.
  3. Third, if prefrontal functioning is impaired, placebo responses are reduced or totally lacking, as occurs in dementia of the Alzheimer’s type.

All of this is good news; it reveals that you hold a great deal of power of healing within yourself—a power that can be tapped through belief and positive expectations. The placebo effect also comes into play in epigenetics, which is another burgeoning field of study. This fascinating new field breaks you free from the misguided belief that your genes control you. In reality, your genes are merely storage facilities, and the all-important expression of your genes is actually ruled by environmental influences—including your thoughts and expectations.

Effortless Healing – One Step at a Time – NOW AVAILABLE!

My newest book, Effortless Healing is now available! I’ve organized this book into a guide that will help you avoid the many pitfalls of the conventional approach to health. Rather than relying on expensive and potentially dangerous drugs, I will help you effortlessly make small shifts in what you eat and how you live to achieve your health goals. I promise, Effortless Healing isn’t a book that will overwhelm you. On top of that, ordering the book today entitles you to 3 exclusive bonuses:

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That’s right. When you order a copy of my new book Effortless Healing, you’ll be making a much-deserved donation to the key organizations that work quietly and efficiently behind the scenes to make the world a healthier place for you, your family, and your community.

Among them, you’ll be benefiting and supporting the actions of:

  • National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) – A non-profit organization that seeks to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending your right of informed choice.
  • Organic Consumers Association (OCA) – A grassroots public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability, and addressing food safety, GMOs, the industrial agricultural complex, children’s health, and more. The ONLY U.S. organization focused exclusively on the interests that you and I share!
  • Consumers for Dental Choice – Children, the unborn, and employees in the dental field are particularly vulnerable to mercury. But so is everyone with a mouthful of amalgam fillings (which are 50% mercury) at risk. Consumers for Dental Choice is working to phase out amalgam use and to promote access to mercury-free alternatives.
  • Fluoride Action Network (FAN) – An international coalition aimed at ending water fluoridation and alerting you to fluoride’s environmental and health risks. FAN keeps you informed about fluoride toxicity, and monitors government actions that may expose you to fluoride.

Are you ready to get started? The timing has never been better. Order your copy of Effortless Healing today, collect your free gifts, and let your journey begin!

 

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Toxic Industrial Standards Are No Longer Invincible

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By Dr. Mercola

A number of developments, including an increasing number of lawsuits, suggest that toxic industrial standards are no longer being shrugged off as a necessary cost of modern living. People really are starting to wake up to the very literal mess that we’re in.

For example, large factory farms, so-called confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), generate massive amounts of toxic runoff that threaten water supplies and ecological health.

Genetically engineered (GE) crop fields onto which large amounts of toxic pesticides are applied are also being increasingly challenged by concerned scientists, both for the potential hazard that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) pose, and the more well-recognized hazards posed by the chemicals.

Attention Journalists—Start Reporting GMO Science Accurately!

In response to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) deregulation of the GE Arctic ® apple, the Consumers Union, Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety, and Pesticide Action Network put out a joint statement1,2 calling on media to start reporting the science of GMOs accurately.

At present, most if not all media coverage discussing GMOs is little more than a regurgitation of biased and inaccurate “facts” churned out by the industry PR machine. The March issue of National Geographic,3 which addresses “the war on science,” is no exception to this rule.

If there’s a war on science, it’s being waged against the real science of GMOs, which tends to produce results that run contrary to the industry’s glossy advertisements.

A major objection raised by sustainability advocates such as myself is against false reporting of science that either does not exist or has been convoluted by special interest groups.

In fact, we’re all trying to get the media and the chemical technology industry toaddress the actual science already, which is pointing to the fact that there are serious risks involved.

You can look forward to my upcoming interview with Steven Druker later this month. He is the attorney who sued the FDA for their decision that made GMOs possible in 1992. An absolutely fascinating story that will reveal details you’re likely unaware of.

300 Scientists Proclaim: There Is NO Scientific Consensus on GMO Safety

On January 24, a statement signed by 300 scientists, researchers, physicians, and scholars was published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe,4 asserting that there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs.

Moreover, the paper, aptly 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—which, again, bears the signatures of hundreds of scientists and academics—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.”

The idea of “scientific consensus” has been repeated so many times that many people believe it must be true. It’s time to sit up and take notice, and to call journalists out on their lack of professional integrity when making such claims.

According to Doug Gurian-Sherman, PhD, senior scientist and director of sustainable agriculture at the Center for Food Safety:5

 “Preeminent science bodies like the National Research Council have recognized that some engineered foods could pose considerable risk. It is widely recognized by scientists that those risks depend on the particular engineered gene and crop.

It is unfortunate that self-appointed advocates for the technology have selectively cited the literature and organizations to suggest that GE crops, generally, present no risks that warrant concern.”

Michael Hansen, PhD, senior scientist at Consumers Union adds:

“Not one independent, public safety study has been carried out on the Arctic apple, and yet some media stories have reported it is ‘safe.’

We call on the press to accurately report on the science of GMOs, particularly the health and environmental concerns raised by scientists and the lack of required safety studies that leave questions about the safety of genetically engineered foods.”

Hundreds of scientists have now put it out in black and white: There is no consensus among scientists that GMOs are safe. On the contrary, there are all sorts of concerns—virtually all of which are being ignored by the media. Contrary to what you read or hear in conventional news, the joint statement concludes that:

 “…the totality of scientific research outcomes in the field of GM crop safety is nuanced; complex; often contradictory or inconclusive; confounded by researchers’ choices, assumptions, and funding sources; and, in general, has raised more questions than it has currently answered…

Decisions on the future of our food and agriculture should not be based on misleading and misrepresentative claims by an internal circle of likeminded stakeholders that a ‘scientific consensus’ exists on GMO safety.”

Points of Objection to ‘Consensus of Safety’ Claim

The authors and co-signers of No Scientific Consensus on GMO Safety,6 raise the following six points of objection to the claim of “scientific consensus” with regards to the safety of genetically engineered foods:

There is no consensus in the science According to a comprehensive review7 of peer-reviewed animal feeding studies of GMOs published in 2011, there are as many studies raising concerns about GE foods as there are studies proclaiming them to be as safe and nutritious as conventional foods.

Moreover, the review notes that most studies declaring GE foods comparable to conventional foods were performed by biotechnology companies or associated parties.

There are no epidemiological studies investigating potential health effects of GE food on human health As noted by Friends of the Earth, “with no epidemiological studies, claims that ‘trillions of GMO meals’ have been eaten with no ill effects have no scientific basis.” There’s also the inconvenient fact that one GE supplement actually did kill. In the 1980s, the supplement L-tryptophan, which was the result of genetic engineering, was the first major GMO catastrophe, killing dozens of people who took it.

Thousands were seriously sickened, and of those, hundreds contracted a rare and disabling disorder named eosinophilia–myalgia syndrome (EMS).

The idea that you can claim GMOs safe for human consumption over an entire lifetime without presenting so much as a shred of scientific evidence—THAT is “war” on science!

GMO studies are frequently mischaracterized as showing safety One example of this is the EU Research Project, which has been internationally cited as providing evidence of GMO safety. Alas, this research was not designed to test safety, and provides no reliable evidence of such.

“Another example is the false claim that ‘hundreds of studies’ listed on the biotechnology website Biofortified demonstrate GMO safety; in fact, many of the studies on that list do not address safety concerns at all, and several of the studies raise serious concerns,”the featured press release states.

International agreements show widespread recognition of risks posed by GMO foods and crops Agreements such as the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety and the UN Codex Alimentarius agree that genetic engineering differs from conventional breeding.  Many pro-GMO reporters compare genetic engineering of plants to that of conventional cross-breeding and hybridization—completely ignoring the fact that nature does not cross-breed across kingdoms, blending insect and plant DNA for example.

According to the World Health Organization8 (WHO), GMOs are “organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in such a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.” International agreements also concur in their recommendations that safety assessments are necessary prior to introducing GMOs into the environment or the food supply.

Claims that government and scientific organizations endorse safety are exaggerated or inaccurate The featured statement9 notes that: “Reports by the Royal Society of Canada and British Medical Association have noted that some GMOs could be of considerable harm.

The positions of some prominent scientific organizations have been misrepresented or opposed by members, further highlighting the lack of consensus among scientists.”

In the US, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine10(AAEM) has called on all physicians to prescribe dietswithout genetically modified (GM) foods to all patients. They’ve also called for a moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), long-term independent studies, and labeling, stating:

“Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system… There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation…”

There is no consensus on environmental impacts of GMOs Scientists have also raised a number of concerns about the impact of increased pesticide and herbicide use to human and environmental health. For example, the toxicity of Monsanto’s Roundupappears to have been vastly underestimated according to some researchers, and others have discovered previously unknown mechanisms of harm by glyphosate. Serious safety concerns have also been raised about neonicotinoids and other commonly used pesticides.

Federal Lawsuits Over CAFOs Are Increasing

Moving on to other related issues demonstrating that opposition against the status quo of toxic food production is strengthening. This trend includes a rising number of federal lawsuits being filed against confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). As reported by Des Moines Register:11

“From Washington state to North Carolina, federal lawsuits are challenging the efficient, profitable livestock industry to change its ways. The arguments found in the lawsuits are based on studies that increasingly show the impact phosphorous, nitrate and bacteria from fertilizer and accumulated manure have on lakes and rivers as well as air pollution that may be harmful to respiratory health… Earlier this year, a federal judge in eastern Washington ruled that an industrial dairy farm’s manure management practices posed an ‘imminent and substantial endangerment’ to the environment and to thousands relying on well water.”

A sobering statistic from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that 68 percent of American lakes, reservoirs, and ponds, and more than 50 percent of rivers and streams are now adversely impacted by toxic agricultural runoff. Hog-producing states such as Iowa and North Carolina are seeing an uprising of residents complaining about declining water and air quality.

In both of those states, lawsuits have been filed to curb the growing pollution produced by large-scale pork producers. Des Moines Water Works, for example, recently filed a notice of intent to sue CAFOs in three neighboring counties under the federal Clean Water Act for polluting the city’s water supply with nitrates, 12,13 which is costing them $7,000 day to filter out. According to Bill Stowe, CEO and general manager of the utility:

“In this state, obviously, industrial agriculture is king. We’ll continue to get a lot of blowback, but our ratepayers are first and foremost in our minds and they’re tired of paying for other people’s pollution.”

New York Passes Bill to Protect Farmers Against Monsanto

In New York, lawmakers have stepped in to help protect farmers in the state against lawsuits from Monsanto and other biotech companies, should they inadvertently end up with genetically engineered plants in their fields. The bill was passed by the state’s Assembly on February 16. As reported by the Cornucopia Institute:14

“Seed producers have sued farmers around the country for allegedly growing their bioengineered crops without buying the seed. Farmers often argue the seeds arrived by wind or other natural means. Assemblyman Tom Abinanti said… that his legislation will make it easier for New York farmers to defend themselves against frivolous lawsuits. He says that in the case of organic farmers, genetically modified seeds are seen as a contaminant.”

Toxins Showing Up Here, There, and Everywhere…

Meanwhile, researchers report finding flame retardants and pesticide byproducts at potentially toxic levels in sharks, rays, and other marine life in the Indian River Lagoon and the ocean off the coast of Brevard County, Florida.15 Shark livers have been found to contain byproducts of DDT and other pesticides banned decades ago, showing just how long these toxins remain in the environment… Further north, in Maryland, lawmakers have started working on proposed legislation that would limit the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been shown to decimate bee populations. As reported by the Associated Press:16

“The Pollinator Protection Act would require any plants, seeds or nursery stock treated with certain pesticides to include a warning label. It also seeks to prevent people who are not experienced with using the pesticides, which are known as ‘neonics,’ from using them… ‘The critical issues are neonic pesticides are a major contributor to honeybee decline, resulting in Maryland beekeepers losing nearly 50 percent of their hives in 2012,’ said Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, who is sponsoring the bill.”

Under this bill, neonicotinoids would only be available for sale to certified applicators, farmers, and veterinarians. Joe Miedusiewski, a lobbyist representing landscapers, horticulturalists, and golf course superintendents expressed opposition to the bill, saying it would have “a devastating economic effect on our industry.” What fascinates me is the pathological shortsightedness of these industry representatives. What good will it do to have money if you kill off all the pollinating insects, without which we cannot produce food? Even the most ignorant must still eat, but they act as thought they’ll be able to somehow survive without such basics…

EPA Study Finds No Financial or Agricultural Benefits of Bee-Killing Neonicotinoids

One recent EPA study17 concluded that treating soybean seeds with neonicotinoids provides no significant financial or agricultural benefits for farmers. Moreover, the researchers note there are several other foliar insecticides available that can combat pests as effectively as neonicotinoid seed treatments.

In response to these findings, researchers from the pesticide industry met with EPA pesticide regulators in a closed meeting to discuss the value of neonicotinoids. According to two researchers with Ag Informatics, banning neonicotinoids “would impose $848 million a year in initial transition costs on the agriculture industry and lead to huge increases in the use of older, more dangerous and less effective insecticides,” Bloomberg18 reports.

They also claim that neonicotinoids are applied to 56 percent of all corn, soybean, cotton, wheat, and sorghum crops planted in the US, and that (based on a phone survey), 75-80 percent of farmers in the US and Canada say they would continue to use neonicotinoid-treated seeds even if non-treated seeds were available. While it’s possible that many conventional farmers would be clueless enough to take that route, I think it’s foolish to propose that a toxic substance should remain on the market and/or avoid regulation simply because a phone poll suggests farmers wouldn’t switch to less toxic alternatives even if they had the option!

Should We Continue Feeding Antibiotics to Livestock?

Pesticide producers and GE monocropping farmers are not the only ones lacking long-term survival skills. The same shortsightedness can be found among drug companies and livestock producers—not to mention our regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). An infographic in National Geographic19 lays out the statistics on the use of antibiotics in livestock, and it’s a sad state of affairs indeed.

Eighty percent of all antibiotics sold in the US are given to poultry and livestock raised in CAFOs, which has led to a man-made plague of antibiotic-resistant infections that is now killing 23,000 Americans each year. Yet livestock producers insist on continuing the practice to keep their meats “affordable.” Well, over half of all the “affordable” chicken sold in your local grocery store is tainted with drug-resistant E.coli, and one could definitely argue that should you contract such an infection, you’re not getting out of it cheaply!

More Toxic News…

So what else is going on? How about toxic glyphosate being detected in honey, including organic honey… That’s the verdict issued by Boston University researchers20 working in collaboration with Abraxis LLC. In all, 62 percent of conventional honeys and 45 percent of organic varieties were tainted with glyphosate.

Health experts in Argentina, which has long struggled with the health effects of pesticides, is also reaching out with dire warnings again. According to Dr. Medardo Ávila-Vázquez,21 a pediatrician and neonatologist at the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the National University of Córdoba, glyphosate use in connection to GMO seeds is having a notably deleterious effect on the health of the local people, particularly children.

“We must recognize that the agrochemicals used are all poisonous: herbicides like glyphosate, 2,4-D…or Atrazine, are designed to kill plants, and endosulfan, chlorpyrifos, dimethoate, cypermethrin, imidacloprid, etc. are designed to kill insects and are the most widely used; they all have deleterious effects on human health and the environment,” he writes.

“The use of these pesticides has been increasing exponentially since 1990: back then, 30 million liters of poisons were used; during the 2012/2013 crop season more than 318 million liters were applied. On the same hectare where 2 or 3 liters of glyphosate were used per year, today 8 or 12 liters are used with 1.5 liters of 2,4-D in addition. In Santiago del Estero, Salta, and Chaco (north-western Argentina) up to 20 liters/ha/year of Round Up are used.”

The Results of Global ‘Live’ Testing of Chemical-Based Agriculture Are In

Nearly two decades-worth of heavy pesticide use is now showing its real-life effects in Argentinean disease and mortality statistics. There has been a notable increase in respiratory problems, chronic dermatitis, depression, immune and endocrine disorders, for example. Miscarriages have skyrocketed, and 23 percent of women of childbearing age report having had at least one miscarriage in the past five years. Infertility among both men and women has significantly increased.  Among animals—those proverbial canaries in the coal mine—up to 100 percent of spontaneous abortions and premature deaths have been due to malformations linked to pesticide exposure.

Birth deformities are also rising—especially among mothers exposed to pesticides during the first few months of pregnancy. In some towns, birth deformities and defects such as Down’s syndrome, spina bifida, and neural tube defects occur at three times the normal rate. Data also show that 30 percent of deaths in areas where pesticides are sprayed are due to cancer, while the average cancer death rate is less than 20 percent.

“Significantly, the date coincides with the expansion in the use of glyphosate and other agrochemicals massively applied in those areas. In May 2014, the Ministry of Health of the Province of Córdoba published data from its cancer registry, confirming that in the most intensive agricultural areas, deaths due to cancer exceed by 100 percent those in the city, and by 70 percent the provincial average,” Dr. Medardo Ávila-Vázquez writes.22

“For 100 000 years our species was in contact with minimum amounts of these toxins, but now, thanks to biotechnology, we are exposed to massive amounts of these proteins… Today we know that 40 percent of the genes of the human genome are shared with plants and regulate our cellular activities as in the plants, we also know that 60 percent of the genes of insects such as the fruit fly are in our genetic code.

In other words, we share with insects and plants many mechanisms of cellular metabolism. When we attack these mechanisms with a heavy arsenal of chemicals, to block or distort them, to kill plants or insects, we cannot ignore the fact that these toxic products can reach people, either through occupational exposure, residential exposure or by ingesting food or water contaminated with residues, and may well have adverse effects on them; we cannot presuppose that they are harmless.”

What Are We Doing, and Where Are We Headed?

Last but not least, an article by Elizabeth Grossman23 titled “What Are We Doing to Our Children’s Brains?” raises the issue of toxic exposures via food, air, and water, and neurological health. Clearly all these toxins are not making our children smarter. I think that’s a fairly reasonable assumption. The question is when will our lawmakers and industry bigwigs recognize the true cost of doing business as usual? How many people must be completely dysfunctional before food is recognized as something that actually must be pure? Grossman writes:

The numbers are startling. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.8 million more children in the US were diagnosed with developmental disabilities between 2006 and 2008 than a decade earlier. During this time, the prevalence of autism climbed nearly 300 percent… CDC figures also show that 10 to 15 percent of all babies born in the US have some type of neurobehavorial development disorder.”

Statistics like these tell us that we are well past the point where one can argue that “a little bit of toxin won’t do any harm” because our environment and food supply is filled with tens of thousands of substances thought to be “harmless,” in and of themselves, in the amounts used. But it’s not just one chemical; one toxin. Even those who make an effort to avoid known toxins are undoubtedly ingesting and breathing and absorbing a plethora of chemicals every day, most of which have never even been studied for safety.

It’s the combination of all these exposures that spell doom for future generations—unless we act swiftly. Toxic industries have been allowed to flourish and dictate how our food is grown, processed and sold. But this is not the only system available. There are other non-toxic agricultural systems that can feed the world more efficiently, while simultaneouslynourishing and protecting soils and wildlife. We need to make a U-turn, and we need to do it now. Regrettably, it may already be too late in some respects, considering just how long some toxins linger in the environment, but doing nothing will assurethe end of our species… The choice is ours. You vote for the world you want to live in every time you open your pocketbook, so please take each of those opportunities seriously. Together, we can steer the food industry in a new direction.

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.

Finally 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.

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.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these corporate giants. So please, fight for your right to know what’s in your food and help support the GMO labeling movement by making a donation today.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

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.

Donate Today!

 

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GMO dangers revealed by former U.S. government scientist

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by: Jonathan Landsman

(NaturalNews) Since 1996, when genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were first introduced, we have seen a dramatic rise in the rates of food allergies, autism, reproductive disorders and digestive problems. Of course, companies like Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta – which own approximately half of the entire proprietary seed market – would have you believe that GMO dangers don’t exist. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.

Independent GMO research gets attacked and suppressed. But, on the next NaturalNews Talk Hour, you’ll get to hear (first hand) what a former USDA research microbiologist has to say about the dangers of GMOs. After listening to this program – you’ll think twice about our food supply and, hopefully, have the confidence to share this news with your family and friends. Join us for a great show!

Visit: http://www.naturalhealth365.com and enter your email address for show details + FREE gifts!

One of the biggest lies connected to GMO technology exposed

Agricultural technology corporations, like Monsanto, continue to push the notion that the use of GMO seeds will reduce the need for toxic chemicals in farming. Yet, in the past 5 years, due to the development of weed-resistant crops – farmers have been required to spray more herbicides on their fields – in an effort to kill the weeds. This is having a devastating effect on our environment and human health.

In fact, the only people who stand to gain from GMO technology are the companies that own the seeds and the chemicals used on the crops generated from these genetically manipulated seeds. Think about it – if GMO seeds are supposed to reduce the need for toxic chemicals – why are we seeing such a growth in glyphosate sales?

According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research, the global glyphosate herbicide market was valued, in 2012, at $5.46 billion and they expect the market to grow to $8.79 billion by 2019. In the past 5 years, we now see this toxic substance, glyphosate, in air and water samples plus within the blood of unborn children.

Something is terribly wrong with this picture – don’t you think?

On the next NaturalNews Talk Hour, you’ll hear directly from a former USDA scientist, who has dedicated his life to understanding the hazardous effects of genetically engineered crops on soil quality and plant health. If you care about your food supply – do NOT miss this program.

Visit: http://www.naturalhealth365.com and enter your email address for show details + FREE gifts!

How government agencies and corporations deceive the public to ensure corporate profits

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FDA ‘encourages developers of GE plants to consult with the agency before marketing their products…Although the consultation is voluntary.’

In other words, the agency in charge of ‘food safety’ does not even require a single safety study and will not require the labeling of GMOs or even a notification before a GE food is sold to the public. Clearly, the FDA has failed to uphold its responsibilities as a watchdog for the U.S. population.

In fact, secret memos – from the FDA – made public thanks to a lawsuit reveal an overwhelming agreement among the FDA’s own scientists that GMOs can create ‘unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects.’ These scientists have asked for long-term safety studies but the White House has ordered the FDA to promote biotechnology.

To make matter worse, the FDA appointed Michael Taylor as the ‘Deputy Commissioner for Foods’. By the way, Michael Taylor was an attorney for Monsanto – but, I guess we’re supposed to still trust he keeps public safety as his top priority, right?

If you really want to hear the truth about GMOs and its effect on the environment and our food supply – be sure to join us on the next NaturalNews Talk Hour.

This week’s guest: Robert Kremer, Ph.D., retired research microbiologist with U.S.D.A. Agricultural Research Service

Discover the real threats behind GMO technology and foods – Sun. Mar. 1

Robert Kremer, Ph.D. is a Professor of Soil Microbiology at the University of Missouri and recently retired after a 32-year career as a research microbiologist with U.S.D.A. Agricultural Research Service.

His original research involves soil microbe-plant-pesticide interactions; soil health assessment; and impacts of genetically-engineered crops on soil ecology and biology. Dr. Kremer is a Certified Soil Scientist, a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and of the Weed Science Society of America.

U.S. regulatory agencies ignore the scientific evidence of GMO dangers. On the next NaturalNews Talk Hour, Jonathan Landsman and Dr. Robert Kremer, a former research microbiologist of the USDA Agricultural Research Service talk about how GMO technology – including the use of glyphosate, a toxic herbicide developed by Monsanto is destroying soil quality, plant health and the environment. This is a rare opportunity to hear the truth!

Visit: http://www.naturalhealth365.com and enter your email address for show details + FREE gifts!

 

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How Nutritional and Alternative Treatments Can Help You Avoid Using Drugs for Depression

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By Dr. Mercola

Depression is a very serious health problem and can be terminal, as up to 30,000 people who are depressed commit suicide every year. But are antidepressants the best approach?

Contrary to popular belief, there are safer—and oftentimes far more effective—alternatives to the drug route, as explained here by Dr. Hyla Cass, a practicing psychiatrist who uses integrative medicine.

Dr. Cass appears regularly on TV and radio shows, and is an associate editor of Total Health Magazine. She also serves on the boards of California Citizens for Health and the  American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), of which I was a member for some time.

Her father was a doctor, practicing out of their home in Toronto, so Dr. Cass was exposed to medicine first hand from a very early age. Her father’s old-fashioned medical values of personal care and attention was the model of healing after which she eventually modeled her own career.

“Doctors really relied on their own judgment then. It wasn’t just a pill for every ill,” she notes. “In my own practice, I began to notice that what people ate and how they lived actually influenced their health.

People who were eating junk were not doing very well. People who were eating healthier, more natural foods, actually were feeling better, doing better, were healthier (have less colds, flus and all the rest), and even,  were nicer people to be around!”

Why Focus on Natural Interventions for Depression?

Early on, Dr. Cass began searching for other doctors of like mind, and discovered a mentor in Dr. Abram Hoffer, the co-founder of  “orthomolecular medicine.” This refers to the concept of nutritional deficiencies being a source of mental illness, and the right nutrients or molecules can correct the problem.

“While I was in my residency at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, I began to notice that medications had side effects… It would be okay if the side effects were worth it, but most of the time they weren’t…”

Side effects of antidepressants run the gamut from sexual side effects to lack of emotions or “emotional flatness,” restlessness, sleep disturbances, brain damage, and thoughts (and actions, tragically) of suicide, and even homicide. Virtually all of the school and mass shooters, for example, have been on antidepressants.

“You could say, “Well, of course, they were on antidepressants. They were disturbed and that’s why they did the shooting.” But a comparable number of people who were not on antidepressants and having similar problems did not become school shooters,” Dr. Cass notes.

“The difference was, first of all, they were genetically predisposed to have that reaction to the medications —  but nobody’s looking at genetics when they prescribe medication.

These shooters were either just newly on medication, or had just had some sort of change in their medications or dosage; ie regardless of details, there was something going on with their medications before the event. And that’s a terrible tragedy. A lot of this information has been suppressed, too.”

Nutrition Is Essential for Proper Brain Function

Long before holistic health became a catch phrase, Dr. Cass began pursuing the use of nutritional supplements rather than medication, and lo and behold, her patients improved.

A huge drawback of the conventional mental health care system is that few doctors have the time, or take the time, to sort out the root of the problem with each patient. It’s a lot easier to simply write a drug prescription. Dr. Cass, on the other hand, takes the time to focus on finding, and then treating, the root cause.

“It’s so scary when you think of what these medications do. They’re not to be handed out the way they are. That really is disturbing to me. People think, “My doctor knows what he or she is doing.” Well, that’s not always true. I think it’s up to people to educate themselves,” she says.

 “At Cedars-Sinai I was trained in a more psychoanalytic way. That’s actually good. It’s a Freudian model. I don’t practice that way now, but it was a good basis; understanding that there’s an unconscious and that we have scripts in us that are outside of our regular awareness.

And when we make them conscious, we actually are liberated . We can go on and live more fulfilling lives. I began looking  first of all, at their psyche, but also at their lifestyle – what they were eating and drinking,and  their attitudes. So many things go into being healthy.”

The Placebo Effect in Action

People can get quite defensive when you mention that antidepressants may be doing more harm than good, and that there are better alternatives. Many insist their whole life changed for the better once they started taking an antidepressant, and they cannot conceive living without it.

According to Dr. Cass, this can often be the placebo effect in action. You are in essence healed by your belief. If you think the drug will work, it likely will. But the same power of belief could be applied to virtually any other treatment modality, including a sugar pill.

One 2010 study1 concluded that there is very little evidence to suggest antidepressants benefit people with mild to moderate depression, as these drugs work no better than a placebo in at least 80 percent of cases.

An earlier meta-analysis2 published in PLoS Medicine also concluded that the difference between antidepressants and placebo pills is very small. Other research3 into the placebo effect noted that “the placebo effect is an unacknowledged partner for powerful medications.”

“Here we are with these miracle bodies. What we have to do is feed them right and treat them right, and we’ll get the most wonderful results,” Dr. Cass says.

“On the other hand, if we overuse or misuse medication, which is often the case, you’re just going to cause these side effects, some of them very dangerous, and won’t ever deal with the root cause.

We need to look at psychodynamics. But we also must take a look at nutritional status. Is there an infection? Is there toxicity? Is there a Vitamin B12 deficiency? Is there an iron deficiency anemia? There are so many medical issues that actually appear as depression.

When a doctor just hands you a prescription for an SSRI, they are not doing you a favor unless they’ve first given you a thorough medical workup, looking hormonal imbalance including thyroid or adrenal, or gluten sensitivity, to name a few of the possible causes.”

Gluten Sensitivity—A Common But Hidden Cause of Depression

You may not have realized this, but the gluten level in our grains is much higher today than it ever was before, thanks to various breeding techniques, and gluten can produce depression if you’re sensitive to it. In such a case, the key is to remove gluten from your diet entirely. You cannot simply cut down. It must be removed completely. In Dr. Cass’ practice, she’s seen many people recover from severe depression when going gluten-free.

“They start to feel better, their mood improves. The depression, it turned out was really due to gluten sensitivity. And you may ask, “How can gluten affect your brain like that? What is going on?” It has to do with inflammation,” she explains. “When gluten is inflaming your gut, it’s also inflaming your brain. Whatever’s going on in your gut is also going on in your brain. They’re very connected.

The gut is the second brain. In fact, there are more serotonin receptors in the gut than anywhere else in the whole body. What I’m saying is, to summarize, it can be gluten sensitivity, thyroid imbalance, anemia, some kind of infection, Lyme disease, or chronic fatigue syndrome.  Many medical issues will show up as depression. Depression is a symptom. Depression is not a condition. It’s not an illness; it’s simply a symptom…

We have this three-pound sophisticated organ, the brain,, the control center of our whole body, and it does not get evaluated. No one looks at it. You have a symptom of depression, anxiety, or insomnia, and you get a prescription. That’s crazy. That is not good medicine. I’m saying I’m not even practicing alternative medicine; I’m practicing good medicine.”

An important issue to address is junk food, which also promotes gut inflammation. So one of the first steps in addressing problems like anxiety and depression is to clean up your diet and address your gut health. Otherwise, you’ll have virtually no chance of getting healthy emotionally and mentally. As noted by Dr. Cass, there are times when temporary use of an antidepressant may be warranted, but such occasions are really quite rare.

“I think that if we use the right doses of specific herbs and supplements, and get exactly the right diagnosis, the right biological, biochemical diagnosis, we probably won’t need to use the meds,” she says.

High Dose Niacin for Psychosis

Before he attended medical school, the mentor I mentioned, Dr. Abram Hoffer, received a PhD in biochemistry specializing in vitamin B research. So when he became director of the largest psychiatric hospital in Saskatchewan, he used his knowledge to research the administration of high doses of niacin (vitamin B3) to schizophrenic  patients.

Amazingly, he was able to get many of these very ill mental patients well enough to be released, get married and go on to lead normal lives. It turns out that pellagra, a disorder caused by niacin deficiency, produces the same psychiatric symptoms such as irrational anger, feelings of persecution, mania, and dementia that were found in many of these “ hopelessly incurable” patients. The cure was giving them the deficient B vitamin. Sadly, despite “performing miracles” on these hard-to-treat patients, Dr. Hoffer’s ground-breaking research was discredited by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which was sadly more interested in promoting drugs.

“As long as the patients continued to take their niacin, as well as vitamin C, they were OK. On the other hand, nowadays if  psychotic patients stop their medication, they may or may not relapse. This brings up another issue; we’re seeing  more relapses than we used to in psychosis and depression. It may be due to the meds. Before people were on meds to the extent that they are, they would have a depressive episode, [then] recover  and not necessarily have another one…But we’re now having far more chronically relapsing depression and psychosis than before the introduction of medication.

Moreover, we’re having more bipolar illness than we ever had. Something is going on. The medications are actually changing the brain. This is what is so scary. We have people who start off being depressed, being put on antidepressants for their depression, end up becoming bipolar, and then they’re placed on a whole cocktail of medications. And they’re kept on that cocktail indefinitely, which frequently ends their ability to function normally.”

How to Revert from Antidepressants to More Natural Treatments

If you’re currently on an antidepressant and want to get off it, ideally you’ll want to have the cooperation of your prescribing physician. Some doctors are happy to help you to withdraw if they know that you’re going to be responsible about it. Others may not want to bother, or they don’t believe that you can get off the medication. As noted by Dr. Cass, you may need to do some reading in order to be better prepared. Dr. Joseph Glennmullen from Harvard wrote a very helpful book on how to withdraw called The Antidepressant Solution.

You can also turn to an organization with a referral list of doctors who practice more biologically or naturally, such as the American College for Advancement in Medicine  www.ACAM.org. Also, it doesn’t make much sense to withdraw unless you’re implementing some other strategy to address the cause of your depression. In summary, Dr. Cass suggests keeping the following guidelines in mind:

Under your prescribing physician’s supervision, start lowering the dosage of the antidepressant you’re taking. There are protocols for gradually reducing the dose of the medication that your doctor should be well aware of.
At the same time, start taking a multivitamin. Start taking low doses. If you’re quitting an SSRI under doctor supervision, you can go on a low dose of 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP).
For bipolar patients, Dr. Cass and other holistic psychiatrists may prescribe nutritional supplements such as fish oil (omega-3 fats), inositol, tryptophan, and others, depending on the individual’s need.
Bipolar symptoms can also be related to Lyme disease, so if Lyme infection is present, that needs to be addressed, also by a more functionally oriented doctor.
Chronic inflammation in general appears to be a significant underlying factor causing symptoms of depression, so keeping inflammation in check is an important part of any effective treatment plan. If you’re gluten sensitive, you will need to remove all gluten from your diet. A food sensitivity test can help ascertain this.
Vitamin D deficiency is another important biological factor that can play a significant role in mental health. A double-blind randomized trial4 published in 2008 concluded that: “It appears to be a relation between serum levels of 25(OH)D and symptoms of depression. Supplementation with high doses of vitamin D seems to ameliorate these symptoms indicating a possible causal relationship.” Recent research5 also claims that low vitamin D levels appear to be associated with suicide attempts. Ideally, maintain your vitamin D level between 50-70 ng/ml year-round.
Unbalanced gut flora have also been identified as a significant contributing factor to depression, so be sure to optimize your gut health, either by regularly eating traditionally fermented foods, or taking a high quality probiotic.
Make sure you’re getting enough high quality sleep, as sleep is essential for optimal mood and mental health. Afitness tracker that tracks your sleep can be a useful tool.
The inability to fall asleep and stay asleep can be due to elevated cortisol levels, so if you have trouble sleeping, you may want to get your saliva cortisol level tested with an Adrenal Stress Index test.  If you’re already taking hormones, you can try applying a small dab of progesterone cream on your neck or face when you awaken during the night and can’t call back to sleep. Another alternative is to take adaptogens, herbal products that help lower cortisol and adjust your body to stress. There are also other excellent herbs and amino acids that help you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Meditation can also help. A new piece of technology that can be quite useful is a headband sensor called Muse.6It gives you real-time feedback on your brain wave frequencies, which can help train you to enter into deeper states of relaxation and meditation. I’ve been using it for 15 minutes twice a day for about six months, and I’ve noticed some really impressive improvements. Slowing your breathing through meditation and/or using theButeyko breathing technique also increases your partial pressure of carbon dioxide (CO2), which has enormous psychological benefits.
Other helpful tools to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). EFT is well-studied, and recent research found it significantly increased positive emotions, such as hope and enjoyment, and decreased negative emotional states like anger and shame. Another recent review found statistically significant benefits in using EFT for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and phobias.

Many ‘Depressed’ Women Are Actually in Perimenopause

Amazingly, 23 percent of women over the age of 40 are on antidepressants. According to Dr. Cass, this is likely due to misdiagnosis of perimenopause or other hormonal imbalances. Women are entering perimenopause at younger ages these days; some even before the age of 40, and this phase can last for years.

“Women who have never had PMS or mild PMS are suddenly having bad PMS. They are feeling depressed and irritable. They’re yelling at their kids and their partners. They’re having a very hard time. They may be fatigued and feeling like they’re falling apart. What do they do? They go to their doctor, and guess what they get? They get a prescription for an antidepressant. Guess what they shouldn’t get? An antidepressant.

They need to get their hormones balanced. Start with all the usual things: good diet, make sure your liver is able to detoxify properly so you may need some liver supportive herbs like milk thistle or bupleurum. There are also well-researched herbs for menopausal and PMS symptoms like dong quai, black cohosh and vitex.

You can also move into bioidentical hormones. [They are] very safe, particularly progesterone. Very safe. When these women get the hormones that they need, they stop feeling anxious and irritable, and start to feel good again. Their PMS goes away. And it doesn’t take long: one or two cycles and they are likely feeling great. They have a whole new lease on life.”

More Information

For more information, please see Dr. Cass’ website, CassMD.com. She has also authored four books on these subjects:Natural Highs, 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health, and The Addicted Brain: How to Break Free, which details how to get off addictive substances including medications. Another book, Supplement Your Prescription, deals with detecting and treating the nutrient deficiencies caused by medications. All four books are available on her website. She also has a special report calledReclaim Your Brain, available for free on her site, in which she discusses the different nutritional substances you can use to address conditions like anxiety, depression, and lagging memory.

Effortless Healing – One Step at a Time – NOW AVAILABLE!

My newest book, Effortless Healing is now available! I’ve organized this book into a guide that will help you avoid the many pitfalls of the conventional approach to health. Rather than relying on expensive and potentially dangerous drugs, I will help you effortlessly make small shifts in what you eat and how you live to achieve your health goals. I promise, Effortless Healing isn’t a book that will overwhelm you. On top of that, ordering the book today entitles you to 3 exclusive bonuses:

BONUS #1:

A sneak peek of my new book! You won’t need to wait for the book to arrive to get started. Begin reading my new book right away with your free sneak preview!

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Receive 15% off your next Mercola.com order. Depending on your order, your savings from this one bonus alone could more than cover the cost of your book!

All My Profits from This Book Will Be Donated

That’s right. When you order a copy of my new book Effortless Healing, you’ll be making a much-deserved donation to the key organizations that work quietly and efficiently behind the scenes to make the world a healthier place for you, your family, and your community.

Among them, you’ll be benefiting and supporting the actions of:

  • National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) – A non-profit organization that seeks to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending your right of informed choice.
  • Organic Consumers Association (OCA) – A grassroots public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability, and addressing food safety, GMOs, the industrial agricultural complex, children’s health, and more. The ONLY U.S. organization focused exclusively on the interests that you and I share!
  • Consumers for Dental Choice – Children, the unborn, and employees in the dental field are particularly vulnerable to mercury. But so is everyone with a mouthful of amalgam fillings (which are 50% mercury) at risk. Consumers for Dental Choice is working to phase out amalgam use and to promote access to mercury-free alternatives.
  • Fluoride Action Network (FAN) – An international coalition aimed at ending water fluoridation and alerting you to fluoride’s environmental and health risks. FAN keeps you informed about fluoride toxicity, and monitors government actions that may expose you to fluoride.

Are you ready to get started? The timing has never been better. Order your copy of Effortless Healing today, collect your free gifts, and let your journey begin!

 

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Global Health Problems Reflect Our Disconnection from the Earth

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By Dr. Mercola

“Fire is what set us apart. But that fire is on the verge of burning us.”

Living in the modern world is making us sick. That’s the conclusion drawn by Dr. Pedram Shojai, OMD after many years of treating patients for the same lifestyle-induced illnesses, over and over again. This realization inspired him on a four-year mission to produce a film that might help “wake us all up.”

Dr. Shojai partnered with South American filmmaker Mark van Wijk to produce the documentary “Origins,”1 a broad exploration of the intrinsic connection between our health and the vitality of our planet, and how our modern lifestyle is out of synch with our DNA.

The film features 24 great minds in the fields of anthropology, medicine, ecology and health, including David Wolfe, Jeffrey Smith and Sara Gottfried, M.D. Not only is it very informative but also beautifully filmed. “Origins” takes us back to our human roots when we lived as one with the earth.

Plugging Back into the Earth

“The bushman lives his life in nature… the earth, the sun, the wind. This is a wilderness person who respects nature. This is where we make our lives in order to live together with nature.” -!’Aru Ikhuisi Piet Berendse, Bushman and Activist

While we were developing as a species, we lived in tune with the earth, but that connection has been all but lost. Once we plugged into technology, weunplugged from our planet.

Most people feel profoundly different when they leave the city to spend just a few days in nature, gaining an appreciation of just how disengaged they’ve become. This is why grounding is so powerful.

We are besieged by constant messages that in order to be happy, we need more stuff, but in reality, we have only four basic human needs: water, fire, food, and shelter.

The modern world wants to brainwash you into thinking you need much more than that, but in reality, the rest are only “wants.” All of this “stuff” has weakened your relationship with the earth.

The Native Americans were highly attuned to nature. They took care of the earth and it took care of them. They lived symbiotically with the planet instead of as parasites upon it, with reverence rather than disregard.

They would sit in one spot listening to the noises the birds were making, sensing the direction of the wind, atmospheric changes and so on, and thismindfulness informed them of what their next move should be.

As Above, So Below

What allowed us to pull to the head of the pack was fire, making it possible to grow bigger brains that gave us tools, then eventually science and technology. Our ability to wield fire put us into orbit and gave us the internet and all its benefits.

We became Top Dog—but also Top Bully. The unfortunate corollary to humanity’s greatness has unfortunately been tendencies toward arrogance and shortsightedness.

Technology has vastly outpaced our common sense, and we’ve developed a dangerous disregard for long-term consequences for ourselves and the ecosystem in which we live. Both are sounding alarms, and it’s questionable whether we’re hearing them.

Greek philosopher Hermes Trismegistus had a famous axiom: “As above, so below.” This can be applied to the relationship between humans and the earth—microcosm and macrocosm are reflections of each other. What we see on a large scale will inevitably show up on a small scale, and vice versa.

Our ailing bodies, ailing soils, disappearing species and their habitats are all symptoms of one pervasive problem: a planet that’s becoming more toxic with each passing day. Ignoring its warning calls may place humans next in line for extinction.

Humanity and Earth Cry Out… But Is Anyone Listening?

The US is now producing and importing 74 billion pounds of chemicals each day—that’s 250 pounds per person, per day. And that figure doesn’t even include pharmaceuticals, pesticides, fuels, and food additives. Most of these chemicals have never been tested for their effects on human health, yet we consume them daily. What on earth are we doing to ourselves?

In 2013, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), deemed air pollutants a class 1 carcinogen.2It’s projected that air pollution will be the number one cause of death globally by 2050, largely because of our dependence on fossil fuels.

Six billion pounds of bisphenol-A (BPA) is produced each year, leaving our planet literally choking on plastics. BPA, phthalates, and other pseudo estrogens are hijacking our hormones, disrupting the endocrine function of our entire species.

The average baby is now born with 287 chemicals in their body—before they even takes their first breath. We’ve reached the point at which the signals from endocrine disrupting chemicals in our children’s bodies are louder than the signals they’re getting from their own natural hormones.

We used to be naturally lean and strong but have become progressively more obese and weaker. Our bodies are so busy detoxifying that they frequently lack adequate resources to perform basic biological processes. Is it any wonder that humanity has become so sick?

When a species is healthy, nature rewards it with fertility, but studies show that human fertility is waning. One of every four couples worldwide is unable to conceive due to problems with conception and miscarriage. Fertility is a leading indicator for the health of an organism, so the fact that one in eight of us are not healthy enough to reproduce is a major clue.

Your Inner Ecosystem: The Interface with the World

There is no more poignant illustration of your connection to the world around you than your microbiome, or “inner ecosystem.” The long tube running through you from your mouth to your anus is the interface between you and the outside world, and the seat of your immunity—health and disease start in your gut. But this vital system is being severely disrupted by our modern lifestyle.

Infants are literally bathed in beneficial microorganisms during childbirth, which they receive from their mothers as they pass through the birth canal—it’s a baby’s “first inoculation,” potentially providing lifelong immunity.

However, babies born by C-section do not receive this natural inoculation. Kids who were deprived of a vaginal birth are showing all kinds of diseases, including asthma and autoimmune disorders. Infants receive another microbial boost from breast milk, but of course those fed infant formula miss out on this too.

Making matters worse, infants and children are prescribed antibiotics periodically throughout childhood, are discouraged from playing in the dirt and then doused in hand sanitizer. This “sanitized childhood” prevents kids from developing natural immunity, and their bodies fail to populate with the beneficial microbes that grow into an army of protection from illness. Antibiotics have essentially led to the “mass extinction” of our beneficial gut flora, resulting in dysbiosis (an imbalance in your microbiome) and all of the health problems that accompany it.

Your DNA Is Largely Controlled by Your Gut Flora

An abnormal microbiome is a factor behind inflammation, food cravings, obesity, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and many of the other chronic diseases seen today. When your gut flora is unhealthy, leaky gut syndrome can develop whereby food particles leach into your bloodstream where they can trigger allergic and inflammatory responses. An abnormal microbiome can also lead to depression and other emotional and physical problems, because your gut bacteria provide a significant source of your amino acids, vitamins and other important compounds. Three major ones are ATP, tryptophan and serotonin.

Beneficial bacteria also play an enormous role in your genetic expression—continuously helping flip genes off and on as you need them. Your genetic expression is 50 to 80 percent controlled by how you eat, think and move, and your genes change daily—if not hourly. You may be surprised to learn that 140 times more genetic influence comes from your microbes as from the DNA in your own cells. Your genes control protein coding, which determines your hormones, weight, fertility, mood and others.

Which Do You Choose—Food or ‘Edible Manufactured Products?’

Our biology adapted to a diet of wild plants and animals—wild vegetables, berries, nuts, roots, and game, which were MUCH higher in nutrients than our foods today. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed nearly 100 grams of fiber every day, compared to the eight to 15 grams now consumed by the average Westerner. Food can be medicine or poison… the processed foods found lining grocery store shelves are not the foods we were designed to eat. Ninety percent of the average American diet is fake food out of a box, can, jar, or tube.

The foods many react adversely to are relatively new in our food supply—soy, gluten from hybridized wheat, corn, sugar, and highly pasteurized dairy, for example. These modern foods are foreign to your body, so it’s common to have problematic reactions, including inflammatory and autoimmune responses, which can lead to allergies, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and the list goes on and on. One of every four Americans now has type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Americans have shunned fats for the last 40 years after being told they cause heart disease, when the real culprit is sugar. The epidemic of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and the like are evidence of what happens when your brain is starved of beneficial fats while being bombarded with toxic insults over time. Your brain is made up of fat, so it’s no surprise that low-fat diets have been linked to depression and suicidal or homicidal behavior.

We have outsourced the making of our food to corporations that have cut corners, added chemicals, and altered the genetic makeup of what we eat—it’s not food anymore but rather “edible manufactured products.” Our children pay the heaviest price, becoming biochemically enslaved to sugar. This is not an exaggeration as studies have shown sugar to be eight times as addictive as cocaine. Would it be okay if the government began marketing and subsidizing cocaine? Of course not, but that’s exactly what they’re doing with sugar with their subsidization of the corn and fructose industry and manipulative marketing campaigns.

Adding a sedentary lifestyle to a massively unhealthy diet creates the perfect storm for “diabesity.” Our ancestors were in constant motion, hunting, building and carrying things, escaping from predators, etc. Today, people barely move. Sitting for more than eight hours a day is associated with a 90 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes. For optimal health, you need to move near-continuously throughout the day, or at least avoid sitting down for more than three hours a day. And, to keep your body strong, you hunter-gatherer genes want you to exert an all-out effort occasionally, such as high intensity exercises, but few of us actually do this.

Your Health Depends on Soil Health, and Our Soils Are Dying

 

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Just as your gut houses a microbiome that’s critical for your health, our soils contain a microbiome critical to the health of the planet. Your health is directly related to the quality of the food you eat, and the quality of your food depends on the health of the soil in which it’s grown. As above, so below. In the rhizosphere, microorganisms form nodules on the roots of plants to help them take up minerals and other nutrients from the soil. Unfortunately, modern industrial agriculture (monoculture) destroys much of the soil’s microbiome. Heavy agrichemical use and GE crops rapidly destroy once-fertile soils that took centuries to develop. Removing the stress on a plant by dousing it with chemical fertilizers and insecticide cocktails causes it to become weak, producing less of the natural phytochemicals so vital for your health.

Although arrogant molecular biologists believe they know, the reality is that we really don’t know what effects tampering with the genetics of our food supply will have on your health and your children’s health over the long run. I expose their fraud in my fascinating interview with Steven Druker, slated to be published next month. Many experts believe GE foods are contributing to the growing chronic disease epidemics seen today. Despite what industry says, GE foods are not the answer to world hunger. On the contrary, sustainable agriculture that works in harmony with nature instead of against it has been proven to double crop yield.

The United Nations published in a study in 2010 concluding that if the world were switched to agroecological techniques, on the same farming footprint existing today, we could double world food production in about 10 years and begin to heal many of the insults of the chemical era. We must rekindle our relationship with food, go back into our kitchens and start cooking again. In 1900, only two percent of meals were eaten outside of the home, but today it’s more than half.

Your Future Depends on Your Choices Today

Many inroads have been made improving access to local and sustainable foods, but we still have a long way to go. Building a food system that relies heavily on locally grown foods is the answer to many of our global problems, from environmental destruction to hunger and disease. The most powerful tool you have for change is your fork—you vote with your fork three times a day! Are you going to support the companies that are poisoning you and your children, or will you support the people who are raising food in a way that’s a win-win for you and the earth and everyone?

Real food may seem more expensive, but it’s your primary health care, and

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Protein and Strength Training—Two Important Components for Healthy Aging

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By Dr. Mercola

As you age, it becomes harder to maintain muscle strength and bone health. Muscles tend to reduce in size unless you consistently exercise, which decreases strength and increases the likelihood of falls and fractures.

Diet and exercise are two important components to consider if you want to live a long and healthy life.

Protein is essential for proper muscle growth and maintenance—especially for seniors, as your body becomes increasingly less able to use dietary protein for building muscle—but I would recommend caution.

There are drawbacks to eating too much protein. Balance is key, as is making sure you’re getting high-quality protein. As for exercise, strength training can help counteract age-related muscle wasting, and help strengthen your bones as well.

Moreover, upping the intensity of your resistance training can achieve a number of beneficial changes on the molecular, enzymatic, hormonal, and chemical level in your body, which will help slow down many of the diseases caused by a sedentary lifestyle.

Should Seniors Double Their Protein Intake?

According to recent research, current dietary guidelines on protein intake may be too low for health, particularly if you’re over 50. As noted in Science Daily:1

“Current US recommendations for daily dietary protein intake are 0.8 grams/kilogram of body weight (roughly 62 g of protein per day for a 170-pound person).

Previous research has shown that older adults need a protein intake of at least 0.40 g/kg of body weight at each meal (roughly 31 g of protein per meal or 93 g per day for a 170-pound person) to encourage maximum protein synthesis.

This represents a significantly higher amount of protein than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) suggests.”

The study,2 published in the American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism, assessed the effects of four eating plans on the muscle health of 20 healthy adults between the ages of 52 and 75.

The participants were randomly divided into four groups, and assigned to a specific eating plan as follows:

  • Groups 1 and 2 ate 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (current RDA); consumed either all at once during dinner, or divided up equally between three meals
  • Groups 3 and 4 ate 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (double the current RDA guideline), either for dinner, or divided up equally between three meals

Regardless of the timing or distribution of the protein, after four days, those who ate more protein increased their rates of muscle protein synthesis, improving their body’s ability to build muscle. They also improved their net protein balance, which is the difference between protein synthesis and breakdown. As explained in the featured article:3

“As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass and strength due to a trifecta of reduced muscle response to protein intake, changing hormones and for some, less physical activity.

Called sarcopenia, this gradual loss of muscle mass has been credited with a litany of health problems, including insulin resistance, low bone mineral content and density, falls and fractures – even death, says lead author IL-Young Kim…

For maximal muscle, Kim says the majority of older adults need to consume about 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass per day. Kim recommends getting the bulk of your protein from animal sources such as beef, fish, milk and cheese.”

A Word of Caution—Too Much Protein Can Be Detrimental for Health

As you age, your protein requirement will tend to increase, so there is some validity to the argument that that boosting protein intake may improve your health—if you’re currently eating far below the RDA. That said, there’s another side to this issue that you need to consider as well.

There is an upper limit to how much protein your body can actually use. And, on the average, Americans typically consume anywhere from three to five times more protein than they need for optimal health, along with far too many carbohydrates and insufficient amounts of healthy fats.

While your body certainly needs protein, eating too much of it—especially if you’re eating CAFO-raised protein—can actually be detrimental to your health for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • First, if you eat more protein than your body requires, it will simply convert most of those calories to sugar and then fat. Increased blood sugar levels can also feed pathogenic bacteria and yeast, such as Candida albicans (candidiasis), as well as fueling cancer cell growth
  • Excessive protein can have a stimulating effect on an important biochemical pathway called the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). This pathway has an important and significant role in many cancers.When you reduce protein to just what your body needs, mTOR remains inhibited, which helps minimize your chances of cancer growth.
  • When you consume more protein than your body needs, your body must remove more nitrogen waste products from your blood, which stresses your kidneys.4 Chronic dehydration can result, as was found in a study involving endurance athletes5

So while it’s important to consume enough protein to maintain muscle mass, protein in and of itself is not a magic solution against sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss). You still need strength training to actually build muscle, and if you have cancer, you need to be particularly cautious about stimulating the mTOR pathway with excessive protein.

How Much Protein Is Likely ‘Enough?’

Dr. Ron Rosedale—a prominent expert on insulin—was possibly the first person to advocate both a moderate protein (and therefore high fat) and low-carb diet. For optimal health, he believes most adults need about one gram of protein per kilogram of LEAN body mass (not total body weight), or 0.5 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.

To estimate your individual protein requirement, you must first determine your lean body mass. To do that, subtract your percent body fat from 100. For example, if you have 30 percent body fat, then you have 70 percent lean body mass. Then multiply that percentage (in this case, 0.7) by your current weight to get your lean body mass in pounds or kilos. As an example, if you weigh 170 pounds; 0.7 multiplied by 170 equals 119 pounds of lean body mass. Using the “0.5 gram of protein” rule, you would need 59.5 or just under 60 grams of protein per day.

100 – % of body fat = % of lean mass X actual weight X 0.5 gm protein = total grams of protein recommended

Example: A 170 lb. individual with 30% fat mass

100% total weight – 30% fat mass = 70 % lean mass

0.70 X 170 = 119 X 0.5 = 60 grams of protein recommended

For comparison, following the current US dietary guideline, which is based on total body weight, a 170-pound individual would need about 62 grams of protein per day. At first glance, these recommendations appear to be close enough to dissuade any arguing. The primary difference is that US guidelines do not take fat mass into account, which can vary wildly from one person to the next, even if they weigh the same. For example, if this theoretical 170-pound person has a fat mass of only 15 percent, his protein requirement would be just over 72 grams.

By factoring in fat mass and calculating protein need based on muscle weight (lean mass) instead of total weight, you can calculate your individual requirement far more precisely. Using this formula, most people’s protein requirement would fall in the 40-70 grams range, which is considerably lower than the average American’s consumption.

You must also remember that exercise uses protein and if you are walking 10,000 steps a day, you will likely need to increase your protein intake by 25 percent, making the lean 170-pound person have a protein need of about 90 grams per day. However even lean exercising individuals come far from the proposed recommendation in the featured study, which would suggest a 170 pound person needs 139 grams of protein a day (1.8 grams of protein per kilo of total body weight). Personally, I believe this is an excessive amount of protein and would recommend against these new guidelines unless you are clearly losing muscle mass. Then I would gradually increase along with strength training until you notice an improvement.

Meat consumption has risen dramatically in the US over the past century, yet it has not resulted in improved health. On the contrary, low-quality meat from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) has become a driver of both chronic disease and rising antibiotic-resistance.  I believe it would be rare for a person to need more than 0.5 grams of high quality protein per pound of lean body mass. Exceptions to the rule would be those who are aggressively exercising (or competing) and pregnant women, who typically need about 25 percent more. Seniors may also have slightly higher protein requirements. To learn more about protein requirements and recommended protein sources, please see my previous article, “The Very Real Risks of Consuming Too Much Protein.”

The Importance of Resistance Training

Moving on to the exercise portion of this discussion, resistance training or strength training is particularly important for healthy aging. Not only can it help counteract age-related muscle loss, but weight-bearing exercise is also one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis. Loss of bone mass is a common sign of aging, because as you age your existing bone is absorbed by your body while new bone is created to replace it. In the case of osteoporosis, the formation of new bone falls behind the rate of bone absorption, leading to weakened, thinner and more brittle bones.

Strength training dynamically stimulates your osteoblasts or bone building cells to help build new bone. In addition, as you build more muscle you also increase the amount of constant tension on your bones, which also helps keep them strong and resilient. Strength training also increases your body’s production of growth factors, which are responsible for cellular growth, proliferation, and differentiation. Some of these growth factors also promote the growth, differentiation, and survival ofneurons, which helps explain why working your muscles also benefits your brain and helps prevent dementia.

Hip Fractures Becoming More Common Among Middle-Aged as Well as the Elderly

A thinning hipbone is a major concern if you are elderly, because any fall increases the risk of a broken hip, which can result in a fatal lung clot from immobilization. It’s estimated that 25 percent of elderly people suffering a hip fracture actually die as a direct result, usually from the blood clot.6 According to the latest government statistics,7 the number of hip replacements substantially increased between 2000 and 2010. The procedure has also become increasingly common among younger people, which is a clear warning sign that our lifestyles are in dire need of reassessment!

Over that 10-year span, total hip replacements more than doubled, from 138,700 in 2000 to 310,800 in 2010. Among 45 to 54-year olds, the number rose by 205 percent! In all, 51,900 hip replacement procedures were performed on people aged 45-54. Compare that to 80,000 procedures performed on seniors aged 75 and older. Rising arthritis rates are thought to contribute to this rapid rise in hip replacements among the middle-aged, but my guess is that improper diet and lack of exercise are the real culprits. Chronic sitting may also be part of the problem. Prolonged sitting may actually be more hazardous to your health than lack of exercise in general.

Weight Training Tips for Older Adults

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1AveUjttk8  (Could not paste this video for some reason!)

Examples of muscle-strengthening exercises include yoga, body-weight exercises, and resistance training using elastic bands and/or free weights or weight machines. The American College of Sports Medicine, the American Heart Association, and the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommend engaging in muscle strengthening activities targeting all major muscle groups at least two days per week.8

Remember, you are never too old to start exercising. My mom is an excellent example, as she didn’t start working out until she was 74 and has since gained significant improvements in strength, range of motion, balance, bone density, and mental clarity at the age of 80. After a bit of apprehension at first, she now, as you can see in the video above, loves her workouts and, I’m hoping, will inspire you to get active as well, no matter what your age.

If you’re just starting out, consult with a personal fitness trainer who can instruct you about proper form and technique. He or she can also help you develop a plan based on your unique fitness goals and one that is safe for any medical conditions you may have. Keep in mind that while you need to use caution, you do need to exercise at a level that is challenging to your body. Many make the mistake of not exercising with enough intensity, and this will result in many of your benefits being forfeited.

One beneficial and safe way to incorporate high-intensity exercise into your workout if you’re older is to slow down your movements. This technique, referred to as super-slow weight training, is also very efficient in terms of time. You only need about 12 to 15 minutes of super-slow strength training once a week to achieve the same human growth hormone (HGH) production as you would from 20 minutes of Peak Fitness sprints (which may be unsuitable for the elderly). Dr. Doug McGuffis an avid proponent of this technique. I’ve also started incorporating an even more intense version, called super-super-slow strength training.

If you still have not incorporated high intensity exercise into your fitness regimen, I highly recommend getting started. You can learn more about HIIT here,9 as there are many different programs to choose from. I also review the similarities and differences between super-slow and super-super-slow strength training techniques in this previous article.10

With Diet and Exercise, You Can Stay Active and Limber Well Into Old Age

Regardless of your age, diet and exercise are foundational components that can help you live a long and healthy life. With total hip replacements now being performed on people in their 40s, it would certainly behoove you to consider the price you may have to pay for ignoring your diet and fitness… When it comes to diet, protein is but one part of the equation, and as mentioned, there is a goldilocks’ zone—you do need protein for bone and muscle health, but too much can stimulate the mTOR pathway, thereby raising your risk for cancer and other health problems.

For optimal health, most people need about one gram of protein per kilogram of lean body mass (not total body weight), or one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, as discussed above. Increase that by 25 percent for extensive exercise, like walking or running 6-8 miles per day. Also be mindful of the quality of your protein. Most meats and animal products on the market are typically poor quality, originating in CAFOs, where the animals are mistreated and fed an unnatural diet of genetically engineered grains instead of fresh grass.

So, your goal should be a diet with enough—but not too much—high-quality protein from a variety of animal and plant sources. Then, consider adding strength training to your regimen, to boost muscle tone and bone health. While everyone can benefit from super-slow strength training, this technique may be particularly suitable if you’re middle-aged or older, as it tends to be a safer form of high intensity exercise compared to sprinting. You do not have to become infirm with advancing age. But you do need to be proactive, and the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.

 

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Food Rising Mini-Farm Grow Box official launch

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You can purchase you own Mini-Farm Grow Box here:

www.supplysource.com

 

Once you have received you Grow Box, you will need these instructions.

Food Rising Mini-Farm Grow Box full assembly instructions

Full instructions for assembling the Food Rising Mini-Farm Grow Box. Covers parts, assembly, water quality, plant nutrients and more.

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New Dietary Guidelines Reverse Flawed Recommendations on Cholesterol

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By Dr. Mercola

For the past half century, cholesterol has been touted as a grave health hazard, and dietary fat and cholesterol have been portrayed as being among the “deadliest” foods you could possibly eat.

This may finally change, as limitations for cholesterol will likely be removed from the 2015 edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It’s about time really, as 60 years’ worth of research has utterly failed to demonstrate a correlation between high cholesterol and heart disease.

Not only does undamaged natural cholesterol not cause heart disease, it is actually one of the most important molecules in your body; indispensable for the building of cells and for producing stress and sex hormones, as well as vitamin D.

Cholesterol is also important for brain health, and helps with the formation of your memories. Low levels of HDL cholesterol have been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, and may also increase your risk of depression, stroke,violent behavior, and even suicide.

New American Dietary Guidelines May Remove Limits on Cholesterol

A draft1 of the 2015 edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans,2 created by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, now states that “cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

And, according to a recent report in the Washington Post,3 an insider claims the new stance on cholesterol will remain in the final report. As noted by medical journalist Larry Husten:4

“The proposed change reflects a major shift in the scientific view of cholesterol that has taken place in recent years.

Although serum cholesterol is still considered an important risk factor, cholesterol consumed in food is now thought to play a relatively insignificant role in determining blood levels of cholesterol.”

However, if you process saturated fat or cholesterol and heat it by frying, then  you create very dangerous products that will clearly increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. So this new information does not give you free license to eat any type of cholesterol. Remember, trans fats are worse than sugar for your health.

Guidelines on Fat and Cholesterol Should Never Have Been Made

Steve Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, toldUSA Today:5 “It’s the right decision. We got the dietary guidelines wrong. They’ve been wrong for decades.” This message was echoed in Time Magazine, which recently reported that:

“[I]n the latest review6 of studies that investigated the link between dietary fat and causes of death, researchers say the guidelines got it all wrong. In fact, recommendations to reduce the amount of fat we eat every day should never have been made.”

Low-fat diets saw a real upswing in 1977, but according to research published in the Open Heart journal,7 led by Zoe Harcombe, PhD, there was no scientific basis for the recommendations to cut fat from our diet in the first place.

What’s worse, the processed food industry replaced fat with large amounts of sugar, While Dr. Harcombe shies away from making any recommendation about how much dietary fat might be ideal, she suggests that the take-home message here is to simply “eat real food.”

I have to say, it’s refreshing to finally see that message being repeated in the mainstream media. As reported by Time Magazine:8

“The less adulterated and processed your diet is, the more nutrients and healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates your body will get, and the less you’ll have to worry about meeting specific guidelines or advice that may or may not be based on a solid body of evidence.”

Processed Fructose Affects Your Body Like Alcohol

The low-fat craze led to an avalanche of new processed food products, promising to benefit both your waistline and your heart. Alas, nothing could have been further from the truth.

When fat was removed, sugar was added in, and this has led to a massive increase in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. As it turns out, your body metabolizes fructose in the same way it metabolizes ethanol, creating the same toxic effects.

Unlike glucose, which can be used by virtually every cell in your body, fructose can only be metabolized by your liver, because your liver is the only organ that has the transporter for it.

Since nearly all fructose gets shuttled to your liver, and, if you eat a typical Western-style diet, you consume high amounts of it, fructose ends up taxing and damaging your liver in the same way alcohol and other toxins do.

In fact, when you compare the health outcomes of fructose versus alcohol consumption, you see the diseases they cause are virtually identical:

Chronic Ethanol Consumption Chronic Fructose Consumption
Hypertension Hypertension
Cardiomyopathy Myocardial infarction
Dyslipidemia Dyslipidemia
Pancreatitis Pancreatitis
Obesity Obesity
Hepatic dysfunction (ASH) Hepatic dysfunction (NASH)
Fetal alcohol syndrome Fetal insulin resistance
Addiction Habituation, if not addiction

Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease Has Become a Serious Public Health Concern

Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, has been a pioneer in decoding sugar metabolism and sounding the alarm on processed fructose in particular.

In one of his papers,9 published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010, Dr. Lustig describes three similarities between fructose and its fermentation byproduct, ethanol (alcohol):

  1. Your liver’s metabolism of fructose is similar to alcohol as they both serve as substrates for converting dietary carbohydrate into fat, which promotes insulin resistance, dyslipidemia (abnormal fat levels in the bloodstream), and fatty liver
  2. Fructose undergoes the Maillard reaction with proteins, leading to the formation of superoxide free radicals that can result in liver inflammation similar to acetaldehyde, an intermediary metabolite of ethanol
  3. By “stimulating the ‘hedonic pathway’ of the brain both directly and indirectly,” Dr. Lustig noted, “fructose creates habituation, and possibly dependence; also paralleling ethanol”

As recently reported in Scientific American,10 non-alcoholic fatty liver disease11 (NAFLD) now affects an estimated 25 percent of Americans, including an estimated 20 percent of children, who have never had a drop of alcohol. Cases of NAFLD have even been reported in children as young as three years old. This may sound like an impossibility. But did you know that most infant formulas contain the sugar equivalent of a can of Coca-Cola?

Ditto for many baby foods, which can contain as much sugar and harmful trans fats as chocolate cookies or cheeseburgers. Babies are methodically “poisoned” with exorbitant amounts of refined sugar and processed fructose from day one, so it’s really no wonder that so many of our youngsters struggle with weight issues and associated diseases.  As explained inScientific American:12

“NAFLD describes the accumulation of fat in hepatocytes, or liver cells, in excessive amounts. These fats are typically triglycerides, which the body naturally stores and creates from calories that it doesn’t need right away. Normally these fats are burned off for energy, but if the body is overwhelmed with calories and a lack of exercise, then the triglycerides are simply never released. They instead accumulate in the liver and cause NAFLD, which can lead to inflammation, scarring, liver dysfunction and even liver cancer.”

Wrong Dietary Guidelines Has Led to Flawed Medical Interventions, Too

Since the cholesterol hypothesis is false, this also means that the recommended therapies—low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, and cholesterol lowering medications—are doing more harm than good. Statin treatment, for example, is largely harmful, costly, and has transformed millions of people into patients whose health is being adversely impacted by the drug. As noted in the featured video, we now know a whole lot more about HDL and LDL, commonly referred to as “good” and “bad” cholesterol respectively, although that is also a bit of a fallacy.

Depending on the size of the particles, LDL may be either harmful or harmless, so LDL is not necessarily “bad” across the board. The issue of particle sizes is discussed in greater detail in my 2013 interview with Chris Kresser, L.Ac. If you’ve had your cholesterol levels checked, your doctor most likely tested your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. But we now know those are not accurate predictors for cardiovascular disease risk.

A far more accurate predictor is your LDL particle number, the test for which is called an NMR Lipoprofile. It’s easy to get and all major labs offer it, including LabCorp and Quest. Most insurance policies cover the test as well. Best of all, even if your doctor were to refuse to order it, you can order it yourself via third-party intermediaries like Direct Labs, or you can order the test online, and get blood drawn locally. Also:

  1. Check your HDL to total cholesterol ratio. HDL percentage is a potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol. This ratio should ideally be above 24 percent.
  2. Boost your HDL cholesterol and lower your triglyceride levels. High triglycerides are a very potent risk factor for heart disease. In combination, high triglycerides and low HDL levels are an even bigger risk; this ratio is far more important to your heart health than the standard good vs. bad cholesterol ratio. In fact, one study found that people with the highest ratio of triglycerides to HDL had 16 times the risk of heart attack as those with the lowest ratio of triglycerides to HDL.

You calculate your triglyceride/HDL cholesterol ratio by dividing your triglyceride level by your HDL level. This ratio should ideally be below 2. So while you strive to keep your HDL cholesterol levels up, you’ll want to decrease your triglycerides. You’ll find strategies for increasing your HDL level below. Triglycerides are easily decreased by exercising and avoiding grains and sugars in your diet.

Statins Are Based on a Flawed Premise

Part of the reason why cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins are ineffective for heart disease prevention (besides the fact that the drug causes heart disease as a side effect) is that drugs cannot address the real cause of heart disease, which isinsulin and leptin resistance, which in turn increase your LDL particle number via a number of different mechanisms. While some genetic predisposition can play a role, insulin and leptin resistance is primarily caused by a combination of factors that are epidemic in our modern lifestyle:

  • A diet high in processed and refined carbohydrates, sugars/fructose, refined flours, and industrial seed oils
  • Insufficient everyday physical activity. Chronic sitting is also an independent risk factor that causes biochemical changes that predispose you to insulin and leptin resistance, even if you’re very fit and exercise regularly
  • Chronic sleep deprivation. Studies have shown that even one night of disturbed sleep can decrease your insulin sensitivity the next day and cause cravings and overeating
  • Environmental toxins. Exposure to BPA, for example, can disrupt weight regulation
  • Poor gut health. Studies indicate that imbalances in your gut flora (the bacteria that live in our gut) can predispose you to obesity and insulin and leptin resistance, and processed foods high in sugar effectively feed harmful bacteria, allowing them to take over

For Heart Health, Focus on Boosting Your HDL

A healthy diet is foundational for optimal health, and step number one is to ignore the advice to eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. Other strategies that will help reduce your risk of heart disease include the following:13

Replace processed foods (which are loaded with refined sugar and carbs, processed fructose, and trans fat—all of which promote heart disease) with whole, unprocessed or minimally processed foods, ideally organic and/or locally grown.
Avoid meats and other animal products such as dairy and eggs sourced from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Instead, opt for grass-fed, pastured varieties, raised according to organic standards.
Eliminate no-fat and low-fat foods, and increase consumption of healthy fats. Half of the population suffers with insulin resistance and would benefit from consuming 50-85 percent of their daily calories from healthy saturated fats, such as avocados, butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, raw dairy, organic pastured egg yolks, coconuts and coconut oil, unheated organic nut oils, raw nuts, and grass-fed meats. No- or low-fat foods are usually processed foods that are high in sugar, which raises your small, dense LDL particles.

Balancing your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is also key for heart health, as these fatty acids help build the cells in your arteries that make the prostacyclin that keeps your blood flowing smoothly. Omega-3 deficiency can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year. For more information about omega-3s and the best sources of this fat, please review this previous article.

You also need the appropriate ratios of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, and all of these are generally abundant in a whole food diet. To get more fresh vegetables into your diet, consider juicing.
Optimize your vitamin D level. Some researchers, like Dr. Stephanie Seneff, believe optimizing your vitamin D level through regular sun exposure, opposed to taking an oral supplement, may be key to optimizing your heart health. If you do opt for a supplement, you also increase your need for vitamin K2.  Meanwhile, Dr. Robert Heaney recently highlighted research showing that carnivorous animals actually get some of the vitamin D they need from the meat they eat. For the longest time, meat was not considered a good source of vitamin D, primarily because it was so difficult to measure that we didn’t think it contained useful amounts. He recommends getting approximately 5,000 to 6,000 IUs of vitamin D per day from all sources – sun, supplements, and food – in order to reach and maintain a healthy blood level of 40-60 ng/ml.
Optimize your gut health. Regularly eating fermented foods, such as fermented vegetables, will help reseed your gut with beneficial bacteria that may play an important role in preventing heart disease and countless other health problems.
Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption.
Exercise regularly. Exercise is actually one of the safest, most effective ways to prevent and treat heart disease. In 2013, researchers at Harvard and Stanford reviewed 305 randomized controlled trials, concluding there were “no statistically detectable differences” between physical activity and medications for heart disease. High-intensity interval training, which requires but a fraction of the time compared to conventional cardio, has been shown to be especially effective.
Pay attention to your oral health. There’s convincing evidence linking the state of your teeth and gums to a variety of health issues, including heart disease. In one 2010 study,14 those with the worst oral hygiene increased their risk of developing heart disease by 70 percent, compared to those who brush their teeth twice a day.
Avoid statins, as the side effects of these drugs are numerous, while the benefits are debatable. In my view, the only group of people who may benefit from a cholesterol-lowering medication are those with genetic familial hypercholesterolemia. This is a condition characterized by abnormally high cholesterol, which tends to be resistant to lowering with lifestyle strategies like diet and exercise.

Effortless Healing – One Step at a Time – NOW AVAILABLE!

My newest book, Effortless Healing is now available! I’ve organized this book into a guide that will help you avoid the many pitfalls of the conventional approach to health. Rather than relying on expensive and potentially dangerous drugs, I will help you effortlessly make small shifts in what you eat and how you live to achieve your health goals. I promise, Effortless Healing isn’t a book that will overwhelm you. On top of that, ordering the book today entitles you to 3 exclusive bonuses:

BONUS #1:

A sneak peek of my new book! You won’t need to wait for the book to arrive to get started. Begin reading my new book right away with your free sneak preview!

BONUS #2:

My most popular video interviews, all in one place. I’ve compiled 18 of my BEST expert interviews for you to watch and listen to at your leisure, and in the comfort of your own home or office.

BONUS #3:

Receive 15% off your next Mercola.com order. Depending on your order, your savings from this one bonus alone could more than cover the cost of your book!

All My Profits from This Book Will Be Donated

That’s right. When you order a copy of my new book Effortless Healing, you’ll be making a much-deserved donation to the key organizations that work quietly and efficiently behind the scenes to make the world a healthier place for you, your family, and your community.

Among them, you’ll be benefiting and supporting the actions of:

  • National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) – A non-profit organization that seeks to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending your right of informed choice.
  • Organic Consumers Association (OCA) – A grassroots public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability, and addressing food safety, GMOs, the industrial agricultural complex, children’s health, and more. The ONLY U.S. organization focused exclusively on the interests that you and I share!
  • Consumers for Dental Choice – Children, the unborn, and employees in the dental field are particularly vulnerable to mercury. But so is everyone with a mouthful of amalgam fillings (which are 50% mercury) at risk. Consumers for Dental Choice is working to phase out amalgam use and to promote access to mercury-free alternatives.
  • Fluoride Action Network (FAN) – An international coalition aimed at ending water fluoridation and alerting you to fluoride’s environmental and health risks. FAN keeps you informed about fluoride toxicity, and monitors government actions that may expose you to fluoride.

Are you ready to get started? The timing has never been better. Order your copy of Effortless Healing today, collect your free gifts, and let your journey begin!

 

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DROP EVERYTHING and watch these four urgent, must-see videos of raw, uncensored truth

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by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
(NaturalNews) If you hope to have any real understanding of what’s actually happening in the world around you, consider the following four videos to be “must-see material.” All of the topics covered in these videos are aggressively censored by the state-run media in America and around the world:
BOUGHT the movie

BOUGHT is an explosive new film that expertly exposes the science fraud, corporate corruption and government collusion behind mass medications, toxic vaccines and deadly GMOs.

This is arguably the most powerful film ever created that tells the truth about vaccines, medications and GMOs.

Incredibly, BOUGHT is free to watch online for the next few days only. Watch it here:

http://www.boughtmovie.net/free-viewing/

The Lie We Live

Here’s a short video montage that many people find deeply moving. It explains why so many people feel stuck, trapped or depressed in today’s society. You’re not as free as you’ve been led to believe…

The Lie We Live

 

The government wants to regulate the internet

The U.S. government is freaking out about all the truth being distributed on the internet, and they’ve decided to launch a “Department of the Internet” to start controlling what you can read or watch online.

If they get this passed, independent journalism websites like Natural News will be permanently banned from the internet.

 

Rob Dew eviscerates vaccine lies with raw truth

Rob Dew is a frontline reporter for InfoWars.com, the same alternative information website where world-renowned writer Paul Joseph Watson works.

In this incredibly well researched video report, Rob Dew utterly eviscerates the vaccine industry’s outrageous lies by revealing truths the lamestream media will never report:

 

Help spread the truth

Keep spreading the word about truth-telling websites like www.NaturalNews.com www.NaturalNewsRadio.com www.TruthWiki.org www.FoodRising.org and many others.

Education is the key to defeating tyranny at all levels, and it is now exclusively the alternative media that works to educate the People about what’s really happening in the world today.

The mainstream media is the wool that’s pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. All mainstream media is now 100% controlled by just six powerful corporations, and any reporters who attempt to report the truth on these topics are immediately fired and blackballed from the industry.

About the author: Mike Adams (aka the “Health Ranger“) is the founding editor of NaturalNews.com, the internet’s No. 1 natural health news website, now reaching 7 million unique readers a month.

In late 2013, Adams launched the Natural News Forensic Food Lab, where he conducts atomic spectroscopy research into food contaminants using high-end ICP-MS instrumentation. With this research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products to low levels by July 1, 2015.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed “strange fibers” found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health “gurus,” dangerous “detox” products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released ten popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

 

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Low Vitamin D in Childhood Linked to Heart Risks Later in Life, and Raises Adults’ Risk of Severe Stroke and Cancer

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By Dr. Mercola

Researchers such as Dr. Robert Heaney, who I previously interviewed in the above video, have now realized that vitamin D is involved in the biochemical “machinery” of all cells and tissues in your body, which is why it has such a potent impact on health and disease.

When you don’t have enough, your entire body will end up struggling to function properly, because all cells need the active form of vitamin D to open up the genome and access the information retained within its genetic plans.

When you’re deficient in vitamin D, your health can deteriorate in any number of ways from this lack of access to the cells’ genetic blueprint.

Researchers have previously pointed out that increasing levels of vitamin D3 among the general population could prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly one million lives throughout the world each year.

Chances are this number would reach even higher if more recent research were to be taken into account. Either way, compelling evidence suggests that optimizing your vitamin D can reduce your risk of death from any cause,1making it a foundational component of optimal health.

Childhood Vitamin D Deficiency Can Be Costly in Terms of Health

For years, it’s been known that children born to vitamin D-deficient mothers are at increased risk for type 1 diabetes. Vitamin D deficiency in childhood is also associated with more severe asthma and allergies.

Recent research also suggests that having low vitamin D levels in childhood may raise your risk of hardening of the arteries in middle-age. The study,2published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, involved nearly 2,150 people who were enrolled in 1980 at the age of 3-18. As reported by theNew York Times:3

“All underwent periodic physical exams, including measures of serum vitamin D levels, blood pressure, lipid levels, diet, smoking, and physical activity and were examined up to age 45.

Doctors used ultrasound to examine arteries, including the carotid artery in the neck; thickening of the arteries is considered a marker of higher cardiovascular risk.

A vitamin D level of between 30 to 50 is generally considered adequate. Children in the lowest one-quarter for vitamin D levels, about 15 nanograms per milliliter, were nearly twice as likely to have thickening of the carotid artery as those in the other three quarters.”

According to lead author, Dr. Markus Juonala, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Turku in Finland, the findings suggest that vitamin D plays a role in long-term arterial health.

Here, they did not find that low vitamin D in childhood resulted in any specific heart conditions or stroke later in life, but other studies have indeed noted a strong connection between low vitamin D in adults and such health problems.

Low Vitamin D May Predict More Severe Stroke

According to veteran vitamin D researcher Dr. Michael Holick, research has shown that vitamin D deficiency can increase your risk of heart attack by 50 percent. Moreover, if you have a heart attack and you’re vitamin D deficient, your risk of dying from that heart attack is upwards of 100 percent!

Similarly, findings presented at this year’s annual American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference suggest that people who have low vitamin D status are far more likely to suffer more severe strokes.

They also have poorer outcomes after suffering a stroke compared to those with more adequate vitamin D levels. As reported by the American Heart Association:4

“[Stroke] patients who had low vitamin D levels –defined as less than 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) – had about two-times larger areas of dead tissue resulting from obstruction of the blood supply compared to patients with normal vitamin D levels…

For each 10 ng/mL reduction in vitamin D level, the chance for healthy recovery in the three months following stroke decreased by almost half, regardless of the patient’s age or initial stroke severity.”

Virtually All Cancer Patients Have Low Vitamin D Levels

Low vitamin D is also strongly associated with an increased risk for well over a dozen different cancers, including breast and colon cancer. Theories linking vitamin D deficiency to cancer have been tested and confirmed in hundreds of epidemiological studies, and understanding of its physiological basis stems from more than 2,500 laboratory studies.

Its anticancer effects include the promotion of apoptosis (cancer cell death), and the inhibition of angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor), and the level of protection afforded by vitamin D can indeed be significant. For example:

  • One recent meta-analysis5 found that having a high serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D was associated with a 25 percent reduction in relative risk of bladder cancer
  • A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine6concluded that a vitamin D level of more than 33 ng/mL was associated with a 50 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer
  • Researchers7,8 Joan Lappe and Robert Heaney found that menopausal women given enough vitamin D to raise their serum levels to 40 ng/ml experienced a 77 percent reduction in the incidence of all cancers after just four years’ of supplementation
  • According to Carole Baggerly, founder of GrassrootsHealth,9 the evidence suggests as much as 90 percent of ordinary breast cancer may be related to vitamin D deficiency

Link Between Vitamin D Levels and Colorectal Cancer Strengthened

Not only does vitamin D protect against tumor proliferation in the first place, it also affects treatment outcome and recovery. The connection between vitamin D status and cancer survival was most recently demonstrated in research presented at the annual Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.

Patients diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer who had higher levels of vitamin D had a far greater progression-free survival rate than those who were deficient. As reported by Clinical Oncology:10

“The study’s lead investigator, Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH… said the research adds to the existing evidence that vitamin D levels have an effect on cancer. Vitamin D is known to inhibit cell proliferation and angiogenesis, induce cell differentiation and apoptosis and have anti-inflammatory effects.

“Many of these processes are dysregulated in cancer, which led to the hypothesis that perhaps vitamin D had anticancer activity,” said Dr. Ng. Laboratory data support this hypothesis, with experiments demonstrating that administering vitamin D to mice with intestinal cancer reduces tumor burden.”

Nearly 1,045 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer were included in the study, and the median vitamin D level among them was just over 17 ng/ml. Few of them reported taking any kind of vitamin D supplement. Typically, anything below 20 ng/ml is considered a serious deficiency state that increases your chances of any number of health problems, including cancer. Many studies show that having adequate vitamin D is critical in order to optimize treatment outcome. Here, Dr. Ng noted that: “Patients who had levels in the highest quintile had a median survival of 32.6 months compared with 24.5 months for patients with levels in the lowest quintile.”

The Many Health Risks of Low Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most well-researched nutrients out there, and the evidence overwhelmingly points to the fact that it is critical for optimal health and disease prevention. By the end of 2012, there were nearly 34,000 published studies on the effects of vitamin D, and there are well over 800 references in the medical literature showing vitamin D’s effectiveness against cancer alone.

I’m thoroughly convinced that optimizing your vitamin D stores can go a long way toward preventing disease and living a longer, healthier life, as the known health benefits of vitamin D now number in the hundreds, if not thousands. Besides cancer and cardiovascular disease, other benefits of vitamin D include protection against:

Autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D is a potent immune modulator, making it very important for the prevention of autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis11 (MS) and inflammatory bowel disease.
Lung disease. In those who are deficient, vitamin D supplementation may reduce flare-ups of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms by more than 40 percent.12 Other research13 suggests vitamin D may protect against some of the adverse effects of smoking as well.
Infections, including influenza. Vitamin D also fights infections, including colds and the flu, as it regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. I believe it’s far more prudent, safer, less expensive, and most importantly, far more effective to optimize your vitamin D levels than to get vaccinated against the flu.
DNA repair and metabolic processes. One of Dr. Michael Holick’s studies showed that healthy volunteers taking 2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day for a few months upregulated 291 different genes that control up to 80 different metabolic processes. This included improving DNA repair; having a beneficial effect on autoxidation (oxidation that occurs in the presence of oxygen and /or UV radiation, which has implications for aging and cancer, for example); boosting the immune system; and many other biological processes.
Brain health,(depression,14,15 dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease). Vitamin D receptors appear in a wide variety of brain tissue, and activated vitamin D receptors increase nerve growth in your brain. Vitamin D is therefore important for optimal brain function, mental health, and for the prevention of degenerative brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. According to one recent study,16,17 seniors with low vitamin D levels may double their risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Another study18,19,20 found that people with the highest average intakes of vitamin D had a 77 percent decreased risk for Alzheimer’s. Researchers believe that optimal vitamin D levels may enhance the amount of important chemicals in your brain and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of the glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health. Vitamin D may also exert some of its beneficial effects on your brain through its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.

How Much Vitamin Do You Need?

Dr. Robert Heaney is a professor and a well-respected vitamin D researcher, having studied this nutrient for more than 50 years. In the interview above, he shares many of his insights into this question. As a general guideline, an ideal, and what needs to be reclassified as normal, vitamin D level is in the range of 40-60 ng/ml. According to Dr. Heaney, research has shown that 40-60 ng/ml is the level a nursing mother needs in order to ensure her milk will contain the vitamin D her nursing infant needs. The 40-60 ng/ml range is also the same range needed for thyroid health, and it’s the range found in tribal populations living on the equatorial plains of East Africa.

Dr. Heaney has pointed out new research showing that oral sources of vitamin D are much higher than previously thought, and this provides compelling justification for the use of oral supplementation. But virtually every expert I have asked does believe that vitamin D produced from the UVB exposure provides additional therapeutic benefits. But for most people, winter precludes anything other than to increase their oral vitamin D supplementation.

That said, sensible sun exposure appears to be the best way to optimize your vitamin D level.  Dr. Heaney stresses that you need to get approximately 5,000 to 6,000 IUs of vitamin D per day from all sources – sun, supplements, and food – in order to reach and maintain a blood level of 40-60 ng/ml.

Keep in mind that the specific dosage is a very loose guideline, because people vary widely in their ability to respond to vitamin D. GrassrootsHealth—which Dr. Heaney is Research Director of—also has a helpful chart showing the average adult dose required to reach healthy vitamin D levels based upon your measured starting point. Ideally, make sure to monitor your levels at regular intervals, and take whatever amount of vitamin D3 you need to maintain a clinically relevant level year-round. Do remember to take vitamin D3—not synthetic D2—along with vitamin K2 and magnesium. To learn more about the reason for this recommendation, please see my previous article, “Magnesium—The Missing Link to Better Health.”

vitamin d levels
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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.”

Vitamin D Kit
Order button

 

 

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