Can Exercise Be Replaced with a Supplement?

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See the Video “Take Nestlé’s Fat-Burning Drink Story With a Grain of Salt” at above link.

By Dr. Mercola

Exercise is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle. It’s particularly important for controlling your blood sugar and normalizing your insulin levels, which is critical if you want to normalize your weight and maintain optimal health.

Based on the principle of following ancestral practices, it is important to understand that our genetics and biochemistry are optimized for consistent regular movement, and failure to provide that will result in disability and disease.

When done correctly, exercise can oftentimes act as a substitute for some of the most common drugs used for things like diabetes, heart disease, and depression. Unfortunately, a side effect of our modern quick fix culture is that many still wish for a magic pill or elixir, and Nestlé now claims to be able to bottle the benefits of exercise…1

As reported by the Huffington Post:2

“Yes, scientists at Nestlé, the largest food company in the world, published their work in the journal Chemistry and Biology3 on Nov. 24. Kei Sakamoto’s research team in Switzerland demonstrated how a compound (C13) could activate a master metabolic control switch, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK).

AMPK activation inhibits fat production in the liver and increases the body’s capacity to burn sugar.

This is good news for the elderly and those with disabilities that preclude the possibility of physical activity. Of course the much larger potential market of simply sedentary people represents the sweet spot for such a product.”

The Allure of ‘Exercise in a Bottle’

Nutritional supplements can serve an important function by helping to correct specific nutritional imbalances or deficiencies, but trust me—they will never be able to replace physical exercise.

Nestlé claims the compound C13 increases metabolism by interacting with an enzyme that controls the metabolic process. This enzyme, AMPK, is naturally activated by exercise. AMPK stimulates the burning of fat by producing mitochondria, the power sources of cells.

The skeletal muscles of athletes have been found to contain a much higher number of mitochondria, which is likely linked to AMPK activity. AMPK declines with age, which is why you tend to lose muscle as you get older—unless you keep challenging them.

But what else might compound C13 interact with? The truth is, weight loss supplements and metabolic boosters in particular are notorious for creating potentially dangerous side effects.

The intellectual arrogance of this approach is only exceeded by Nestle’s egregious attempts at profits with disregard to health. It reminds me of their efforts to stop women in third world countries from breastfeeding so they could sell them vastly inferior synthetic formula that they made.

Clearly, a great many people struggle with weight issues. But to think that an “exercise potion” will be able to save you from the hassle of having to break a sweat is nothing short of delusional. There is simply no way a supplement will be able to stimulate your muscle to provide the complex physiology they need to provide you with optimal health.

The Synergistic Effects of Exercise Cannot Be ‘Bought’

A product like this might be able to mimic a specific biological effect that exercise produces, such as increasing your metabolic rate, but it will never provide you with all  the health effects exercise provides. As someone that has been passionate about exercise for nearly five decades, I can assure that exercise has countless effects on your body — not only on your muscle fibers but also on your brain, your immune system, your ability to fight cancer,depression, and much more.

There’s simply no way a pill or beverage could ever reproduce the synergistic benefits that exercise has on your body and mind. For example, research published in the journal Cell Metabolism4 shows that when healthy but inactive people exercise intensely, even if the exercise is brief, it produces an immediate change in their DNA.

While the underlying genetic code in the muscle remains unchanged, exercise causes important structural and chemical changes to the DNA molecules within the muscles, and this contraction-induced gene activation appears to be early events leading to the genetic reprogramming of muscle for strength, and to the structural and metabolic benefits of exercise.

Several of the genes affected by an acute bout of exercise are genes involved in fat metabolism. Specifically, the study suggests that when you exercise, your body almost immediately experiences genetic activation that increases the production of fat-busting proteins.

Previous studies have identified and measured a wide variety of biochemical changes that occur during exercise. More than 20 different metabolites5 are affected, including compounds that help you burn calories and fat, and compounds that help stabilize your blood sugar.   These biochemical changes create a positive feedback loop. Will “exercise in a bottle” be able to affect all those metabolites? It’s highly unlikely, and Nestle’s own scientists warn that their product should be viewed as a supplement to boost exercise benefits—not an actual replacement for exercise.6

You Don’t Need to Invest Hours to Reap Benefits from Exercise

One of the key health benefits of exercise is that it helps normalize your glucose and insulin levels by optimizing insulin receptor sensitivity. This is perhaps the most important factor for optimizing your overall health and preventing chronic disease. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend multiple hours in the gym each week. Research shows that short bursts of intense exercise is the most effective, so you can really maximize your exercise benefits in as little as 40-60 minutes per week, provided you’re doing it correctly.

 

IIT Guidelines

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a core component of my Peak Fitness program. There are many versions of HIIT, but the core premise involves maximum exertion followed by a quick rest period for a set of intervals. My Peak Fitness routine uses a set of eight 30-second sprints, each followed by 90 seconds of recovery, as taught by Phil Campbell who is a pioneer in this field. Also, while I typically recommend using an elliptical machine or recumbent bike, it can be performed with virtually any type of exercise, with or without equipment.

To perform these exercises correctly, you’ll want to raise your heart rate to your anaerobic threshold, and to do that, you have to give it your all for those 20 to 30 seconds.  Here’s a summary of what a typical interval routine might look like using an elliptical (for a demonstration, please see the video below):

• Warm up for three minutes

• Exercise as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. You should be gasping for breath and feel like you couldn’t possibly go on another few seconds. It is better to use lower resistance and higher repetitions to increase your heart rate

• Recover for 90 seconds, still moving, but at slower pace and decreased resistance

• Repeat the high intensity exercise and recovery 7 more times. Depending on your level of fitness, you may only be able to do two or three repetitions to start. As you get fitter, just keep adding repetitions until you’re doing eight.

Ideally, you’ll want to perform these exercises two or three times a week for a total of four minutes of intense exertion, especially if you are not doing strength training.Doing it more frequently than two or three times a week can be counterproductive, as your body needs to recover between sessions.

If you want to do more, focus on making sure you’re really pushing yourself as hard as you can during those two or three weekly sessions, rather than increasing the frequency. I also recommend incorporating strength training for a well-rounded fitness program. You can turn your resistance exercises into high intensity exercises as well, simply by slowing things down.

Super slow strength training may even be superior to HIIT exercises using a recumbent bike or elliptical machine in some regards. For instance, 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. To learn more, see The Pros and Cons of Free Weights versus Resistance Machines, which also discusses the benefits of a super-super slow technique.

Eating Right for Fitness

Did you know that turning the food pyramid upside-down is the key to normalizing your weight and optimizing your fitness? Indeed, this point was well made in Donal O’Neill’s film, Cereal Killers. By eliminating sugars and grains, and dramatically boosting his fat intake, O’Neill was able to dramatically improve his health. A slew of professional athletes have also switched from traditionally-recommended carb-loading to a high-fat diet, and are reaping the benefits in their careers. As noted by Steven Moore in his write-up of the film:7

“The film features a host of elite athletes and team doctors and nutritionists who are now either using the high fat diet or are advocating it for their teams. World Ironman Champion Sami Inkinen ditched his high-carb high-sugar diet for a 70 percent high fat diet with incredible results. He also only trains for half the time of his rivals because he’s adapted his body to run on fat…

Donal says many athletes have been using the high fat diet for years but don’t want to talk about it publicly because they don’t want their competitors to know what’s behind their success. ‘Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson changed to the high fat diet and his body shape has changed incredibly – he’s now built like a tank. The US skier Bode Miller has gone low-carb and he dropped 18lbs.’”

The ‘Healthy Processed Food’ Myth

The fact is, you’ve been thoroughly misled when it comes to conventional dietary advice. It’s near impossible to maintain optimal health by stocking your fridge and pantry with processed foods and beverages—no matter what health benefits are claimed by the food manufacturers. Think a breakfast cereal can lower your cholesterol and keep your heart healthy? Or that 6-8 servings of whole grain will help you lose weight? Think again!

Many doctors, nutritionists, and government health officials will tell you to keep your saturated fat below 10 percent, while keeping the bulk of your diet, about 60 percent, as carbs. Even diabetic organizations promote carbohydrates as a major component of a healthy diet—even though grains break down to sugar in your body, and sugar promotes insulin resistance, which is the root cause of type 2 diabetes in the first place!

What they don’t tell you (probably because they don’t know it), is that these grossly flawed dietary guidelines are largely dictated by the processed food industry—not science.  Nutritional science actually tells us this kind of diet is a recipe for weight gain and chronic health problems. Refined carbohydrates promote chronic inflammation in your body, elevate low-density LDL cholesterol, and ultimately lead to insulin and leptin resistance. Insulin and leptin resistance, in turn, is at the heart of obesity and most chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s—all the top killers in the US!

Yet such evidence has been ignored or marginalized for the benefit of big business, which is focused on producing cheap foods with high profit margins. The federal government subsidizes the growing of grains and sugar (most in the form of corn, which is then turned into high fructose corn syrup), so that’s where the majority of profits are.

I challenge you to read the labels of the processed foods and beverages in your kitchen right now and find one that doesn’t contain some form of corn syrup, soy, vegetable oil, or grain. These ingredients are everywhere, and all those refined carbohydrates and harmful processed fats are fuel for weight gain and a whole spectrum of associated health problems.

Healthy Fat—It Does Your Body Good

If you want to get back into the driver’s seat, so to speak, you need to ignore what you’ve been told is “healthy,” and take a fresh look at whatactually works. In his film, O’Neill switches over to a diet where 70 percent of his calories come from healthy fat—most of it in the form of macadamia nuts (my personal favorite)—and the remaining 30 percent of his caloric intake is divvied up between protein and fibrous fruits and vegetables. Over the course of 28 days, O’Neill:

• Loses weight and body fat

• Increases his lean muscle mass

• Feels more energetic and improves his athletic performance

• Increases his resting metabolic rate

• Improves his blood pressure, cholesterol, and other measurements to the point that he no longer has any risk factors for heart disease, which he’s genetically predisposed for

His results also show the benefits of a high-fat, low-carb diet for athletes, as it results in higher, more sustained energy. This is a hallmark of ketogenesis, where your body is burning fat rather than sugar as its primary fuel. When your body burns fat, you don’t experience the energy crashes associated with carbs, and this is of significant benefit for athletes. While the high fat diet worked for O’Neil it will likely only work well for you if you are one of the 80 percent of those with insulin resistance (diabetes, high blood pressure, overweight, taking a statin drug).  If you aren’t insulin resistant it is fine to increase healthy carbs.

How to Eat for Optimal Health

The answer to run-away weight gain and most chronic disease states hinges on a) avoiding inflammatory spikes in blood sugar, insulin and leptin, and b) reversing insulin and leptin resistance. To do this, you need to:

• Avoid refined sugar, processed fructose, and grains. This means avoiding processed foods of all kinds

• Eat whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the grain carbs you cut out with:

• Moderate amounts of high-quality protein from organic, grass-fed or pastured animals (this is to ensure you’re not getting the antibiotics, genetically engineered organisms, and altered nutritional fat profile associated with factory farmed animals). Most Americans eat far too much protein, which can be detrimental. To learn more, please see my previous article: The Very Real Risks of Consuming Too Much Protein.

• As much high-quality healthy fat as you want (saturated and monounsaturated). Many health experts now believe that if you are insulin or leptin resistant (as 80 percent of the US population is), you likely need anywhere from 50 to 85 percent of your daily calories in the form of healthy fats. Good sources include coconut and coconut oil, avocados, butter, nuts (particularly macadamia), and animal fats. Avoid all trans fats and processed vegetable oils (such as canola and soy oil). Also take a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fat, such as krill oil.

• As many vegetables as you can muster. Juicing your vegetables is a good way to boost your vegetable intake.

• Another “add-on” suggestion is to start intermittent fasting, which will radically improve your ability to burn fat as your primary fuel. This too will help restore optimal insulin and leptin signaling. There is simply no question or doubt in mind that intermittent fasting is the single most effective strategy to resolve your insulin resistance and junk food cravings.

Bust the Myth of ‘Exercise Benefits in a Bottle’ Before It Starts

In summary, there’s no getting around the fact that if you seek optimal health, you’re going to have to make bigger changes than adding another “souped-up” beverage to your shopping list. In fact, removing processed foods and beverages from your list is one of the first steps toward a healthier life. These changes do not need to be traumatically costly or time consuming however. In fact, you may find that eating a diet based on whole foods can save you money.

This is definitely true in the long run, as health care costs can easily devour any savings you might get from buying cheap processed fare. Eating a high-fat, low-carb diet will help you shift from burning sugar to burning fat as primary fuel, and this has far-ranging health benefits, including weight loss and increased energy and stamina.

As for exercise, high-intensity interval training is by far the most efficient and therefore the least time consuming. Super slow strength training is also an excellent choice, as it gives you both the benefits from weight lifting and the benefits from high intensity exercises.

I also recommend avoiding sitting as much as possible, and making it a point to walk more every day. A fitness tracker can be very helpful for this. I suggest aiming for 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day, and this is in addition to your regular fitness regimen, not in lieu of it. There’s an explosion of fitness trackers coming and I would encourage you to consider getting one as they can also help you track your sleep and help you reach your eight hours. It is nearly impossible to change something that you aren’t carefully monitoring.

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Diabetes Ages Your Brain Five Years Faster Than Normal

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By Dr. Mercola

In the United States, nearly 80 million people, or one in four, have diabetes or pre-diabetes. What’s worse, diabetes among children and teens has also skyrocketed.

The most recent data1,2 reveals that incidence of type 2 diabetes among children aged 10-19 rose by 30 percent between 2001 and 2009. The same situation exists in other developed nations.

In the UK, more than one-third of adults are now pre-diabetic,3 and British researchers warn that this will lead to a massive avalanche of type 2 diabetics in upcoming years, which will have serious consequences for health care and life expectancy.

Diabetes Linked to Faster Decline in Memory

One of many debilitating health problems associated with type 2 diabetes is a higher risk for dementia. According to one recent study,4,5,6 diabetes ages your brain about five years faster than normal.

People who are diagnosed with diabetes in their 50s are at a significantly heightened risk for mental decline by the time they’re 70.

Previous research7 has also shown that type 2 diabetics lose more brain volume with age than expected—particularly gray matter. This kind of brain atrophy is yet another contributing factor for dementia.

According to lead author Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:8

The lesson is that to have a healthy brain when you’re 70, you need to eat right and exercise when you’re 50.

There is a substantial cognitive decline associated with diabetes, pre-diabetes and poor glucose control in people with diabetes. And we know how to prevent or delay the diabetes associated with this decline...”

The Importance of Healthy Blood Vessels for Proper Brain Function

A number of different factors play a role in memory decline and dementia. One important factor is the health of your blood vessels, and I’ve previously discussed the links between heart disease and dementia. In fact, the test that predicts your future risk of heart disease is better at predicting your risk of dementia than a specific dementia-risk test.9

In the featured study, diabetics were found to suffer a 19 percent greater decline in mental acuity compared to non-diabetics over the course of 20 years. Those with pre-diabetes were also at a significantly increased risk for memory decline.

The researchers suggest the decline in memory associated with diabetes is due to damage to small blood vessels in the brain. According to co-author A. Richey Sharrett, MD, DrPH:

There are many ways we can reduce the impact of cerebral blood vessel disease—by prevention or control of diabetes and hypertension, reduction in smoking, increase in exercise and improvements in diet.

Knowing that the risk for cognitive impairments begins with diabetes and other risk factors in mid-life can be a strong motivator for patients and their doctors to adopt and maintain long-term healthy practices.”

The best predictor of type 2 diabetes is being obese or overweight, and in the US one-third of children and teens (aged two to 19), and more than two-thirds of adults are either overweight or obese.

Obesity is usually the result of inappropriate lifestyle choices, such as eating too much processed foods (high in carbs and low in healthy fats), and not fasting enough.

It’s interesting to note that the poorest Americans have the highest obesity rate, and they also tend to eat a diet that is very high in processed foods. This is yet another indication that processed foods play a significant role in metabolic dysfunction, weight gain, and associated health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.

Diabetes Medication May Do More Harm Than Good

Diabetes is a disease rooted in insulin resistance10 and perhaps more importantly, a malfunction of leptin signaling, caused by chronically elevated insulin and leptin levels.

This is why the medical community’s approach to its treatment is not getting anywhere. Contrary to popular belief, treating type 2 diabetes with insulin is actually one of the worst things you can do, as it only exacerbates the underlying problem.

One recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine11 concluded that insulin therapy in type 2 diabetic patients—especially older diabetics—may indeed do more harm than good. As reported by Medical News Today:12

In the US, type 2 diabetes is diagnosed when hemoglobin A1c levels reach 6.5 percent or higher. The higher A1c levels are, the greater the risk of other health problems.

Sometimes the condition can be managed through changes in diet, but other patients with type 2 diabetes may need medication – such as insulin or metformin – to help lower their blood sugar levels, and ultimately, reduce the risk of diabetes complications.

But the researchers of this latest study… claim that the benefits of such treatment – particularly for people over the age of 50 – may not always outweigh the negatives.

‘In many cases, insulin treatment may not do anything to add to the person’s quality life expectancy,’ says study co-author John S. Yudkin…

‘If people feel that insulin therapy reduces their quality of life by anything more than around 3-4 percent, this will outweigh any potential benefits gained by treatment in almost anyone with type 2 diabetes over around 50 years old.’ …

For example, they estimate that a person with type 2 diabetes who begins insulin therapy at age 45 and lowers their hemoglobin A1c levels by 1 percent may experience an extra 10 months of healthy life.

But for a patient who starts treatment for type 2 diabetes at age 75, they estimate the therapy may only gain them an additional 3 weeks of healthy life. The researchers say this prompts the question – is 10-15 years of pills or injections with possible side effects worth it?

Lifestyle Changes Are as Effective as Medicine for Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Just like obesity, type 2 diabetes is primarily controlled and prevented through diet and exercise. Avoiding sugar (and processed fructose in particular) is imperative for preventing insulin/leptin resistance. Exercise is also important for normalizing your insulin and leptin sensitivity.

I’ve often said that lifestyle changes can be just as, if not more, effective than drugs, and studies have repeatedly confirmed this view. Most recently, a meta-analysis published in Diabetologia13 found that diet and exercise lowers blood sugar levels and prevents diabetes in pre-diabetics as effectively as diabetic medications in both genders. As reported by MedicineNet.com:14

The researchers reviewed data from more than 7,400 women and 5,500 men in 12 studies. Men and women with prediabetes who made lifestyle changes were 40 percent less likely to progress to diabetes after one year, and 37 percent less likely to progress after three years, compared to those who did not make lifestyle changes, the study found.

Men and women with prediabetes who made lifestyle changes also lost more weight and had greater reductions in blood sugar levels, the researchers said… ‘Clinically, these findings highlight an important issue.

Despite differences in age of onset, detection and burden of type 2 diabetes between men and women, the effectiveness of preventive interventions in people with prediabetes is not influenced by gender,’ the researchers explained...”

The Importance of Magnesium for Glucose and Insulin Balance

Magnesium deficiency is also worth mentioning, as it plays an important role in glucose and insulin homeostasis.15 Magnesium is also required to activate tyrosine kinase, an enzyme that functions as an “on” or “off” switch in many cellular functions and is required for the proper function of your insulin receptors. Studies,16,17,18 from around the world universally agree that in order to optimize your metabolism and keep your risk for type 2 diabetes low, you need to consume adequate magnesium.

One 2013 study involving pre-diabetics found that most had inadequate magnesium intake, and those with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk for blood sugar and metabolic problems by a whopping 71 percent19. Current government guidelines for magnesium intake among adults call for 300 to 420 mg per day, but research suggests many would benefit from a much higher intake—about 700 mg per day or more.

Type 3 Diabetes, or ‘Brain Diabetes,’ May Be Responsible for Alzheimer’s Disease

A growing body of research suggests there’s a powerful connection between your diet and your risk of Alzheimer’s disease20 via similar pathways that cause type 2 diabetes. Alzheimer’s disease was tentatively dubbed “type 3 diabetes” in early 2005 when researchers learned that, in addition to the pancreas, your brain also produces insulin. This brain insulin is actually necessary for the survival of your brain cells.

A drop in insulin production in your brain may contribute to the degeneration of your brain cells, and studies have found that people with lower levels of insulin and insulin receptors in their brain often have Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have discovered that insulin actually does far more than regulate your blood sugar. It also helps with neuron glucose-uptake, and the regulation of neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, which are crucial for memory and learning. This is why reducing the level of insulin in your brain impairs your cognition.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the same pathological process that leads to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes may also hold true for your brain. As you over-indulge on sugar and grains, your brain becomes overwhelmed by the consistently high levels of glucose and insulin that blunts its insulin signaling, leading to impairments in your thinking and memory abilities, eventually causing permanent brain damage.

Additionally, when your liver is busy processing fructose (which your liver turns into fat), it severely hampers its ability to make cholesterol, an essential building block of your brain that is crucial for optimal brain function. Indeed, mounting evidence supports the notion that significantly reducing fructose consumption is a very important step you can take to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Prevention and Treatment Guidelines

It’s becoming quite clear that to protect your brain and prevent cognitive decline, it’s important to address any underlying insulin/leptin resistance and/or type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, type 2 diabetes is curable, and in the vast majority of cases does not require any form of medication. The following nutrition and lifestyle modifications should be the foundation of your diabetes prevention and treatment plan.

Also, make sure to monitor your FASTING insulin level. This is every bit as important as monitoring your fasting blood sugar. You’ll want your fasting insulin level to be between 2 and 4. The higher your level, the greater your insulin resistance and the more aggressive you need to be in your treatment plan, especially when it comes to altering your diet.

Swap out processed foods, all forms of sugar—particularly fructose—as well as all grains, for whole, fresh food. A primary reason for the failure of conventional diabetes treatment over the last 50 years has to do with seriously flawed dietary recommendations. Refined fructose, grains, and other sugar forming starchy carbohydrates are largely responsible for your body’s adverse insulin reactions, and all sugars and grains—even “healthful” grains such as whole, organic ones—need to be drastically reduced.

If you’re insulin/leptin resistant, have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or are overweight, you’d be wise to limit your total fructose intake to 15 grams per day until your insulin/leptin resistance has resolved. This includes about 80 percent of Americans. For all others, I recommend limiting your daily fructose consumption to 25 grams or less, to maintain optimal health.

The easiest way to accomplish this is by swapping processed foods for whole, ideally organic foods. This means cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients. Processed foods are the main source of all the primary culprits, including high fructose corn syrup and other sugars, processed grains, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, and other synthetic additives that may aggravate metabolic dysfunction.

Besides fructose, trans fat (NOT saturated fat) increases your risk for diabetes21 by interfering with your insulin receptors. Recent research22,23 also demonstrates that trans fat has a distinct adverse impact on memory, courtesy of the oxidative stress and brain inflammation these fats produce.

Healthy saturated fats do not have any of these adverse effects on your health. Since you’re cutting out a lot of energy (carbs) from your diet when you reduce sugars and grains, you need to replace them with something. The ideal replacement is a combination of:

º Low-to-moderate amount of high-quality protein. Substantial amounts of protein can be found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts. When selecting animal-based protein, be sure to opt for organically raised, grass-fed or pastured meats, eggs, and dairy, to avoid potential health complications caused by genetically engineered animal feed and pesticides.

Most Americans eat far too much protein, so be mindful of the amount. I believe it is the rare person who really needs more than one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Those that are aggressively exercising or competing and pregnant women should have about 25 percent more, but most people rarely need more than 40-70 grams of protein a day.

To determine your lean body mass, find out your percent body fat and subtract from 100. This means that if you have 20 percent body fat, you have 80 percent lean body mass. Just multiply that by your current weight to get your lean body mass in pounds or kilos. To determine whether you’re getting too much protein, simply calculate your lean body mass as described above, then write down everything you’re eating for a few days, and calculate the amount of daily protein from all sources.

Again, you’re aiming for one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, which would place most people in the range of 40 to 70 grams of protein per day. If you’re currently averaging a lot more than that, adjust downward accordingly. You could use the chart below or simply Google the food you want to know and you will quickly find the grams of protein in the food.

Red meat, pork, poultry, and seafood average 6-9 grams of protein per ounce.

An ideal amount for most people would be a 3-ounce serving of meat or seafood (not 9- or 12-ounce steaks!), which will provide about 18-27 grams of protein

Eggs contain about 6-8 grams of protein per egg. So an omelet made from two eggs would give you about 12-16 grams of protein.

If you add cheese, you need to calculate that protein in as well (check the label of your cheese)

Seeds and nuts contain on average 4-8 grams of protein per quarter cup Cooked beans average about 7-8 grams per half cup
Cooked grains average 5-7 grams per cup Most vegetables contain about 1-2 grams of protein per ounce

 

º As much high-quality healthy fat as you want (saturated24 and monounsaturated). For optimal health, most people need upwards of 50-85 percent of their daily calories in the form of healthy fats. Good sources include coconut and coconut oil, avocados, butter, nuts, and animal fats. (Remember, fat is high in calories while being small in terms of volume. So when you look at your plate, the largest portion would be vegetables.)

º As many non-starchy vegetables as you want

 Exercise regularly and intensely. Studies have shown that exercise, even without weight loss, increases insulin sensitivity.25 High intensity interval training (HIIT), which is a central component of my Peak Fitness program, has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity by as much as 24 percent in just four weeks. Exercise also prompts nerve cells to release brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which triggers other chemicals that promote neural health, and directly benefits cognitive functions, including learning. A number of studies have also shown that exercise can promote growth of new brain cells, enlarge your memory center, improve IQ scores, and help prevent brain deterioration associated with aging.

• Improve your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Today’s Western diet has far too many processed and damaged omega-6 fats, and is far too little omega-3 fats.26 The main sources of omega-6 fats are corn, soy, canola, safflower, peanut, and sunflower oil (the first two of which are typically genetically engineered as well, which further complicates matters). Our bodies evolved for an optimal of approximately 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.

However, our ratio has deteriorated to between 20:1 and 50:1 in favor of omega-6. This lopsided ratio has seriously adverse health consequences. To remedy this, reduce your consumption of vegetable oils (this means not cooking with them, and avoiding processed foods), and increase your intake of animal-based omega-3, such as krill oil. Vegetable-based omega-3 is also found in flaxseed oil and walnut oil, and it’s good to include these in your diet as well. Just know they cannot take the place of animal-based omega-3s.

• Maintain optimal vitamin D levels year-round. New evidence strongly supports the notion that vitamin D is highly beneficial for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Recent research has also confirmed the link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia. The ideal way to optimize your vitamin D level is by getting regular sun exposure, or by using a tanning bed. As a last resort, consider oral supplementation with regular vitamin D monitoring, to confirm that you are taking enough vitamin D to get your blood levels into the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml. Also please note that if you take supplemental vitamin D, you create an increased demand for vitamin K2 and magnesium.

• Get adequate high-quality sleep every night. Insufficient sleep appears to raise stress and blood sugar, encouraging insulin and leptin resistance and weight gain. In one 10-year-long study27 of 70,000 diabetes-free women, researchers found that women who slept less than five hours or more than nine hours each night were 34 percent more likely to develop diabetes symptoms than women who slept seven to eight hours each night.

Sleep loss has also been linked to severe brain damage. Sleep is actually necessary for maintaining metabolic homeostasis in your brain, and without sufficient sleep, neuron degeneration sets in. Sleep deprivation causes disruption of certain synaptic connections that can impair your brain’s ability for learning, memory formation, and other cognitive functions. It also accelerates onset of Alzheimer’s disease. If you are having problems with your sleep, try the suggestions in my article “33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep.”

• Maintain a healthy body weight. If you incorporate the diet and lifestyle changes suggested above you will greatly improve your insulin and leptin sensitivity, and a healthy body weight will follow in time. Determining your ideal body weight depends on a variety of factors, including frame size, age, activity level, and genetics. As a general guideline, you might find a hip-to-waist size index chart helpful. This is far better than BMI for evaluating whether or not you may have a weight problem, as BMI fails to factor in both how muscular you are, and your intra-abdominal fat mass (the dangerous visceral fat that accumulates around your inner organs), which is a potent indicator of leptin sensitivity and associated health problems.

• Incorporate intermittent fasting. If you have carefully followed the diet and exercise guidelines and still aren’t making sufficient progress with your weight or overall health, I strongly recommend incorporating intermittent fasting. It’s by far the most effective way I know of to shed unwanted fat, resolve insulin resistance, and eliminate your sugar cravings. Intermittent fasting has also been identified as a potent ally for the prevention and perhaps even treatment of dementia. Ketones are released as a byproduct of burning fat, and ketones (not glucose) are actually the preferred fuel for your brain. Keep up your intermittent fasting schedule until your insulin/leptin resistance improves (or your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol ratios, or diabetes normalizes). After that, you only need to do it “as needed” to maintain your healthy state.

• Optimize your gut health. Your gut is a living ecosystem, full of both good bacteria and bad. Multiple studies have shown that obese people have different intestinal bacteria than lean people. The more good bacteria you have, the stronger your immune system will be and the better your body will function overall. Gut bacteria has been found to affect your brain function, and play a role in the development of diabetes as well. Fortunately, optimizing your gut flora is relatively easy. You can reseed your body with good bacteria by regularly eating fermented foods (like natto, raw organic cheese, miso, and cultured vegetables) or by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement.

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What’s the Real Cause of Heart Attacks?

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By Thomas S. Cowan, MD

In a previous article in this journal (“What Causes Heart Attacks,” Fall 2007), I presented the case that the spectrum of heart disease, which includes angina, unstable angina, and myocardial infarction (heart attack), is better understood from the perspective of events happening in the myocardium (heart) as opposed to events happening in the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply the heart).

As we all know, the conventional view holds that the central event of heart disease occurs in the arteries, with the buildup of blockage called plaque.

In this follow-up article I will go into more detail about the conventional theory and why it is largely misleading; then I will describe the precise and well documented events that do lead to MIs (myocardial infarctions or heart attacks).

This understanding is crucial since during the last fifty years, the pursuit of the coronary artery theory has cost this nation billions of dollars in unnecessary surgical costs, billions in medications that cause as much harm as allow for any positive benefits, and, most seriously, has led many to adopt a low-fat diet, which only worsens the problem.

Newer twists on this theory only serve to further obscure the real cause. In contrast, by understanding the real patho-physiological events behind the evolution of MIs, we will be led to a proper nourishing traditional style of eating, the use of the safe and inexpensive heart tonic called g-strophanthin.

Most importantly, we will be forced to look at how heart disease is a true manifestation of the stresses of modern civilized life on the core of the human being.

To overcome the epidemic of heart disease, we literally need a new medical paradigm, a new economic system, a new ecological consciousness; in short, a new way of life. The coronary theory misses all of this, just as it misinterprets the actual pathological events.

In writing this article, I am indebted to the work of Dr. Knut Sroka and his website heartattacknew.com. For all interested in this important subject it is advised to read the entire website and watch the video on the website. The video above shows how the collateral circulation nourishes the heart even with a severe blockage of a coronary artery.

For health professionals and researchers, your understanding of this subject is incomplete without reading and studying the two articles found in the print version of the website.

The first is by G. Baroldi, “The Etiopathologies of Coronary Heart Disease: A Heretical Theory Based on Morphology,” and the second by K. Sroka, “On the Genesis of Myocardial Ischemia.” Both articles are reprinted in full on the website.

Rebuttal of Conventional Theory

Until recently I believed, along with most physicians, that most heart attacks were caused by the progressive blockage caused by plaque buildup in the four major coronary arteries leading to the heart.

These plaques were thought to be composed of cholesterol that built up in the arterial lumen (inside of the vessel), which eventually cut off blood supply to a certain area of the heart, resulting in oxygen deficiency in that area, causing first pain (angina), then progressing to ischemia (heart attack).

The simple solution was to unblock the stenosis (the blockages) with either an angioplasty or stent, or, if that was not possible, then bypass this area with coronary bypass grafting (CABG). Simple problem, simple solution.

The problems with this approach became apparent to me through a number of avenues. The first emerged in a story related by the head of cardiology during a northern California heart symposium at which I was a speaker. He told us that during his residency he was part of a trial conducted in rural Alabama on black men.

In this trial, they did angiograms (injecting dye into the coronary arteries to detect blockages) on all the men presenting with chest pains. For the ones who had a single artery blocked, they did no interventions, only noting which part of the heart would have a subsequent heart attack if one occurred.

Of course, they all predicted it would be in the part of the heart supplied by that particular coronary artery. Then they waited. Eventually, many did return and did have heart attacks, but to the researchers’ surprise less than ten percent had a heart attack in the area of the heart supplied by the original blocked artery.

This means, of course, that had they performed the usual angioplasty, stent, or bypass on that artery, the patient would have received no benefit. The second occurrence that helped change my mind was the publication in 2003 of a large study conducted by the Mayo Clinic on the efficacy of bypass surgeries, stents, and angioplasty.1

The study concluded that bypass surgery does relieve symptoms (chest pain); that bypass surgery does not prevent further heart attacks; and that only high risk patients benefit from bypass surgery with regard to a better chance of survival. In other words, the gold standard for treating arterial blockages provides at best only minimal benefits.

If you watch the video on www.heartattacknew.com and go to the FAQ called “The Riddle’s Solution,” it becomes clear why this is so. Large stable blockages, that is, sites that are over 90 percent blocked, in almost all cases compensate for the blockage by developing collateral or additional new blood vessels.

In fact, the view that the four coronary arteries supply all the blood to the heart is completely wrong. Starting soon after birth, the normal heart develops an extensive network of small blood vessels called collateral vessels that eventually compensate for the interruption of flow in any one (or more) of the major vessels.

As Sroka correctly points out in the above video, coronary angiograms fail to show the collateral circulation; furthermore the procedure creates spasms in the coronary arteries through the injection of heavy dye under high pressure. Thus, coronary angiograms are notoriously inaccurate at assessing the amount of stenosis in the vessels as well as the true blood flow in the heart.

To this day, most of the bypasses, stents, and angioplasties are performed on minimally symptomatic patients who show a greater than 90 percent blockage in one or more coronary artery. These arteries are almost always fully collateralized; it is not the surgery that restores blood flow, because the body has already done its own bypass.

If tests found a major coronary artery 90 percent blocked, with only 10 percent flow “squeezing through the bottleneck,” how could you possibly still be alive if you did not have collateral blood vessels? And are we really to believe that the decisive thing that will cause the eventual heart attack is when the stenosis goes from 93 percent to 98 percent?

This is an insignificant difference, and the premise that this small increase will cause a heart attack is completely nonsensical. Yet this is what most of the procedures are meant to accomplish, to unblock the stenosis, which as the video on heartattacknew.com shows, does not actually improve blood flow.

It is no wonder that in study after study, these procedures fail to provide any significant benefit to the patients. For these reasons, conventional cardiology is abandoning the stable plaque model in favor of a different model for the etiology of heart attacks one that, as it turns out, is equally invalid.

Meet the Unstable Plaque

We can now all agree that the entire focus of cardiology—upon the stable, progressing calcified plaque: the thing we bypassed and stented for years, the thing we do CT scans of arteries for, the thing they told us is created from cholesterol buildup in arteries, the thing “alternative cardiology” like the Ornish program focused on eliminating—all this is not so important after all.

Don’t worry, though, say the “experts,” we know it must be the arteries, so let’s introduce another concept—drum roll—that of unstable or friable plaque. This insidious scoundrel can attack at any time in any person, even when there is no large blockage. That’s because these soft, “foamy” plaques can, under certain situations (we don’t know which situations), rapidly evolve and abruptly close off the involved artery, creating an oxygen deficit downstream, with subsequent angina and then ischemia.

These soft plaques are thought to be the result of a combination of inflammatory “buildup” and LDL-cholesterol, the exact two components that are targeted by statin drugs. Therefore, since unstable plaque can come loose at any time, everyone should be on statin drugs to prevent this unfortunate occurrence. Some spokesmen have even suggested putting therapeutic doses of statins in the municipal water supplies.

Defendants of this theory point to angiogram studies that show the changes in these unstable plaques, claiming them as proof that unstable plaque is the true cause of the majority of MIs. As I will show, this acute thrombosis does happen in patients having heart attacks, but it is a consequence, not the cause of the MI. What can pathology reports—as opposed to angiography studies—tell us about the role of unstable plaque in heart attacks?

After all, pathology reports are the only accurate way of determining what actually happened during a heart attack, as opposed to angiograms, which are misleading and difficult to read. The first major autopsy study of patients dying of heart attack was carried out in Heidelberg in the 1970s.2 The study found that sufficient thrombosis to cause the heart attack was found in only twenty percent of cases.

The largest such study found sufficient thrombosis in only 41 percent of cases.3 The author, Baroldi, also found that the larger the area of the heart attack, the more often the pathology report found stenosis; in addition, the longer the time between heart attack and the death of the patient, the higher the percentage of stenosis. Some researchers have used these two facts to “cherry-pick” the numbers and make the stenosis rate seem high by studying only those with large MIs and those who live the longest after the heart attack event.

Another observation that puts into doubt the relevance of the coronary artery theory of heart attack is the fact that the proposed etiological mechanism of how thrombosed arteries cause ischemia is through cutting off the blood supply and thereby the oxygen supply to the tissues. To the enormous surprise of many investigators, the reality is that when careful measurements are done assessing the oxygen level of the myocardial cells, there is no oxygen deficit ever shown in an evolving heart attack I.4 The oxygen levels (measured as pO2) do not change at all throughout the entire event. I will come back to this fact later when I describe what does change in every evolving MI ever studied.

Again, the question must be asked: if this theory is predicated on the lowering of the oxygen levels in the myocardial cells when in fact the oxygen levels don’t change, then what exactly does happen? The conclusion is that while thrombosis associated with MI is a real phenomenon, it does not occur in more than 50 percent of cases—which leads to the question: why do the other 50 percent, those without an occlusion in the coronary arteries, even have an heart attack?

Second, it is clear from all pathology studies that thromboses of significant degrees evolve after the heart attack occurs, again leading to the question: what causes the heart attack in the first place? The fact that thrombosis does occur after a heart attack also explains why emergency procedures—remember, the only patients who benefit from bypass and stents are critical, acute patients—can be helpful immediately post-heart attack I to restore flow in those patients who do not have adequate collateral circulation to that part of their heart. So again, all the existing theories as to the relevance of the coronary arteries in the evolution of the heart attack are fraught with inconsistencies. If this is so, what then does cause heart attacks?

The Etiology of Myocardial Ischemia

Any theory as to what causes myocardial ischemia must account for some consistent observations over the past fifty years. The most consistent risk factors for a person having heart disease are male sex, diabetes, cigarette use and psychological or emotional stress. Interestingly, in none of these is there a direct link to pathology of the coronary arteries—diabetes and cigarette use cause disease in the capillaries, not, as far as we know, in the large arteries. Also, we have learned over the past decades that the four main medicines of modern cardiology—beta-blockers, nitrates, aspirin, and statin drugs—all provide some benefits for heart patients (albeit all with serious drawbacks as well) and this observation must be accounted for in any comprehensive theory of myocardial ischemia.

Heart Rate Variability

The real revolution in the prevention and treatment of heart disease will come with increased understanding of the role played by the autonomic nervous system in the genesis of ischemia and its measurement through the tool of heart rate variability (HRV). We have two distinct nervous systems: the first, the central nervous system (CNS), controls conscious functions such as muscle and nerve function; the second nervous system, the autonomic (or unconscious) nervous system (ANS), controls the function of our internal organs.

The autonomic nervous system is divided into two branches, which in a healthy person are always in a balanced yet ready state. The sympathetic or “fight-or-flight” system is centered in our adrenal medulla; it uses the chemical adrenaline as its chemical transmission device and tells our bodies there is danger afoot; time to activate and run. It does so by activating a series of biochemical responses, the centerpiece of which are the glycolytic pathways, which accelerate the breakdown of glucose to be used as quick energy as we make our escape from the bear chasing us.

In contrast, the parasympathetic branch, centered in the adrenal cortex, uses the neurotransmitters acetylcholine (ACh), nitric oxide (NO), and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) as its chemical mediators; this is the “rest-and-digest” arm of the autonomic nervous system. The particular nerve of the parasympathetic chain that supplies the heart with nervous activity is called the vagus nerve; it slows and relaxes the heart, whereas the sympathetic branches accelerate and constrict the heart. I believe it can be shown that an imbalance in these two branches is responsible for the vast majority of heart disease.

Using the techniques of heart rate variability (HRV) monitoring, which gives a real time accurate depiction of autonomic nervous system status, researchers have shown in multiple studies5 that patients with ischemic heart disease have on average a reduction of parasympathetic activity of over one-third. Typically, the worse the ischemia, the lower the parasympathetic activity.6 Furthermore about 80 percent of ischemic events are preceded by a significant, often drastic, reduction in parasympathetic activity.7

By contrast, those with normal parasympathetic activity, who experience an abrupt increase in sympathetic activity (such as physical activity or an emotional shock), never suffer from ischemia.

In other words, without a preceding decrease in parasympathetic activity, activation of the sympathetic nervous system does not lead to MI.8 Presumably we are meant to experience times of excess sympathetic activity; this is normal life, with its challenges and disappointments. These shocks only become dangerous to our health in the face of an ongoing, persistent decrease in our parasympathetic, or life-restoring, activity. The decrease in parasympathetic activity is mediated by the three chemical transmitters of the parasympathetic nervous system: acetylcholine, NO, and cGMP. It is fascinating to note that women have stronger vagal activity than men, probably accounting for the sex difference in the incidence of MI.9

Hypertension causes a decrease in vagal activity,10 smoking causes a decrease in vagal activity,11 diabetes causes a decrease in vagal activity,12 and physical and emotional stress cause a decrease in parasympathetic activity.13 Thus, all the significant risk factors suppress the regenerative nervous system activity in our heart. On the other hand, the main drugs used in cardiology upregulate the parasympathetic nervous system.

Nitrates stimulate NO production while aspirin and statin drugs also stimulate the production of ACh along with NO—that is, until they cause a rebound decrease in these substances which then makes the parasympathetic activity even worse. Beta-blockers work by blocking the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, the increase of which is a central factor in the etiology of MI. The bottom line: the risk factors for heart disease and the interventions used all affect the balance in our ANS; whatever effects they may have on plaque and stenosis is of minor relevance.

How Heart Attacks Occur

So what is the sequence of events that leads to a heart attack? First comes a decrease in the tonic, healing activity of the parasympathetic nervous system—in the vast majority of cases the pathology for heart attack will not proceed unless this condition is met. Think of the person who is always pushing himself, who never takes time out, who has no hobbies, who constantly stimulates the adrenal cortex with caffeine or sugar, who does not nourish himself with real food and good fats, and who does not incorporate a regular pattern of eating and sleeping into his daily life.

Then comes an increase in the sympathetic nervous system activity, usually a physical or emotional stressor. This increase in sympathetic activity cannot be balanced because of chronic parasympathetic suppression. The result is an uncontrolled increase of adrenaline, which directs the myocardial cells to break down glucose using aerobic glycolysis. Remember that in a heart attack, there is no change in blood flow as measured by the p02 in the cells. This step shunts the metabolism of the heart away from its preferred and most efficient fuel sources, which are ketones and fatty acids.

This explains why heart patients often feel tired before their events. This also explains why a diet liberal in fat and low in sugar is crucial for heart health. As a result of the sympathetic increase and resulting glycolysis, a dramatic increase in lactic acid production occurs in the myocardial cells; this happens in virtually one hundred percent of heart attacks, with no coronary artery mechanism required.14, 15 As a result of the increase in lactic acid in the myocardial cells, a localized acidosis occurs. This acidosis prevents calcium from entering the cells,16 making the cells less able to contract.

This inability to contract causes localized edema (swelling), dysfunction of the walls of the heart (hypokinesis, which is the hallmark of ischemic disease as seen on stress echoes and nuclear thallium stress tests), and eventually necrosis of the tissue—in other words, a heart attack. The localized tissue edema also alters the hemo-dynamics of the arteries embedded in that section of the heart, resulting in shear pressure, which causes the unstable plaques to rupture, further block the artery, and worsen the hemodynamics in that area of the heart.

Please note that this explanation alone explains why plaques rupture, what their role in the heart attack process is, and why they should indeed be addressed. Notice also that this explanation accounts for all the observable phenomena associated with heart disease and is substantiated by years of research. It could not be clearer as to the true origin of this epidemic of heart disease.

Nourishing the Parasympathetic Nervous System

If heart disease is fundamentally caused by a deficiency in the parasympathetic nervous system, then the solution is obviously to nurture and protect that system, which is the same as saying we should nurture and protect ourselves. Nourishing our parasympathetic nervous system is basically the same as dismantling a way of life for which humans are ill-suited. This means avoiding the excesses of industrial civilization. The known things that nourish our parasympathetic nervous system are contact with nature, loving relations, trust, economic security (a hallmark of indigenous peoples the world over) and sex—this is a whole new world of therapy for ailing hearts.

The medicine that supports all aspects of the parasympathetic nervous system is an extract from the strophanthus plant called ouabain or g-strophanthin. G-strophanthin is an endogenous (made within us) hormone manufactured in our adrenal cortex from cholesterol and therefore inhibited by statin drugs.

G-strophanthin does two things that are crucial in this process—two actions provided by no other known medicine. First, it stimulates the production and liberation of ACh, the main neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system; secondly, and crucially, it converts lactic acid—the main metabolic culprit in this process—into pyruvate, one of the main and preferred fuels of the myocardial cells. In other words, it converts the central poison in this process into a nutrient.

This may be what is meant in Chinese medicine when they say that the kidneys (that is, the adrenal glands, where ouabain is made) nourish the heart. In my many years of using ouabain, I have not had a single patient have an MI while taking it. It is truly a gift to the heart. Of course, I put all my patients on a WAPF-style heart-healthy diet, loaded with healthy fats and fat-soluble nutrients, and low in the processed carbs and sugars that are the hallmark of industrial, civilized life. There are homeopathic versions of strophanthus available, which could be used. Another option that is effective but not ideal is an extract of the plant. The drawback is that the amount of ouabain is unknown.

Reprinted with kind permission of the Townsend Letter, www.townsendletter.com.

About the Author

Dr. Cowan has served as vice president of the Physicians Association for Anthroposophical Medicine and is a founding board member of the Weston A. Price Foundation. He is the principal author of The Fourfold Path to Healing and is co-author of The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care. Dr. Cowan lectures throughout the United States and Canada. Dr. Cowan is completing a book on the human heart that will be published by Chelsea Green Publishing in 2015.

Sources and References
  • 1 Rihal CS, et al: “Indications for coronary artery bypass surgery and percutaneous coronary intervention in clinic stable angina.” Circulation (2003) 1
  • 2 Doerr W, et al.: Springer, Berlin-Heidelberg- New York, 1974.
  • 3 Baroldi G, Silver M: The Etiopathogenesis of Coronary Heart Disease: A Heretical Theory Based on Morphology, Eurekah.com, Landes, Bioscience, 2004.
  • 4 Helfant, RH, Forrester JS, Hampton JR, Haft JI, Kemp HG, Gorlin R (1970) Coronary heart disease
  • 5 Sroka, K, On the Genesis of Myocardial Ischemia.
  • 6 J Electrocardio 25:79-88.
  • 7 Sroka, K On the Genesis of Myocardial Ischemia
  • 8 Sroka, et al. (1997) Heart rate variability in myocardial ischemia during daily life. J Electrocardiol 30:45-56.
  • 9 Sroka, K, On the Genesis of Myocardial Ischemia.
  • 10 Ibid.
  • 11 Ibid.
  • 12 Ibid.
  • 13 Ibid.
  • 14 Scheuer, J, et al. (1965) Coronary Insufficiency: relations between hemodynamic, electrical, and biochemical parameters, Circulation Res 17:178-189.
  • 15 Schmidt, PG, et al. (1978) Regional choline acetyltransferase activity in the guinea pig heart, Circulation Res 42:657-660.
  • 16 Katz, AM (1972/1972) Effects of ischemia on the cardiac contractile proteins. Cardiology 56: 276-283.
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GMO’s and CAFO’s Drive Disease Statistics and Destroy Communities

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By Dr. Mercola

Genetically engineered (GE) crops and confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) go hand-in-hand, and they are not only driving disease statistics into the stratosphere; they’re also destroying communities.

The promises to contain the waste, disease, and infections that these factory farms create are nothing but wishful thinking. In reality, the toxic waste cannot be contained.

In a very real sense, we’re committing suicide by way of our unsustainable, polluting, degenerative food and agriculture system—a system that is subsidized and paid for by US tax payers,1 through severely broken federal policies.

How CAFOs Destroy Communities

On November 25, the Associated Press2 reported that Missouri approved a new hog-breeding operation near Kingdom City in central Missouri. The farm will be permitted to raise as many as 10,000 hogs on 20 acres.

Neighbors and environmental activists have filed a petition to appeal the permit, on the grounds that inadequate waste management may affect property value3 and quality of life for residents in the surrounding area. According to the featured report:

The opponents questioned the engineering and waste management plans… [Chief of the operating permits section of the state’s Water Protection Program, Chris] Weiberg wrote the state’s review could consider only whether a document was submitted that showed the project’s design met state regulations.

Under existing regulations, ‘the Department does not examine the adequacy or efficiency of the structural, mechanical or electrical components of the manure system, only adherence to the regulation… [I]ssuance of a permit does not include approval of such features,’ Wieberg wrote.”

A Minnesota town, where residents have gone to great pains to clean up their lake—Lake Hendricks, which was severely polluted by phosphorus, a chemical in commercial fertilizer and animal waste—is also up in arms over the announcement of a new dairy CAFO.

Current plans situate the factory farm in such a way that waste run-off would likely destroy all their hard work. According to the Star Tribune:4

[T]he operation will produce as much sewage as a city of 657,000 people and operate with less regulation than any similarly sized feedlot in Minnesota. The waste will be held in lagoons situated just 600 feet from Deer Creek, which flows directly into Lake Hendricks, just 4 miles away.

And while the owner plans to inject the effluent into surrounding cropland as fertilizer, similar livestock confinement operations in South Dakota have experienced spills and field runoff capable of polluting rivers and lakes.

The disregard for human health, animal health, and the environment is part and parcel of what is so wrong with the present system, which focuses on efficiency and cost effectiveness at the expense of just about everything else.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

A recent Business Insider5 article shows aerial photos of factory farms across the US, which reveal, in disgusting detail, how the American countryside is being destroyed by their presence.

At present, 99 percent of food animals in the US are raised in these large-scale feedlots, yet many Americans still do not realize exactly how their food is raised, and all the “hidden” costs associated with cheap food. As noted in the featured article:

“For the last several years, British artist Mishka Henner has collected images of the feedlots via satellite, to document a largely hidden phenomenon. Initially, he was searching satellite imagery to look for oil fields.

When he came across the feedlots, Henner was shocked he didn’t know about such a central part of our food production. ‘The feedlots are a brilliant representation of how abstract our food industry has come,’ Henner told Business Insider.

‘It’s an efficient system for extracting the maximum yield from animals. That’s the world we live in now. We want to extract the maximum yield from everything, no matter what business you are in.’

…Thousands of cattle on a small parcel of land produce an exorbitant amount of waste with nitrogen and phosphorus that would render it useless as a fertilizer. With nowhere for the manure to go, farms must create ‘manure lagoons’ — ponds or reservoirs filled with toxic waste…

Factory Farms Are Major Polluters

All of this toxic waste, which includes antibiotics, pesticides, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, migrates into surrounding lands and groundwater.

For example, in November, at the annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, researchers reported6 that the 2013 flooding in Colorado resulted in massive waterway contamination, as antibiotics and microbial drug-resistant genes were flushed far and wide from CAFO waste pools.

In the Netherlands, animal health authorities recently discovered bird flu in samples taken from wild ducks.7 Chicken farms are suspected as the source of the disease and, so far, 300,000 birds at four CAFO locations have been culled to ensure the infection doesn’t spread.

CAFO waste also contributes to air pollution, and CAFO workers and neighboring residents alike report higher incidence of asthma, headaches, eye irritation, and nausea. According to the Environmental Protection Agency8 (EPA), US states with high concentrations of CAFOs report 20-30 serious water quality problems annually.

One of the reasons so few Americans are aware of these issues is because of “ag-gag” laws, which legally prevents people from filming or photographing conditions on factory farms. Ag-gag laws are being heavily promoted by lobbyists for the meat, egg, and dairy industries to essentially prevent anyone from exposing animal cruelty and food-safety issues at CAFOs.

Industrial food producers are also encouraging their “farmers” to change the terms they use for their horrific practices to less-offensive sounding words, such as swapping “gestation crates” with “individual maternity pens.”

Five states have ag-gag laws already in place, and another 10 introduced anti-whistleblower laws last year. According to USA Today,9 ag-gag laws in Utah and Idaho are currently being challenged in federal court.

Industrial Farming Is Destroying Food Quality

Philip Lymbery, an animal-welfare activist and author of the book Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat, notes that one of the techniques used to perpetuate factory farming is in fact secrecy, and there’s little doubt that that is why ag-gag laws were lobbied for in the first place.

If you don’t know there’s a problem, you won’t demand change. This is also why the food industry is fighting tooth and nail to prevent labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the US, as well as legislation that would prevent them from fraudulently labeling GMOs as “Natural.

In the US, most all conventional meat and poultry (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, etc.) is raised in CAFOs. It’s a corporate-controlled system characterized by large-scale, centralized, low profit-margin production, processing, and distribution systems.

This is the cheapest way to raise meat, for the largest profits. But the ultimate price is high, as there’s a complete disregard for human health, the environment, and ethical treatment of animals and plant workers alike.

This system depends on keeping consumers in the dark about how the food is produced, and what the hidden costs are, because the reality is unsavory enough that many, if not most, people would change their ways were they to find out the truth…

Increasing Number of Books Address the State of Our Food System

Information is power, and now more than ever before, there are plenty of resources for those who want to educate themselves. For example, a series of recent articles, listed on NewAmerica.org,10 delve into the various aspects of the monopoly that is America’s meat market. In one, titled The Meat Racket, Christopher Leonard reveals how the US meat industry has been seized by a mere handful of companies, and how this tightly controlled monopoly drives small livestock farmers out of business.

Other articles detail the drugs used in CAFO farming, and the risks this drug based farming poses to human health, such as creation of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, which I’ve addressed on numerous occasions. A recent book review in the Wall Street Journal11 also discusses a number of books on the state of our food system. Salon Magazine also recently ran an article12 on the subject of factory farming, penned by Lindsay Abrams, in which she discusses journalist Ted Genoways new book, The Chain—an expose of the American pork industry. She writes in part:

What journalist Christopher Leonard recently did for Tyson and the chicken industry, Genoways… does for pork, recounting the history of Hormel Foods… as it evolved from humble beginnings to an industrial giant with a nearly myopic focus on expansion and acceleration, regardless of the costs.

And boy, are there costs… a mysterious neurological disorder linked to a machine that has workers breathing in a fine mist of pork brains… abuse suffered by the animals on whom workers’ frustrations are instead taken out; and a decline in food safety that, unbelievably, is set to become the new industry standard.

Genoways book reveals how societal issues “fan out in all directions,” as he puts it, from the way our pork is produced. Not only are there many disturbing safety issues, but according to Genoways, these hazards also end up disproportionally affecting immigrant workers, who are already being exploited by the system.

We Can Change the System One Family at a Time…

Part of the problem is that the current farming model is focused on growth; not steady profit, and certainly not sustainability. I believe the movement toward sustainable food and ethical meat is very important, both in terms of human health and animal welfare.

Organic, grass-fed and finished meat is really the only type of meat that is healthy to eat, in my view. Fortunately, many grocery chains are now responding to customer demand, and will provide at least a small assortment of grass-fed meats. The least expensive way to obtain grass-fed beef and other locally produced organic foods is from your local farmer. The following organizations can help you locate farm-fresh foods in your local area that has been raised in a humane, sustainable manner:

Local Harvest — This Web site will help you find farmers’ markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.

Eat Wild: With more than 1,400 pasture-based farms, Eat Wild’s Directory of Farms is one of the most comprehensive sources for grass-fed meat and dairy products in the United States and Canada.

Farmers’ Markets — A national listing of farmers’ markets.

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

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

The insanity has gone far enough. It’s time to unite and fight back, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. To learn more about this boycott, and the traitor brands that are included, please visit TheBoycottList.org. I also encourage you to donate to the Organic Consumers Fund. Your donation will help fight the GMA lawsuit in Vermont.

Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference. By boycotting GMA Member Traitor Brands, you can help level the playing field, and help take back control of our food supply. And as always, continue educating yourself about genetically engineered foods, and share what you’ve learned with family and friends.

Sources and References
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How Do You Know if You’re Drinking Enough Water?

Source

By Dr. Mercola

Throughout each day, your body loses water through your urine and sweat glands—even when you’re not purposely working up a sweat. As a result, you have to constantly replenish this fluid, and soft drinks do not count toward this requirement…

Both coffee and soda are high in caffeine, which acts as a diuretic that will dehydrate you. Worse yet, sodas, fruit juices, and other sweetened beverages are primary sources of fructose, which will only deteriorate your health.

Ditto for artificially sweetened beverages. So the key is to drink pure water. But just how much water do you need each day? While an oft-repeated guideline says you should drink eight glasses of water a day, this may be too much for some, and not enough for others.

Your water requirement can also vary wildly from day to day depending on a number of factors, such as your activity level and weather conditions.

Fortunately, your body is equipped with a mechanism that tells you when you need to replenish your water supply. It’s called thirst. And there’s also a simple way to gauge whether or not you need to drink more water even though you may not be feeling thirsty.

How to Read the Signs for Your Body’s Water Needs

Once your body has lost between one to two percent of its total water content, it will signal its needs by making you feel thirsty. Using thirst as a guide to how much water you need to drink is a good way to ensure your individual needs are met, day-by-day.

However, by the time your thirst mechanism kicks in you may already be a bit dehydrated. Most studies show that about 2/3 of us are dehydrated and need to drink more water.

This is particularly true for the elderly. Therefore, it’s also wise to learn some of the other, more subtle, signals your body sends, indicating you need to drink more water. As noted in the featured article,1 this includes:

• Fatigue and/or mood swings

• Hunger even though you’ve recently eaten

• Back or joint ache

• Dull, dry skin and/or pronounced wrinkles

• Infrequent urination; dark, concentrated urine, and/or constipation

• The Color of Your Urine Is an Important Marker

Besides listening to your thirst, a good rule of thumb is to look at the color of your urine. You should be drinking enough water to turn your urine a light-colored yellow.

Dark-colored urine is a sign that your kidneys are retaining fluids in order to maintain your bodily functions, which includes detoxification. As a result, your urine will seem highly concentrated and dark in color. You may also urinate less frequently, for the same reason.

Since your thirst mechanism tends to become less efficient with age, older adults need to pay more careful attention to the color of their urine to ensure adequate water intake.

Bear in mind that riboflavin (vitamin B2, which is also found in most multi-vitamins) will turn your urine a bright, almost fluorescent yellow. So if you’re taking supplements containing B2, it may be more difficult to judge by the color of your urine.

Frequency of urination can also be used to judge your water intake. A healthy person urinates on average about seven or eight times a day. If your urine is scant or if you haven’t urinated in several hours, that too is an indication that you’re not drinking enough.

Symptoms of Chronic Dehydration

The primary symptoms of dehydration are: thirst, dry skin, dark colored urine, and fatigue. But there are also a number of commonly overlooked symptoms that may suggest you’re suffering from more or less chronic dehydration. Such symptoms include:

•Digestive disturbances such as heartburn and constipation

•Confusion and/or anxiety

•Urinary tract infections

•Premature aging

•High cholesterol

•Dehydration Is a Common Problem Among the Elderly

According to recent research, one in five seniors does not get enough water on a daily basis. Among those who do not have a caretaker, that number is even higher—one in four. And seniors with dementia are six times more likely to be dehydrated.

Dehydration also tends to be more common among people taking more medication. According to BBC News:2

A 2013 analysis of death certificates by the [UK] Office for National Statistics had shown that 1,158 care home residents suffered dehydration-related deaths between 2003 and 2012.

But Dr. [Lee] Hooper said those figures were not clear-cut as patients often stopped eating or drinking towards the end of life. She also stressed that while care homes could sometimes do better, it was important to point out that identifying dehydration and solving its causes was complex.

’The reasons older people do not drink enough are that as we age we lose our sense of thirst so they may not be thirsty. [Or they] decide not to drink because of continence issues, because they don’t have as much social contact or because of frailty or forgetfulness.’

Why I Do Not Recommend Bottled Water

While drinking water will help flush out toxins, the more unfiltered water you drink, the more pollutants you’re consuming… Most tap water contains an array of harmful contaminants, including disinfection byproducts, chemicals, radiation, heavy metals, and pharmaceutical drugs. Additionally, be careful about bathing in unfiltered water as you can easily absorb more toxins by breathing in a hot shower than you can by drinking tap water all day long.

Last year, federal scientists reported3 finding traces of 18 unregulated contaminants in one-third of the water samples collected from 25 municipal utilities across the US, including perfluorinated compounds like PFOA. So besides making sure you’re drinking enough, another very important consideration is the type of water you drink.

Many instinctively reach for bottled water, but there are many reasons to avoid this option. Drinking from plastic water bottles can pose serious health risks from industrial chemicals like bisphenol-A and bisphenol-S (BPA/BPS), as well as phthalates, which leach from the plastic itself into the contents of the bottle. BPA and BPS are estrogen-mimicking chemicals linked to reproductive defects, learning and behavioral problems, immune dysfunction, and prostate and breast cancer. Phthalates are also endocrine disruptors, and have been linked to a wide range of developmental and reproductive effects, as well as liver cancer.

Bottled water also costs about 1,900 times the price of regular tap water, and may or may not have received any additional treatment. Studies have shown that 40 percent of bottled water is actually regular tap water with possibly no additional filtering treatment. While the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires large public water supplies to test for contaminants several times a day, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires private bottlers to test for contaminants only once a week, once a year, or once every four years, depending on the contaminant.

One independent test4 performed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in 2011 revealed 38 low-level contaminants in bottled water. Each of the 10 tested brands contained an average of eight chemicals. Disinfection byproducts (DBPs), caffeine, Tylenol, nitrate, industrial chemicals, arsenic, and bacteria were all detected. Fluoride is also usually present in both tap water and filtered bottled water.

Many bottled waters actually make a point of adding fluoride back into the water, so if you are drinking bottled water, make sure it’s fluoride-free. Last but not least, plastic bottles also cause enormous environmental problems because of the sheer volume of plastic waste they create; the lack of adequate recycling capability for plastics; and the amount of oil required to manufacture them.

The Health Benefits of ‘Living Water’

The answer to all these health- and environmental issues is to minimize or eliminate your use of plastic water bottles. The most economical and environmentally sound choice you can make is to purchase and install a water filter for your home. And, in lieu of plastic bottles, use reusable glass water bottles instead, which have a much smaller ecological footprint.

The very best water, however, comes from a natural gravity-fed spring. I do not recommend drinking distilled water on a regular basis. It’s too acidic, and is not recommended for extended use, although it can be beneficial for temporary detoxification purposes. The ideal pH of your water should be between 6.5 to 7.5, which is neutral. What you want is pure water that is clean, pH balanced, and “alive.”

Mountain spring water is ideal. Not only does it have a healthy pH, but it’s also “structured” in a way that is not well understood. I’ve previously interviewed Dr. Gerald Pollack on this subject. He’s one of the leading research scientists in the world when it comes to understanding the physics of water, and what it means to your health. His book, The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor, clearly explains the theory of the fourth phase of water, which is nothing short of ground-breaking.

The fourth phase of water is, in a nutshell, living water. It’s referred to as EZ water—EZ standing for “exclusion zone”—which has a negative charge. This water can hold energy, much like a battery, and can deliver energy, too. This is the kind of water your cells contain; even your extracellular tissues are filled with EZ water, which is why he believes it’s so important to drink structured water for optimal health.

I drink vortexed water nearly exclusively as I became a big fan of Viktor Schauberger, who did much pioneering work on vortexing about a century ago. Dr. Pollack confirms that by creating a vortex in a glass of water, you’re putting more energy into it, thereby increasing EZ. Water from deep sources, such as deep spring water, is an excellent choice as EZ water is also created under pressure. FindaSpring.com5 is an excellent resource that can help you find a natural spring nearby. As an added boon, collecting spring water is usually free—you just need to bring your own jugs. I recommend using glass jugs instead of plastic, for all the reasons discussed earlier.

Healthy Additives for a Touch of Flavor

As more people are becoming aware of the health dangers of soda, the beverage industry has created a whole new breed of “healthy” beverages—so called “functional” and enhanced waters, fortified with everything from vitamins and minerals to electrolytes, oxygen, fiber, and even protein. But if you take a closer look at the labels, you’ll discover they’re spiking your punch with a lot of unsavory ingredients, many capable of wreaking havoc on your metabolism, hormones, and other physiological processes. Many contain loads of sugar, making them no better than soda…

For occasions when you do want a dash of flavor, simply add some fresh lemon or lime juice to your water. As noted in a previous Huffington Post article,6 lemon water has over a dozen health benefits, from easing constipation and urinary tract infections, to boosting your immune system, cleansing your liver, and improving your skin.

Sliced cucumbers can also add a refreshing twist. If you want a touch of sweetness, add some natural Stevia or Luo Han Guo, which are among the safest sugar substitutes. Alternatively, simply add a drop or two of natural peppermint extract or a few crushed mint leaves from your herb garden. If you want an electrolyte type “sports drink,” try coconut water, which is a rich natural source of potassium and electrolytes. Look for one that has no additives. Or choose a fresh, young coconut and harvest it yourself.

For Optimal Health, You Need Pure Water, and Enough of It

There’s no doubt that you need pure water for optimal health. Simply swapping out all the sweetened, bottled beverages you indulge in for pure water can go a long way toward improving your health—and your weight. The amount, however, is something you need to fine tune based on your individual circumstances.

Remember to listen to your body. Thirst is an obvious signal that it’s high time to replenish your fluids. Fatigue and moodiness can also indicate you need to drink more water. Probably the best way to gauge your water needs however, is to observe the color of your urine, and how frequently you urinate. On average, a healthy number of bathroom visits is around seven or eight per day, and you want the color of your urine to be a light, pale yellow.

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How to Regenerate Soil Using Cover Crops and Regenerative Land Management

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By Dr. Mercola

High-quality soil is crucial to grow nutrient-dense plants. Tragically, most of our soil is being significantly damaged, thanks to modern farming methods. Gabe Brown is a true pioneer in teaching about regenerative land management, which helps restore soil health.

Gabe was originally trained as a traditional farmer of the conventional mindset, using heavy tilling, genetically engineered (GE) crops, and chemical principles in his challenging growing farm environment of North Dakota.

I actually had the opportunity to personally met Gabe last week when I was keynote speaker at the ACRES USA conference in Columbus. He is every bit as knowledgeable and inspiring as his interview suggests. I had a chance to listen to his full day seminar and learned loads of great info..

At this point, his operation is not certified organic, but he’s implemented a number of land regenerative practices. He doesn’t till his land anymore, does not use herbicides on crops that are growing. He’s stopped using glyphosate altogether and has integrated cocktail cover crops and livestock rotational grazing.

In 1991, he and his wife purchased the family farm from her parents, and they began farming conventionally using heavy tillage, low crop diversity, and season-long livestock grazing.

Not being from a farm or ranch, I always tended to question why we do certain things,” he says. “I had listened and attended a class that Alan Savory put on, talking about rotational grazing.

I started doing some rotational grazing. I [also] had a friend in the northern part of North Dakota who was a no-tiller… In 1993, I went 100 percent no-till. Immediately, we started seeing some benefits… We were conserving moisture.

The Importance of No-Till for Soil Regeneration

This is a rather crucial point. Tilling is probably one of the most destructive aspects of modern-day industrial agriculture, as it disrupts and destroys soil biology.

Tillage is the act of taking either a plow, a chisel plow, a field cultivator, or any type of steel or implement and destroying the soil’s structure and turning the soil over.

By reducing the tillage, we leave those soil aggregates, those pore spaces intact, which improve water infiltration and also provide home for soil biology,” Gabe explains.

Tilling is especially harmful for the mycorrhizal fungi—important soil fungi that attach to the roots of plants. Their thread-like filaments connect the plants together in an underground web that can stretch over long distances, forming a virtual “plant Internet,” though which plant communication takes place.

When Gabe quit tilling in 1993, he was the lone no-tiller in Burleigh County, North Dakota, where about 60 percent of the land is farmland. Today, about 70 percent of the farmland in this county is no-till. The fact that no-till has really caught on in the Northern Plains is very encouraging.

Other important factors for soil health are crop diversification and cover cropping. Gabe learned the importance of this through a series of crop failures. Four years in a row, the farm lost most or all its crops to hail or drought. To keep his livestock fed, he grew various crop cover plants, and began noticing that his soil was slowly improving.

We had four devastating years of crop failure in a row. I tell people that’s the best thing that ever could have happened to me, because it taught me that I had to learn how to take care of the resource,” he says.

When he first started, soil tests on his land revealed organic matter levels of 1.7 to 1.9 percent. According to National Rivers and Streams Assessment (NRSA) scientists, organic matter levels in the area used to range around seven to eight percent some 200 years ago. So about 75 percent of the organic matter in the soil has been lost in just the last two centuries.

One of the buzz words today is ‘sustainable.’ Everybody wants to be sustainable. My question is why in the world would we want to sustain a degraded resource? My operation today is still degraded. We need to be regenerative. We need to work on regenerating our soils, not just sustaining a degraded resource,” Gabe says.

How No-Till Promotes Soil Health

Last summer, the organic matter on Gabe’s cropland ranged from 5.3 to 6.1 percent. So in just over 20 years of no-tilling and using regenerative land management principles, he’s been able to triple the amount of organic matter in the soil. Earthworms are another marker for soil health, and they too can be brought back when you abstain from tilling.

There were no earthworms when we started. This past spring, my son did earthworm counts in our cropland. In a 12″x12″x2″ slice of soil, we were averaging over 60. That’s considerable when you start with zero. And that’s just the earthworms. It doesn’t count the myriad of other billions of soil organisms that are also in there,” he notes.

Earthworms, their castings and their secretions, are very nutrient-dense. When you grow a crop in a soil that’s full of earthworms, those plants are going to follow the roots and are going to follow those channels that those earthworms make, and the nutrients will be supplied to the plant.

The other thing it does that we don’t often talk about is improve water infiltration. When we took over this operation, we could only infiltrate a half of an inch of rainfall per hour. In other words, if we had a rainfall event of an inch, over half of it was going to run off.

When you’re in a limited-moisture environment, you want all that rainfall to be captured and go into the soil. Well, in the last test we did, we can now infiltrate over eight inches of rainfall per hour, which is huge.

Vermicompost—the compost produced by earthworms—is really one of the best compost you could get. Some sell it for about $1,000 for a cubic yard or about 1,000 pounds.

The nice thing is that, once you have the kind of density of earthworms, Gabe describes, you’re literally producing tens of tons of vermicompost per acre in your soil, and you don’t even have to pay for it or move it. It’s all done for free by the earthworms.

As we move into these very diverse cropping systems and integrate cover crops into them, we actually plant cover crops to benefit soil life and to feed those earthworms. The cover crops become the compost that the earthworm cycle into usable plant nutrients,” Gabe explains.

Improving Soil with Multispecies Cover Crop Cocktails

The cocktail of cover crops Gabe has incorporated into his land management system are a really important part of the equation. During those four years of hail and drought he grew mostly monoculture or two-species cover crops, such as triticale and hairy vetch, or sudan grass and cowpeas. Then, in 2006, after listening to Brazilian cover crop expert Dr. Ademir Calegari, he began using a multispecies combination.

I was really upset with myself that I hadn’t thought of it earlier. Because what I’m trying to do in my operation is mimic native range with the diversity of plant life and the diversity of wildlife, insects, etc. Well, that’s what we’re really doing with the cover crop cocktail, these multispecies mixes. Today, I plant up to 70 different species in a mix. What we’re trying to do is mimic the diversity in nature.

Think of it this way. If you plant a monoculture crop, that soil life is only being fed one root exudate. But if I plant a multispecies with 20 different species in it, that soil life is being fed the root exudates from 20 different plants. In other words, I’m accelerating biological time. We’re able to regenerate soils much, much faster than scientists used to think were possible.

Five Tenets of Soil Regeneration

Using the following five tenets of soil regeneration, you may be able to add an inch of topsoil in a five-year period:

1. No-tillage. This prevents soil erosion and also allows soil microbes to thrive

2. Plant diversity and rotation

3. Multispecies cover-cropping. While home gardeners can add crop cover like mulch or wood chips, large scale operations can achieve the same results by planting cover crops. Gabe grows cover crops on every acre of crop land each year. The cover crops may be grown before a cash crop, along with a cash crop, or after. But it’s the cover crops that provide the carbon that becomes that all-important “armor” on the soil surface. Cover crops also act as insulation, so the soil doesn’t get as hot or cold as it would if bare. This allows microbes to thrive longer. Also, the soil biology heats up the soil, which can extend your overall growing season in colder areas

4. Maintaining living roots in the soil year-round. It’s important to have living plant roots in the soil as long as possible throughout the year. To accomplish this, use cover crops when not growing a cash crop.

5. Livestock integration and diversification

Farm Program in Need of Serious Revisions to Integrate Soil Regeneration Practices

Unfortunately, one major hurdle that needs to be overcome before US farmers can more readily switch over to these regenerative principles is the government farm program, which subsidizes the growing of certain crops. At present, the farm program is strictly geared to monoculture production.

I’ve come to the realization that we need to educate the consumers and the consumers need to drive the change through their purchasing dollars,” Gabe says. “Let me tell you of this movement… My son and I started [a grass-fed beef] business in March, and we have zero advertising dollars. We’ve just been going to local farmers’ markets. We already have over 650 repeat customers. We can’t keep up with the demand right now. That goes to show you that if that’s happening in a rural state such as North Dakota, what’s happening in more urban areas?

...I tell the farmers and ranchers I talk to that carbon drives profitability of an operation. We have to start thinking of our farms and ranches as ecosystems and these ecosystems are driven by carbon. The more biomass you produce and the more diversity, the more carbon.

Obviously, trees are a little bit scarce here in the Northern Plains. But for the average gardener, there’s usually some type of tree removal service that has wood chips available in most communities that you can get and add to that garden. If you’re adding carbon, you’re going to increase the fungal component and you’re going to increase the mycorrhizal fungi [that] secrete glomalin, which starts the formation of soil particles.”

…There’s a great book by Dr. David Montgomery called Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations. Dr. Montgomery talks about how all the civilizations such as the Incas and the Romans, their rise and fall occurred because of the degradation of their soil resource. I had the opportunity to visit one on one with Dr. Montgomery this past year. I asked him,How long do we have as a nation before this occurs to us?’ And without blinking an eye, he said,Less than 50 years.’ He said, ‘We cannot continue on this path of degrading our resources like we have.’… [N]o-till is a piece; cover-cropping is a piece; diversity is a piece; and livestock integration is a piece. We have to bring all of these things together.”

Feeding the World’s Population Requires Emphasis on Soil Regeneration and Regenerative Land Management

Even if you’re not a farmer, you can still have an impact by implementing the regenerative aspects of no-till, plant diversity, and using ground cover such as wood chips into your own home garden. Along with that, plant some pollinator species to provide a habitat for pollinators. Monarch butterflies, for example, need milkweed to feed and reproduce. When purchasing bee-friendly plants, make sure they have not been pretreated with pesticides that are toxic to bees, as this could actually do the bee population more harm than good… Most importantly, as a consumer, use your dollars to drive change, and educate others as to the importance of nutrient-dense food.

We’re spending more money on healthcare than any other country, but look what it’s gotten us,” Gabe notes. “The United States of America is now the 42nd healthiest country in the world. We’re first in cancer, autoimmune diseases, attention-deficit disorder (ADD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and obesity. Why is that? We’re degrading our resource so much that we no longer have the nutrient density in our foods in order for people to get healthy diets… We need to start thinking of food as health. Food is preventative medicine. The nutrient density of our foods has decreased anywhere from 15 to 65 percent for the last 40 years. That’s uncalled for. It can’t continue…

Indeed, the answer to “how will we feed nine billion people by 2050?” is: by regenerating our soils so that it can support more ample and more nutritious crop growth. In order to do that, we must change our farming model, because chemical-based monoculture is leading us straight toward the drop-off at the end of a cliff…

Look at our operation. We grow a diverse number of cash crops. We grow cover crops. We have beef, cattle, sheep, hogs, and chickens. I haven’t even talked about how we allow beekeepers to come onto our land. There’s a myriad of other potential income streams and enterprises that we can stack,” Gabe says. “Feeding the world is absolutely no problem if we change the production model. For the small producers, it’s simply a matter of stacking enterprises. Once you do that, you’ll find that not only will you have more income streams to make your operation more viable, but you’ll actually regenerate the soils much, much quicker.”

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The Fluoride Deception: An Interview with Christopher Bryson

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By Dr. Mercola

Those who bother to delve into the science behind water fluoridation will inevitably come to see that there’s an abysmal lack of evidence supporting this routine practice, and an awful lot of evidence stacked against it.

Water fluoridation began in 1945. Today, the United States adds fluoride to more than two-thirds of the municipal water supplies reaching nearly 211 million Americans.

As of 2012, more than 67 percent of Americans receive fluoridated water,1 up from 66 percent in 2010.2 Of those, more than 11 million people receive fluoride at or above what has been deemed the “optimal” level, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Most likely, your dentist—along with countless government and public health officials—has praised and promoted the use of fluoride, both in toothpaste and drinking water, calling it a “necessary” part of your oral health regimen.

But let’s make this point clear: fluoride is not an essential nutrient needed for your health—dental or otherwise. There is not one single metabolic process in your body that requires fluoride. On the contrary, fluoride is a cumulative poison.

Fluoride—A Cumulative Poison

Approximately 98 percent of the fluoride you ingest in water is absorbed into your blood through your gastrointestinal tract. From there, it enters your body’s cellular tissues. On average, about 50 percent of the fluoride you ingest each day gets excreted through your kidneys.

The remainder accumulates in your teeth and bones,3 pineal gland,4 and other tissues—including your blood vessels, where it can contribute to calcification. According to a 2012 study published in the journal Nuclear Medicine Communications:5

Fluoride uptake in vascular walls was demonstrated in 361 sites of 54 (96 percent) patients, whereas calcification was observed in 317 sites of 49 (88 percent) patients.

Significant correlation between fluoride uptake and calcification was observed in most of the arterial walls, except in those of the abdominal aorta.

Fluoride uptake in coronary arteries was demonstrated in 28 (46 percent) patients and coronary calcifications were observed in 34 (56 percent) patients.”

Health Hazards Linked to Fluoride Over-Exposure

As the number of studies into the toxic effects of fluoride has increased, there is now support for a rather long list of potential health problems related to fluoride accumulation in your body.

For example, according to one 500-page long scientific review,6 fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland, and even your blood sugar levels.

Forty-two human studies7 have also linked moderately high fluoride exposures with reduced intelligence, and over 100 animal studies have shown that fluoride exposure can cause brain damage.

Most striking among these are 30 (out of a total of 32 investigations) that have shown that fluoride lowered the ability of animals to learn and remember. The following list contains 20 of the most commonly mentioned  health hazards and diseases associated with fluoride exposure:8, 9

Lowers IQ Brain damage Bone fractures10 Disrupts immune system Increases tumor and cancer rate
Hyperactivity and/or lethargy Dementia Bone cancer(osteosarcoma) Inhibits formation of antibodies Increases aging process
Increased lead absorption11 Muscle disorders Dental fluorosis (staining and pitting of teeth) Genetic damage and cell death12 Reduces melatonin production and leads to earlier onset of puberty13
Disrupts synthesis of collagen Arthritis Thyroid disease and lowered thyroid function Inactivates 62 enzymes14 Damages sperm, increases infertility

The Sordid History of Water Fluoridation

The video above features an interview with Christopher Bryson, author of the book: The Fluoride Deception. Both the book and this interview were published 10 years ago, in 2004. Bryson is an award-winning journalist and former radio producer at the BBC.

The book is based on nearly a decade’s worth of research, and it reveals the shocking details of how fluoride—a toxic byproduct of the aluminum industry—ended up being added to drinking water as a dental prophylactic.

The commonly repeated history of how water fluoridation came to be states that the practice was spurred on by research from the 1930s, which found that people who drank water containing higher levels of naturally-occurring fluoride tended to have less severe tooth decay.

On the surface, it would appear as though it was a successful government intervention on your behalf. More than 60 years later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared community water fluoridation one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

However, the real story reveals it was little more than a well-orchestrated PR stunt – a glowing example of the art of disseminating “adjustable truths” to sell an inconveniently toxic reality to an unsuspecting public.

In his book, Bryson describes the deeply intertwined interests that existed in the 1940s and 50s between the aluminum industry, the US nuclear weapons program, and the dental industry, which resulted in fluoride being declared not only safe, but beneficial to human health.

Prior to 1945 when communal water fluoridation in the US took effect, fluoride was actually a known toxin. A 1936 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association stated that fluoride at the 1 part per million (ppm) concentration is as toxic as arsenic and lead.

The Journal of the American Medical Association stated in their September 18, 1943 issue that fluorides are general protoplasmic poisons that change the permeability of the cell membrane by certain enzymes.15 And, an editorial published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, October 1, 1944, stated: “Drinking water containing as little as 1.2 ppm fluoride will cause developmental disturbances. We cannot run the risk of producing such serious systemic disturbances. The potentialities for harm outweigh those for good.”

Science for Hire…

Due to the massive amounts of fluoride required to produce bomb-grade uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons, the Manhattan Project conducted various experiments to determine its toxic effects in 1946. There were already several instances on record of fluoride being toxic to crops, livestock, and people living downwind from the polluters, so the public concern over fluoride emissions needed to be quelled in order to avoid potentially crippling lawsuits.

The brainchild of water fluoridation was Gerald Cox, a researcher with the Mellon Institute in Pittsburg. He received the suggestion to look at fluoride’s effects on teeth from Francis C. Frary, then director of the aluminum laboratory for the Aluminum Company of America. Frary was very concerned about the mounting lawsuits over the fluoride pollution his plant produced. Disposing of fluoride – the toxic waste product from aluminum plants — was quickly turning into a very costly problem. Gerald Cox also had reasons to figure out a solution to the fluoride-waste problem.

The Mellon Institute had been the leading defender of the asbestos industry, producing research showing that asbestos was harmless, and that workers’ health problems were due to other causes, in an effort to save the asbestos industry from financial catastrophe. The aluminum industry was quickly realizing that fluoride could generate lawsuits of a similar magnitude as asbestos. Cox’s connection to the Mellon Institute — and their history of offering “science-based” protection to industry — makes his recommendation to turn toxic waste material into a usable “health product” something that cannot be viewed as a mere coincidence.

Water Fluoridation—A Case of Successful Social Engineering

The ultimate driving force behind fluoridation gaining public acceptance, cementing the perception of fluoride as a healthy and, most importantly, safe additive to your drinking water, was a man named Harold Hodge. Within the now declassified files of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Energy Commission, Christopher Bryson found that the toxicology department at the University of Rochester, under the direction of Harold Hodge, was asked to produce medical information about fluoride that could help defend the government against lawsuits over fluoride pollution. Back in 1957, Harold Hodge was the nation’s leading, most trusted scientist, and when he declared that fluoride was “absolutely safe” at 1 ppm, everyone believed him.

Much later, it was publicly revealed that Hodge directed the human radiation experiments—a black spot in American medical history in which citizens were injected with plutonium and uranium without their knowledge or consent… So, the endorsement of fluoride as a dental health prophylactic was actually born from the need to address increasingly debilitating political and industrial problems relating to fluoride pollution. The rest, as they say, is history. In his 2012 article “Poison is Treatment—Edward Bernays and the Campaign to Fluoridate America,”16 James F. Tracy boldly reveals the PR campaign that created this fake public health measure:

“The wide-scale US acceptance of fluoride-related compounds in drinking water and a wide variety of consumer products over the past half century is a textbook case of social engineering orchestrated by Sigmund Freud’s nephew and the ‘father of public relations’ Edward L. Bernays,” he writes. “The episode is instructive, for it suggests the tremendous capacity of powerful interests to reshape the social environment, thereby prompting individuals to unwarily think and act in ways that are often harmful to themselves and their loved ones.”

What’s Really Added to Your Water Supply?

It’s also important to understand that the “fluoride” added to your drinking water is NOT the naturally-occurring mineral, nor a pharmaceutical grade fluoride. There are three basic compounds that can be used for fluoridating water supplies:17

•  Sodium fluoride (NaF)
• Sodium silicofluoride
• Hydrofluorosilicic acid

The first of these, sodium fluoride, was the first of the fluoride waste materials to be used for fluoridation, but now is rarely used. It’s the most well known, as this is the compound used as pharmaceutical grade in toxicology studies and other research into the potential health dangers of fluoride. The other two, sodium silicofluoride and hydrofluorosilicic acid, are the compounds actually used for water fluoridation, with hydrofluorosilicic acid being the most commonly used additive, according to the CDC.18

Sodium silicofluoride and hydrofluorosilicic acid are the waste products from the wet scrubber systems of the fertilizer industry, and are classified as hazardous wastes. Contamination with various impurities such as arsenic is also common in these products. Hydrofluorosilicic acid is one of the most reactive chemicals known to man, and its toxicity is well known in chemical circles.

It will eat through metal and plastic pipes, and corrode stainless steel and other materials. It will dissolve rubber tires and melt concrete.19 This is what is added to your water—all in the name of saving children from cavities! But even the less reactive sodium fluoride is a deadly poison, even in small quantities, and in the form used for fluoridation also contains additional impurities. Other common uses for sodium fluoride include:

• Rat and cockroach poisons
• Anesthetics
• Hypnotics and psychiatric drugs

The Way Forward: Shifting the Burden of Proof

Despite all the evidence, getting fluoride out of American water supplies has been exceedingly difficult. And it’s no wonder, really, when you factor in the considerable liability the US government could face were they to suddenly admit that water fluoridation was a way to hide toxic pollution, and there are detrimental health effects associated with drinking these pollutants… Fortunately, there is a way forward. According to Jeff Green, National Director of Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, a repeated theme in some of the recent cases where communities successfully removed fluoride from their water supply is the shifting of the burden of proof.

Rather than citizens taking on the burden of proving that fluoride is harmful and shouldn’t be added, a more successful strategy has been to hold those making claims, and the elected officials who rely on them, accountable for delivering proof that the specific fluoridation chemical being used fulfills their health and safety claims, and is in compliance with all regulations, laws, and risk assessments already required for safe drinking water.

For example, a couple of years ago, a Tennessee town stopped adding the hydrofluosilicic acid fluoride product they had been using, while still keeping its resolution to fluoridate its water supplies intact (meaning they didn’t make a decision on whether it might be harmful). They just haven’t been able to find a replacement product that is compliant with existing laws, regulations and safe-water requirements, and they will not add any fluoride product that is not in compliance. To learn more, please see this previous article, which discusses these strategies more in-depth.

This week we launch Fluoride Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to ending the practice of fluoridation.

There’s no doubt about it: fluoride should not be ingested. Even scientists from the EPA’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a “chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.” Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 41 percent of American adolescents now have dental fluorosis—unattractive discoloration and mottling of the teeth that indicate overexposure to fluoride. Clearly, children are being overexposed, and their health and development put in jeopardy. Why?

The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the first place. Fortunately, the Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation worldwide. Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs, and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So, please, protect your drinking water and support the fluoride-free movement by making a tax-deductible donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

I encourage you to visit the website of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) and visit the links below:

• Like FAN on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and sign up for campaign alerts.

10 Facts About Fluoride: Attorney Michael Connett summarizes 10 basic facts about fluoride that should be considered in any discussion about whether to fluoridate water. Also see 10 Facts Handout (PDF).

50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation: Learn why fluoridation is a bad medical practice that is unnecessary and ineffective. Download PDF.

Health Effects Database: FAN’s database sets forth the scientific basis for concerns regarding the safety and effectiveness of ingesting fluorides. They also have a Study Tracker with the most up-to-date and comprehensive source for studies on fluoride’s effects on human health.

Together, Let’s Help FAN Get to the Finish Line

This is the week we can get FAN the funding it deserves. I have found few NGOs as effective, and none as efficient, as FAN. Its small team has led the charge to end fluoridation and will continue to do so with our help!

So I am stepping up with the challenge. For the fourth year in a row, I will match the funds you give. This year, I believe a $25,000 match is the right thing to do. Please give, and all dollars received up to $25,000 will be matched by Natural Health Research Foundation, which I founded.

On Sunday, December 14th at 5pm (EST), the entire Fluoride Action Network team will be featured on this month’s International Fluoride Free Teleconference. The call is free and will provide a year-in-review of the fluoride issue, as well as provide an opportunity for supporters to ask the FAN team questions. So please register today to interact with fellow campaigners from around the world and have your questions about fluoride answered by the experts.

Also please watch the documentary Professional Perspectives on Water Fluoridation from now until December 19th, that outlines the science behind fluoridation and the effects it has had on entire generations, a select panel of experts show conclusively why there is no logical or rational reason to continue fluoridating our water supply.

 

Donate Today!

Sources and References

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GMO Dangers, opinion

Wheat was gradually modified years ago so that now it contains about three times the amount of Gluten it once did. This is important to know for those sensitive to or who may become sensitive to Gluten. This is why more people are reacting to wheat and wheat products with allergies, IBS, Crohn’s, etc.

The toxin in GMO corn that kill the pests, is now showing up in human blood tests!

Rats fed a controlled diet with 10% GMO corn, developed tumors that were up to 25% of their body weight!  This was a 2 yr top secret study, published in the peer-reviewed journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology that has been covered up by the companies that don’t want that info out. Another 10 yr study on animals showed GMO feed caused obesity and significant changes in digestive system and major organs.

EPA admits “mounting evidence” that “Yield Gard” corn is losing its effectiveness. Bugs, worms, weeds, etc. are all building a resistance to Roundup and other chemicals. Super weeds and super bugs with lower crop yields are reducing nutrient content of foods, causing a rise in infertility and birth defects of animals fed GMO feeds.

Bottom Line:
It’s Not worth the risk to your health and life and the increased health care costs that will be incurred if we continue using GMOs.

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The Pros and Cons of Free Weights versus Resistance Machines

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By Dr. Mercola

Regardless of your age or gender, you’d be wise to incorporate some form of strength training into your fitness regimen. And it actually gets even more important the older you get.

With good muscle tone, you’ll be better able to perform everyday activities like climbing stairs and getting out of a chair, as you age. Strength training also benefits your:

• Body composition and gene expression

Blood glucose control and blood lipids

• Blood pressure

Bone density

• Cardiorespiratory fitness and aerobic capacity

The fitness industry divides exercise into two categories: anaerobic and aerobic. However, fitness experts like Dr. Doug McGuff and Phil Campbell have pointed out that in order to actually benefit your cardiovascular system, you have to perform mechanical work using your muscles.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the superior effectiveness and efficiency of anaerobic high intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training over traditional aerobic workouts. In fact, the latter is one of the least effective forms of exercise.

When it comes to strength training, you have a number of different options. A recent article1 by K. Aleisha Fetters discusses the pros and cons of free weights versus strength machines.

Later, I’ll also review how to further supercharge your strength training routine by slowing it down, which turns it into a very high intensity exercise.

The Pros and Cons of Resistance Machines and Free Weights

Generally speaking, one is not “better” than the other in all instances. There are benefits and drawbacks to both machines and free weights, and some exercises tend to be more effective when done using one or the other.

Hand weights are inexpensive, portable, and readily available for purchase in just about any department store. Keeping them in your living room or office will allow you to knock out a few sets of exercises whenever you have the time.

The benefit of a resistance machine is that it will allow you to focus your mind on the effort, as opposed to the mechanics of the movement. But, unless you have enough space for a machine in your home, you’ll need a gym membership.

The primary difference between free weights and machines, however, is the fact that when using free weights, you can move in three dimensions: forward, backward, horizontally, and vertically. This is important, because this is how your body normally moves in daily life.

When you use free weights, you therefore end up engaging more muscles, as you have to work to stabilize the weight while lifting it. The drawback is that you’re at an increased risk of injury unless you maintain proper form.

Machines, on the other hand, are fixed to an axis that will only allow you to move in one or two planes. If used exclusively, this could lead to a lack of functional fitness, which can translate into injuries outside the gym.

Simply stepping off the sidewalk could result in a knee or ankle injury if stabilizing muscles have been ignored in favor of only working your larger muscle groups. On the upside, a machine will allow you to lift heavier weights, and allow you to target specific muscle groups.

So the choice is yours. While some have strong opinions about using one or the other, I believe a balanced approach is the best. As noted in the featured article:

“In the end, for overall strength and conditioning, free-weight exercises—especially those that use compound movements—should be the bedrock of any strength-training plan.

Still, machines can be great tools for helping you focus on and develop certain muscles (granted you use them properly). [T]o get the most from the weight room… [start] your workouts with one or more multi-joint compound movements such as the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press. Then, you can use a few carefully selected machines to strengthen any weak spots and craft the physique you want.”

Four Strength Machines You’re Better Off Not Using

Fitness coach Melissa Edmonds has also weighed in on this topic. In a recent Huffington Post article,2 she lists four ineffective strength training machines that are better replaced with free weights or body weight exercises. This includes:

1. Smith machine squats: By isolating the movement to a few key leg muscles, you end up placing greater stress on your knees. The machine also prevents you from getting maximum benefit from the squatting movement. When you squat using just body weight or free weights, on the other hand, your entire lower body gets a great workout, as you have to use both your core and legs to stabilize.

2. Abduction/adduction machines: It’s a stubborn fallacy that you can spot reduce fat from certain areas or your body, and the abduction/adduction machine is overall ineffective for this purpose. As noted in the featured article:

In addition to not reducing the fat on your thighs, this exercise is considered an “isolation movement,” making it less effective for an overall body workout. Stick to compound movements (such as squats and lunges) if you want to improve your legs. Compound movements target additional muscular groups and are more effective overall.”

3. Abdominal crunch machine: This machine isolates your abdominals and fails to engage your hip flexors. As a result, you will usually end up using your arms, shoulders, and legs to assist, rather than relying on your core strength. In order to effectively train your core, you must incorporate a variety of stabilization, functional, and traditional exercises. Core exercises, specifically abdominal exercises, must be done in a variety of ranges of motion, in different angles and positions, in order to engage all muscles. Effective exercises include standard crunch with rotation, which incorporates your internal and external obliques; functional work on a stability ball; hanging leg raises; and pushups, which actually work your core and abs if done correctly.

4. Behind-the-head lat pull-downs: In order for this exercise to be effective you need to keep your spine straight and most people simply do not have shoulder joints that are flexible enough to perform this exercise properly. As noted in the featured article, lat pull-downs behind the head can stress your rotator cuff muscles, thereby causing injury. Instead, stick to traditional frontal lat pull-downs.

Seven Phenomenal Strength Exercises

I recently reviewed seven of the best strength-training exercises using free weights or bodyweight, which I’ll list again here. For descriptions of how to perform them, please see “The 7 Best Strength Exercises You’re Not Doing.

1. Goblet Squat: This is a squat done while holding a weight in front of you (like a goblet), which adds more of a workout for your core and legs.

2. Pallof Press: This “anti-rotation” movement is challenging because you must resist rotation, working your obliques, abs, lower back, glutes, and more.

3. Dumbbell Row: The dumbbell row helps to develop a strong back, arms, and core. Plus, because it works your lats, traps, and rhomboids, it supports proper posture by pulling your shoulders back and helping to stabilize your spine.

4. Push-Up: Push-ups are a deceptively simple functional movement that works your upper-body muscles while engaging your core and allowing you to use the full range of motion in your shoulder blades.

5. Split Squat (Stationary Lunge): This is important because it involves single-leg movements that help minimize training imbalances. Split squats will help to build lower-body strength while improving balance, flexibility, and stability in your hips.

6. Lateral Squat: This is a combination of a lateral lunge and a squat, useful for stretching your groin and inner thighs while also working out your hips, thighs, and trunk.

7. Hip Extension (Glute Bridges/Hip Thrusts): This exercise helps to train your glutes, which are often underutilized if you sit for long periods each day.

Super-Slow Techniques Can Boost Your Fitness Results

I’m a big fan of super slow weight training, as it effectively turns your strength training routine into a high intensity exercise. Super slow strength training may even be superior to HIIT exercises using a recumbent bike or elliptical machine in some regards. For instance, 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 is why fitness experts like Dr. Doug McGuff are such avid proponents of this technique.

The super-slow movement allows your muscle, at the microscopic level, to access the maximum number of cross-bridges between the protein filaments that produce movement in the muscle. As with any other strength training exercise, you can perform the super-slow technique with hand weights, resistance machines, bodyweight exercises, or resistance bands. The key to making the either of these super slow techniques work is intensity, which needs to be high enough that you reach muscle fatigue. When the intensity is this high, you can decrease the frequency of your strength training sessions. In fact, the higher your fitness level, the less often you should do these exercises.

As a guideline, when you start out, allow your body at least two days to rest, recover and repair between high-intensity sessions, and do not exercise the same muscle groups each time. As your strength and endurance increases, decrease how often you do the sessions, as each one is placing greater stress on your body (provided you keep pushing yourself to the max). As a rule, avoid doing high intensity exercises more than twice or three times a week. You can enjoy other activities on your off-days, such as swimming, Pilates, yoga, biking, gardening, or whatever other activities you might enjoy.

Comparison of the Super Slow and Super-Super Slow Techniques

Download Interview Transcript

There are two types of super slow techniques—one being even slower than the “standard” super slow technique. The slowest of the two: the “Super-Super Slow” technique, was developed by Dr. Ellington Darden, who also refers to it as “negative accentuated exercises.” I have just started this type of strength training and am impressed with its efficiency and the science behind it. The two super slow techniques could be summarized and compared as follows:

• Super Slow: In the video above, I demonstrate a hybrid technique with a four-second positive and a four-second negative, meaning you raise the weight to the slow count of four, and lower it to another count of four. Traditionally, it’s recommended raising and lowering the weight to a slow count of 10. Either way, your goal is to have enough weight that you cannot complete more than 12 reps before reaching muscle fatigue, but not so much that you can’t complete at least four. Ideally, you will be somewhere in the neighborhood of seven to eight. Once you reach exhaustion, don’t try to heave or jerk the weight to get one last repetition in. Instead, just keep trying to produce the movement, even if it’s not “going” anywhere, for another five seconds or so.

• Super-Super Slow: This is only a 1.5-rep exercise. It’s done with the same amount of weight as in Super Slow, but instead of raising and lowering the weight to a count of four or 10, you begin with the weight in a raised position. Lower it to a count of 30; raise it to a count of 30; and lower it again to a count of 30, for a total of 90 seconds. It is best to use a timer and do 30 seconds rather than counting. That’s it! All you need is 10 of these 1.5 rep exercises, performed once a week. Once you can comfortably complete the time, you can increase the weight and decrease the time to 20-20-20 seconds, and gradually work your way up to 30 seconds again. I have been using this approach for a few months and really enjoy it.

Intense Exercise Is a Potent Anti-Aging Strategy

While it’s never too late to start exercising, the earlier you begin and the more consistent you are, the greater your long-term rewards. Having an active lifestyle is really an investment in your future well-being. While diet accounts for the majority of the health benefits you reap from a healthy lifestyle, exercise can be viewed as a “force multiplier” and leveraging agent. Interestingly, strength training has been found to have a beneficial impact on your gene expression — not only slowing aging but actually returning gene expression to youthful levels in seniors who start using resistance training.

I believe that, overall, high-intensity interval training really helps maximize the health benefits of exercise, while simultaneously being the most efficient and therefore requiring the least amount of time. Super slow strength training gives you both the benefits from weight lifting and the benefits from high intensity exercises, making it a truly optimal workout for most people. That said, ideally, you’ll want to include a wide variety of exercises for a well-rounded fitness regimen. I also strongly recommend avoiding sitting as much as possible, and making it a point to walk more every day. A fitness tracker can be very helpful for this. I suggest aiming for 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day, and this is in addition to your regular fitness regimen, not in lieu of it.

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Water Fluoridation: The “Healthy” Practice That Has Deceived the World

Source

By Paul Connett, PhD, Director of the Fluoride Action Network

Only a handful of countries – largely English speaking (Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA) — continue the outdated and discredited practice of water fluoridation, but in each of these citadels, more and more communities are finding out the truth.

Since 2010, over 165 communities worldwide have either ended fluoridation or rejected new proposals (e.g. Portland, Oregon). In 2012, Queensland lifted mandatory fluoridation. In August 2014, Israel banned fluoridation completely.

In Sept 2014, a major law firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of Peel (Ontario) citizens claiming that fluoridation is illegal under a Supreme Court ruling from the 1950s, and on Oct 7, 2014 Dublin City Council joined many other Irish councils calling on the Irish government to end mandatory fluoridation.

This has been followed by similar votes from Cork and Kerry. The response of rabid promoters to these events is highly revealing.

They continue to wheel out “prestigious authorities” to endorse the practice, even while it is becoming more and more obvious – and more and more embarrassing – that these “authorities” have no science to back their exaggerated claims of benefits or their denials of potential dangers.

Indeed, these endorsements are sounding more and more like the empty phrases of the “Hollow Men” struggling in a “dry cellar” in T.S. Elliot’s famous poem of the same name.

The American ‘Hollow Men’

So who are these hollow men and why are they wrong and horribly misleading? Here are some examples from the US, NZ, and Ireland. There are many others.

In the US, Dr. Jeffrey S. Flier, Dean of Harvard Medical School and Dr. Bruce Donoff, Dean of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

On March 22, 2014, these Harvard deans, wrote the following letter to avid fluoridation propagandist Dr. Myron Allukian (Massachusetts), which has since been given wide distribution by fluoridation promoters.

Allukian almost certainly sought this letter in order to quell concerns generated by two important Harvard studies: a) the osteosarcoma study by Bassin et al., 2006 and b) the meta-analysis of 27 IQ studies by Choi et al., 2012.

Dear Dr. Allukian:

As Deans of Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, we continue to support community water fluoridation as an effective and safe public health measure for people of all ages.

Numerous reputable studies over the years have consistently demonstrated that community water fluoridation is safe, effective, and practical. Fluoridation has made an enormous impact on improving the oral health of the American people.

Our country is fortunate to have over 204 million Americans living in fluoridated communities and having access to the health and economic benefits of this vital public health measure.

Response: Like anyone else, these Deans are entitled to their opinion but neither has published any study related in any way to the work of Bassin et al. (2006) or Choi et al. (2012), nor for that matter on any health issue relating to fluoridation.

So here, we see a fairly naked attempt by Allukian to trump serious scientific studies simply using opinions and endorsements rather than valid scientific evidence.

The ‘Hollow Men’ of New Zealand

In NZ, Sir Peter Gluckman, chief scientific advisor to the Prime Minster of New Zealand and Sir David Skegg (President of the Royal Society of New Zealand).

In August 2014, in response to a number of local communities voting out water fluoridation in NZ, Gluckman and Skegg published a review titled the “Health Effects of Water Fluoridation: a Review of the Scientific Evidence.” A press report can be viewed on FluorideAlert.org’s website.1

As far as the science is concerned, this review is inaccurate, selective, and superficial. However, because of the prestige of the authors and the positions they hold, this is likely to be very influential with the NZ media, which are equally inaccurate, selective, and superficial on this issue.

Here is one section of the report, which clearly demonstrates the authors’ apparent willingness to pass on the analysis of fluoridation propagandists rather than to read the cited studies themselves. In a section titled “Effects on IQ,” Gluckman and Skegg write:

Recently there have been a number of reports from China and other areas where fluoride levels in groundwater are naturally very high, that have claimed an association between high water fluoride levels and minimally reduced intelligence (measured as IQ) in children.

In addition to the fact that the fluoride exposures in these studies were many (up to 20) times higher than any that are experienced in New Zealand or other CWF communities, the studies also mostly failed to consider other factors that might influence IQ, including exposures to arsenic, iodine deficiency, socioeconomic status, or the nutritional status of the children.

Further, the claimed shift of less than one IQ point suggests that this is likely to be a measurement or statistical artifact of no functional significance.

A recently published study in New Zealand… revealed no evidence that exposure to water fluoridation in New Zealand affects neurological development or IQ.

We conclude that on the available evidence there is no appreciable effect on cognition arising from CWF.” (Emphasis mine)

Response: It should be incredibly embarrassing for both the NZ Prime Minister and the Royal Society of New Zealand to have their names associated with such an inaccurate and biased summary of the literature on fluoride’s impact on children’s intellectual development.

Mistaken and Misleading Claims

1. Gluckman and Skegg mistakenly claim “a shift of less than one IQ point” in the 27 studies reviewed by Choi et al. (2012). What they have done here is to confuse the drop of half of one standard deviation reported by the authors with the actual drop in IQ, which was 6.9 points. Such an elementary mistake would not have been made by Gluckman and Skegg if they had actually read the report, instead of relying on what fluoridation propagandists were saying about it.

2. Gluckman and Skegg’s claim that “fluoride exposures in these studies were many (up to 20) times higher than any that are experienced in New Zealand or other CWF communities” again indicates that they didn’t read the report (or read it carefully). Only two out of the 27 studies had the “high-fluoride” village concentrations going up to 11 and 11.5 ppm respectively (Yao, 1996, 2-11 ppm, and Wang, 2007, 3.6-11.5 ppm). More relevant to NZ (and other countries with water fluoridation programs in the range of 0.6 to 1.2 ppm) is the fact that 8 of the reviewed studies had concentrations in the “high-fluoride” village of less than 3 ppm.

3. Moreover, when harm is found, toxicologists do not normally focus on the highest level but on the Lowest Observable Adverse Effect Level (LOAEL). In one of the studies (Xiang et al., 2003 a,b) the authors sub-divided the children in the “high-fluoride” village into 5 groups with increasing fluoride concentrations in their well water from 0.75 to 4.3 ppm. They found that as the fluoride concentration increased, the mean IQ was lowered in a linear fashion. The lowest level at which IQ lowering occurred was 1.26 ppm. This offers no adequate margin of safety to protect all children drinking artificially fluoridated water between 0.6 and 1.2 ppm.

4. This lack of an adequate margin of safety gets worse when one notes that in two respects, NZ children are likely to get higher fluoride doses than the rural Chinese children in this study, because a) they are more likely to use fluoridated toothpaste and b) more likely to be bottle-fed, with levels of fluoride about 200 times more than breast milk (0.004 ppm).

5. Gluckman and Skegg claim that of the 27 studies, most “failed to consider other factors that might influence IQ, including exposures to arsenic, iodine deficiency, socioeconomic status, or the nutritional status of the children.” However, the fact that some of the studies did not control for all of these factors does not obviate the need to examine the studies that did. For example, Xiang et al. controlled for lead, iodine, and more recently arsenic.

6. Gluckman and Skegg’s use of a single recent IQ study from NZ to rebut these 27 IQ studies (Broadbent et al., 2014) further reveals their bias. The Broadbent study is incredibly weak because the authors were unable to identify any children who had neither been exposed to fluoridated water nor fluoridated supplements. In other words, they had no control group.

7. It is the weight of evidence on fluoride’s neurotoxicity that should make responsible scientists and health officials more cautious than Gluckman and Skegg. While none of these individual IQ studies is absolutely conclusive (although Xiang’s study comes very close), the overall consistency of the 27 IQ studies is remarkable, considering they were done by different research teams in different countries (China and Iran), and over a very wide geographical area in China.

The results are also consistent with many other animal and human studies indicating the fluoride is neurotoxic. For example, out of 32 studies, 30 have shown that animals perform less well in learning and memory experiments when exposed to fluoride.2 A more comprehensive critique of the NZ “whitewash review” has been written by Dr. Kathleen Thiessen, one of the panelists for the NRC (2006) landmark review of fluoride’s toxicity.

The ‘Hollow Men’ of Ireland

In Ireland, Prof June Nunn, Dean, School of Dental Science, Trinity College Dublin; Prof Martin Kinirons, Dean, School of Dental Science, Cork University Dental School and Hospital; Dr. John Walsh, Dean, Faculty of Dentistry, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; and Dr. Peter Gannon, President, Irish Dental Association. In a letter to the Irish Times (Oct 6, 2014), probably anticipating the vote by Dublin City Council calling on the Irish government to end fluoridation (Oct 7, 2014), these dentists wrote:

Sir, – Ireland has a considerable history of water fluoridation. It is 50 years since fluoridation of the water supplies began in this country. Time for the considerable advantages in terms of improvements in oral health to be demonstrated and, in parallel, time during which there has been no documented medical side-effects of water fluoridation.

In the time since water fluoridation was introduced here in Ireland, the population has benefited from improved oral health services, greater access to fluoridated toothpastes and better nutrition. As a consequence, a decision was made, after scientific review, to reduce the level of fluorides in the water supply as in other countries. This is in recognition of these other sources of fluoride and to minimise the side-effect (flecking of teeth) seen when small children eat fluoridated toothpaste while living in fluoride areas.

The benefits of fluoridation are not inconsiderable in terms of all costs. While the population, both adults and children, have benefited from the consequent improvements in oral health that fluoride confers, the benefit to the health service in terms of a reduction in costs of the burden of dental disease and its management, not to say the considerable benefits to families in quality of life as a result of days free of dental pain and no loss of days at work or school in dealing with dental abscesses, are considerable.

Dental disease is one of the commonest, preventable diseases yet the country invests significant amounts of money in dealing with the consequences of that disease. Fluoridation has been proven to have significantly benefited the population thus allowing scarce health service resources to be directed towards acute life-threatening conditions.

No other health-promoting measure has been exposed to such scrutiny and been given an ongoing, clean bill of health. As a measure, water fluoridation has been recognised by the US Cancer Society, as well as the Royal College of Physicians, both here in Ireland and the UK, as being both safe and effective as well as without side effects over decades of vigilance.

We note that the most recently published expert peer-reviewed analysis by the Royal Society of New Zealand finds ‘there are no adverse effects of any significance arising from fluoridation at the levels used in New Zealand’ (ie levels higher than in Ireland). ‘In particular, no effects on brain development, cancer risk or metabolic risk have been substantiated.’ The American Dental Association ‘unreservedly endorses the fluoridation of community water supplies as safe, effective and necessary in preventing tooth decay.’

As parents as well as oral healthcare professionals, we acknowledge these endorsements and continue to advocate one of the few truly cost-effective public health measures this country has known, for the good of all, children and adults.”

Response:

These authors very deceptively claim that in 50 years since fluoridation began in Ireland, “there has been no documented medical side-effects of water fluoridation,” without pointing out that in these 50 years there have been no health studies conducted in Ireland! The absence of study is not the same as the absence of harm.

They compound this false impression when they say that “No other health-promoting measure has been exposed to such scrutiny” and again when they claim that the measure is without side effects “over decades of vigilance.

Their claims about Gluckman and Skegg’s NZ review (discussed above) and the ADA endorsement in the following excerpt is both self-serving and somewhat incestuous since it is one group of fluoridation promoters citing the “opinion” of other fluoridation promoters:

We note that the most recently published expert peer-reviewed analysis by the Royal Society of New Zealand finds ‘there are no adverse effects of any significance arising from fluoridation at the levels used in New Zealand’ (ie levels higher than in Ireland). ‘In particular, no effects on brain development, cancer risk or metabolic risk have been substantiated.’ The American Dental Association ‘unreservedly endorses the fluoridation of community water supplies as safe, effective and necessary in preventing tooth decay.’”

In Conclusion…

Many members of the public and the media will probably have to wait until a lawsuit before these “Hollow Men” are exposed. When they have to testify on what they actually know – based on the primary scientific literature –rather on what they believe, it should become clear to all and sundry that their authority on this matter is very hollow indeed.

This week we launch Fluoride Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to ending the practice of fluoridation.

There’s no doubt about it: fluoride should not be ingested. Even scientists from the EPA’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a “chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.” Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 41 percent of American adolescents now have dental fluorosis—unattractive discoloration and mottling of the teeth that indicate overexposure to fluoride. Clearly, children are being overexposed, and their health and development put in jeopardy. Why?

The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the first place. Fortunately, the Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation worldwide. Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs, and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So, please, protect your drinking water and support the fluoride-free movement by making a tax-deductible donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.

Donate Today!

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

I encourage you to visit the website of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) and visit the links below:

• Like FAN on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and sign up for campaign alerts.

10 Facts About Fluoride: Attorney Michael Connett summarizes 10 basic facts about fluoride that should be considered in any discussion about whether to fluoridate water. Also see 10 Facts Handout (PDF).

• 50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation: Learn why fluoridation is a bad medical practice that is unnecessary and ineffective. Download PDF.

• Health Effects Database: FAN’s database sets forth the scientific basis for concerns regarding the safety and effectiveness of ingesting fluorides. They also have a Study Tracker with the most up-to-date and comprehensive source for studies on fluoride’s effects on human health.

Together, Let’s Help FAN Get to the Finish Line

This is the week we can get FAN the funding it deserves. I have found few NGOs as effective, and none as efficient, as FAN. Its small team has led the charge to end fluoridation and will continue to do so with our help!

So I am stepping up with the challenge. For the fourth year in a row, I will match the funds you give. This year, I believe a $25,000 match is the right thing to do. Please give, and all dollars received up to $25,000 will be matched by Natural Health Research Foundation, which I founded.

On Sunday, December 14th at 5pm (EST), the entire Fluoride Action Network team will be featured on this month’s International Fluoride Free Teleconference. The call is free and will provide a year-in-review of the fluoride issue, as well as provide an opportunity for supporters to ask the FAN team questions. So please register today to interact with fellow campaigners from around the world and have your questions about fluoride answered by the experts.

Also please watch the documentary Professional Perspectives on Water Fluoridation from now until December 19th, that outlines the science behind fluoridation and the effects it has had on entire generations, a select panel of experts show conclusively why there is no logical or rational reason to continue fluoridating our water supply.

Sources and References
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