About Larry

My hobby is research. I am been conducting research on a number of subjects for many years. This blog is one result of my research.

Obesity Is a Biochemical Problem Rooted in Excessive Fructose Consumption


By Dr. Mercola

Dr. Robert Lustig’s 2009 video “Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” has now garnered nearly 6.5 million views on YouTube. The featured video is a follow-up on that original lecture.

In it, he discusses the metabolic influence of sugar and processed foods on obesity and related diseases. He also reviews the importance of diet versus exercise when weight loss is your goal.

Delving into the science behind different types of sugar, Lustig explains the metabolic differences between glucose and fructose, which is at the very heart of the obesity and diabetes problems.

What Do Rising Obesity and Diabetes Rates Suggest?

According to Lustig, 6 million American children were overweight or obese in 2001. Today that number exceeds 23 million.1 This is despite all the anti-obesity campaigns and measures launched since then.

Clearly, nutritional and weight loss recommendations provided to the public over the past 15 years are deeply and fundamentally flawed.

Worldwide, obese people now outnumber the starving by 30 percent. Fifteen years ago, this statistic was the reverse. Today, 5 percent of the global population is also diabetic. According to Lustig, these kinds of statistics suggest that obesity and diabetes are not due to behavior, but rather exposure.

If the trends continue, it’s been estimated that by 2030, 42 percent of Americans will be obese, and 100 million Americans — nearly one-third of the current population — will have diabetes by 2050. Meanwhile, Medicare is expected to be broke by 2026.

The fact of the matter is we’ve been following the same reasoning for the past 30 years, and the problem of obesity and diabetes keeps getting worse by the year. It is time to reframe how we view the problem, and how we resolve it.

Visceral Versus Subcutaneous Obesity

While 80 percent of the obese population is sick, it’s important to realize that metabolic dysfunction affects normal weight people as well. In fact, about 40 percent of normal weight individuals have the same health problems as those who are obese.

Lustig shows a cross-section image of the internal abdominal cavity of two individuals. They both weigh the same, yet one is healthy and the other is not. The one struggling with health issues has far more visceral fat — the fat that accumulates around the internal organs.

The number on your scale does not tell you how your fat is distributed. It also cannot tell you how much of your weight is due to fat (subcutaneous fat, which is not necessarily bad for your health and visceral fat, which is quite hazardous), and how much is bone or muscle.

Your waist circumference can give you a decent clue, but even this measurement isn’t foolproof, as there are many thin people who fall into the “thin on the outside and fat on the inside” category, a condition referred to as TOFI.

Those with TOFI have the same health problems as obese people, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

In short, obesity in and of itself is not the root cause of failing health worldwide. It’s merely another symptom. The real problem is metabolic syndrome, which accounts for 75 percent of all healthcare dollars spent in the U.S. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that include:

Diabetes Hypertension Lipid abnormalities Cardiovascular disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) Polycystic ovarian disease Cancer Dementia

Obesity and the Law of Thermodynamics

The law of thermodynamics says that “the total energy inside a closed system remains constant.” Obesity is said to be a result of this law. However, there are two different interpretations of this law.

1.The calories-in, calories-out interpretation. According to this interpretation, you have to use up the calories you ingest, or else the excess calories will turn into body fat and result in weight gain.

If this interpretation was correct, then the solution to weight gain would be a matter of energy balance, which is what the processed food and soda industries would like you to believe.

Since excess food consumption and lack of exercise are both behaviors, based on this interpretation, obesity is caused by personal shortcomings or choice.

The dogma associated with this interpretation is that “a calorie is a calorie,” and it doesn’t matter where the calories come from because they all produce the same results.

2.The energy deposition interpretation. If you accept that calories are NOT created equal and that obesity is the result of aberrant energy deposition, you can interpret the law of thermodynamics in a whole new way.

Essentially, in order to store fat, you have to increase your insulin level, and in order to raise your insulin you have to eat foods that cause it to spike.

As your insulin level becomes chronically elevated, insulin resistance sets in, which facilitates fat deposition. What foods raise insulin? The scientific evidence tells us that the most effective food source to raise insulin is fructose.

But there’s more. As previously explained by Zoe Harcombe, Ph.D, thermodynamics is about the movement of energy. The second law of thermodynamics says that “energy will be lost and energy will be used up in creating available energy,” and the thermic effects of nutrients vary.

For example, the thermic effect of protein, i.e. the energy used up in making protein available to your body, is somewhere around 25 to 30 percent whereas the thermic effect of carbohydrates is around 6 to 8 percent. In addition to that, your body self-regulates based on available energy.

If this interpretation is correct, and Lustig insists it is, the solution to weight gain has nothing to do with “energy balance.” Instead, the answer is to eat real food, which are low in sugar (and devoid of HFCS) and high in fiber and healthy fats.

Moreover, it removes the stigma that obese people are simply gluttonous and lazy, as behavior follows biochemical reactions and not the other way around. Ultimately, this interpretation reveals that obesity is a problem caused by a toxic (and addictive) food environment, not behavior.

Obesity Is a Biochemical Problem

To recap, Lustig persuasively argues that the primary reason causing all of these visceral fat-related health problems is excessive fructose in our diet. Granted, ALL sugars contribute to weight gain to a certain degree, but highly refined and processed fructose, such as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), wreaks the most biochemical havoc, by negatively affecting your leptin and insulin sensitivity, which results in metabolic syndrome.

Leptin deficiency, a hereditary medical condition that affects about 14 people in the entire world, causes extreme obesity as the lack of this satiety hormone makes the brain think it’s starving all the time. What most people suffer with today is leptin resistance— a condition in which your body has lost its ability to register the signals from leptin. Still, the effect is much the same.

Leptin resistance, just like leptin deficiency, also causes you to become lethargic, as the brain doesn’t want to expend any energy when it believes it doesn’t have the energy to waste. So, as Lustig explains, obesity is a biochemical problem. It’s not about gluttony and sloth, which are largely voluntary behaviors.

According to his research, it’s quite clear that biochemistry drives behavior, so gluttony and sloth are the downstream results of biochemical dysfunction. They’re not the cause of the biochemical dysfunction.

Other Dietary Considerations

I have not had a chance to discuss this with Lustig and I’m not sure if his position has changed since he recorded this video, but I believe there are two other considerations that may be as significant, or even more of a contributing factor than sugar. Believe me, I’m a strong advocate of avoiding sugar, but that isn’t the entire story.

One also needs to limit protein, as excessive protein may have more of a deleterious health effect than excessive sugar. Most people would benefit from restricting the protein intake to 1 gram (gm) per kilogram (kg) of lean body mass.

So if you reduce net carbs and protein, you are only left with dietary fat, which may be one of the biggest culprits. Most of the fat people eat is unhealthy and consists of processed omega-6 vegetable oil (most of that fat is from soybean oil). In fact, the amount of soybean oil consumed in 2000 was more than 1,000 times higher than it was 100 years ago in 1900.

Insulin Blocking Leptin Is Another Factor

Leptin resistance correlates with higher amounts of body fat. So what blocks leptin from working properly? According to Lustig, once you solve that question, you solve the obesity problem. The answer to this question is insulin.

Insulin resistance produces weight gain, and there’s a biological purpose for this. During puberty and pregnancy, you need to gain excess fat for hormone production and the growth of another human being. So from a biological perspective, there are two life periods during which leptin should be blocked to allow for fat accumulation.

The problem is that for some reason, leptin is now being blocked by elevated insulin levels in a vast number of people all the time. So what causes chronically elevated insulin levels and insulin resistance? The answer is sugar, and more specifically fructose, which places a far greater metabolic burden on your body.

How Fructose Metabolism Gives Rise to Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity

A summary of fructose metabolism is as follows:

Every cell in your body utilizes glucose. Therefore, much of it is “burned up” immediately after you consume it. When you consume glucose, your liver only has to break down 20 percent of it.

By contrast, cells don’t use fructose for energy, so 100 percent of the fructose you eat is metabolized in your liver. Your liver is the only organ equipped with a fructose transporter, called GLUT5. Rather than being used as a quick energy source, fructose is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL, the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which are then stored as body fat.

When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat; 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat.

Fructose metabolism is very similar to ethanol metabolism, which has a multitude of toxic effects. The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate as fat droplets in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and NAFLD.

As your body becomes increasingly resistant to insulin, your pancreas keeps releasing ever higher amounts of insulin in an effort to curb your rising blood sugar levels. Eventually, your pancreas loses the battle; your blood sugar levels keep rising, and you end up with metabolic syndrome and full-blown diabetes.

Fructose is the most lipophilic carbohydrate. In other words, fructose converts to activated glycerol (g-3-p), which is directly used to turn FFAs into triglycerides. The more g-3-p you have, the more fat you store. Glucose does not do this.

The metabolism of fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.

Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose, on the other hand, does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn fails to suppress ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) and blocks leptin signaling (the “satiety hormone”). The end result is overeating and insulin resistance. In short, fructose tricks your body into gaining weight by turning off your body’s natural appetite-control system.

The Dose Determines the Poison

While fructose is not a toxic substance in and of itself, when it’s consumed in excessive doses, your liver simply cannot metabolize it. And when the overexposure is chronic, metabolic syndrome develops, and this is true even if you’re not obese.

In short, fructose overconsumption damages your pancreas, liver and brain much like alcohol does, yet, despite its similarities, alcohol is regulated and fructose is not. As Lustig says, “You’d never consider giving your kid a beer, but you wouldn’t think twice about giving him a Coke, yet they do the same thing. That’s the problem.”

Another problem relates to the Maillard reaction, i.e., the browning reaction that occurs when glucose chemically interacts with the amino acid group of proteins.

This is what you see when you look at a piece of deep-fried chicken or a piece of toast, for example. Now, the Maillard or browning reaction also takes place inside your body. It’s a normal part of the aging process. The question is, how fast will this happen inside your body? The answer: the higher your fructose intake, the faster this chemical reaction takes place and the faster you age.

Diabetes Rates Correlate to Sugar Availability

By conducting an economic analysis of diet and diabetes prevalence, Lustig’s team was able to determine that changes in sugar availability were the only factor that correlated with changes in diabetes prevalence. For every 150 calorie increase, there was a 0.1 percent increase in diabetes. However, if those 150 calories came from soda, diabetes prevalence increased 11-fold, to 1.1 percent.

Extrapolating data further, Lustig claims that 25 percent of diabetes worldwide is attributable to sugar alone — not obesity or total calorie consumption, but sugar consumption specifically. Moreover, his research reveals how long it takes for increases in sugar consumption to translate into increases in diabetes. No matter which country you look at, three years after a spike in sugar consumption, diabetes rates rise.

“We have causal medical inference that sugar causes obesity,” Lustig says, which means that while more research is always needed, we already have enough evidence to act.

Sugar Is a Highly Addictive Substance

Adding insult to injury, sugar is also addictive. In fact, it’s been shown to be more addictive than cocaine. Sugar hijacks the reward center in your brain, causing brain changes identical to those in drug addicts and alcoholics. A critical player in all forms of addiction, including food addiction, is the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Groundbreaking research into addiction has revealed that you will not feel pleasure or reward unless dopamine binds with its receptor, called the D2 receptor, which is located all throughout the reward center in your brain. When dopamine links to this receptor, immediate changes take place in brain cells and then you experience a “hit” of pleasure and reward.

However, when you indulge in too much of any hyper-stimulator, be it cocaine, alcohol, sugar or caffeine, your brain’s reward center notes that you’re overstimulated, which the brain perceives as adverse to survival, and so it compensates by decreasing your sense of pleasure and reward. It does this by downregulating your D2 receptors, basically eliminating some of them.

But this survival strategy creates another problem, because now you don’t feel anywhere near the pleasure and reward you once had when you began your addiction, no matter whether it’s food or drugs. As a result, you develop tolerance which means that you want more and more of your fix, but never achieve the same “high” you once had. And so, cravings grow stronger. Addiction to any one substance also increases your risk of cross-addiction to other addictive substances.

Eating REAL Food Is the Answer

The concerted effort by the processed food industry to make their products as addictive as possible has the unfortunate side effect of stimulating your metabolism to burn carbs (sugar) as its primary fuel. As long as you are burning carbs as your primary fuel, you will strongly crave these types of foods.

The solution is to decrease the amount of processed foods and net carbs (total carbs minus fiber — think sugars) you eat, and replace them with real foods, i.e. high-quality whole foods, especially low net-carb vegetables.

As noted by Lustig, every single diet that works is a diet based on real food. Also remember that net carbs (i.e. non-fiber carbohydrates) need to be replaced with healthy fats to successfully achieve this metabolic switchover. Overall, a real food diet is high in fiber and healthy fats, and low in net carbs.

If you suffer from junk food cravings, especially cravings for sugar, know that intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways to end them. Sugar cravings will dramatically diminish, if not vanish altogether, once your body starts burning fat instead of sugar as its primary fuel.

To protect your health, I recommend spending 90 percent of your food budget on real food, and only 10 percent or less on processed foods. Unfortunately, most Americans do the opposite, which is why so many struggle with junk food cravings, weight gain and poor health.

Remember, virtually ALL processed foods are loaded with HFCS. According to Lustig, of the 600,000 items in the U.S. food supply, 80 percent of them contain HFCS and other added sugars. And the reason for this is because the food industry knows that when they add sugar, you eat and buy more of it, for all the reasons discussed above.

If anyone tries to tell you “sugar is sugar,” or “a calorie is a calorie,” they are way behind the times. As you can see, there are major differences in how your body processes fructose and glucose. The bottom line is: fructose leads to increased visceral fat, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome — not to mention the long list of chronic diseases that result from it.

To learn more, please see the Institute for Responsible Nutrition’s (IRN) website, responsiblefoods.org. IRN is an organization that Lustig helped set up for the purpose of “providing medical, nutritional and legal analysis and consultation to promote personal and public health against Big Food.”

Sources and References

The Importance of Daily Flossing


By Dr. Mercola

Your dental health is an important component of your physical health. It’s a frequently underappreciated aspect that can have a profound systemic influence. In fact, thousands of studies have linked oral disease to systemic disease.

Your mouth is like a window to your health; the soft tissues and your teeth reflect what’s going on in the rest of your body. Inflammation is well-known as a “ravaging” and disease-causing force, and gum disease and other oral diseases produce chronic low-grade inflammation.

When the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease enter into your circulatory system, it causes your liver to release C-reactive proteins, which have inflammatory effects on your entire circulatory system.

Health Risks Associated With Poor Oral Health

People who fail to brush their teeth twice a day may be putting themselves at risk of heart disease,1,2 and advanced gum disease can raise your risk of a fatal heart attack up to 10 times.

There’s also a 700 percent higher incidence of type 2 diabetes among those with gum disease, courtesy of the inflammatory effects of unbalanced microflora in your mouth. Other health effects associated with poor oral health include an increased risk of:3

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Dementia: failing to brush twice a day increases your risk of dementia by as much as 65 percent, compared to brushing three times a day
  • Pneumonia: good oral hygiene has been shown to lower your risk of pneumonia by about 40 percent. Other research has shown that people with periodontitis have a 300 percent greater chance of contracting pneumonia
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED): ED is more than twice as common among those with periodontitis than those without ED
  • Kidney disease and more

Overall, your diet is the most significant determinant of your oral and dental health, but how you clean your teeth can also make a big difference. Flossing, for example, is an important strategy, yet one-third of American adults never floss. If you’re one of them, I’d encourage you to reconsider.

The Importance of Flossing

Flossing is perhaps even more important than brushing because it removes bacteria that are the precursors of plaque, which if left to fester will turn into tartar that cannot be removed by regular brushing or flossing.

Tartar is what eventually causes the damage that leads to decay and tooth loss. Most people are aware that flossing is a recommended practice for optimal oral health, yet nearly one-third of Americans never floss.

Remarkably, 1 in 5 Americans also does not brush their teeth twice a day.4 According to a recent investigation:5

  • 32.4 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 30 never floss
  • 37.3 percent floss, but not daily
  • 30.3 percent floss on a daily basis
  • More women than men never floss
  • Low-income participants are less likely to floss than those in higher income brackets

Flossing Guidelines

Use a piece of floss that is about 15 to 18 inches long, wrapping each end around your index fingers. Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it around the side of the tooth in the shape of a “C.”

Scrub the area by moving the floss up and down, and back and forth. Make sure you scrub both sides of the adjacent teeth before moving on to the next set.

If you have wider spaces between your teeth, use Super Floss, which is thicker.6 If dexterity is an issue, use soft plaque removers. Similar to toothpicks, they allow you to clean between your teeth with one hand. A double-pronged floss holder is another option.

While flossing, you can get telltale signs of potential health problems. For example, bleeding gums is a warning sign that you have bacteria in your mouth causing damage, which can easily spread through your blood stream and cause chronic inflammation elsewhere in your body.

The answer is to gently floss and brush more often, until your gums no longer bleed from brushing or flossing. If bleeding persists longer than a week, see a dentist.

Keep in mind that a Waterpik cannot replace flossing. These types of irrigation tools can also be hard on your gums. The truth is, if you brush and floss, you have no need for a Waterpik. That said, it can be beneficial if you have braces.

Tooth Brushing Guidelines

Research suggests the ideal brushing time is two minutes, and the ideal pressure is 150 grams (gm), which is about the weight of an orange.7 Brushing your teeth too hard and longer than necessary can cause more harm than good.

Researchers found that brushing longer than two minutes, and/or using pressure greater than 150 gm does not remove any additional plaque, so there’s a “Goldilocks’ zone” when brushing, and there’s no reason to keep going past that point.

When it comes to toothpaste, I recommend using non-fluoridated versions. There are a growing number of such toothpastes on the market these days, as more people are becoming aware of fluoride’s downsides and dangers.

Other toxic toothpaste ingredients to avoid include triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), propylene glycol and diethanolamine (DEA).

Alternatively, you could make your own toothpaste8 using ingredients such ascoconut oil, baking soda (which acts as an abrasive and helps with whitening), and a pinch of Himalayan salt. High-quality peppermint essential oil can be added for flavor and cavity prevention.

The Case for Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice. When combined with the antimicrobial power of coconut oil, I believe it can be a powerful tool to improve your oral health. The high lauric content of coconut oil makes it a strong inhibitor of a wide range of pathogenic organisms, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa.

However, it also helps promote oral microbiome homeostasis, which is really important, as you don’t want to kill all microbes.

Oil pulling is thought to improve oral and physical health by reducing your toxic load. By swishing and “pulling” the oil between your teeth, it helps draw out pathogens that might otherwise migrate into other areas of your body. When done correctly, oil pulling has a significant cleansing, detoxifying and healing effect.

Naturopathic physician and coconut oil expert Dr. Bruce Fife has compared the benefits of oil pulling to changing the oil in your car:9

“It acts much like the oil you put in your car engine. The oil picks up dirt and grime. When you drain the oil, it pulls out the dirt and grime with it, leaving the engine relatively clean.

Consequently, the engine runs smoother and lasts longer. Likewise, when we expel harmful substances from our bodies our health is improved and we run smoother and last longer.”

Sesame oil is traditionally recommended, but it has a relatively high concentration of omega-6 oils and the large amounts of unsaturated fats make it particularly sensitive to oxidation and going rancid.

I strongly believe coconut oil is a far superior option. I also think it tastes better. Coconut oil has a lipophilic effect, helping to eliminate unhealthy biofilm from your teeth. As noted by Authority Nutrition,10 it’s particularly effective at killing Streptococcus mutans, an oral bacterium responsible for a majority of tooth decay.

Coconut oil also contains a number of valuable nutrients that help promote oral health. That said, from a mechanical and biophysical perspective, either oil is likely to work.

So how do you do it? It’s quite simple, actually. You simply rinse your mouth with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, much like you would using a mouthwash. Work the oil around your mouth by pushing, pulling, and drawing it through your teeth for about 15 minutes. This process allows the oil to dislodge and neutralize pathogens and other debris.

When done, spit out the oil (do NOT swallow it) and rinse your mouth with water. I typically spit mine out on the soil outside of my house, being careful to avoid any plants. If you want, you could dissolve a pinch of Himalayan salt in the water and rinse with that. Himalayan salt contains more than 85 different microminerals, so this is another all-natural strategy that can help promote strong, healthy teeth and gums.

Poor Oral Health Is a Risk Factor for Oropharyngeal Cancers

Poor oral hygiene has also been linked to an increased risk for head and neck cancers. As noted in a recent analysis of 13 studies that were part of the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology (INHANCE) Consortium, lack of tooth brushing and low frequency of dental visits consistently raised the risk of head and neck cancers.11,12

Poor oral health is also an independent risk factor for oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which could contribute to oral cancers such as cancers of the throat, tonsils, and base of tongue, if left untreated for long periods of time.

In one 2013 study,13,14 participants with poor oral health had a 56 percent higher rate of HPV infection than those with healthy mouths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 60 percent of oropharyngeal cancers are related to HPV,15 but according to this study it could be as high as 80 percent.

The researchers speculate that good oral hygiene could help prevent HPV infection, thereby lowering your risk for oropharyngeal and other cancers associated with untreated HPV infection.

The Importance of Nourishing Your Oral Microbiome

Part of oral health is attending to your oral microbiome — the colonies of beneficial microbes residing in your mouth. Achieving oral health is really about promoting balance among the beneficial and pathogenic bacteria in your mouth.

And contrary to popular belief, antimicrobial agents and alcohol mouthwashes designed to “kill bad bacteria” actually do far more harm than good in this regard, as they can be indiscriminate killers. The key is to nourish the beneficial bacteria, so they can naturally keep the potentially harmful ones in check.

Your oral microbiome, while connected to your gut microbiome, is quite unique. By promoting oral microbiome homeostasis, you can improve your digestion and salivary immune system, the latter of which helps protect you against disease, such as the common cold and flu. Your oral microbiome even plays a role in making vitamins.

Interestingly, probiotics do not work in the mouth, so it’s not as simple as adding more beneficial microbes into your oral cavity. Instead, as an initial step, you need to cease killing too many microbes in your mouth. Scientists are now starting to recognize that many of the same bacteria that perform beneficial functions can have pathogenic expression when disturbed. So avoiding disrupting the microflora in your mouth is typically more helpful than trying to kill everything off.

Even natural antimicrobial herbs can disrupt your oral microbiome. This includes tea tree oil, tulsi oil and oregano oil. The problem stems from the fact that beneficial bacteria end up having less of a chance of developing a healthy and balanced microbiome when you disturb them too much.

Promoting Oral Health Through Nutrition and Homeopathy

So what are your alternatives? While probiotics do not have a direct effect on your oral microbiome, addressing your gut flora can make a big difference. Fermented vegetables and other traditionally fermented foods are an ideal source, but if you don’t eat fermented foods, then a high-quality probiotic is certainly recommended.

I used to be severely challenged with plaque, but once I started eating fermented vegetables on a daily basis, and doing oil pulling with coconut oil, the plaque buildup was dramatically reduced. Your diet can also make or break your teeth, as it were, by influencing inflammation. Avoiding the following dietary culprits can go a long way toward reducing or preventing inflammation in your mouth and body:

  • Refined sugar/processed fructose and processed grains
  • Oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked, scrambled eggs)
  • Foods cooked at high temperatures
  • Trans fats
  • Damaged omega-6 fats found in processed vegetable oils

Certain nutrients are very important for optimal gum health. Vitamin C is one. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is another. CoQ10 is a critical cofactor in the Krebs cycle, which is how energy is created in your cells. Bleeding gums, for example, can be a sign of CoQ10 deficiency. There are also a number of homeopathic tissue salts that can be beneficial for oral health, including:

  • Silica
  • Calcarea fluorica (calc. fluor.) or calcium fluoride
  • Calcium phosphate
  • Calcium carbonate

4 Strategies That Can Improve Your Oral Health

Research revealing the connection between the microorganisms in your mouth and cancer (as well as many other health problems) makes it clear that oral hygiene is a necessary prerequisite if you want to be healthy. Major problems can result from the overgrowth of opportunistic oral pathogens, including oropharyngeal cancers. In addition to avoiding fluoride and mercury fillings, my top four recommendations for optimizing your oral health are as follows:

  1. Eat a wholesome diet of real food: fresh fruits and vegetables, grass-pastured meats, poultry, eggs and dairy; nuts and seeds. Minimize consumption of sugar and processed food
  2. Add in some naturally fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, pickles, kimchee or kefir
  3. Brush your teeth twice daily, and floss every day
  4. Oil pulling

When it comes to oral hygiene and preventing cavities, please remember, drinking fluoridated water and brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste is not the answer because fluoride is more toxic than lead. Rather it’s about your diet, and about proper dental care: brushing and flossing.

By avoiding sugars and processed foods, you prevent the proliferation of the bacteria that cause decay in the first place. Following up with proper brushing and flossing, and getting regular cleanings will ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy naturally.

Sources and References

Rash of Foodborne Outbreaks Highlight Dangers of Industrialized Food System


By Dr. Mercola

Pandemic outbreaks are becoming more prevalent in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), revealing the inherent flaws of industrialized animal farming. When you remove diversity from a farm, you raise the risks of the operation, including the risk of disease.

Prior to CAFOs, when a virus would emerge, some small farms would lose part or all of their animals, but the numbers would be limited. It didn’t explode into a massive epidemic where millions of animals and countless food products are affected across the country, and in some cases around the world.

As noted by online science magazine Nautilus,1 the combination of factory farms and air travel “forms a viral expressway to pandemics.”

Factory Farms Make Food Production Riskier

The first bird flu pandemic emerged in 2005, with repeats in 2006, 2007, and again in 2008, followed by the threat of a swine flu pandemic in 2009, the origin of which was traced to an infected pig in Mexico.

As reported in the featured article,2 the 2009 swine flu virus was also eventually  linked to an infected pig in a Chinese slaughterhouse, documented in 2004.

The viral strains were not identical, but close enough for researchers to conclude that the 2009 virus probably evolved through the mixing of gene segments of viruses found in pigs around the world.

When animals (and other foods3) are shipped from one location to another, they bring with them potentially brand new pathogens that can then mingle and mix with local pathogens.

“Most mutant strains are failures. But sometimes a strain is produced through genetic recombination and reassortment that’s more ‘fit’ in the Darwinian sense than either of its ancestors.

The viruses that dwelled inside the 2004 Hong Kong pig and its deadly cousin in Mexico were triple-recombinant. They assembled genes that originated from strains of human, pig, and bird flu together into a single strain,” Nautilus writes.

“Scientists couldn’t pinpoint how H1N1 jumped from swine to humans in 2009. But they do know that once it did, modern air travel became a viral expressway.”

Large-scale factory slaughterhouses magnify the risks, as animals from multiple CAFOs are all processed in one area, allowing infection in a single animal from a single farm to contaminate very large batches of meat — and any number of processed foods into which those contaminated meats are included.

Foodborne Outbreaks Are on the Rise

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Salmonella is on the rise in the U.S.4 The agency is currently investigating no less than seven multi-state outbreaks related to contaminated poultry (including live chickens) that have infected more than 300 people.

But chicken isn’t the only food prone to Salmonella. Factory farmed eggs, of course, are a high-risk food in this regard, but so are plant foods.

Even antibiotic-resistant bacteria are present in agricultural soils, typically deposited there via contaminated manure and/or so-called biosolids (toxic sewage waste frequently passed off as organic potting soil)5 — and this is yet another route for harmful bacteria, including drug-resistant strains, into the food system.

In recent weeks there has been a remarkable uptick in foodborne disease outbreaks, affecting a number of foods and nutritional products you normally would not suspect, including:

Flour. General Mills has voluntarily recalled more than 10 million pounds of flour after it was suspected as the source of Escherichia coli O121(E. coli), which has sickened 38 people in 20 states. Ten of them required hospitalization.6

The recall includes three brands of flour: Gold Medal, Gold Medal Wondra and Signature Kitchens, sold at Safeway, Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Shaws, Vons, United Supermarkets, Randalls and Acme retailers.

Sunflower seeds. Listeria-contaminated sunflower seeds have led to the recall of about 100 different food products, including Brown & Haley Mountain Thins trail mix and more than 33,600 pounds of Trader Joe’s’ broccoli and kale chicken salad.7

Multi-vitamins. Nature Made recently issued a voluntary recall of several of its gummy vitamins and vitamin D tablets due to potential Salmonellaor Staphylococcus (Staph) contamination.8

Drug-Resistant Bacterial Gene Is Spreading Around the World as Anticipated

Add to this the fact that E. coli carrying the drug-resistant mcr-1 gene has now been detected in the U.S., and the situation can be considered dire indeed.

Mcr-1 was discovered in pigs and people in China just last year.9,10,11 It’s a mutated gene that confers resistance to the drug colistin, an antibiotic of last resort in human medicine.

The shareable DNA also contains seven other genes that confer resistance against other antibiotics.

What makes mcr-1 such a unique threat is the fact that the rate of DNA transfer between different types of bacteria is exceptionally high and rapid, suggesting bacteria of all kinds can quickly and easily become resistant to all available antibiotics (pan resistance).

Moreover, the researchers who found the gene warned it would likely spread to bacteria worldwide,12,13 and that’s exactly what we’re seeing. Originally detected in China in 2015, within months it was found in the blood of a Danish patient.

It was also found in five poultry samples purchased in Denmark that were imported from Germany between 2012 and 2014.14 Then just last month, the gene was found in a U.S. slaughterhouse sample (pork) and an American patient admitted with an E. coli infection.15,16,17

When you consider the frequency with which foodborne outbreaks occur, the knowledge that any given outbreak may involve a pan resistant bacteria is truly food for thought, if not cause for change.

Could Chicken Virus Promote Obesity?

In related news, research suggests certain chicken viruses may have the unexpected effect of causing obesity in infected humans. A 1997 study18 found that 1 out of 5 obese people tested positive for the presence of a chicken virus called SMAM-1.

Surprisingly, these people weighed on average 33 pounds more than obese people who tested negative for the virus. According to Dr. Michael Greger, director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States, and blogger at NutritionFacts.org:19

“SMAM-1 was the first chicken virus to be associated with human obesity, but not the last … [H]uman adenovirus Ad-36, a human obesity-associated virus first associated with obesity in chickens and mice … spreads quickly from one chicken to another via nasal, oral or fecal excretion and contamination, causing obesity in each chicken. This, of course, raises serious concerns about Ad-36-induced adiposity in humans …

The virus appears to both increase the number of fat cells by mobilizing precursor stem cells and increase the accumulation of fat within the cells. If we take liposuction samples of fat from people, the fat cell precursors turn into fat cells at about five times the rate in people who came to the liposuction clinic already infected. Fat taken from non-infected people that was then exposed to the virus start sucking up fat at a faster rate, potentially inducing obesity without increasing food intake.”

Barring the unethical testing on humans by infecting them with the virus, it’s difficult to prove that a chicken virus might cause a person to become obese. Indirect evidence and population studies, however, suggest about 15 percent of the U.S. population carry the obesity-promoting Ad-36 virus, and a research team in Taiwan that followed 1,400 Hispanic men and women for 10 years found that those infected did indeed gain more weight than their uninfected peers.20

UV Light Helps Combat Pathogens

The food and medical industries tend to combat harmful bacteria primarily through the use of antibiotics, but that strategy is directly responsible for putting us in this situation in the first place. Misuse of these drugs has spawned antibiotic-resistant bacteria that now kill an estimated 23,000 Americans each year. By 2050, the death toll from drug-resistant infections is expected to reach 10 million a year worldwide.

There are alternatives, but they must be widely implemented. And fast. UV light, for example, especially blue light, acts as a potent environmental disinfectant that could potentially be used both in medicine and food production. Research has found UV light can:

  • Reduce the spread of tuberculosis in hospital wards and waiting rooms by 70 percent21,22
  • Help kill 90 percent of drug-resistant bacteria in hospital rooms23
  • Kill drug-resistant strains of Staph and Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis) in as little as five seconds24
  • Disinfect water without the addition of other harsh chemicals25

Most recently, researchers found that so-called “far-UVC light” (UV light with a wavelength of around 200 nanometers) kills methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).26

The far-UVC wavelength cannot penetrate deeply enough into the human skin or eye to do any damage. It can however penetrate bacterial cells, due to their smaller size. The researchers are now investigating whether far-UVC may work in a clinical setting, with the hopes of being able to decrease hospital-acquired infections, which currently affect 1 in 25 hospital patients.

Researchers have also discovered it makes antibiotic drugs 1,000 times more effective and may even allow an antibiotic to successfully combat otherwise antibiotic-resistant bacteria.27,28 For at-home wound care, you may want to consider stocking a bottle of silver, which has potent antimicrobial effects.29,30,31,32,33

A 2010 study found colloidal silver effectively killed drug-resistant Staph, E. coli, Salmonella, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa,34 the latter of which typically occurs in hospitals and in people with weakened immune systems.35 Researchers have even found that using silver nanoparticles in food packaging can help prevent proliferation of foodborne pathogens such as Listeria.36,37

Diversification and Decentralization Is the Solution

In the long term, regenerative and local agriculture is the answer to these food safety issues, as well as many other problems. While it may not be the easiest solution to implement, it’s the best and most logical solution. By shifting back to smaller farms that serve their local community, you dramatically increase food safety by reducing the number of animals and people that could possibly be affected by any given outbreak.

Regenerative agriculture also does away with most drugs, as they’re not necessary in a well-designed system that supports rather than challenges the health of the animals, plants and soil. Some people question whether regenerative or organic agriculture would be economically viable, or whether that might make food insecurity even worse by raising food prices too high.

According to industrial agriculture insider John Ikerd, who has a Ph.D. in agricultural economics, neither of these concerns are particularly valid.

He insists that while transitioning over to a more sustainable type of food system may result in farm cost increases of 8 to 12 percent, the actual price you pay for the food would only rise about 2 percent — a small price to pay when you compare it to the possibility of contracting pan-resistant food poisoning, like E. coli or Salmonella poisoning for which NO drug will work.

Together We Can Create Safer, More Sustainable Food Systems

You can help steer the agricultural industry toward safer, more regenerative systems by supporting your local farmers and choosing fresh, local produce over “cheap” conventional varieties commonly sold in larger grocery chains.

You can also slash your food bill by focusing on locally grown foods that are in season, typically a bargain at that time of year, or by growing some of your own. Remember to choose organic, grass-fed/pasture-raised beef, poultry, and dairy, in addition to organic produce.

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


EatWild.com provides lists of certified organic farmers known to produce safe, wholesome and raw dairy products as well as grass-fed beef and other organic produce. Here you can also find information about local farmers markets, as well as local stores and restaurants that sell grass-fed products.

Weston A. Price Foundation

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

Grassfed Exchange

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

Local Harvest

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

Farmers Markets

A national listing of farmers markets.

Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals

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

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)

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

FoodRoutes Network

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

The Cornucopia Institute

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


If you’re still unsure of where to find raw milk, check out Raw-Milk-Facts.com and RealMilk.com. They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state, and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF)38 also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.39 California residents can also find raw milk retailers using the store locator available at www.OrganicPastures.com.

Sources and References

The Three Pillars of Heavy Metal Detoxification


By Dr. Mercola

Mercury is a pernicious neurotoxin. Removing it, however, needs to be done with great care, lest you cause even more problems.

Chris Shade, Ph.D., is probably one of the foremost experts in the world on the subject of heavy metal detoxification, and in this interview, he shares his wisdom on this important topic.

Shade received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he studied the environmental transformations of mercury.

He’s developed a patented liquid chromatographic mercury speciation technology that differentiates and identifies the exactly source of your mercury — whether it’s from your dental amalgams, or from eating contaminated seafood.

He’s also involved in developing new lipid-based delivery systems for nutraceuticals, including liposomes and micro-emulsion systems to address the need for effective and affordable detoxification.

“We had sophisticated computational tools for telling us what kind of ligands (binding molecules) are holding the mercury. What I was tasked with was developing an analytical system for separating different forms of mercury out,”he says.

“You’ve got methylmercury (which is the form that builds up in fish) and then you have inorganic mercury. In the environment, inorganic mercury is everywhere …

I developed these chromatographic tools that would enable a high-throughput analysis of biological samples to separate these different forms.”


The Mercury Tri-Test

In your body, glutathione is the dominant agent that binds to and helps move mercury (and other heavy metals) out of your tissues. Part of effectively eliminating mercuryinvolves methods that help upregulate certain aspects of your chemistry that then mobilizes and moves the mercury out.

I actually used Shade’s diagnostic tests and detox processes about five years ago to help me detox from mercury amalgams, and was able to cut my mercury level down to normal, quite quickly.

The test he developed is called the Mercury Tri-Test, because it looks at three different kinds of samples: blood, hair, and urine. You always have more mercury in your tissues than in your blood. But there’s a steady state or ratio between what’s in your blood and what’s in your tissues.

Hair is an excretion marker for methylmercury, while urine is an excretion marker for inorganic mercury. These levels should be directly proportional to the levels in your blood.

“The most telling of these, the most importantly diagnostic of these ratios, is looking at the inorganic mercury in the blood compared to the inorganic mercury in the urine.

For a given amount of inorganic [mercury] in the blood, there should be roughly a seven-fold increase in the urine, as [mercury] is filtered out in the urine. But what we find that a lot of people have low [mercury in] urine, and high [mercury in their] blood.”


What the Blood to Urine Ratios Indicate

The reason for this has to do with retention toxicity. If two people have 10 amalgams, the sicker of the two will be the one whose urine output of mercury is lower; typically due to damage to the active transport system in the proximal tubules of the nephrons.

More specifically, when the mercury in your blood rises above the 1:7 ratio to the urine, it means your proximal tubule transporters in your kidneys have been damaged.

Your kidneys filter everything in your blood. After the general filtration, in the proximal tubules your body resorbs ions and nutrients it needs to keep, while toxins are actively shuttled out into the urine flow.

“This is what we’re measuring — that movement into the urinary flow of the toxic conjugates. That area in the proximal tubules is very, very easily damaged. In mouse models, a combination of endotoxin and mercury exposure creates that damage to those transport proteins.

Obviously, probably the biggest thing on the radar of integrative and functional medicine right now is leaky gut syndrome and gastrointestinal (GI) problems. They are the number one cause of getting high endotoxin levels in your body.

If you have a high mercury level and a leaky gut, you’re very likely to damage the very transport system that’s getting that mercury out of your body.

That’s going to lead to [increased] inorganic mercury levels in the blood. That diagnostic is really important. If that ratio’s off, we need to start by treating your kidneys before we go into the main detoxification.”


The Difference Between Inorganic Mercury and Methylmercury

The Mercury Tri-Test is the only clinical test out there that differentiates between the inorganic form of mercury (typically found in amalgam fillings) and organic mercury or methylmercury (from fish), allowing you to tailor the most ideal detoxification protocol for your situation.

While many believe all mercury is the same, this is not necessarily the case. Inorganic mercury is much more toxic to the extracellular matrix and thus to connective tissues.

If you’re having joint problems or fibromyalgia-like pain, you need to work on getting rid of this inorganic mercury, and you need to make sure your kidney transporters are working well.

Metylmercury is a less cytotoxic (toxic to the cells) form of mercury. If you only have methylmercury in your body, it’s all going through glutathione conjugation to your liver, and on to your GI tract.

On the cellular level, the inorganic mercury, is more disruptive because it can bind to more sulfhydryl groups and disrupt more chemistry than methylmercury can.

“For instance, if somebody only has methyl mercury exposure from eating fish and has no amalgams … they’re going to break down a certain amount of the methyl mercury into the inorganic mercury pool. But that’s not a fixed rate. That’s an individual reaction that we don’t really understand.

I suspect it’s related to oxidative stress. But some people break down a lot and really build up this inorganic mercury pool despite not having amalgams; some people breakdown only a little bit.

Those who break down a lot are much more at risk from toxicity from their fish than if they’re not doing that. They have two forms of mercury building up in their blood, including the worst one — the inorganic mercury. It’s important that we divide those and see how well you’re excreting the two.”


Primary Sources of Mercury Exposure

Seafood is essentially the sole source of methylmercury. However, it’s a major source of mercury, and it can be problematic if you eat a lot of seafood. The type of seafood you eat also plays a big role. At the top of the food chain, a shark might have 4 parts per million (ppm) to 10 ppm methylmercury in its tissues. According to Shade, swordfish is routinely 1 to 5 ppm, and tuna is routinely in the 1 to 2 ppm range

Toward the bottom of the food chain you have sardines and anchovies, which may contain 1 to 10 parts per billion (ppb) of methylmercury, or nearly 1,000 times less mercury.

Wild salmon like Coho and sockeye can be in the 10 to 100 ppb range — a hundred-plus-fold lower level than high-level shark, tuna, and swordfish. Depending on the fish you compare, there could be a thousand-fold difference between the mercury levels. To put that into perspective, it’s like eating 1,000 pounds of anchovies versus 1 pound of shark. So if you eat fish on a regular basis, it’s really important to look for species known to be low in mercury.

“A dentist I know, Dr. Dave Regiani, had mercury levels measured with us. I said, ‘You obviously don’t eat any fish. He goes, ‘I eat fish every day.’ So I said, ‘Sardines and anchovies?’ He said, ‘You got it.’ It looks like he’s not eating fish at all. When you get down into kippers, anchovies, and sardines, you can eat them at will all day long, and you’re never going to build up high levels [of mercury].”

Inorganic mercury exposure is dominantly from dental amalgam and the breakdown of fish-based mercury into the inorganic form. Airborne mercury is the third and least troublesome source. Exceptions include some older buildings, such as old medical, dental, agricultural, and scientific buildings, where mercury levels could be quite significant.

How Mercury Damages Your Health

Inorganic mercury and cadmium are the two heavy metals that cause the most damage to your kidneys. They tend to build up there, causing a downward spiral where the more damage there is to the proximal tubules, the more metals accumulate, and the more damage is created. Many have suffered damage from doing chelation for this reason. By using the Tri-Test, you can determine whether chelation is a good idea or not.

When you take a chelating agent, such as DMSA, you solubilize a lot of mercury in the form that needs to be filtered out through the proximal tubules. This can be a risky type of mercury detoxification and typically isn’t necessary. Nevertheless, if you choose to use it, make sure you are working with a highly skilled clinician in this area.

This is because if your kidneys are not working properly, then mercury gets bound up, causing inflammatory damage around the kidneys, which can actually worsen the problem by causing chronic renal insufficiency. (On a side note, a relatively low-protein diet [typically less than 40 to 50 grams per day] can be a beneficial strategy if you have kidney problems such as this.)

“The central nervous system and nephrotoxicity (or kidney toxicity) are the most well-understood damages,” Shade says. “It should be said that in neurotoxicity, the most common site for damage is the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor or the glutamate receptor, which causes hyperglutamate activity, which leads to anxiety.

Glutamate excess or excess activity of the glutamate receptor makes a chronic peroxynitrite free radical cascade coming off of those receptors that causes neuroinflammation, which gives you brain fog and fuzzy thinking. It also causes a lot of anxiety and disrupts your autonomic nervous system function … That’s another downward spiral.

Thyroid problems is also a huge one — hypothyroid activity or lack of thyroid activity. It’s mostly damaging the deiodinase, which takes the T4 and moves it to T3. If you’re looking at your thyroid labs and you have a high T4 but a low T3, mercury, cadmium, or arsenic are the most dominant players in breaking that chain.

Inorganic mercury also builds up in connective tissue, leading to a lot of joint pains. If you’re having lower back pain, a lot of hip pains, connective tissue pains, or diffused pains like fibromyalgia, and you have dental amalgams, that’s a very common situation. We see people’s joint pains and connective tissue pains clear up a lot when they get rid of their amalgams and clear all that mercury out.”


The Importance of Optimizing Your GI Tract

Fortunately, there are solutions to these problems, and Shade’s work has led to treatment strategies that are far safer and more effective than earlier detox methods used by many alternative practitioners, including myself and Shade.

“Most of us are pioneers because we poison ourselves and had to figure ourselves how to get out of that. That was exactly what I did and that’s exactly how this all came about …

Nigel Plummer, Ph.D., (one of the probiotic leaders of the world) and Dr. Robert Rountree (one of the leaders in GI and functional medicine) were speaking back to back at the Colorado Functional Medicine Forum, talking about how the GI tract reacts to the toxins coming through it and is signaling your immune systems on how to do things.

At the time, I was doing really badly with my DMSA chelation protocol, and I suddenly realized I was accumulating mercury in the GI tract and not moving that out. That was stagnating the system. I started taking strong mercury binders. We have one called Intestinal Metal Detox (IMD), which is a silica particle saturated with sulfhydryl groups. One 6-gram bottle of that is equal to 3,000 to 5,000 chlorellas, which is what had been used naturopathically.

Once I cleared that metal out of the GI tract, it seemed to open up the liver’s ability to work with the small intestine, start moving that load out of there, and take the load away from the kidney. It worked so well, that provoked me to do a lot of research and figure out exactly why it worked,” Shade says.

In short, when there’s inflammation and/or toxin build-up in the GI tract, the movement of toxins from the liver and the GI tract ceases, and everything gets shuttled over to the kidneys. Unless you can open up that liver-GI path, you end up overloading your kidney with toxins. Then, if you try to mobilize all that mercury with a chelator, it all hits the kidneys and cause even more damage. So part of the solution is to “clear out” the GI path first.

Detox Step 1: Optimize Your Filtration Mechanisms

Intestinal Metal Detox (IMD) is a powerful mercury and heavy metal chelator, hundreds of times more potent than chlorella. It helps take the pressure off your kidneys by restoring the natural dominant detox pathway — from your liver to your GI tract and out through fecal excretion. So the first part of the detox involves clearing the metal out of your GI tract with specific metal binders.

The primary endotoxin binder is charcoal, and clay binds to aflatoxin. Ideally, you’ll want to use a combination of IMD/chlorella, charcoal, and clay to cover all the bases. Quicksilver Scientific is the sole source for IMD. Chlorella, charcoal and clay can be found in most health food stores and grocery stores.

“I like a cocktail of GI binders, including a metal-specific one like IMD or chlorella, charcoal (which gets almost all the other mycotoxins, except for aflatoxin), and clay (which gets aflatoxin but not the other mycotoxins). Then you’ve got the pesticides and herbicides. In that mix of different binders, you’re going to be able to get almost all of them. It’s really important in a detox to have a good cocktail of GI binders,” Shade says.

Remember, detoxing involves moving the toxin out of the cell; squeezing the toxin out of the cell into your blood circulation, and then filtering out the metals through your kidneys, liver, and GI tract. However, you need to begin by assessing your filtration capacity before you start moving toxins out of your tissues. If you’re feeling awful, it means toxins are building up in circulation faster than they’re being filtered out.

To ensure your filters are working properly, begin by supporting your kidneys, liver, and GI tract, and use binders to capture and eliminate metals and toxins in your GI tract.

Classic herbs known to support healthy liver and kidney function include: dandelion, milk thistle, and bitters like gentian and myrrh. For added kidney support, cranberry (a diuretic), solidago (goldenrod), and corn silk can be used. Shade’s favorite is goldenrod. General kidney and liver support formulas are also viable options.

Adding burdock will help clear your blood. Dandelion is a good all-around option as it supports blood, liver, and kidney. Be sure to drink lots of water to flush the toxins out.

Detox Step 2: Address Detoxification Biochemistry

Next, you need to optimize the metabolic biochemistry needed for detoxification. That biochemistry involves glutathione and the enzymes and transporters that work with it, such as the enzyme glutathione S-transferase (GST), which is responsible for catalyzing and moving the mercury off the cellular proteins onto the glutathione.

There are several well-known nutraceuticals that help accomplish this. The most well-known and most reliable is lipoic acid. R-lipoic acid is the biologically active form, which is the most useful. Alpha-lipoic acid does work, but that’s a mixture of R-lipoic acid and S-lipoic acid, the latter of which actually works against the process. So R-lipoic acid (sometimes also called R-alpha-lipoic acid) is the one to look for.

“R-lipoic acid hits a switch called nuclear factor erythroid 2 (Nrf2). It’s a protein made to translocate into the nucleus. It hits promoter regions on genes. Promoter regions are signals for families of genes to turn on. If you want to accomplish something, there’s usually not just one protein that does it; there’s a family of proteins.

A promoter regions brings up a family of proteins. The Nrf2 promoter region is called the antioxidant response element. It brings up the family of detox or chemo-protection genes.

There are a number of different nutraceuticals and also pro-oxidants that do that … My favorite is called haritaki or terminalia chebula. It’s an Ayurvedic plant filled with polyphenols … Then you’ve got sulfur compounds from brassicas. Sulforaphane is a well-known one from broccoli seed extract. Erucin comes from all the brassicas.

You’ve got allicin and diallyl disulfide from garlic. All of these upregulate Nrf2. They create little free radical cascades that hit that Nrf2 and move it into the nucleus, so that you can detoxify the compounds. So in effect, these compounds are well targeted mild toxins that stimulate a response from the body.”


Which Is Best? Precursors or Direct Delivery or Glutathione?

If everything is working well in your body, you can simply use precursors to glutathione, like N-acetylcysteine (NAC) which will support glutathione production. If things aren’t working well, Shade recommends using a direct delivery of glutathione.

It’s important to realize that most oral glutathione supplements do not work. It’s simply going to break down to its constituent amino acids, so it’s not an effective intervention. Shade recommends and uses a nanoliposomal glutathione that absorbs under your tongue and is far easier and less expensive than IV glutathione.

Again, whether you can make do with precursors or need direct delivery of glutathione has a lot to do with how well your glutathione system is working, and your current state of health. Poor immune function is a sign of glutathione insufficiency, and a tip-off that a precursor might not be enough. In studies on HIV positive patients, 1,000 times more precursor than glutathione was necessary to restore cellular function in those with active disease.

“Another example of that is the herpes family. Cell cultures of herpes 1, the herpes that you get on your lip, will grow in a petri dish and kill all the cells. If you put glutathione in first, it doesn’t grow at all. If you start it and it starts killing the cells, and you throw glutathione in it, it stops it in its tracks. In fact, liposomes are a topical as well as a systemic. They were originally used in the cosmetic industry.

You can use a liposomal glutathione topically to penetrate in and help stop the propagation of a virus in a cold sore or any other herpes diseases,” Shade says. “You hear reports from people who get their amalgams out, detoxify and bring their glutathione system up that they stop getting recurring herpes infections, because herpes is living in the situation of reduced glutathione in the immune system.”


Leave Chelation for Last

The chelating agent EDTA is a powerful biofilm breaker. When taken systemically it opens up biofilms throughout your body, revealing various organisms to your immune system. As a result, you may experience immune reactions. A lot of the fatigue that people feel when chelating is in fact due to immune reactions to organisms, and is reflective of systemic biofilm-based infections. According to Shade, “If you’re not having success with detox, you need to go after microbial injections almost every time.”

Also, it’s important not to indiscriminately chelate for lead. If you go through the glutathione system upregulation discussed above, you’re not just getting mercury, cadmium, and arsenic out. You’re also getting a whole host of other toxins, including fluorinated, brominated, chlorinated hydrocarbons, pesticides, and herbicides.

“Start low, work up, and pulse on and off. That’s the key to making that happen. That will stop the toxic manifestations of lead. But mobilizing lead out of the body using EDTA, DMSA, or 2,3-Dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid (DMPS) has to be done with a qualified practitioner.

I would say, do the glutathione system upregulation. Get rid of all that other junk. Really build up your body’s own ability to deal with these toxins, and then mobilize the lead. And always do that with a practitioner,” Shade says.


Addressing Toxic Metals Besides Mercury

To detect heavy metals besides mercury, Shade uses an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) scan of blood for nutrient and toxic metals. This is important, because you need to have your nutrient metals in order before you can go after toxic metals. Most of the toxic metals displace zinc, and zinc drives many important metabolic reactions. If you have low zinc, you’re not going to be able to detoxify metals well.

If you have high copper and low zinc, you will present symptoms of heavy metal poisoning, and it will be synergistically toxic with any heavy metals present in your system. High calcium and low magnesium stops detoxification by restricting magnesium-dependent transporters and by putting you in a state of chronic inflammation. You also need to have adequate molybdenum, selenium, and lithium in order to detoxify.

“You need to bring up the ones that are low, and you need to stop supplementing or stop exposing yourself to the ones that are high. It’s a little bit more complex with copper. But generally, when you get the glutathione system in order and when you get methylation in order, the copper levels will come down.

Now as far as the toxic metals, when we do glutathione system upregulation, we handle mercury, cadmium, and arsenic — three of the Big Four. The only one we really want to chelate for is lead. If lead is very high, you need the guidance of a qualified licensed practitioner to use either our liposomal EDTA or a little bit of DMSA and DMPS.

In general, I don’t like DMSA and DMPS unless you’ve already cleared the system of the mercury, you’ve normalized the glutathione system, and you’ve established very importantly that your kidneys are able to filter those chelates.”


Three Pillars of Detoxification

The three pillars of detoxification in general and metal detoxification in particular are:

1.Cleanse and clear your GI tract of metals and toxins using a thiol-functionalized silica (Intestinal Metal Detox, or IMD) with a practitioner, or chlorella, plus charcoal and clay, which bind to all the other toxins. Herbs like dandelion and goldenrod are good for added liver and kidney support. Burdock and dandelion helps clear your blood. Be sure to drink extra water to flush the toxins out.

Remember, if you’re detoxing and feeling really unwell, you need to clear more toxins out of your GI tract and blood. When you do that, back off your Nrf2 upregulators, and instead take more GI binders, and more liver and kidney supporting herbs. Drink a lot of water. When you’re feeling clear again, restart the Nrf2 upregulators.

2.Glutathione optimization. Increase glutathione levels either by using precursors (such as N-acetylcysteine [NAC], or a liposomal glutathione formulation.

3.Nrf2 upregulation in the cells using R-lipoic acid, polyphenols, and sulfur-based compounds from cruciferous vegetables and alliums. The Ayurvedic herb haritaki is beneficial, as are sulforaphane (broccoli seed extract), and allicin and diallyl disulfide (garlic). All of these upregulate Nrf2 and aids detoxification.

Last but not least, remember that detoxing is a marathon, not a sprint. Start all your doses low and work your way up. Do not jump in and do too much all at once. Typically, detoxing will take anywhere from three to 12 months; sometimes longer. Also, pulse the treatment on and off, or else it will lose its effectiveness.

“You have to do it and then let it come down. Stimulate. Relax. Stimulate. Relax. We start with five days on, two days off. If that’s a little heavy for you, four days on, three days off. Once we get a little deeper into it, we move it up to 10 days on, four days off.

A study regarding that: when they looked at upregulation of these genes using phytochemicals (plant-based chemicals) in mice, they saw that when they gave them a high dose, they went up to a max expression in 10 days. That was three-fold their baseline.

On the same dose, over the next 20 days, going up to 30 days, the expression went down, down, down, until it was back at baseline. Meaning, when you use these compounds that upregulate every day, they stop working for you. You’ve got to take them; then stop. Take them. Stop.”


The Many Benefits of Meditation


By Dr. Mercola

There is growing evidence to show that meditation can make you healthier and happier. For example, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is sometimes used to treat depression, and brain imaging technology suggests meditation actually changes your brain in a number of beneficial ways.

MRI scans have shown that long-term meditation can alter the structure of your cerebral cortex, the outer layer of your brain. Additionally, brain regions associated with attention and sensory processing have been shown to be thicker in those who meditate.

Previous studies have linked meditation to benefits such as improved attention, memory, processing speed, creativity, and more. Recent research also suggests that meditation helps counteract age-related loss of brain volume.

In short, meditation can be viewed as a form of brain exercise that strengthens it and keeps it “younger” longer. Other studies reveal the benefits of meditation are not limited to your brain; it also has anti-inflammatory effects and affects gene expression—all of which can boost overall physical health and longevity.

Long-Term Meditation Tied to Reduced Loss of Brain Volume

One of the most recent studies1,2 in this field looked at 50 long-term meditators and 50 control subjects between the ages of 24 and 77. Among the controls, advancing age correlated with a loss of brain volume, as expected.

Those who meditated, however, were found to suffer less age-related brain atrophy. As reported by GMA News:3

“People who reported meditating for an average of 20 years had higher brain volumes than the average person…

[T]he study’s senior author told Reuters Health that the team of researchers expected to see more gray matter in certain regions of the brain among long-term meditators. “But we see that this effect is really widespread throughout the brain,” said Dr. Florian Kurth…

[T]he meditators’ brains appeared better preserved than average people of the same age. Moreover, the researchers were surprised to find less age-related gray matter loss throughout the brains of meditators.”


How Meditation Increases Productivity

In the featured Google talk, meditation expert Emily Fletcher explains the differences between two popular styles of meditation, and how they affect your brain.

She also discusses the similarities between meditation and caffeine. Both have the effect of energizing you and boosting your productivity, but meditation accomplishes this without the adverse effects associated with caffeine.

As explained by Fletcher, caffeine is similar to the chemical adenosine, produced by your brain throughout the day. Adenosine makes you sleepy, and caffeine effectively blocks the adenosine receptors in your brain, thereby disallowing your brain from recognizing how tired it is.

While this may not be harmful in and of itself in the short-term, caffeine also stimulates more neural activity in your brain, which triggers your adrenal glands to release the stress chemical adrenaline.

Eventually (whether you’re drinking lots of coffee or not), remaining in a chronic state of “fight or flight” that adrenaline engenders can lead to any number of stress-related disorders.

Meditation, on the other hand, energizes you and makes you more productive without triggering an adrenaline rush. According to Fletcher, meditation provides your body with rest that is two to five times deeper than sleep.

Meditating for 20 minutes also equates to taking a 1.5 hour nap, but you won’t have that “sleep hangover” afterward. Instead, you’ll feel awake and refreshed, and as she says, “more conscious.”

Meditation de-excites your nervous system rather than exciting it further. This makes it more orderly, thereby making it easier for your system to release pent-up stress. It also makes you more productive.

She notes that many are now starting to recognize meditation as a powerful productivity tool. Contrary to popular belief, taking the time to meditate can actually help you gain more time through boosted productivity than what you put into it. In a previous interview,5 Fletcher stated:

“[People say] I’d love to meditate, I know that I need it but I’m so busy right now, my life is just too crazy to meditate. And what they don’t understand is that once you start practicing you actually end up having more time. It’s this weird paradox that happens.

Even though you’re making a pretty significant time contribution to your day to meditation, because it in turn makes your brain function so much better, that you end up accomplishing your tasks much faster and so you end up with more time in your day and your sleep becomes more efficient because you’re using your sleep as a time for sleep because you use the meditation as a time for stress relief.”


Benefits of Meditation Beyond Brain Health

Stress is a well-recognized culprit that can promote ill health across the board, and the ability of meditation to quell stress is an important health benefit. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University recently published a study claiming they’ve found the biological mechanism by which mindfulness affects physical health.

In a nutshell, meditation impacts your biology and physical health via “stress reduction pathways” in your brain. As explained in the press release:6

“When an individual experiences stress, activity in the prefrontal cortex — responsible for conscious thinking and planning — decreases, while activity in the amygdala, hypothalamus and anterior cingulate cortex — regions that quickly activate the body’s stress response — increases.

Studies have suggested that mindfulness reverses these patterns during stress; it increases prefrontal activity, which can regulate and turn down the biological stress response.

Excessive activation of the biological stress response increases the risk of diseases impacted by stress (like depression, HIV and heart disease).

By reducing individuals’ experiences of stress, mindfulness may help regulate the physical stress response and ultimately reduce the risk and severity of stress-related diseases.”

Such effects may explain why meditation can help to relieve stress-related diseases such as:

High blood pressure Sleep disturbances and fatigue
Chronic pain Gastrointestinal distress and irritable bowel syndrome
Headaches Skin disorders
Respiratory problems such as emphysema and asthma Mild depression and premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Other research, such as that at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine has sought to quantify the benefits of the relaxation response by assessing gene expression before and after meditation, and have compared effects of short- and long-term meditation routines.

Among their findings, they discovered that meditation has anti-inflammatory effects. In one study,8 participants who participated in an eight-week long meditation program, as well as longer-term meditators saw increases in anti-oxidant production, telomerase activity, and oxidative stress.

Among their findings, the Benson-Henry researchers discovered that meditation has anti-inflammatory effects. In one study, participants in an eight-week long meditation program, as well as longer-term meditators, saw increases in anti-oxidant production, telomerase activity, and oxidative stress.

The researchers noted that benefits appear to be dose related, with changes even after one session7.

Two Styles of Meditation

In the featured video, Fletcher discusses various benefits of two common styles of meditation:

  1. Mindfulness, a directed-attention, waking state practice in which you keep bringing your attention back to the now. It’s a practice of single-tasking, originally developed for monks, who remain focused on the present moment in all activities.

Besides improving your focus and boosting your mental cognition, mindfulness training has also been found to reduce levels of stress-induced inflammation,10 which could benefit people suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma. It also helps relieve feelings of stress and anxiety.

2.Self-induced transcendence is a non-directed style of meditation, in which you access a fourth state of consciousness that is different from waking, sleeping, and dreaming. Transcendence style meditation, which is what Fletcher teaches, strengthens your corpus callosum, the bridge between your two brain hemispheres.

Your left brain is in charge of the past and the future, language, math, and critical thought, while your right brain is in charge of “right now,” intuition, inspiration, connectedness, creativity, and problem solving.

By strengthening the connection between your right and left hemispheres, you gain access to more creative problem solving, and increase your productivity without adding stress. About 40 minutes into the video, Fletcher leads you through a simple meditative technique involving breathing and guided visualization that helps balance the two hemispheres of your brain.

Helpful Tools

Fletcher discusses the value of using a fitness tracker that tracks your sleep, noting that meditation can significantly improve the quality of your sleep. A fitness tracker can help you gauge your progress. I’m a major fan of this type of technology, as it can be very difficult to change a behavior unless you’re able to track it your progress.

When I first started using a fitness tracker, I was striving to get eight hours of sleep, but my Jawbone UP typically recorded me at 7.5 to 7.75. I have since increased my sleep time, not just time in bed, but total sleep time to over eight hours per night. According to Fletcher, meditation may actually boost the quality of your sleep to the point that you don’t need to sleep as long, as you can become more fully rested in a shorter amount of time when you’re not waking up in the middle of the night.

Slowing your breathing through meditation and/or using the Buteyko breathing technique also increases your partial pressure of carbon dioxide (CO2), which has enormous psychological benefits. Biofeedback devices such as the emWave211 can also help personalize your interventions and improve progress toward toning your parasympathetic nervous system. I find that using this breathing technique with the Muse device I describe below really helps me to meditate more effectively.

My Experience with Meditation

I have tried to meditate unsuccessfully off and on for over 25 years. I suspect that many of you have had similar experiences. The biggest challenge is to know if you are doing it correctly. You can watch all the videos you want, but ultimately you’re left to navigate the course to relaxed brain waves unguided. That is where Muse plays such an important role, as it provides you real-time feedback on how well you are doing.

If you wanted access to this technology a few years ago, you would have needed a literal closet full of equipment costing over $10K. But now for a tiny fraction of that cost, along with your smart phone or tablet, you can get a personal tutor to guide you on how to meditate.

The audio feedback consists of waves and wind. Your goal is to calm your mind so there is the least amount of sound. You will know you are successful when you start to hear birds. It took me several sessions to hear the birds but once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy. A great 12-minute session will allow you to collect over 100 birds.

I made a game out of it and sought to get 10,000 birds, which I did after about six months of use. You can start out slow and put your toes in the water by meditating for three minutes once or twice a day. If you have more time and are motivated, you can even do 20-minute sessions, but for most people, 12-minute sessions once or twice a day is enough. I picked up my Muse last summer and it took me a few months to get the hang of it, but that was largely because I did not have anyone telling me about how to do it.

Once I got into the groove, I was really surprised to receive an email from the founder of Muse, asking me questions about my use. He had no idea I run a health website but merely contacted me because I was in the top 100 users in the world. I later learned after talking to him that I was in the top 10 users based on my amount of time spent in a deep meditative state.

My interest in increasing my sleep to eight hours per night occurred shortly after I got my Muse, and they merged very nicely. Now, I find that if I wake up early and can’t go back to sleep, I will meditate for up to an hour as it provides many of the same benefits of sleep. If you are unable to fall back to sleep, this is a great option.

Also, I find my best meditation time is in the morning, right after I awaken, as I can get into the deepest states of relaxation at that time. Applying the Buteyko breathing also really helps to calm the mind and get into deep states of relaxation.

Sources and References

Yoga Benefits Your Brain Function and Mental Health


By Dr. Mercola

Low-impact exercises such as yoga have a number of benefits. Not only can it provide the physical benefits of exercise, yoga may also help stave off cognitive decline, according to a recent study of older adults with early warning signs of waning memory.

While I believe most benefit from high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for optimal health, there’s no doubt that yoga can also be beneficial. It has mental, emotional and even spiritual benefits that can be very helpful for those struggling with stress-related health problems.

Yoga can be viewed as a form of moving meditation that demands your full attention as you gently shift your body from one asana (yoga position) to another.

As you learn new ways of moving and responding to your body, your mind and emotions may shift and change as well. In a sense, you not only become more physically flexible, but your mental outlook and approach to life may gain some needed flexibility as well.

Yoga Helps Mitigate Cognitive Decline

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that physical activity helps keep your mind sharp with age, and this goes for activities such as yoga as well. Overall, inactivity is enemy No. 1 if you seek to optimize your cognitive function. According to the New York Times:1

“There also is growing evidence that combining physical activity with meditation might intensify the benefits of both pursuits.

In an interesting study2 … people with depression who meditated before they went for a run showed greater improvements in their mood than people who did either of those activities alone.

But many people do not have the physical capacity or taste for running or other similarly vigorous activities. So for the new study … researchers … decided to test whether yoga, a relatively mild, meditative activity, could alter people’s brains and fortify their ability to think.3,4

They began by recruiting 29 middle-aged and older adults … who … were anxious about the state of their memories and who, during evaluations … were found to have mild cognitive impairment, a mental condition that can be a precursor to eventual dementia.

The volunteers also underwent a sophisticated type of brain scan that tracks how different parts of the brain communicate with one another.”

The participants were divided into two groups. One group enrolled in a brain-training program consisting of mental exercises for one hour per week. They were also asked to practice at home for 15 minutes a day.

The second group participated in a Kundalini yoga class for one hour per week. They were also taught Kirtan Kriya meditation, which involves the use of mantras and fluid hand movements. They were asked to practice this meditation at home for 15 minutes each day.

Yoga Outperforms Standard Brain Training

After 12 weeks, all subjects again underwent cognitive tests and brain scans. Overall, all participants had improved to some degree, but the yoga group not only fared slightly better on memory tests, they also reported improvements in their mood. As reported in the featured article:

“The brain scans in both groups displayed more communication now between parts of their brains involved in memory and language skills.

Those who had practiced yoga, however, also had developed more communication between parts of the brain that control attention, suggesting a greater ability now to focus and multitask.

In effect, yoga and meditation had equaled and then topped the benefits of 12 weeks of brain training. ‘We were a bit surprised by the magnitude’ of the brain effects, said Dr. Helen Lavretsky … who oversaw the study.”


Why Yoga Is so Beneficial for Your Brain

Over the years, a number of studies have honed in on the brain benefits of yoga. For example, studies have found that:

Twenty minutes of Hatha yoga improves your brain function (speed and accuracy of mental processing) to a greater degree than 20 minutes of aerobic exercise (jogging).5,6 Potential mechanisms include enhanced self-awareness and reduced stress.

Yoga helps improve mental health, including psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety, attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia.7,8,9,10

Some of the studies suggest yoga can have a similar effect to antidepressants and psychotherapy.

Yoga helps improve teenagers’ emotional resilience and ability to manage anger. As noted by yoga educator and writer Iona Smith:11

“During adolescence, the frontal lobes of the brain (the seat of language and reason) are still being formed, leaving teens to overly rely on their amygdala (the seat of emotions) …

The brain’s malleability during adolescence marks a crucial stage in both cognitive and emotional development.

Luckily, researchers are now able to paint a clearer picture of some of the factors that allow students to thrive throughout high school and into adulthood, such as self-awareness, managing distressing emotions, empathy, and navigating relationships smoothly.

When students hone these skills, they are not only happier and healthier emotionally, but are also better able to focus on academics.”

By improving stress-related imbalances in your nervous system, yoga can help relieve a range of symptoms found in common mental health disorders.

Researchers also believe yoga can be helpful for conditions like epilepsy,chronic pain, depression, anxiety and PTSD by increasing brain chemicals like gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA).12

Other Mind-Body Benefits of Yoga

Other studies have demonstrated that regular yoga practice can impart a number of different physical, mental and emotional benefits, including the ones listed below.13,14,15,16

One explanation for yoga’s wide-ranging effects is that it actually alters genetic expression — through its beneficial effects on your mind! In fact, the relaxation response triggered by meditative practices has been shown to affect at least 2,209 genes.17

Improved immune function18 Improved sleep19,20
Reduced risk for migraines21 Lowered risk of hypertension and heart disease22,23
Lowered cortisol (stress hormone) level by down regulating hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and calming sympathetic nervous system24 Improved sexual performance and satisfaction in both sexes25,26

How Yoga Aids Weight Loss and Promotes Good Health

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, yoga has also been shown to aid weight loss. In one study,27 overweight yoga participants lost an average of 5 pounds (lbs) whereas the non-yoga group gained 13 lbs. This held true even when accounting for differences in diet. Typically, HIIT is the most effective for weight loss, and the key to its effectiveness is the intensity. So how can the effectiveness of yoga — which is the converse of HIIT in terms of intensity — be explained?

According to Tiffany Field, Ph.D., director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, yoga’s benefits are related to the fact that it does the opposite of more strenuous exercise. Rather than boosting your heart rate and stimulating your nervous system, yoga puts you in a parasympathetic state that lowers both your blood pressure and heart rate, and this helps promote a positivecascade of health effects.

This makes sense if you consider the adverse biological effects of stress. By promoting systemic inflammation, chronic stress can be a factor in everything from weight gain to high blood pressure and heart disease. It’s also been shown to trigger the onset of dementia. What’s worse, stress-induced weight gain typically involves an increase in belly fat, which is the most dangerous fat for your body to accumulate as it increases your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Stress actually alters the way fat is deposited because of the specific hormones and other chemicals your body produces when you’re stressed. For example, recent research28 shows that chronic stress stimulates your body to produce betatrophin, a protein that blocks an enzyme that breaks down body fat. So by reducing stress you reduce inflammation, and along with it your risk for any number of health problems, including stubborn weight.

A 2011 review29 of published clinical studies on yoga also concluded that yoga movements stimulate skin pressure receptors that boost activity in your brain and vagus nerve, both of which influence the production and release of various hormones. As vagus nerve activity increases, the levels of stress hormones like cortisol decrease. It also triggers the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a role not only in your mood, but also in appetite control and sleep patterns.

The Importance of a Comprehensive Fitness Program

Yoga and other simple restorative exercises tone and strengthen your body, increase circulation and oxygen flow, energize you for the day and help you unwind in the evening. However, studies support the use of yoga to strengthen brain function and improve common psychiatric disorders (along with many other health benefits, including pain relief and increased flexibility and strength).

I believe it’s important to incorporate a variety of exercises into your routine for optimal results. Ideally, you’ll want a comprehensive fitness program that includes HIIT and resistance training, along with flexibility- and core-building exercises like yoga. Daily non-exercise movement is also important, and simply walking more each day can go a long way toward warding off many common health problems.

Sources and References

How Melatonin May Benefit Depression, Autoimmune Disorders, and Cancer


By Dr. Mercola

The hormone melatonin plays many important roles in your health, from helping you sleep better to strengthening your immune system, slowing down brain aging, reducing migraine attacks, protecting bone mass, and preventing cancer.

Lack of sun exposure during the day combined with artificial lighting late into the night disrupts your biological clock and hence, your melatonin production, and this disruption can provoke a number of adverse health effects.

In fact, melatonin has been the subject of preclinical research on over 100 different disease applications, many of which go hand in hand with your need for sleep.

Melatonin for Sleep and Beyond

Your master biological clock resides in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of your brain (SCN), which is part of your hypothalamus. Based on signals of light and darkness, your SCN tells your pineal gland when it’s time to secrete melatonin, and when to turn it off.

In scientific studies, melatonin supplementation has been shown to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep, experience less restlessness, and prevent daytime fatigue.

Keep in mind that you may only need a very minimal dose. I recommend taking only 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg to start, and adjusting upward from there. Taking higher doses, such as 3 mg, can sometimes make you more wakeful instead of sleepier, so start low and adjust your dose as needed.

Melatonin has also been found to reduce the effects of jet lag when traveling across multiple time zones.1 And children suffering with eczema, a condition that oftentimes prevents good sleep, may also get more shut-eye with melatonin supplementation,2according to recent research.

Interestingly, melatonin also helped dampen the severity of the eczema, hinting at its anti-inflammatory effects. However, the benefits of melatonin go far beyond sleep. Three specific areas I’ll address in this article are its role in depression, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.

Normalizing Your Circadian System Helps Alleviate Depressive Symptoms

Your melatonin level inversely rises and falls with light and darkness, and both your physical and mental health is intricately tied to this rhythm of light and dark. When it’s dark, your melatonin levels increase, which is why you may feel tired when the sun starts to set.

Conversely, when you’re exposed to bright artificial lighting at night, including blue light emitted from TVs and electronic screens, you may have trouble falling asleep due to suppressed melatonin levels.

Light exposure when you wake up at night can also be problematic as I explain in my video above. However you don’t have to stumble around as red and orange wavelengths will not suppress melatonin production.

You can use a red light to guide you to the bathroom. If you have a clock in your bedroom make sure it has a red LED display. Blue would be the worst as it is the one that shuts down melatonin most effectively.

Winter Blues SAD

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD, also called “the winter blues”) is associated with lack of sun exposure, and scientists generally recommend full-spectrum light therapy over SSRIs like Prozac or Zoloft for this condition.

Interestingly, recent research suggests light therapy may be preferable even for major depression, outperforming Prozac in those with moderate to severe depression. One of the reasons it works so well likely has to do with the fact that bright light helps reset your biological clock, or circadian rhythm.

Melatonin supplementation can help do this to a certain extent as well, but not as effectively as exposure to bright light during daytime. Light may also work in a way similar to antidepressants by regulating neurotransmitter function.

Light Therapy — More Effective Than Prozac

The study3,4,5,6,7 in question set out to compare the effectiveness of light therapy alone and in conjunction with the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac).

The eight-week long trial included 122 adults between the ages of 19 and 60, who were diagnosed with moderate to severe depression. The participants were divided into four groups, receiving:

  • Light therapy (30 minutes per day upon waking using a 10,000 lux Carex brand day-light device, classic model) plus a placebo pill
  • Prozac (20 mg/day) plus a deactivated ion generator serving as a placebo light device
  • Light therapy plus Prozac
  • Placebo light device plus placebo pill (control group)

In conclusion, the study found that the combination of light therapy and Prozac was the most effective — but light therapy-only came in close second, followed byplacebo.

That’s right, the drug treatment was the least effective of all, and LESS effective than placebo! At the end of the study, remission was achieved by:

  • Just over 19 percent in the Prozac only group
  • 30 percent in the placebo group
  • Nearly 44 percent in the light therapy only group
  • Nearly 59 percent in the active combination group

How Melatonin May Aid in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder that, like SAD, has been linked to vitamin D deficiency from lack of sun exposure. Interestingly, recent research suggests that a drop in autumn and winter relapses may be linked to peak melatonin levels, which occurs during these darker months.

Conversely, spikes in relapses occurring during spring and summer — which tend to be less common but do occur — may be related to decreased melatonin levels. The research,8 led by neuroscientist Mauricio Farez at the Dr. Raúl Carrea Institute for Neurological Research, looked at 139 MS patients living in Buenos Aires.

Thirty-two percent of them experienced a reduction in relapses during fall and winter, compared to spring and summer. As reported by Scientific American:9

“Past research has shown that melatonin can have a protective effect against MS and that shift work, which disturbs melatonin production, can increase the risk of developing the disease. According to the authors, this research is one of the first to bring together epidemiological evidence with results from both human cells and animal models …

[And it] may help to resolve a ‘seasonal paradox’ — MS flare-ups should decrease during warmer, brighter months when people receive more exposure to sunlight and thus produce more vitamin D, which also has anti-inflammatory properties. But some studies, including this one, show that relapses increase in the spring and summer pointing to the possibility that other environmental factors, such as melatonin levels, are involved.”

To test their hypothesis, mice with autoimmune encephalomyelitis (the animal model of MS) received daily injections of melatonin. As a result, clinical symptoms were reduced, and harmful T cells, which are pro-inflammatory, were reduced, whereas regulatory T cells were increased. Similar effects were shown in petri dish experiments. As noted in the featured article:

“Melatonin regulates pathways central to the immune response, so these results may pertain to other autoimmune diseases, particularly where seasonal flare-ups occur, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis …”


Melatonin’s Role in Fighting Cancer

Cancer is another area where melatonin plays a major role. The evidence suggests it may be an important adjunct to cancer treatment,10 as it also helps protect against the toxic effects of radiation therapy. Cells throughout your body — even cancer cells — have melatonin receptors, and melatonin is in and of itself cytotoxic, meaning can induce tumor cell death (apoptosis). It also:11

  • Boosts production of immune-optimizing substances such as interleukin-2, which helps identify and attack mutated cells that lead to malignant cancer
  • Inhibits development of new tumor blood vessels (tumor angiogenesis), which slows the spread of the cancer
  • Retards cancer progression by activating the cytokine system, which helps inhibit tumor growth, and by stimulating the cytotoxic activity of macrophages and monocytes
  • By its antioxidant action it also limits oxidative damage to DNA
  • Inhibits tumor growth by counteracting estrogen. (At night, when melatonin production peaks, cell division slows. And when melatonin latches onto a breast cancer cell, it has been found to counteract estrogen’s tendency to stimulate cell growth)

Melatonin has a calming effect on other reproductive hormones besides estrogen as well, which may explain why it seems to protect most effectively against sex hormone-driven cancers, including ovarian, endometrial, prostate, testicular and breast cancers12 — the latter of which has received the greatest amount of scientific attention. Some of the studies on melatonin for breast cancer include the following:

  • The journal Epidemiology13 reported increased breast cancer risk among women who work predominantly night shifts
  • Women who live in neighborhoods with large amounts of nighttime illumination are more likely to get breast cancer than those who live in areas where nocturnal darkness prevails, according to an Israeli study14
  • From participants in the Nurses’ Health Study,15 it was found that nurses who work nights had 36 percent higher rates of breast cancer
  • Blind women, whose eyes cannot detect light and therefore have robust production of melatonin, have lower-than-average breast cancer rates16
  • When the body of epidemiological studies are considered in their totality, women who work night shift are found to have breast cancer rates 60 percent above normal, even when other factors, such as differences in diet, are accounted for17

Melatonin May Improve Outcomes for Lung Cancer Patients

Other cancers may also benefit. In 2004, the Life Extension Foundation collaborated with Cancer Treatment Centers of America on the first clinical trial evaluating melatonin’s effect in patients with lung cancer.

The results,18 which were published in conjunction with the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting, found a tumor response in just over 29 percent of those receiving melatonin at night, compared to just under 8 percent of those receiving it in the morning, and 10.5 percent of placebo recipients. As reported by Life Extension Magazine:19

“European clinical studies indicate that in patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer, five-year survival and overall tumor regression rates were higher in patients concomitantly treated with melatonin than in those treated with chemotherapy alone. While no patient treated with chemotherapy survived after two years, five-year survival was achieved in 3 of 49 patients treated with chemotherapy and melatonin.

The researchers hope that similarly promising results could eventually convince mainstream medical practitioners to administer melatonin in combination with standard cancer treatment regimens to patients in earlier stages of cancer treatment.”


The Importance of Light and Dark for the Synchronization of Your Body Clocks

Melatonin production is stimulated by darkness and suppressed by light, which is why your levels should be highest just prior to bedtime. This perfectly orchestrated system allows you to fall asleep when the sun sets and awaken refreshed with the sunrise, while also providing potential anti-aging and disease-fighting benefits.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, which is a signal that your melatonin production is off, I suggest making sure you’re sleeping in total darkness and to turn lights down at least an hour or so before bedtime. Also, avoid watching TV and using computers and other electronic gadgets at least an hour prior to bed.

All of these devices emit blue light, which will decrease your melatonin if you work past dark, so ideally you’d want to turn these items off once the sun goes down. If you have to use these devices you can wear yellow glasses that filter the blue wavelengths out and/or use free software like f.lux.

To light rooms at night, use “low blue” light bulbs that emit an amber light instead of the blue that suppresses melatonin production. An equally important factor is the quality of light you’re exposed to during the day. Without sufficient sunlight during the day, your circadian clock may fall out of sync.

Most incandescent and fluorescent lights emit very poor-quality light. What your body needs for optimal functioning is the full-spectrum light you get outdoors, but most of us do not spend much time outside to take advantage of this healthy light.

Using full-spectrum light bulbs in your home and office can help ameliorate this lack of high-quality sunlight during the day, but cannot fully replace it. So do make an effort to go outside for at least 30 to 60 minutes each day during the brightest portion of the day, i.e. right around noon. This will help “set” your circadian clock and help you sleep better.

For Optimal Health, Make Sure You Sleep Well

Remember, when your circadian rhythms are disrupted, your body produces less melatonin, which means it has less ability to fight cancer, and less protection against free radicals that may accelerate aging and disease. So if you’re having even slight trouble sleeping, I suggest you review my “33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep” for more guidance on how to improve your sleep-wake cycle.

If you’ve made the necessary changes to your sleep routine and find you’re still having trouble sleeping, a high-quality melatonin supplement may be helpful.

The amount of melatonin you create and release every night varies depending on your age. Children usually have much higher levels of melatonin than adults, and as you grow older your levels typically continue to decrease. This is why some older adults may benefit from extra melatonin.

The same goes for those who perform night shift work, travel often and experience jet lag, or otherwise suffer from occasional sleeplessness due to stress or other reasons. Start with a dose of about 0.25 to 0.5 mg, and increase it as necessary from there. If you start feeling more alert, you’ve likely taken too much and need to lower your dose.

Sources and References

Latest Radio Frequency Study Adds Credibility to Concerns About Cell Phone Hazards


By Dr. Mercola

In May 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared cell phones a Group 2B ‘Possible Carcinogen,’ meaning a “possible cancer-causing agent,” based on the available research. According to the press release:1

“Dr. Jonathan Samet … Chairman of the Working Group, indicated that ‘the evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification … and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk.’

‘Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings,’ said IARC Director Christopher Wild, Ph.D., ‘it is important that additional research be conducted into the long?term, heavy use of mobile phones.

Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands?free devices or texting.'”

Since 2011, there has been an accumulating body of scientific evidence suggesting the IARC classification should be upgraded. For example, leading brain tumor researcher, Dr. Lennart Hardell in Sweden, in December 2014, called for an upgrade to a Group 1 Carcinogen, saying:2

After that meeting supportive evidence has come from e.g. the French CERENAT study and also our recent publication on glioma.

An increased risk for acoustic neuroma associated with use of wireless phones was published by our research group after the meeting giving pooled results of our study periods 1997 to 2003 and 2007 to 2009.

Also other studies have reported similar findings. We evaluated the Hill viewpoints on association and causation used in the 1960s in the debate on lung cancer risk among smokers.

Using these viewpoints our summary was that RF-EMF exposure should be a Group 1 carcinogen according to IARC criteria. There is now a petition to support that notion aiming at alerting IARC to classify such exposure to cause human cancer.”

Latest Radiofrequency Study — A Wake Up Call for Cell Phone Hazard Deniers?

Despite such findings, cell phones have become increasingly pervasive and such a common part of our daily lives that most people never think twice about using them and carrying them on their body all day long.

Some do exercise caution, using speakerphone or texting, for instance, instead of holding the phone up to their ear (and right next to their brain), but many still refuse to believe the risks are real.

Alas, researchers have demonstrated that wireless phones and other gadgets have the potential to cause all sorts of health problems, from headaches to brain tumors, with young children being at greatest risk.

Sure, some studies have also found no effects, but most of these were industry-funded, which tends to render the results less reliable.

In fact, 72 percent of industry-funded studies have failed to discern any biological effect from cell phone radiation exposure, whereas 67 percent of independent studies (those not funded by industry) did find biological effects.3

For example, by 1990, before there even was a consumer cell phone industry, at least two dozen epidemiological studies on humans indicated a link between electromagnetic fields (EMF) and/or radio frequencies (RF) and serious health problems, including childhood leukemia.

And in 1977, there was a Senate hearing on the subject of radiofrequency radiation and brain tumors. The link between brain cancer and cell phone use has been a particularly persistent one, and mounting research has only made this association stronger.

Most recently, partial results of a large U.S. federal government funded animal study suggests wireless radiation from mobile phones increased the risk of heart and brain tumors in male mice.4,5,6,7,8

Heart and Brain Tumors Found in Rats Exposed to Cell Phone Radiation

The study was done by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), an interagency research program started by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 1978 and now housed at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

To evaluate the impact of RF on the rats, the animals were placed in special chambers in which they were exposed to various levels of cell phone radiation for a total of nine hours a day, seven days a week, from birth to the age of 2 (basically the full lifespan of a rat).

Both Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global System for Mobile (GSM) modulations were used.

A control group lived out their lives without exposure. Of the exposed rats, 2 to 3 percent of the males developed malignant gliomas (a form of brain cancer). None in the control group developed cancer.

Interestingly, exposed female rats had far lower cancer rates than the males — nearly three-quarters lower — but gender differences are not an unusual finding in research, according to experts.

Of the male rats exposed to the highest levels of cell phone radiation, 5 to 7 percent also developed schwannomas (nerve cell tumors) in their hearts. None in the control group developed this problem.

According to the authors, these brain and heart cancers were likely caused by whole-body exposure to the cell phone radiation. No statistically significant difference in the numbers of tumors was noted between CDMA versus GSM modulations.

(Note that other research has shown even greater risk for brain tumors from newer 3G phones or Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), despite the power being significantly lower. This suggests a similar animal study, such as the NTP study, using 3G technology, might show even greater tumor risk.)

Disagreements Over Test Results Abound

The study has been criticized for its anomalies however, which include an increased death rate among the controls, and the fact that none of the controls developed cancer. In other studies performed by the NTP, an average of 2 percent of controls tends to develop gliomas.

Still, the authors warn that even if the risk is very small, it should not be discounted. Moreover, the results do indicate a dose-dependent relationship between exposure and cancer risk, meaning the longer the rats were exposed the greater the risk.

“Given the extremely large number of people who use wireless communication devices, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to the RFR (radio-frequency radiation) generated by those devices would have broad implications for public health,” they say.

Dr. Otis Brawley, Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society also noted that “the NTP report linking RFR to two types of cancer marks a paradigm shift in our understanding of radiation and cancer risk.” This was an about-face for the American Cancer Society, which has long been a denier of risk.

Christopher Portier, Ph.D., retired head of the NTP who was involved in the launch of the study, also insists the differences between the sexes means it’s not an associated finding, but rather a clear and causative relationship between exposure to GSM and CDMA radiation and cancer among the male rats.

“I would call it a causative study, absolutely,” he told Scientific American.9 “They controlled everything in the study. It’s [the cancer] because of the exposure.” Previous research certainly supports these findings. In one, those who began using cell phones heavily before age 20 had four to five times more brain cancer by their late 20s, compared to those whose exposure was minimal.10,11

How Does RF Cause Cellular Damage?

RF is a non-ionizing type of radiation, meaning it does not break chemical bonds. Within current FCC exposure guidelines, it is generally believed to not produce sufficient heat to cause damage tissue. There is some research12 showing non-uniform absorption of RF and temperatures as high as 6 degrees higher in the hotspots, which refutes this assumption.

It is on this fact that most safety claims are hinged. However, RF appears to be able to cause damage in other ways. In a recent Scientific American interview, Jerry Phillips, Ph.D., a biochemist and Director of the Excel Science Center at the University of Colorado explained how living cells react to RF radiation:13

“The signal couples with those cells, although nobody really knows what the nature of that coupling is. Some effects of that reaction can be things like movement of calcium across membranes, the production of free radicals or a change in the expression of genes in the cell.

Suddenly important proteins are being expressed at times and places and in amounts that they shouldn’t be, and that has a dramatic effect on the function of the cells. And some of these changes are consistent with what’s seen when cells undergo conversion from normal to malignant.”

When you consider the fact that your body is bioelectric, it’s easier to understand how and why biological damage from wireless phones might occur.14 For starters, your body uses electrons to communicate, and inside every cell are mitochondria, the power plants of the cell, and these mitochondria can be adversely impacted by electromagnetic fields, resulting in cellular dysfunction. Other mechanisms of harm have also been discovered in recent years.

Electromagnetic Fields Can Damage Cells and DNA Via Cellular Stress Responses

Research by Martin Blank, Ph.D., a Special Lecturer and retired Associate Professor at Columbia University in the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics and former president of the Bioelectromagnetics Society,15 explains that electromagnetic fields (EMF) damage your cells and DNA by inducing a cellular stress response.

He gave an informative speech at the November 18, 2010 Commonwealth Club of California program, “The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields,” co-sponsored by ElectromagneticHealth.org (embedded above for your convenience).

According to Blank, the coiled structure of DNA is very vulnerable to electromagnetic fields. It possesses the same structural characteristics of a fractal antenna (electronic conduction and self-symmetry), and these two properties allow for greater reactivity of DNA to EMF than other tissues. Moreover, no heat is required for this DNA damage to occur.

Blank believes the potential harm of wireless technologies can be significant, and that there’s plenty of peer-reviewed research to back up such suspicions. For example, a 2009 review16 of 11 long-term epidemiologic studies revealed using a cell phone for 10 years or longer doubles your risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same side of the head where the cell phone is typically held.

Thousands of studies showing biological effects from low-intensity EMF were also synthesized and summarized in the BioInitiative Report17 (2007 and 2012), including immune system effects, neurological effects, cognitive effects and much more.

Another important study,18,19 funded by the U.S. government, was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2011. Using a positron emission tomography or PET scan capable of detecting alterations in glucose, the researchers determined that cell phone radiation triggers your brain cells to metabolize glucose at an increased rate.

Glucose metabolism equates to cell activation, so the findings indicate that radiation from your cell phone has a well-defined measureable influence on your brain. Essentially, each time you put a cell phone up to your ear, you’re artificially activating your brain cells. That said, it’s still unclear whether this excess glucose production is directly harmful, or can cause a cascade of problems down the line, but there is no question there are biological effects from the radiation.

Voltage Gated Calcium Channels a Master Mechanism?

More recently, Dr. Martin Pall, professor emeritus of biochemistry and basic medical sciences at Washington State University, has built a case that Voltage-Gated Calcium Channel (VGCC) activation in cells from low-intensity EMFs, such as those emitted by cell phones, wireless devices and wireless infrastructure, is a primary mechanism of biological dysfunction.

He believes the VGCC activation in cells can explain long-reported association between electromagnetic fields and a wide range of biological changes and health effects, including neuropsychiatric, hormonal, and cardiac effects, chromosomal breaks, lowered fertility, oxidative stress, changes in calcium signaling, cellular DNA damage, breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, melatonin depletion and sleep disruption, and cancer. According to Pall:

“We’re clearly at a point where we can confidently debunk the industry’s argument of more than 20 years that there cannot be a biological mechanism of action from these low-intensity EMFs. According to industry, the forces electromagnetic fields place on electrically charged groups in the cell are too weak to produce biological effects.

However, the unique structural properties of the VGCC protein can, it turns out, explain why the force on a cell’s voltage sensor from low intensity EMFs are millions of times stronger than are the forces on singly charged groups elsewhere in the cell.

They may be low-intensity but with regard to the VGCCs can have a tremendously powerful impact on the cell. Furthermore, published studies showing calcium channel blocker drugs block or greatly lower biological effects from electromagnetic fields, confirming there is a voltage gated calcium channel mechanism that is occurring.”


Epidemiologist Calls for Revised Cell Phone Standards

Devra Davis, Ph.D., an epidemiologist and author of the book, “Disconnect,” has been an outspoken proponent of improved cell phone standards and regulations. At present, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) bases its standards on a model that overwhelmingly does not apply to the population at large. As explained in a recent article by STAT:20

“[T]he current FCC standards are unrealistic because they’re based on … a creature called Standard Anthropomorphic Man, or SAM — that’s larger than the average person, and, therefore, able to withstand more radiation exposure than most people. ‘SAM is not an ordinary guy,’ Davis wrote.

‘He ranked in size and mass at the top 10 percent of all military recruits in 1989, weighing more than 200 pounds, with an 11-pound head, and standing about 6 feet 2 inches tall.

SAM was not especially talkative, as he was assumed to use a cell phone for no more than six minutes.’ On Friday [May 27, 2016], Davis reiterated her call for revised FCC standards that would be based on the average person … ‘Every parent who thinks it’s so cute to give their kids a little cell phone should ask themselves if they would give them a glass of whiskey or a gun,’ she said.”

Camilla Rees of ElectromagneticHealth.org says there is also question as to whether the FCC is enforcing its own thermal guidelines. She says:

“While we know the FCC SAR limits are only intended to protect from potential heating effects, and do not consider low-intensity biological effects which are equally important, questions exist about the FCC’s effectiveness at regulating the thermal risks they do acknowledge. Some believe a great number of phones on the market today are well over the FCC limit, and greater surveillance to protect the public is needed.”


1 in 4 Car Accidents Caused by Cell Phones

It’s not just the RF that makes cell phones dangerous. They also play a significant role in car accidents caused by distracted drivers, which took the life of nearly 3,330 people in 2012 and injured 421,000.21 Last year, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported that cell phone use is responsible for 26 percent of all car accidents in the U.S.22

Surprisingly, only 5 percent were related specifically to texting, suggesting talking on the phone is just as risky, if not more. Among teen drivers, the influence of cell phones on accident rates is much higher however. According to a recent report by the American Automobile Association (AAA), 60 percent of car crashes involving teenagers are due to talking, texting and other distractions.23

Aside from cell phone usage, other distractions for teens causing them to be involved in car accidents included talking to passengers and looking at something inside the car.

Overall, using your cell phone in any manner while driving increases your chances of an accident, as it takes your attention off the task at hand, which is to keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on safe driving. Indeed, research24has shown that driving performance is equally affected while using either a handheld or hands-free phone, leading to effects such as increased reaction time.

This warning is especially relevant for American drivers, as a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that talking, texting and reading e-mail on the phone while driving are far more prevalent in the U.S. than in Europe.

In the U.S., 69 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 reported talking on their cell phone while driving within the last 30 days. One-third of U.S. drivers also read or sent text messages or emails while driving — twice the rate of texting and emailing drivers in Spain.

A little more than 30 percent of U.S. drivers report never using a cell phone while driving, compared to nearly 80 percent of drivers in the U.K and about 60 percent of drivers in Germany, France and Spain.

Also on the rise are pedestrian injuries from cell phones, which are up 35 percent since 2010. It’s estimated that 10 percent of the 78,000 US pedestrian injuries in 2012 were the result of “mobile device distraction.”25 In this case, research has shown that textingis significantly more dangerous than talking on a cell phone while walking.26 To make the roads safer for everyone, the CDC offers the following commonsense recommendations:

  • Model safe behavior behind the wheel — never text and drive.
  • Always stay focused and alert when driving.
  • Take the pledge — commit to distraction-free driving.
  • Speak out if the driver in your car is distracted.
  • Encourage your friends and family to designate their cars a “no phone” zone when driving.

Beware of Industry Bias

It is important to note potential conflicts of interest in the media, and know the values of the people at publications from whom you receive your information.

While many publications wrote responsibly about the recent NTP rat study, such as The Wall Street Journal,27 Scientific American,28 Mother Jones, Science,29 Consumer Reports,30 and several others globally, The New York Times downplayed the findings, and also put out a video on the subject that contrasted sharply with the video of the Wall Street Journal’s Ryan Knudson.

When one looks into who owns The New York Times, it is not surprising to learn that billionaire telecom magnate Carlos Slim, who owns wireless assets globally, and who is Chairman and Chief Executive of telecommunications companies Telmex and América Móvil, is a major shareholder.31

Joel Moskowitz, Ph.D. of U.C. Berkeley has created a table, “Spin vs Fact: National Toxicology Program on Cancer Risk from Cell Phone Radiation,”32 to illuminate some of the ways parties have downplayed the recent rat study, contrasting the spin with facts. The flurry of media coverage on this topic has highlighted biases at a number of publications, so remember to not take anything on face value alone, but instead always dig into the facts and learn which publications have an industry slant.

How to Protect Your Health From Cell Phone Radiation

Last year, I was interviewed for a New York Times33 article about the health concerns associated with wearable technologies. As usual, I was criticized for raising concerns, and after the fact the editor even noted that I shouldn’t have been used as a source due to being “widely criticized by experts for his claims about disease risks and treatments.”

Nevertheless, as the years pass, more and more studies keep coming to the conclusion I formed several years ago, which is that the risks of RF are real, and that we need to invoke the precautionary principle with regards to the use of cell phones and other wireless technologies.

It’s important to note that researchers are in general agreement that there’s a latency period of about 10 years or more before the damage shows up, which places children at greatest risk, since their exposures are earlier in life and longer.

International EMF scientists from 39 countries last May issued the International EMF Scientist Appeal to the United Nations calling for precautionary action, announced by spokesperson Dr. Martin Blank (see video above).34 Until the industry and regulators start taking this matter seriously, the responsibility to keep children safe falls on the parents and schools. To minimize the risk to your brain, and that of your child, I recommend paying heed to the following common-sense advice:

Don’t let your child use a cell phone

Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults due to having thinner skull bones, and developing immune systems and brains.

Keep your cell phone use to a minimum

Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call. Use a landline phone at home and at work, and if you use a cell phone, develop a practice of forwarding it to a landline whenever possible.

Reduce or eliminate your use of other wireless devices

Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to routinely use wireless devices. A hard-wired Ethernet internet connection for computers, printers and peripherals is not only safer for your health, but significantly faster and more secure. Reconsider any wearable tech, like smart watches, which emit extremely high levels of radiation. Wireless on the body is extremely misguided.

Opt for older portable home phones

If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least some of them do not continuously broadcast when not in use. Note the only way to truly be sure if your cordless phone is emitting radiation is to use an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone. (I recommend looking for an RF meter that goes up to 8 Gigahertz to cover most phones).

You can find RF meters at www.emfsafetystore.com. Even without an RF meter, you can be fairly certain your portable phone is problematic if the technology is labeled DECT, which stands for “digitally enhanced cordless technology.” Alternatively, be careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren’t talking.

Try keeping the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, especially your bedroom. Ideally, it would be beneficial to turn off or disconnect your base station at night before you go to bed. Or, better yet, just have it on hand for times when portability is essential and use a corded landline phone the majority of time.

Limit cell phone use to areas with excellent reception

The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses the more radiation it emits. Ideally, only use your phone with full bars and good reception.

Avoid carrying your cell phone on your body, and do not sleep with it below your pillow or near your head

Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in your bra or in a shirt pocket over your heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man’s pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility.

Don’t assume one cell phone is safer than another

There’s no such thing as a “safe” cell phone. A specific absorption rate (SAR) value for a phone only addresses one form of risk, the thermal effects, comparing one phone to another, and it is not a measure of biological safety. Frequencies, peaks, pulsing and other signal characteristics are also biologically active. The longer one is exposed the greater the risk. If you want to be safe, use hard-wired connections.

Respect others; many are highly sensitive to EMF/RF

Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others’ cell phones in the same room, even when it is on but not being used. If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the “second hand radiation” effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.

Use a well-shielded wired headset

Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded — and most of them are not — the wire itself can act as an antenna attracting and transmitting radiation directly to your brain.

So make sure the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded. Better headsets use a combination of shielded wire and air-tube. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the sound to your head as an actual sound wave. Although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.

Be a role model

Set limits on how people can communicate with you to minimize cell phone and wireless radiation exposures. The instant gratification one may get from being in constant contact is not worth the serious risks of radiation exposures. Take a stand for yourself and be a role model for your children.

Help educate your children’s schools

Bring evidence of risk from cell phone and wireless technologies to schools and teachers unions. Protective change is not going to happen soon enough at the federal level, thus grassroots action to educate people responsible for the lives of vulnerable populations is essential. Follow this topic at Campaign for Radiation Free Schools on Facebook.

Sources and References

Worst Fears Coming True as Drug Resistance Gene Confirmed in the U.S.


By Dr. Mercola

Three years ago, Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, associate director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told PBS FRONTLINE:1

“For a long time, there have been newspaper stories and magazine articles that asked ‘The end of antibiotics?’ Well, now I would say you can change the title to ‘The end of antibiotics, period.'”

Indeed, experts have issued increasingly stern warnings about rising antibiotic resistance for many years now, yet government authorities have been remarkably slow to act.

Despite Srinivasan’s declaration, the CDC still downplays the hazards of antibiotic resistance while the White House diverts billions of dollars toward combating false flag “emerging threats” like the Zika virus, the public health ramifications of which pale in comparison to the harm caused by drug resistant bacteria.

Why? Could it be because the drug industry benefits from continued use of antibiotics, just as it benefits from the Zika scaremongering? What can be said for sure is that these misplaced priorities do not serve the public’s best interest.

CDC Downplays Emergence of Super-Virulent Drug-Resistant Bacteria

According to Dr. Beth Bell, director of the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, the recently discovered emergence of E.coli carrying the drug resistant mcr-1 gene is no major cause for worry.

“The risk to the public at this point is pretty much minimal,” Bell told The Washington Post,2 noting the “best” way to protect yourself against drug-resistant bacteria is to thoroughly cook your food and be diligent about washing your hands.

Alas, that’s hardly an ideal long-term solution in the overall scheme of things. For starters, food producers really need to get serious about, or be forced to stop using antibiotics in food production, and that goes for both livestock and seafood.

In Chile, an appeals court recently ordered government fisheries to disclose their use of antibiotics in salmon production.3

The claim was filed by the environmental group Oceana after 37 salmon producers refused to reveal the amount of antibiotics used in 2014, on the grounds that doing so might put them at a competitive and commercial disadvantage.

Mcr-1 Gene Provides Vehicle for Widespread Pan Drug Resistance

What’s so special about E.coli carrying the mcr-1 gene, you might ask? This gene was discovered in pigs and people in China just last year.4,5,6 It’s a mutated gene that confers resistance to the drug colistin — an antibiotic of last resort due to its potency and nasty side effects — and it does so very quickly.

The shareable DNA also contains seven other genes that confer resistance against other antibiotics. Moreover, the rate of DNA transfer between different types of bacteria is also exceptionally high with mcr-1, making it a truly superb threat.

According to the researchers, these facts “suggest the progression from extensive drug resistance to pan drug resistance7 [i.e. bacteria resistant to all treatment] is inevitable,” and that it’s extremely likely the mcr-1 gene will spread to bacteria worldwide.8

The team, which described their findings9 as “alarming,” called for “urgent restrictions” on the use of polymyxins, including colistin, which is widely used in livestock farming despite being a drug of last resort against a host of bacterial infections common in humans.

It didn’t take long — less than one year — and this strain that everyone fears has now been identified in a U.S. slaughterhouse sample (pork) and an American patient admitted with an E.coli infection.10,11,12 As noted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC):13

“Both discoveries underscore why curbing antibiotic use in livestock production is critical to keeping our life-saving antibiotics, like colistin, working when we need them.”


Superbug May Spread Via Contaminated Food

It’s still unclear how the patient contracted the superbug, but previous cases have been linked to consumption of contaminated meat imported from affected countries, especially China, but also Germany.

The gene was also detected in the blood of a Danish patient in late 2015, and mcr-1 was also found in five poultry samples purchased in Denmark that were imported from Germany between 2012 and 2014.14

Country-of-origin labels on imported meats could go a long way toward helping people avoid these kinds of risks, but the World Trade Organization (WTO) put the kibosh on such labeling in 2014, when it ruled the United States’ country-of-origin labels — implemented in 2013 — “unfairly discriminate” against meat imports.15

So now we have this curious situation where you can pick up a kid’s toy and find a “Made in China” or “Made in the U.S.A.” sticker but you cannot know where your meat was raised because that would be “discriminatory.”

Contaminated Manure Also Spreads Potentially Hazardous Bacteria Into Food Supply

For over a decade we’ve also known antibiotic-resistant bacteria are present in agricultural soils, typically deposited there via contaminated manure and/or so-called biosolids (toxic sewage waste),16 and this is yet another route into the food system.

(Sadly, organic gardeners may also inadvertently contaminate their home garden by applying potting soil with biosolids.)

Researchers at the University of Southampton are trying to understand the situation better and will be studying “how antimicrobial resistance is introduced into natural soil bacteria, for example from manures applied by farmers or exposure to domesticated or wild animal and bird fecal droppings, and how this transfer takes place in different soil types.”17

A 2015 report from China also highlights the “breathtaking extent” of China’s soil pollution crisis.18 The report, written by Li Xianfeng, won the 2016 China Environmental Press Awards “Most Influential Report” prize.

In it, he writes about how, over the course of a decade, a pig farmer in the village of Jingjiang buried 14,000 tons of chemical waste from a fertilizer manufacturer beneath his farm, which is situated right near a river.

According to the article, the villagers aren’t too concerned about the presence of a secret toxic waste dump in their midst because “their water comes from a treated supply, and while many have fields to the south of the pig farm, the villagers know not to eat anything grown there — those crops get sold onwards.”

And that’s part of the problem when you have no idea where your food comes from. Farmers may raise their crops and livestock under all sorts of horrid and toxic conditions and then simply sell the food they’d never consider eating themselves to others.

New Report Calls for Drastic and Immediate Measures

According to the largest, most thorough review of the drug resistance problem to date, by 2050 antibiotic-resistant disease will claim the lives of 10 million people around the world each year. As noted by The Atlantic:19

“The report’s language is sober but its numbers are apocalyptic. If antibiotics continue to lose their sting, resistant infections will sap $100 trillion from the world economy between now and 2050, equivalent to $10,000 for every person alive today … [R]oughly one [person will die] every three seconds, and more than currently die from cancer.

These are conservative estimates: they don’t account for procedures that are only safe or possible because of antibiotics, like hip and joint replacements, gut surgeries, C-sections, cancer chemotherapy, and organ transplants.

And yet, resistance is not futile. O’Neill’s report includes 10 steps to avert the crisis … seven of his recommendations focus on reducing the wanton and wasteful use of our existing arsenal. It’s inevitable that microbes will evolve resistance, but we can delay that process by using drugs more sparingly.”

Among those 10 action steps are:

Improve sanitation: Developed countries need to focus on reducing hospital-acquired infections, while poor nations need to improve general living conditions with access to clean water and better sanitation and waste management. According to the report, economic development is critical, as improved sanitation alone could eliminate the need for 300 million courses of antibiotics given to treat diarrhea each year.

Implement a global surveillance network to better understand how and where antibiotics are being used, and how resistant microbes are spreading and affecting various drugs.

Eliminate unnecessary use of antibiotics in farming, where drugs are used not just to treat disease, but also to promote growth and compensate for poor farming practices. The report also calls for a ban on agricultural use of antibiotics needed as a last-line defense in human medicine.

To encourage this process, the report suggests meats should be clearly labeled to help consumers make informed choices about whether they want to buy meats raised with antibiotics.

Eliminate unnecessary use of antibiotics in human medicine. In the U.S. only about one-quarter of all prescriptions for antibiotics are actually medically necessary and/or appropriate. The vast majority of people who get them have viral infections that do not respond to antibiotics. Part of the plan would be to improve diagnostic tests to identify bacterial infections and the most appropriate antibiotics to treat them.

Why Silver Should Be in Your Medicine Cabinet

Interestingly, an ancient treatment popularized by alternative medicine may be part of the drug resistance solution. The antimicrobial properties of silver have been known since 400 B.C., and silver was commonly used as an antimicrobial agent in wound management until the early 20th century. Its usage only diminished once antibiotics were introduced in the 1940s.

Modern science has not only confirmed silver’s antimicrobial effects,20,21,22,23,24 researchers have also discovered it makes antibiotic drugs 1,000 times more effective and may even allow an antibiotic to successfully combat otherwise antibiotic-resistant bacteria.25,26

By adding a small amount of silver to the antibiotic, a powerful synergism occurred, and a urinary tract infection caused by tetracycline-resistant E. coli was successfully eradicated. Silver also helped save the lives of 90 percent of mice suffering with a life-threatening abdominal inflammation by adding it to the antibiotic vancomycin. In the group receiving vanomycin only, a mere 10 percent survived.

Tests such as these reveal that silver destabilizes the structure of bacterial cell membranes, making it more porous, which allows the silver (and the antibiotic if used in combination) to enter the bacterial cell and kill it. In another recent trial, a single oral dose of silver nanoparticles given to infant mice colonized with Vibrio cholerae (which causes cholera) reduced bacterial colonization 75-fold.27

Silver-containing Hydrofiber dressing has also been shown to offer effective protection against proliferation of a broad range of aerobic, anaerobic and antibiotic-resistant microorganisms in wounds.28 Silver nanoparticles incorporated into a thermosensitive gel has also been tested and found to be effective against Staphylococcus aureus.29

A 2010 study found colloidal silver effectively killed drug resistant staph, E.coli, Salmonella, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa,30 the latter of which typically occurs in hospitals and in people with weakened immune systems.31 Researchers have even found that using silver nanoparticles in food packaging can help prevent proliferation of foodborne pathogens such as listeria.32,33

Considering the evidence, it seems reasonable to conclude that keeping a bottle of high-quality silver in your medicine cabinet would be a prudent strategy, and to use it any time you get a cut, scrape or other topical wound. Many don’t realize this but many of the drug resistant infections that end up taking a heavy toll start out as simple cuts and scrapes.

A Note on Quality

Some shun colloidal silver for fear of toxicity. It’s a valid concern, as misrepresentation of colloidal silver by less scrupulous manufacturers has in the past led to some adverse consequences. However, a 2013 study34 found that the dose of silver required to kill bacteria is far smaller than the dose needed to harm either mice or cultured human cells, suggesting oral silver should be quite safe, provided you’re using a quality product.

According to a Commercial Product Report35 by Silver-Colloids.com, a site that provides detailed laboratory analyses of colloidal silver products, there are three distinctly different types of silver products on the market that are all labeled and sold as “colloidal” silver:

  • True colloidal silver
  • Ionic silver
  • Silver protein: due to the high concentration of large silver particles, silver protein products are known to cause argyria, which turns your skin a blue-gray color. Silver protein should NOT be used

True colloidal silver & ionic silver are the most recommended. In the study cited above, they used ionic silver (Ag) in a silver nitrate salt (AgNO3), which, again, was found to be quite non-toxic in animals and human cell cultures. Substantial antimicrobial activity was found at 30 microns (?M) against E. coli.

Sources and References

Low-Carb Vegetables to Live By


By Dr. Mercola

Most vegetables are very low in calories and net carbs, while being high in healthy fiber and the valuable vitamins and minerals your body needs for optimal health. As a general rule, vegetables are a nutritional cornerstone.

However, some are more beneficial than others, which is the focus of this article.1,2,3,4,5

Eating plenty of vegetables can help reduce your risk for many chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. For example, one 2010 study found that eating just one extra serving of leafy greens a day reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 percent.6

Vegetables also contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else.

Plant chemicals called phytochemicals help reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce, remove old cells and maintain DNA. Studies have repeatedly shown that people with higher vegetable intake have:

Lower risks of high blood pressure and stroke Lower risks of certain types of cancer Reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss
Higher scores on cognitive tests Higher antioxidant levels Lower biomarkers for oxidative stress
Lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease7 Lower risk for eye diseases Fewer digestive problems

Vegetables Are the Ultimate Among Low-Net Carb Foods

Many of these benefits are actually due to the high fiber content in vegetables. The fiber in vegetables is broken down into health-promoting short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) by your gut bacteria, and SCFAs have been shown to lessen your risk of inflammatory diseases.8

Your liver converts these short-chain fats into ketones that nourish your body and provide important signaling functions.

The fiber content also promotes optimal gut health in general by nourishing beneficial gut bacteria. Leafy greens, which have some of the highest fiber content in the vegetable kingdom, also activate a gene called T-bet, which is essential for producing critical immune cells in the lining of your digestive tract.9

These immune cells, called innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), help maintain balance between immunity and inflammation in your body and produce interleukin-22 (IL-22), a hormone that helps protect your body from pathogenic bacteria.

ILCs even help resolve cancerous lesions and prevent the development of bowel cancers and other inflammatory diseases, including obesity. So which are the “superstars” within the vegetable kingdom? Here I’ll review five different categories of veggies worth your daily consideration.

Top Performing Sprouts

Sprouts deliver high amounts of nutrients in small packages, including antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and enzymes that protect against free radical damage, so in terms of volume you can get away with eating far less.

The vitamin and essential fatty acid content increases dramatically during the sprouting process. Sunflower seeds, for example, typically contain 30 times more nutrients than whole organic vegetables!

The fiber content also improves when sprouting, and the protein becomes more bioavailable. Sprouts can also contain up to 100 times more enzymes than raw fruits and vegetables, allowing your body to extract more vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fats from other foods.

Another boon: sprouts are very easy to grow at home, even in small spaces, allowing you to turbocharge your diet at a very low cost. Three of my favorite sprouts are:

Watercress: Contains more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more vitamin C than oranges. In fact, watercress is at the very top of the list of nutrient dense vegetables, with a perfect 100 nutrient density score!10

Compounds in watercress have also been shown to decrease the risk of lung, colorectal, head and neck and prostate cancers, including a particularly virulent form of breast cancer.

Broccoli sprouts: Three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain anywhere from 10 to 100 times the amount of chemoprotective compounds found in mature broccoli. Research also suggests broccoli sprouts can help detox environmental pollutants such as benzene.

Sunflower seeds: Rich in vitamin E, copper, B vitamins, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Sunflower seeds also contain one of the highest levels of phytosterols of commonly consumed nuts and seeds.

Phytosterols are beneficial for your heart health and immune system, and may help lower cancer risk as well. Sunflower sprouts are also among the highest in protein.

Leafy Greens Lead the Pack for Healthy Fiber

Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are particularly low in net carbs; the majority of their content being healthy fiber. Among those with the lowest net carb content (i.e. total carbohydrates minus fiber) are:11

Vegetable Total Net Carbs
Asparagus (high in vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, carotene, and protein) 2 percent
White mushrooms (potassium, B vitamins) 3 percent
Cucumber (mostly water and some vitamin K) 4 percent
Tomatoes (high in vitamin C, potassium) 4 percent
Cauliflower (high in vitamins C, K, and folate) 5 percent
Eggplant (high in fiber) 6 percent
Bell peppers (high in fiber, vitamin C and carotene) 6 percent
Broccoli (high in vitamins C, K, and anti-cancer compounds) 7 percent
Brussels sprouts (high in vitamins C, K and other beneficial plant compounds) 7 percent
Green beans (high in fiber, protein, vitamins C and K, magnesium, and potassium) 7 percent
Onions (high in fiber, antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory compounds) 9 percent
Kale (high in fiber, vitamins C and K, and carotene) 10 percent

Top Performing Leafy Greens

When it comes to overall nutrient content, some of my favorite leafy greens include the following. (For more food facts and sample recipes, please follow the hyperlinks provided.)


Kale has a 3:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio, which is an exceptionally high amount of protein for any vegetable, and one reason why it has been acclaimed as the “new beef.” Like meat, kale contains all nine essential amino acids needed to form the proteins within the human body, plus nine other non-essential ones for a total of 18. It also contains more omega-3 than omega-6, which is almost unheard of in nature.

A 100-gram portion of kale will add a mere 50 calories while providing you with 200 percent of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C, 300 percent of your vitamin A, and an incredible 1,000 percent of vitamin K1. It also contains vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese.

Beet greens

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, beet greens contain 220 percent of the RDI of vitamin A, 60 percent of vitamin C, 16 percent of calcium, and 15 percent of iron. In fact, beet greens have more iron than spinach. The vitamin K in beet greens also works with calcium to boost bone strength, and may play a role in fighting Alzheimer’s disease. Overall, beet greens score a respectable 87 out of 100 in terms of nutrient density.


Arugula contains trace minerals and antioxidants that block absorption of environmental contaminants — including some that may have a negative impact on your libido. It’s also an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A, C (to boost immune function), and K (for bone strength), folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese.

Arugula also provides high levels of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, zinc, copper, and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) that help raise HDL cholesterol levels and lower LDL. Its flavonoid content can help lower blood pressure, increase blood flow, lower inflammation, and improve blood vessel function.


Spinach, scoring 86.4 on a nutrient density scale of 100, is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. Studies have shown spinach helps maintain your brain function, memory and mental clarity. (To retain the rich iron content, cook only lightly, and add a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar.)

Swiss chard

With an overall nutrient density score of nearly 89.3, Swiss chard is particularly rich in vitamins C, E, and A (beta-carotene) along with the minerals manganese and zinc. The betalin pigments in Swiss chard also support your body’s Phase 2 detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body.

In addition, Swiss chard contains a flavonoid called syringic acid, which may help regulate blood sugar and provide benefits to those with diabetes, along with kaempferol, a flavonol that may help fight cancer and lower your risk of chronic diseases including heart disease.

Collard greens

Collard greens provide a whopping 1,045 percent of your RDI of vitamins K, and 308 percent of vitamin A — vitamins needed for strong bones, brain health and sharp eyesight. Collard greens also help lower your cholesterol levels better than any other cruciferous vegetable. The key is its ability to bind to bile acids in your digestive system, which facilitates the removal of excess cholesterol from your body. Just be careful about juicing them as they are very bitter.

The Amazing Benefits of Peppers

Peppers are another group of vegetables well worth your consideration. Sure, they taste great, but did you know they’re also loaded with valuable nutrients? Four deserving of special mention include:

Bell peppers: With twice the vitamin C of an orange (more than 300 percent of your RDI of vitamin C for one whole bell pepper), bell peppers are a great way to boost your immune system and lower inflammation that can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

One cup of chopped red pepper, which also has the highest antioxidant content of the bell peppers, contains 9 grams of carbohydrates, three of which are fiber (for a net carb content of 6 grams per cup). They also provide 93 percent of your RDI for vitamin A.

Banana peppers: Available in both sweet and spicier varieties, banana peppers add a nutritious and flavorful kick to dishes and salads. Like other peppers, banana peppers are very low in net carbs. Despite their sweet flavor, less than 2 grams of a 30-gram sweet banana pepper is carbohydrates, and more than half of that is fiber.12

Poblano peppers: Commonly used in Latin American cooking, a single poblano pepper contains just over half a gram of protein and 3 grams of carbohydrate, more than 1 gram of which is fiber.

One dried poblano pepper also contains nearly 2 milligrams (mg) of iron, or about 24 percent of the RDI of iron for adult men of all ages and women over the age of 51, or 11 percent of the RDI for women under age 51.13 If your iron levels are on the high side, you may need to go easy on poblano peppers, as high iron is highly inflammatory.

Chili peppers: Fiery hot, chili peppers have a number of medicinal properties. It contains capsaicin, which has antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. Red and green chili peppers are also a good source of vitamin C and a number of B vitamins.14

Top Performing Root Vegetables

While many root vegetables are high in starch and net carbs, there are some notable exceptions, such as ginger, turmeric and onions. Ginger has more than 40 documented pharmacological actions, including broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-parasitic properties. Ginger is also a thermogenic substance that has a beneficial impact on your metabolism and fat storage.

Turmeric has an even more impressive healing repertoire with over 150 potentially therapeutic activities, including anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-cancer activity. It may also be useful against Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections, associated with gastritis, peptic ulcer and gastric cancer.

Raw onion is another potent cancer fighter. It also contains the antioxidant quercetin, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure in hypertensive patients.15 Perhaps surprisingly, onions are yet another vegetable loaded with vitamin C.

Boost Nutritional Value of Veggies by Fermenting Them

Inflammation from bacterial endotoxins may be a factor helping to drive the obesity epidemic. Sugar and processed foods can quickly make the “friendly” microbe community in your gut unfriendly — even downright hostile. When dysbiosis occurs, bacteria release noxious byproducts called endotoxins. Endotoxins increase the permeability of your gut wall (leaky gut syndrome) and make their way into your bloodstream, triggering system wide inflammation.

To counter or prevent this chain of events, you need to avoid sugary foods and regularly reseed your gut with healthy bacteria, and one of the best ways to do that is to eat fermented vegetables.

Just be careful and start slow. Introduce them at about a teaspoon and work your way up from there. One-quarter to one-half cup of fermented veggies with each meal is ideal. You also can’t beat the price if you make them at home. In addition to helping break down and eliminate heavy metals and other toxins from your body, beneficial gut bacteria perform a number of important functions, including:

  • Mineral absorption, and producing nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin K2 (vitamin K2 and vitamin D are necessary for integrating calcium into your bones and keeping it out of your arteries, thereby reducing your risk for coronary artery disease and stroke)
  • Preventing obesity and diabetes, and regulating dietary fat absorption
  • Lowering your risk for cancer
  • Improving your mood and mental health

A potent superfood trio is a mixture of cabbage, carrots and ginger. I generally recommend eating carrots in moderation because they contain more sugar than any other vegetable aside from beets. However, when fermented they take on healthier qualities.

Besides, the beta-carotene in carrots (and many other vegetables noted above) is important for health, especially healthy vision. Studies have found that the more carotenoids you eat, the longer your lifespan. Savory Lotus16 has a fermented cabbage, carrot, ginger recipe you can try. Besides the benefits already mentioned, the ginger also aids with digestion.

On the whole, you really cannot go wrong with vegetables. Remember, even if 70 percent or more of your daily calories comes from fat, vegetables — being so low in fat and calories — should make up the greatest bulk of your diet. With so many to choose from, there’s hardly any reason to ever get bored. It’s mostly a matter of learning how to properly prepare them. Many can be eaten raw, but fermenting is a great way to boost their health benefits yet another notch.

Also, if you struggle to get enough leafy greens in your diet, consider juicing them. Another alternative is to grow your own sprouts. Packing such an incredible nutritional punch, you don’t need to eat nearly as much of them as you would other vegetables.

Sources and References