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.

Conditions Shown to Benefit From a Ketogenic Diet

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By Dr. Mercola

Obesity and top killers such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer have something significant in common — they’re all rooted in insulin and leptin resistance.

In other words, the underlying problem is metabolic dysfunction that develops as a result of consuming too many net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) and/or protein. Sugars found in processed foods and grains are the primary culprits, and the standard American diet is chockfull of both.

Once you develop insulin and leptin resistance, it triggers biochemical cascades that not only make your body hold on to fat, but produce inflammation and cellular damage as well.

Hence, whether you’re struggling with weight and/or chronic health issues, the treatment protocols are the same. This is good news, as it significantly simplifies your approach to improving your health. You won’t need a different set of strategies to address each condition.

In short, by optimizing your metabolic and mitochondrial function, you set yourself squarely on the path to better health. So how do you correct these metabolic imbalances? Your diet is key. The timing of your meals can also play an important role.

Nutritional Ketosis May Be Key for Optimal Health

By eating a healthy high-fat, low-carbohydrate and low- to moderate-protein diet, you enter into what is known as nutritional ketosis: a state in which your body burns fat as its primary fuel rather than glucose (sugar). Mounting research suggests nutritional ketosis is the answer to a long list of health problems, starting with obesity.

In fact, emerging scientific evidence suggests a high-fat, low-net carb and low- to moderate-protein diet (in other words, a diet that keeps you in nutritional ketosis) is ideal for most people.

In fact, endurance athletes are turning away from conventional high-carb strategies and adopting this way of eating because it boosts physical stamina and endurance.

Beyond insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, there are a number of applications for nutritional ketosis, including as a treatment for seizures, especially in kids who are unresponsive to drugs, and in neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Cancer is another area where ketogenic diets show great promise.

Other benefits include fewer hunger pangs and a dramatic drop in food cravings once you’ve made the shift from burning sugar to burning fat as your primary fuel. Being an efficient fat burner may also boost your longevity. Researchers have identified about a dozen genes associated with longevity.

According to Jeff Volek, Ph.D., a registered dietitian and professor in the Human Science Department at Ohio State University, who has done enormous work in the field of high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets and has authored several books on this topic, the primary function of one of these genes is to cripple the degradation of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), such as leucine.

Preventing this degradation can help preserve your muscle mass.1 BCAAs have other benefits as well: In a number of studies involving middle-aged animal models, adding BCAAs increased muscle and cardiac mitochondrial biogenesis (the creation of new mitochondria), improving both health span and longevity.

Interestingly, BCAAs are very similar in structure to ketones — energy molecules created by your liver from fats — and ketones seem to be preferentially metabolized.

In other words, ketones spare those branched-chain amino acids, leaving higher levels of them in circulation while also helping you retain muscle mass and promoting longevity.

Ketones — A Healthy, Clean-Burning Fuel

The primary reason that so many people are overweight and/or in poor health these days is that the Westernized diet is overloaded with non-fiber carbs as the primary fuel, which in turn inhibit your body’s ability to access and burn body fat.

High-quality fats, meanwhile, are a far preferable fuel, as they are utilized far more efficiently than carbs. When you burn fat as your primary fuel, your respiratory quotient (the amount of oxygen you need) typically goes down,2 which is a sign that your metabolism is running more efficiently.

How to Enter Into Nutritional Ketosis

The most efficient way to train your body to use fat for fuel is to remove most of the sugars and starches from your diet, and that’s true for everyone, whether you’re an elite athlete or a sedentary diabetic. At the same time, you’ll want to replace those carbs with healthy fats.

A dietary intake of about 50 grams or less per day of net carbs while also keeping protein low-to-moderate is usually low enough to allow you to make the shift to nutritional ketosis (the metabolic state associated with an increased production of ketones in your liver; i.e., the biological reflection of being able to burn fat).

This is only a generalization, as each person responds to foods in a different way. Some people can enter into full ketosis while eating as much as 70 to 80 grams of non-fiber carbs. Others, especially if you’re insulin resistant or have type 2 diabetes, may require less than 40 grams, or even as little as 30 grams per day, to get there.

To find your personal carb target, it’s important to measure not just your blood glucose but also your ketones, which can be done either through urine, breath or blood.

This will give you an objective measure of whether or not you’re truly in ketosis, rather than just relying on counting the grams of carbohydrates you consume. Nutritional ketosis is defined as blood ketones that stay in the range of 0.5 to 3.0 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).

That said, using a nutrient tracker will radically improve your ability to understand how much and what kind of foods help you to keep to your ketogenic diet nutrient targets while also helping you to assess the nutrient value of your food choices.

My first choice is Cronometer.com/mercola. That’s my upgrade to the basic Cronometer nutrient tracker, and the default is set to macronutrient levels that will support nutritional ketosis.

Avoid Milk and Consider MCT Oil

Aside from added sugars and grains, it is best to avoid milk for the time being, as it can be difficult to stay in ketosis if you eat or drink a lot of it.

The galactose in milk is a carbohydrate and you can easily exceed your net carb allotment by drinking a single glass of milk. Casein, the primary protein in milk, can also trigger or contribute to inflammation.

When you keep net carbs low, your body switches to burning fat for fuel and your liver begins to convert some of that fat into ketone bodies. This is endogenous production, meaning that they are made by your body from your fat stores or from the fats in the foods that you eat.

You can boost your level of ketones by taking them in supplement form, but these exogenous ketones (made in a lab, not in your body) are not likely to be as beneficial unless you are already “low carb.” Food oils such as medium chain triglyceride (MCT) coconut oil can also be used to mildly increase ketone levels.

Ketogenic Diet Has Long Track Record of Use for Epileptic Seizures

Authority Nutrition reviews 15 health conditions shown to respond favorably to a ketogenic diet,3 and that’s likely a short list.

Based on my understanding of mitochondrial health and metabolic function, a vast majority of health conditions could fall into this category. One of the conditions for which a ketogenic diet has the longest and best documented track record is epilepsy.

This diet has been effectively used to treat drug resistant epileptic seizures since the 1920s,4 and studies have confirmed it’s helpful for both children and adults.

In my view, it would be wise to implement a ketogenic diet as a first-line therapy, but in conventional medicine, it’s typically not considered or recommended unless the patient fails to respond to medication.

Even then, this conversation may have to be initiated by the patient, or the parent of a child with seizures. As noted in the featured article:5

“Research shows that seizures typically improve in about 50 percent of epilepsy patients who follow the classic ketogenic diet. This is also known as a 4:1 ketogenic diet because it provides four times as much fat as protein and carbs combined.

The modified Atkins diet (MAD) is based on a considerably less restrictive 1:1 ratio of fat to protein and carbs. It has been shown to be equally effective for seizure control in most adults and children older than two years of age.”

Nutritional Ketosis Improves Your Brain Health

Your brain will work better in general when burning fat rather than glucose, as fat has been shown to be both neurotherapeutic and neuroprotective. While fats are unable to cross the blood brain barrier, ketones, being water-soluble fats, can cross it and feed your brain. They also appear to lower markers of systemic inflammation, such as IL-6 and others. Many times, improved cognition and mental acuity are among the first things people notice when entering nutritional ketosis.

Ketones are the preferred source of energy for your brain in general, but especially for those affected by diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and maybe even ALS, because in these diseases certain neurons have become insulin resistant or have lost the ability to efficiently utilize glucose, which causes the neurons to die off. When ketones are present, these neurons have a better chance of surviving and thriving.

In one study, Parkinson’s patients who followed a 4-to-1 ketogenic diet experienced, on average, a 43 percent improvement in their symptoms after one month.6 For Alzheimer’s, supplementing with MCT oil appears to be particularly beneficial.7,8

Studies also support the use of nutritional ketosis for autism. As noted in the featured article, “Autism shares some features with epilepsy, and many people with autism experience seizures related to the over-excitement of brain cells.” Research shows nutritional ketosis helps dampen this excessive activity; in one pilot study,9 a majority of autistic children showed improvement after following a cyclical ketogenic diet for six months.

Unlike blood glucose, blood ketones do not stimulate an insulin surge. They also do not need insulin to help them cross cell membranes, including neuronal membranes. Instead, they use simple diffusion, so they can even enter cells that have become insulin resistant. This is likely one of the reasons nutritional ketosis works so well for a variety of neurological problems and diseases. It even shows promise for:

  • Migraine headaches: Following a ketogenic diet for four weeks has been shown to reduce migraine frequency and lower the use of pain medication.10,11
  • Traumatic brain injuries: Animal studies suggest it can help reduce brain swelling, improve motor function and speed up recovery, although it appears more effective in the young than the old. Human studies still need to validate these findings.12

Metabolic Conditions Improve on Ketogenic Diet

Nutritional ketosis is also indicated for obesity, metabolic syndrome (prediabetes) and diabetes. This is not surprising, considering the fact that one of its beneficial effects is correcting insulin resistance. If you meet at least three of the following criteria, you may be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome: abdominal obesity, elevated triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and/or elevated fasting blood sugar. Nutritional ketosis has been shown to improve most of these.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is strongly associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, has also been shown to improve on a low-carb diet high in healthy fats. In one study,13 obese men diagnosed with metabolic syndrome and NAFLD showed significant improvement in their weight, blood pressure, liver enzymes and liver fat after four months on a ketogenic diet; 21 percent completely resolved their NAFLD.

Glycogen storage disease (GSD) and glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) deficiency syndrome are two other conditions for which a ketogenic diet is a literal life saver. GSD is characterized by a lack of an enzyme that helps store glucose as glycogen or break glycogen down into glucose. The exact form of the disease depends on which enzyme in question that’s lacking. As noted by Authority Nutrition:

“GSD patients are often advised to consume high-carb foods at frequent intervals so glucose is always available to the body. However, early research suggests that a ketogenic diet may benefit people with some forms of GSD, [for example] GSD III, also known as Forbes-Cori disease … [and] GSD V, also known as McArdle disease … “

In GLUT1 deficiency syndrome (a rare genetic disease), you lack a protein that helps shuttle blood sugar into your brain. Seizures and impaired motor skills are two common symptoms that typically manifest shortly after birth. The benefit of a ketogenic diet is quite apparent in this case, as ketones do not need this protein in order to enter your brain. Hence ketones are an ideal fuel for GLUT1 deficient people, allowing their brains to function more normally.

Hormonal and Nervous System Disorders May Improve on Ketogenic Diet

Your hormone regulation and nervous system may also benefit from being an effective fat burner. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and multiple sclerosis (MS) are two conditions that appear to respond well to this switch in primary fuel. PCOS, which puts women at an increased risk of developing insulin resistance, diabetes, infertility, coronary artery syndrome, lipid disorders (such as elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure) and possibly breast cancer, is characterized by:

  • Hyperinsulinemia (insulin resistance with elevated serum insulin levels)
  • Increased androgen (male hormone) production, causing facial hair and/or acne
  • The complete or almost complete lack of ovulation
  • Obesity

In one study,14 women diagnosed with PCOS who followed a ketogenic diet for six months lost an average of 12 percent of their body weight and reduced their fasting insulin by an average of 54 percent. Levels of sex hormones also showed improvement, and 2 of the 11 women were able to get pregnant despite a history of infertility.

MS, an autoimmune disease, results in damage to the myelin sheath (the protective nerve covering), causing symptoms such as numbness, loss of balance and declining motor function, as well as vision and memory problems. As noted in the featured article: “One study15 of MS in a mouse model found that a ketogenic diet suppressed inflammatory markers. The reduced inflammation led to improvements in memory, learning and physical function.”

Nutritional Ketosis May Be the Key to Cancer Prevention

Cancer is a devastating disease, and today it’s hard to find anyone whose life hasn’t been affected in some way by this disease. In fact, it’s become one of the leading causes of death around the world. What’s worse, the medical profession is largely ignorant of the fact that most cancers are rooted in metabolic and mitochondrial dysfunction, and hence the conventional prevention recommendations do little to nothing to quell the tide of cancer diagnoses.

It is my belief, as well as that of many of the experts I have interviewed, that over 90 percent of cancer cases are either preventable or treatable. The key is recognizing that cancer is really a mitochondrial metabolic disease, rooted in poor diet choices combined with a toxic lifestyle.

Viewing cancer as a metabolic disease — opposed to a disease of damaged DNA, which is a downstream effect of mitochondrial dysfunction — gives us the power to control this dysfunction by carefully choosing foods and nutrients and employing strategies that help optimize the biochemical pathways that suppress cancer growth while simultaneously stimulating mechanisms to push it into remission.

Nutritional ketosis has received a lot of attention by cancer researchers in recent years, and many studies show it has great potential not just as a form of cancer prevention but also treatment — in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.16 Research is looking at whether non-toxic metabolic therapies and drug cocktails may be just as effective, with less toxicity.

In fact, according to Dr. Thomas Seyfried, who is one of the leading academic researchers of nutritional interventions for cancer, the mechanism by which the ketogenic diet manages cancer is far clearer and more readily understood than the way the ketogenic diet manages epileptic seizures. This is ironic considering that it’s barely recognized, let alone applied, within oncology circles, while it’s been an accepted treatment for epilepsy since the 1920s.

The central premise is that since cancer cells need glucose and insulin to thrive, lowering the glucose level in your blood though carb and protein restriction literally starves the cancer cells. Additionally, low protein intake tends to dampen the mTOR pathway that is often responsible for accelerating cell proliferation.

Correcting Metabolic Dysfunction and Optimizing Mitochondrial Health Paves the Way for a Long, Healthy Life

I have come to recognize that mitochondrial dysfunction is at the core of what is causing your system to go haywire. You have thousands of mitochondria in nearly all of your cells and they generate around 90 percent of the energy you need for health and survival.

When large numbers of them cease to function properly, your body can no longer function as intended, setting you up for developing any number of diseases. For some, it may manifest as diabetes or heart disease; in others, it shows up as cancer or some form of neurodegenerative disease.

The remedy lies in optimizing your mitochondrial function and correcting the metabolic dysfunctions of insulin and leptin resistance. Here, we have focused on the benefits of a ketogenic diet, which means eating foods high in healthy fats, with moderate protein and low net carbs (think non-fiber carbs).

The choices you make in dietary fats are really critical, as fatty acids contribute to the formation of cellular membranes, and it’s virtually impossible to have optimal biological function with impaired cell membranes. So dietary fat serves two purposes; first, as a fuel, but also as the building blocks for the structural components of your body.

Most Americans unknowingly consume large quantities of harmful fats, like processed vegetable oils, which contribute to your deterioration over time. So when I talk about dietary fats, I’m referring to natural, unprocessed fat, found in whole foods like seeds, nuts, butter, olives, avocado, coconut oil, raw cacao or cacao butter. But also remember that MCT oil has some great health benefits as well.

Other Strategies That Promote Healthy Fat Burning

Two other strategies that will help you make the transition from burning sugar to burning fat as your primary fuel are:

Extended or intermittent fasting, such as Peak Fasting. Intermittent fasting is an alternative to extended fasts. While I used to recommend skipping breakfast and making lunch your first meal, I eventually learned that for most, skipping dinner is a far more effective strategy.

This is because you are the least metabolically active while you are sleeping, so the last thing you want to do is add fuel you don’t need in the evening. Doing so will simply generate excess dangerous free radicals.

However, this may be enormously challenging for most people to implement. It’s easy for most people in nutritional ketosis to skip breakfast because they’re not hungry anyway but skipping dinner may seem more like a hardship. Most people view breakfast as an obligation and dinner as more of a social event. If you can’t skip dinner, allow at least three to six hours between this last meal and bedtime.

The challenge then becomes to determine the most appropriate time to eat your breakfast. I wear a 24-hour glucose monitor and I have learned that I can pin-point the ideal time to break my fast by tracking my glucose. You can, too, even without this specialized monitor. Simply measure your glucose at regular intervals in the morning, and when you notice your glucose level rising, even though you haven’t eaten, it’s a sign you’re undergoing gluconeogenesis.

Basically, your body is starting to break down protein (muscle), turning it into glucose. This is not a healthy process, so when this occurs, you’ll want to eat something to avoid muscle degeneration. In my experience, that will typically occur after 16 hours of fasting or so, although it’s highly individual. If you’re a competitive athlete, this strategy may not be appropriate, but it could work for most average people.

Exercising is a great way to increase mitochondrial repair and regeneration as it is a potent stimulus of PGC1 alpha which is likely the most potent stimulus in your body for mitochondrial biogenesis.

Sources and References

The Case Against Veganism — Carefully Researched Book Spills the Beans

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By Dr. Mercola

An estimated 6 million Americans are vegans, which is typically considered to be a healthy choice. However, there are drawbacks to strict veganism that need careful consideration.

Mara Kahn, author of “Vegan Betrayal: Love, Lies, and Hunger in a Plants-Only World,” delves deep into the history and science of veganism, revealing many oft-ignored facts about this strictly plant-based diet.

She’s put together a compelling story, covering her personal journey from being a vegan and vegetarian to exploring diet and health and finding out the truth behind the hype. It’s really the best book I’ve ever read on this topic, as it covers the vegan issues in their entirety.

“Even though my book is titled “Vegan Betrayal,” I do respect vegans and what they’re trying to do. My own journey led me back to vegetarianism. I know that many … vegetarians that became vegans … are suffering from diminished strength and faltering health.

I think this is a topic which has been swept under the rug and it’s not being openly discussed in the vegan community. I think it’s very important that we start this discussion. I hope this book will help kick-start that really important dialogue,” Kahn says.

 

Veganism Has No Historical Support for Its Health Claims

While I would never argue with anyone who decides to be a vegan for philosophical, spiritual or ethical reasons, I believe it’s important to consider and address the risks if you’re jumping into veganism for its purported health benefits alone.

Surveys show ethical considerations are the primary reason people convert to vegetarianism or veganism. But as Kahn reveals in her book, veganism is not the only ethical diet. She also presents compelling arguments that it’s not a historically validated diet.

Kahn became a vegetarian at age 19, while traveling in Europe. She became an overnight convert after meeting a young vegan woman who Kahn refers to as “a beautiful specimen of humanity” and “extremely healthy” — not realizing this same woman would return to eating meat just five years later due to fading energy.Up to that time, Kahn had eaten a very meat-based American-style diet, including bacon and hamburgers.

At that time, in the 1970s, veganism was largely unheard of. It didn’t get a strong hold in the U.S. until the 1980s.

Interestingly enough, Kahn’s investigation reveals there doesn’t appear to be a single cultural group in the history of the world who actually survived long-term on an exclusively plant-based diet. So from a health perspective, there’s very little historical support for the strict veganism idealized today.

“I did a thorough research of the history of vegetarianism. In fact, I spent almost six years researching this book. I’m a journalist … I love to dig deep,” Kahn says.

“At this point, it’s really important that we distinguish between vegetarianism and veganism. Vegetarianism has a very long and honorable history. It goes back at least 2,500 years to Greece, and much further than that in the Indus Valley, India, and that part of the world.

It has proven itself to be a viable diet … [Yet even] in the Northern parts of India, the Kashmir regions, they eat meat because the climate is so different in the mountainous regions of North India.

Vegetarianism has a very long and noble history with verified health results. However, veganism … is a non-historical diet … Its health benefits are not verified.

There were scattered enclaves of religious people that lived cloistered lives whoprobably did follow a vegan diet … but these were very, very tiny populations, and we have no idea if they were healthy and how long they lived.”

 

There Are Short-Term Benefits to Veganism, but Long-Term Risks

From a historical perspective, veganism is a very recent development. The roots of veganism go back to England, when in 1944, Donald Watson coined the term “vegan.” Watson’s primary argument for veganism was one of ethics. At the age of 14, he’d witnessed the slaughter of a pig, which left him horrified.

Immediately, he decided to stop eating meat and wanted the whole world to follow suit, despite having no training in nutrition. Veganism is based on ideology, not human physiology, Kahn reminds us in her book, which also delves into human evolution.

Part of the confusion is that many vegans appear quite healthy in the earlier stages. This isn’t so surprising when you consider the fact that many switch from processed foods to a mostly raw plant-based diet. The influx of live foods will undoubtedly improve your health.

However, in the long term, the absence of all animal-based foods can take a toll, as certain nutrients cannot be obtained from the plant kingdom. Carnosine, carnitine, taurine, retinol, vitamin D3, conjugated linoleic acid and long-chained omega-3 fats are examples. B12 deficiency is also very common among vegans.

After six or seven years, the B12 stored in your liver will be completely exhausted, at which point you may start to experience serious neurodegenerative diseases. There are many documented cases of blindness from B12 deficiency, as well as other neurological disorders.

Historically, Vegetarianism Always Included Some Animal Foods

Vegetarianism typically allows both dairy and eggs. Back in Pythagoras’ days, early Western vegetarians also ate fish. (Today, this “branch” of vegetarianism is sometimes separated out and referred to as pescetarianism.)

My passion has been identifying food to optimize health and I’m absolutely convinced that seafood is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, primarily because of its docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) content — a 22-carbon omega-3 fat that is absolutely essential for your health, as it’s a structural component of your cell membranes.

If you have low DHA levels, it’s almost physiologically impossible to be healthy because it’s such an important part of energy generation at the molecular level. You need DHA, which is only found in fatty fish and certain other marine animals like krill.

There’s even quantum physics going on with respect to its ability to capture light and integrate it into your system. For example, DHA in your retinal pigmented epithelium is responsible for converting sunlight into vital DC electric current your body needs. If you’re deficient, your ability to generate energy by your mitochondria will be impaired.

Granted, water pollution is a major concern today, so you have to eat really low on the food chain. Anchovies, sardines, herring, wild Alaskan salmon, fish roe and krill are all good choices as they’re high in omega-3s while being low in mercury and other pollutants.

Like It or Not, You Need Marine-Based DHA

If you exclude these foods, you’re just not going to be healthy. And contrary to popular belief, you simply cannot obtain all the DHA you need from plant sources. Plant-based omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA) has 18 carbons whereas marine-based omega-3s (DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA) have 22 and 20 respectively. The difference in the length of the carbon chain makes a significant difference in terms of functionality.

ALA functions as a source of fuel (food), whereas EPA and DHA are structural elements. More than 90 percent of the omega-3 fat found in your brain tissue is DHA, which suggests how important it is for healthy neurological function, for example.

The problem is that, although your body can convert some of the ALA found in plants to the DHA found in marine oils, it is very rare for it to be more than 5 percent — the typical conversion rate is 1 to 3 percent, or even less.1 This simply isn’t enough to have any significant benefit.

So please, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can forgo marine-sourced DHA for a plant-based ALA found in flaxseed, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts and leafy greens.

Adding Fish Can Make a Big Difference

I think one of the reasons why vegetarians — at least those who follow Pythagoras’ model, which includes fish — seem so healthy is because this diet is lower in protein than the conventional meat-based diet. When you eat excessive protein, you stimulate powerful biochemical pathways that trigger disease. This, combined with the fact that fish provides critical omega-3 and other healthy fats and cofactors, makes a strong case for the “pescetarian” form of vegetarianism.

“I agree totally,” Kahn says. “I remember trying to be an omnivore again … I started eating plenty of fish and my health skyrocketed almost immediately … My energy just skyrocketed. I started sleeping better. My nerves became calm. I was in intense gratitude to this first [wild salmon] that I ate; for the energy and the renewed love for life that it bestowed on me. It was absolutely amazing.

I did interviews and talked to or heard the stories of hundreds of vegans and ex-vegans, and almost invariably … the same thing happened to them … I think there’s a very good reason Pythagoras ate some fish from time to time. It was plentiful in the Mediterranean region where he lived. It wasn’t contaminated. There’s reason he prescribed it to his everyday followers in the towns. That reason is probably DHA …

DHA is really a problem with vegans … In fact, two of the founders of veganism, as they became older, suffered from Parkinson’s disease. They had their DHA tested and it was zero … I eat sardines every other day. The rush of powerful and sustained energy I get from them I cannot find anywhere in the plant world.”

 

Low Protein and Low Fat — 2 Common Health Barriers for Vegans

While keeping your protein low is a wise move, excessively low protein can become a problem for vegans — especially if your diet is also low in healthy fats. Some will get just eight to 12 percent protein from plants in their daily diet, which can trigger muscle wasting. “In that sense, vegans are consuming flesh after all — their own — if they’re not eating enough protein,” Kahn says.

Low fat is another, and in my view, more concerning problem, among vegans. When you eat a high net carb diet (total carbs minus fiber), you’re essentially burning carbohydrates as your primary fuel. If you shift down to relatively low levels of net carbs, which is easy to do on a vegetarian diet since vegetables are so high in fiber, then your body starts burning fat as its primary fuel. This means you need to increase the amount of healthy fats in your diet in order to satisfy your body’s fuel demands.

Sufficient dietary fat is also essential for maintaining healthy hormone levels, Kahn notes, including your sex hormones. Raw veganism in particular is associated with loss of menses (amenorrhea), due to low calorie and fat intake, increasing your risk for infertility and osteoporosis.

Low fat is likely far more troublesome than low protein, because once you start burning fat for fuel, powerful protein-sparing processes start taking place, allowing you to get by with as little as 6 to 8 percent protein without risking muscle wasting. I only have 8 percent protein in my diet and I do not believe I’m protein deficient. That’s because fat is my primary fuel. If I were burning carbs, I would not fare well at all with such a low amount of protein.

Veganism Has a High Drop Out Rate

The health problems associated with veganism create a high dropout rate. It’s difficult to find good statistics on this, as people don’t want to discuss it. Many are ashamed, feeling they’ve somehow “failed,” and many are shamed by their fellow vegans, who believe they’re making a huge mistake to go back to eating animal foods.

“I’ve even read accounts of ex-vegans who describe it as kind of cult-ish. The shaming that ensues is very powerful … One vegan told me that when she decided to go and buy some eggs for the first time in, I don’t know, 10 or 15 years … her boyfriend, who was a staunch vegan, refused to go in with her. In fact, he had told her … he would rather she was a continually suffering vegan than to be a healthy meat-eater.

This, to me, was a perfect illustration of what I personally call Reverse Speciesism, preferring the health of an animal over the health of your fellow human being, which is really kind of a new thing, I think, in human history. It’s not talked about much in the vegan community — the high dropout rate — but the numbers are large … It’s estimated about 50 percent of vegans have left because of declining strength and declining health.

 

Even Vegan Diet Affects Animals

What many vegans fail to integrate into their overall evaluation is that even the consumption of an exclusively plant-based diet involves killing a wide variety of animals. Not intentionally, of course, but rather as an artifact of the process of growing the food. Essentially, there’s no animal-free lunch, which is a direct quote from Kahn’s book. There’s going to be some type of destruction of life involved. Then there’s the issue of plant consciousness as well.

As noted by Kahn, unless you’re growing all your food by yourself in a no-till organic setting using hand tools, animals are destroyed in industrial agriculture. Studies by reputable scientists show up to 70 percent of rodents and small animals present in industrial growing fields end up being killed by the machinery. Animals are also killed in traps, and during food storage and transportation. As Kahn says:

“To be a vegan, you have to somewhere draw the line on what food you will eat and what you won’t. For most of them, it’s a matter of consciousness. Is the living thing conscious of what’s going on? Is it suffering? That demarcation between an animal that’s conscious and unconscious has totally changed throughout history and throughout cultures.

For instance, now they’re looking at fish. In the past, it was just decided, because they were so cold looking and expressionless, that fish didn’t have consciousness. But new testing is showing that perhaps they do; perhaps they can feel pain … People are taking that further and looking at insects. I interviewed scientists that work with insects. Some of them really do believe that insects have consciousness and an intelligence that we can’t even understand …

The same with plants … Brilliant botanists believe that plants have elevated intelligence that we can’t even begin to understand, because we don’t speak the same “language.” They know for sure that plants absolutely know when they are being eaten.

Living plants send out chemicals to warn their neighbors of danger ahead and they send out chemicals that summon insect bodyguards to ward off predators. These are intelligent beings that want to live. They have what I call “want to live, don’t want to die” skills that are very developed.”

It’s also worth noting that some of the research vegans rely on to substantiate their dietary choices as healthy actually do not offer such proof. For example, when Kahn dug deep into some of the most well-known studies that vegans love to cite, she discovered they actually define vegetarianism in a very broad way. They do not support a purely plant-based (vegan) diet at all. Not only did these studies include fish-eaters, but also dairy-eaters and even those who ate red meat once a week.

Why the American Dietetic Association Now Promotes Plant-Based Diet

Kahn says to be very wary of vegan studies conducted by vegans. As with all conflicts of interest, people have a tendency to find what they want to find, even if they have to massage the data a bit to get there. Interestingly, in recent years the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), formerly the American Dietetic Association (ADA), made the transition to promoting a plant-based diet. As it turns out, this decision was primarily based on the recommendations of a devoted vegan and a vegetarian.

“The ADA position paper, which came out in 2009, recommends a vegetarian and a vegan diet to all people of all ages, from infancy to old age. If you do some more digging, as journalists love to do, [you find] it was co-authored by two people. One was a vegetarian and one was a vegan. In fact, the vegetarian belongs to a religious denomination that encourages the spreading of vegetarianism across the world.

My question is: why weren’t these two authors tagged for conflict of interest? They’re recommending this to the whole world and to all ages …

There are some serious flaws in their research. First of all, I looked at their sources. I can’t remember if it was 100 or 200 sources. I could find only 17 in all those sources that were exclusive to vegans. You cannot take vegetarian research and apply it to vegans. It just doesn’t work. There are too many missing nutrients in a vegan diet that are present in a vegetarian diet.

I wish that vegans would not just read vegan blogs and websites and recommendations from other vegans. They need to look at science, at research — non-biased sources. They need to read my book, which would tell them everything they want to know about the history, philosophy and nutritional facts of veganism.”

That’s not an inflated claim, I can assure you. I’ve read hundreds of health books, and Kahn’s book, “Vegan Betrayal,” is among the very best when it comes to teasing out the truth about veganism and health.

Balance Ethics and Health When Choosing Your Diet

I’m not opposed to vegetarianism. By Pythagoras’ definition, I am a vegetarian. I eat very small amounts of animal protein; mostly fish. Occasionally, I’ll have some organic grass-fed meat or free-range pastured chicken. But meats are not a cornerstone staple in my diet, and I believe most people could benefit from lowering their meat consumption. It shouldn’t be entirely excluded, however, because animal foods do contain very valuable nutrients your body needs for optimal health.

Organic pastured eggs are another source of incredibly healthy nutrients. Ditto for raw butter. If ethics and animal welfare are your concerns, I would encourage you to investigate and educate yourself on humanely-raised animal foods.

Yes, the animal will die in the end, but there’s a tremendous difference between the life of an animal raised in a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) and one raised on pasture that is allowed to live a full, healthy, stress-free life. There’s also a big difference in the way they’re slaughtered.

At the end of the day, you have to choose between the life of an animal somewhere — even if only a few rodents caught in a harvester — or your own health. A balance must be struck between optimizing your health and causing the least amount of unnecessary suffering.

“If you look at the most lauded diet in the world, the Mediterranean diet — which by the way, they were doing a long-term study on, and which they ended early in 2013 because the benefits were so enormous they felt it was unethical to deprive the control group — the Mediterranean diet, which is mostly plants, limited fish, limited red meat, limited dairy, [gives you] all the carni-nutrients you need … It’s a complete diet.

It’s been named one of the best diets in the world. It’s historically validated for thousands of years and many, many generations that this diet confers long lasting health and long life … The vegan diet is not validated. That’s what we need to work on — getting those research studies done, so that future vegans will know what they’re up against,” Kahn says.

Sources and References

Transgenic Wars — How GMOs Impact Livestock and Human Health Around the Globe

Source

By Dr. Mercola

“Transgenic Wars,” an award-winning film by French investigative journalist Paul Moreira, takes us on a journey through Europe and Latin America, looking at the effects of genetically engineered (GE) crops, both on livestock and human health.

It also delves into tangential concerns, such as the increased use of glyphosate-based herbicides, atrazine and 2,4-D, the latter of which was an ingredient in the devastating defoliant Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War.

Coincidentally, Monsanto was a leading producer of Agent Orange during the war, and its war contributions, which began with its involvement in the Manhattan Project and the creation of the atomic bomb, help explain how Monsanto has managed to secure such staunch allegiance from the U.S. government.

It’s a destructive and often incomprehensible allegiance that continues to this day, with the U.S. government’s support of and involvement in spreading Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) crops and toxic chemicals around the world — now repackaged as “necessary” for agriculture.

Monsanto, being a leader in GE seeds and the chemicals that go with them, receives a fair share of the attention throughout the film. Ecologist Patrick Moore, Ph.D., who made the unlikely transition from co-founder of Greenpeace to being a professional GE supporter and lobbyist, is also featured.

In a sensational video1 that has garnered more than 1.4 million views, Moreira suggested Moore drink a glass of Roundup to prove his assertion that the herbicide is completely harmless. Moore’s refusal, saying he’s “not stupid,” is included in the film.

Danish Pig Farmers Struggle With Mysterious Swine Disease

The film starts off in Denmark, where pig breeders are struggling to determine the cause of a mysterious swine disease, simply referred to as “the yellow death.” The disease causes violent diarrhea, and is often lethal to the affected pigs.

Virtually all feed their pigs GE soy, and many suspect this may be the source of the problem. Ib Pedersen is a long-time pig farmer in Denmark.

When he first started feeding his pigs GE soy in the 1980s, the mix contained about 20 percent GE soy. Over the years, the ratio increased, and by 2002, about 90 percent of the soy in the feed was GE.

Like other farmers, Pedersen struggled to contain “the yellow death,” which would kill up to 30 percent of the piglets born each year, until one day he decided to remove the GE soy from the feed mix. Within two days, changes were noticeable. There was not a single case of diarrhea among his pigs.

In the three years he’s been feeding his pigs all non-GE feed, he’s never had a single case of “the yellow death” again. Pedersen single-handedly managed to raise doubts about the safety of GE soy among Danish farmers. Interestingly, Pedersen may have identified the problem even more closely. He noticed two intriguing connections:

1.When GE soy was sourced from Argentina, all of the farmers who received it ended up with outbreaks of diarrhea among their pigs. What was it about this Argentinian GE soy that was so much worse than others?

2.He found images of deformed Argentinian children online, which local doctors and scientists insist are caused by pesticide exposure, as many villagers are surrounded by GE fields where toxic chemicals are sprayed with wanton abandon.

He was struck by how similar these deformities were to the deformities found in his piglets. Could pesticide-contaminated GE soy be the cause of the pig farmers’ problems?

Transgenic Soy Destroying Argentina

Argentina is the third largest grower of transgenic crops in the world, and the second-largest producer of GE soy. GE crops have radically altered the face of the country.

Transgenic crops have eliminated the need for large workforces on the farm, eradicating entire villages and contributing to massive poverty.2 Gone is the agricultural diversity Argentina used to boast, replaced instead by massive single-crop fields of GE corn, soy and cotton.

Moreira visits Avia Terai, a small rural village surrounded by GE fields. Here, children are born with strange maladies and degenerative diseases of unknown origin. One little girl has large brownish-black spots all over her face and body — marks she’s had since birth.

Another is slowly wasting away from an undiagnosed degenerative disease thought to be genetic, aggravated by exposure to herbicides. Many of the children are deformed in one way or another. Many of the elders are dying from cancer.

The villagers refer to Monsanto’s Roundup as “the poison,” and do their best to avoid getting sprayed. They all fear the large tractor that sprays one of two things on the fields: water or herbicide, and there’s no telling what is being sprayed when.

One woman describes how she shuts herself and her children inside whenever she hears the tractor. Still, avoidance is difficult when you’re surrounded by fields, and spray drifts in the wind, settling in water and on clothes hanging out to dry.

Argentinian Farmers Recognize GE Soy Cannot Be Used for Animal Feed

Tellingly, a GE farmer being secretly taped by Moreira reveals they do not feed this GE soy to any of their animals; “If you feed your chickens with it, you can no longer eat their eggs,” he says. When asked why, he says because the eggs smell so bad you cannot eat them. This is why all of his GE soy is exported.

Meanwhile, the nearby villagers suffer, being regularly fumigated. Efforts to dialogue with the GE soy farmers have led to naught, and the companies that own the fields are so rich, fines do not dissuade them from spraying well within the illegal perimeter of residential housing.

In the 15 years that transgenic crops have been grown in Argentina, there have only been three convictions for illegal fumigation, despite it being a common occurrence. In the case of Avia Terai, the village is only 200 meters (656 feet) from the transgenic soya field.

By law, pesticides are not permitted to be used within 1.5 kilometers (just under 1 mile) of resident housing.

Their situation is not unique. In fact, the problem is so great, the Argentinian government has been forced to subsidize pesticide-induced disability centers to manage the growing health crisis. These centers are now filled with children from villages where the parents were exposed to agricultural chemicals. Overall, birth defects are about 350 percent higher in areas where GE crops are grown, compared to the rest of the country.3

As noted by one of the nurses at a disability center in Saenz Peña, “We export our [GE] soy to your countries to feed the animals you are eating … But we are the ones truly paying the price for it.” Retired pediatrician Dr. Maria Del Carmen Seveso goes so far as to call it genocide, saying the situation is really serious.

Deformed Children, Deformed Pigs — Are Herbicides to Blame?

It was images of these deformed Argentinian children, posted on the internet, that got Pedersen, the Danish pig farmer, thinking. Like all other pig farmers, he had his fair share of deformed pigs being born.

He hadn’t paid it much attention, other than to recognize that these things happen from time to time, but deformities had become more common, and he was struck by the similarities of the deformities he saw in the Argentinian children who’d been exposed to pesticides in utero.

When it comes to determining which pesticides are to blame, there are many open questions. As it turns out, glyphosate is not the only chemical being used on Argentina’s GE soy fields. As resistant weeds flourish, many farmers have resorted to adding other chemicals to the mix, and it’s unclear who’s using what.

The synergistic action of chemicals will typically augment the toxicity of the mixture, compared to any given chemical on its own, but no studies have been done to determine the exact hazard level of various concoctions.

As Moreira comes across a tractor set to spray a field, he finds not only Monsanto’s Roundup, but also atrazine — which is banned in Europe but extensively used in the U.S. — and 2,4-D, one of the main components of the military herbicide Agent Orange, extensively used over the jungles during the Vietnam War.

One thing’s clear: The promise that transgenic crops would lead to “greener” agriculture and less chemicals has NOT come to pass. Instead, more and more chemicals are being used on our food and the feed we raise our livestock on.

Mutant Enemies

As transgenic crops have taken over Argentina, herbicide-resistant weeds have become a serious problem. More than 30 million hectares (74.1 million acres) of GE soy is planted in Argentina, and glyphosate is applied to each field at least three or four times a year. This has spawned a whole new kind of weed — one resistant to glyphosate, just like the GE crop itself.

To address the problem, farmers not only apply more pesticides, they also mix different pesticides together to prevent the weeds from adapting to a single formula. As a result, anywhere from three to five additional chemicals are routinely added to the glyphosate. Newer GE seeds are also designed to resist even more toxic combinations.

As noted in the film, there’s no definitive proof that agricultural chemicals are responsible for the health crisis in Argentina. But there’s no evidence proving they’re not responsible either. And the government has done nothing to determine the truth.

In fact, the government of Argentina has been and continues to be very supportive of the GE industry, and Monsanto ads are commonplace on Argentinian TV, assuring the people their products are safe and effective. Meanwhile, no studies have ever been done to ascertain whether all of these chemical cocktails create dangerous interactions or cause the severe health problems now seen among children raised in agricultural areas.

Staggering Increases in Cancer

The only independently organized investigation of the health impact of GE crops, conducted by students of the Rosario Medical University, found that cancer rates increased by 40 percent in a single year in one village. In another, the cancer rate shot up by 250 percent. What these villages have in common is that they’re surrounded by GE fields and the fumigation border is extremely close to where they live.

Sadly, Argentina’s economy is now fully dependent on transgenic agriculture. According to Alejandro Mentaberry at the Ministry for Science, Argentina made about $65 billion on GE crops between 1996 — the year GE crops were introduced — and 2011. Mentaberry believes the country owes its “miraculous economic recovery” to the export of transgenic crops.

But at what price this miraculous economic boon? In April 2014, Argentinians took to the streets in Cordoba to protest against Monsanto and the use of their products. “Monsanto out! Yes to life, no to Monsanto! Monsanto is poison. Monsanto is corruption,” the people chanted as they marched through the streets.

The film goes on to discuss the political powers that support and steer countries into accepting genetically modified organisms(GMOs). For example, Wikileaks revealed how U.S. government officials are secretly doing the chemical technology industry’s dirty work, cajoling and threatening governments with retaliation as needed. U.K. government officials have also been caught acting like lobbyists and spokesmen for the GE industry.

Transatlantic trade agreements also stand poised to dismantle any remaining prohibitions against the free flow of GMOs and toxic chemicals into Europe, where laws protecting human and environmental health are stricter than in the U.S. Depending on the final outcome of these agreements, it’s possible no country will be able to oppose GMOs in the future, no matter what the human or environmental cost.

Patrick Moore and Golden Rice

Moore, a former Greenpeace activist, has become a prominent adversary of the movement against GMOs. According to Moreira, Moore left Greenpeace 30 years ago on bad terms, and has since made a name for himself as a supporter of all things anti-nature, including the nuclear industry, the mining industry and the transgenic industry. “He also thinks global warming is great for the planet,” Moreira notes.

He’s been a leading advocate for GE Golden Rice, designed to contain high amounts of beta-carotene, ostensibly to combat vitamin A deficiency in Third World countries. There are problems though. For starters, beta-carotene is a fat soluble vitamin. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, you need at least 3 grams of fat to ensure absorption of beta-carotene supplements.4

This enriched rice is intended for impoverished nations where dietary fats are nearly impossible to come by with any regularity, thereby rendering this type of supplementation useless at best.

It’s also unknown whether the beta-carotene in Golden Rice will hold up during storage between harvest seasons, or whether traditional cooking methods used to prepare the rice will destroy the beta-carotene. Last but not least, the rice is still under development, and all claims are therefore little more than wishful thinking.

Such facts should have shut down the Golden Rice fairy tale right from the get-go, but it hasn’t stopped the likes of Moore from spending much time and effort to promote it, likening the refusal to approve Golden Rice to genocide and Greenpeace’s opposition to the rice “a crime against humanity.”

To Build a Saner, Safer Food System, Start Close to Home

The problems may seem insurmountable, but there are solutions. The fact of the matter is farmers do not have to use chemical cocktails to produce ample food. Many areas would need serious intervention to improve and rebuild soil quality, which has been destroyed by decades of mechanized farming and chemicals, but it can be done.

As an individual, you can help steer the agricultural industry toward safer, more sustainable systems by growing your own foods and buying what you cannot grow from local farmers you trust. By far, processed foods are the most likely to contain GE ingredients, so avoiding processed foods of all kinds, including condiments, is one of the best ways to avoid them — and the chemical cocktails sprayed on these crops.

If everyone were to refuse to buy products containing GMOs, insisting on feeding their families pesticide-free, GMO-free foods, the food industry would have no choice but to respond. They cannot stay in business if people don’t buy their goods, and if food companies refuse to buy GE ingredients, the chemical biotechnology industry will lose its financial power to corrupt and manipulate governments.

It’s really just a massive trickle-down effect, and the masses really do have the power, even though Monsanto and their allies would like you to think otherwise.

There’s a way out of this mess, and it starts with each person making different purchasing choices for themselves and their families. 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

EatWild.com provides lists of farmers known to produce wholesome raw dairy products as well as grass-fed beef and other farm-fresh produce (although not all are certified organic). 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

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

The 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.

RealMilk.com

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 Fund5 also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.6California residents can also find raw milk retailers using the store locator available atwww.OrganicPastures.com.

About the Director

I believe in bringing quality to my readers, which is why I wanted to share some information about the director, Paul Moreira, from “Transgenic Wars.” Thank you to Mr. Moreira and the wonderful people at Java Films for bringing us “Transgenic Wars.”

Paul Moreira from Transgenic Wars

Paul Moreira (born in 1961 near Lisbon, Portugal) is a French journalist and documentary filmmaker who is based in Paris, France. He has directed several investigative documentaries in conflict zones, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, Israel, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

On top of this, Moreira has contributed to the emergence of investigative journalism on French television. In 1999, he created a show called 90 minutes on Canal Plus, a European television network. The investigations of his team collected several prestigious French awards. Some of their films even contributed to the reopening of criminal investigations.

Following the success of the show and at the request of the management of Canal Plus, he created a weekly slot dedicated to investigative documentaries called Lundi Investigation. Award-winning movies were commissioned and broadcasted, such as “Escadrons de la mort: l’école française” by Marie Monique Robin.

This film received the award of the political documentary of “Audiovisual Club” of the French senate in 2003, best investigative film at the Festival International du Grand Reportage d’Actualité (FIGRA) and an award of merit from the Latin American Studies Association.

In 2006, Moreira left Canal Plus to create an independent TV production company called Premieres Lignes (First Lines). Since then, he has been developing investigative and comprehensive films on global issues. He works on assignment for various French channels such as Canal Plus, Arte, France Televisions and La Chaine Parlementaire. His films have been broadcasted in most European countries, as well as Canada, India, Singapore, Australia, Japan and Russia …

Sources and References

Frankincense Oil: A Natural Treatment for Cancer?

Source

Frankincense oil

by Dr. Axe

Tradition tells us that the magi (three wise men) gave the infant King of Israel gifts of gold to honor his royalty, frankincense as a perfume and myrrh for anointing oil.

Although there probably is some truth to this, other sources claim that the wise men from the Far East were actually being more practical by giving the baby Jesus these precious, costly essential oils that could double up as potential medical remedies.


Frankincense Benefits

For over 5,000 years, frankincense has had many vital uses that go well beyond just being an anointing oil. It was used to support the immune system, fight infection and cure disease, even as a potential natural treatment for cancer. Today, the most common frankincense benefits include:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Cancer-fighting properties
  • Spiritual awareness
  • Boosts immunity
  • Fights infections
  • Improves anxiety
  • Heals skin and reduces acne and scarring

Research conducted by the University of Leicester in the U.K. has rekindled the theory that the “wise men” weren’t just bringing wealth to Jesus, but medicine — for it “demonstrated the potential of treating ovarian cancer using the Christmas gift frankincense.” (1)

Using the compound AKBA (acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid), the Omani government-funded research has for the first time shown frankincense’s ability to target cancer cells in late-stage ovarian cancer patients. Lead researcher Kamla Al-Salmani explained:

After a year of studying the AKBA compound with ovarian cancer cell lines in vitro, we have been able to show it is effective at killing the cancer cells. Frankincense is taken by many people with no known side effects. This finding has enormous potential to be taken to a clinical trial in the future and developed into an additional treatment for ovarian cancer.

Bear in mind that this research concerned Boswellic acid — a water soluble compound that is only found in the powder form of frankincense. However, there are other compounds found in frankincense oil that have been show to be beneficial in test tubes when treating cancer cells.


Potential Cancer-Killing Properties of Frankincense

Used because of its anti-inflammatory properties, frankincense, also known as Boswellia serrata, has been a favorite folk medicine for several health concerns, including asthma, gastroenteritis and skin conditions.

New research, like the University of Leicester study, has recently suggested that frankincense’s disease-targeting power may be even more encompassing than previously suspected. Successfully linking AKBA as a potential treatment for brain, breast, colon, pancreatic, prostate and stomach cancers, research trials are filling medical journals like Carcinogenesis and PLoS One about boswellia serrata’s cancer-targeting prowess. (2, 3)

According to researchers out of Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, the potential cancer-killing properties of frankincense are due in part to it regulating cellular epigenetic machinery, which highlights its ability to influence genes to promote healing.

Baylor cancer scientists emphasize that this potency makes Boswellia a viable candidate for both cancer prevention and treatment.


Natural Treatment of Cancer with Frankincense Oil 

People who have added Boswellia serrata into their natural health cancer care plan may find themselves experiencing double-benefits from this amazing essential oil.

For many cancer patients, there’s a time when the treatment becomes worse than the cancer itself. It is as this point that quality of life and symptom suppression is the focal point for many diagnosed with this deadly disease. Debilitating in-and-of itself, often the cancer treatment side effects can make having cancer absolutely miserable.

Take, for instance, brain cancer patients who experience cerebral edema (swelling in the head) after having their tumors irradiated. Typically, these people are treated withdexamethasone and other corticosteroids to control the swelling, but this is done at a great cost because the deadly complications of steroids are limitless.

Unfortunately, these people suffer toxic overload from the drugs that are supposed to help them in the first place and get headaches, migraines, and may even deal with blurred vision because of the steroid treatments.

Thankfully, frankincense offers a natural, viable solution to this horrible issue. Back in 2011, the journal Cancer published the results of a 44 person clinical trial evaluating how brain swelling was effected by frankincense. (4)

Astoundingly, 60 percent of the patients displayed 75 percent reduction or greater in cerebral swelling after being treated with 4,200 milligrams per day of frankincense. ??These results are so significant that scientists are urging the medical community to consider prescribing this potent essential oil instead of steroids for cancer patients assigned to radiation treatment.

We hope this spreads like wildfire within cancer treatment circles. Who knows what could happen if more people utilized this frankincense oil as a cancer natural treatmentapproach. As we’ve seen above, if Boswellia serrata can kill cancer cells and prevent tumors from growing, the sky’s the limit for folks who follow natural health guidelines.


Frankincense Benefits Immune Function

A growing body of research has recently unlocked the doors to our understanding of why frankincense benefits our health. In a study published by Phytotherapy Research, for instance, when mice took 1–10 milligrams of Boswellia serrata orally, it was discovered that multiple levels of their immune systems were stimulated including (5):

  • Delayed hypersensitivity reaction (early 24 hours, delayed 48 hours)
  • IgG
  • IgM
  • Cytokines (interferon gamma, interleukin-4, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha)
  • T-cell interactions (i.e. CD4/CD8, which are generally low in AIDS patients)

In layman’s terms, frankincense can significantly boost the immune system. Two fundamental ways this is accomplished is by proliferating lymphocytes (white blood cells, which are the body’s primary defense team) and by keeping inflammation at bay (which is arguably the primary risk factor for most chronic diseases).

This may also explain why frankincense is so effective in treating autoimmune conditions like bronchial asthma, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis.

Implement frankincense into your natural health regimen today and see how frankincense benefits your immune function. This essential oil can be used in diffusers with ease to treat respiratory conditions, or you can use it as an essential oil or salve directly on your skin.

Finally, you can also take frankincense (Boswellia) as a supplement with a few essential oil drops placed under your tongue, on the roof of your mouth or in powdered capsule form for treatment of many health conditions.

Sources & References:

  • Ammon HP. Boswellic acids in chronic inflammatory diseases. Planta Med 2006; 72(12): 1100-16.
  • Bible History Daily. Why Did the Magi Bring Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh? Available at: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/why-did-the-magi-bring-gold-frankincense-and-myrrh/.
  • Khajuria A, et al. Immunomodulatory activity of biopolymeric fraction BOS 2000 from Boswellia serrata. Phytother Res 2008; 22(3): 340-8.
  • Kirste S, et al. Boswellia serrata acts on cerebral edema in patients irradiated for brain tumors: a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind pilot trial. Cancer 2011; 117(16): 3788-95.
  • Park B, et al. Boswellic acid suppresses growth and metastasis of human pancreatic tumors in an orthotopic nude mouse model through modulation of multiple targets. PLoS One. 2011; 6(10): e26943 [epub].
  • Suhail MM, et al. Boswellia sacra essential oil induces tumor cell-specific apoptosis and suppresses tumor aggressiveness in cultured human breast cancer cells. BMC Complement Altern Med 2011; 11: 129.
  • Takahashi M, et al. Boswellic acid exerts antitumor effects in colorectal cancer cells by modulating expression of the let-7 and miR-200 microRNA family. Carcinogenesis 2012; 33(12): 2441-9.
  • University of Leicester. Christmas gift brings treatment hope for cancer patients. Available at: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2013/december/christmas-gift-brings-treatment-hope-for-cancer-patients.
  • Yuan Y, et al. Acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA) prevents human colonic adenocarcinoma growth through modulation of multiple signaling pathways. Biochim Biophys Acta 2013; 1830(10): 4907-16.
  • Zhang YS, et al. Acetyl-11-keto-?-boswellic acid (AKBA) inhibits human gastric carcinoma growth through modulation of the Wnt/?-catenin signaling pathway. Biochim Biophys Acta 2013; 1830(6): 3604-15.

How to Improve Soil Health and Boost Yield With Ocean Minerals

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By Dr. Mercola

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a simple supplement you could use to radically improve the quality and health of the plants you’re growing in your garden, while simultaneously increasing their nutrient density?

The good news is there is! Science researcher August Dunning, chief science officer and co-owner of Eco Organics, has developed a really fantastic product called Ionic Ocean Minerals.

Dunning also works as a visiting associate professor at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he received his training in chemistry and physics.

His previous work history includes working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on the International Space Station program as system engineer. After that, he studied elemental particle physics and molecular physics at the University of Chicago, before ultimately starting Eco Organics.

I’ve been using his Ionic Ocean Minerals in my own garden for a few years now, and I’ve been spectacularly impressed with the ability of these minerals — which are typically applied as a foliar spray once a week — to radically improve the health and quality of my plants.

Ocean Minerals Help Grow Your Soil

The ocean contains nearly all of the ionic minerals of the periodic table of elements. Dunning developed a process to extract these minerals from seawater without getting any of the salt.

Their minerals are in a highly absorbable ionic form and the separation process removes nearly all the salt from the ocean water. Salt buildup in the soil will kill live organisms and is not healthy for the plants, so you definitely do not want any salt in the mixture.

“The idea here was to take the work of Maynard Murray, who was a Navy doctor and scientist and who was putting ocean salts on the earth, but diluting it to prevent the salt problem, to get great yield.

We figured how to get the salt out of it, so we can concentrate the minerals,”Dunning explains. “What we found is that this particular group of elements has a very profound effect on the microorganism health underneath the soil.

If you look at the ingredient list on our product, you’ll see micrograms (mcg) of[these minerals], so it can’t be used as a huge soil ingredient for the growth of the plants; it has to be doing something else.

We are now confident, based on our studies and based on our research, that what we’re doing is we’re increasing the life of the soil itself, much like Deborah Koons-Garcia is talking about in ‘Symphony of the Soil,’ where you’re just growing the soil.

That’s the interface between geology and biology. By doing this, it allows the microorganisms to be [like] hundreds of trillions of little workers providing the microelements, ionic microelements off the rock surfaces.”

 

Healthy Soil Makes for Healthy Food

If the soil is healthy, the plants grown in it will be healthy too. The increased nutrient content may even make the food more medicinally useful.

“I can tell you firsthand the difference,” he says. “[The difference] between my trip to Vietnam and my trip to Nicaragua was dramatic. I came down with a light dysentery in Vietnam. It was terrible. I took charcoal … It wiped it out a little bit.

I went to Nicaragua four days after I got back from there, and in two days of eating their food and living in the environment down there, I was fixed. There’s a big difference between a toxic environment and a pristine environment. I see it firsthand now.”

Dunning’s Ionic Ocean Minerals essentially provide the substrates required for soil organisms to grow and mature, allowing them to optimize the proper populations. We have recently come to appreciate that the biology of the soil is crucial.

It’s not just about adding minerals, because there’s still a large percentage of farmers and gardeners who will do soil analysis and then supplement the soil with minerals based on a kind of individualized prescription. That’s certainly better than nothing, but it’s not the same process that we’re talking about here.

Those mineral supplements are frequently provided as salts, and if taken at too high concentration can do more harm than good by decimating soil microbes. There are a number of ionic ocean minerals on the market. I’ve tried a few of them and actually killed some of my citrus when using them.

While they claim to have removed all the sodium, clearly they did not. Dunning’s product has never caused any problems in my garden. It has only produced beneficial results, which is why I like to promote it.

How the Minerals Are Extracted

To extract the ocean minerals from the water, Dunning uses a process that involves vortexing that has a potent influence on the structure of the water. It also helps separate the minerals from the sodium. Dunning explains:

“We’ve taken the work of Viktor Schauberger, a Nazi scientist who did a lot [of work] in vortex behavioral water molecules and the fact that they create great amounts of charge. In fact, magneto-dynamic charges.

We developed a device [through which the seawater is run]. We get molecular mixing. You can actually tune it with a magnetic field to separate the different elements out.

You have positive and negative ions and cations and anions. You just basically cycle the thing until you get what you want out and reject what you don’t want.”

They also use an advanced solar distillery along with a dehydrator that rapidly extracts the distilled water, leaving perfectly square salt crystals of chlorine and sodium behind. In this way, the sodium and chlorine are easily separated and removed.

Dunning has performed technical and analytical chemistry tests on many other ionic mineral products, and many still contain enormous amounts of sodium, unbalanced amounts of boron and other chemical problems, caused by inefficient or flawed extraction processes.

‘What we’ve done is we’ve produced something that pretty much matches what a periodic table provides for nature,’ Dunning says. ‘Our process is unique. Our process removes the salt. The sodium and the chlorine content is dramatically down.

The salt [is] the positive and negative ions. Some of these cations and anions actually will form what’s technically called a salt. But when we talk about salt in ocean water, we’re talking about sodium chloride. We take that out and that makes sure microorganisms aren’t damaged by the sodium chloride.'”

 

Remineralizing Soil Is Critical for Healthy Plant Growth

One of the reasons Ionic Ocean Minerals is such a superior product is because it contains all the minerals in the periodic table. They’re present at very low concentrations — far lower than mcg amounts in most cases. But even though they’re in minute amounts, they can do a great deal of good. If any specific mineral is entirely missing, microbes may in one way or another be hindered in their function. Dunning explains:

[The minerals] act as pseudoenzymatic substrates. In other words, when the microorganisms make these biological byproducts, these actually attach to the rocks, attach to the ions, which are then modified by the ion and then move on to another metabolic process as long as you got clay.

That’s what Albrecht found out. If you got 50 percent clay in your soil, you have the cationic exchange capacity to hold onto things like calcium … Really, my whole thrust has been in rocket science and nano-propellant chemistry, and somehow that transitioned to agricultural chemistry …

We have this situation where we have a very decreased amount of calcium in the soil … But what Albrecht found was a 7:1 ratio of calcium-magnesium. You’ll see this in the dirt. If your dirt is … sticking to your boots [and is] really thick, and your plants aren’t growing, it’s because your magnesium is too high.

Magnesium tends to gather soil together and bind it up real closely. It doesn’t allow oxygen to get to the roots, and the roots need oxygen to bring up the aerobic bacteria. When you see that mud stick to your boots and you almost can’t shake it off, that’s magnesium-dominant decomposition — that causes formaldehyde and alcohol to be released [anaerobic fermentation], and that’s what attracts the bugs.”

 

The Importance of Calcium

In a situation such as this, you need to bring calcium back into the soil. Gypsum is an excellent choice, as many soils are also sulfur deficient, and gypsum is calcium sulfate. You could use limestone, but since it has a 1:1 ratio of calcium and magnesium, you’re still not correcting the calcium balance. Once you have an appropriate calcium to magnesium balance, then adding ionic ocean minerals will allow the soil to regenerate by regrowing the microorganisms in the soil.

The ionic minerals also boost plant health by providing all the micronutrients that are missing. For example, calcium attaches to manganese and water molecules, allowing water to be brought up to the plant, and boron modifies the ability of calcium to be brought up into the plant. In essence, plant health is very dependent on having all of these ionic elements present.

“The ocean ionic elements are perfect for this, which is why the product works,” Dunning says. “You got to get your soil checked and make sure you’ve got calcium-magnesium ratio that’s measurable and modify it to that. You get these ionic elements in from the ocean. It regrows your microorganisms.

One of the things we found out is when you start taking ionic elements out of the ground as food and out of the ground as plant matter, you end up depleting the sub soil amount of ionic elements that the microorganisms need to stay alive. Everything with a DNA needs [minerals] … When you rebuild the microorganism population, they start doing all the work subsoil. In effect, we call ourselves crop farmers, but really we’re soil farmers.”

 

Remineralization Cuts Need for Pesticides

Vietnamese farmers around the Mekong Delta have been using the ionic ocean minerals for the past year and a half. As a result, they’ve managed to wean themselves off pesticides. This is yet another beneficial side effect of having healthy soils and plants. Once you provide the organisms in the soil with what they need, they in turn help the plant activate its natural defense mechanisms in the presence of pests.

It’s very similar to the human body; when you’re eating healthy, getting plenty of rest, sunshine and sleep, you’re able to resist most infections. I have about a dozen mango trees on my property, and as soon as a pest starts chewing on a leaf or two, the plant seemingly “wakes up” and produces the appropriate chemicals to dissuade the pest from doing further damage.

This is really the perfect pesticide, and it’s all-natural and already built into the plant’s self-defense mechanisms. The reason why conventional farmers struggle with pests is because the soil is so barren the plants do not have the appropriate microbial support to activate these natural defenses.

“You’ve got to remember what soil is,” Dunning says. “It’s the same as what’s going on in your gut. You and I are very big on the microbiome inside the human beings. Because those organisms — if they’re healthy and happy — their balance will produce all the stuff you need to stay healthy. Your health is based on your gut.

Similarly, soil health is based on what’s in the soil … By doing it correctly like this, you [nourish] these microorganisms. It’s like giving them all the vitamins they need. That’s the thing.

These things are alive in the soil to keep the soil alive to produce the things that plants need for their nutrients … [These microorganisms] are the workers you want. You don’t want to go out there with a thousand people with shovels; you want … 10 trillion microorganisms doing the work for you, day and night. That’s what’s this stuff does.”

 

Remineralization Extends Fruit Durability

As a foliar spray, the minerals are absorbed right into the leaf; into the organelles and the chloroplast, providing the nutrients the plant needs to make the phytocompounds that go into the fruit, and the nutrients necessary to keep the plant alive and generate repellant chemicals that ward off pests.

Interestingly, once you have the proper mineral balance in your soil, you also end up optimizing fruit durability. Soil, animal and food scientist Carey Reams1 discovered that if your soil minerals are correct, your food will only dehydrate; it will not rot. This really challenges the alleged “need” for processed foods filled with preservatives. It’s possible that if our soils were brought back to optimal health, our fresh food may last much longer without added preservation methods. It’s certainly an intriguing possibility.

Invest in Soil Analysis for Your Garden

If you have a garden, it would be a wise investment to spend $20 on a soil analysis to get a full understanding of what’s going on in your soil. If your fruit rots or if you have an insect problem, you likely need to add some gypsum to raise the calcium content of your soil. You also likely need sulfur, which the gypsum will provide.

If you have a sandy soil, you would likely benefit from limestone as well, because sandy soils need magnesium. To that, you can then add gypsum to improve the calcium ratio.

“Soil is actually a matrix of all kinds of different aggregate parts and so forth. But for the most part, for the backyard gardener, most of the soil is pretty much the same if you just adjust the calcium and make sure you’ve got the sulfur in there. You [add]the potash and phosphates, and you’ve got what you need.”

Adding the ionic minerals on top of that will then do most of the work for you to help you rebuild the soil.

“Nature’s minerals give you everything on [the] periodic table, but most fertilizers only give you five or six micronutrient elements plus the N, P and the K. It doesn’t really stack up well in nature. But when you look at our [ionic minerals], you have 62 to 65 elements compared to nature’s 118 or so. You end up with a very nice replenishment of what’s being taken out by weathering and plants and so forth, [and] you want to fix the problem.”

 

Nicaragua Goes Organic

In addition to bringing it to Vietnam, Dunning has brought his Ionic Ocean Minerals to Nicaragua, as President Ortega’s son, Laureano, wants to convert the entire country to organic farming.

“That’s a great situation. They’ve given me a research center outside of Nicaragua where I can do all the plant tests on these different types of plants. They’re growing these [non-GMO] Hawaiian papayas there — they’re fantastic. This non-GMO organic research station is already getting some press. People are taking notice. We’re going to bring microorganism growth in there. They’re going to be really happy. I left them a great big container of [ionic minerals] down there,” Dunning says.

Nicaragua has a high incidence of liver and kidney disease at the sugarcane farms, which is likely due to heavy pesticide exposure.

“There are only two things [that cause disease]: toxicity or deficiency. You fix these thing and [your health problem] is almost fixed,” Dunning says. “The two elements needed in the two detoxification pathways in the liver are calcium and sulfur. Calcium for your glutathione and sulfur for your other activities. If those are deficient in the soil, in the food — which they are — you’re going to have liver diseases occurring, which we do. That’s why I’m promoting gypsum.”

 

The Vanishing Mineral Content in Food

Mineral-depleted soils produce mineral-depleted fruits and vegetables. Just how depleted have our soils gotten since the introduction of mechanized and chemical farming in the 1930s? Dunning’s research shows that iron content in apples has gone down from 4.3 milligrams (mg) per apple in 1950 to 0.18 mg in 1998, to 0.12 mg today.

You now need to eat 36 apples to get the iron content you used to get from a single apple a mere 55 years ago. Just imagine where we’ll be another decade or two from now if we don’t make soil regeneration a focus of farming.

“When I did an analysis of the calcium content in vegetables, it has gone down dramatically: 25, 35 [and] 50 percent in some vegetables. Again, this is because you’re changing the subsoil chemistry, which [decimates] the microorganisms. [You also get] a reduction in yield; because the organisms aren’t making the minerals, the plants aren’t growing well,” Dunning says.

 

Soil Regeneration Is a Global Priority for Food Security

Modern farming methods, which are heavily mechanized and rely on synthetic chemicals, take a heavy toll on the soil and the critical microorganisms that live in it and provide nutrient transport for the plants. By altering the chemical composition of the soil, we’re endangering our ability to grow food at all. Unless we change our ways, our farmlands will cease to produce.

When too much calcium is extracted, magnesium becomes dominant, resulting in clay. It also changes the ratio of anaerobic to aerobic bacteria, which produces toxic gasses that attract pests. The good news is we already understand how to turn the situation around. Dunning is but one of many pioneers showing us how to regenerate soil and produce healthier more nutritious food. I’ve featured many others in this newsletter in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.

Because I am passionate about regenerative agriculture and these ionic ocean minerals work so well, we actually carry them in our store. Acres USA is another great resource where you can find a lot of information about the minerals needed for optimal soil health.

Sources and References

How Your Diet Can Significantly Improve Your Vision

Source

By Dr. Mercola

Aging is inevitable, but are age-related problems such as poor vision absolute givens? Contrary to popular belief, your vision is largely dependent on your lifestyle. Nourishing your eyes with appropriate nutrients throughout the years can go a long way toward maintaining good eyesight well into your senior years.

Moreover, even if your eyesight has started to deteriorate, evidence suggests you can stop the deterioration. You may even be able to turn back the clock, as it were, and improve your vision.

Foods Can Protect and Improve Your Eyesight

In a recent BBC article,1 Dr. Michael Mosley discusses his own vision problems and his experiences with nutritional intervention, featured in an episode of the BBC program “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor,” aired on September 8, 2016.

The shape and length of your eyeballs, and the thickness of your eye lens affect your ability to see things close-up and at a distance. Your retina, located at the back of your eye, also contains light-sensitive cells that are critical for good vision.

Your macula — the part of your retina responsible for central vision — is protected by a yellow pigment, made up of lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin. These compounds absorb light and protect your macula from blue light and ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and other light sources.2

Lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin are plant compounds with potent antioxidantcapacities. Your body cannot make them, so you must get them from your diet. As noted by the BBC:3

“Lutein and zeaxanthin are found commonly in dark green leafy veg such as kale and spinach, and also bell peppers, corn and saffron. Meso-zeaxanthin is generally not found in plants — it is thought to be made in our bodies from lutein (although it is also present in some fish … )

These pigments, once we eat them, appear to be important in our vision and in helping keep the macula healthy.”

 

Lutein and Zeaxanthin Supplements Can Make a Big Difference

Mosley describes undergoing a number of extensive vision tests designed to evaluate the health of his retina, his ability to see colors, night vision and the level of protection his macula had against UV and blue light.

“The results of my tests were both fascinating and depressing. My detection of yellow and blue colors was extremely poor — something that [Professor John] Barbur said was likely the result of my brush with diabetes many years ago,”Mosley writes.

My night vision and perception of details were also poor compared with younger people — but consistent with my age. The Trust Me team then handed me a 90-day supply of supplement pills that were supposed to help.”

The supplements in question contained lutein and zeaxanthin. Three months later, follow-up tests revealed remarkable improvement. Not only was his night vision and protective macular pigments improved, but his blue and yellow color perception was now within the normal range.

Some studies suggest these nutrients may also slow down or prevent age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), which is the leading cause of blindness among the elderly, followed by cataracts.

How Much Lutein and Zeaxanthin Do You Need?

While there’s no recommended daily intake for lutein and zeaxanthin, studies have found health benefits for lutein at a dose of 10 milligrams (mg) per day, and at 2 mg per day for zeaxanthin. Meanwhile, studies suggest American adults get, on average, only 1 to 2 mg of lutein from their diet each day.4

Research evaluating the effect of lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin in combination, using a dose of 10 mg of lutein, 10 mg of meso-zeaxanthin and 2 mg of zeaxanthin per day for one year, found it helped improve vision in those who had normal vision at the outset.5,6

“Should we all, then, be taking supplements to protect and even improve our eyesight? Well, the research certainly shows that supplements work,” Mosley writes.

“Even for someone like me, who has a relatively healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and whose blood levels of the compounds that weren’t particularly low, the supplements helped. However, some researchers believe that diet can simply be enough, if we eat the right things.”

 

What Should You Eat to Protect or Improve Your Vision?

Lutein and zeaxanthin are primarily found in green leafy vegetables, with kale andspinach topping the list of lutein-rich foods. You’ll also find these nutrients in orange- and yellow-colored fruits and vegetables.

According to one 1998 study,7 orange pepper had the highest amount of zeaxanthin of the 33 fruits and vegetables tested. According to the authors:

“Most of the dark green leafy vegetables, previously recommended for a higher intake of lutein and zeaxanthin, have 15 [to] 47 percent of lutein, but a very low content (0 to 3 percent) of zeaxanthin.

Our study shows that fruits and vegetables of various colors can be consumed to increase dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin.”

Egg yolk is another good source of both lutein and zeaxanthin, along with healthy fat and protein, and while the total amount of carotenoids is lower than many vegetables, they’re in a highly absorbable, nearly ideal form.

According to a study published last year,8 adding a couple of eggs to your salad can also increase the carotenoid absorption from the whole meal as much as nine-fold!

Eggs from free-range, pastured hens have bright orange yolks, which is an indication of their elevated lutein and zeaxanthin content. Dull, pale yellow yolks are a sure sign you’re getting eggs form caged hens fed an unnatural grain diet, and hence will have low amounts of these valuable nutrients.

How Much Lutein Can You Get From Your Foods?

Following is a list of lutein-rich foods. Most of these also contain zeaxanthin, albeit in lesser quantities than lutein. Ideally, you’ll want to consume these foods as close to raw as possible.

Once you heat spinach or egg yolks, for example, the lutein and zeaxanthin become damaged and will not perform as well in preventing degeneration of your macula. Accessory micronutrients in the foods that enhance their action also tend to get easily damaged.

Lutein Content of Foods

Food Mg / serving
Kale (raw) 26.5 / 1 cup
Kale (cooked) 23.7 / 1 cup
Spinach (cooked) 20.4 / 1 cup
Collards (cooked) 14.6 / 1 cup
Turnip greens (cooked) 12.2 / 1 cup
Green peas (cooked) 4.1 / 1 cup
Spinach (raw) 3.7 / 1 cup
Corn (cooked) 1.5 / 1 cup
Broccoli (raw) 1.3 / 1 cup
Romaine lettuce (raw) 1.1 / 1 cup
Green beans (cooked) 0.9 / 1 cup
Broccoli (cooked) 0.8 / 1/2 cup
Papaya (raw) 0.3 / 1 large
Egg 0.2 / 1 large
Orange (raw) 0.2 / 1 large

U.S Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory. 2005. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20 (2007), Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page

Vitamin C Combats Cataracts

In related news, higher intakes of vitamin C have been shown to prevent cataracts, the second leading cause of vision loss.9 According to the National Eye Institute, more than half of all Americans end up getting cataracts by the time they’re 80.

The study,10 which compared vitamin C intake and the progression of cataracts in more than 320 pairs of female twins over the course of a decade, found that those who ate more vitamin C-rich foods lowered their risk of cataracts by one-third. Interestingly, vitamin C supplements were not associated with a reduction in risk.

Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits are well-known for being high in vitamin C, but the fruit with the highest concentration of all is actually acerola cherries (also known as Barbados cherries.) They are not as sweet as a regular cherry but about the same size.

Each cherry only has 1 calorie but 80 mg of vitamin C and the associated micronutrients. I have two of these trees in my front yard and for months I am able to gather 50 to 70 cherries a day. It is by far my favorite and healthiest fruit.

Animal-Based Omega-3 Lowers Risk of Blindness in Diabetics

Another recent study11 found that diabetics who routinely ate 500 mg of omega-3-rich fish (two servings per week) reduced their risk of diabetic retinopathy by an impressive 48 percent.12 Diabetic retinopathy is a serious complication or side effect of type 2 diabetes that occurs when blood flow to your retina is reduced. It’s the most common cause of blindness in diabetics.

This significant risk reduction was primarily attributed to lower inflammation levels. Animal-based omega-3 fats also provide structural support to cell membranes that boost eye health and protect retinal function. Earlier research13 has shown that those with the highest intake of animal-based omega-3 fats have a 60 percent lower risk of advanced macular degeneration compared to those who consume the least.

A 2009 study also found that those with the highest consumption of omega-3 fats were 30 percent less likely to progress to the advanced form of the disease over a 12-year period,14 and a second study published in 2009 found that those with diets high in omega-3 fats along with vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin, had a lower risk of macular degeneration.15

Foods rich in animal-based omega-3 are most naturally raised sea food, which means you need to be mindful of mercury contamination levels. Not all fish are high in omega-3 fats, and most fish are severely contaminated to boot, so it’s important to be selective. Marine sources that are high in omega-3 and low in environmental pollutants include:

  • Wild Alaskan salmon (which also contains astaxanthin — one of the most potent promoters of eye health; see below)
  • Small fatty, cold-water fish such as herring, sardines and anchovies
  • Fish roe
  • Krill oil

Astaxanthin — The Most Powerful Promoter of Eye Health

Astaxanthin is produced by the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis when its water supply dries up, forcing it to protect itself from UV radiation. Besides the microalgae that produce it, the only other source are the sea creatures that consume the algae (such as salmon, shellfish and krill).

Astaxanthin is far more powerful an antioxidant than both lutein and zeaxanthin, and many researchers believe it to be the most powerful antioxidant ever discovered for eye health.16,17,18,19 It’s been found to have protective benefits against a number of eye-related problems, including the two leading causes of blindness in seniors: ARMD and cataracts, as well as:

  • Cystoid macular edema
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinal arterial occlusion and venous occlusion
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammatory eye diseases (i.e., retinitis, iritis, keratitis and scleritis)

Research shows it easily crosses into the tissues of your eye and exerts its effects safely and with more potency than any of the other carotenoids, without adverse reactions. Specifically, astaxanthin has been shown to ameliorate or prevent light-induced damage, photoreceptor cell damage, ganglion cell damage and damage to the neurons of the inner retinal layers.

Astaxanthin also helps maintain appropriate eye pressure levels that are already within the normal range, and supports your eyes’ energy levels and visual acuity.

Depending on your individual situation, you may want to take an astaxanthin supplement. I recommend starting with 4 mg per day. Krill oil also contains high quality animal-based omega-3 fat in combination with naturally-occurring astaxanthin, albeit at lower levels than what you’ll get from an astaxanthin supplement.

How Anthocyanins in Berries Benefit Your Eyes

Dark blue or purplish, almost black-colored berries like black currants and bilberries contain high amounts of the antioxidant anthocyanins. Black currants contain some of the highest levels. They’re also rich in essential fatty acids, lending added support to its anti-inflammatory properties. For medicinal purposes, many opt for using black currant seed oil, but eating the whole food is always an option, especially when they’re in season.

Bilberry,20,21 a close relative of the blueberry, also contain high amounts of anthocyanins, just like the black currant. Research suggests the bilberry may be particularly useful for inhibiting or reversing macular degeneration. A 2005 study22 found that rats with early senile cataract and macular degeneration who received 20 mg of bilberry extract per kilo of body weight suffered no impairment of their lens and retina, while 70 percent of the control group suffered degeneration over the three-month-long study.

According to the authors: “The results suggest that… long-term supplementation with bilberry extract is effective in prevention of macular degeneration and cataract.”As for dosage, Total Health Magazine23 has noted that “positive results in trials required the ingestion of 50 mg or more per day of anthocyanins. A prudent level of intake would be on the order of 90 or 100 mg of the anthocyanins per day.” Similar dosage suggestions are given by the editors of PureHealthMD,24 who note that:

“When looking for a bilberry supplement for the eye, choose one that also includes 10 to 20 mg lutein and 1 to 2 mg zeaxanthin. Patients should target 80 to 160 mg daily. Those seeking prevention of eye disease, or just protection of the cells, can target 40 to 80 mg daily in combination with other antioxidant vitamins or in fruit combinations, such as blueberry/bilberry/raspberry.”

 

Even More Important: Avoid Artificial Blue Light

The full extent of the health benefits associated with blue light avoidance are only beginning to be understood. Sunglasses that block blue light have the benefit of making objects appear sharper, but mounting research suggests blocking blue light also serves an important biological purpose by regulating your internal body clock, which controls your sleep patterns and other body functions. Indeed, exposure to artificial light is likely one of the most often-overlooked health risks of living in the 21st century.

One of the simplest and least expensive ways to protect your body’s internal rhythm, and thereby support healthy sleep and a lowered risk of many chronic diseases, is to wear amber-colored glasses that block blue light — not just at night but anytime you are exposed to fluorescent or LED lights.

This is because LEDs and fluorescents, although far more energy efficient, are not analog thermal light sources but digital ones. They have unbalanced wavelengths that are very different from the sun. They have a predominance of blue frequencies that contributes to free radical production, and lack the red, infrared and near infrared healing frequencies that stimulate repair and regeneration that are present in thermal light sources like clear incandescent bulbs.

The now-banned-in-the-U.S. incandescent lights, although highly inefficient, as they actually use only 5 percent of the energy for light and emit the rest as heat or infrared light, are actually an analog thermal light source not very dissimilar to a fire or candle, especially if the bulb is clear and non-coated.

These bulbs have a similar wavelength pattern as the sun, but lack the blue and violet frequencies that can be so damaging to your circadian rhythm and melatonin at night. So a clear incandescent bulb is the best bulb to use at night for any light you may need. Even though you will use more energy, the health benefits far exceed paying for the extra energy.

Additionally, one of the best strategies to establish your circadian rhythm is to spend some time outdoors shortly after sunrise. The red and infrared frequencies will help prepare your retina for the blue light emitted a bit after sunrise, which will produce a reactive oxygen signal to produce melatonin later that night — assuming you sleep in complete darkness.

Establishing a healthy circadian rhythm is essential for good health, so please consider the healthy habit of getting outside every day shortly after sunrise without glasses to expose your retina to the full spectrum of sunlight.

It is likely that chronic exposure to unopposed digital blue light from LED and fluorescents will likely contribute to an epidemic of blindness in the next two decades, as it will increase the incident of ARMD, which is already the leading cause of blindness in the U.S.

As for the blue-blocking glasses, I found an effective Uvex model (S1933X) on Amazon that costs less than $10. There is also one fromNature Bound at $12 that may be better at blocking the blue wavelength. I call them reverse sunglasses and wear them indoors in most commercial buildings that have their lights on and then I remove them the moment I go outdoors.

As soon as the sun sets, I wear them, because the last thing I want to do is expose my retina to unopposed blue light, especially during the absence of balancing sunlight. The benefits of blue-blocking glasses include but are not limited to:

Preventing damage to the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA — an essential animal-based omega-3 fat) in your retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE), which is responsible for converting the photons from sunlight into electrons via the photoelectric effect that Einstein received a Nobel prize for in 1921. These electrons provide a vital DC electric current that your body needs for optimal functioning

Increasing mitochondrial health and efficiency, as blue light has the side effect of increasing the distance of the proteins in the respiratory electron transport chain in your mitochondria, making them far less efficient in producing ATP. Blocking blue light prevents this decline in efficiency from occurring

Significantly improving symptoms of bipolar disorder.25,26 Those who wore blue-blocking orange-tinted glasses from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. for seven days had significant improvements in symptoms of mania compared to those who wore clear glasses. What’s more, the improvements began after just three nights of use.

The dramatic results make sense in light of the relatively recent discovery of intrinsically photo-responsive retinal ganglion cells, which are receptors in your eyes that detect only blue light. These receptors communicate with areas of your brain linked to control of your biological clock (hypothalamus) as well as mood and emotions (the limbic system).27 Earlier research also found dramatic improvements in insomnia and mood in about half of bipolar patients who wore blue-blocking glasses.28

Optimize Your Eyesight by Eating Right and Living Healthy

Besides eating plenty of carotenoids-rich vegetables, organic pastured egg yolks and omega-3 and astaxanthin-rich wild Alaskan salmon, another really important dietary aspect is to normalize your blood sugar, as excessive sugar in your blood can pull fluid from the lens of your eye, affecting your ability to focus. It can also damage the blood vessels in your retina, thereby obstructing blood flow.

To keep your blood sugar in a healthy range, follow my comprehensive nutrition guidelines and avoid processed foods. Besides being chockful of hidden sugars, processed foods are also a source of trans fats, which have an adverse effect on your eye health. Trans fats may contribute to macular degeneration by interfering with omega-3 fats in your body. Food companies have until June 2018 to remove partially hydrogenated oils — the primary source of trans fats — from their processed foods.29

Until then, trans fats may still lurk in many processed foods and baked goods, including margarine, shortening, fried foods like French fries, fried chicken and doughnuts, and cookies, pastries and crackers.

Beware that heated vegetable oils may be just as, if not more, harmful than trans fats, as very harmful oxidation products are created. This is yet another reason for avoiding processed foods and food from fast food restaurants. Also avoid artificial sweeteners, as vision problems are actually one of the many potential acute symptoms of aspartame poisoning.

Besides addressing your diet, you’ll also want to exercise regularly, and be sure to optimize your vitamin D level. Vitamin D is particularly important for those with genetic risk factors for ARMD. In one study, middle-aged women who have a high-risk genotype and are vitamin D deficient were found to be 6.7 times more likely to develop ARMD than those without this genetic risk factor who also have sufficient vitamin D.30,31,32

Sources and References

Top 25 Peppermint Oil Uses and Benefits

Source

By Dr. Axe

Pleasantly suitable for an abundance of oral and topical uses and antimicrobial properties, peppermint may be the most versatile essential oil in the world along with lavender. Literally, there are few body, health, and mind issues that it cannot help.

Peppermint essential oil gives a cooling sensation and has a calming effect on the body, which can relieve sore muscles when used topically. It also has antimicrobial properties so it can help freshen bad breath and soothe digestive issues.

Peppermint is a hybrid species of spearmint and water mint (Mentha aquatica). The essential oils are gathered by steam distillation of the fresh aerial parts of the flowering plant. The most active ingredients include menthol (35–45%) and menthone (10–30%).

Clinically speaking, peppermint oil is recommended for its anti-nausea benefits and soothing effects on the gastric lining and colon because of its ability to reduce muscle spasms.

Not only is peppermint one of the oldest European herbs used for medicinal purposes, other historical accounts date its use to ancient Chinese and Japanese folk medicine. It’s also mentioned in Greek mythology the nymph Mentha was transformed into an herb by Pluto who had fallen in love with her and wanted people to appreciate her for years to come.

The health benefits of peppermint oil as well as peppermint oil uses have been documented back to 1,000 BC and have been found in several Egyptian pyramids.


Peppermint Oil Benefits

Some of the most common peppermint oil uses include:

  • Reduces stomach aches
  • Soothe digestive issues
  • Freshens bad breath
  • Relieves headaches
  • Antimicrobial properties
  • Improves mental focus
  • Clears respiratory tract
  • Boosts energy
  • Releases tight muscles
  • Cost-effective natural solution to replace pharmaceutical drugs

I cannot honestly think of one reason why anyone on the planet would choose not to have peppermint oil in his or her medicine cabinet at home!


Top 25 Peppermint Oil Uses

Ready to start harnessing the health benefits of peppermint? If so, here are 25 ways to use this incredible herb:

1. Muscle Pain Relief –Peppermint essential oil is a very effective natural painkiller and muscle relaxant. It is especially helpful in soothing an aching back, sore muscles, and melting away a tension headache. A study shows that peppermint oil applied topicallyhas pain relief benefits associated with Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome. The study found that peppermint oil, eucalyptus, menthol, capsaicin and other herbal preparations may be helpful. Calyptus, menthol, capsaicin and other herbal preparations.(1) Try my recipe for homemade muscle rub to ease muscle pain.

2. Sinus Care –Inhaling diffused peppermint oil can oftentimes immediately unclog your sinuses and offer relief to scratchy throats. Peppermint acts as an expectorant and may provide relief for colds, cough, sinusitis, asthma, and bronchitis.

3. Joint Therapy –When your joints get achy, applying some pure peppermint oil mixed with lavender oil can cool muscles like an ice bath, but help you to stay warm and dry.

4. Reduce Hunger Cravings –Inhaling peppermint essential oil can stave off the munchies and can help you feel full faster. If you can’t have a diffuser with you at dinnertime, try applying a couple drops on your temples or chest, or take a couple of deep sniffs from the bottle.

5. Natural Energizer –For a non-toxic alternative to dangerous energy drinks, take a few whiffs of peppermint. It will perk you up on long road trips, in school or any other time you need to “burn the midnight oil.” For those with chronic fatigue syndrome, peppermint oil may improve focus and concentration.

6. Improve Your Shampoo –Add 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil to your regular morning shampoo and conditioner to stimulate the scalp, energize your mind, and wake up! Because it is a powerful antiseptic, peppermint can also help remove dandruff and lice. Try my homemade rosemary mint shampoo, a safe and economical shampoo for you and your family.

7. Allergy Relief –Peppermint oil is highly effective at relaxing muscles in your nasal passages and can help clear out the muck and pollen during allergy season. Diffusing peppermint along with clove oil and eucalyptus oil can also reduce allergy symptoms.

8. ADHD Support –Try spritzing some peppermint oil on your child’s shirt before study time or placing a drop on her tongue or under her nose for improved concentration and alertness.

9. Anti-Itch –Whether you’re battling a rash or poison ivy, applying some peppermint oil mixed with lavender oil is certain to cool and soothe any itch.

10. Fever Reducer –Because of peppermint oil’s cooling effects, it is an excellent natural treatment to bring down a fever especially in children.  Simply mix peppermint oil with coconut oil and rub it on a child’s neck and on the bottom of their feet to help stabilize a fever instead of aspirin or other drugs.

11. Natural Bug Repellent –Ticks aren’t the only bugs that hate peppermint oil. In fact, ants, spiders, cockroaches, mosquitoes, mice, and even lice will be repelled. Follow this recipe and make your own natural bug floor cleaner!

12. Skin Health -Peppermint oil has calming effects on skin inflammation. You can mix peppermint oil into lip balm and body lotion for a nice cooling sensation. Try my Lavender Mint Lip Balm to nourish lips throughout the year. Mixing peppermint and lavender essential oils can improve eczema and psoriasis when applied topically.

13. Acne Treatment –According to medical studies one of the best Peppermint Oil Uses is facial treatment thanks to anti-microbial properties so is an excellent ingredient to help cure acne naturally.

14. Headache Cure -Peppermint oil has the ability to improve circulation, heal the gut and relax tense muscles. All of these conditions can cause tension headaches or migraines making peppermint oil an excellent natural treatment. A study from researchers at the Neurological Clinic at the University of Kiel, Germany, found that a combination of oils, including peppermint oil had “significant analgesic effect with a reduction in sensitivity to headaches.” The oils were applied to the forehead and temples for pain relief.(2)

15. Hair Growth -Peppermint oil is used in many high quality hair care products because it can naturally thicken and nourish damaged hair. Simply add some peppermint oil to your current shampoo or make your own homemade rosemary mint shampoo that can help stop hair loss and thinning.

16. Sunburn Relief -Peppermint oil can hydrate burnt skin and relieve the pain from sunburns. You can mix peppermint oil with a bit of coconut oil and apply it directly to the affected area, or make my natural homemade sunburn spray to relief pain and support healthy skin renewal.

17. IBS Treatment -Peppermint oil taken internally in capsule form has been proven to be effective at naturally treating IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). One study found a 50% reduction in IBS symptoms with 75% of patients who used it.(3)

18. Improve Bloating and Indigestion -Peppermint oil has been established as a natural alternative to drugs like Buscopan to reduce spasms of the colon. It works by relaxing the muscles of your intestines, which can also reduce bloating and gas. Try peppermint tea or adding 1 drop of peppermint oil to your water before meals.

19. Freshen Breath and Reduce Cavities -Tried and true for well over 1,000 years peppermint has been used to naturally freshen breath. According to studies, peppermint oil performed better than the mouthwash chemicals chlorhexidine at reducing cavities. You can make homemade toothpaste, mouth wash, or add a drop under your tongue followed with glass of water, this freshens bad breath too.

20. Reduce Nausea –A medical study found that peppermint oil uses reduced nausea that is induced by chemotherapy better than standard medical treatments. Simply adding a drop of peppermint oil to water, or rubbing 1-2 drops behind your ears, or even diffusing it can help to reduce nausea.

21. Respiratory benefits -Peppermint essential oil has the ability to open your airways and act as a decongestant. Mix it with coconut oil and eucalyptus essential oil to make my homemade vapor rub to help reduce the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis.

22. Colic -Medical research has discovered using peppermint oil is equally effective as the drug Simethione for treating infantile colic, without the side effects associated with prescribed medications. Peppermint oil is an essential part of my natural remedies for colic.

23. Teething -Peppermint oil is a great natural remedy to relieve the pain associated with teething in infants. Simply mix peppermint oil with coconut oil at a 1:1 ratio and rub on the gum area.

24. Balance hormones and relieve symptoms of PCOS -Peppermint oil may have hormone balancing effects and be therapeutic for polycystic ovarian syndrome.

25. Cancer treatment -Clinical research indicates that peppermint contains the compound menthol, which inhibits prostate cancer growth. Also, studies found peppermint protects against radiation-induced DNA damage and cell death.(5)


Peppermint Oil Studies and Research

At the time I wrote this article, there were 302 scientific studies referring to peppermint essential oils and 2297 about menthol. Believe me when I tell you, the research out there is air-tight! If you make it a point to incorporate this powerful remedy into your daily routine, I promise you that your life will change in more ways than you can imagine.

Take for instance, a 2012 study out of Clayton State University that tested peppermint oils ability to reduce postoperative nausea and vomiting. Generally occurring as a common side effect of general anesthesia, about one-third of all people undergoing surgery suffer from these conditions at various degrees of intensity.

For Moms who just had a C-section, this can be especially devastating as it is very likely to interfere with breastfeeding and could prevent them from that wonderful bonding experience with their baby.

The study tested evaluated how 35 Moms responded to this ancient aromatherapy and discovered that peppermint essential oil was not only quite effective in reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting, it “significantly lowered” the sickness levels of participants compared to women who received standard anti-nausea medications.

More than just aromatherapy, just one drop of peppermint oil rubbed on the stomach or taken internally can calm indigestion in no time flat. The powerful ability of peppermint to help with gastrointestinal concerns has just been tapped by the scientific community.

New research has found peppermint can improve antibiotic resistance and help heal your body from the overuse of prescription antibiotics and other chemicals that affect your body. This is probably part of the reason it is so effective in treating IBS.

A combined medical study of all the literature on peppermint’s ability to cure irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was just published this July and, of the nine studies combined they stated:

“Peppermint oil was found to be significantly superior to placebo for overall improvement of IBS symptoms and improvement in abdominal pain.” They concluded,

“Peppermint oil is a safe and effective short-term treatment for IBS.”


Peppermint Oil To Repel Bugs

Growing up in mosquito country, one of my favorite uses for peppermint oil is definitely to repel bugs!

A study that was published out of Israel last year compared how 7 different commercial bug repellents fared against each other. As you’d expect it, the All-Natural Essential Oil Mosquito Repellent (which is a blend of cinnamon, eugenol, geranium, peppermint, and lemongrass oils) was tied as the most effective mosquito repellent with OFF!® (which is loaded with toxic chemicals like DEET). A further study showed that peppermint oil resulted in 150 minutes of complete protection time against mosquitoes, with just 0.1 mL of oil applied on the arms.(6) The researchers noted that after 150 minutes, the efficacy of peppermint oil decreased, and needed to be reapplied.


Peppermint Recipes

One final way I would encourage you to use peppermint is as part of your diet. Here are some of my favorite peppermint recipes:

Homemade Peppermint Patties

Mint Chocolate Protein Shake

GI Healing Juice


Concerns and Potential Interactions

Peppermint oil is likely safe when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food, and when used topically.(7) Ingesting peppermint oil may cause side effects for some that include heartburn, flushing, mouth sores, headache. Some prescription medications and over-the-counter medications may adversely interact with peppermint oil. Enteric-coated peppermint oil supplements may cause rapid dissolving leading to heartburn, nausea, and rapid absorption of some medications. Take necessary precautions.

The following medications carry a “moderate” potential for interaction with peppermint oil:

Neoral, Sandimmune, Elavil, Haldol, Zofran, Inderal, Theo-Dur, Calan, Isoptin, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Diazepam, Valium, Soma, Viracept, Cataflam, Voltaren, Ibuprofen/Motrin, Mobic, Feldene, Celebrex, Elavil, Warfarin/Coumadin, Glucotrol, Iosartan, Cozaar, Mevacor, Nizoral, Sporanox, Allegra, Halcion.

The following medications carry a “minor” potential for interaction with peppermint oil:

Over-the-counter and prescription antacids including Tums, Rolaids, Ripan, Bilagog, Amphojel, Tagamet, Zantac, Axid, Pepcid, Prilosec, Prevacid, Aciphex, Protonix, Nexium.

Natural supplement precautions:

Peppermint can reduce the absorption of iron when taken simultaneously. If taking iron supplements and peppermint oil, allow at least 3 hours between the two. Peppermint oil also increases the absorption of quercetin when taken at the same time; allow at least 3 hours between taking these together.

If you want to learn more about the incredible health benefits of essential oils, check out this free Dr. Axe’s Guide to Essential Oils.

 

Juicing May Be the Answer to Many of Your Chronic Health Problems

Source

By Dr. Mercola

As noted at the very beginning of this 26-minute health documentary by juicing expert Jason Vale: “More people die from chronic diseases than all other causes put together.”

This is a remarkable state of affairs when you consider that the human body is actually designed to maintain healthy homeostasis, given half a chance.

What’s worse, chronic diseases strike the very young as well as the very old. Children are now developing diseases previously relegated to seniors, such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, heart disease and even cancer.

Toxicity appears to be a major factor driving this burgeoning wave of chronic disease. Toxins are in our food, in our water and air, in the medications we take, in the products we use each day to clean ourselves and our homes; they’re in beauty products and our furnishings and building materials.

 “All chronic diseases are caused by two, and only two, major problems,”Charlotte Gerson, founder of the Gerson Institute, says. “Toxicity and deficiency.”

 

Toxicity and Deficiency Are Core Problems

According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), PREVENTABLE chronic diseases are now the world’s biggest killers. And the combination of eating nutrient-deficient foods and being over-exposed to toxins is at the core of our current health crisis.

The answer to this dilemma is certainly not to take medication to mask the symptoms of toxicity and deficiency. The solution is to remove toxins, clean up your system and increase the nutrient density of your healthy food.

Plants — fruits, berries and vegetables — are “live” foods. Provided they’ve not been severely processed, or are eaten in excess and out of season. Ideally, the best time to eat fruit is in the summer when you have plenty of exposure to sunshine and can tolerate higher net carbs.

They contain many phytochemicals your body can use to heal and nourish your cells. The appeal of juicing is that you can consume more nutrient-dense vegetables than when you eat them whole or Vita Mix them in a blender.

This allows you to consume far greater amounts of vegetable nutrients than you would normally be able to eat whole or blended with the fiber.

Juicing Is a Great Way to Boost Nutrient Intake

Some will argue that consuming more veggies than you could normally chew through is unnecessary, but when you consider how nutrient levels in most foods have dramatically decreased since the introduction of mechanized farming in 1925, juicing really makes sense.

Healthy soils contain a huge diversity of microorganisms, and it is these organisms that are responsible for the plant’s nutrient uptake, health and the stability of the entire ecosystem.

The wide-scale adoption of industrial farming practices has decimated soil microbes responsible for transferring these minerals to the plants, and synthetic chemicals sprayed on the crops have further destroyed overall soil quality.

For example, as explained by research scientist August Dunning, chief science officer and co-owner of Eco Organics, in order to receive the same amount of iron you used to get from one apple in 1950, today you’d have to eat 36 apples!

How could you possibly get 36 apples into you? Even with juicing that would be a remarkable feat, and would likely overload you with natural sugars as well, so I wouldn’t recommend it.

My point is that even when juicing, you may not get the same amount of nutrients our ancestors used to get from even a fraction of the foods they ate, so you’re unlikely to get superfluous amounts of nutrients by regularly drinking fresh vegetable juices.

When you drink fresh, live juice, it’s almost like receiving an intravenous infusion of vitamins, minerals and enzymes because they go straight into your body without needing to be broken down. Since juicing is essentially “mainlining” live nutrients, it’s no surprise it can produce rapid and profound health benefits.

Food Addiction Is a Profit Center

There’s a conscious effort on behalf of food manufacturers to get you addicted to foods that are convenient and inexpensive to make. This system is detailed in investigative reporter Michael Moss’ book, “Salt, Sugar, Fat” — the top three substances that make processed foods so addictive.

One of the guiding principles for the processed food industry is known as “sensory-specific satiety.” Moss describes this as “the tendency for big, distinct flavors to overwhelm your brain, which responds by depressing your desire to have more.”

The greatest successes, whether beverages or foods, owe their “craveability” to complex formulas that pique your taste buds just enough, without overwhelming them, thereby overriding your brain’s inclination to say “enough.”

“Vanishing calorie density” is another term used to describe foods that melt in your mouth, which has the effect of making your brain think it doesn’t contain any calories. As a result, you keep eating.

In short, as noted in the film, the big food companies are “manipulating our food so that we keep eating more, and more, and more.” And, as stated by Cherie Calbom, also known as “The Juice Lady:” “It’s corn and soy, and wheat and sugar and salt and chemicals — that’s primarily what people are eating.”

So is it really any wonder that so many are so sick and overweight? Many health authorities make it seem as the obesity epidemic is a great mystery, and largely blame it on laziness. “If only people exercised more, they’d be fine,” the reasoning goes.

But this simply isn’t true, and by sweeping the proverbial elephant under the rug and ignoring the fact that our food supply is the problem, these authorities have done us all a shameful disservice.

Remember, it really isn’t about calories, it is about insulin resistance. And processed foods, sugars and high net carb foods will make it virtually impossible to normalize your metabolism and get lean.

Modern Medicine Is Another Profit Center

Many times, even severe health problems have simple fixes. For example, in the film, Vale, who’s also the author of “The Juice Detox Diet,” explains that what prompted him to try juicing in the first place was a severe case of psoriasis — an autoimmune disease that causes cells to build up on the surface of your skin, leading to thick, unsightly scaly patches that are very itchy and often painful.

He also had eczema and severe hay fever and asthma. For years he used steroid tablets and various inhalers to manage his symptoms, but he wasn’t getting any better. “Not once did anyone look at what might be causing the problems; they only wanted to treat the symptoms,” he said.

The turning point came when one of his doctors suggested a coal-tar treatment for his psoriasis. He’d be slathered in coal-tar, the same gooey tar placed on roadways, and covered in bandages for six weeks. The idea of resorting to such a bizarre and clearly toxic intervention was the final straw. “There’s GOT to be another way,” he thought.

Indeed, toxicity and a narrow focus on managing symptoms — not actually addressing the root problem, which might result in a full remission or cure — are hallmarks of modern medicine. This mode of operation has turned healthcare into a massive for-profit business that has become increasingly reluctant to embrace strategies that might actually remove an individual from the paying patient pool.

This is tragic, since research exists showing that raising your vitamin D level, for example, can help heal psoriasis, especially if you’revitamin D deficient. Vitamin D supplements are very inexpensive, and if you optimize your level by getting regular and sensible sun exposure, which is the preferred and ideal way, it’s free (provided you live in a sunny area and don’t use a therapeutic sunbed).

In Vale’s case, juicing was the answer, and he no longer suffers from any of his previous problems. His asthma completely vanished within a month, and his skin gradually cleared up until there was not a trace of psoriasis or eczema left. His weight also dropped “at a rate I didn’t think was humanly possible,” he says. As noted by Dr. Dwight Lundell, author of “The Cure for Heart Disease,” who is featured in the film:

“Not one single person will be cured of heart disease, pulmonary disease, stroke, arthritis, obesity and, of course, diabetes, with our current medical approach.”

 

Inflammation Is the Driving Mechanism Behind Most Chronic Disease

Toxicity, nutrient deficiencies, processed foods, sugar and excess net carbs promote inflammation, and chronic inflammation is a hallmark of virtually every chronic disease there is. When your inflammation levels are low, it’s very difficult for disease to take root. When healthy, your body is simply too well-equipped to address foreign invaders and can easily clean out minor toxic exposures.

As noted by Lundell, when we investigate what we’re doing differently today, when inflammation levels are high, compared to decades past when chronic disease rates were much lower, the main difference we find is the foods we eat.

We’ve gotten away from eating fresh, whole foods, most of which come from the plant kingdom, and most of what we eat are processed foods laced with a myriad of chemicals that were never in our food supply before. “In my opinion, this dietary change is the cause of most chronic diseases,” he says.

It may appear as though all these different chronic diseases are very different, and therefore would have different causes. But these variations are deceiving. In the vast majority of cases, the root problem can be narrowed down to inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction, caused by toxicity and insufficient amounts of “building blocks” (nutrients) to maintain optimal biological function. The differences in manifestation primarily relate to individual weaknesses.

“It just stands to reason and common sense that if the vast majority of those diseases are caused by diet and lifestyle, then the simple answer, surely, is to change the diet and lifestyle, and they’ll just get better,” Vale says.

Calbom adds: “We should be juicing, because so many people have impaired digestive tracts, and digestion is impaired because of the diet we’ve been on. Along come your beautiful juices; they go right into your intestinal tract, and those nutrients get absorbed into your system.

They’re going right to work within about 20 or 30 minutes. They’re there feeding your body, rejuvenating, giving you energy; giving your body life! This is why you should juice … Juice every day; this has got to be a way of life, because that’s when you’re going to notice your life changing.”

 

Eat ‘Low Human Intervention Foods’

Vale wisely suggests that if a food has a label, it probably shouldn’t be in your diet. What you’re really looking for is real food, or what he calls “low human intervention foods,” meaning foods that has passed through as few human hands and processes as possible. Ideally, you would be growing your own food and eating out of your garden.

In the summer, the majority of my main meal comes from my garden: sunflower spouts, red bell peppers, oregano, rosemary, turmeric and spinach.  If you are unable to grow your own, your next best bet would be to get locally grown organic produce that has not been waxed, cut up or processed in any way.

“When you look at the fact that the food you eat really creates the life that you live, everything starts to change,” Philip McCluskey, author of “Weight Loss Blueprint,” says.

‘Super-Juicing’ for 28 Days Cured Diabetes and Chronic Pain

 

In a previous documentary, Vale recruited eight people who collectively suffered from 22 different chronic diseases and put them on a juice-only diet for 28 days (plus exercise) in order to explore juicing’s potential benefits for reversing chronic disease. He filmed their experience, which resulted in the documentary “Super Juice Me,” which I’ve included above for your convenience.

The health improvements seen by those eight individuals are nothing short of astounding. Every participant felt energized and lost weight, and most reported a drastic reduction in their symptoms and the number of medications they needed to use. One man completely resolved his diabetes in those 28 days. A woman went from years of chronic pain to being completely pain-free, and others suffering from asthma, colitis and sleep apnea enjoyed a profound reduction in symptoms.

It was not an easy journey, as several experienced detoxification reactions, food cravings and, for some, a temporary increase in symptoms as their bodies began to purge toxins they’d accumulated, but those reactions were relatively short-lived, and they felt immensely better on the other side — better than they’d felt in years.

The Many Health Benefits of Juicing

There are many reasons to consider incorporating vegetable juicing into your health plan. Whether you use it as an occasional cleanse, or as the start of every morning, juicing:

Helps you absorb all the nutrients from your vegetables. This is important because most people have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years, which limits your body’s ability to absorb all of the nutrients in whole, raw vegetables. Juicing helps “pre-digest” them, so you won’t lose any of this valuable nutrition.
Makes it easier to consume a large quantity of vegetables. Virtually every health authority recommends that you get six to eight servings of vegetables and fruits per day, but very few actually get that. Juicing virtually guarantees you’ll reach your daily target.
Makes it easier to get a wider variety of vegetables into your diet. Juicing greatly expands the number of different phytochemicals you receive, as each vegetable offers unique benefits. Juicing also allows you to consume vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole.
Boosts your immune system. Raw juice supercharges your immune system with concentrated phytochemicals and biophotonic light energy, which can revitalize your body. The nutrients in fresh juice also feed your body’s good bacteria and help suppress potentially  pathogenic ones.
Increases your energy. When your blood is flooded with nutrients and your body’s pH is optimized, you’ll feel energized. Since juice is absorbed and utilized by your body very rapidly, juicers report feeling an almost instantaneous “kick” of energy.
Supports your brain. In the Kame Project,1 people who consumed juice more than three times per week were 76 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who consumed juice less than once a week.
Provides structured water. Vegetable juice is one of the purest sources of water and actually qualifies as water. Vegetable water is structured water (living water), which is different from regular water — H3O2 rather than H2O. Water from vegetables is the best quality water you can drink!

On a side note, sun exposure is also important for structuring the water in your cells. Part of the energy your body requires can actually be obtained from sunlight, but you must expose your skin directly to it. The ultraviolet (UV) radiation increases nitric oxide (NO) release, which can direct more than half your blood flow to your skin.

Once your blood is exposed to the sun, it can absorb UV and infrared radiation, which help to structure the water in your cells and energize your mitochondria.

Go Green

Keep in mind your juices should consist mostly of green vegetables. You’ll want to minimize fruits in order to keep the fructose and net carb content low. The bulk of your juice should come from organic green veggies. Spinach, celery, kale and Swiss chard are common juicing staples.

If you’re new to juicing, you can start with more mild-tasting veggies, like celery and cucumbers. From there you can work your way up to red leaf lettuce, romaine, spinach and escarole, along with parsley and cilantro. Kale, collard, dandelion, mustard and other greens can be bitter, so you’ll want to start slowly and add just a few leaves at a time.

Some of the most nutrient-dense veggies are the strongest tasting, but don’t avoid them. Just use a lesser quantity in your juice until your taste buds acclimate. Selecting organic, non-GMO produce is very important when juicing, but the price can be a challenge for some. One alternative is to grow your own, making sure to avoid toxic garden chemicals (synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers).

If you’re using non-organic vegetables, your best bet is to peel them, to avoid juicing pesticide residues. This is particularly important for fruits and vegetables that have been waxed, as this seals in the chemicals. It can be difficult to discern if a vegetable has been waxed or not, because the wax can be applied in a very thin, transparent layer.

Beware that even organic produce sold in grocery chain stores will typically be waxed. For unwaxed fruit and vegetables, you typically have to get them from a local source.

Tips That Can Make Your Veggie Juice More Palatable

If you’re not used to eating a lot of vegetables, the taste may take a little while to get used to. A great trick to make your juice more palatable, especially in the beginning, is to add one or more of these elements:

  1. Limes and lemons: You can add one half to a whole lime or lemon for every quart of juice. Limes are my favorite for cutting bitter flavors.
  2. Cranberries: You can also add some cranberries if you enjoy them. Limit the cranberries to about 4 ounces per pint of juice.
  3. Fresh ginger: This is an excellent addition if you enjoy the taste. It gives your juice a spicy “kick.”
  4. Limited amounts of apple and carrot (just be mindful of your overall sugar content).

How to Manage Cravings and Detox Symptoms

Changing your diet or any other aspect of your lifestyle is sometimes stressful, and stress can sabotage your success. As some of the people in Vale’s super-juicing experiment discovered, you might feel a little worse before you feel better, as detox symptoms and food cravings can arise. Addressing your emotional and mental health is a very important aspect of total body health, so please do not ignore stress.

The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) can be helpful when anxieties strike, including emotional struggles surrounding dietary changes. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful tools for reducing stress and anxiety that I know of. In 2012, a triple blind study2 found that EFT reduced cortisol levels and symptoms of psychological distress by 24 percent, more than any other intervention tested!

If you worry that you won’t be able to get the juice down or you won’t take the time to do it, or your food cravings will be unbearable, EFT may be able to help. The first couple weeks of a new eating routine are typically the most challenging, while your body is making the necessary biochemical adjustments. Tapping can be extraordinarily beneficial for reducing anxiety, cravings and detox symptoms during this time.

EFT is easy to learn and once you do, it’s always at your fingertips, whenever and wherever you need it. You can even adapt this intermittent fasting EFT video by Julie Schiffman for juice fasting. Just as juicing helps reduce your body’s toxic burden, you can think of EFT as detoxification for your mind. By combining the two, your healing will have the greatest chance of success.

The Longer You’re Overweight, the Greater Your Risk of Cancer

Source

By Dr. Mercola

According to recent research, the longer a woman is overweight, the more likely she is to develop breast, endometrial, colon or kidney cancer.1 Obesity is indeed a known risk factor for cancer, so this finding in and of itself is not surprising.

Worldwide, obesity is responsible for an estimated 500,000 cancer cases each year,2and according to the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), excess body weight is responsible for about 25 percent of the relative contribution to cancer incidence, ranking second only to smoking.3

When obesity is combined with other high-risk behaviors, such as a poor diet and lack of exercise, the relative contribution rises to 33 percent of all cancer cases in the U.S. What’s new here is that the length of time spent being overweight also contributes to your overall risk. As reported by CBS News:4

“On average, the study found, the odds rose by 10 percent for every 10 years a woman had been obese. Similarly, they climbed by 7 percent for every decade she’d been overweight.”

How Excess Weight Contributes to Cancer

Obesity can raise your risk of cancer in several ways. Some cancers, especially breast and endometrial cancer, are sensitive to the female sex hormone estrogen, and fat cells produce an excess of this hormone.

This is also why obesity in young children is such a grave concern. By carrying excess weight (and excess estrogen) for many years, if not decades, they’re at a significantly heightened risk of cancer as adults.

Obesity is also associated with elevated inflammation levels in your body, which can contribute to cancer growth. One of the basic reasons why nutritional ketosis works so well against cancer is because it drives your inflammation down to almost nothing.

A high-sugar diet, which tends to pack on the pounds, also feeds cancer by providing cancer cells with their preferred fuel. A healthy high-fat diet, on the other hand, tends to discourage cancer growth, as cancer cells lack the metabolic flexibility to use ketones derived from fat as fuel.

It is likely that the obesity represents an indirect marker for the true cause of the problem that contributes to both obesity and cancer, namely insulin resistance, which is also associated with leptin resistance and activation of the mTOR pathway.

By lowering your blood sugar levels and normalizing your insulin receptor sensitivity, exercise has a similar effect, as this too creates an environment less conducive to cancer growth.

Rising Obesity Rates Are Related to Misleading Health Advice

Obesity is the result of inappropriate lifestyle choices and, unfortunately, the U.S. government has done a terrible job at disseminating accurate information about diet and health.

It’s one thing for corporations to put out misleading ads. After all, honesty is not in the self-interest of the processed food and beverage industry. It’s another when the government falls in line with for-profit deception and becomes a propagator of corporate propaganda, yet this is exactly what has happened.

For example, conventional recommendations that drive public health in the wrong direction include the advice to:

Cut calories: Not all calories are created equal, and counting calories will not help you lose weight if you’re consuming calories from unhealthy sources.

Choose no- or low-calorie foods: Substances like Splenda (sucralose) and Equal or Nutrasweet (aspartame) may have zero calories, but your body isn’t fooled.

When it gets a “sweet” taste, it expects calories to follow, and when this doesn’t occur, it leads to distortions in your biochemistry that promote weight gain instead.

Snack throughout the day to keep your blood sugar even: Mounting research suggests this constant grazing adapts your body to burn sugar as its primary fuel, which down-regulates enzymes that utilize and burn stored fat.

Biologically, your body simply isn’t designed to run optimally when continuously fed, and studies show peak fasting (intermittent fasting) yields significant health benefits that go beyond mere weight loss. So you can snack regularly, but only within the restricted eating window of six to eight hours.

When you do peak fasting, the resulting metabolic changes stimulate a natural cleansing process known as autophagy (or mitophagy in the case of mitochondrial autophagy), in which your body detoxifies and rids itself of damaged cells that may contribute to disease, including cancer.

Another mechanism by which peak fasting benefits your health is by stimulating your mitochondria to work more efficiently.

Peak fasting helps activate your mitochondria and promote their healthy function, and you simply cannot be healthy unless your mitochondria are functioning well.

Avoid saturated fat: The myth that saturated fat causes heart disease began as little more than a scientifically unsupported marketing strategy for Crisco cooking oil.

For optimal health, most people actually need anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of their diet as healthy fats, examples of which include organic, pastured egg yolks, raw nuts, avocados, coconut oil, MCT oil and real butter.

Healthy Lifestyle Strategies Promote Mitochondrial Health

Have you noticed that things that are inherently healthy for you do not simply address just one issue — they have multiple beneficial influences. This is in stark contrast to drugs, where a synthetic chemical forces your body to respond in a particular way, which can have significant adverse effects.

When it comes to healthy diet and lifestyle strategies such as exercise, one benefit feeds right into another, which feeds into a third, and so on down the line.

For example, swapping processed foods for real, minimally processed foods will not only aid weight loss efforts, it will also supply your body with nutrients it needs to optimize immune function and ward off disease.

The same can be said for intermittent fasting. By paying careful attention to the TIMING of your meals, you can improve your weight and cut your risk of serious diseases like cancer.

When you look at strategies that help keep you healthy, one of the common denominators running through all of them is that they promote mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are tiny organelles, originally thought to be derived from bacteria.

Red blood cells and skin cells have very little to none, while germ cells have 100,000, but most cells have one to 2,000 of them. They’re the primary source of energy production in the form of ATP for your body.

Since mitochondrial function is core to optimizing your health, optimizing mitochondrial function — and preventing mitochondrial dysfunction by making sure you get all the right nutrients and precursors your mitochondria need — is extremely important for disease prevention, including cancer.

In fact, one of the universal characteristics of cancer cells is they have serious mitochondrial dysfunction with radically decreased numbers of functional mitochondria. This is in part why your lifestyle can have such a significant impact on your cancer risk.

The Metabolic Theory of Cancer

Travis Christofferson is the author of “Tripping Over the Truth: The Return of the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Illuminates a New and Hopeful Path to a Cure.” In this interview, Christofferson — who has a Pre-Medical undergraduate degree and a Master’s degree in Materials Engineering and Science — reviews some of the details covered in his phenomenal book.

“When you look at cancer metabolically, the whole paradigm of therapy [changes]. You go from this targeted paradigm to all of a sudden targeting the metabolism,” he says. “You’re trying to restore mitochondria function. You’re trying to increase mitochondrial numbers.

You can probably rescue some cells within a tumor and divert them back into living within the collective of the multicellular organism. They will revert to being normal. Some you can send over this tipping point. You can kill them through these various therapies metabolically. It’s an interesting time. The paradigm of cancer is being turned therapeutically and our understanding of it.”  

At the heart of the metabolic theory of cancer, you find two simple tenets that explain why nutritional ketosis — achieved through a diet high in healthy fats, moderate in protein and low in net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) — is so effective for driving down your cancer risk:

Cancer cells primarily burn glucose, which promotes inflammation and damage by generating high amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) — far more so than fat and ketones do when burned. Glucose by itself can also shift cells toward cancer by upregulating the expression of an enzyme called hexokinase II. Christofferson discusses this research in the interview.

Cancer cells cannot utilize fat for fuel whereas all healthy cells can, so by eliminating cancer cells’ preferred fuel — glucose — and shifting your body toward burning fat as its primary fuel, cancer cells are starved while healthy cells are nourished. Since fats and ketones generate far fewer ROS when burned for energy, you also naturally suppress inflammation.

The Importance of Exercise

Exercise also boosts mitochondrial health by increasing the AMPK pathway. This in turn increases a low level of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which serve as important signaling molecules. In this case, they signal your body to make more mitochondria (mitochondrial biogenesis). Christofferson’s book goes into this in great detail as well.

So, when you exercise, your body responds by creating more mitochondria through mitochondrial biogenesis to keep up with the heightened energy requirement. This is a very good thing; remember, cancer is characterized by a decrease in functional mitochondria, and increasing the numbers is part of effective cancer prevention. Aside from its effect on your mitochondria, exercise also decreases your cancer risk by:

Affecting other biological functions that have a direct influence on cancer, such as energy balance, immune function, antioxidant defense, DNA repair and hormone levels5

Decreasing your insulin resistance, which is a profoundly effective strategy to reduce your cancer risk, since a low sugar environment discourages the growth and spread of cancer cells

Improving blood circulation, driving more oxygen into your tissues and circulating immune cells in your blood. By improving blood flow to your liver, it also helps your body detoxify potentially harmful substances, including excess estrogen that may spur estrogen-sensitive cancers

Stimulating AMPK and SIRT1, which secondarily inhibits the mTOR pathway that is involved in aging and cancer. This in turn stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy, both of which are deadly to cancer

Exercise Is Potent Cancer Prevention

More than 100 epidemiologic studies investigating the role of exercise for cancer prevention have been published,6 and while the exact risk reduction varies from study to study, the literature consistently show that exercise helps reduce your risk of a variety of different cancers, and often to a significant degree.

For example, the bulk of the data shows that physically active people reduce their risk of colon cancer and breast cancer by 30 to 40 percent and 20 to 30 percent respectively.  Here’s a sampling of studies showing how, and to what degree, exercise may reduce your risk of cancer:

Cell Metabolism 20167 — Active mice experienced a 50 percent reduction in tumor growth compared to inactive mice, and the mechanism is thought to be related to the rush of adrenaline that occurs during high-intensity exercise.

Adrenaline helps circulate natural killer (NK) immune cells into tumors in the lung, liver and skin, where they go to work to kill off and eliminate cancerous cells. Importantly, an immune signaling molecule called interleukin-6 (IL-6), which is released by muscles during exercise, is what actually guides the NK cells into the tumors.

JAMA Oncology 20158,9 — Men who stayed fit in middle age had a 55 percent lower risk of lung cancer and a 44 percent lower risk of bowel cancer after the age of 65. High levels of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in middle age also helped the men survive cancer, reducing their risk of dying from lung, bowel and prostate cancer by nearly one-third (32 percent).
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 201510,11,12 — Women with a history of exercising for an average of 1.33 hours per week during their teen years had a 16 percent lower risk of dying from cancer, and a 15 percent lower all-cause mortality risk.

Those who were active as teens and kept up their exercise habit as adults had a 20 percent lower risk of death from all causes.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute 201513,14 — Aerobic exercise slowed the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice. By increasing tissue oxygenation, it also improved the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
Journal of Physical Activity and Health 201415 — A systematic review of seven cohort studies and 14 case-control studies found that physical activity reduces the risk of breast cancer, particularly in post-menopausal women.
International Liver Congress 201316 — Mice who exercised on a motorized treadmill for an hour each day, five days a week for 32 weeks, experienced fewer incidents of liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) than sedentary mice.
Integrative Biology of Exercise meeting in 201217 — Exercise was shown to alter T cells to a more effective disease-fighting form, called “naïve” T cells, which boosts the ability of your immune system to fight emerging and existing cancer cells. This helps explain why exercise is beneficial both for cancer prevention and treatment.
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 200918Weight training cut men’s risk of dying from cancer by 40 percent.
Cancer Causes Control 201019 — In women, strenuous activity at age 12 was associated with a reduced risk for breast cancer during pre- and post-menopause. Women who had engaged in moderate exercise during adulthood also had a significantly reduced risk of post-menopausal tumors.
American Journal of Public Health 201020 — Women who were active at home during the day, engaging in heavy lifting or carrying rather than mostly sitting, had a 38 percent reduced risk of invasive breast cancers.
JAMA 200521 — Breast cancer patients who exercised moderately for three to five hours a week lowered their odds of dying from cancer by about half, compared to sedentary patients.

Develop an Anti-Cancer Lifestyle

Obesity or insulin resistance is not the only risk factor for cancer, but it’s a significant one. According to a position statement by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), published in November, 2014, obesity is “quickly overtaking tobacco as the leading preventable cause of cancer.”22 The Cancer Society also warns that obesity is a contributing factor in about 20 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S.23

Fortunately, by addressing your diet and exercise, you can effectively lose weight and significantly reduce your risk of cancer — again, not just because you’ve lost weight, but because these strategies produce such a wide array of health-promoting effects. High on this list of beneficial effects is improved mitochondrial function and increased mitochondrial numbers.

For a more comprehensive list of guidelines for preventing both obesity and cancer, please refer to my previous article, “Obesity Now Causes Half a Million Cancers a Year, Worldwide.” To summarize the points discussed above, strategies that will help you lose weight and slash your cancer risk include:

Switching to a ketogenic diet consisting of real, whole foods, high in healthy fats, moderate in high-quality protein and low in net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber). My updated Nutrition Plan can help you implement this type of diet in a controlled step-by-step fashion

Peak fasting

Regular exercise. Ideally you’ll want to establish a comprehensive exercise program that includes high-intensity exercises andstrength training, both of which have been shown to be of particular benefit for cancer prevention. If you need help to get started, check out my Fitness Plan

Regular and consistent non-exercise activity. While not discussed above, also consider sitting less and walking more. Aim for about 7,000 to 10,000 steps (or about an hour-long walk) per day and, if you can, limit your sitting to three hours a day or less, as the mere act of standing triggers beneficial changes in your biology

Sources and References

Why These Federal Agencies Should Be Abolished

Source

By Dr. Mercola

The use of marijuana for medical purposes is now legal in 25 states and, as of this writing, two additional states (Arkansas and Florida) have pending legislation or ballot measures to legalize medical marijuana.1

Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and the District of Columbia have also legalized recreational use of marijuana for adults, while 16 states have decriminalized certain marijuana possession offenses.2

According to estimates, between 85 and 95 percent of Americans are in favor of medical cannabis, and nearly 60 percent support complete legalization of marijuana. And, contrary to what you might think, doctors overwhelmingly agree.

A 2013 survey found a majority of physicians — 76 percent — approve of the use of medical marijuana.3 CNN’s chief medical correspondent and neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta also made a highly publicized reversal on his marijuana stance after the production of his two-part series “Weed,” which aired in 2014.4

Despite this trend, many families are still unable, legally or otherwise, to obtain this herbal treatment. Families with a sick child are being forced to split up, just so that one parent can live in a place where medical cannabis can be legally obtained in order to help their child.

A major part of the problem lies at the federal level, where marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance5 — a category reserved for the most addictive and dangerous of drugs, including heroin and LSD.

Marijuana Does Not Meet Criteria for Schedule 1 Controlled Substances

According to the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, Schedule 1 drugs are defined as those having a “high potential for abuse” and “no acceptable medical use in treatment.” Research to date shows that marijuana meets neither of these criteria. For example, studies have shown medical cannabis:

  • Stimulates appetite in AIDS patients
  • Reduces neuropathic pain and spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Treats chronic pain
  • Reduces (and in some cases eliminates) epileptic seizures
  • In Israel, doctors use marijuana to treat cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome and many other conditions

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has spent the last five years deliberating whether it should reclassify marijuana to a Schedule 2 substance — a class that includes both cocaine and methamphetamines; dangerous drugs that nonetheless have some accepted medicinal use.

DEA Rejects Petition to Lower Classification of Marijuana

Earlier this month, the agency delivered its verdict: Marijuana will remain a Schedule 1 substance. As reported by Newsweek:6

“The decision is the DEA’s response to a 2011 petition by two former state governors who had urged federal agencies to reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses.

In a letter to the petitioners, the DEA said it had asked the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] for a scientific and medical evaluation of the issue.

‘HHS concluded that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision,’ the letter said.”

This really challenges logic on many fronts. For starters, in October 2003, the HHS actually obtained a patent for marijuana as a “neural protectant,” claiming it can protect your brain against stroke and trauma.7

How can the HHS own a patent for the medical use of marijuana on the one hand, while concluding that “marijuana has no accepted medical use … and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision” on the other?

DEA and HHS Should Be Abolished

With this decision, the DEA and HHS have completely lost all credibility, proving they will act AGAINST the public good if it means protecting corporate interests. The hypocrisy is so blatant it’s infuriating.

Because who actually benefits from marijuana being a banned? Primarily drug companies, privatized prisons — which make millions of dollars from incarcerating non-violent marijuana users — and law enforcement, including police and prison guard unions.8,9

In 2011 alone, 850,000 people in the U.S. were arrested for marijuana-related crimes.10As noted by Opensecrets.org:11

“The revenue from waging the war on drugs has become a significant source of financial support for local law enforcement.

Federal and state funding of the drug war — as well as the property police forces seize as a part of drug raids — have become significant financial supplements to local forces’ budgets …

One of the largest for-profit prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America, even stated in a regulatory filing that keeping the drug war alive is essential to its success as a business:

‘[A]ny changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances … could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.’”

Current Scheduling of Marijuana Ignores Scientific Evidence

As noted by Carl L. Hart, Ph.D.,12 a researcher of behavioral and neuropharmacological effects of psychoactive drugs and the department chair of the psychology department at Columbia University:13

“[T]herapeutic benefits … have compelled citizens to vote repeatedly over the past two decades to legalize medical marijuana at the state level … And yet Federal law still technically forbids the use of medical marijuana …  

As a scientist and educator, I am worried that we have lost credibility … with those seeking treatments for a variety of medical conditions because our current scheduling of marijuana ignores the scientific and medical evidence.

When we make decisions based on factors other than the available empirical evidence, we are less than objective, which means we are no longer acting as scientists.”

Hart also points out that the glaring inconsistencies between the Federal law and so many other state initiatives — not to mention mounting scientific evidence demonstrating the medical benefits of cannabis — really undermines peoples’ trust in federal agencies.

I strongly concur, especially as it relates to the DEA, which really seems more interested in protecting the profits of prisons and drug companies than anything else.

DEA Vows to Make Marijuana Research Easier

In response to rising demand from scientists, the DEA has agreed to loosen restrictions around the growing of marijuana for research purposes. In April 2014, 161 scientists were registered to study marijuana. As of March 2016, there were 244.

At present, the University of Mississippi is the only federally legal grower of cannabis, and researchers who want to study the herb must jump through a number of bureaucratic hoops in order to receive approval from the HHS, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the DEA.

The DEA has agreed to raise the amount of marijuana it will allow to be grown for research purposes. It will also allow other facilities to grow marijuana for research. Many other time-consuming and costly hurdles will remain, however.14,15

Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, has pushed for looser restrictions on marijuana research. He told STAT News:16

“The main holdup for researchers is the scheduling, not the ability to obtain the product, which is a secondary issue. This change is a positive one, but will do relatively little to advance our scientific understanding.”

Indeed, while all Schedule 1 drugs must gain FDA approval, researchers studying marijuana must undergo additional review processes by both the HHS and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) that no other drug must go through.17

Moreover, there’s no deadline for the HHS/NIDA review, and no formal appeals process should the study be rejected. As a result, marijuana research is easily stifled, delayed or prevented altogether.

Synthetic Pot Drugs Approved While Marijuana Remains Banned

Ironically, while acting DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg states that “no drug product made from marijuana has yet been shown to be safe and effective,” he admits that two synthetic tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) medicines — Marinol and Cesamer — have recently received FDA approval for sale as, you guessed it, patented drugs.

Rosenberg took over as acting director of the DEA in May 2015, taking over the role after scandals drove out Michele Leonhart.18Leonhart was harshly criticized for opposing the legalization of marijuana, yet Rosenberg is following in the exact same footsteps.19

Earlier this year, Rosenberg even referred to the concept of medical marijuana as “a joke.” Somehow, I don’t think the manufacturers of these synthetic THC drugs would agree with him. In fact, the very approval of these drugs should be sufficient to prove marijuana has medical applications. Why else would they be approved for the treatment of nausea? These synthetic THC drugs are listed as Schedule 3 and 2 respectively, meaning they have acknowledged medicinal value.

THC is a subclass of cannabinoids, the general category of active chemical compounds found in marijuana. Cannabidiols (CBD) is another subclass.20 Cannabinoids produce biological effects because, just like opiates interacting with your opiate receptors, cannabinoids interact with specific receptors located in your cell membranes.

The therapeutic and psychoactive properties of marijuana occur when particular cannabinoids activate their associated receptors, and the effects depend on the areas of your body and brain in which they interact. Some cannabinoids are psychoactive, whereas others are not. THC is the most psychoactive, the one that produces the “high” associated with smoking pot.

Why Are DEA and HHS Ignoring Human Endocannabinoid System?

Cannabinoid receptors can be found on cell membranes throughout your body — in fact, scientists now believe they may represent the most widespread receptor system in the human body.21 Two receptor types have been identified:

  • CB1: Cannabinoid receptors that are extremely prolific in your brain (excluding your brain stem), but also present in your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas and other parts of your body
  • CB2: Cannabinoid receptors primarily found in your immune system

Your endocannabinoid system is thought to help regulate nearly every physiological process and plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis, and yet this is not taught in medical school. We’ve shared this important system with all vertebrate species and even sea squirts for more than 600 million years. Science to date suggests that your endocannabinoid system is integral to the following biological processes, and chances are we’ve barely scratched the surface.22

Immune function Inflammation (especially tamping it down) Energy intake and storage
Appetite control and cravings Nutrient transport Cellular communication
Emotional balance Reproduction Pain sensation
Sleep Bone growth Memory

Why Big Pharma Hates Pot

Were marijuana decriminalized nationwide, the drug industry clearly would take a big hit. Not only would people have access to a far less expensive, more effective and natural version of the synthetic CBD and THC drugs currently selling at a premium, many would also turn to marijuana to relieve their aches, pains, nausea, sleep problems, anxiety, depression and more.

The sad fact is that drug companies are fighting to shut down the legalization of marijuana in order to maintain their drug monopoly. For starters, the opioid painkiller market would be severely threatened by marijuana legalization.

Narcotic painkillers have been identified as the new gateway drug to heroin, and even government officials have publicly acknowledged that these drugs have become the No. 1 drug problem in the U.S., addicting and killing people in record numbers. More than 28,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2014 — more deaths than any other year on record according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).23

The number includes deaths from both heroin and prescription opioid pain relievers, but the latter accounted for at least half. Yet little is being done to curb their use. Instead, agencies like the DEA, FDA and HHS are fighting against marijuana! It’s illogical at best. Then again, profit has nothing to do with logic, and this is how you know that many federal agencies have ceased working for the public good.

Why Won’t Senate Release Its Opioid Report?

In 2012, as opioid overdoses continued to rise, two senators — Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) — began an investigation into financial ties between the drugs’ makers and the medical organizations setting guidelines on opioid use. The targets of the investigation were Purdue Pharma (maker of Oxycontin), Endo International plc (Percocet) and Johnson & Johnson (Duragesic) along with five organizations, including the Center for Practical Bioethics and the American Pain Foundation (APF).

Senate staffers spent a year working on the investigation and subsequent report, but its results have not been made public (the report is sealed in the Senate Committee on Finance’s office).24 Due to changes in position, it’s now Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), current chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who stand to get the opioid report released.

In 2015, public health advocates requested the release of the findings, noting that many of those targeted by the report continue to “promote aggressive opioid use and continue to block federal and state interventions that could reduce overprescribing.” Still, the report remains sealed. The question is why. What did they find that they don’t want anyone to know?

Drug Companies Downplay Addictive Nature of Opioids

The attorney general of New Hampshire, Joseph Foster, is trying to prove five drug companies — Actavis, Endo, Janssen, Teva and Purdue Pharma — broke the law when they marketed their opioid painkillers. He believes false marketing has contributed to rising abuse of illicit drugs like heroin. According to Foster, these companies are stifling his investigation and refusing to cooperate with the state’s attorneys. In a recent NPR program, Foster said:25

“If they are continuing to mislead the public, we’re going to continue to improperly create addicts in our state. Four out of 5 folks who turned to heroin were addicted to prescription opiates first.”

Chicago, two California counties and Mississippi have already filed lawsuits against one or more of the same companies currently under investigation in New Hampshire. James Boffetti, New Hampshire’s lead attorney on the case told NPR:

“We’re in a mess. You know, we have a country that’s addicted to opioids that move to heroin. So we need to solve this problem, and part of it is we need to figure out what the drug companies did, if anything, to create this problem … [But] I’ve yet to receive one piece of paper from any of these drug companies. And you’ve got to ask yourself, why? Why are they fighting so hard?”

DEA Has Impeded and Rejected Science for 40 Years

Like the drug industry, the DEA has spent decades fighting AGAINST that which is right. As noted by Drugpolicy.org:26 “The DEA has existed for more than 40 years but little attention has been given to the role the agency has played in fueling mass incarceration, racial disparities, the surveillance state and other drug war problems.” It goes into further detail in its report, “The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science.”27 The report highlights the following five case studies:

  • DEA Obstructs Marijuana Rescheduling, Part One 1973-1994
  • DEA Overrules Administrative Law Judge to Classify MDMA (synthetic cannabinoids) as Schedule I, 1985
  • DEA Obstructs Marijuana Rescheduling: Part Two, 1995-2001
  • DEA Overrules Administrative Law Judge to Protect Federal Monopoly on Marijuana for Research, 2001-2013
  • DEA Obstructs Marijuana Rescheduling: Part Three, 2002-2013

According to the report, “These case studies reveal a number of DEA practices that work to maintain the existing, scientifically unsupported drug scheduling system and to obstruct research that might alter current drug schedules.” Failing to act in a timely fashion, overruling DEA administrative law judges and creating regulatory Catch-22s are among the agency’s most common tactics.

Unfortunately, with its recent decision to reject the petition to reclassify marijuana, it’s apparent that the agency is still playing the same old game. Meanwhile, families and individual lives continue to be destroyed by a nonsensical drug policy that targets marijuana users — even when the herb is used to treat terminal illness for which there are few other safe options.

It’s hard to understand how federal policy makers can sacrifice the lives of so many, including children, to protect corporate profit centers. But that’s what they’re doing.

Sources and References