By Dr. Mercola
The video above features Barbara Loe-Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a non-profit charity dedicated to preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending the legal right for everyone to make vaccine choices.
In her video, Barbara discusses how "a localized Ebola outbreak has been turned into a global public health emergency," and why there's reason to suspect that American and international authorities did not actually want Ebola to be confined to a few African nations.
US public health officials now warn that Ebola—a highly contagious and deadly hemorrhagic fever-type disease—might become as widespread as HIV/AIDS.
And while public health officials have alternative downplayed and hyped up fears about Ebola, there are actually few reasons why Ebola should turn into a full-blown deadly epidemic in developed countries like the US with strong health care infrastructures.
So far, only one Ebola infected person, a citizen from Liberia visiting the U.S., has died on American soil. He was originally misdiagnosed at a Dallas community hospital, which delayed treatment and there are questions about whether the inappropriate antibiotics he was given may have contributed to his early demise.
Regardless, by rousing fears about Ebola (which had killed about 5,000 people in West Africa by Nov. 1, 2014), vaccine manufacturers co-developing experimental genetically engineered Ebola vaccines with federal health agencies are now in a better position to fast-track licensure of Ebola vaccines.1 If Ebola vaccine makers are shielded from product liability lawsuits2 in the event people are injured or killed by their vaccine, their profits will be substantial.3
But, in order to get indemnification for a fast-tracked vaccine, the government must recommend the vaccine for universal use in children or adults or designate it as a “bioterrorism” vaccine needed to protect national security — as was the case with the 2009 swine flu pandemic H1N1 vaccine.
How Ebola Kills
The current Ebola outbreak involves Zaire ebolavirus, which leads to severe immunosuppression. Many deaths, however, are attributed to dehydration and lack of adequate treatment, which is in part why the mortality rate is so high in Africa (on average 40-50 percent) and sometimes as high as 70 percent.
Early signs of infection include non-specific flu-like symptoms; sudden onset of fever, diarrhea, headache, muscle pain, vomiting, and abdominal pains. As the infection sets in, shock, cerebral edema (fluid on the brain), blood coagulation disorders that cause uncontrollable bleeding and secondary bacterial infections may occur.
As explained by Dr. Robert Rowen, Ebola is very efficient at hijacking your immune system and suppressing it. Once your immune system realizes the virus is there, it launches a cytokine storm, and it is this cytokine storm that leads to massive tissue destruction and capillary leakage.
This is what causes the lethal hemorrhaging associated with Ebola, so part of successful treatment of Ebola hinges on preventing the cytokine storm from occurring. According to Dr. Rowen, ozone therapy may be the answer the world has been looking for.
Ozone not only inactivates viruses, it also acts very similarly to the experimental drug ZMapp in that it dramatically boosts your immune function, allowing your body to eliminate the viral infection on its own accord—without having to launch a cytokine storm.
Dr. Rowen is currently in Sierra Leone, teaching health care workers how to administer ozone therapy to Ebola patients, and I look forward to getting an update upon his return.
If you missed my recent interview with him, in which we discuss ozone therapy for Ebola, I highly recommend taking the time to listen to it now.
Download Interview Transcript
Ebola Spread Raises Questions About Disease Containment Procedures
So, just how did Ebola land on American soil? In her video and accompanying referenced commentary,4 Barbara summarizes the chain of events that led to the spread of the virus from the African continent to the US.
She notes a number of instances where the actions and decisions of US government officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) run contrary to what you'd expect in a disease-containment situation:
- In the spring of 2014, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone began reporting a surge in Ebola cases. By summer, African missionary workers repeatedly contacted US health officials, calling for an immediate response to the rapid spread of Ebola.
So why did CDC officials, both in the US and in Africa, ignore the exploding epidemic?
- By the beginning of August, an American missionary infected with Ebola was flown from Liberia to Atlanta for treatment with the experimental drug ZMapp.
A second aid worker is also flown back to the US for treatment around that same time, and in early September, a third American doctor infected with Ebola is flown back to the US, this time to Nebraska, for treatment. All three quickly improved and have since fully recovered.
But why did US government officials fly infected patients to the US, thereby risking the spread of infection among American hospital personnel, when they could have treated them with ZMapp in Africa?
- On September 18, the United Nations Security Council adopted a US-developed resolution that lifted travel and border restrictions on African citizens living in Ebola-stricken areas. This allowed everyone to travel freely between nations, including into the US...A mere two days later, a Liberian citizen infected with Ebola flew from Liberia to Texas, where he exposed family members, health care workers, and other patients at a Dallas hospital to the virus after falling ill.
The hospital initially misdiagnosed his symptoms and sent him back home. Two days after that, he’s diagnosed with Ebola, but public health officials failed to immediately employ appropriate infection control measures, again exposing others to infection. As Barbara asks,5 “Why did the US government press the United Nations to adopt a resolution calling for no restrictions on international travel from Liberia and other Ebola-stricken countries?”
And “why did the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, supposedly the world’s leading infection control agency, fail to immediately assist Texas health officials when the first case of Ebola was diagnosed on US soil to guarantee that, at a minimum, the kind of infection control measures used in most nursing homes in America would be carried out?”
- On September 30, CDC officials held a press conference stating that the only time a person infected with Ebola is contagious is when they’re symptomatic. They also claimed the only way you can contract the disease is via direct contact with body fluids of an infected person, but that “under no circumstances is Ebola airborne.” But why was this done when the Director of the CDC knew, or should have known, that such statements might be false?6
For example, back in 2000, scientists reported that the Ebola virus has the capacity to cause asymptomatic infection, and could persist in the bloodstream of an asymptomatic carrier for at least two weeks after exposure.7, 8 Research suggests an asymptomatic carrier can still transmit infection via saliva, stool, semen, breast milk, tears, and blood.9
Just over a week later, on October 8, top disease control and Ebola infection experts went on the record admitting that, really, scientists are not sure how Ebola is transmitted, and that there’s a possibility the virus could be transmitted through the air, should an infected person cough or sneeze. They also confirmed that an asymptomatic carrier may be able to infect others, and noted that screening for Ebola at airports using fever as a guide may be ineffective, as fever and other mild symptoms can be masked taking over-the-counter medication, such as Tylenol.
- So, again, why did the director of the CDC fail to address any of this available scientific evidence?
- Last but not least, Barbara raises the important question of “why are experimental Ebola vaccines being fast tracked into human trials and promoted as the final solution rather than ramping up testing and production of the experimental ZMapp drug that has already saved the lives of several Ebola infected Americans?”
- Indeed, why a vaccine and not a drug? Could it be because “universal use” and “bioterrorism” and other types of government-designated vaccines used in “public health emergency” situations are indemnified from legal ramifications should people be harmed or die from the vaccine? Drugs do not have the same kind of legal protection.
Some People Are Sure to Benefit from the Spread of Ebola...
The chain of events Barbara summarizes in her commentary (and video) highlights what appears to be more than incompetence or intermittent slips of judgment. There appears to be orchestrated “failures” permitting the disease to easily spread beyond borders, while still allowing government officials to fall back on excuses and plausible deniability.
"A logical conclusion is that some people in industry, government and the World Health Organization did not want the Ebola outbreak to be confined to several nations in Africa because that would fail to create a lucrative global market for mandated use of fast tracked Ebola vaccines by every one of the seven billion human beings living on this planet," Barbara writes. "Will there be an Ebola outbreak in America? Ask the CDC, WHO, DOD, NIH and Congress."
Ozone Therapy—A Promising Option for the Prevention and/or Treatment of Ebola
Working with Ebola patients in Africa, Dr. Rowen is locating clinicians who can administer oxidative therapies. I certainly agree this could be a promising option for prevention and/or treatment of this and perhaps other serious diseases and deserves much further attention by health officials. Ebola is but one infectious disease that has the potential to be treated in this manner. Oxidative therapies work by stimulating your immune system, enhancing mitochondrial processes, and facilitating healing with virtually no side effects, and can be used either as treatment or prevention.
They can also be used as a potent anti-aging health strategy for general wellness. Of the various oxidative therapies available, like IV vitamin C, or hydrogen peroxide, or hyperbaric oxygen, ozone appears to be the best overall, as it's the most versatile. It's particularly beneficial for blood treatments and infection. To learn more about the general use of oxidative medicine, which include ozone therapy, ultraviolet blood irradiation therapy, and intravenous hydrogen peroxide therapy, please see my previous interview with Dr. Rowen.
To locate a clinician who can administer oxidative therapy you can try the following sources:
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
Fluoride has been used experimentally to treat osteoporosis, although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it for this purpose. The fact is that fluoride does increase bone mineral density.
But this “benefit” is misleading because as it increases density, it simultaneously makes them more brittle and prone to fracture. Fluoride actually interferes with bone remodeling, or the process in which the mineral portion of your bone is broken down and rebuilt.
By interfering, your bones become excessively mineralized and enlarged, “a disruption of the precise architecture needed to maintain resistance to fracture,” as the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) put it.
Fluoride Blamed for Increasing Bone Fractures in India
Fluoride is described as “one of the oldest drugs available for managing osteoporosis,” but the gains in bone mass are being offset by increases in fracture rates.1 Vivek Logani, chief of joint replacement surgery at Gurgaon's Paras Hospital in India, said:2
"It is widely recognized that fluoride therapy for osteoporosis adds mass to bones but produces inferior bones. In short, the bio-mechanical competence of the skeleton may be compromised because the tensile (elasticity) strength of bone is sacrificed…
Numerous studies show that fluoride may cause not only increased skeletal fragility (more non-vertebral fractures such as hips) but also osteomalacia (deficiency of bone mineralization).”
For instance, research has shown that patients treated with fluoride at doses of greater than 20 milligrams/day had an increase in fracture rates, including spontaneous hip fracture.3 Even at levels found in drinking water (4 mg/L), fluoride has been found to reduce the density of cortical bone and increase bone fracture rates among populations with fluoridated drinking water.
The data actually spurred the US National Research Council to call on the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce fluoride levels in drinking water, although they’ve yet to do so.4 Animal studies have also shown that as fluoride exposure increases, bone strength decreases.5 So don’t be fooled by its ability to increase bone mass…
Fluoride Kills Your Bones in a Way Similar to Bisphosphonate Drugs
As FAN said, “Remember, thicker bone does NOT equate to stronger bone,” and this is a lesson learned well from bisphosphonate osteoporosis drugs (Fosamax, Boniva, and Actonel). Like fluoride, these drugs poison your osteoclasts (cells that break down your bone), permanently killing them and interfering with your normal bone remodeling processes.
So, your bones will indeed get denser but at the same time they will become weaker and more prone to fracture. Bone is a dynamic structure that requires the removal of unhealthy bone and REPLACEMENT with new bone to stay strong.
Fosamax does NOT build any new bone… and neither does fluoride. It only kills the cells that break bone down, so your bone is not benefitting from its natural dynamic regenerative process.
Government Fails to Disclose Fluoride’s Disproportionate Harms to Black Community
Fluoride toxicity is exacerbated by conditions that occur much more frequently in low-income areas. This includes:
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Infant formula consumption
- Kidney disease
Black and Mexican American children have significantly higher rates of dental fluorosis, and many low-income urban communities also have severe oral health crises, despite decades of water fluoridation. In the US, 40% of adolescents have dental fluorosis.
According to documents obtained by FAN, government health authorities knew more than 50 years ago that black Americans suffered greater harm from fluoridation, including being more susceptible to dental fluorosis than whites. Yet, they failed to disclose those harms to the black community or make changes to water fluoridation guidelines. FAN reported:6
“In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] (CDC) acknowledged for the first time that the black community has higher rates of dental fluorosis. It took a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, however, to learn the full extent of this disparity.
According to recently released FOIA documents, 58% of black children were diagnosed with dental fluorosis in CDC's 1999-2004 national survey, versus 36% of white children.
‘The epidemic of fluorosis now seen in the black community,’ says [attorney Michael] Connett, ‘is the visible legacy of the government's failure to act on what it knew.’"
Dental fluorosis is a condition that refers to changes in the appearance of tooth enamel that are caused by long-term ingestion of fluoride during the time teeth are forming. In some areas, fluorosis rates are as high as 70-80 percent, with some children suffering from advanced forms.
It’s likely this is a sign that children are receiving large amounts of fluoride from multiple sources, including not only drinking water but also fluoride toothpaste, processed beverages/foods, fluoride pesticides, tea, non-stick pans, and some fluorinated drugs.
It's important to realize that dental fluorosis is NOT "just cosmetic." It can also be an indication that the rest of your body, such as your bones and internal organs, including your brain, has been overexposed to fluoride as well. In other words, if fluoride is having a visually detrimental effect on the surface of your teeth, you can be virtually guaranteed that it's also damaging other parts of your body, such as your bones.
How to Create Truly Stronger Bones Via Your Diet
One of the important strategies for healthy bones is to eat the right kind of foods. A diet full of processed foods will produce biochemical and metabolic conditions in your body that will decrease your bone density, so avoiding processed foods is definitely the first step in the right direction. This goes far beyond calcium, which is the first nutrient many people think of concerning their bones.
Your bones are actually composed of many different minerals, and if you focus on calcium alone, you will likely weaken your bones and increase your risk of osteoporosis, as Dr. Robert Thompson explains in his book, The Calcium Lie.
Calcium, vitamins D and K2, and magnesium work synergistically together to promote strong, healthy bones, and your sodium to potassium ratio also plays an important role in maintaining your bone mass (larger amounts of potassium in relation to sodium is optimal for your bone health and your overall health). Ideally, you'd get all or most of these nutrients, including vitamin B12, from your diet (with the exception of vitamin D). This includes:
- Plant-derived calcium: Raw milk from pasture-raised cows (who eat the plants), leafy green vegetables, the pith of citrus fruits, carob, and sesame seeds
- Magnesium: Raw organic cacao and supplemental magnesium threonate if need be; take regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths
- Vitamin K2: Grass-fed organic animal products (i.e. eggs, butter, and dairy), certain fermented foods such as natto, or vegetables fermented using a starter culture of vitamin K2-producing bacteria, and certain cheeses such as Brie and Gouda
- Trace minerals: Himalayan Crystal Salt, which contains all 84 elements found in your body, or other natural, unprocessed salt (NOT regular table salt!)
- Vitamin D: Ideally from appropriate sun exposure (or a high-quality tanning bed), as it's virtually impossible to get sufficient amounts from food. As a last resort, you could use a supplement, but if you do, you may also need to supplement with vitamin K2 and magnesium to maintain ideal ratios
Lower Your Risk of Fractures with Exercise
The other component you can't ignore if you want strong, healthy bones is weight-bearing exercises like strength training. Bone building is a dynamic process, so you want to make sure you exert enough force on your bones to stimulate the osteoblasts to build new bone. As mentioned, bone is living tissue that requires regular physical activity in order to renew and rebuild itself, so it is important to make exercise a lifelong commitment. Peak bone mass is achieved in adulthood and then begins a slow decline, but exercise can help you to maintain healthy bone mass as you get older, and should be viewed as a bone-building partner to your healthy diet.
Weight-bearing exercise is actually one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis, because as you put more tension on your muscles it puts more pressure on your bones, which then respond by continuously creating fresh, new bone. In addition, as you build more muscle, and make the muscle that you already have stronger, you also put more constant pressure on your bones. A good weight-bearing exercise to incorporate into your routine (depending on your current level of fitness, of course) is a walking lunge, as it helps build bone density in your hips, even without any additional weights.
In addition, Acceleration Training, a.k.a. Whole Body Vibrational Training (WBVT) using a Power Plate, has also been shown to be a safe, natural way to ward off osteoporosis, and it's gentle enough even for the disabled and elderly. Research shows vibrational training may help to produce a significant increase in bone density in postmenopausal women,7 making it another valuable tool for bone health.
Take Action Against Fluoridated Drinking Water
Clearly, children and adults alike are being overexposed to fluoride, and their health and development put in jeopardy. Why? At least when it comes to topical application, you have a choice. You can easily buy fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash. But you're stuck with whatever your community puts in the water, and it's very difficult to filter out of your water once it's added. Many do not have the resources or the knowledge to do so.
Stay tuned, as the Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation, both in the US and Canada. Clean pure water is a prerequisite to optimal health. Industrial chemicals, drugs, and other toxic additives really have no place in our water supplies. So, please, support the anti-fluoride movement by making a donation to the Fluoride Action Network today.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
In the last five years, the number of children with vitamin D deficiency has increased by more than 200 percent, according to a study commissioned by the UK-based public awareness campaign Vitamin D Mission.1
What’s more, they uncovered that many physicians and parents had a “worrying lack of knowledge” about the importance of vitamin D for children’s health and the widespread prevalence of deficiency.
Your skin produces vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, but during certain months of the year – namely November, December, January, February, and March in the UK and much of the US.
During this time not enough of the sun’s rays reach the earth to produce ample vitamin D in your body (plus, it’d be too cold outside to go sunbathing, even if it was).
Only 7 percent of physicians could identify these months of the year when it is difficult to get enough sunlight exposure to produce adequate vitamin D, and only 4 percent of parents were aware that sunlight during the winter months could not provide vitamin D.
Many Parents and Health Care Practitioners Are Unaware of the Importance of Vitamin for Children
There’s widespread misinformation and lack of awareness when it comes to vitamin D, which is tragic because it’s incredibly important for multiple aspects of health – and it’s one of the easiest vitamin deficiencies to fix.
When surveyed, half of parents with children under 5 said they knew “not much” or “nothing” about the importance of vitamin D for children’s health. Another third said they had not received any information from their physicians about it.
Further, one-third of health-care practitioners and four out of five parents did not know the UK’s Department of Health recommends children under 5 take a daily vitamin D supplement.2 Unfortunately, they recommend just 280 IUs of vitamin D daily for children aged 6 months to 5 years, and 400 IUs daily for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
These levels are likely far too low to bring vitamin D levels into the optimal therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml year-round, and even still it’s estimated that the average British toddler only gets 27 percent of the too-low recommended intake!3 No wonder rates of rickets and other vitamin-D-related conditions are increasing year after year…
Why Is Vitamin D So Crucial for Children’s Health?
Your body needs vitamin D at all life stages, including for development in the womb. In fact, if you’re a woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant, now is the time to optimize your vitamin D levels for the sake of your child (and your own health as well). One of the leading vitamin D researchers, Dr. Michael Holick, explained in our interview:
"I usually recommend that vitamin D is critically important from birth until death. Just to give you a couple of examples: during pregnancy, we're now realizing that vitamin D deficiency is a major issue for the developing fetus.
Pre-eclampsia, the most serious complication of pregnancy, is associated with vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is critically important for muscle function, which, of course, is important for birthing action. We showed a 400 percent reduced risk of women requiring a C-section if they simply were vitamin D sufficient at the time they gave birth.
We're now beginning to realize that in-utero vitamin D deficiency is more likely that the young children are going to have asthma and wheezing disorders. We're also now realizing that children who are vitamin D deficient are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis later in life, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn's disease.”
For instance, poor diet and lack of vitamin D during pregnancy were found to be determining factors in whether children suffered from asthma and wheezing by the age of 5.4 In childhood, studies of critically ill children found that vitamin D deficiency is very common in sick children, and is associated with worse outcomes and extended hospital stays.5
Your immune system needs vitamin D to function properly, too, which is why children with adequate vitamin D levels are less likely to catch the flu than children without.6 Vitamin D even plays a role in the health of your teeth, and children with early childhood caries tend to have lower vitamin D levels than children without.7
In fact, this association appears to begin in utero, as mothers of infants with cavities were found to have significantly lower vitamin D levels during pregnancy than mothers with infants who were cavity-free.8 Research shows that 56 percent of black women and 19 percent of white women were vitamin-D deficient during their first trimester of pregnancy, however this used a deficiency definition of <20 ng/ml.9
This is well below the optimal 50-70 ng/ml, as you can see in the table below. So most of those who the study classified as having enough vitamin D were actually deficient as well – giving you an idea of just how widespread vitamin D deficiency actually is.
Inadequate Vitamin D in Adults: Linked to Asthma, Neuromuscular Disease, Thyroid Issues, and More
As an adult, your vitamin D requirements are equally important as children’s. Accumulating research continues to highlight the many different aspects of your health that are affected by too little vitamin D. For instance:
- Low vitamin D levels may be associated with autoimmune thyroid disease10
- People with neuromuscular disease are often vitamin D deficient11
- Adults with asthma who are also vitamin D deficient are at a higher risk of having an asthma attack, and boosting levels may help manage attacks12 (the same has been found to be true in children as well)
From my perspective, however, vitamin D deficiency appears to have the greatest impact on cancer rates. At present, the US cancer mortality rate is equivalent to eight to 10 airplanes crashing each and every single day. Optimizing vitamin D rates across the general population could reduce that by about 50 percent. And it's virtually free—at least if you opt for sun exposure.
As mentioned by Dr. Holick, one of the Nurses' Health Studies showed that nurses who had the highest blood levels of vitamin D, averaging about 50 ng/ml, reduced their risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 50 percent. Similarly, a Canadian study showed that women who reported having the most sun exposure as a teenager and young adult had almost a 70 percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer. It's just insane not to take advantage of this prevention strategy…
How to Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels
It has become increasingly clear that vitamin D deficiency is absolutely rampant, not just in the UK but also in the US. For example:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 32 percent of children and adults throughout the US were vitamin D deficient
- The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 50 percent of children aged 1 to 5 years old, and 70 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 11, are deficient or insufficient in vitamin D
- Researchers such as Dr. Holick estimate that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency
I firmly believe that appropriate sun exposure is the best way to optimize your vitamin D levels. I personally have not taken a vitamin D supplement for over five years, yet my levels are in the 70 ng/ml range. If you can't get enough sunshine, then a high-quality tanning bed would be your next best option. What makes for a high-quality tanning bed? Most tanning equipment uses magnetic ballasts to generate light. These magnetic ballasts are well known sources of EMFs that can contribute to cancer. If you hear a loud buzzing noise while in a tanning bed, it has a magnetic ballast system.
I strongly recommend you avoid these types of beds and restrict your use of tanning beds to those that use electronic ballasts. Dr. Holick recommends protecting your face when using a tanning bed, and to only go in for half the time recommended for tanning. Make sure the tanning bed you're using is putting out UVB radiation. There are some on the market that only put out UVA, as this is what creates a tan, but you need UVB to produce vitamin D.
If You Opt for a Vitamin D Supplement…
If your circumstances don't allow you to access the sun or a high-quality tanning bed, then you really only have one option if you want to raise your vitamin D, and that is to take a vitamin D supplement (make sure it is vitamin D3, not D2). I recommend regularly testing your levels to make sure you're staying within the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml year-round. The Society Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee recommends the following dosages. Keep in mind that these guidelines are thought to allow most people to reach a vitamin D level of 30 ng/ml, which many still consider suboptimal for disease prevention.
- Neonates: 400 to 1,000 IUs per day
- Children one year of age and above: 600 to 1,000 IUs per day
- Adults: 1,500 to 2,000 IUs per day
GrassrootsHealth offers a helpful chart showing the average adult dose required to reach healthy vitamin D levels based upon your measured starting point. Many experts agree that 35 IUs of vitamin D per pound of body weight could be used as an estimate for your ideal dose, but you’ll need to test your levels to find out the dosage that’s right for you.
Vitamin K2 and Magnesium Are Important Alongside Vitamin D
Nutrients do not exist in a bubble… they often require the synergistic actions of supportive nutrients to function properly within your body, and this is very true of vitamin D, vitamin K2, magnesium, and also calcium. These four nutrients perform an intricate dance together, with one supporting the other. Lack of balance between these nutrients is why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, and why some people experience vitamin D toxicity.
Part of the explanation for these adverse side effects is that vitamin K2 keeps calcium in its appropriate place. If you're K2 deficient, added calcium can cause more problems than it solves, by accumulating in the wrong places. Similarly, if you opt for oral vitamin D, you need to also consume in your food or take supplemental vitamin K2 and more magnesium. Taking mega doses of vitamin D supplements without sufficient amounts of K2 and magnesium can lead to vitamin D toxicity and magnesium deficiency symptoms, which include inappropriate calcification.
Magnesium and vitamin K2 complement each other, as magnesium helps lower blood pressure, which is an important component of heart disease. So, all in all, anytime you're taking any of the following: magnesium, calcium, vitamin D3, or vitamin K2, you need to take all the others into consideration as well, since these all work synergistically with one another. Please don’t simply assume that you’re getting enough, either, as an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium.
The health consequences of deficiency can be quite significant, as magnesium performs a wide array of biological functions, including activating muscles and nerves and creating energy in your body. So, ideally, strive to get the vitamin D your body needs naturally, via healthy sun exposure, but if you opt to take a supplement be sure to find out how to optimize your vitamin K2, magnesium, and calcium levels along with it.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
A ketogenic diet calls for minimizing carbohydrates and replacing them with healthy fats and moderate amounts of high-quality protein.
This kind of diet is now being investigated for its potential to prevent and treat cancer, but it has long been established as an excellent treatment for epileptic seizures.
A high-fat, low-carb diet will also help optimize your weight and virtually all chronic degenerative disease, as eating this way will help you convert from burning carbs to burning fat as its primary fuel.
In the US, epilepsy affects an estimated 2.3 million adults and nearly 468,000 children below the age of 17. It’s a chronic neurological condition characterized by recurring seizures, which can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, given the heightened risk of accidents and injuries.1
Ketogenic Diet—An Accepted First Line Approach for Epilepsy in Children
Standard treatment for epilepsy includes anti-epileptic drugs, which tends to work for 60-65 percent of patients.2 For the remainder, the drugs don’t work—but oftentimes a ketogenic diet will.
Clinical medicine began recognizing the ketogenic diet as a valuable option in the treatment of epilepsy in the late 90s, and there’s even a Ketogenic Diet Special Interest Group at the American Epilepsy Society.
The special interest group was organized by Dr. Thomas Seyfried, who today is one of the leading academic researchers looking at using the ketogenic diet as a cancer treatment.
Jim Abrahams was another key player. Abrahams created the Charlie Foundation for his son Charlie, who went through a near-death experience from seizures and was healed using a ketogenic diet.
Today, the ketogenic diet is frequently used as a first line approach in seizure disorders where medications fail, and according to Dr. Seyfried, it’s recognized as an important component for the management of refractory (drug resistant) seizures in children specifically.
Interestingly, the mechanism by which the ketogenic diet manages seizures is not nearly as clear as the way the ketogenic diet manages cancer. This is ironic considering that it’s barely known, let alone applied, within oncology circles, while it’s already an established treatment for epilepsy.
New Study Investigates Ketogenic Diet for Adult Epileptics
While the ketogenic diet has a successful track record in treating epileptic children, adult studies have been scarce. To investigate the potential effectiveness of dietary intervention in adult epileptics, researchers recently reviewed3, 4, 5, 6 the limited body of published studies.
Two types of diets were included:
- Ketogenic diet, consisting of a 3:1:1 or 4:1:1 fat to carbohydrate and protein ratio, with 87-90 percent of calories from fat
- Modified Atkins diet: 1:1:1 fat to carb and protein ratio with approximately 50 percent of calories from fat
In all, the results were very similar between the two diets; 32 percent of those on a ketogenic diet and 29 percent of those on a modified Atkins diet reduced their seizures by about half.
A small subset of patients—nine percent of those following a ketogenic diet, and five percent of those using a modified Atkins diet—reduced the frequency of their seizures by more than 90 percent.
The effects were persistent over the long term, but low rates of diet acceptance and high rates of treatment discontinuation were found to be significant barriers to success.
More than half of all patients doing a ketogenic diet discontinued it before the end of the study period, as did 42 percent of those on a modified Atkins diet. That said, for those who kept the course, the results were typically rapid and beneficial. According to the authors:
“The anticonvulsant effect occurs quickly with both diets, within days to weeks. Side effects of both diets are benign and similar. The most serious, hyperlipidemia, reverses with treatment discontinuation. The most common, weight loss, may be advantageous in patients with obesity...
In summary, ketogenic and modified Atkins diet treatment show modest efficacy, although in some patients the effect is remarkable. The diets are well-tolerated, but often discontinued because of their restrictiveness. In patients willing to try dietary treatment, the effect is seen quickly, giving patients the option whether to continue the treatment.”
Another finding was that while children sometimes remain seizure free after discontinuing the diet, such was not the case in adults. This means that adult epileptics would likely have to maintain the diet indefinitely, or suffer a relapse...
The Importance of Intermittent Fasting
In my experience, the vast majority of people are adapted to burning carbs as their primary fuel opposed to burning fat. This is the result of eating a diet too high in sugar/carbs and generally lacking in healthy fats.
One of the most common side effects of being a sugar-burner is that you end up with insulin and leptin resistance, which it at the root of most chronic disease. Intermittent fasting is one of the most effective strategies I know of to shift your body from burning sugar to burning fat as its primary fuel.
While there are many different strategies, my favorite (and the one I personally used to become fat adapted) is to simply restrict your daily eating to within a six- to eight-hour window, which means you’re fasting for about 16-18 hours each day. This upregulates the enzymes that are designed to burn fat as a fuel, and downregulates the glucose enzymes. This approach really only needs to be used until insulin resistance resolves.
This kind of intermittent fasting can also be a useful modality to help you make a more gradual transition to a ketogenic diet, as it helps break your body’s addiction to glucose. In fact, eliminating sugar cravings is one of the most welcomed side effects of intermittent fasting. Unless you have a very serious disease, I believe it is best for most people to implement intermittent fasting slowly over six to eight weeks rather than a three day complete fast. You begin by not eating for three hours before you go to bed and then gradually extend the time you eat breakfast until you have skipped breakfast completely.
For Optimal Health, Pay Attention to What and When You Eat
For optimal health, there are two key factors to keep in mind: what you eat, and when you eat. Some intermittent fasting advocates permit you to eat just about any kind of junk you want as long as you restrict calories on certain days, but in my view this can be really counterproductive because when you’re fasting, optimal nutrition becomes more important, not less so...
As you will see below, the ketogenic diet is very similar to what could be considered ideal for most people, and I believe it can be very beneficial for the vast majority of people, either alone or in combination with intermittent fasting. The primary difference between someone struggling with a chronic disease such as epilepsy or cancer and people who have not yet been diagnosed with a chronic disease is how long you have to maintain this type of regimen.
As a general rule, if you are insulin resistant, I recommend intermittent fasting along with a ketogenic-type diet for as long as it takes to resolve your insulin resistance. At that point, you can add more meals back in. However, whether you’re intermittently fasting or not, I believe the following food guidelines are beneficial for the vast majority of people—especially if you’re trying to shed unwanted weight:
- Avoid sugar, processed foods, fructose in excess of 15 grams, and grains. This effectively means you must avoid most processed foods
- Eat plenty of whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the grain carbs with:
- Large amounts of fresh organic locally grown vegetables
- Low-to-moderate amount of high-quality protein (think organically raised, pastured animals). Most Americans eat far more protein than needed for optimal health. I believe it is the rare person who really needs more than one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Those that are aggressively exercising or competing and pregnant women should have about 25 percent more, but most people rarely need more than 40-70 grams of protein a day.
The rationale behind limiting your protein this: when you consume protein in levels higher than recommended above, you tend to activate the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) pathway, which can help you get large muscles but may also increase your risk of cancer. There is also research suggesting that the "mTOR gene" is a significant regulator of the aging process,7 and suppressing this gene may be linked to longer life.
To determine whether you’re getting too much protein, first calculate your lean body mass by subtracting your body fat percentage from 100 (example: if you have 20 percent body fat, you have 80 percent lean body mass). Then write down everything you’re eating for a few days, and calculate the amount of daily protein from all sources.
Aim for one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, which would place most people in the range of 40 to 70 grams of protein per day. If you’re currently averaging a lot more than that, adjust downward accordingly. You could use the chart below or simply Google the food you want to know and you will quickly find the grams of protein in the food.
Red meat, pork, poultry, and seafood average 6-9 grams of protein per ounce. |
An ideal amount for most people would be a 3-ounce serving of meat or seafood (not 9- or 12-ounce steaks!), which will provide about 18-27 grams of protein
|Eggs contain about 6-8 grams of protein per egg. So an omelet made from two eggs would give you about 12-16 grams of protein.
If you add cheese, you need to calculate that protein in as well (check the label of your cheese)
|Seeds and nuts contain on average 4-8 grams of protein per quarter cup ||Cooked beans average about 7-8 grams per half cup
|Cooked grains average 5-7 grams per cup ||Most vegetables contain about 1-2 grams of protein per ounce
- As much high-quality healthful fat as you want (saturated and monounsaturated from animal and tropical oil sources). Most people need upwards of 50-85 percent fats in their diet for optimal health. Sources of healthful fats to add to your diet include:
||Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk||Raw dairy
||Organic pastured egg yolks
|Coconuts and coconut oil
||Unheated organic nut oils||Raw nuts, such as almonds, pecans, and macadamia, and seeds
Low-Fat Diets Finally Acknowledged as ‘a Bad Idea’
One of the most destructive health recommendations that have pervaded the US food system is the recommendation to avoid dietary fat. As noted above, most people need at least 50 percent or more of their daily calories in the form of healthy fat—a far cry from the 10 percent currently recommended.
When food manufacturers started removing saturated fats from their foods, they added not just one but two ingredients that have wrought tremendous harm: sugar, and trans fats. As recently noted by investigative journalist Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal:8
“The top scientist guiding the US government’s nutrition recommendations made an admission last month that would surprise most Americans. Low-fat diets, Alice Lichtenstein said, are ‘probably not a good idea.’ It was a rare public acknowledgment conceding the failure of the basic principle behind 35 years of official American nutrition advice.”
I recently interviewed Nina on the topic of fats, and in that interview she revealed that while the food industry reduced the use of trans fats, restaurants ended up reverting back to using regular vegetable oils (such as peanut, corn, and soy oil) for frying, and these oils, it turns out, degrade into highly toxic oxidation products when heated... In fact, they may be even worse for you than the trans fat they’re replacing! Basically, while the FDA has recognized the harms of trans fat and is in the process of eliminating them, they have not reviewed the evidence to conclude what the healthiest replacement might be. As explained by Nina:
“There’s a whole category called aldehydes, which are particularly worrisome... [A]t fairly low levels of exposure, these aldehydes in animals caused tremendous inflammation, which is related to heart disease. They oxidized LDL cholesterol, which is thought to be the LDL cholesterol that becomes dangerous. There's a link to heart disease. There's also some evidence that links these aldehydes in particular to Alzheimer's. They seem to have a very severe effect on the body."
One researcher has found that cyclic aldehydes cause toxic shock in animals through gastric damage, and this seems consistent with the rise in immune problems and gastrointestinal-related diseases in the human population. So, please, while it’s important to avoid trans fat, you also want to avoid food cooked in regular vegetable oils, as the byproducts produced when these oils are heated may be even worse for your health than trans fat... Instead, stick to saturated fats like coconut oil, butter, or lard for cooking.
Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent Fasting Can Be Greatly Beneficial for Most
If you or your child is an epileptic, I would encourage you to try a ketogenic diet. Intermittent fasting may further boost results. I also believe it’s crucial for cancer9, 10 patients.
That said, a ketogenic diet, in which you replace carbs with low to moderate amounts of protein and high amounts of healthy fat (such as avocado, coconut oil, butter, olive oil, and macadamia nuts), is really recommended for everyone, whether you have a chronic health problem or not. It’s a diet that will help optimize your weight and health overall, as eating this way will help you convert from carb burning mode to fat burning.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
There’s currently a great concern about Ebola, and this provides us an opportunity to investigate some basic vaccine questions. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the US contracted it while visiting relatives in Africa. He recently died, and transmitted the disease to two nurses at a Dallas community hospital, who took care of him.
Both nurses have recovered and have been declared free of infection. That’s a good sign that tells us Ebola is in fact very survivable if caught and treated early.
But there’s still plenty of fear to go around, and it’s quite clear that this is something multinational drug companies are taking advantage of to fast-track an Ebola vaccine to licensure.
When pharmaceutical companies develop a new experimental drug, there’s the possibility it might kill people. When that happens, the families of those who die have the legal right to sue companies in civil court for damages.
But when drug companies develop bioterrorism and pandemic influenza vaccines, or vaccines that are recommended by the CDC for universal use by children or adults, that is not the case.
Congress in 1986 and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 have banned all civil lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers when Americans are injured or die from federally recommended and state mandated vaccines.
After vaccine manufacturers were first indemnified against legal action by legislation Congress passed nearly 30 years ago, a huge incentive was created for the pharmaceutical industry to target vaccines as a market alternative to drugs. Today, new vaccine development is the fastest growing sector in the pharmaceutical industry.
There is tremendous market pressure on drug companies to produce a large number of new vaccines right now and there are experimental vaccines in the pipeline for Ebola, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), enterovirus, West Nile, dengue, cholera, and multiple types of influenza.
The Emerging Risks of Vaccines
Barbara Loe-Fisher is the co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a non-profit charity dedicated to preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending the legal right for everyone to make vaccine choices.
She explains how you can shed live virus in body fluids whether you have a viral infection or have gotten a live attenuated viral vaccine:
“Live attenuated viral vaccines (LAV) that use live viruses try to, in essence, fool your immune system into believing that you’ve come into contact with a real virus, thereby stimulating the antibody response that, theoretically, will protect you,” she says.
“When you get these live viral vaccines, you shed live virus in your body fluids. Just like when you get a viral infection, you shed live virus. That’s how viral infections are transmitted.
Because viruses, unlike bacteria, need a living host... in order to multiply. What these viruses do is they try to disable the immune system and evade immune responses.”
Ebola is a perfect example. Ebola is a very efficient disabler of the innate (cellular) immune system as well as the humoral (learned) immune system. That’s why it’s such an efficient killer. In Africa, the mortality rate is around 50-70 percent. (In sharp contrast, Ebola patients in the US have fared very well. All but one is either recovered or on their way to recovery.)
However, there are still many things we do not fully understand about viruses and how they spread. According to Barbara, Ebola has been detected in semen for 40 days after symptoms begin and during the convalescent period. It’s one of the ways it might be transmitted. As Barbara notes in a brand new report, “The Emerging Risks of Live Virus and Viral Vectored Vaccines:”
"There is an ongoing debate among scientists about where viruses came from and how they evolved and are still evolving.1 One virologist observed that replicating and mutating viruses are the ‘world’s leading source of genetic innovation…’2
Discussing the co-evolution of viruses with humans and other living organisms, another virologist wrote in 2012 that during epidemics viruses evolve. Genetic and environmental co-factors make some individuals more or less likely to die from or survive the infection, producing an increase of the numbers of resistant individuals in the population."3
One of the dangers of any viral disease outbreak is that people often fail to realize is that you can be an asymptomatic carrier of a viral infection; so while you show no symptoms or only mild symptoms, you may still be able to transmit the virus to others. Even fewer people understand that this is also true for live virus vaccines!
You Can Transmit Live Vaccine Strain Virus After Getting Vaccinated
Smallpox, for example, is transmitted via body fluids. And, when you get a live attenuated smallpox vaccine, which contains live attenuated vaccinia virus, you can develop vaccinia virus (VACV or VV) strain infection, which you can then transmit to others. The same is true for polio and the live oral polio vaccine (OPV).
“In the days before [polio] vaccines in this country, many people got poliovirus infection. Most did not show any symptom or only mild symptoms. Their bodies dealt with it and they were immune. During the time they had an infection, whether they were symptomatic or asymptomatic, they could transmit it.
A tiny number of people went on to have complications from poliovirus infections; they became paralyzed or died. But the majority of people got polio, went through the disease, became immune, and did not suffer an injury.
The live polio vaccine, the Sabin vaccine, which followed the inactivated Salk vaccine, was given orally [and] contains live attenuated polioviruses.
Those polioviruses, when you take that [live] vaccine, you shed them in your body fluids—your saliva, urine, and stool. Vaccine-strain viruses like disease viruses or infections can be found also sometimes in tears and vomit. This is true for the Ebola virus as well.
Whether you have the viral infection or you get the live attenuated vaccine, you shed live virus in your body fluids and you are able to transmit the virus to other people who come in contact with your body fluids. I think this is a very important thing for people to understand,” she said.
Live Virus Vaccines Have Risks — Who’s Paying Attention?
Barbara has compiled a special report, “The Emerging Risks of Live Virus and Viral Vectored Vaccines” containing over 200 references, which delves into virus shedding and vaccine virus shedding. In it, she raises valid questions about whether or not scientists, public health officials, and vaccine manufacturers truly understand the impact live attenuated viral vaccines and vaccines using viruses as vaccine vectors, have on our immune function, genetic integrity, and the environment.
Live virus vaccine shedding and transmission may also affect the evolution of viruses that infect humans and animals because vaccine strain viruses are released into the environment, where recombinations and further mutations can occur. For example, in Africa, vaccine campaigns with live oral polio vaccine have contaminated the water supply and sewers with live vaccine strain polioviruses.
“One of the reasons they’re having such a hard time eradicating polio with the use of live [polio] virus vaccine is you have a circulation and sometimes a co-circulation of both wild-type polioviruses as well as vaccine-strain polioviruses. Viruses constantly mutate. We’re shedding viruses in the environment, and they’re mutating and recombining with each other,” Barbara notes.
If we’re going to continue to use live virus vaccines, and genetically engineer these viruses and use them as vectors, shouldn’t we understand the potential long-term price on human health and animal health? Do we understand it fully? I don’t think we do.
I think that the public needs to become more educated and more involved in the kinds of policies that are being set, and the kind of science that’s being done...Because the people who are creating vaccines and profiting from them are not, in my opinion, doing a good enough job with the science and making sure that what they’re creating is not going to cause long-term health problems for humans.”
Shedding with GMO Virus-Vectored Vaccines
Among live virus vaccines being used in the U.S. and other countries are measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox (varicella zoster), live virus (nasal spray) flu vaccine, shingles vaccine, and the rotavirus vaccine that’s given to infants for diarrhea. When you or your child gets a live virus attenuated vaccine, you can shed vaccine strain live virus in your body fluids, and the vaccine strain virus could potentially be transmitted to others, in whom it might cause serious complications. Unfortunately, many doctors are not even aware of this risk. According to Barbara’s report:
“Humans and animals receiving live virus-vectored vaccines will be shedding and transmitting genetically modified vaccine strains that may pose unpredictable risks to the vaccinated, close contacts and environment. For example, vaccine developers creating an experimental AIDS vaccine by genetically engineering the live-attenuated measles virus to express a fusion protein containing HIV-1 antigens, face challenges in trying to limit shedding and transmission of infectious virus by the recently vaccinated.4
These very real risks should be thoroughly quantified before licensure and widespread use of GMO vaccines5 because the ability of vaccine strain viruses to recombine with wild-type viruses and produce new hybrid viruses with potentially serious side effects that are shed and transmitted in human and animal populations cannot be underestimated.6, 7
...Sometimes the weakened vaccine strain live virus can mutate and regain virulence, including neurovirulence, which significantly raises risks of serious complications from vaccine strain virus infection.8, 9 Healthy persons can suffer complications from vaccine strain viral infection10 but children and adults with immunodeficiency are more likely to develop complications after they receive live virus vaccines or come in close contact with a person who is shedding vaccine strain live virus.”11, 12
Vaccine Reactions Are Grossly Underreported
Drug companies making and profiting from vaccine sales are notorious for giving nothing more than lip service to safety. They conduct their own pre-licensure clinical trials and are not required to use a true placebo to prove safety. And there’s no aggressive effort to monitor for side effects. The federal government created the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), but for every person who reports an adverse effect, there may be about 100 that go unreported.
There’s gross underreporting of vaccine reactions, injuries, and deaths to VAERS, even though it’s a matter of federal law as of 1986. Any doctor or other vaccine provider who gives a vaccine is supposed to monitor the person they vaccinated, and report any subsequent injuries, hospitalization, or death to VAERS. But there’s no enforcement or penalties for failure to comply with the vaccine safety informing, reporting, and recording provisions in the 1986 law.
“What’s happening is a lot of the providers of vaccines, the doctors, are determining that when something bad happens after vaccination, it’s not the fault of the vaccine; it’s just a coincidence. You have less than 10 percent, or perhaps less than one percent of all vaccine providers actually reporting to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System,” Barbara says.
Adding insult to injury, there’s also an attempt to censor public conversation about all these vaccines that we’re using, and the hundreds of vaccines in the research pipeline – including live virus vaccines and genetically engineered viral vectored experimental vaccines for Ebola and HIV. Are we paying a much-higher price than scientists creating vaccines originally considered? Is overuse of vaccines leading to more serious health problems?
Barbara and I agree that this is one of the biggest public health issues of our time. And in light of the gaps in vaccine science, having the legal right to know and freedom to make an individual, voluntary choice about vaccination is essential.
“Vaccines not only carry a risk of injury or death from a reaction but they also can cause vaccine strain viral infection, and they also can fail to protect,” Barbara warns. “A product that cannot be guaranteed to be effective and cannot be guaranteed to be safe for everyone is not a product that should be mandated. It’s not a product that should be liability-free and have nobody accountable in the civil court of law.”
Erosion of Medical Exemptions Threatens Many People’s Health
As noted by Barbara, over the past 30 years, the number of medical exemptions has narrowed dramatically. At present, virtually everyone is a candidate for vaccination, whether you’re immune-compromised or not. Virtually no health condition qualifies anymore as a medical reason not to vaccinate or delay a vaccine. Interestingly, immune-compromised people are very efficient shedders of either viral infections or vaccine strain live viruses. The more immune-compromised you are, the more efficiently and the longer you shed virus in your body fluids.
“It’s a real puzzlement to me why the no-exemptions policy also applies to the immune-compromised, because they actually can shed the virus—either the regular virus or vaccine strain virus—for longer periods of time. They also can have serious complications from either the viral infection or live virus vaccines,” she notes. “We really need to pay attention to who we are individually and have a greater understanding of our risk with infections and our risk with vaccines.”
Some Viruses and Bacteria Are Highly Beneficial for Health
It’s well worth noting that viruses and bacteria actually contribute to the healthy functioning of your body—a fact that many in our antibacterial-obsessed society still haven’t fully grasped. As noted in her special report:
“Most people fear and view viruses as dangerous microbes that only cause sickness and death. However, emerging evidence has revealed that viruses play an integral role in helping us stay well, too. Healthy infants experience many different kinds of wild-type viral infections and shed virus without showing any clinical symptoms of illness. In addition to the protection they receive from maternal antibodies, viruses help the infant’s immune system develop and gives them early protection against more serious viral infections in infancy and later in life…13 14, 15
According to scientists discussing the ‘hygiene hypothesis,’ increased sanitation and public health interventions in modern societies have reduced the diversity of early experiences with viral and bacterial infections among infants and children and one negative outcome has been an increase in autoimmune and allergic diseases.16 They suggest that some infectious microbes, especially those that have co-evolved with humans, protect against a wide spectrum of immune-related disorders."17
Your body contains about 100 trillion bacteria, and bacteriophages (viral components) outnumber the bacteria by 10 to one. All of these bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms make up your body’s microbiome. Barbara’s report points out that while we commonly view all viruses as “bad,” this is really not the case. Some viruses, known as bacteriophages, appear to promote health by infecting and killing bacteria that might otherwise cause disease:
“As one group of European scientists wrote in 2006, ‘The role of bacteriophages in protecting against pathogenic microorganisms and controlling bacterial flora in the human organism is of major significance.’”18
There’s a broad and compelling scientific base of evidence showing that a healthy human immune system is the most powerful way to resist infectious diseases or heal after infection and the efficient functioning of your immune system is dependent on health gut flora. About 80 percent of your immune system is in your microbiome. Hence, the obvious conclusion is that in order to maintain health and/or successfully recover from infections without serious complications, you need to optimize the functioning of your immune system. In her report, Barbara notes:
“Viruses and bacteria always present in the body are constantly interacting with each other in a complex and dynamic process from infancy through adulthood.19 In 2012 a consortium of scientists analyzing the structure, function and diversity of the human microbiome confirmed that biodiversity and the uniqueness of each individual human being is important to individual and human health.
They found that the microbiomes of ‘even healthy individuals differ remarkably’ and that “much of this diversity remains unexplained, although diet, environment, host genetics and early microbial exposure have all been implicated.”20 Why some people get sick and develop complications from infectious diseases while others do not has a lot to do with individual differences and microbiome diversity appears to be a big part of the puzzle.”
The Importance of Robust Immune Function
Eating a high-sugar diet is one of the most harmful things you can do to your immune system, as it kills beneficial bacteria and feeds pathogenic microbes that promote disease. Vitamin D deficiency is another important factor that can severely depress your immune function. If you’re eating a healthy diet low in sugar and high in probiotics, and getting sensible sunlight exposure to optimize your vitamin D level, that’s likely to help you resist infection and stay healthier than simply getting vaccinated. There’s really no comparison because by doing the former you will naturally activate your body’s own intrinsic immune system.
Several Ebola patients treated in the US have received ZMapp, which is not a drug in the conventional sense. It’s a passive antibody that works by reducing viral replication so your own immune system has enough time to come in and kill the virus without setting off a cytokine storm—which is what causes the lethal hemorrhaging. ZMapp actually demonstrates that what really works is your own immune system, not some external pill or vaccine.
“The blood of the Ebola survivors is now being viewed like gold because there was a natural immune response. Those antibodies are superior in quality to vaccine-acquired antibodies. I think this is a really important concept that everybody needs to understand. Naturally acquired antibodies are superior in quality to vaccine-acquired antibodies. That’s why the blood of [the missionary who recovered from ebola] was used with some of the others who were infected... He was able to give those antibodies to them through his blood,” Barbara says.
How Do Vaccines Affect Human Immune Function Long-Term?
Illogically, we’ve traded longer lasting naturally acquired immunity for a temporary, artificial vaccine acquired immunity against an entire array of infectious diseases—most of which never led to mass casualties in the first place. In the last 30 years, the US has tripled the number of vaccines given to infants and children during their most critical period of development—the first three years of life. Could the ramifications of this be reflected in the current abysmal chronic disease and disability statistics in the U.S.?
“We do not understand the impact we’ve had on the immune function of several generations of children, whose immune systems have been atypically manipulated over and over again with inactivated bacterial vaccines and live virus vaccines,” Barbara says. “We don’t know the impact on their epigenetics, on their DNA, and on their immune function.”
Along with microbiome science, we’ve also seen advances in epigenetic science. These are brand-new frontiers in scientific knowledge, and what scientists are finding is that we do not understand the complexity of the immune system or the complexity of the human body as a whole... The idea that vaccines are the “obvious answer” to every health problem is undoubtedly driven by ideology and profit-making and not in consideration of a full spectrum of scientific knowledge.
Maintaining control over public health policy and protecting the financial status quo for vaccine developers is probably a big reason why the pharmaceutical industry, public health officials and medical trade groups are working overtime to censor or dismiss vaccine safety discussions rather than face legitimate questions head on, and pursue the unbiased scientific research that is needed to clarify the impact of our current reliance on vaccines.
“We’re going through a really rough time,” Barbara says. “The pressure is on and the alliance among the medical trade associations, the pharmaceutical companies, the public health officials, government public health officials, is a very powerful lobby. They are trying to take away [vaccine] exemptions. They restricted the vaccine exemptions in Washington State, Oregon, and California. We held the line in Colorado this year. We held the line in Vermont to a great extent. But they’re going into other states this year.”
It’s Time to Show Up and Speak Out...
At this juncture, it’s really important that people show up when public hearings are held and when legislation is introduced. You need to take action and contact your elected officials whenever the opportunity arises. The NVIC Advocacy Portal (NVICAP) at NVICAdvocacy.org provides real-time information via email when legislation is moving in your state that might take away exemptions. So please, take a moment to sign up to be a user of this free online communications and networking tool that can help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your state and contact your own legislators to make your voice heard.
“We’re seeing a tightening of the rope around the neck of the people,” Barbara warns. “We’re seeing people who are being fired from jobs – healthcare workers – if they don’t get an annual flu shot. The childcare workers are the next on the list to be tracked and threatened with unemployment if they don’t get all the vaccines. They’re talking about the airline industry, the food service industry, and the teachers. I always say, ‘You’re not yet perhaps on that list, but you will be on that list – everyone will be on the list.’ This is a long-term goal: 100 percent vaccination rate with full government recommendation on vaccines – no exemptions.”
That’s a scary thing to consider. But we can turn this around if enough of us venture out into our communities and reach out to our elected officials. It’s up to us to participate in the democratic process and change the laws that we don’t like. Knowledge is power, so you have to educate yourself. And we have to change the laws to allow for freedom to make health choices, including vaccine choices.
The NVIC Advocacy Portal is a great tool that can help you get involved. Just being fretful and saying, “I can’t believe it,” isn’t really going to accomplish anything. To make a difference, you have to participate in the process. And you can. It’s important to realize that it doesn’t take a majority of people to make a difference on this. It just takes a motivated group of people who really know the truth and who are willing to share it with others.
“I think that 2015 and 2016 are going to be the years where this issue is going to be decided in America. Are we going to be forced to use every single government-recommended vaccine and not be able to function as a society? Or are we going to be free to make independent, informed vaccine choices, and by extension, health choices, choose how we want to stay healthy? It’s up to the people. We can only show them the way, but we can’t do it for them,” Barbara says.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
If you want to eat more veggies and indulge in a "comfort food" that's warming and satisfying, look no further than root vegetables. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and other disease-fighting phytonutrients, these vegetables add powerful nutrition to your diet and delicious flavor to virtually any savory dish.
The most popular root vegetable in the US is the white potato, but I urge you to move beyond this starchy mainstay to some of the other more nutritious options. Below I've detailed some of the very best options, including why they're so phenomenal for your health.
What Are the Healthiest Root Vegetables?
Rutabaga, a cross between a turnip and a cabbage, is rich in fiber and vitamin C (one cup contains 53% of the daily recommended value). Rutabagas are also members of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants and anti-cancer phytonutrients.
Rutabagas are also an excellent source of potassium, manganese, B vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorus. Rutabagas are also a good source of zinc, which is essential for immune support and may help protect your body from the effects of stress.
As a mild-tasting root vegetable, rutabagas work well roasted or baked, and can serve as a nutrient-rich substitute for potatoes. They can also be eaten raw along with a dip, such as hummus.
Turnips are members of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which are nutrient-dense and antioxidant-rich. Turnips contain a type of phytonutrient known as indoles, which may help fight cancer. One type in particular, brassinin, has been shown to kill human colon cancer cells.1 Turnips are also rich in fiber.
Just 100 calories' worth of turnips can give you 25-40 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing compounds found in turnip sprouts, appear to have anti-cancer, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and antibacterial benefits
These root vegetables resemble carrots but are whitish in color and have a sweet, nutty flavor. Parsnips are rich in nutrients like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin C. Eating foods rich in potassium is important because this nutrient helps offset the hypertensive effects of sodium.
An imbalance in your sodium-potassium ratio can lead to high blood pressure and may also contribute to a number of other diseases, including heart disease and stroke.
Onions are a very good source of vitamins C and B6, iron, folate, and potassium. But it's their phytochemcials – including the flavonoid quercetin and allyl disulphide – that are most exciting to researchers. To date, onions have shown a wealth of beneficial properties; they're anti-allergic, anti-histaminic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant,2 all rolled into one.
In particular, onions are especially rich in polyphenol flavonoids called quercetin. Quercetin is an antioxidant that many believe prevent histamine release—making quercetin-rich foods "natural antihistamines."
Onions also contain numerous anti-cancer compounds, including quercetin, which has been shown to decrease cancer tumor initiation as well as inhibit the proliferation of cultured ovarian, breast, and colon cancer cells.3
In addition, the sulfur compounds in onions are thought to have anti-clotting properties as well as lower cholesterol and triglycerides. The allium and allyl disulphide in onions have also been found to decrease blood vessel stiffness by releasing nitric oxide.
This may reduce blood pressure, inhibit platelet clot formation, and help decrease the risk of coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular diseases, and stroke. The quercetin in onions is also beneficial, offering both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may boost heart health.
Ginger is one spice that I recommend keeping on hand in your kitchen at all times. Not only is it a wonderful addition to your cooking (especially paired with garlic) but it also has enough medicinal properties to fill several books.
Ginger has broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-parasitic properties, to name just several of its more than 40 pharmacological actions. It is also anti-inflammatory, making it valuable for pain relief for joint pain, menstrual pain, headaches, and more.
Ginger shows promise for fighting cancer, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, asthma, bacterial and fungal infections, and is one of the best natural remedies if you struggle with motion sickness or nausea (from pregnancy or chemotherapy, for example).
Orange-colored sweet potatoes owe their appearance to the carotenoid beta-carotene. As an antioxidant, beta-carotene can help ward off free radicals that damage cells through oxidation, which can speed up aging and make you vulnerable against chronic diseases.
This antioxidant can help support your immune system, as well as lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. Research shows that sweet potatoes can help regulate blood sugar because of their ability to raise blood levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone created by your fat cells, to help regulate how your body metabolizes insulin.
Sweet potato extract is said to help reduce inflammation in brain and nerve tissue throughout your body. The phytonutrients within sweet potatoes also influence fibrinogen, an important glycoprotein required for blood clotting. Together with thrombin and fibrin, balanced amounts of fibrinogen are important for wound healing and blood loss prevention.
The nutrients in carrots may provide protection against heart disease and cancer while helping to build strong bones and a healthy nervous system. Carrots contain falcarinol, a compound that may stimulate cancer-fighting mechanisms, and the consumption of carrots has also been associated with a lower risk of heart attacks in women.
Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and also contain vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium. Carrots are healthy when eaten raw, but cooking carrots may help to boost their antioxidant levels and overall nutritional value even more. I generally recommend eating carrots in moderation because they contain more sugar than any other vegetable aside from beets.
Beet roots have always been included in my most recommended vegetables list, although, like carrots, they are in the "use sparingly" category because of their high sugar levels. Beet roots contain valuable nutrients that may help lower your blood pressure, a benefit that likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
Nutrients in beets may also help fight cancer and inflammation, boost your stamina, and support detoxification. Specifically, the betalin pigments in beets support your body's Phase 2 detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.
Try This: Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables
Most root vegetables can be eaten raw, as part of a salad or slaw for instance, but their flavor really comes out when they're cooked. The next time you're looking for a healthy satisfying side dish, swap out your mashed potatoes for these nutrient-rich roasted root vegetables. The simple recipe below is from the Food Network;4 choose organic ingredients as much as possible.
Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables5
- 1 large butternut squash, (1 ½ to 2 pounds) halved, seeded and peeled
- 3 large Yukon gold potatoes (1 ½ pounds), scrubbed
- 1 bunch medium beets, (about 1 ½ pounds), scrubbed and tops trimmed
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 large parsnips (about 8 ounces)
- 1 head garlic, cloves separated, and peeled (about 16)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place 2 baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 425°F.
- Cut all the vegetables into 1 ½-inch pieces. Cut the onions through the base core to keep some of the layers in chunky pieces. Toss all the vegetables with garlic, olive oil and salt in large bowl. Season generously with pepper.
Carefully remove the heated baking sheets from the oven, brush or drizzle with olive oil. Divide the vegetables evenly between the 2 pans, spreading them out to assure they don't steam while roasting. Roast the vegetables until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Cook's Note: Some very large parsnips have a pithy core, which should be trimmed before cooking. Copyright 2005 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved. From Food Network Kitchens
Note: While the recipe above uses olive oil, I recommend coconut oil instead. Olive oil is susceptible to oxidation when heated and should only be used cold, whereas coconut oil is stable enough to resist heat-induced damage.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
Following is an excerpt from a keynote presentation given by Barbara Loe Fisher at the 2014 US Health Freedom Congress in Minneapolis, Minnesota. View the video of her full 75 minute presentation here or on NVIC.org.
By Barbara Loe Fisher
Co-founder & President, National Vaccine Information Center
The public conversation about whether we should have the freedom to choose how we want to maintain our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health has become one of the most important public conversations of our time.
It is a conversation that challenges us to examine complex public policy, scientific, ethical, legal, philosophical, economic, political, and cultural issues.
This may appear to be a new conversation but it has been around for centuries.1 At the center of this new and old public conversation about health and freedom, is the topic of vaccination.2, 3
What unites those defending an open discussion about vaccination and health is a commitment to protecting bodily integrity4, 5 and defending the inalienable right to self-determination,6 which has been globally acknowledged as a human right.7, 8, 9
Whether you are a health care professional practicing complementary and alternative medicine or specializing in homeopathic, naturopathic, chiropractic, acupuncture, or other holistic health options,10 or you are a consumer advocate working for the right to know and freedom to choose how you and your family will stay well, many of you have a deep concern about health and freedom.
Vaccination: Most Hotly Debated of All Health Freedom Issues
The most divisive and hotly debated of all health freedom issues is the question of whether individuals should be at liberty to dissent from established medical and government health policy and exercise freedom of thought, speech, and conscience when it comes to vaccination.11, 12, 13
In the health freedom movement, there are some who will defend the legal right to purchase and use nutritional supplements, drink raw milk, eat GMO-free food, remove fluoride from public water systems and mercury from dental amalgams, or choose non-medical model options for healing and staying well, but are reluctant to publicly support the legal right to make vaccine choices.
A Sacrosanct Status for Vaccination
Vaccination is a medical procedure that has been elevated to a sacrosanct status by those in control of the medical-model based health care system for the past two centuries. Vaccination is now being proclaimed as the most important scientific discovery and public health intervention in the history of medicine.14, 15, 16
Using religious symbols and crusading language, medical scientists describe vaccination as the Holy Grail.17, 18, 19, 20 Vaccines, they say, are going to eradicate all causes of sickness and death from the earth and anyone who doubts that is an ignorant fool.21, 22, 23, 24, 25
In the 1970s, pediatrician and health freedom pioneer Robert Mendelsohn, who described himself as a medical heretic, warned that medical science has become a religion and doctors have turned the act of vaccination into “the new sacrament.”26
In the 21st century, if you refuse to believe that vaccination is a moral and civic duty and dare to question vaccine safety or advocate for the legal right to decline one or more government recommended vaccines.
You are in danger of being branded an anti-science heretic, a traitor, and a threat to the public health.27, 28 You are viewed as a person of interest who deserves to be humiliated, silenced, and punished for your dissent.29, 30, 31, 32
Exercising Freedom of Thought, Speech, and Autonomy
“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize,” said Voltaire,33, 34 the great 18th century writer during the Age of Enlightenment, who was imprisoned several times in the Bastille for defending freedom of thought and speech before the French Revolution.
As contentious as the public conversation about vaccination, health, and autonomy has become, we cannot be afraid to have it. There has never been a better time to challenge those ruling our health care with an iron fist. We have the power and all we need to do is exercise it.
Information Is Power
We have the tools in the 21st century to bring about a modern Age of Enlightenment35 that will liberate the people so we can take back our freedom and our health.
The electronic communications revolution has provided a global platform for us to access the Library of Medicine36 and evaluate the quality and quantity of vaccine science used to make public health policy and create vaccine laws.
The World Wide Web allows us to circumvent the paid mainstream media dominated by industry and governments and publicly communicate in detail on our computers, tablets, and smart phones exactly what happened to our health or our child’s health after vaccination.37, 38, 39, 40
We are connected with each other in a way that we have never been before and it is time to talk about vaccines and microbes and the true causes of poor health.
It is time to face the fear that we and our children will get sick and die if we don’t believe and do what those we have allowed to rule our health care system with an iron fist tell us to believe and do.
Who Will Control the Multi-Trillion Dollar US Health Care System?
What is at stake in this debate between citizens challenging the status quo and those resisting constructive change is: who will control the multi-trillion dollar US health care system?41
If people have the right to know and freedom to choose how to heal and stay healthy, a free people may think independently and choose to spend their money on something different from what they have been carefully taught to spend their money on right now.42
A free people may reject sole reliance on the expensive and, some say, ineffective pharmaceutical-based medical model that has dominated US health care for two centuries.43, 44, 45
A free people may refuse to buy and eat GMO foods.46 A free people may walk away from doctors, who threaten and punish patients for refusing to obey orders to get an annual flu shot or decline to give their children every single government recommended vaccine on schedule – no exceptions and no questions asked.47
The most rational and compelling arguments for defending health freedom, including vaccine freedom of choice, are grounded in ethics, law, science, and economics. The human right to voluntary, informed consent to vaccination is the best example of why Americans must not wait any longer to stand up and defend without compromise the inalienable right to autonomy and protection of bodily integrity.
NVIC: Defending Ethical Principle of Informed Consent
I and the more than 100,000 followers and supporters48 of the non-profit charity, the National Vaccine Information Center, take an informed consent position with regard to vaccination. Since our founding in 1982, we have defended the ethical principle of informed consent to vaccine risk-taking because vaccines are pharmaceutical products that carry a risk of injury, death, and failure.49
Because informed consent to medical risk taking is the central ethical principle guiding the ethical practice of medicine.50 We support the “first do no harm” precautionary approach to public policymaking, which focuses on how much harm can be prevented from a policy or law and not how much harm is acceptable.51
NVIC Supports Your Health Choices and Vaccine Exemptions
We do not advocate for or against use of vaccines. We support your human and legal right to make informed, voluntary health care decisions for yourself and your children and choose to use every government recommended vaccine, a few vaccines or no vaccines at all.52 NVIC has worked for more than 30 years to secure vaccine safety and informed consent provisions in public health policies and laws, including flexible medical, religious, and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions.
We are doing this in an increasingly hostile environment created by an industry-government-medical trade alliance that is lobbying for laws to compel all Americans to use every government recommended without deviation from the official schedule or face a growing number of societal sanctions.53 Although historically, children have been the target for vaccine mandates, authoritarian implementation of federal vaccine policy is not just for children anymore, it is rapidly expanding to include all adults.54, 55
Californians Stood Up for Personal Belief Vaccine Exemption
In 2012, many California residents traveled to Sacramento to protest a law introduced by a pediatrician legislator to make it harder for parents to file a personal belief vaccine exemption for their children to attend school. They responded to Action Alerts we issued through the online NVIC Advocacy Portal and lined the halls of the state Capitol building, many with their children, and waited for hours and hours to testify at several public hearings.
Mother after mother and father after father, grandparents, nurses, doctors, and students of chiropractic, came to the public microphone. Some talked about how vaccine reactions left their children sick and disabled but they can’t find a doctor to write a medical exemption so their children can attend school; others talked about how their babies died after vaccination; and others simply opposed restriction of the legal right for parents to make medical decisions for their minor children.
It was a remarkable public witnessing by articulate, courageous citizens pleading with their elected representatives to do the right thing.
The right thing would have been for lawmakers to vote to leave the personal belief vaccine exemption alone so parents could continue to make vaccine decisions for their minor children without being forced to beg a hostile doctor or government official for permission to do that. That didn’t happen.56 Today, parents in California are forced to pay a pediatrician or other state-approved health worker to sign a personal belief vaccine exemption and the doctor can refuse to sign and parents are reporting many pediatricians ARE refusing to sign.
Californians Inspired Colorado Citizens to Stand Up in 2014
Yet, because in 2012 California citizens made a powerful public statement by participating in the democratic process and taking action with calls, letters, emails, and personal testimony, in 2014, Colorado citizens were inspired to do the same when the personal belief vaccine exemption was attacked in that state.
Because in 2012, enough people in California did not sit back and assume the job of defending health freedom would get done by someone else, in 2014, enough people in Colorado did not assume it would get done by someone else.57 And this time, we were able to hold the line and protect the personal belief vaccine exemption in that state from being eliminated or restricted.58
This time, there were enough lawmakers in Colorado, who listened and carefully considered the evidence.59 They did not cave in to pressure from drug industry, government, and medical trade lobbyists60, 61, 62, 63 labeling a minority of citizens as “ignorant,” “selfish,” “crazy,” and in need of having their parental and civil rights taken away for defending the human right to self determination and informed consent to vaccine risk-taking.
The Right to Make a Risk Decision Belongs to You
I do not tell anyone what risks to take and never will. The right and responsibility for making a risk decision belongs to the person taking the risk. When you become informed and think rationally about a risk you or your child will take – and then follow your conscience – you own that decision. And when you own a decision, you can defend it. And once you can defend it, you will be ready to do whatever it takes to fight for your freedom to make it, no matter who tries to prevent you from doing that.
Einstein: ‘Never do anything against conscience’
Albert Einstein, who risked arrest in Germany in the 1930s when he spoke out against censorship and persecution of minorities, said, “Never do anything against conscience even if the State demands it.”64 It takes strength to act independently. When the herd is all running toward the cliff, the one running in the opposite direction seems crazy. People who think rationally and act independently even when the majority does not, may be the only ones to survive!
Ghandi: ‘Speak Your Mind’
Ghandi was often persecuted by the ruling majority for challenging their authority and using non-violent civil disobedience to publicly dissent. He said, “Never apologize for being correct, for being ahead of your time. If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.”65 Sharing what you know to be true empowers others to make conscious choices.
Jefferson: ‘The Minority Possess Their Equal Rights’
The authors of the US Constitution made sure to include strong language securing individual liberties, including freedom of thought, speech, and conscience. They did that because many of the families immigrating to America had personally faced discrimination and persecution in other countries for holding beliefs different from the ruling majority.
In his first Presidential inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson warned: “All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority posses their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”66
Getting Vaccinated Is Not a Patriotic Act
There is no liberty more fundamentally a natural, inalienable right than the freedom to think independently and follow your conscience when choosing what you will risk your life or your child’s life for. And that is why voluntary, informed consent to medical risk taking is a human right.
Despite what you are being told by paid propaganda experts67, 68 spinning the conversation about vaccination and health in the media today, getting vaccinated is not a patriotic act69 and declining to use a government recommended vaccine is not a criminal act.70 It is a choice.
All Born Equal But Not the Same
Vaccination must remain a choice because, while we are all born equal, with equal rights under the law, we are not born all the same. Each one of us is born with different genes and a unique microbiome71 influenced by epigenetics72 that affects how we respond to the environments we live in. We do not all respond the same way to infectious diseases73 and we do not all respond the same way to pharmaceutical products like vaccines.74, 75, 76, 77 Public health laws that fail to respect biodiversity and force everyone to be treated the same are unethical and dangerous.
My Son’s Severe DPT Vaccine Reaction
The first time I really understood what it means to belong to a minority was after I witnessed my son, Chris, suffer a convulsion, collapse shock, and brain inflammation within hours of his fourth DPT shot when he was two and a half years old. I remember that day in 1980 when I took my exceptionally bright, healthy two and a half year old son to the pediatrician with all the trust and faith of a young first time mother.
Saying words at seven months, speaking in full sentences and identifying words by age two, my precocious, cheerful little boy had a friend, Timmy, who lived across the street and also got four DPT shots by age two. Timmy was born to a different mother and father with a different genetic, biological, and environmental history. Timmy did not have a milk allergy or a family history of autoimmunity and allergy like Chris. He had not experienced a severe local reaction after his third DPT shot like Chris had and, unlike Chris, Timmy had not just finished a course of antibiotics before he was vaccinated a fourth time.
Timmy did not have a reaction to his booster DPT shot. Chris did. Within hours of vaccination, I watched my son’s eyes roll back in his head and his head fall to his shoulder as if he had fallen asleep sitting up. It was a classic post-DPT vaccine convulsion and collapse shock reaction78 and I didn’t know. Then, when he slept for hours without moving and I thought he was just taking a really long nap, I didn’t understand that he was unconscious79 and could have died in his bed and I would never have known why because my pediatrician did not tell me about DPT vaccine risks or how to identify vaccine reaction symptoms.80, 81, 82, 83
Vaccine Induced Brain Inflammation and Regression
The immune mediated brain inflammation, also known as encephalopathy,84, 85, 86 that Chris experienced after DPT vaccination was followed by progressive deterioration in physical, mental, and emotional health, including chronic infections, constant diarrhea, new allergies, failure to thrive, loss of previous cognitive skills, inability to concentrate, and personality and behavior changes.
Chris could no longer do what he could do before his fourth DPT shot. He became a totally different child.
After repeated testing, he was diagnosed with minimal brain damage, including multiple learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder and placed in a special education classroom for the learning disabled where he stayed through his public education until the end of high school. Chris and I know how very fortunate he was that the severe vaccine reaction he experienced did not take his life or leave him with far more serious brain and immune dysfunction like so many of the children we have both come to know since then.
Today, Chris is a videographer and competitive power lifter. He has worked hard to compensate for the learning disabilities that made his childhood a frustrating, unhappy, and sometimes dangerous time in his life. Recent testing has revealed that Chris has an exceptional ability to engage in abstract thinking and that, when his learning disabilities are discounted, he has a high IQ, which is one reason why he was so frustrated and lost in a special education system that does not have a place for children like him.
Vaccine Reaction Survivors: The Walking Wounded
Chris is a vaccine reaction survivor. He is among the walking wounded, who are not left with severe vaccine injuries, but whose futures are compromised in childhood when the risks of vaccination turn out to be 100 percent. How many mothers do not witness a child’s vaccine reaction and never understand why their children’s physical, mental, and emotional health suddenly regressed after vaccination? How many of those children are filling the special education classrooms, doctor’s offices, mental health facilities, and prisons in America?
The Risks of Trusting Without Verifying
What happened to my healthy son after vaccination in 1980 sent me on a journey to learn more and find out why doctors are not talking about vaccine risks and why a commercial product that can brain damage and kill people is being mandated. In part, I was driven by disappointment in myself as a college educated woman, who had come from a family of doctors and nurses and had worked as a writer at a teaching hospital before I became a Mom.
Why did I irrationally assume that vaccines were 100 percent safe and effective? Why had I blindly trusted a doctor instead of examining vaccination with the same due diligence that I had researched nutrition and toxic exposures during pregnancy and had taken prepared childbirth classes to weigh the merits of an epidural versus natural childbirth and breast feeding versus bottle feeding?
A Journey to Find Out Why
Some of my questions were answered during the two years of research that medical historian Harris Coulter and I conducted, when I learned that pertussis vaccine contains lethal pertussis toxin87, 88, 89 and endotoxin,90, 91 as well as aluminum and mercury,92, 93 which can make the blood brain more permeable.94, 95, 96
That research culminated in the publishing of our 1985 book DPT: A Shot in the Dark.97 Harris and I were the first to report an association between vaccine induced brain inflammation and a spectrum of brain dysfunction that doctors give labels like seizures, learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism. But it would take another 25 years of research and interfacing with politicians and serving on committees with doctors in industry, government, and medical trade to answer the rest of my questions.98
Everybody Knows Somebody
In 1982, when I joined with parents of DPT vaccine injured children and co-founded the non-profit charity that is known today as the National Vaccine Information Center, the number of Americans questioning the safety of vaccines was so tiny, it could not even by measured in public opinion polls.
Three decades later, national polls reveal that the majority of parents in America say the Number One child health concern they have is about the safety of vaccines.99 That is because in the 21st century, everybody knows somebody who was healthy, got vaccinated, and was never healthy again.
Militarization of Vaccine Policy: Fear Replacing Trust
And people are talking about it, especially mothers taking their children to pediatricians because we are the ones who carry our babies inside us for nine months and give birth and feed and nurture them through infancy and are responsible for their health and we are the ones who usually quit work and stay home and care for them when they are never well anymore.
Mothers are asking their doctors logical questions about vaccination and when their doctors react to those questions with irrational rage or cold refusal to provide medical care if one or more vaccines are declined, it becomes obvious that there is something very wrong with doctors using threats to push and enforce use of a pharmaceutical product.100, 101, 102, 103 The militarization of vaccine policy in the United States is eroding the trust that used to exist between the people and their doctors and that broken trust is being replaced by fear.104, 105
From 23 Doses of 7 Vaccines to 69 Doses of 16 Vaccines
One of the reasons parents are asking more questions about vaccination is that there have been big changes in US vaccine policy and law since 1982. In 1982, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials told pediatricians to give children 23 doses of seven vaccines before age six, with the first vaccinations starting at two months old.106 Today, the CDC has upped that number to 69 doses of 16 vaccines by age 18, with 49 doses of 14 vaccines given between the day of birth and age six.107
That is twice the number of vaccines children in the 1980s got by age six and three times as many vaccinations as Americans used to get during their whole life! But these new vaccines are not for diseases like smallpox and polio. They are for infant diarrhea and chickenpox, which are rarely fatal in this country, and hepatitis B, which requires direct exposure to infected blood and cannot be easily transmitted in public.108
Jacobsen v. Massachusetts: State Police Powers Affirmed
These are not the kind of infectious diseases the justices of the 1905 US Supreme Court probably had in mind when they issued their ruling in Jacobsen v. Massachusetts.109 In that precedent setting split decision, the high court majority ruled that state legislatures could use police powers to force a minority of dissenting citizens to use smallpox vaccine for what medical doctors and government officials judge to be the greater good of the majority. Those early 20th century justices based their decision in part on a false premise argued by lawyers representing public health officials, who argued that medical doctors could predict ahead of time who will be injured or die from smallpox vaccination.
Doctors have never been able to predict with any certainty who will be injured and die from vaccination. In affirming the constitutional right of states to use police powers to enact public health laws, the Supreme Court was also reaffirming the roles of state government versus the federal government in public health law. Anything not defined in the US Constitution as a federal responsibility has traditionally defaulted to the states. Public health was not defined in the Constitution as a federal responsibility so public health laws have always been state laws and this is why vaccination laws vary from state to state.110, 111
A Utilitarian Rationale Turned Into Law
It is important to note that the Supreme Court ruling in Jacobsen v. Massachusetts at the turn of the 20th century was clearly based on a utilitarian rationale that a minority of citizens opposing vaccination should be forced to get vaccinated in service to the majority. Utilitarianism was a popular ethical theory in the late 19th and early 20th century in Britain and the US and was used by government officials as a mathematical guide to making public policy that ensured “the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.”112, 113 Today, utilitarianism has a much more benign and lofty name attached to it: “the greater good.”
Minorities at Risk When State Employs Militant Utilitarianism
Perhaps that is because utilitarianism went out of fashion in the mid-20th century after, beginning in 1933, the Third Reich employed the utilitarian rationale as an excuse to demonize minorities judged to be a threat to the health and well being of the State.114 Enlisting the assistance of government health officials,115, 116, 117, 118 the first minority to be considered expendable for the good of the State were severely handicapped children, the chronically sick and mentally ill, the “useless eaters” they were called.119, 120
And when the reasons for why a person was identified as a threat to the health, economic stability, or security of the State grew longer to include minorities who were too old or too Jewish or too Catholic or too opinionated or simply unwilling to believe what those in control of the State said was true… as the list of those the State branded as persons of interest to be demonized, feared, tracked, isolated, and eliminated grew, so did the collective denial of those who had yet to be put on that list.121, 122
Jacobsen v Massachusetts Used to Embrace Eugenics in US
Prophetically, in 1927, US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes invoked the Jacobsen v. Massachusetts “greater good” utilitarian decision to justify using the heel of the boot of the State to force the sterilization of a young Virginia woman, Carrie Buck, who doctors and social workers incorrectly judged to be mentally retarded like they said her mother was.123 In a chilling statement endorsing eugenics,124 Holmes revealed the morally corrupt core of utilitarianism that still props up mandatory vaccination laws in the US.
Pointing to the Jacobsen vs. Massachusetts decision, Holmes declared that the state of Virginia could force Carrie Buck to be sterilized to protect society from mentally retarded people. Coldly, Holmes proclaimed, “three generations of imbeciles are enough” and “The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the fallopian tubes.”125 The 1905 US Supreme Court majority made fundamental scientific and ethical errors in their ruling in Jacobsen v. Massachusetts. It is clear that medical doctors cannot predict ahead of time who will be injured or die from vaccination and that is a scientific fact.126, 127
Utilitarianism Is a Discredited Pseudo-Ethic
Utilitarianism is a discredited pseudo-ethic that has been used to justify horrific human rights abuses not only in the Third Reich128, 129 but in human scientific experimentation130 and the inhumane treatment of prisoners and political dissidents here and in many countries,131, 132, 133, 134 which is why it should never be used as a guide to public policy and law by any government.
Although we may disagree about the quality and quantity of the scientific evidence used by doctors and governments to declare vaccines are safe at the population level, at our peril do we fail to agree that, while the State may have the power, it does not have the moral authority to dictate that a minority of individuals born with certain genes and biological susceptibilities give up their lives without their consent for what the ruling majority has judged to be the greater good.
Our Lives Are Defined by the Choices We Make
The journey we take in this life is defined by the choices we make. And if we are not free to make those choices, the journey is not our own. And the choices we make that involve risk of harm to our physical body, which houses our mind and spirit, those choices are among the most profound choices we make in this life, which is why we must be free to make them.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
If you want to communicate with someone from across the globe who speaks a different language, all you have to do is laugh. Laughter is a form of communication that’s universally recognized, which suggests it has deep importance to humankind.1
It's thought that laughter may have occurred before humans could speak as a playful way for mothers and infants to communicate, as a form of play vocalization, or to strengthen group bonds. Even today our brains are wired to prime us to smile or laugh when we hear others laughing.
Yet, laughter is a largely involuntary response; it’s not generally something you can force yourself to do. Instead, laughter is thought to be triggered by mechanisms in your brain and impacts breathing patterns, facial expressions, and even the muscles in your arms and legs.
It plays a role in your health, too, and has many quirks and mysteries that make it one of the most fascinating physical reactions that a human (and certain other species) can make.
10 Fascinating Facts About Laughter
Professor Sophie Scott, a neuroscientist and stand-up comic, put together these surprising facts about laughter.2
1. Rats Laugh When They’re Tickled
Rats laugh when they’re tickled, and the more they play together, the more they laugh. Psychologist Jack Panksepp first observed laughing rats in the 1990s; he needed special equipment to hear it, as rats’ laughs are very high pitched.
2. You’re More Likely to Laugh Around Others – Not Because of Jokes
If you're laughing, you're far more likely to be surrounded by others, according to research by laughter expert Dr. Robert Provine. The critical laughter trigger for most people is another person, not a joke or funny movie.
After observing 1,200 people laughing in their natural environments, Dr. Provine and his team found that laughter followed jokes only about 10-20 percent of the time. Social laughter occurs 30 times more frequently than solitary laughter.
In most cases, the laughter followed a banal comment or only slightly humorous one, which signals that the person is more important than the material in triggering laughter.
3. Your Brain Can Detect Fake Laughter
Professor Scott’s research has shown that your brain can tell the difference between real or staged laughter. When you hear staged, or deliberate, laughter, it prompts more activity in your brain’s anterior medial prefrontal cortex, which helps you understand other people’s emotions.
This suggests your brain automatically goes to work deciphering why someone is deliberately laughing.
4. Laughter Is Contagious
The saying "laugh and the whole world laughs with you" is more than just an expression: laughter really is contagious. The sound of laughter triggers regions in the premotor cortical region of your brain, which is involved in moving your facial muscles to correspond with sound and prepare to join in.3
5. Jokes Are Funnier if You Know the Comedian
Familiarity is a key part of humor and laughter, and research shows people find jokes told by famous comedians to be funnier than the same joke told by someone they’re not familiar with.
6. Laughing Burns Calories
Laughing raises both your energy expenditure and heart rate by about 10 percent to 20 percent. This means you could burn about 10-40 calories by laughing for 10 to 15 minutes. While this sounds good in theory, you’d have to laugh solidly for an hour or more for this calorie burning to have any meaningful effect.
7. Laughing Is Good for Your Relationships
Research shows that couples who use laughter and smile when discussing a touchy subject feel better in the immediacy and report higher levels of satisfaction in their relationship. They also tend to stay together longer.
8. Laughter Requires Timing
Laughter has a distinctive pattern. It rarely occurs in the middle of a sentence. Instead, laughter tends to occur at the end of sentences or during a break in speech, which suggests language is given the priority. According to Dr. Provine:4
"The occurrence of speaker laughter at the end of phrases suggests that a neurologically based process governs the placement of laughter in speech.
Different brain regions are involved in the expression of cognitively oriented speech and the more emotion-laden vocalization of laughter."
Comedians also use the natural tendency for laughter to grow and fade to their advantage, and will leave spaces at the end of a sentence for the audience to fill in with laughter.
9. Laughter Is Attractive
Research by Dr. Provine found that women laugh 126 percent more than men in cross-gender conversations, with men preferring to be the one prompting the laughter.
In a review of more than 3,700 newspaper personal ads, Dr. Provine revealed that women were 62 percent more likely to mention laughter, including seeking a mate with a sense of humor, while men were more likely to offer humor in their ads.
10. Some Things Can Make Virtually Everyone Laugh
While there’s no one joke that makes everyone laugh, Professor Scott found that one of the best tools for making people laugh in her lab is a clip of people trying not to laugh in a situation where it would be highly inappropriate to do so.
Laughter Is Good for Your Memory Too
Researchers at California's Loma Linda University looked into the role that humor can have on your health. They broke 20 older adults into two groups – one that watched funny videos and one that sat silently for 20 minutes. Before and after the session, both groups took a short-term memory test…
The humor group showed significantly more improvement on the test, 43.6 percent compared to 20 percent in the non-humor group.5 Those in the humor group also had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. According to the researchers, laughter represents an enjoyable tool to help counteract age-related memory decline in older adults:
“The study's findings suggest that humor can have clinical benefits and rehabilitative implications and can be implemented in programs that support whole-person wellness for older adults. Learning ability and delayed recall are important to these individuals for a better quality of life--considering mind, body, spirit, social, and economic aspects. Older adults may have age-associated memory deficiencies. However, medical practitioners now can offer positive, enjoyable, and beneficial humor therapies to improve these deficiencies.”
Laughter Enhances Immunity, Improves Sleep, and More
What else is laughter good for? Research has shown laughter may reduce stress hormones and boost your immune function,6 while also inducing optimistic feelings.7 Laughter has demonstrated a wealth of physiological, psychological, social, spiritual, and quality-of-life benefits, such that increasing numbers of health care centers are adopting laughter therapy as a form of complementary care. Opportunities that provide for group laughter, such as laughter yoga and laugh parties, are also becoming increasingly popular around the world. Just a short list of the benefits of laughter therapy are noted below:
Relaxing your muscles ||Triggering the release of your body's natural painkillers (endorphins)||Improving sleep
|Enhancing creativity and memory||Easing digestion||Enhancing oxygen intake
|Improving well-being and positive emotions||Boosting immune function||Improving blood pressure
Laugh Each and Every Day
Children laugh easily and often, but adults may forget to make room for laughter in their daily lives. If you can, incorporate laughter into your daily routine by finding what makes you laugh. Remember that you’re more likely to laugh in the company of others, so try to find the humor in life when you’re spending time with friends, family, and co-workers.
Some experts even recommend everyone get 15 to 20 minutes of laughter a day, much like you should exercise regularly and eat your vegetables. If you haven’t had your daily dose of laughter yet, check out the video below. It’s living proof that laughter is contagious…
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
Shrimp tops the list as America’s favorite seafood,1 but if you think that shrimp is being harvested off US shores and brought, fresh, into market – Forrest Gump style – you’re being misled.
“American shrimpers are a dying breed these days because they can’t compete with cheap, foreign imports,” Food & Water Watch reported.2
Today, the vast majority of shrimp (over 90 percent) come from industrial shrimp farms off the coasts of Thailand, Vietnam, Ecuador, and other countries, which are plagued with the same problems as land-based confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
“Chances are, the delicious shrimp cocktail you’re splurging on is loaded with antibiotics and chemicals because that‚ what goes into the cramped, dirty ponds made to mass-produce shrimp. Doesn’t sound yummy, does it?” Food & Water Watch states…3
What’s more, what you see on the label isn’t always what you get, as many shrimp products are mislabeled and completely misrepresented.
30% of Shrimp Products Are Misrepresented
The ocean conservation group Oceana tested 143 shrimp products from 111 US grocery stores and restaurants. Their DNA tests showed that 30 percent of shrimp products are misrepresented and 15 percent were mislabeled in regard to production method (farm-raised or wild-caught) or species.
Among the unsettling findings, farmed species were often labeled as “Gulf shrimp,” species were often mislabeled (or mixed together in one bag), and there was even a type of shrimp that’s an aquarium pet (not intended for consumption) in a bag of frozen shrimp salad!4 Of the 20 shrimp species identified, 40 percent were not previously known to be sold in the US.
The mislabeled shrimp were sold at both national and regional supermarkets (as well as smaller grocery stores), chain restaurants, and even high-end eateries. About 30 percent of the samples also lacked any labeling on country of origin and 29 percent didn’t state whether the shrimp was farm-raised or wild.
Ironically, if you’re looking for wild-caught shrimp, you may be best off purchasing products labeled simply as “shrimp,” as two-thirds of such packages contained wild-caught Gulf shrimp, while more than one-third of those labeled as “Gulf shrimp” were actually farm-raised! According to Oceana:5
“…consumers are often provided with little information about the shrimp they purchase, including where and how it was caught or farmed, making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to make informed choices.”
In Oceana’s infographic below,6 you can see where shrimp products were most likely to be misrepresented. While each area tested had problems, New York fared the worst, followed by Washington D.C.
It’s Not Only Shrimp That’s ‘Fishy’
Seafood misrepresentation, mislabeling, and fraud are rampant, and it’s not only shrimp that you should be wary of. Last year, Oceana collected more than 1,200 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states, which were then genetically tested to determine if they were honestly labeled.
As it turned out, the vast majority of the fish were not at all what they were claimed to be... Overall, a full one-third (33 percent) of the fish samples were mislabeled -- substituted for cheaper, less desirable, and/or more readily available fish varieties.7 The results showed:
- Mislabeling was found in 27 of the 46 fish types tested (59 percent)
- 87 percent of fish sold as snapper was actually some other type of fish
- 59 percent of tuna was some other type of fish
- 84 percent of “white tuna” sold in sushi venues was actually escolar, a fish associated with acute and serious digestive effects if you eat just a couple of ounces
- Grouper, halibut, and red snapper were sometimes substituted with king mackerel and tile fish, two types of fish the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises pregnant women and other sensitive groups to avoid due to high mercury content
According to Oceana,8 more than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the US is imported, yet only 1 percent of imports are inspected for fraud, which may explain this clearly out-of-control situation. To put is simply, no one is minding the store…
“Our findings demonstrate that a comprehensive and transparent traceability system – one that tracks fish from boat to plate – must be established at the national level.
At the same time, increased inspection and testing of our seafood, specifically for mislabeling, and stronger federal and state enforcement of existing laws combatting fraud are needed to reverse these disturbing trends.
Our government has a responsibility to provide more information about the fish sold in the U.S., as seafood fraud harms not only consumers’ wallets, but also every honest vendor and fisherman cheated in the process – to say nothing of the health of our oceans.”
As you might suspect, some of the largest seafood vendors are those who want to continue keeping you in the dark about what type of seafood you’re actually eating. As Jerald Horst, a seafood writer and former state fisheries specialist told the New York Times:9
“There's a lot of pressure from the major institutions for them [the government] not to do it [enforce proper labeling]… They want the freedom to do 'creative marketing.’”
It’s Important to Know Where Your Seafood Comes from
Fish has always been the best source for the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, but as levels of pollution have increased, this health treasure of a food has become less and less viable as a primary source of beneficial fats.
Most major waterways in the world are contaminated with mercury, heavy metals, and chemicals like dioxins, PCBs, and other agricultural chemicals that wind up in the environment.
This is why, as a general rule, I recommend limiting your consumption of fish.
However, I do make certain exceptions depending on species and location. Generally, the larger the fish the longer it has lived, and the more time it has had to bioaccumulate toxins like mercury from the ocean. This is why Bluefin and Ahi tuna, swordfish, walleye, marlin, king mackerel, orange roughy, and shark, which are all long-lived fish at the top of the food chain, should not be consumed.
Farm-raised seafood should also be avoided. It is more likely to contain contaminants, including not only pollutants but also antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals used during “farming.” It’s also detrimental to the environment, as farmed fish may spread disease to wild fish, and concentrated fish waste and uneaten feed further litter the sea floor beneath these farms, generating bacteria that consume oxygen vital to shellfish and other bottom-dwelling sea creatures. Farmed fish waste promotes algal growth that that harms the water's oxygen content, posing risks to coral reefs and other aquatic life.
Certain Types of Seafood Are Still Healthy…
As for which types of seafood I still recommend, one is authentic, wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, the nutritional benefits of which I believe still outweigh any potential contamination. The risk of sockeye accumulating high amounts of mercury and other toxins is reduced because of its short life cycle, which is only about three years. Additionally, bioaccumulation of toxins is also reduced by the fact that it doesn't feed on other, already contaminated, fish.
The second exception is smaller fish with short lifecycles, which also tend to be better alternatives in terms of fat content, so it's a win-win situation — lower contamination risk and higher nutritional value. A general guideline is that the closer to the bottom of the food chain the fish is, the less contamination it will have accumulated (assuming it is wild-caught and not farm-raised). So if you’re a seafood lover, try to choose most of your fish from this group, which includes:
As an added precaution, whenever I eat fish I make sure to also take chlorella tablets. The chlorella is a potent mercury binder and if taken with the fish will help bind the mercury before you are able to absorb it, so it can be safely excreted in your stool.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed When Purchasing Seafood
Just as you can seek out locally produced eggs, meat, and produce, you can seek out local seafood. This is more challenging if you don’t live near the coast. However, many inland areas do have seafood markets that are dedicated to finding fresh, high-quality seafood that is brought in daily. Talk to the owner directly, who should be able to give you details about where the seafood comes from and how it is produced. Another alternative is to look for seafood that bears the following labels, which signify more sustainable products:
- Marine Stewardship Council (MSC): The MSC label on wild-caught fish identifies seafood that is caught using sustainable, eco-friendly methods.
- Fishwise: The Fishwise label identifies how the fish was caught, where it came from and whether the fish is sustainable (or environmentally threatened).
- Seafood Safe: The Seafood Safe label involves independent testing of fish for contaminants, including mercury and PCBs, and recommendations for consumption based upon the findings.
In addition, Oceana offers the following tips for protecting yourself against rampant seafood fraud:10
- Ask questions. Consumers should ask more questions, including what kind of seafood it is, if it is wild or farm-raised, and where, when and how it was caught.
- Check the price. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is, and you are likely purchasing a completely different species than what is on the label.
- Purchase the whole fish. When possible, purchase the whole fish, which makes it more difficult to swap one species for another.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
Not all sugars are created equal, and they’re hidden in most of today’s processed foods. Nutritionist, fitness trainer, and author JJ Virgin has written a new book that helps open your eyes to the way sugars are hidden.
The book also provides practical tips on how to wean yourself from this pernicious ingredient that will decimate your health.
In The Sugar Impact Diet: Drop 7 Sugars to Lose Up to 10 Pounds in Just 2 Weeks, she tackles the confusion surrounding sugar. Many health-conscious people are still under the mistaken belief that as long as the sugar is all-natural, it’s fine to eat.
Not so. Agave, natural fruit juice, raw cane sugar, and any number of other natural sugars will still wreak havoc on your health.
“[S]ugar is really public enemy number one,” she says. “That’s why I chose to focus on it. I don’t think added sugar is really the problem; I think it’s what’s in a lot of our food that we don’t recognize [as sugar].
Whether it’s having apple juice (which is worse for you than a soda), or having a yogurt sweetened with fruit juice concentrate, or whether you’re just thinking that fruits are free for all, these are all creating problems.
I wanted to create a structured program that could help someone break free of those sugar cravings, drop the weight forever, and then let them go back and [do a food] challenge... in order to connect the dots between what happens when they drink one of those big fruit smoothies that are supposed to be so healthy.”
To End Sugar Cravings, Your Body Needs to Burn Fat as Its Primary Fuel
As JJ notes, whether the sugar comes in the form of a muffin, a fruit juice-sweetened yogurt, or a smoothie, it’s all the same thing to your body. “Food is information,” she says. And she’s right.
Once you break free from your body’s constant need for yet another sugar fix (remember, sugar is more addictive than cocaine!), you’ll experience great levels of newfound energy and clarity of mind. But in order to get there, you need to retrain your body to burn fat as its primary form of fuel instead of sugar.
This can be a real challenge for many. JJ’s book specifically addresses the gradual process of getting from burning sugar to burning fat as your body’s primary fuel, in order to maximize your chances for success.
“There’s got to be a transition period, where you go from sugar burner to getting your body to be able to start to burn fat again,” she explains.
“You have to taper down from where your starting point is, which is what I call a Sneaky Sugar Inventory, of things you would never think about (like sundried tomatoes and marinara sauce) that we’re just using like crazy not realizing how much sugar this is actually adding into our food.”
The Sugar Impact Scales: A New Way of Looking at Sugar
As an initial step, you’ll want to weigh yourself and measure your waist-to-hip ratio, to determine your starting point. Next, you do an initial inventory of all the hidden sugars in your diet.
This means reading the labels on all the foods you eat, including items you might never expect to contain sugar, such as that jar of pickles, condiments, sauces, and marinades, and so on. JJ lists all the sneaky places sugars hide in your diet in her book, and by creating what she calls Sugar Impact Scales, she’s created a new way of looking at sugar.
“It looks at fructose grams, glycemic load, nutrient density, and fiber. Bad are fructose and glycemic load; good are nutrient density and fiber,” she explains.
“Depending on where the food falls, it can either be low, medium, or high-sugar impact. The reason this was so important to me is I keep looking at programs out there, and they either focus on fructose... glycemic index, or glycemic load.
That can be very confusing because it makes things like agave sweetener look great. It makes milk look great... People go, ‘We should have fructose because fructose is low on the glycemic index.’
The difference between fructose and glucose is fructose doesn’t trigger the whole insulin response. Because of that, it doesn’t trigger insulin, leptin, or ghrelin, so it doesn’t tell your body you ate anything. Instead, it just goes to the liver. If there’s no room for it to become glycogen... it starts becoming fat.
You look at that and you go, ‘Okay, food is information. What does fructose say?’ It says, ‘Hey, make fat but don’t tell us we ate. Stay hungry.’ What a nightmare!”
So what are the basic symptoms of having high-sugar impact? Gas and bloating are common, as sugar feeds yeast, fungi, and detrimental bacteria in your gut. Other symptoms include joint pain, headaches, fatigue, inability to lose weight or weight loss resistance, and sugar cravings.
By grading yourself on those and other symptoms, while tracking your waist, hip, and weight, you’ll get a clearer picture of how sugar impacts your body, and your progress in terms of retraining your body to burn fat instead of sugar as its primary fuel.
The Three Cycles of the Sugar Impact Diet
The first cycle is a one to two-week long taper cycle, in which you switch from high sugar impact foods to medium sugar impact foods. As an example, if you typically eat regular pasta, you’d switch over to quinoa pasta.
She also recommends scheduling your meals to where you’re not eating every two hours; rather you stretch the time between meals to prevent insulin spikes. This is one form of intermittent fasting. At the end of this taper-down period of one or two weeks, you retest yourself on the sugar impact quiz, to see how you’ve done.
If all is going as planned, you should notice a reduction in your symptoms. At that point, you move on to cycle two, in which you’re really resetting your taste buds and reclaiming your sugar sensitivity, meaning your ability to taste how sweet a food really is.
“What I’m doing is I’m getting rid of all of the fructose. We’re getting down to five grams or less [per day], just as low as possible because you don’t want your body to be good at processing fructose. One thing we know is that the more fructose you eat, the better you get at handling fructose, which means the faster it goes to your liver, the faster you start making fat, and the more fat you make.
If someone’s used to eating fruit, they eat more fruit, they eat more fruit, and they can handle it. If you never eat any fruit, and you ate a bunch of fruit, you’d be bloated, you’d be gassy, and it’d be horrible. I take fruit out altogether except for things like lemons, limes, avocado, tomato, and olives. And we go down to all low-sugar impact foods. But you’re still eating great stuff. You’re eating wild salmon, grass-fed beef, kale, avocado, nuts and seeds, a little quinoa, legumes, and lentils.”
Most people can make the shift from burning sugar to burning fat as primary fuel in this second cycle of the program in a couple of weeks, although it may take longer if you’re seriously insulin/leptin resistant. “The reason it can happen so fast is number one, you’ve got to do that initial one-week [taper] period,” she explains. “Whenever you look at a program, you want to jump right into the most intense part, but you can’t because you’ll fail.”
In the third cycle of the program, you start to challenge yourself by reintroducing some of the medium or even high sugar impact foods. Most people will now find that they’re overwhelmed by the sweetness, or they’ll feel bloated or downright ill by the high-sugar food. As a result, the psychological grip of sweet foods lessen, as you simply do not want to go back to feeling horrible once you’re feeling really great. Interestingly, sour taste, such as that from cultured vegetables, helps to reduce sweet cravings, too.
This is a doubly-beneficial thing, as fermented vegetables also promote gut health. “It’s a sweet tooth strategy,” JJ says. “One of the things that I do in these books is I try to keep it simple and give people simple strategies. But I’m always thinking, “How am I healing their gut with this? How am I improving their gut flora? How are we reducing inflammation?”
Healthy Snack Alternatives
Nuts, which are one of my favorite snack foods, are also great for satisfying the occasional hunger pang. Typically, when I’m at home, I only have one meal a day, a very large salad. But I will snack on nuts, specifically macadamia nuts and occasionally pecans, because of two criteria:
- They’re very high in fat – the good fat, oleic acid, which is similar to olive oil, and
- They’re low in protein, so you won’t run the risk of eating a whole day’s worth of protein in a few handfuls of nuts (which could be the case if you eat a lot of almonds)
That said, as JJ warns, be aware of your food triggers, and if you cannot keep a jar of nuts in your house without polishing off the whole thing in one sitting, you just turned a good thing into something bad. While nuts do contain healthy fats, they also tend to be high in calories, so moderation is in order.
“If you know something’s your trigger, don’t bring it into the house. It doesn’t matter if it’s healthy or unhealthy. But I think if you put them into little serving baggies, that’s a perfect way to go with it. I also like that because most people aren’t home all day long, so I say, ‘Put one in your car. Put it in your purse. Put it in your office so that you have them scattered around if you ever get in trouble.’
Another healthy snack that is much harder to overdo is dehydrated kale chips. I’m in the process of planting six dozen kale plants on my property to create a surplus for this very reason. That way I can have kale chips year-round. Roasted Brussels sprouts are another alternative that you can’t really “overdose” on.
Last But Not Least—The Maintenance Phase
It’s quite rare to find someone who’s not burning sugar as their primary fuel these days. To check yourself, simply observe how frequently you feel hungry. If you’re hungry every two hours or so, you’re burning sugar. You’re craving food because sugar is fast burning, and your hunger is an indication that your body wants to be refueled. Once you’re burning fat as your primary fuel, you can easily go five to six hours or longer without feeling hungry, as fat is a far slower-burning fuel. Sugar cravings are also virtually eliminated once you’re burning fat rather than sugar.
Most everyone watching this would benefit from applying a program such as the one JJ has put together. The question is, once you’ve successfully made the switch, how long do you have to continue eating this way? What does maintenance look like?
“The maintenance phase is different from the weight loss phase,” JJ explains. “It’s like dating and marriage. Totally different beasts, right? During the maintenance phase—for weight loss—it’s about setting new goals and doing different fitness activities. The biggest thing that I want someone to do is to connect the dots between what they’re eating and how they feel. It’s to lose that sweet tooth that they had and reclaim their sugar sensitivity so they really say, ‘Oh, wow, that’s how sweet a blueberry really is.’
[In the maintenance phase] you’ve got to mix up your exercise; you’ve got to mix up your food... [F]ood is information. You want your food to tell your body to burn fat not sugar, keep steady energy, great focus, and reduce inflammation. It’s the same with exercise. Exercise can be therapeutic or destructive. I do no endurance training at all. I do not believe in endurance training. I did so much endurance training [when I was younger, yet] I was always slightly overweight. I was never lean.”
JJ recommends high intensity interval-type exercises over endurance training, and for good reason. Endurance training is actually among the least effective forms of exercise when it comes to weight loss, and research has shown that the benefits of high intensity exercise are not necessarily related to calories burned. Rather, it creates beneficial metabolic changes that promote health and muscle growth while boosting fat burning.
These metabolic changes, which include boosting human growth hormone (HGH), do not occur when you’re doing endurance training such as long-distance running.
She’s also a big proponent of exercising in a fasted state, as this actually helps repair, restore, and rejuvenate your muscle tissues. A conflicting approach calls for loading up on carbs and protein before and after exercise, to boost performance and muscle building. So which one should you follow? It may be worth taking JJ’s advice, and experiment to determine what works best for you, depending on your fitness and weight loss goals:
“I kind of play with both of them. Because if you eat a little bit before you work out, you can generally work out harder. If you’re doing resistance training, a lot of times you’re better off having a little bit [of food] before. If you’re doing burst training, ideally here’s what you would do: on burst-training days, do it first thing in the morning. It doesn’t take long anyway. It’s 15 minutes at the most. Ideally, do that a couple of mornings a week, two or three mornings a week. You do your resistance training two times a week, have a little bit of food before; have something really good afterwards, and you’re set.”
If you’ve tried cutting calories while still eating foods like gluten, pasteurized dairy, and processed fructose, yet failed to lose weight, the problem lies not in insufficient calorie restriction. Rather, you were still eating the wrong foods, albeit in smaller amounts. Once you start viewing food as information, you can begin to appreciate how certain foods, fructose in particular, instructs your body to store fat and not let any of it go...
What you eat makes all the difference, and when it comes to successfully losing weight, a major key is switching your body from burning sugar to burning fat as its primary fuel. In order to do this, you need to cut down on the fructose-laden foods that tell your body to:
- Store the sugar as fat
- Eat more (as fructose doesn’t trigger insulin, leptin, or ghrelin to the same degree as glucose, which means it doesn’t tell your body you just consumed a whole bunch of calories)
The take-home message here is that you CAN “reset” your body to burn fat instead of sugar as its primary fuel, at which point sugar cravings will disappear. To learn more about JJ Virgin’s program, which takes you through this process step by step, I recommend picking up her book, The Sugar Impact Diet: Drop 7 Sugars to Lose Up to 10 Pounds in Just 2 Weeks, available for pre-order now through Barnes & Noble and will be on Amazon November 4th.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |