By Dr. Mercola
Good oral hygiene is even more important than previously thought. Pathogenic microorganisms and their toxins can harm more than just your mouth when they circulate through your bloodstream—they can potentially cause secondary infections and chronic inflammation throughout your body.
The fact that oral pathogens can make their way to distant parts of your anatomy and cause serious problems has been known for many years.
Even dentists would agree that bacteria can pass from your gums into your bloodstream and on to your heart, which is why some still prescribe oral antibiotics to a few select patients with a particularly high risk for endocarditis, particularly if they have gingivitis.1
But it appears that the rare case of endocarditis is only the tip of the iceberg. Several studies now show that these oral pathogens—viruses as well as bacteria—may be linked to certain cancers, making it even more important to do take every step possible to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy.
Poor Oral Health Is a Risk Factor for Oropharyngeal Cancers
The human papillomavirus (HPV),2 some strains of which are associated with cervical cancer if left untreated for long periods of time, has similarly been linked to vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, and oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the throat, tonsils, and base of tongue).
Hence the ridiculous recommendation to vaccinate boys with the notorious HPV vaccine, Gardasil, which is riddled with dangerous side effects and other problems. A new study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research reports:3
"Poor oral health, which includes dental problems and gum disease, is an independent risk factor for oral HPV infection, and by extension, could also contribute to oral cancers."
In this study, participants with poor oral health had a 56 percent higher rate of HPV infection than those with healthy mouths. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that about 60 percent of oropharyngeal cancers are related to HPV,4 but according to the latest study, it could be as high as 80 percent.
The researchers speculate that good oral hygiene could help prevent HPV infection, thereby lowing your risk for oropharyngeal and other cancers. Human papillomavirus is actually a group of more than 100 viruses. Of those 100, about 40 are sexually transmitted, and 15 of those are the types most often associated with cervical cancers and genital warts.5
It is important to note that more than 90 percent of women infected with HPV clear the infection naturally within two years, at which point their cervical cells return to normal. It is only when the HPV virus lingers for many years (that is, becomes chronic) that abnormal cervical cells could turn into cancer.
This is why regularly scheduled PAP smears prevent cervical cancer deaths far more effectively than the HPV vaccine ever will, because they allow a sufficient amount of time to find and treat any cervical abnormalities.
Viruses Cause 15 to 20 Percent of All Cancers
It is interesting to note that HPV isn't the only virus linked to cancer—in fact, it is estimated that 15 to 20 percent of all cancers are caused by viruses!6 Many viruses trigger cancer by suppressing your immune system and/or altering your genes. The following viruses are known to play a major role in certain types of cancer:7
- EBV (Epstein-Barr virus) increases your risk for nasopharyngeal cancer, certain lymphomas and stomach cancer
- Hepatitis B and C are linked to liver cancer
- HIV is associated with invasive cervical cancer, lymphoma, lung cancer, liver cancer, anal cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, skin cancer and Kaposi's sarcoma; Herpes virus 8 is also thought to be involved with almost all cases of Kaposi's sarcoma
Three New Studies Prove Oral Bacteria Can Cause Colorectal Cancer
There is one bacterium that has been causing a great deal of trouble with people's health: Fusobacterium nucleatum, a spindle-shaped anaerobic bacterium commonly found in dental plaque. F. nucleatum is abundant in your mouth and able to coaggregate with other species.8 Three recent studies have linked F. nucleatum with serious health problems:
- Case Western Reserve University researchers found that some malignant colorectal tumors are caused by F. nucleatum9
- Harvard researchers also established a link between F. nucleatum and the initiation of colorectal tumors10
- A study in Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that oral F. nucleatum can lead to intrauterine infection and even stillbirth11
The first two studies establish an actual causal link between this bacteria and colorectal cancer. The bacteria trigger inflammation and also activate the cancer growth genes and the signals required for angiogenesis to occur (a tumor's blood supply). Normally, F. nucleatum is not prevalent in your gut, but if your microbial balance is off—which can happen in your mouth, as well as in your gut—then it's able to invade and colonize. F. nucleatum has been found in gut mucosal biopsies that show inflammation and in biopsies of colorectal tumors.12
The third study discusses an unusual case of a mother losing her baby to stillbirth due to an intrauterine infection, directly resulting from gingivitis. The bacteria moved from her mouth to her uterus because her immune system was weakened by a respiratory infection. Other studies have shown these bacteria to cause stillbirths in mice, but this was the first documented human case.13
All of these studies unequivocally show that bacterial imbalances and dysbiosis can contribute to inflammation in your body and activate cancer genes. Therefore, the bacteria in your mouth deserve as much care and attention as the ones in your gut. Not surprisingly, they're interrelated, and as you improve your gut flora, the flora in your mouth improves accordingly. I experienced this myself. When I started consuming fermented vegetables, it only took a few months before I was able to reduce the frequency of my visits to my dental hygienist for a persistent plaque problem.
Another Danger: A Mouthful of Mercury
Besides oral hygiene, which I'll be discussing shortly, there are two other dental-related concerns you may need to address: mercury amalgams and fluoride. The average American has eight mercury amalgams (fillings), falsely described as "silver" fillings. This misleading label has been purposely used to keep you in the dark about the exact composition of the fillings, which are actually about 50 percent mercury. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that can poison your brain, central nervous system and kidneys. Children and fetuses, whose brains are still developing, are most at risk—but anyone can be adversely impacted.
Mercury is such a potent toxin that just one drop in a lake would poison the lake to the extent that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would ban fishing in it. Yet, they claim that carrying around a mouthful of mercury fillings has no harmful effects. If you have mercury amalgams, it would be advisable to consult a holistic, mercury-free dentist.
Steer Clear of Fluoride in Any Form
If you are using fluoridated toothpaste, you may want to consider tossing it out and replacing it it with a safe one. In the mornings, you could use toothpaste containing calcium and phosphate salts, or even hydroxyapatite, which can help remineralize your teeth. Baking soda will help promote beneficial bacteria in your mouth by neutralizing the acid that pathogenic bacteria thrive in. I use an oral irrigator with baking soda twice a day and follow with coconut oil pulling for 20 minutes.
Fluoride is of little or no benefit to your teeth and poses serious health risks, including immune dysfunction, endocrine disruption, increased risk of fractures, arthritis, infertility, and many more.
Toothpaste isn't the only source of fluoride—it is present in growing numbers of non-organic foods from pesticide residue (including iceberg lettuce). And fluoride continues to be added to many municipal water supplies in the United States. Water fluoridation has come under increasing scrutiny as health concerns, lack of efficacy in preventing tooth decay and ethical issues of administering chemicals via the water supply have surfaced. For more information on fluoride, please watch the presentation by Michael Connett, an attorney with the Fluoride Action Network in this previous article.
Four Strategies for Improving Your Oral Health
The latest research uncovering the connection between the microorganisms in your mouth and cancer make it extraordinarily clear that oral hygiene is a necessary prerequisite if you want to be healthy. Major problems can result from the overgrowth of opportunistic oral pathogens, including oropharyngeal cancers, colorectal cancer, and if you're an expectant mother, even the tragedy of stillbirth. In addition to avoiding fluoride and mercury fillings, my top four recommendations for optimizing your oral health are as follows:
- Consume a traditional diet: fresh fruits and vegetables, grass-pastured meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy; nuts and seeds; minimal consumption of sugar and processed food
- Add in some naturally fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, pickles, kimchee, yogurt, kefir
- Proper brushing and flossing
- Oil pulling
A traditional diet will help balance both your oral and gastrointestinal flora, but it may not be enough to guarantee perfect oral health. I've struggled with plaque for years, and it wasn't until I added fermented foods and oil pulling that I began to make progress with the problem. The addition of fermented foods decreased my plaque by 50 percent and made it much softer, and the oil pulling has improved it further.
Oil Pulling Is Like Giving Your Teeth an 'Oil Change'
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice dating back thousands of years. When it harnesses the antimicrobial power of coconut oil, you have one very powerful tool! The high lauric content of coconut oil makes it a strong inhibitor of a wide range of pathogenic organisms, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa. Researchers in Ireland found that coconut oil treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion, strongly inhibits Streptococcus bacteria, which are common oral residents that can lead to plaque buildup, cavities, and gum disease.
Oil pulling can lessen your toxic load by pulling out pathogens and preventing their spread to other areas of your body. When done correctly, oil pulling has a significant cleansing, detoxifying and healing effect. Oil pullers have reported rapid relief from systemic health problems such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. Sesame oil is traditionally recommended, but it has a relatively high concentration of omega-6 oils. Therefore, I believe coconut oil is far superior, and to me it tastes better. But from a mechanical and biophysical perspective, both oils likely work.
Oil pulling is simple. Basically, it involves rinsing your mouth with about a tablespoon of coconut oil, much like you would using a mouthwash. The oil is "worked" around your mouth by pushing, pulling, and drawing it through your teeth for a period of about 15 minutes. If you are obsessive like me, you can go for 30-45 minutes. This process allows the oil to neutralize and "pull out" bacteria, viruses, fungi and other debris. After working the oil around for 15 minutes, spit it out and rinse your mouth with water. Do NOT swallow the oil as it's loaded with bacteria and toxins. Naturopathic physician and coconut oil expert Bruce Fife compares the benefits of oil pulling to changing the oil in your car:14
"It acts much like the oil you put in your car engine. The oil picks up dirt and grime. When you drain the oil, it pulls out the dirt and grime with it, leaving the engine relatively clean. Consequently, the engine runs smoother and lasts longer. Likewise, when we expel harmful substances from our bodies our health is improved and we run smoother and last longer."
Your Diet Is Key to Reducing Chronic Inflammation
The running thread linking a wide variety of common health problems, including cancer, is chronic inflammation in your body – regardless of whether it originates in your mouth or not. Clearly, addressing your oral health is an important step, but it really all starts with your diet.
Your diet can make or break your teeth, as it were, and has a profound effect on your overall level of inflammation. Therefore, to optimize your health and prevent many of the diseases listed above, you'll want to evaluate your lifestyle to ensure you're doing everything you can to prevent chronic inflammation from occurring. To reduce or prevent inflammation in your body, you'll want to avoid the following dietary culprits:
- Sugar/fructose and grains
- Oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked, scrambled eggs)
- Foods cooked at high temperatures
- Trans fats
Beyond that, brushing with baking soda and using oil pulling can help address the bacterial balance in your mouth. The most important factor, however, is to regularly reseed your gut with beneficial bacteria, i.e. probiotics. Fermented vegetables and other traditionally fermented foods are an ideal source, but if you don't eat fermented foods, then a high-quality probiotic is certainly recommended.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
You may be aware that bees are dying in large numbers across the globe, courtesy of the ever-increasing presence of toxins in our environment. But did you know that the monarch butterfly is also becoming endangered, and for the same reason?
As reported by the New York Times:1
"Hoping to focus attention on the plight of the monarch butterfly at a North American summit meeting... a group of prominent scientists and writers urged the leaders of Mexico, the United States and Canada to commit to restoring the habitat that supports the insect's extraordinary migration across the continent.
Calling the situation facing the butterfly 'grim,' the group issued a letter that outlined a proposal to plant milkweed, the monarch caterpillar's only food source, along its migratory route in Canada and the United States."
Immediate Action Needed to Save the Monarch Butterfly
One of the major reasons for the dramatically diminishing numbers of monarch butterflies is that so many of the milkweed plants typically present in fields have been eliminated as farmers have switched over to planting genetically engineered corn and soy. (Land areas used to grow corn in the US have expanded by about 25 percent since 2007.)
The proposal calls for planting milkweed all along the migratory path through the US; between fields, in ditches, along roadsides, and in public areas, to ensure sufficient food for the monarchs, and a place to lay their eggs. The group also recommends subsidizing farmers who do not use herbicides on their land.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is also petitioning the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement tougher rules for the weed killer glyphosate, and to do so sooner rather than later.
The agency is scheduled to complete a review of glyphosate rules next year, but the NRDC is asking the EPA to take immediate action, given the rapid decline of the monarchs. As reported by the Los Angeles Times:2
"The petition asks the EPA to consider preventing the use of glyphosate and other weed killers along highways and utility rights of way where milkweed could grow freely without interfering with maintenance or emergency crews.
It also asks that farmers be required to establish herbicide-free safety zones in or around their fields, and urges the EPA to ensure that any new safeguards on glyphosate don't lead simply to more use of other weed killers that would be equally bad for monarchs and may pose health risks."
The Plight of the Monarchs
A recent article in the World Post,3 written by Mexican environmental activist Homero Aridjis, sheds further light on just how dire the situation is. Having spent every childhood winter in Contepec, Michoacan admiring the arriving flocks of monarchs, he has personally noticed the dramatic decline in the gorgeous orange and black butterflies.
In 1986, Aridjis petitioned the Mexican President to protect monarch habitats, which resulted in the creation of the Monarch Butterfly Special Biosphere Reserve. In 2000, the reserve was enlarged, and additional protection was added for other butterfly colonies as well. Mexico has also set limitations on logging in and around the butterfly reserve, to help preserve the butterfly population. Alas, such measures are not enough.
As Aridjis notes, excessive use of toxic agricultural chemicals across America's Corn Belt plays an absolutely critical role in the declining numbers of these beautiful creatures, as each year the butterflies migrate through this area of the US.
Milkweed,4 a perennial plant that used to be common across American prairies, is the only plant on which the adult monarch will lay its eggs. Once the larvae hatches, the caterpillar will eat the plant. Without milkweed along its migratory path, the monarch cannot reproduce. Aridjis writes:5
"I was born in 1940 and grew up with (and wrote about) the monarchs, but it was only in 1975 that their overwintering forests in central Mexico's Transvolcanic Belt were 'discovered' by Canadian scientists.
On Jan. 29, news was released of a dramatic plunge in the monarch butterfly population that overwinters in Mexico after flying thousands of miles south from the northern and eastern United States and southern Canada.
This season's population, calculated by measuring the area of occupied trees, covers a tiny 0.67 hectares -- the smallest ever since these measurements began 20 years ago -- and a huge drop from the 1996 high of 21 hectares. The population has plummeted from an estimated 1 billion in 1996 to 33 million this year, scattered over seven sites. There have been no monarchs in Contepec for years."
Glyphosate Destroys More Than Just Monarch Breeding Grounds
The environmental destruction caused by glyphosate certainly does not end with the eradication of milkweed, which are critical for monarch breeding and feeding. This chemical, the toxicity of which has been vastly underestimated since its introduction into agriculture, absolutely devastates the soil microbiome. Killing microorganisms is in fact one of glyphosate's primary mechanisms of action, as it is patented as an antibiotic. Glyphosate is also a potent chelator that sequesters valuable minerals, rendering them inaccessible and unusable for the plant. It ties up minerals like manganese, zinc, and iron, which are essential for the plant's immune system and growth.
These minerals are also important for human health. Another problem, which applies to both genetically engineered (GE) and conventional hybridized plants, is that when a plant is altered it may lose its ability to emit the correct signals to warn its neighbors about impending attacks. Hence, they become more vulnerable to infestations.
Then there's the issue of rapid resistance developing among weeds... In some areas, highly invasive and crop-destroying superweeds are taking over valuable farm land. This was yet another possibility that was initially pooh-pooh'd by Monsanto. Industry assurances aside, glyphosate resistance has now become an undisputable fact.
But rather than acknowledging its role in creating the problem, Monsanto and other chemical producers have simply started working on herbicide formulations that are even MORE toxic, and developing new crops that are resistant to a different set of chemicals, including 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), which is one of the primary ingredients in Agent Orange!
How Glyphosate Affects Your Health
Just as glyphosate decimates soil bacteria that are critical for plant health and nutrient uptake, the chemical also destroys the microbiome found in the gut of animals and humans. This effect appears to be the missing link that explains the detrimental health effects associated with genetically engineered foods. Recent research even suggests that glyphosate may be the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies. This includes but is not limited to:
||Gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea, colitis, and Crohn's disease
||ALS and more|
The impact of gut bacteria on your health is becoming widely known. And here, we see how your gut bacteria once again play a crucial role in explaining why and how glyphosate causes health problems in both animals and humans. According to this revealing study, published in the journal Entropy6 last year:
"Glyphosate's claimed mechanism of action in plants is the disruption of the shikimate pathway, which is involved with the synthesis of the essential aromatic amino acids, phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. The currently accepted dogma is that glyphosate is not harmful to humans or to any mammals because the shikimate pathway is absent in all animals.
However, this pathway is present in gut bacteria, which play an important and heretofore largely overlooked role in human physiology through an integrated biosemiotic relationship with the human host. In addition to aiding digestion, the gut microbiota synthesize vitamins, detoxify xenobiotics, and participitate in immune system homeostasis and gastrointestinal tract permeability. Furthermore, dietary factors modulate the microbial composition of the gut."
Time to Choose Between Monsanto and Monarchs
The Center for Food Safety has created a petition urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and President Obama to protect the monarchs' breeding habitat by halting the approval of Monsanto Roundup Ready™ and other glyphosate-resistant and pesticide-promoting genetically engineered crops. Please take a moment to sign the petition right now.
You can also make a difference by planting milkweed in your own garden to make up for the loss of milkweed caused by the sprawl of urban development.
Ending Glyphosate Use Is Critical for All Life on Planet Earth
Besides protecting the monarch butterfly, there are many other reasons to insist on the removal of glyphosate from agricultural use. The documented harmful effects of glyphosate extend not just to critical pollinating insects like bees and butterflies, but also to soil, plant, animal, and human health. It's becoming increasingly clear that Monsanto's glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup is doing FAR more harm than anyone ever expected, and it's time to put on the brakes before it's too late.
On numerous occasions, I've stated that the differences between industrial farming and organic farming, using time-tested all-natural methods, are so vast that the foods produced by the former cannot be equated to the foods produced by the latter. Use of genetically engineered plants only deepens the many problems associated with conventional, chemical-heavy farming. The environmental effects are also 180 degrees opposed, as industrial farming contributes to every form of environmental devastation, while organic farming methods restore the environment and invigorate and support the ecosystem—of which humans are an integral part, I might add.
Many equate modern techniques with "progress," when in fact most of our technological advancements are now threatening to destroy us right along with the planet as a whole... Think about this: nearly one BILLION pounds of Roundup is used each year for conventional crop production. Knowing what we now know about the toxicity of glyphosate (as well as glyphosate-based formulations that can be even more toxic than glyphosate alone), it's quite clear we're well on our way toward disaster.
Genetically engineered (GE) crops are typically the most heavily sprayed, as so-called Roundup Ready crops are designed to withstand otherwise lethal doses of this chemical. The contamination issue is yet another valid reason for avoiding conventionally-grown foods in general, and genetically engineered (GE) foods in particular. And since genetically engineered foods tend to contain far higher levels of contamination, it's also another reason for labeling foods that contain GE ingredients.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
Ingesting fluoride – a toxic fertilizer-industry byproduct – in drinking water for the sake of preventing tooth decay is an outdated, dangerous practice that is damaging human health and the environment.
The research on this is very clear, and although the US government has been slow to acknowledge it, other nations are ending this tragic "public health" measure.
Quite simply, the truth is out about fluoride, and the more people become informed, the less tolerance they have for this toxic drug-like substance to remain in their drinking water.
This is precisely the case in Europe, where 98 percent of countries have rejected water fluoridation either by removing it from their water supplies or never adding it to begin with.
Except for Ireland. Ireland is the only country in Europe that has mandatory fluoridation – a practice that hopefully won't be long for this world, thanks to the efforts of nutritionist Aisling FitzGibbon, better known as "The Girl Against Fluoride."
The Girl Against Fluoride Takes on Ireland's High Court
FitzGibbon is in the process of taking a High Court legal action against the Irish government in an effort to end the country's mandatory water fluoridation. The campaign was started after her own recovery from depression, which she attributes to drinking fluoride-free water.
Court case proceedings began in January 2014, with the ultimate goal of overthrowing a Supreme Court ruling in 1963 that mandated water fluoridation in Ireland. As FitzGibbon said, they are "fighting for our democratic right to clean water."1
Last year, three town councils in Ireland said they backed an end to water fluoridation but so far the Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health has rejected anti-fluoridation arguments. In Bantry, Ireland, for instance, town councilors voted unanimously for an immediate end to fluoridation throughout Ireland.
Now, in an open letter to Irish Water, FitzGibbon has stated the agency and its board members will be held accountable for personal injury caused by the consumption of excess fluoride in drinking water.
She also pointed out that they have a "legal duty" to warn consumers about fluoride's toxic effects and said customers will refuse to make contracts with Irish Water, while current customers will withhold payment for artificially fluoridated water. According to the letter:2
"Irish Water has now been informed of the imminent actions of an ever-increasing and already large number of people who are gravely concerned about the dangers to human health caused by the over-consumption of fluoride [adding that they] are no longer prepared to tolerate being forced to consume it by a nanny state."
Mandatory Water Fluoridation Is Fading Fast
Ireland's hold-out for fluoridation is meeting increasing opposition not only within Ireland but around the globe. Over the past five years, a literal avalanche of Queensland, Australia communities has stopped fluoridating their water supplies. There are now 15 regional councils in Queensland that are either stopping fluoridation or refusing to start. That affects about 50 different townships.
That, of course, has encouraged people not only in Queensland but also those throughout Australia. In New Zealand, several communities have also stopped fluoridation over the last few years. The most recent was Hamilton, which is the second largest city in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health in Israel also announced it will lift the mandatory requirement for fluoridation in 2014.
This leaves only Ireland and Singapore as the last two remaining countries with this mandatory practice. But with the rest of the world quickly ending mandatory water fluoridation and Fluoride Girl's increasingly popular, and vocal, campaign, it will be interesting to see how much longer they hold out.
As Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) reported, it very much seems like the Irish government is going to have a difficult time holding on to mandatory fluoridation for much longer:3
"Knowing that Ireland is the only country in Europe which has mandatory fluoridation, those promoting this outdated practice must have been disturbed to hear the news from Queensland that the new government there has dropped mandatory statewide fluoridation and there has been a stampede by many communities to end fluoridation or not start it, even though in one case the equipment was already installed.
…Even better from our perspective was when the Minister of Health in Israel announced that fluoridation would no longer be mandatory there in 2014. This sets a wonderful precedent for Ireland to follow… It was particularly satisfying… when John Gormley, former mayor of Dublin and former Minister of the Environment, finally released his report (while serving on the Parliamentary committee for Health and Children) in which he recommended that fluoridation be halted in Ireland.
…Finally, there is the good news from nearby unfluoridated Scotland where the government has reported very positive results in their low-cost educational program to fight tooth decay. So fluoridation promoters in Ireland cannot argue that if fluoridation is halted it will result in chaos. Scotland has shown there is a better, safer, and more rational way of fighting tooth decay without forcing it on people who don't want this treatment via the public water supply."
The Low-Down About Fluoride: It's Toxic and It Doesn't Work
Once touted as the magical solution to dental caries, fluoride's benefit for your teeth – IF there is any, which is still debatable – comes with overshadowing downsides. No matter which scientific studies you examine, or which population trends you view, the only rational conclusion is that fluoride's health dangers far outweigh the marginal dental benefits it might offer (and those minimal benefits come from topical exposure, not systemic). The science is very clear about the following:
- Fluoride is a toxic industrial waste product that is poisonous to your body and in no way a "nutrient," offering no benefits at all to the human body. The fluoride added to water supplies can be contaminated with lead, arsenic, radionucleotides, aluminum, and other industrial contaminants. Additionally, the fluoride added to municipal water supplies is not pharmaceutical grade.
- Fluoride exposure comes from tap water, most toothpaste and pesticide and fertilizer residues on food. There is a large variation in exposure levels, making it impossible to accurately predict these variables for any person, family or community.
- Fluoride exposure for many can easily reach toxic levels. For example, poison control should be called if you swallow a quarter milligram of fluoride from toothpaste. Meanwhile, just ONE glass of water can contain this amount of fluoride.
- Fluoride is a cumulative poison that has been proven to cause wide-ranging, serious health problems, such as damage to your bones, brain, and endocrine system and conditions such as lowered IQ, thyroid dysfunction, and more.
- Dental caries can be prevented with means other than fluoridation, thereby avoiding the adverse effects of fluoride.
As FitzGibbon puts it:4
"Fluoride easily displaces iodine in the body, a lack of which shuts down production of thyroxine and can lead to hypothyroidism causing dry and premature aged skin, a lowered body temperature and a slower metabolism. Fluoride is known to be a risk factor in the development of many serious health problems that are prevalent in Ireland [and elsewhere] today.
These include cardiovascular and neurological disease, type 1 diabetes, osteoporosis, skeletal fluorosis, chronic fatigue and depression. The HSE [Ireland's Health Services] claim that the fluoride is added to water for dental health; however we have the worst teeth in Europe despite us being the only county to be fully fluoridated."
There's even more to the story than this, however. Water fluoridation came about as the result of a massively successful PR campaign, and was reportedly first suggested as a way to protect aluminum and steel producers from lawsuits against the fluorine pollution coming from their plants. If you want to know more, watch Dr. David Kennedy's documentary film Fluoridegate — An American Tragedy, which exposes the sordid truth about water fluoridation (and as you'll see, it has nothing to do with promoting dental health).
It's Possible to Remove Fluoride from Your Water
If you live in an area with fluoridated water, you can purchase a water filter that removes fluoride. The three types of filters that can remove fluoride are reverse osmosis, deionizers (which use ion-exchange resins), and activated alumina. Each of these filters should be able to remove about 90% of the fluoride. By contrast, "activated carbon" filters (e.g., Brita & Pur) do not remove fluoride.
You can get more information from FAN on fluoride and water filters here. However, you really shouldn't have to filter your water to remove this contaminant that shouldn't be there in the first place. That's why we are working closely with FAN to get fluoride out of drinking water on a larger scale.
Join the Fight to Get Fluoride Out of Drinking Water
There's no doubt about it: fluoride should not be ingested. Even scientists from the EPA's National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory have classified fluoride as a "chemical having substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity." Furthermore, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 41 percent of American adolescents now have dental fluorosis—unattractive discoloration and mottling of the teeth that indicate overexposure to fluoride. Clearly, children are being overexposed, and their health and development put in jeopardy. Why?
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.
The only real solution is to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation in the first place. Fortunately, the Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to END water fluoridation, 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.
You can also get involved with "The Girl Against Fluoride's" campaign to end water fluoridation in Ireland. In order to bring a successful legal challenge against the Irish government, funding is required to pay to fly in expert witnesses from around the world to give testimony. You can donate toward this cause here. She is also seeking signatures for a petition to end fluoridation of Irish drinking water. You can sign the petition now to take part in this historic movement.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
Magnesium is a crucially important mineral for optimal health, performing a wide array of biological functions, including playing an important role in bone health. In fact, of the 25 grams of magnesium found in an average adult, up to 60 percent of it is found in your bones.1
Multiple studies have shown that higher magnesium intake is associated with a higher bone mineral density in both men and women,2 and recent research from Norway has even found an association between magnesium in drinking water and risk of hip fractures.
Magnesium May Lower Your Risk of Hip Fractures
Norway, like the US, has a high rate of hip fractures, but the researchers noted that its incidence varies by region, with those living in urban areas more likely to have hip fractures than those in rural locales. They suggested this could be due to naturally varying levels of minerals like magnesium in the drinking water, although this didn't turn out to be the case.
What they did find, however, was that while concentrations of magnesium (and calcium) in drinking water were generally low, there was an inverse association between concentration of magnesium and risk of hip fracture in both men and women.3 The researchers concluded:
"Magnesium in drinking water may have a protective role against hip fractures."
The finding is significant considering how debilitating a hip fracture can be, especially among the elderly. A broken hip carries a great risk of complications and usually requires prolonged specialized care for recovery. It's estimated that 25 percent of elderly people suffering a hip fracture die as a direct result.4
Magnesium Is Involved in Bone Formation and Health
It's estimated that 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium, which could have a dramatic influence on bone health. Magnesium influences activities of both osteoblasts (cells responsible for bone formation) and osteoclasts (the cells that break down your bone).
Magnesium is thought to play a role in preventing and fighting osteoporosis. According to the National Office of Dietary Supplements:5
"Magnesium also affects the concentrations of both parathyroid hormone and the active form of vitamin D, which are major regulators of bone homeostasis…
Research has found that women with osteoporosis have lower serum magnesium levels than women with osteopenia and those who do not have osteoporosis or osteopenia. These and other findings indicate that magnesium deficiency might be a risk factor for osteoporosis."
In fact, one study found that postmenopausal women with osteoporosis were able to suppress bone turnover (which suggests bone loss decreased) just by taking 290 mg/day of magnesium for 30 days.6
Your Calcium-Magnesium Ratio: Are You Taking Too Much Calcium?
Over the past 30 years, women have been told to take supplemental calcium to avoid osteoporosis. Many foods have also been fortified with extra calcium to prevent calcium deficiency among the general population.
Despite such measures, osteoporosis has continued to climb, and this could be, in part, because of an imbalanced calcium-magnesium ratio. According to Carolyn Dean, a medical and naturopathic doctor:
"I've heard statistics like a 700 percent rise in osteoporosis in a 10-year period, even while taking all this calcium. The myth that's been created about calcium is that we need twice as much calcium as we do magnesium. Most of the supplements reflect this. We've got a situation where people are taking 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium and maybe a few hundred milligrams of magnesium.
The 2:1 ratio—that was a mistake; a mistaken translation from French researcher Jean Durlach, who said never ever go beyond two parts calcium to one part magnesium in your food, water, or supplement intake combined."
This was misinterpreted as meaning a 2:1 ratio was an appropriate ratio, which it's not. A more appropriate ratio of calcium to magnesium is 1:1. This may not only pose a risk to your bones but also to your heart. If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm.
So excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead to a heart attack and sudden death. Quite simply, with insufficient amounts of magnesium, your heart simply cannot function properly.
For Optimal Bone and Heart Health, You've Got to Balance Magnesium with Vitamins K2 and D
When balancing calcium and magnesium also keep in mind that these must be balanced with vitamins K2 and D. 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, like soft tissue.
Similarly, if you opt for oral vitamin D, you need to also consume it 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 that may damage your heart.
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.
What Else Is Magnesium Good For?
It would be misleading to simply classify magnesium as a mineral for your bones or your heart. Researchers have now detected 3,751 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins, indicating that its role in human health and disease may have been vastly underestimated.7 Magnesium is also found in more than 300 different enzymes in your body and plays a role in your body's detoxification processes, making it important for helping to prevent damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins. Even glutathione, your body's most powerful antioxidant that has even been called "the master antioxidant," requires magnesium for its synthesis. Recent research also showed that higher intakes of dietary magnesium were associated with a lower risk of colorectal tumors.8 To date more than 100 health benefits of magnesium have been identified so far, including therapeutic benefits for:9
||Type 2 diabetes
Watching Out for Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
There's no lab test that will give you a truly accurate reading of the magnesium status in your tissues. Only one percent of the magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood, making a simple sample of magnesium from a blood test highly inaccurate. Some specialty labs do provide an RBC magnesium test, which is reasonably accurate, and other tests that your doctor can use to evaluate your magnesium status include a 24-hour urine test or a sublingual epithelial test. Still, these can only give you an estimation of your levels, and doctors typically need to evaluate them in conjunction with the symptoms you exhibit.
If you suspect you're not getting enough magnesium, you should keep a watchful eye out for symptoms of deficiency. If you eat a poor diet, including one that's mostly processed foods, this could apply to you. Further, if any of these conditions below apply to you, you may want to take extra precautions to make sure you're getting a sufficient amount of magnesium in your diet, or, if needed, from a magnesium supplement, in order to avoid magnesium deficiency.>
An unhealthy digestive system, which impairs your body's ability to absorb magnesium (Crohn's disease, leaky gut, etc.)
||Alcoholism -- up to 60 percent of alcoholics have low blood levels of magnesium10
|Unhealthy kidneys, which contribute to excessive loss of magnesium in urine
||Age -- older adults are more likely to be magnesium deficient because absorption decreases with age and the elderly are more likely to take medications that can interfere with absorption
|Diabetes, especially if it's poorly controlled, may lead to increased magnesium loss in urine
||Certain medications -- diuretics, antibiotics, and medications used to treat cancer can all result in magnesium deficiency
In her book, The Magnesium Miracle, Dr. Dean lists 100 factors that will help you decide whether or not you might be deficient. Early signs of magnesium deficiency to watch out for include loss of appetite, headache, nausea, fatigue, and weakness. An ongoing magnesium deficiency can lead to more serious symptoms, including:
Numbness and tingling ||Muscle contractions and cramps ||Seizures
|Personality changes ||Abnormal heart rhythms ||Coronary spasms
What Are the Best Dietary Sources of Magnesium?
Many people are low in magnesium. In order to ensure you're getting enough, you first need to be sure you're eating a varied, whole-food diet like the one described in my nutrition plan. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard are excellent sources of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts, and seeds, like almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds. Avocados are also a good source. Juicing your vegetables is an excellent option to ensure you're getting enough of them in your diet.
One important point to mention, though, is that the levels of magnesium in your food are dependent on the levels of magnesium in the soil where they're grown. Organic foods may have more magnesium, as most fertilizer used on conventional farms relies heavily on nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium instead of magnesium. Another one of the major benefits of getting your nutrients from a varied whole-food diet is that you're far less likely to end up with too much of one nutrient at the expense of others. Foods in general contain all the cofactors and needed co-nutrients in the proper amounts for optimal health, which takes out the guesswork. When you're using supplements, you need to become a bit savvier about how nutrients influence and synergistically affect each other.
In case you're interested, another way to improve your magnesium status is to take regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths. Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate that can be absorbed into your body directly through your skin. Magnesium oil (from magnesium chloride) can also be used for topical application and absorption.
The 8 Forms of Magnesium Supplements: What Type Is Best?
If you opt for a magnesium supplement, be aware that there are several different forms of magnesium. The reason for the wide variety of magnesium supplements on the market is because the magnesium must be bound to another substance. There's no such thing as a 100% magnesium compound supplement (except pico-ionic magnesium). The substance used in any given supplement compound can affect the absorption and bioavailability of the magnesium, and may provide slightly different, or targeted, health benefits. Following is a general guide to help you sort through the eight different formulas you're likely to come across:
Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency ||Magnesium threonate is a newer, emerging type of magnesium supplement that appears promising, primarily due to its superior ability to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane
|Magnesium chloride / magnesium lactate contain only 12 percent magnesium, but has better absorption than others, such as magnesium oxide, which contains five times more magnesium ||Magnesium sulfate / magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia) are typically used as a laxative. Be aware that it's easy to overdose on these, so ONLY take as directed
|Magnesium carbonate, which has antacid properties, contains 45 percent magnesium ||Magnesium taurate contains a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid. Together, they tend to provide a calming effect on your body and mind
|Magnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid, which has laxative properties ||Magnesium oxide is a non-chelated type of magnesium, bound to negatively charged oxygen (oxide). It contains 60 percent magnesium and has stool-softening properties
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
Stroke, which is akin to a heart attack in your brain, is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.1 Obstructed blood flow to your brain is known as an ischemic stroke, which represent about 75 percent of all strokes. When an artery that feeds your brain with blood actually ruptures, it's called a hemorrhagic stroke, and this is a far more lethal situation.
Fortunately, up to 80 percent of all strokes are preventable through lifestyle factors2 such as diet, exercise,3, 4 maintaining a healthy weight, normalizing your blood sugar levels and blood pressure, and quitting smoking.
For example, research published last year5 found that if you're inactive, you have a 20 percent higher risk for having a stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack) than people who exercise enough to break a sweat at least four times a week.
Recent studies also highlight the importance of getting sufficient amounts of vitamin C and iron in your diet. Interestingly, certain weather conditions have also been linked to increased rates of stroke, and getting appropriate amounts of sun exposure can help protect against it, in more ways than one.
Getting Enough Vitamin C May Help Reduce Risk of Hemorrhagic Stroke
The first featured article6 reports the preliminary findings of a French study, which found that those with vitamin C deficiency are at an increased risk for a lethal hemorrhagic stroke. According to the article:
"'Our results show that vitamin C deficiency should be considered a risk factor for this severe type of stroke, as were high blood pressure, drinking alcohol and being overweight in our study,'" study researcher Dr. Stéphane Vannier, M.D., of Pontchaillou University Hospital in France, said in a statement.
'More research is needed to explore specifically how vitamin C may help to reduce stroke risk. For example, the vitamin may regulate blood pressure.' ...[P]ast studies have also linked vitamin C with reduced stroke risk.
A 2008 University of Cambridge study found people with high blood levels of vitamin C reduced their stroke risk by 42 percent, and a similar 1995 study in the British Medical Journal indicated elderly people with low levels of the vitamin had a greater risk of stroke."
What's the Best Way to Optimize Your Vitamin C?
The ideal way to optimize your vitamin C stores is by eating a wide variety of fresh whole foods. A number of people, primarily with the naturopathic perspective, believe that in order to be truly effective, ascorbic acid alone is not enough.
They believe the combination of the ascorbic acid with its associated micronutrients, such as bioflavonoids and other components. Eating a colorful diet (i.e. plenty of vegetables) helps ensure you're naturally getting the phytonutrient synergism needed.
One of the easiest ways to ensure you're getting enough vegetables in your diet is by juicing them. For more information, please see my juicing page. You can also squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice into some water for a vitamin C rich beverage.
When taking an oral vitamin C, you also want to be mindful of your dosing frequency. Dr. Steve Hickey, who wrote the book Ascorbate, has shown that if you take vitamin C frequently throughout the day, you can achieve much higher plasma levels.
So even though your kidneys will tend to rapidly excrete the vitamin C, by taking it every hour or two, you can maintain a much higher plasma level than if you just dose it once a day (unless you're taking an extended release form of vitamin C).
Iron Deficiency Can Raise Stroke Risk in Certain Individuals
Recent research also suggests that iron deficiency can increase your risk of ischemic stroke if you have hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, a hereditary disease that causes enlarged blood vessels in your lungs. Iron deficiency increases the stickiness of your blood, which increases your risk of blood clots, and in those with this genetic abnormality, such clots can travel through your lungs and into your brain.
According to the study in question, published in the journal PLOS One,7 even having moderately low iron levels can double your stroke risk if you have this condition. According to the researchers, other health conditions may also permit blood clots to bypass the filtration system of your lungs. Study author Dr. Claire Shovlin stated that:
"The next step is to test whether we can reduce high-risk patients' chances of having a stroke by treating their iron deficiency. We will be able to look at whether their platelets become less sticky. There are many additional steps from a clot blocking a blood vessel to the final stroke developing, so it is still unclear just how important sticky platelets are to the overall process. We would certainly encourage more studies to investigate this link."
Sun Exposure Also Plays Multiple Roles in Stroke Prevention
Another nutrient that is very important for stroke prevention is vitamin D. According to research presented at the American Heart Association's (AHA) Annual Scientific Sessions in 2010,8 low levels of vitamin D—the essential nutrient obtained from sun exposure—doubles the risk of stroke in Caucasians.
While many opt for vitamin D3 supplements to raise their vitamin D level, I strongly recommend optimizing your levels through appropriate sun exposure or by using a safe tanning bed (i.e. one with electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, to avoid unnecessary exposure to EMF fields). Ideally, you'll want to maintain your vitamin D level within the range of 50-70 ng/ml year-round.
Vitamin D3 supplements are best used as a last resort, as they will not provide you with any of the other health benefits associated with sun exposure... If you do opt for a supplement, the most recent research suggests the average adult needs to take about 8,000 IUs of vitamin D per day in order to elevate their levels above 40 ng/ml, which is the absolute minimum for disease prevention.
If you opt for a supplement, you also need to make sure you're getting sufficient amounts of vitamin K2, as it works synergistically with vitamin D and activates matrix GLA protein, which inhibits arterial calcification. That said, exposing your skin to sunlight will also suppress your risk of stroke by altering the level of nitric oxide in your skin, which dilates your blood vessels and normalizes your blood pressure.9
Previous research10, 11 has shown that reducing your systolic blood pressure by 20 millimeters (regardless of how high your blood pressure currently is) decreases your risk of stroke by 50 percent. Reduce it by another 20 mm, and you cut your individual risk in half yet again. One way to naturally reduce your blood pressure is through exercise. Another is by making sure you're getting enough sun exposure. According to Martin Feelisch, a professor of experimental medicine at the University of Southampton in southern England:12
"Avoiding excess sunlight exposure is critical to prevent skin cancer, but not being exposed to it at all, out of fear or as a result of a certain lifestyle, could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease."
Interestingly, previous research13 also suggests that inducing nitric oxide (NO) actually helps protect your skin against UV damage... Another crucial element in the normalization of blood pressure is to address insulin and leptin resistance, which is present in about 80 percent of the population from eating far too many carbohydrates and not getting enough exercise. If you have high blood pressure and are overweight, your first step would be to eliminate all grains, sugars, and processed foods, and increase healthy fats, like avocado, coconut oil, butter, and nuts.
Weather Changes Influence Stroke Rates
In related news, yet another recent study claims there's a link between weather conditions and stroke hospitalization rates. The researchers speculate that meteorological factors such as fluctuations in temperature and humidity may act as stressors. As reported by Medical News Today:14
"Lichtman and her team analyzed the medical records of 134,510 patients hospitalized in 2009-10 with ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot blocking the blood flow to the brain. They then cross-referenced this data with meteorological records of temperature and dew point data from this period.
The team found that large daily temperature changes and higher-than-average air moisture were linked to higher hospitalization rates from stroke. Lower-than-average annual temperatures were also associated with death and hospitalization from stroke. [Lichtman says] 'People at risk for stroke may want to avoid being exposed to significant temperature changes and high dew point and, as always, be prepared to act quickly if they or someone they know experiences stroke signs and symptoms.'"
Don't Depend on Your Cholesterol Level to Assess Your Stroke Risk
High cholesterol is an oft-cited risk factor for stroke, but total cholesterol alone will tell you virtually nothing about your disease risk, unless it's exceptionally elevated (above 330 or so, which would be suggestive of familial hypercholesterolemia, and is, in my view, about the only time a cholesterol-lowering drug would be appropriate). It's also well worth noting that cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins have been found to increase your stroke risk, and previous research also suggests that having too little cholesterol in your blood may increase your risk of stroke.
According to research published in 1999,15, 16 individuals with cholesterol levels above 230 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) had an elevated risk of ischemic stroke. For example, a person with a cholesterol level of 280 mg/dL had twice the risk of ischemic stroke as a person with 230 mg/dL. But they also found that as cholesterol dropped, the risk of more lethal hemorrhagic stroke increased significantly instead. A person with a cholesterol level below 180 mg/dL had twice the risk of that type of stroke compared with someone at 230 mg/dL.
So, with regards to cholesterol, what you want is proper balance between your HDL, LDL, and total cholesterol. This is best achieved through a healthy diet, as outlined in my Nutrition Plan, and exercise. Two ratios that are far better indicators of heart disease risk are:
- Your HDL/total cholesterol ratio: HDL percentage is a very potent indicator of your heart disease risk. Just divide your HDL level by your total cholesterol. This percentage should ideally be above 24 percent. Below 10 percent, it's a significant indicator of risk for heart disease
- Your triglyceride/HDL ratios: This ratio should ideally be below 2
Lifesaving Information: How to Recognize a Stroke
A stroke doesn't advertise its pending arrival, which makes prevention all the more important. That said, getting medical help quickly can mean the difference between life and death or permanent disability, should you or someone you love suffer a stroke. This is an area where conventional medicine excels, so please do NOT delay in getting medical attention.
In the case of ischemic stroke, there are emergency medications that can dissolve a blood clot that is blocking blood flow to your brain. If done quickly enough, emergency medicine can prevent or reverse permanent neurological damage—but you typically need treatment within one hour, which means the faster you recognize the signs, the better the prognosis. The National Stroke Association recommends using the FAST acronym to help remember the warning signs of stroke:17
F = FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A = ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S = SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does their speech sound slurred or strange?
T = TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Other Stroke-Prevention Guidelines
It's important to realize that the vast majority—up to 80 percent, according to the National Stroke Association—of strokes are preventable, so your lifestyle plays a major role in whether or not you're going to become a statistic here. Besides the specific nutritional factors discussed above, other lifestyle factors that can have a direct impact on your stroke risk include:
- Exercise will go a long way toward improving your insulin and leptin receptor signaling, thereby normalizing your blood pressure and reducing your stroke risk. I recommend a comprehensive program that includes Peak Fitness exercises along with super slow strength training, Active Isolated Stretching and core work. If you've had a stroke, exercise is also very important, as research shows it can significantly improve both your mental and physical recovery.18
- Processed meats: Certain preservatives, such as sodium nitrate and nitrite found in smoked and processed meats have been shown to damage your blood vessels, which could increase your risk of stroke. I recommend avoiding all forms of processed meats, opting instead for organic, grass-fed or pastured meats.
- Diet soda. Research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference in 2011 showed that drinking just one diet soda a day may increase your risk of stroke by 48 percent. Ideally, strive to eliminate all soda from your diet, as just one can of regular soda contains nearly twice my recommended daily allowance for fructose in order to maintain good health and prevent disease.
- Stress. According to a 2008 study,19 the more stressed you are, the greater your risk of suffering a stroke. The researchers actually found that for every notch lower a person scored on their well-being scale, their risk of stroke increased by 11 percent. Not surprisingly, the relationship between psychological distress and stroke was most pronounced when the stroke was fatal.
My favorite overall tool to manage stress is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Other common stress-reduction tools with a high success rate include prayer, meditation, laughter and yoga, for example. For more tips, see my article "10 Simple Steps to Help De-Stress."
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and birth control pills. If you're on one of the hormonal birth control methods (whether it's the pill, patch, vaginal ring, or implant), it is important to understand that you are taking synthetic progesterone and synthetic estrogen -- something that is clearly not advantageous if you want to maintain optimal health. These contraceptives contain the same synthetic hormones as those used in hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which has well-documented risks, including an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, heart attack, and breast cancer.
- Statins. Statin drugs are frequently prescribed to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. However, research shows that these cholesterol-lowering drugs actually increase your risk of a second stroke if you've already had one. There are two reasons why this might happen: the drugs may either lower cholesterol too much, to the point that it increases your risk of brain bleeding, or they may affect clotting factors in your blood, increasing the bleeding risk.
Chances are greater than 100 to 1 that you do not need a statin drug. Seventy-five percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol. For a refresher on how to do this, please see my recent article, "Statin Nation: The Great Cholesterol Cover-Up."
- Grounding. Walking barefoot, aka "grounding," has a potent antioxidant effect that helps alleviate inflammation throughout your body. The human body appears to be finely tuned to "work" with the Earth in the sense that there's a constant flow of energy between our bodies and the Earth. When you put your feet on the ground, you absorb large amounts of negative electrons through the soles of your feet.
High-sugar diets, smoking, radiofrequencies, and other toxic electromagnetic forces, emotional stress, high cholesterol, and high uric acid levels are examples of factors that make your blood hypercoagulable, meaning it makes it thick and slow-moving, which increases your risk of having a blood clot or stroke.
Grounding helps thin your blood by improving its zeta potential. This gives each blood cell more negative charge which helps them repel each other to keep your blood thin and less likely to clot. This can significantly reduce your risk of stroke. Research has demonstrated it takes about 80 minutes for the free electrons from the earth to reach your blood stream and transform your blood, so make it a point to regularly walk barefoot on grass or on wet sand for about 1.5-2 hours, if possible.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
Depriving your body of sleep can lead to some very serious—and surprising—health effects, including widespread pain, which is a primary feature of fibromyalgia.
According to recent research from Great Britain, poor or insufficient sleep was actually the strongest predictor for pain in adults over 50. Other predictors for widespread pain included anxiety, poor physical health, cognitive problems, and osteoarthritis. Senior author Ross Wilkie told Reuters Health:1
"In older adults, widespread pain, that is pain that affects multiple sites in the body, is common and is associated with morbidity and disability including poor mental health and reduced physical functioning...Non-restorative sleep was the strongest predictor of new onset widespread pain..."
Poor sleep can actually impact virtually every aspect of your health, and the reason for this is because your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) actually "drives" the rhythms of biological activity at the cellular level.
Hence disruptions tend to cascade outward throughout your entire body. For example, besides making you more susceptible to physical aches and pains, interrupted or impaired sleep can also:
- Increase your risk of heart disease and cancer
- Harm your brain by halting new neuron production. Sleep deprivation can increase levels of corticosterone (a stress hormone), resulting in fewer new brain cells being created in your hippocampus
- Contribute to a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you've already eaten, which can lead to weight gain
- Contribute to premature aging by interfering with your growth hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep (and during certain types of exercise, such as high-intensity interval training)
- Increase your risk of dying from any cause
Three Factors to Determine How Restorative Your Sleep Is
There are many reasons for why you might not sleep well through the night or get enough sleep. Among the most common culprits are not getting enough natural sunlight during the day, combined with too much artificial light well into the evening.
Something as simple as keeping your bedroom too warm is another frequent mistake that can lead to tossing and turning. Then there's the issue of being overweight, which increases your risk of sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, which I'll discuss more in a moment.
Earlier this year, I interviewed Dan Pardi on the topic of how to get restorative, health-promoting sleep. Pardi is a researcher who works with the Behavioral Sciences Department at Stanford University and the Departments of Neurology and Endocrinology at Leiden University in the Netherlands. According to Pardi, the following three factors are key to determining how restorative your sleep is:
- Duration— i.e. the number of hours you sleep. Sleep requirements are highly individual, and can change from one day to the next, depending on factors like stress, physical exertion, illness, and pregnancy, just to name a few. But, on average, most people need about eight hours of sleep per night.
- Timing—i.e. the habit of going to bed at approximately the same time each night. Even if the duration of sleep is the same, when the timing of your sleep is shifted, it's not going to be as restorative.
- Intensity—This has to do with the different stages that your brain and body goes through over the course of the night, the sequence of them, and how those stages are linked.
Some medications will suppress certain phases of sleep, and certain conditions like sleep apnea will lead to fragmented sleep. With these scenarios, even if you're sleeping for an adequate duration and have consistent timing, your sleep will not be as restorative.
One of the easiest ways to gauge whether you've slept enough is to assess your level of sleepiness the next day. For example, if you had the opportunity, would you be able to take a nap? Do you need caffeine to keep you going? Answering yes to these two questions would indicate you need more and/or better sleep.
The Importance of Getting Bright Light During the Day
I believe that a MAJOR part of why so many people are sleeping so poorly is linked to modern day living, which keeps you indoors for the greater part of the day, and allows you to spend long evenings in brightly lit rooms. The natural cycle of light and darkness plays a critical role in your waking/sleep cycle, and deviating from this natural rhythm can have serious health ramifications.
Studies have shown that poor lighting in the workplace triggers headaches, stress, fatigue, and strained watery eyes, not to mention inferior work production. Conversely, companies that have switched to full-spectrum lights report improved employee morale, greater productivity, reduced errors, and decreased absenteeism. Some experts even believe that "malillumination" is to light what malnutrition is to food, and spending the larger portion of each day indoors essentially puts you in a state of "light deficiency."
When full-spectrum light enters your eyes, it not only goes to your visual centers enabling you to see, it also goes to your brain's hypothalamus where it affects your entire body. Your hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger and thirst, water balance, and blood pressure. It also controls your body's master gland, the pituitary, which secretes many essential hormones, including those that influence your mood.
Light also serves as the major synchronizer of your "master clock." This master clock is a group of cells in your brain called the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN). As a group, these nuclei synchronize to the light-dark cycle of your environment when light enters your eyes. You also have other biological clocks throughout your body, and those clocks subsequently synchronize to your master clock. In essence, there are two levels of synchronizations taking place within your body in response to sunlight:
- Your master clock synchronizes with the environment
- Your other body clocks synchronize with the master clock
To maintain healthy "master clock" timing, you want to make sure you're getting bright light exposure during the day. Many indoor environments simply aren't intense enough to maintain the needed synchronization. So-called "anchor light" anchors your rhythm, causing it to be less fragile, so that light at night has less of an ability to shift your rhythm. As for how much light exposure you need, Pardi says the first 30-60 minutes of outdoor light exposure creates about 80 percent of the needed anchoring effect.
Nighttime Light Exposure Is Also Detrimental for Sleep and Health
Just as your body requires bright-light exposure during the day, it requires pitch-blackness at night to function optimally. When you turn on a light at night, you immediately send your brain misinformation about the light-dark cycle. The only thing your brain interprets light to be is "day." Believing daytime has arrived, your biological clock instructs your pineal gland to immediately cease its production of the hormone melatonin – a significant blow to your health, especially if you're ill, as melatonin produces a number of health benefits in terms of your immune system.
In addition, melatonin helps you fall asleep and bestows a feeling of overall comfort and well-being, and it has proven to have an impressive array of anti-cancer benefits.2 Needless to say, suppressing this essential hormone by excessive light exposure before bedtime is the last thing you want to do if you have trouble sleeping, or struggle with any kind of health problem or illness.
Moderate Weight Loss Can Help Prevent Sleep Apnea
Certain health ailments can certainly affect your quality of sleep. Sleep apnea, for example, is a very common problem that can hinder any attempts at getting more restorative sleep. Apnea is a Greek word that means "breathe." Sleep apnea is the inability to breathe properly, or the limitation of breath or breathing, during sleep. There are three general types of apnea described in the literature:
- Central sleep apnea (CSA), which typically relates to your diaphragm and chest wall and an inability to properly pull air in
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which relates to an obstruction of your airway that begins in your nose and ends in your lungs
- Mixed apnea is a combination of both
Obstructive sleep apnea consists of the frequent collapse of the airway during sleep, making it difficult to breathe for periods lasting as long as 10 seconds. Those with a severe form of the disorder have at least 30 disruptions per hour. Not only do these breathing disruptions interfere with sleep, leaving you unusually tired the next day, it also reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood, which can impair the function of internal organs and/or exacerbate other health conditions you may have.
The condition is closely linked to metabolic health problems such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, and according to recent research,3 even a modest weight reduction can halt the progression of obstructive sleep apnea. Shedding excess pounds might even cure it, according to this five-year long study. As reported by Medical News Today:4
"The study focused on the effects of weight loss on OSA [obstructive sleep apnea] and demonstrated, for the first time, that a sustained weight loss of just five percent was enough to prevent the disease from worsening and even cure it in a long-term follow-up."
You Don't Have to Be Obese to Suffer from Sleep Apnea
While sleep apnea is thought to be primarily associated with obesity, many patients diagnosed with sleep apnea today do not have a weight problem. As it turns out, the shape and size of your mouth, and the positioning of your tongue, can also play a significant role.
According to Dr. Arthur Strauss, a dental physician and a diplomat of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, our mouths have progressively gotten smaller through the generations due to lack of breastfeeding and poor nutrition. Breastfeeding actually helps expand the size of your child's palate and helps move the jaw further forward – two factors that help prevent sleep apnea by creating more room for breathing. Diet is also important. Dr. Weston Price's pioneering work showed how diet can affect your entire mouth, not just your teeth.
If your sleep apnea is related to your tongue or jaw position, specialty trained dentists can design a custom oral appliance to address the issue. These include mandibular repositioning devices, designed to shift your jaw forward, while others help hold your tongue forward without moving your jaw. However, sleep apnea relief may also be found in the form of speech therapy treatment called oral myofunctional therapy, which helps to re-pattern your oral and facial muscles. For more information about this, please see my previous interview with Joy Moeller, who is a leading expert in this form of therapy in the US.
Quick Tips for Improving Your Sleep Quality
Small adjustments to your daily routine and sleeping area can go a long way to ensure uninterrupted, restful sleep. I suggest you read through my full set of 33 healthy sleep guidelines for all of the details, but to start, consider implementing the following changes:
- Get some sun in the morning. Your circadian system needs bright light to reset itself. Ten to 15 minutes of morning sunlight will send a strong message to your internal clock that day has arrived, making it less likely to be confused by weaker light signals during the night.
- Get at least 30 minutes of BRIGHT sun exposure mid-day. Remember, your pineal gland produces melatonin roughly in approximation to the contrast of bright sun exposure in the day and complete darkness at night. If you work indoors, make a point to get outdoors for at least a total of 30-60 minutes during the brightest portion of the day.
- Avoid watching TV or using your computer in the evening, at least an hour or so before going to bed. These devices emit blue light, which tricks your brain into thinking it's still daytime. Normally your brain starts secreting melatonin between 9 and 10 pm, and these devices emit light that may stifle that process.
- Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even the slightest bit of light in your bedroom can disrupt your biological clock and your pineal gland's melatonin production. This means that even the tiny glow from your clock radio could be interfering with your sleep, so cover your alarm clock up at night or get rid of it altogether. The ideal light tone for any clock you keep on all night is a reddish amber, certainly not blue or green. The red and amber will interfere least with your melatonin production. I also recommend covering your windows with thick drapes or blackout shades if you can afford them. Alternatively, wear an eye mask while you sleep.
- Install a low-wattage yellow, orange or red light bulb if you need a source of light for navigation at night. Light in these bandwidths does not shut down melatonin production in the way that white and blue bandwidth light does. Salt lamps are handy for this purpose.
- Keep the temperature in your bedroom at or below 70 degrees F (21 degrees Celsius). Many people keep their homes and particularly their upstairs bedrooms too warm. Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is quite cool, between 60 to 68 degrees F (15.5 to 20 C). Keeping your room cooler or hotter can lead to restless sleep.
- Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs). These can also disrupt your pineal gland's production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well. To do this, you need a gauss meter. You can find various models online, starting around $50 to $200. Some experts even recommend pulling your circuit breaker before bed to kill all power in your house.
- Move alarm clocks and other electrical devices away from your head. If these devices must be used, keep them as far away from your bed as possible, preferably at least three feet.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to support physical health and well-being. Essential oils carry biologically active volatile compounds of flowers and plants in a highly concentrated form. They are, in many ways, the essence of the plant and can provide therapeutic benefits in very small amounts.
The particles in essential oils, which come from flowers, twigs, leaves, or bark, can be inhaled, prompting various beneficial effects. As noted by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA):1
“It [Aromatherapy] seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process.”
There are about as many uses for aromatherapy as there are essential oils, but one of the most exciting areas of research is for anxiety, with research showing essential oils may help relieve symptoms without the side effects of anxiety drugs.
Aromatherapy May Help Lessen Anxiety Naturally
For an estimated 40 million US adults, feelings of anxiety may occur even when there’s no real threat, causing unnecessary stress and emotional pain.
Unfortunately, most people who suffer with anxiety either do nothing or resort to pharmaceutical drugs – many of which are ineffective and capable of destroying your health and sanity further. Commonly prescribed drugs include benzodiazepine drugs like Ativan, Xanax, and Valium.
Many of these anti-anxiety drugs exert a calming effect by boosting the action of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the same way as opioids (heroin) and cannabinoids (cannabis) do.
This in turn activates the gratification hormone, dopamine, in your brain. Since the identical brain "reward pathways" are used by both types of drugs, they can be equally addictive and also may cause side effects like memory loss, hip fractures, impaired thinking, and dizziness.
Ironically, the symptoms of withdrawal from many of these anxiety medications include extreme states of anxiety – some of which are far worse than the original symptoms that justified treatment in the first place. Clearly a safe, natural alternative for treating anxiety is needed, and aromatherapy may be one such option worth trying. Research shows:
- A systematic review of 16 randomized controlled trials examining the anxiolytic (anxiety-inhibiting) effects of aromatherapy among people with anxiety symptoms showed that most of the studies indicated positive effects to quell anxiety (and no adverse events were reported).2
- People exposed to bergamot essential oil aromatherapy prior to surgery had a greater reduction in pre-operative anxiety than those in control groups.3
- Sweet orange oil has been found to have anxiety-inhibiting effects in humans, supporting its common use as a tranquilizer by aromatherapists.4
- Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduced anxiety and improved mood in patients waiting for dental treatment.5
- Compared to the controls, women who were exposed to orange odor in a dental office had a lower level of anxiety, a more positive mood, and a higher level of calmness. Researchers concluded, “exposure to ambient odor of orange has a relaxant effect.”6
Which Essential Oils Work Best for Anxiety? (And How to Use Them)
If you’re interested in trying out this natural form of anxiety relief, any of the following essential oils would be a good starting point. These are all popular anxiety-inhibiting oils:7
|Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)8||Rose (Rosa damascena)||Orange (Citrus sinensis)
|Bergamot (Citrus aurantium)||Lemon (Citrus limon)9||Sandalwood (Santalum album)
|Clary sage (Salvia sclarea)||Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)||Rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium spp.)
There are a number of ways to use aromatherapy. If you have a serious condition, you may want to contact an experienced aromatherapist who can help guide you. Certain essential oils can cause photosensitization (making your skin more sensitive to the sun) or allergic reaction and others should not be used on pregnant women, so it’s important to be familiar with an essential oil before using it. That said, you can try to use essential oils at home via the following methods:10
- Indirect inhalation of essential oils using a room diffuser or placing drops nearby
- Direct inhalation of essential oils using an individual inhaler with drops floated on top of hot water (this is popular for treating sinus headaches)
- Aromatherapy massage, in which essential oils are diluted in a carrier oil and massaged into your skin
- Applying essential oils to your skin by combining them with lotion, bath salts, or dressings
Anxiety, of course, is only one use for aromatherapy. Other potential uses include:
- Green apple scent for migraines: One study found that the scent significantly relieved migraine pain. This may also work with other scents that you enjoy, so consulting with an aromatherapist might be beneficial.
- Peppermint for memory: The aroma of peppermint has been shown to enhance memory and increase alertness.
- Nausea and vomiting: A blend of peppermint, ginger, spearmint, and lavender essential oils has been found to help relieve post-operative nausea.11
- Lavender for pain relief: Lavender aromatherapy has been shown to lessen pain following needle insertion.12
Additional Natural Treatments for Anxiety
Energy psychology techniques, such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), can be very effective by helping you to actually reprogram your body’s reactions to the unavoidable stressors of everyday life. This includes both real and imagined stressors, which can be significant sources of anxiety. EFT is akin to acupuncture, which is based on the concept that a vital energy flows through your body along invisible pathways known as meridians. EFT stimulates different energy meridian points in your body by tapping them with your fingertips, while simultaneously using custom-made verbal affirmations. Although not necessary, you can even use EFT along with aromatherapy if you like.
This can be done by yourself or under the supervision of a qualified therapist, either in person or via online video services, like Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. In the following video, EFT therapist Julie Schiffman discusses EFT for stress and anxiety relief. Please keep in mind that while anyone can learn to do EFT at home, self-treatment for serious issues like persistent anxiety is dangerous and NOT recommended.
It is dangerous because it will allow you to falsely conclude that EFT does not work when nothing could be further from the truth. For serious or complex issues, you need someone to guide you through the process, as it typically takes years of training to develop the skill to tap on and relieve deep-seated, significant issues.
If you suffer from anxiety, it would be wise to look into nourishing your gut flora, and the best way to do this is to regularly consume traditionally fermented foods, which are naturally rich in beneficial bacteria. Pasteurized versions will NOT have the same benefits, as the pasteurization process destroys many, if not all, of the naturally occurring probiotics. So you will need to seek out traditionally fermented, unpasteurized foods like fermented vegetables, or make them yourself. Additionally, your diet should include a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fats, like krill oil. The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA play an important role in your emotional well-being, and research has shown a dramatic 20 percent reduction in anxiety among med students taking omega-3s.13
In addition to the creation of new neurons, including those that release the calming neurotransmitter GABA, exercise boosts levels of potent brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of stress. Many avid exercisers also feel a sense of euphoria after a workout, sometimes known as the “runner’s high.” It can be quite addictive, in a good way, once you experience just how good it feels to get your heart rate up and your body moving.
If you struggle with anxiety, you really can’t go wrong with starting a comprehensive exercise program – virtually any physical activity is likely to have positive effects, especially if it’s challenging enough. That said, Duke University researchers recently published a review of more than 100 studies that found yoga appears to be particularly beneficial for mental health,14 although I also recommend high-intensity interval training like Peak Fitness and resistance training, in addition to flexibility and core-building exercises like yoga or Foundation Training.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
Deaths caused by overdosing on painkillers now surpass murders and fatal car accidents in the US. America's rising drug problem recently received renewed attention following the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.1
The 46-year-old Oscar-winning actor died from a heroin overdose on February 2. Last year, Hoffman entered rehab when addiction to prescription painkillers led him to switch to heroin. US officials now acknowledge that narcotic painkillers are in fact a driving force in the rise of substance abuse and lethal overdoses.
Over the past five years alone, heroin deaths have increased by 45 percent2--an increase that officials blame on the rise of addictive prescription drugs such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, codeine, and Fentora, all of which are opioids.
The reason for the resurgence of heroin is in large part due to it being less expensive than its prescription counterparts. According to Gil Kerlikowske, director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy:3
"The use of opioids -- a group of drugs that includes heroin and prescription painkillers -- is having a devastating impact on public health and safety in communities across the nation.
In 2010, approximately 100 Americans died from overdoses every day. Prescription painkillers were involved in more than 16,600 deaths that year, and heroin was involved in about 3,000 deaths."
Prescription Medications Are the New Gateway Drugs
Many are still under the illusion that prescription drugs are somehow safer than street drugs, but it's important to realize that prescription medications like hydrocodone and oxycodone are opioids—just like heroin.
As explained by Dr. Wilson Compton,4 deputy director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone "are all classified as opioids because they exert their effect by attaching to the opioid receptor found in our brain and spinal cord."
They also create a temporary feeling of euphoria, followed by dysphoria, which can easily lead to addiction. Some people end up taking increasingly larger doses in order to regain the euphoric effect, or escape the unhappiness caused by withdrawal. Others find they need to continue taking the drugs not only to reduce withdrawal symptoms but to simply feel normal.
Opioids also depress your heart rate and breathing. Large doses can cause sedation and slowed breathing to the point that breathing stops altogether, resulting in death.5
According to a 2013 US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report, nearly 80 percent of people who recently started using heroin had previously used prescription painkillers. As reported by WebMD:6
"To break this link, the federal government has begun to crack down on 'pill mills' and doctors who over-prescribe narcotic painkillers. It has also developed education programs for doctors and patients on prescribing painkillers and disposing of unused prescriptions."
Shocking Report: More Than 14 Percent of Pregnant Women Prescribed Opioids!
Do you ever occasionally wonder about the fantastic lack of common sense among prescribing physicians? According to one recent study,7 more than 14 percent of pregnant women were prescribed opioid drugs during their pregnancy.
The paper called for more research to assess the risks to the fetus, in light of such surprisingly high prescription rates. But truly, knowing the risks involved in adults, how could anyone in their right mind imagine the risks to an unborn child might be anything but harmful?
Back pain—a problem most pregnant women have to deal with—was the most commonly cited reason for the prescription. Narcotics were also prescribed for complaints of abdominal pains, migraine, joint pains, and fibromyalgia. As reported by Medical News Today:8
"The study looked at data from a research database of more than 530,000 pregnant women enrolled in a commercial insurance plan who delivered their babies between 2005 and 2011. Their median age was 31... Of the more than 530,000 pregnant women, 76,742, or 14.4 percent, were prescribed opioids at some point in their pregnancy...
[A] US National Birth Defects Prevention Study (1997-2005) found associations between codeine and other opioids with birth defects, including atrial and ventricular septal defects, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, spina bifida, and gastroschisis in newborns. Additionally, the US national study cites that when opioids are used long-term during pregnancy, 'there is a known risk for neonatal opioid dependence and subsequent withdrawal symptoms in the first few days of life.'"
FDA Finally Clamps Down on Painkiller Prescriptions
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently recommended tighter controls on painkiller prescriptions,9, 10 and has announced its intention to reclassify hydrocodone-containing painkillers from a Schedule III to a Schedule II drug. The drug schedule system classifies medications based on their potential for abuse and addiction, as well as other medical criteria.
The reclassification will affect how hydrocodone-containing drugs can be prescribed and refilled. Doctors will only be allowed to prescribe a 90-day supply of the drug per prescription, and they will no longer be permitted to phone in refills; rather the patient has to bring the prescription with them to the pharmacy.
The new regulations are expected to take effect sometime this year. Ironically enough, while talking about the need for stricter controls and less addictive painkillers, it recently approved the first drug containing pure hydrocodone for the US market, called Zohydro ER (Zogenix). All other hydrocodone-containing painkillers on the market are mixed with other non-addictive ingredients. Zohydro ER was approved for patients who need around-the-clock pain relief. As reported by Bloomberg at the end of October last year:11
"The approval came as a surprise since an FDA panel of outside advisers gave the drug an overwhelmingly negative review last year. The panel of pain specialists voted 11-2, with one abstention, against approving the drug. It questioned the need for a new form of one of most widely-abused prescription drugs in the United States. The approval also came a day after the FDA said it would support stronger restrictions on combination drugs containing hydrocodone."
Do You Really Need a Narcotic Pain Killer?
I strongly recommend exhausting your options before resorting to a narcotic pain reliever. It's quite clear that these drugs are being overprescribed, and can easily lead you into addiction and other, more illicit drug use. I strongly suspect that the overreliance on them as a first line of defense for pain is a major part of the problem. Remember, no matter what type of painkiller you choose, it will come with potentially serious risks to your health. I believe there are better alternatives. If you are suffering from pain, whether acute or chronic, I recommend working with a knowledgeable health care practitioner to determine what's really triggering your pain, and then address the underlying cause. Remember, along with exposing you to potentially deadly risks, medications only provide symptomatic relief. They do NOT address the underlying cause of your pain.
13 Non-Drug Solutions for Pain Relief
The following options provide excellent pain relief without any of the health hazards that prescription (and even over-the-counter) painkillers carry. If you are in pain, try these first, before even thinking about prescription painkillers of any kind.
- Eliminate or radically reduce processed foods, grains, and sugars from your diet. Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels and decrease insulin and leptin resistance, which is one of the most important reasons why inflammatory prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.
- Start taking a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat. My personal favorite is krill oil. Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact, that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work; they manipulate prostaglandins.)
- Optimize your production of vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun or safe tanning bed exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a drug-free approach for pain management of all kinds. EFT borrows from the principles of acupuncture, in that it helps you balance out your subtle energy system. It helps resolve underlying, often subconscious, negative emotions that may be exacerbating your physical pain. By stimulating (tapping) well-established acupuncture points with your fingertips, you rebalance your energy system, which tends to dissipate pain.
- Astaxanthin is one of the most effective fat-soluble antioxidants known. It has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more effectively than anti-inflammatory drugs. Higher doses are typically required and one may need 8 mg or more per day to achieve this benefit.
- Ginger: This herb has potent anti-inflammatory activity and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
- Curcumin: In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility.12 A past study also found that a turmeric extract composed of curcuminoids blocked inflammatory pathways, effectively preventing the overproduction of a protein that triggers swelling and pain.13
- Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or "Indian frankincense," this herb contains specific active anti-inflammatory ingredients. This is one of my personal favorites as I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.
- Bromelain: This enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form but eating fresh pineapple, including some of the bromelain-rich stem, may also be helpful.
- Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a "joint lubricant" and an anti-inflammatory. I have used this for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards. I used a topical preparation for this.
- Evening Primrose, Black Currant, and Borage Oils: These contain the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
- Cayenne Cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body's supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
- Methods such as yoga, Foundation Training, acupuncture, meditation,14 hot and cold packs, and other mind-body techniques can also result in astonishing pain relief without any drugs.
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
A loving, motivational message from a son to his mother – carved out in snow on the top deck of Chicago's Rush University Medical Center parking lot -- went viral earlier this month.
The snow message read "HI MOM" and was intended for Sharon Hart, a 48-year-old woman undergoing chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia. After thinking about the rest of the patients in the hospital, the 14-year-old son and his father went back and added "GOD BLESS U" to the message, which was visible to nearly the entire east side of the hospital.
When nurses, doctors, and patients began sharing photos of the heartwarming message on social media, the message soon went viral, touching many around the world, especially the millions who have been personally impacted by a cancer diagnosis (themselves or a loved one).
Cancer Rates Continue to Rise, Bankrupting Patients with Questionable Treatments
Nearly two million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year, and one in three will face a cancer diagnosis at some time in their lives.
Yet despite massive technological advances over the past half-century, Western medicine is still at a loss for how to rein in its prevalence. Cancer has grown into a worldwide epidemic of staggering proportions. The statistics speak for themselves:
- In the early 1900s, one in 20 people developed cancer
- In the 1940s, one in 16 people developed cancer
- In the 1970s, it was one in 10
- Today, it's one in three!
The 40-year "war on cancer" has clearly failed, and the cancer industry is spending virtually nothing of its multi-billion dollar resources on effective prevention strategies, such as dietary guidelines, exercise, and obesity education. Instead, it pours its money into treating cancer, not preventing or curing it.
The typical cancer patient spends $50,000 fighting the disease. Chemotherapy drugs are among the most expensive of all treatments, many ranging from $3,000 to $7,000 for a one-month supply.
As a result of astronomical costs like these, more than half, or approximately 60 percent, of all personal bankruptcies in the US are related to medical bills. It might be worth it… if the treatment worked. Sadly, however, many cancer patients die not from cancer but from the toxic effects of chemotherapy treatment.
Cancer Can Kill But So Can Chemotherapy
The cancer industry has spun chemotherapy into the holy grail of cancer treatment. And this is a sad testament to just how far we still have to come to really begin to fight this disease. Chemotherapy drugs are, by their very nature, extremely toxic and typically do not work with your body to modulate and normalize its response to allow the cancer to resolve normally.
Despite its reputation as the gold standard in cancer treatment, chemotherapy improves the five-year survival success rate on average by just over two percent for all cancers, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Oncology.1
One of the biggest drawbacks to chemotherapy is the fact that it destroys healthy cells throughout your body right along with cancer cells, a "side effect" that often leads to accelerated death, not healing. It also increases the highly malignant cancer stem cell population in the tumor.
So although it does shrink the overall size of the tumor, it may actually enhance its malignancy by increases the number of cells capable of spinning off into new tumors. Effectiveness is a shot in the dark, in many cases, and sometimes the drug causes far more harm than good.
The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) study found that more than four in 10 patients who received chemotherapy toward the end of life experienced potentially fatal effects. And after reviewing data from over 600 cancer patients who died within 30 days of receiving treatment, it was found that chemotherapy hastened or caused death in 27 percent of those cases.
It can not be overemphasized that chemotherapy can invigorate the more chemo-resistant and malignant cell subpopulations within tumors (e.g. cancer stem cells, or multi-drug resistant cancer cells), killing the more benign cells and/or senescent cells within the tumor that keep it slow growing or even harmless. As a result, this may unleash a more aggressive, treatment-resistant type of cancer to wreak havoc on your body.
Are There Natural Cancer Treatments?
Yes, there are. Over the last 100 years, a number of natural cancer treatments have been developed and used successfully to treat patients in the US and other countries.
All have been vehemently discounted, silenced, and pushed under the rug by the medical monopoly, with physicians and researchers attacked, smeared, sent to prison, and professionally ruined for daring to defy the medical establishment. Some natural cancer treatments you may not have heard of include:
In order to protect the medical monopoly, however, any viable natural treatment is met with massive opposition by the pharmaceutical and medical industries. Drug companies have no interest in natural agents that they cannot patent, because they threaten their revenue streams. They will go—and have gone—to extreme measures to prevent the truth about effective natural treatments (competitive threats) from reaching the public.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is primarily funded by the drug companies, is complicit in this process. They restrict competition in the guise of protecting the public, when the reality is they are focused on protecting the profits of the drug companies.
Half of Cancer Cases Are Preventable: Take Control of Your Health Today
Cancer has devastated many families and claimed far too many lives before their time. It is my hope that someone reading this today – and hopefully many of you – will be spurred to action to make lifestyle changes and prevent themselves from becoming one more cancer statistic. There is so much you can do to lower your risk for cancer. But please don't wait until you get the diagnosis—you have to take preventative steps NOW.
The latest World Cancer Report,2 issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), predicts worldwide cancer rates to rise by 57 percent in the next two decades. Rightfully, the report refers to such predictions as "an imminent human disaster," noting countries around the world need to renew their focus on prevention rather than treatment only. The report noted that about half of all cancers could be avoided by promoting preventive lifestyle strategies such as:
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing alcohol consumption
I believe controlling your blood-glucose and insulin levels—through diet, along with a comprehensive exercise program—are the most crucial components for disease prevention on the whole, but particularly for the prevention of cancer. Diet is often a confusing element for many, but you can find the steps to eating a healthful diet in my nutrition plan. First and foremost, you need to address insulin and leptin resistance, which is the result of eating a diet too high in sugars and grains. To safely and effectively reverse insulin and leptin resistance, or prevent it from occurring, thereby significantly reducing your risk of cancer (and heart disease and other chronic diseases) you need to:
- Avoid sugar/fructose, grains, and processed foods
- Eat a healthful diet of whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the grain carbs with:
- Large amounts of vegetables
- Low-to-moderate amount of high-quality protein (think organically raised, pastured animals)
- As much high-quality healthful fat as you want (saturated and monounsaturated from animal and tropical oil sources). Most people actually need upwards of 50-85 percent fats in their diet for optimal health—a far cry from the 10 percent currently recommended. Avoid all processed omega-6 vegetable oils though, like corn, soy, and canola oil.
A 19-Step Plan for Cancer Prevention
I believe you can virtually eliminate your risk of cancer, and radically improve your chances of recovering from cancer if you currently have it, by following these relatively simple strategies.
- Improve your insulin receptor sensitivity. The best way to do this is by avoiding sugar (especially fructose) and grains and making sure you are exercising, especially with Peak Fitness.
- Address your food preparation. Eat at least one-third of your food raw. Avoid frying or charbroiling -- boil, poach, or steam your foods instead. Consider adding cancer-fighting whole foods, herbs, spices, and supplements to your diet, such as broccoli, curcumin, and resveratrol. To learn more about how these anti-angiogenetic foods fight cancer, please see our previous article "Dramatically Effective New Natural Way to Starve Cancer and Obesity."
- Avoid carbohydrates and sugar. Reduce or eliminate processed foods, sugar/fructose and grain-based foods from your diet until your insulin/leptin resistance resolves. This applies to whole unprocessed organic grains as well, as they tend to rapidly break down and drive up your insulin level. The evidence is quite clear that if you want to avoid cancer, or you currently have cancer, you absolutely MUST avoid all forms of sugar, especially fructose, which feeds cancer cells and promotes their growth.
- Reduce protein and increase healthy fats. Consider reducing your protein levels to one gram per kilogram of lean body weight. It would be unusual for most adults to need more than 100 grams of protein and most likely need close to half that amount. Replace excess protein with high-quality fats, such as organic eggs from pastured hens, high-quality meats, avocados, and coconut oil.
- Drink a half to whole quart of organic green vegetable juice daily. Please review my juicing instructions for more detailed information.
- Avoid GMOs. Avoid genetically engineered foods as they are typically treated with herbicides such as Roundup (glyphosate). A French research team that has extensively studied Roundup concluded it's toxic to human cells, and likely carcinogenic to humans. Choose fresh, organic, preferably locally growth foods.
- Avoid unfermented soy products. Unfermented soy is high in plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, also known as isoflavones. In some studies, soy appears to work in concert with human estrogen to increase breast cell proliferation, which increases the chances for mutations and cancerous cells.
- Normalize your omega-3 to omega-6 fats ratio. Normalize your ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats by taking a high-quality krill oil and reducing your intake of processed vegetable oils.
- Optimize your gut flora. Optimizing your gut flora will reduce inflammation and strengthen your immune response. Researchers have found a microbe-dependent mechanism through which some cancers mount an inflammatory response that fuels their development and growth. They suggest that inhibiting inflammatory cytokines might slow cancer progression and improve the response to chemotherapy. Adding naturally fermented food to your daily diet is an easy way to prevent cancer or speed recovery. You can always add a high-quality probiotic supplement as well, but naturally fermented foods are the best.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise lowers insulin levels, which creates a low-sugar environment that discourages the growth and spread of cancer cells. In a three-month study, exercise was found to alter immune cells into a more potent disease-fighting form in cancer survivors who had just completed chemotherapy.3 Researchers and cancer organizations increasingly recommend making regular exercise a priority in order to reduce your risk of cancer and help improve cancer outcomes. Research has also found evidence suggesting exercise can help trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells. Ideally, your exercise program should include balance, strength, flexibility, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and frequent non-exercise activity as well.
- Optimize your vitamin D level. There is scientific evidence you can decrease your risk of cancer by more than half simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with appropriate sun exposure. Your serum level should hold steady at 50-70 ng/ml, but if you are being treated for cancer, it should be closer to 80-90 ng/ml for optimal benefit. If you take oral vitamin D and have cancer, it would be very prudent to monitor your vitamin D blood levels regularly, as well as supplementing your vitamin K2, as K2 deficiency is actually what produces the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity. To learn more, please see my previous article: "What You Need to Know About Vitamin K2, D and Calcium."
- Get plenty of natural vitamin A. There is evidence that vitamin A also plays a role in helping prevent breast cancer.4 It's best to obtain it from vitamin A-rich foods, rather than a supplement. Your best sources are organic egg yolks, raw butter, raw whole milk, and beef or chicken liver.
- Consider curcumin. This is the primarily active ingredient in turmeric and in high concentrations can be very useful adjunct in the treatment of breast cancer. It shows immense therapeutic potential in preventing cancer metastasis.5 It's important to know that curcumin is generally not absorbed that well, so I've provided several absorption tips here.
- Optimize your sleep. Make sure you are getting enough restorative sleep. Poor sleep can interfere with your melatonin production, which is associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance and weight gain, both of which contribute to cancer's malignancy.
- Limit your exposure to toxins. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, herbicides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners, and toxic cosmetics. Avoid BPA, phthalates and other xenoestrogens. These are estrogen-like compounds that have been linked to increased breast cancer risk.
- Limit your exposure to radiation. Limit your exposure and protect yourself from radiation produced by cell phones, towers, base stations, and Wi-Fi stations, as well as minimizing your exposure from radiation-based medical scans, including dental x-rays, CT scans, and mammograms.
- Avoid synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Breast cancer is linked to excessive estrogen levels or activity, and according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer rates for women dropped in tandem with decreased use of hormone replacement therapy. (There are similar risks for younger women who use oral contraceptives. Birth control pills, which are also comprised of synthetic hormones, have been linked to cervical and breast cancers.)
- Make sure you're not iodine deficient, as there's compelling evidence linking iodine deficiency with breast cancer. Dr. David Brownstein, author of the book Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It, is a proponent of iodine for breast cancer. It actually has potent anticancer properties and has been shown to cause cell death in breast and thyroid cancer cells. For more information, I recommend reading Dr. Brownstein's book. I have been researching iodine for some time ever since I interviewed Dr. Brownstein, as I do believe that the bulk of what he states is spot on. However, I am not convinced that his dosage recommendations are correct. I believe they are too high.
- Stress management. Stress from all causes is a major contributor to disease. My favorite tool for resolving emotional challenges is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
Section: Articles -
File Under: Health |
By Dr. Mercola
In what could easily be classified as one of the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) worst decisions yet, a final rule released by the EPA earlier this month creates an exemption for residue tolerance levels of genetically modified (GM) Bt toxin in GM soy foods and feed.1
Essentially, the Agency has approved unlimited residues of GM Bt toxin in your food! Generally, one of the EPA's regular responsibilities is to set a tolerance, or maximum residue limit, for pesticide residues on food, which are designed to protect you from harmful levels of pesticides.
By exempting Bt toxin residues from this, it "eliminates the need to establish a maximum permissible level for residues" of this pesticide when it's incorporated into the plant. In other words, pesticide companies like Monsanto can incorporate as much as they want into your food… and that's all right with the EPA.
How Can the EPA Claim Bt Residues Are Safe?
According to the EPA, they are "reasonably certain" that no harm will result from Americans consuming copious amounts of Bt-tainted foods (while this final rule relates to soy, similar exemptions for corn, cotton, and other foods have already been approved). The Agency stated:2
"…there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue, including all anticipated dietary exposures and all other exposures [including drinking water] for which there is reliable information."
However, the EPA's assurances do little to quell the fact that in 2011, doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found Bt-toxin in the blood of:3
- 93 percent of pregnant women tested
- 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies
- 67 percent of non-pregnant women
The study authors speculated that the Bt toxin was likely consumed in the normal diet of the Canadian middle class—which makes sense when you consider that GM corn is present in the vast majority of all processed foods and drinks in the form of high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, and other corn products.
They also suggested that the toxin may have come from eating meat from animals fed Bt corn, which most livestock raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are.
These shocking results also raise the frightening possibility that eating Bt corn might actually turn your intestinal flora into a sort of "living pesticide factory," essentially manufacturing Bt toxin from within your digestive system on a continuing basis through the transference of the Bt-producing gene to your gut bacteria.
What makes this all the more relevant is that Monsanto and the EPA swore that the Bt toxin produced inside the plant would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and would not have any impact at all on consumers. Turns out they were wrong…
The EPA Is Ignoring Another Crucial Fact: The Bt Toxin Is INSIDE the Plant
There is a major problem with the EPA's assertion that Bt crops are safe, and that is their decision to regard Bt toxin sprayed on plants as the same as plants genetically modified to produce Bt toxin from within. The two are not the same, nor are they equally safe, as the EPA would have you believe. As the EPA puts it:
"Bacillus thuringiensis, or simply Bt, is a naturally occurring soil bacterium that, when sprayed on plants, is toxic to certain pest insects. For years, farmers and home gardeners have used Bt as a microbial spray pesticide to control caterpillars, certain types of beetles, as well as mosquitoes and black flies."
Bt toxin has, in fact, been used in organic agriculture for decades as a natural pesticide. But this is very different from the way Bt toxin is being used in GM crops like corn and soy. As the EPA explains:
"More recently, scientists have developed techniques by which traits from the Bt bacterium, including its ability to resist pests, can be introduced into a plant. Specifically, scientists have identified the gene that produces the toxin in Bt and, through the use of biotechnology, have incorporated it into the genetic material of several plants. These Bt plants, which include corn, cotton, and potatoes, now synthesize their own bacterial protein to kill pests."
GM Bt Toxins Are Not the Same as Topically Applied Bt Spray
Because farmers have used Bt toxin from soil bacteria as a natural pesticide for many years, biotech companies (and now the EPA) have claimed that Bt toxin has a "history of safe use in agriculture."
But there's a major difference between spraying it on plants, where it biodegrades in sunlight and can be carefully washed off, and genetically altering the plant to produce it internally. As reported by Colorado State University:4
"Bt is susceptible to degradation by sunlight. Most formulations persist on foliage less than a week following application. Some of the newer strains developed for leaf beetle control become ineffective in about 24 hours."
In other words, when Bt is applied to plants topically, it degrades quickly in the sunlight – typically after one week it is broken down (and sometimes as soon as 24 hours). GM Bt crops, however, have the Bt-toxin gene built-in, so the toxin is not broken down and cannot be washed off. You simply cannot avoid consuming it.
This is concerning, because even when natural Bt toxin was fed to mice, they had tissue damage, immune responses as powerful as those to cholera toxin and even started reacting to other foods that were formerly harmless. According to Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology:
"Farm workers exposed to Bt also showed immune responses. The EPA's own expert Scientific Advisory Panel said that these mouse and farm worker studies 'suggest that Bt proteins could act as antigenic and allergenic sources.'
But the EPA ignored the warnings. They also overlooked studies showing that about 500 people in Washington state and Vancouver showed allergic and flu-like symptoms when they were exposed to the spray when it was used to kill gypsy moths."
Furthermore, the plant-produced version of the poison is thousands of times more concentrated than the spray. So if Bt genes are indeed capable of transferring horizontally to the bacteria colonizing the human digestive tract, scientists believe it could reasonably result in:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Autoimmune diseases
- Food allergies
- Childhood learning disorders
GM Toxin May Trigger Immune Responses and Create Super-Pests
There's already plenty of evidence showing that the Bt toxin produced in GM corn (and soy and cotton plants) is toxic to humans and mammals and triggers immune system responses. For example, in government-sponsored research in Italy, mice fed Monsanto's Bt corn showed a wide range of immune responses, such as:5
- Elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, which are typically associated with allergies and infections
- An increase in cytokines, which are associated with allergic and inflammatory responses. The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were found to be elevated are also higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders, from arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease to MS and cancer
- Elevated T cells (gamma delta), which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis, and connective tissue diseases
Rats fed another of Monsanto's Bt corn varieties called MON 863, also experienced an activation of their immune systems, showing higher numbers of basophils, lymphocytes, and white blood cells.6 These can indicate possible allergies, infections, toxins, and various disease states including cancer. There were also signs of liver and kidney toxicity. Aside from the potential human health risks, the EPA is apparently also ignoring those to the environment. Reduced insecticide use has been touted as one of the significant benefits of GM crops like Bt corn. But they do not include the Bt toxin produced in every cell of GM Bt crops as part of the total human pesticide exposure (and now there will not even be any type of required upper limit).
This is arguably criminal misrepresentation! These unnaturally modified GM crops have led to resistance, both in weeds and pests, leaving farmers to struggle with an increasingly difficult situation. Now, instead of the reduction in insecticide use that has been promised, the use of insecticides is on the rise as farmers try to find some solution for these resistant pests.
A scientific advisory panel to the EPA actually urged that large refuges of non-Bt corn be required in order to help prevent resistance. They suggested that only half of a farmer's corn acres be planted with Bt corn. The EPA, as they often do, went against the advisory panel's advice and instead sided with Monsanto. They allowed Bt corn to be planted on 80 percent of their corn acreage, and, in 2011, the first report of field-evolved resistance to Bt toxin by the western corn rootworm was published,7 with resistance only set to worsen in the years ahead.
EPA Also Approved an Increase in Food Residues of Glyphosate
If there were any doubt whose side the EPA is on, last year they also raised the allowed residue limits of glyphosate in food and feed crops. Glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto's broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup – has also been linked to human and environmental harms.
According to one study, glyphosate residues, found in most commonly consumed foods in the Western diet courtesy of GM sugar, corn, soy, and wheat, "enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease."8
Despite the evidence – and the growing incidence of glyphosate-resistant weeds and pests -- the EPA concluded that "there is a reasonable certainly that no harm will result to the general population or to infants and children from aggregate exposure to glyphosate residues." Sound familiar? It's virtually the same false reassurance they issued this month upon allowing unlimited amounts of Monsanto's GM Bt toxin in your food supply.
We're Donating Our Sales Today to Help Fight the Spread of GM Crops in Jackson County, Oregon
A ballot measure to prohibit GM crops in Jackson County, Oregon has been introduced by organic farmers, who are afraid that GM sugar beets will taint their organic crops through cross-pollination. Jackson County is a major source of GM sugar beet seeds, which are used to produce a significant portion of commercial sugar beet seed used across the United States.
The measure will appear before Jackson County voters on the May primary ballot – so if you live in this area, please get out to vote. In the meantime, the sugar industry and other agribusiness giants have come out in droves to try to defeat the measure. Already, the opposition has donated tens of thousands of dollars to mount an pro-GMO campaign, including:9
- $25,000 from the Oregon Farm Bureau
- $20,000 from the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative
- $10,000 from American Crystal Sugar, Co.
- $10,000 from Sidney Sugars
To date, the organic farmers supporting the GM ban have not reported any raised money to defeat this corporate opposition – so we want to help them get started.
Today, we are trying to raise $15,000 through sales to donate to the campaign against GM crops in Jackson County. If you've been meaning to make a purchase, today is the day to do so to help this important campaign. If GM crops are banned in Jackson County, it could be a turning point for the US, with other regions soon following suit. You may also make a donation directly to the Vote YES on Measure 15-119 here.
And as always, I encourage you to continue educating yourself about genetically modified foods, and to share what you've learned with family and friends. Remember, unless a food is certified organic, you can assume it contains GM ingredients if it contains sugar from sugar beet, soy, or corn, or any of their derivatives.
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