Another Look Into Facebook

Take Control of Your Privacy
3 Reasons to Leave Facebook IMMEDIATELY!
Are you one of over two billion people that use Facebook, the world’s largest social media site?

Facebook has become so deeply ingrained in people’s lives that it has now become the norm to give it access to personal data without much thought, as if this is but a small price to pay for Facebook’s “free” service. But nothing could be further from the truth.

These traceable and sellable data now give Facebook the power to manipulate what we do, how we feel, what we buy and what we believe. The consequences of giving Facebook this much power is only becoming apparent, with mounting lawsuits against their security breaches and lousy privacy settings.

Even CrossFit, the well-established branded fitness regimen, has decided to stop supporting Facebook and its associated services, putting all their activities on Facebook and Instagram to a halt starting May 22, 2019. This decision came in the wake of Facebook’s deletion of the Banting7DayMealPlan user group, which was done without warning or explanation. The group has more than 1.65 million members who post testimonials regarding the efficiency of a low-carb, high-fat diet.

Although the group was later reinstated, Facebook’s action still shows how it acts in the interest of the food and beverage industry. You see, big advertisers on Facebook, like Coca-Cola, don’t want you to have access to this information, and Facebook is more than happy to ban anyone challenging the industrial food system. By doing this, it potentially contributes to the global chronic disease crisis.

Would you continue trusting a company that thinks too little of violating your rights to privacy?

1Facebook’s Primary ‘Product’ Is You

Product

If you think Facebook’s product is the very platform that users interact with, you’re wrong. You are actually Facebook’s primary product. The site makes money off you by meticulously tracking your hobbies, habits and preferences through your “likes,” posts, comments, private messages, friends list, login locations and more. It sells these data, along with your personal information, to whomever wants access to them, potentially facilitating everything from targeted advertising to targeted fraud — this is its entire profit model.

Did you know that it can even access your computer or smartphone’s microphone without your knowledge? So if you’re suddenly receiving ads for products or services that you just spoke out loud about, don’t be surprised — chances are one or more apps linked to your microphone have been eavesdropping on you. These privacy intrusions can continue even after you’ve closed your Facebook account.

Companies can also collect information about the websites you’re visiting or the keywords you’re searching for outside of Facebook’s platform without your permission, and then sell these data to Facebook so it knows which ads to show you. This makes Facebook the most infamous advertising tool ever created, and to increase revenue, it has to continue spying on you.

During Facebook’s early days, its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, assured in an interview that no user information would be sold or shared with anyone the user had not specifically given permission to. However, the site’s blatant disregard for its users’ privacy proves otherwise. In fact, Facebook has been repeatedly caught mishandling user data and lying about their data harvesting, resulting in multiple legal problems.

The origin of Facebook is also far from altruistic, even though it’s said to be created “to make the world more open and connected,” and “give people the power to build community.” A front-runner to Facebook was a site called FaceMash, which was created to rate photos of women — photos that were obtained and used without permission. Some of the women were even compared to farm animals! This speaks volumes about Zuckerberg’s disrespect for privacy. Facebook is basically founded on a misogynistic hate group and it should therefore ban itself.

2Facebook Faces Investigation for Its Lax Security and Privacy Practices

Facebook is currently facing a number of lawsuits regarding its controversial data-sharing practices and poor security measures. Back in 2010, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revealed that Facebook was sharing user data with third-party software developers without the users’ consent, expressing concerns about the potential misuse of personal information, as Facebook does not track how third parties utilized them.

While Facebook agreed by consent order to “identify risk to personal privacy” and eliminate those risks, they did not actually pay attention to their security lapse. Had they done so, they would’ve been able to prevent the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the main focus of FTC’s first criminal probe. This issue involves Facebook’s deal with a British political consulting firm, allowing it access to around 87 million user data, which was used to influence public opinion in the U.S. presidential election.

Another criminal investigation into Facebook’s data sharing practice is underway. This time, it revolves around Facebook’s partnerships with tech companies and device makers, allowing them to override the users’ privacy settings and giving them broad access to its users’ information.

Amid federal criminal investigations, Zuckerberg announced the company’s latest plan to encrypt messages, so only the sender and the receiver will supposedly be able to decipher what they say. This is ironic, considering it was recently discovered that Facebook stored millions of user passwords in readable plaintext format in its internal platform, potentially compromising the security of millions of its users.

Zuckerberg has repeatedly demonstrated a complete lack of integrity when it comes to fulfilling his promises of privacy. In fact, in a 2010 talk given at the Crunchie awards, he stated that “privacy is no longer a social norm,” implying that using social media automatically strips you of the right to privacy, and that is why they do not respect it.

3Facebook Is a Monopoly

Monopoly

Facebook’s plan to integrate Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp would turn it into a global super-monopoly. This merger has been criticized by tech experts, as it robs users of their ability to choose between messaging services, leaving them virtually no choice but to submit to Facebook’s invasive privacy settings. This also gives Facebook unprecedented data mining capabilities.

German antitrust regulator, Bundeskartellamt, is the first to prohibit Facebook’s unrestricted data mining, banning Facebook’s services in Germany if it integrates the three messaging platforms. If other countries follow suit, the merger would fall through, as it probably should.

One of the outspoken proponents of breaking up monopolies like Facebook, Google and Amazon is U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Her campaign to break up Facebook was censored by the site, taking down three of her ads with a message that said the ads went “against Facebook’s advertising policies.”

After Warren took to Twitter to comment how the censorship simply proves why her proposal was necessary, Facebook then reinstated her ads with the lame excuse that they were only removed because they included Facebook’s logo, which violates the site’s advertising policy.

I’ve Decided — I Am Leaving Facebook

At present, I have nearly 1.8 million Facebook followers, and I am grateful for the support. But a while back, I have expressed my concerns that perhaps I am doing more harm than good by being a part of Facebook, as I could be contributing to the invasive data mining, an idea that never sat well with me.

For those reasons, I decided that leaving the platform and going back to depending on email is the responsible way forward. If you haven’t subscribed to my newsletter yet, I urge you, your family and your friends to sign up now. I polled my audience and they agreed with my decision to leave.

Survey

from:   https://www.mercola.com/forget-facebook.htm

Again, Rethinking Vaccines

Snopes—Nope

Originally published on www.mercola.com

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • In their purported fact-checking of a report by CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, Snopes spewed propaganda, not real facts, in an attempt to discredit the report and the potential vaccines-autism link
  • Snopes wrote the article without contacting Attkisson, who went on to state that they also listed claims she never made, then declared them to be false, and even were incorrect in one of their own claims
  • It’s dangerous to rely on any one source or group of individuals as authorities on truth, as it sets up the path for inevitable censorship
  • Industry propaganda and censorship of health and media information that strays from the mainstream is a growing problem
  • In your search for the truth, always follow your own guiding light — not one maintained by Snopes or any other internet watchdog or censorship authority that tries to lead you down their own biased path

In the barrage of information you come across daily online, how do you know what’s true and what’s nothing more than hearsay, gossip or all-out lies? Some people use Snopes as their go-to source for online fact-checking, believing it to give the unbiased and credible final word on all those widely-circulated stories.

If you’re relying on Snopes as your arbiter of truth, however, you’re in for a surprise: Snopes engages in massive censorship of natural health and general promotion of industry talking points. What started as a tool to investigate urban legends, hoaxes and folklore has manifested into a self-proclaimed “definitive fact-checking resource” that’s taking on topics like whether or not vaccines can cause autism.

Yet, in their purported fact-checking of a Full Measure report1 by award-winning investigative reporter and former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson,2 Snopes simply spewed propaganda, not real facts, in an attempt to discredit the report and the potential vaccines-autism link. In the end, though, they actually ended up confirming the main point of Attkisson’s report. For this, Attkisson wrote, “Snopes gets an ‘F’ for predictable propaganda in [the] vaccine-autism debate.”

Snopes Attempts to Discredit Investigative Report on Vaccines-Autism Link

Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a pediatric neurologist, is a pro-vaccine expert witness the U.S. government used to debunk and turn down autism claims in vaccine court. “Zimmerman was the government’s top expert witness and had testified that vaccines didn’t cause autism.

The debate was declared over,” Attkisson reported. “But now Dr. Zimmerman has provided remarkable new information,” she said in the Full Measure report, adding:3

He claims that during the vaccine hearings all those years ago, he privately told government lawyers that vaccines can, and did cause autism in some children. That turnabout from the government’s own chief medical expert stood to change everything about the vaccine-autism debate. If the public were to find out …

And he has come forward and explained how he told the United States government vaccines can cause autism in a certain subset of children and [the] United States government, the Department of Justice [DOJ], suppressed his true opinions.”

Zimmerman declined to be interviewed for the report, but referred Attkisson to his sworn affidavit, dated September 7, 2018, in which he stated that, in 2007, he told DOJ lawyers he had “discovered exceptions in which vaccinations could cause autism.

“I explained that in a subset of children … vaccine-induced fever and immune stimulation … did cause regressive [brain disease] with features of autism spectrum disorder,” Zimmerman wrote.

This reportedly “panicked” the DOJ, which subsequently fired him, saying his services would no longer be needed, but essentially attempting to silence him. According to Zimmerman, the DOJ then went on to misrepresent his opinion in future cases, making no mention of the exceptions he’d informed them of.

“Meantime, CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] – which promotes vaccines and monitors vaccine safety – never disclosed that the government’s own one-time medical expert concluded vaccines can cause autism – and to this day public health officials deny that’s the case,” according to the Full Measure report.4

Attkisson’s report also reveals how Congressmen who wanted to investigate the autism-vaccine link were bullied, harassed and threatened. Dan Burton (R-IN), Dr. Dave Weldon (R-FL) and Bill Posey (R-FL) are among 11 current and former members of Congress and staff who told Attkisson they were warned by PhRMA lobbyists to drop the vaccine safety issue.

Snopes Gets an ‘F’ for Fact-Checking

In an article that attempts to fact-check Attkisson’s investigation, Snopes calls out many of the claims as false while clearly attempting to “debunk” vaccine-autism claims. However, in a rebuttal, Attkisson explains that Snopes earned a failing grade for its reporting.

“[T]he Snopes article debunks claims that were never made and uses one-sided references as its sources – other propagandists – without disclosing their vaccine industry ties.”5

For starters, Snopes labeled Zimmerman as a supporter of vaccination, as though this was something that Attkisson hid. In contrast, this point was central to Attkisson’s story and a large part of what makes his statements regarding vaccines and autism so noteworthy. Some of the additional egregious tactics Snopes used to try to discredit Attkisson’s report included the following:6

  • Snopes claimed Attkisson’s reading of Zimmerman’s sworn affidavit was flawed when she “simply quoted from the affidavit”
  • Snopes states that Zimmerman’s view is “not held by many scientists,” but did not survey several reputable scientists who hold the view
  • Snopes fails to address what its headline promises: the question of whether the government censored its own expert witness’ opinion

It’s important to note that Snopes also wrote their article without contacting Attkisson, who went on to state that they also listed claims she never made, then declared them to be false, and even were incorrect in one of their own claims, specifically that the existence of a potential link between vaccines, mitochondrial disorder and autism was not news at the time of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services omnibus autism proceedings in 2007.

“In fact, this suspected link was not previously known before the so-called ‘omnibus’ groups of vaccine-autism cases litigated a decade ago, and it is not widely known among doctors or the general public today; at least as of recently. That’s why it has proven to be so newsworthy,” Attkisson wrote, adding:7

Snopes demonstrates reckless disregard for the truth when disparaging my reporting by falsely stating that it contains ‘misleading claims’ …

Refuting claims never made in my report and putting out one-sided vaccine propaganda makes one wonder whether Snopes author Alex Kasprak even read or watched the report he attempts to criticize, or just blindly printed the propaganda provided to him by vaccine industry interests.”

Snopes Author Uses Industry Sources for ‘Facts’

November 16, 2016, Snopes looked into claims made by Food Babe that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) might have shut down its residue testing of glyphosate due to complaints from Monsanto. “False,” Snopes declared.8 Ironically, the page declared that no corporate influence played a role and “the broad scientific consensus is that [glyphosate] is not a risk.”

Yet, a Twitter exchange clearly showed that the fact-checker for Snopes, Kasprak – the same author who wrote the critical review of Attkisson’s investigation – got his information about glyphosate’s safety from Kevin Folta, Ph.D.9

Folta, a University of Florida professor and a vocal advocate of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), who vehemently denied ever receiving any money from Monsanto, was caught lying about his financial ties to the company in 2015. The most flagrant piece of evidence against Folta shows that not only did he solicit funds from Monsanto, but he did so with intent to hide the financial connection between them.

Ironically, getting back to Attkisson’s case, the Snopes report ended up confirming exactly the point she was trying to make, stating, “Zimmerman, a scientist with serious credentials who was once a government expert on vaccines, believes that narrow circumstances might exist in which the combination of preexisting mitochondrial dysfunction and vaccination could trigger ASD [autism spectrum disorders].”10

“Snopes fabricates claims that were never made, debunks the fabricated claims,” Attkisson wrote, “and then ultimately agrees that the report I produced was accurate.”11

Snopes Founders Embroiled in Controversy

It’s dangerous to rely on any one source or group of individuals as authorities on truth, as it sets up the path for inevitable censorship. Even under the best circumstances, everyone is subject to their own biases, but in the case of Snopes, it was founded on fabrications from the start.

Snopes was created in 1995 by Barbara and David Mikkelson, who posed as “The San Fernardo Valley Folklore Society” in the beginning in order to gain credibility. Such a society does not exist as a legal entity, according to an investigation by the Daily Mail.12

The company soon expanded, but ultimately its founders divorced – amid claims that David Mikkelson embezzled company money for prostitutes and Barbara Mikkelson took millions from their joint bank account to buy property in Las Vegas.

According to Daily Mail, Mikkelson’s new wife, Elyssa Young – a former escort, self-proclaimed “courtesan” and porn actress who ran for Congress in Hawaii as a Libertarian in 2004 – was then employed as a Snopes administrator, even though the company claims to have no political leanings.

In response to the allegations, Forbes published an article weighing whether it was just another case of fake news, but ultimately was astonished by the lack of transparency given by the company’s founder when asked for comment, who stated that he was unable to respond due to a confidentiality clause in his divorce settlement. According to Forbes:13

This creates a deeply unsettling environment in which when one tries to fact-check the fact-checker, the answer is the equivalent of ‘its secret’ …

At the end of the day, it is clear that before we rush to place fact-checking organizations like Snopes in charge of arbitrating what is “truth” … we need to have a lot more understanding of how they function internally and much greater transparency into their work.”

Hardcore Censorship of Alternative Health and Media in Progress

Whether it be the recent flu shot stunt at the Golden Globes or the industry-driven “facts” published by Snopes, it’s clear that industry propaganda and censorship of health and media information that strays from the mainstream is a growing problem.

In a 2017 Gallup/Knight Foundation Survey on Trust, Media and Democracy, 73 percent said they believe the proliferation of “fake news” on the internet is a major problem, and only half feel confident that readers can get to the facts by sorting through bias.14 And the fact is, fake news is a real problem. But it’s important to do your own research before believing even “fact-checked” sources like Snopes.

NewsGuard is another outlet to be wary of. The entity is setting itself up as the self-appointed global arbiter of what information is “trustworthy” – based on nine “credibility and transparency” factors – not only for information viewed on private electronic devices, but also for information accessible in public libraries and schools.

Once you’ve installed the NewsGuard browser plugin on your computer or cellphone, the NewsGuard icon rating will appear on all Google and Bing searches and on articles featured in your social media news feeds.

These icons are meant to influence readers, instructing them to disregard content with cautionary colors and cautions, but I believe the true intent will be to bury this content entirely from search results and social media feeds.

It is very likely GoogleFacebook, Twitter and other platforms will use these ratings to lower the visibility of content – making nonconformist views disappear entirely. It’s a concerning prospect, especially since NewsGuard received much of its startup funds from Publicis Groupe, a global communications group whose history of clients includes the drug and tobacco industries.

Now more than ever, it’s important to be aware of what companies may be filtering your news media and how their own agenda may color what you see. In your search for the truth, always follow your own guiding light – not one maintained by Snopes or any other internet watchdog or censorship authority that tries to lead you down their own biased path.

For additional research on the underreported adverse effects of vaccination visit the GreenMedInfo database on the subject. 


References

1, 3, 4 Full Measure January 6, 2019

2, 10 Snopes January 21, 2019

5, 6, 7, 11 SharylAttkisson.com January 21, 2019

8 Snopes November 16, 2016

9 Twitter, Kevin Folta and Alex Kasprak

12 Daily Mail December 21, 2016

13 Forbes December 22, 2016

14 Knight Foundation January 16, 2018

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

GMO’s, Health, Survival

THE PERIL ON YOUR PLATE: FILM EXPLORES THE HUMAN HEALTH EFFECTS OF GENETIC ENGINEERING AND CHEMICAL AGRICULTURE

June 27, 2018

After being told by her doctor that genetically engineered (GE) food and pesticides could be responsible for her son’s food allergies, Ekaterina Yakovleva set out to investigate. Her quest for answers was captured by the Russian Times in the featured film, “The Peril on Your Plate: Genetic Engineering and Chemical Agriculture.”

The film shows Yakovleva and her team traveling the world to meet “the people who lift the lid on the perils of GMOs and the chemicals used in the industry,” as well as proponents of GMOs who argue that genetic engineering is a “high-tech” solution to feeding the world’s growing population. Advocates for genetic engineering tell Yakovleva that the technology is beneficial to farmers in that it increases resistance to pests and disease, as well as produces higher yields. But Yakovleva isn’t convinced.

She learns nothing could be further from the truth after witnessing the devastation caused by mass farmer suicides in India as a result of the failure of Monsanto’s Bt cotton. Yakovleva visits the U.K. where she meets Lady Margaret, Countess of Mar, a member of the House of Lords and a former farmer who suffered from chemical use, and then to the U.S. where she meets with Zen Honeycutt of Moms Across America about the link between GMOs, pesticides and chronic disease in humans.

What Is Genetic Engineering?

In order to better understand genetic engineering and its impact on human health, Yakovleva starts to research the technique and how it’s used. She learns that genetic engineering enables DNA to be transferred not only between different kinds of plants, but even between different kingdoms, meaning scientists can take DNA from an insect or animal and insert it into the genome of a plant.

Many GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is just an extension of natural breeding methods, and just as safe. Nothing could be further from the truth — on both counts. Genetic engineering is radically different from conventional breeding techniques used to improve a crop. For starters, it’s a laboratory-based technique allowing scientists to create a food that could never be created by nature.

Claire Robinson, editor of GM Watch and coauthor of the book, “GMO Myths and Truths: A Citizen’s Guide to the Evidence on the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Foods and Crops,” says:

US Leads World in GM Crop Production

Yakovleva learns that an estimated 190 million hectares (469.5 acres) of GE crops1 — an area three times the size of France — are cultivated in 28 countries worldwide.2 The U.S. leads the world in GM crop production, growing about 40 percent,3 while Brazil grows 27 percent and Argentina 13 percent. Canada and India each grow 6 percent.4 GE crops currently in production include squash/pumpkin, alfalfa, sugar beet, potato, papaya, rapeseed oil, corn, soy and cotton.

Monsanto, soon to forgo its name and merge with Bayer, controls a vast majority of GE crops including 80 percent of GE corn and 93 percent of GE soy in the U.S. The first GE crop to hit the market was tobacco. It was genetically modified in 1983 to be resistant to an antibiotic.5 It was later altered for other reasons, including to remove a gene that turns nicotine into a carcinogen in tobacco leaves,6and to increase the amount of nicotine in cigarettes.7

The first genetically engineered food crop was the Flavr Savr tomato, produced by Calgene, a California-based company later bought by Monsanto. The tomato was genetically modified to stay riper longer by inhibiting a gene responsible for producing a protein that makes a tomato soften.8 Calgene is reported to have been transparent in its marketing of the tomato, clearly labeling the product and adding an 800 number for people with questions. Monsanto later removed the Flavr Savr tomato from store shelves.

A Growing List of Countries Say No to GMOs

The film highlights regions that are completely GMO-free, including Romania, which stopped cultivating GE crops despite being the first country in geographical Europe to introduce them.9 Portugal and Spain have reduced the amount of areas under GE crop cultivation,10while a number have enacted a total ban including France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Greece, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Russia forbids GE crop cultivation,11 but does not prevent GMOs from entering the country’s food chain, according to the film. Yakovleva travels to the Agrarian University in Moscow to meet GMO proponent Arkady Zlochevsky, chairman of the Russian Grain Union. She confronts him about the human health effects of eating GE foods.

“There is absolutely no risk to the human body associated with eating GM foods compared to traditional equivalents, not a single one,” he says, adding that GMOs are “high-tech” and have “significant advantages.” He even went so far as to say that glyphosate, the key active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, is safer than 100 percent manure.

Glyphosate Doubles as Herbicide and Suicide Poison in India

Unconvinced, Yakovleva travels to India where glyphosate doubles as a lethal human poison. The Punjab region, formally known as the bread basket of India, is now known for colossal suicides among farmers, particularly young farmers between the ages of 20 and 35.

Yakovleva meets with families of farmers who committed suicide. She learns that thousands of farmers have taken their own lives after agriculture corporations granted them loans they could never repay to purchase seeds and pesticides that ultimately failed to provide the profits that were promised.

Inderjit Singh Jaijee, chairman of Punjab’s Baba Nanak Educational Society, says farmers who commit suicide often take drugs, drink alcohol or even take a swig of glyphosate to muster up the courage to go through with it. Singh Jaijee, who is on a mission to raise awareness about the serious issue of suicides in Punjab, says that young farmers are more susceptible because they don’t yet have the experience older people do to survive.

Thousands of Indian Farmers Commit Suicide Over Faulty GE Crops

The amount of suicides in the Punjab region is so massive that some people are making a profit removing dead bodies from a local canal. Ashu Malik, an underwater diver, uses surveillance cameras to monitor the canal for floating bodies. If a body is not claimed, it’s placed back into the water, he says. Ending up in the canal as a result of suicide is so common in this region that families built a house on the canal’s shoreline for them to stay in while they search for their loved ones who are missing.

The exact number of suicides occurring annually in the Punjab region remains unknown. One estimation found the annual suicide rate to be about 2,200. However, Singh Jaijee’s research estimates it to be closer to 4,000 suicides per year, while farmer organizations estimate up to 6,000. Shocked by what’s become a normality for agricultural communities in India, Yakovleva interviews agricultural scientist Kiran Kumar Vissa to learn more about Monsanto’s Bt cotton, the crop responsible for placing so many farmers into debt.

Monsanto’s Bt cotton was marketed as a solution to the challenges faced by cotton farmers, many of whom were in crisis; however, it ended up causing farmers more problems. There are many places where Bt cotton is not suitable for cultivation, including dry, nonirrigated areas, explains Vissa. The packaging says that Bt cotton is suitable for both irrigated and nonirrigated conditions, but it’s not true, says Vissa, adding, that it’s deceptive to farmers.

Big Ag Uses Images of Rich, American Farmers to Sell GMOs Abroad

Next, Yakovleva meets with renowned scholar and environmental activist Vandana Shiva, who blames the mass suicides solely on the corporations that sell the seeds and chemicals. Monsanto spends huge amounts of money on advertising. Between the fiscal years 2011 to 2017, Monsanto spent more than $500 million on advertising worldwide.12

Shiva explains that seed and chemical agents show farmers in India images of American farmers with big tractors and promise them that if they just take this seed, which they can pay for later, they will be rich. But what they don’t tell the farmer is that they can’t save the seed and that it might fail because the seeds aren’t meant for dry, nonirrigated areas, says Shiva.

So, the farmer takes it on credit, not having a good understanding of the costs involved, and the seed fails, Vandana explains, adding that in two years’ time the agents who sold the seed and pesticide return and repossess the farmer’s land because he could not pay his loan. Shiva tells Yakovleva that she has personally spoken to widows whose farmer husbands committed suicide and when she asked what their debt was, they showed her packages of Monsanto’s Bt cotton seed.

Are Farmers Risking Their Health by Using Chemicals?

Yakovleva’s investigation proceeds to the U.K. where she meets with Lady Margaret, Countess of Mar, a member of the House of Lords and a former farmer who suffered from chemical use.

While serving organic tea and pudding, Lady Margaret says she had to give up farming after she was exposed to harmful chemicals while dipping sheep. The sheep dip contained organophosphates, the same class of chemicals to which glyphosate belongs. The chemicals are used as both flame retardants and pesticides. According to National Geographic:

Within weeks of being exposed, Lady Margaret says she began to suffer from intense fatigue and neurological problems. She even felt suicidal. At one point, she was forced to rely on an oxygen tank for up to 16 hours a day. Lady Margaret was ill for three years before doctors diagnosed her with organophosphate poisoning.

Most of Americans Have Glyphosate in Their Bodies

Humans are increasingly testing positive for residues of glyphosate.14 In tests conducted by a University of California San Francisco lab, 93 percent of the participants tested positive for glyphosate residues.15 In the European Union, when 48 members of Parliament volunteered for glyphosate testing, everyone one of them tested positive.16 Humans are exposed to glyphosate via the food they eat, the air they breathe, the water they drink and the lawns, gardens, parks and other environments they frequent.

What impact is this having on human health? To find out, Yakovleva and her team head to the U.S. to meet with Honeycutt, who blames chemicals in our food for the rise in chronic disease. A number of chronic diseases have been linked to pesticides, including autism, cancer, food allergies, endocrine disruption, diabetes and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.17

One in 4 females over the age of 30 now has a gluten intolerance, says Honeycutt; however, she believes it’s not gluten that’s the problem, but the glyphosate that’s applied to wheat as a drying agent prior to harvest.

“It’s destroying their gut lining. They can’t process it and then the body acknowledges it as a gluten intolerance,” says Honeycutt, adding that food today not only has more chemicals, but is also less nutritious. Chemical-intensive agriculture has depleted our soils of essential nutrients and has drawn out vitamins and minerals that make our food healthy, she adds.

Long-Term Safety Studies Are Sorely Lacking

Yakovleva and her team reached out to Monsanto regarding the public health concerns tied to its Roundup weed killer, but the company refused to comment, instead directing them to its website which, of course, states that all of their products are safe and environmentally friendly. The deceptive GMO talking points Yakovleva received from the seed and chemical industry failed to convince her that GE crops are safe for human consumption, as there’s no real evidence to support this claim.

While few in number, longer-term animal feeding studies have been published over the past several years showing there’s definite cause for concern. Liver and kidney toxicity and immune reactions tend to be the most prevalent. Digestive system, inflammation and fertility problems have also been seen. A major part of the problem is that safety studies conducted for regulatory purposes to gain market approval for a GE product are too short to show the damage that could occur from life-long consumption of the GE food.

Some independent studies looking at lifetime consumption of GMOs have found rather dramatic health effects, whereas the safety studies used to promote GE foods as safe have all been short-term. There seems to be an agreement among biotech scientists to not test GE foods longer than 90 days in rats, which is only about seven to nine years in human terms. That’s nothing when you consider the average human life span is somewhere in the 70s, and the current generation is fed GMO food from Day 1.

How to Protect Yourself From Toxic Agriculture

The biotech giants have deep pocketbooks and political influence and are fighting to maintain their position of dominance. At the end of the day, we must shatter Monsanto’s grip on the agricultural sector. There is no way to recall GMOs once they have been released into the environment. The stakes could not be higher. Will you continue supporting the corrupt, toxic and unsustainable food system that Monsanto and its industry allies are working so hard to protect?

For more and more people, the answer is no. Consumers are rejecting genetically engineered and pesticide-laden foods. Another positive trend is that there has been strong growth in the global organic and grass-fed sectors. This just proves one thing: We can make a difference if we steadily work toward the same goal.

One of the best things you can do is to buy your foods from a local farmer who runs a small business and uses diverse methods that promote regenerative agriculture. You can also join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, where you can buy a “share” of the vegetables produced by the farm, so that you get a regular supply of fresh food.

I believe that joining a CSA is a powerful investment not only in your own health, but in that of your local community and economy as well. In addition, you should also adopt preventive strategies that can help reduce the toxic chemical pollution that assaults your body. I recommend visiting these trustworthy sites for non-GMO food resources in your country as well:

Organic Food Directory (Australia) Eat Wild (Canada)
Organic Explorer (New Zealand) Eat Well Guide (United States and Canada)
Farm Match (United States) Local Harvest (United States)
Weston A. Price Foundation (United States) The Cornucopia Institute
Demeter USA American Grassfed Association

Monsanto and its allies want you to think that they control everything, but they are on the wrong side of history. It’s you, the informed and empowered, who hold the future in your hands. Let’s all work together to topple the biotech industry’s house of cards. Remember — it all starts with shopping smart and making the best food purchases for you and your family.

Biotech Companies Are Gaining Power by Taking Over the Government

to read the rest of the article, go to:    http://www.wakingtimes.com/2018/06/27/the-peril-on-your-plate-film-explores-the-human-health-effects-of-genetic-engineering-and-chemical-agriculture/

LIGHTEN UP YOUR WATER

The Fourth Phase of Water – What You Don’t Know About Water, and Really Should

Story at-a-glance

  • Your body consists of over 99 percent water molecules, but the water in your cells is not regular water, but highly structured water with special properties
  • There is a fourth phase of water, not H2O but H3O2, and can be called living water. It’s more viscous, dense, and alkaline than regular water; has a negative charge, and can hold energy, much like a battery, and deliver energy too
  • The key ingredient to create this highly structured water is light, i.e. electromagnetic energy, whether in the form of visible light, or infrared wavelengths, which we’re surrounded by all the time
  • One reason why infrared saunas make you feel so good is because your body’s cells are deeply penetrated by infrared energy, which builds and stores structured water. The same goes for light therapy, spending time in the sun, and laser therapy
  • Besides optimizing your drinking water by vortexing, you can help support your body’s negative charge by connecting to the Earth, which also has a negative charge. This is the basis of the earthing or grounding technique

Water is clearly one of the most important factors for your health—especially when you consider that your body actually consists of over 99 percent water molecules! I sincerely believe water is a really underappreciated part of the equation of optimal health.

I’ve previously interviewed Dr. Gerald Pollack, who is one of the leading premier research scientists in the world when it comes to understanding the physics of water, and what it means to your health.

Besides being a professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington, he’s also the founder and editor-in-chief of a scientific journal called Water, and has published many peer-reviewed scientific papers on this topic. He’s even received prestigious awards from the National Institutes of Health.

His book, The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor, is a phenomenal read that is easy to understand even for the non-professional.

It clearly explains the theory of the fourth phase of water, which is nothing short of ground-breaking. The fourth phase of water is, in a nutshell, living water. It’s referred to as EZ water—EZ standing for “exclusion zone”—which has a negative charge. This water can hold energy, much like a battery, and can deliver energy too.

For years, Dr. Pollack had researched muscles and how they contract, and it struck him as odd that the most common ideas about muscle contraction do not involve water, despite the fact that muscle tissue consists of 99 percent water molecules.

How could it be that 99 percent of the molecules were ignored? How could it be that muscle contracts without involving the water in some way? These questions help catalyze his passionate investigation into water.

So You Think You Understand Water?

Gilbert Ling, who was a pioneer in this field, discovered that water in human cells is not ordinary water (H2O), but something far more structured and organized.

“I began to think about water in the context of biology: if water inside the cell was ordered and structured and not bulk water or ordinary water as most biochemists and cell biologists think, then it is really important,” Dr. Pollack says.

Dr. Pollack’s book also touches on some of the most basic features of water, many of which are really not understood. For example, how does evaporation take place? Why does a tea kettle whistle? Also, despite the fact that conventional science tells us freezing is supposed to occur at zero degrees Celsius, experiments show that it can freeze in many different temperatures down to minus 50 degrees Celsius.

There’s actually no one single freezing point for water! Other experiments show that the boiling point of 100 degrees Celsius (or 212 degrees Fahrenheit) does not always hold true either.

“There’s a famous website1 put together by a British scientist, Martin Chaplin. Martin lists numerous anomalies associated with water,” Dr. Pollack says. “In other words, things that shouldn’t be according to what we know about water…

The more anomalies we have, the more we begin to think that maybe there’s something fundamental about water that we really don’t know. That’s the core of what I’m trying to do. In our laboratory at the University of Washington, we’ve done many experiments over the last decade. These experiments have clearly shown the existence of this additional phase of water.”

The reason this fourth phase of water is called the exclusion zone or EZ is because the first thing Dr. Pollack’s team discovered is that it profoundly excludes things. Even small molecules are excluded from EZ water. Surprisingly, EZ water appears in great abundance, including inside most of your cells. Even your extracellular tissues are filled with this kind of water.

to read more, go to:    https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/08/18/exclusion-zone-water.aspx

Seasonal Foods to Check Out

7 Surprising Superfoods to Look for This Spring

Story at-a-glance

  • Eating locally means eating what’s in season. This spring, consider adding some of the following superfoods, many of which you may never have heard of before: morel mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns, cherimoya, sorrel, stinging nettles, purslane and wild leeks
  • Most of these are only available for a short amount of time, and now’s the time to start looking for them
  • Morel mushrooms are packed with immune-boosting, disease-preventing vitamin D. Fiddleheads are picked from immature, uncoiled ostrich ferns, and have a flavor reminiscent of asparagus
  • Cherimoyas contain approximately 60 percent of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C and a third of your vitamin B6 needs, while nettles provide healthy amounts of vitamin K and calcium
  • One cup of sorrel provides more than your daily requirement of vitamins A and C, along with high amounts of potassium and iron; purslane is the omega-3 powerhouse of the plant kingdom

By Dr. Mercola

Eating locally grown foods comes with a bounty of benefits, from fresher foods to saving both money and the environment. One 2007 study from the University of Alberta, Canada, determined that the transportation alone of organic produce actually causes an environmental impact large enough to cancel out many of its benefits.1

If you look, you’ll find that most of the organic fruit and vegetables in your local grocery store come from much farther away than your conventional produce. Fresh produce in most regions of the U.S. actually travel between 1,500 to 2,000 miles on the road. That’s even higher than processed foods, which are shipped an average of 1,346 miles.2 Eating locally grown foods helps eliminate a substantial amount of the carbon footprint associated with food transportation.

Eating locally automatically means eating what’s in season. This spring, consider adding some of the following superfoods,3 many of which you may never have heard of before. Most of these are only available for a short amount of time, and now’s the time to start looking for them.

No. 1: Morel Mushrooms

Morel Mushrooms

Morel mushrooms, the tops of which resemble small shower loofahs, are packed with immune-boosting, disease-preventing vitamin D. Its taste has been described as umami, or savory. Rarely cultivated, morel mushrooms are typically wild-harvested and picking the mushrooms is a popular tradition for many.

That said, avoid picking mushrooms in the wild unless you are absolutely sure you know what you’re picking. There are a number of toxic mushrooms, including a species called “false morels,” and it’s easy to get them confused unless you have a lot of experience and know what to look for.

As noted in a recent study,4 “Morels have been in use in traditional medicine for centuries, due to their health-related benefits, and current research demonstrated their anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory bioactivities, in addition to immunostimulatory and antitumor properties.”

Most of the health benefits have been attributed to polysaccharides, along with a number of phytochemicals, primarily phenolic compounds, tocopherols, ascorbic acid and vitamin D. Morel mushrooms are an excellent addition cooked with any side dish and go great with all kinds of meat and fish. Many people enjoy eating them as a side dish on their own, gently sautéed for five to 10 minutes with a pat of butter. Never eat morel mushrooms raw, as they contain trace amounts of a toxin that make some people ill.

No. 2: Fiddlehead Ferns

Fiddlehead Ferns

Chances are you’ve never heard of fiddlehead ferns5,6 unless you’re a frequent visitor of farmers markets and specialty health food stores. As the name implies, the small curly discs are picked from immature, uncoiled ostrich ferns. The taste has been likened to that of asparagus, but with bit more crunch and bitterness. Others say they taste like a mix of asparagus, spinach and broccoli all in one.

High in antioxidants (twice the amount of blueberries) and plant-based omega-3, fiddlehead ferns are a potent anti-inflammatory food.7 They also contain vitamins A and C, both of which are important for healthy vision and immune function. Iron and phosphorous aid red blood cell production and are important for healthy formation of cell membranes and bone, while potassium supports heart health and electrolyte and muscle functions.

Fiddleheads are commonly picked in Maine and Canada, but can often be found in health food stores. Their season is quite brief — two to three weeks at the most. To ensure quality, look for specimens that have tightly coiled heads with stems about 2 inches in length. If picking your own, make sure you know how to identify ostrich ferns, as they are commonly confused with bracken fern — a species known to cause cancer in lab animals.

Also, fiddleheads may cause gastrointestinal upset when consumed raw, so light cooking, just as you would asparagus, is recommended. They can also be pickled for longer shelf life. For instructions, see this spicy pickled fiddleheads’ recipe by The Spruce.8

The following video will help you properly identify edible fiddleheads from the ostrich fern. Consider adding them to dishes that normally call for asparagus. Many recipes suggest eating them steamed or boiled with hollandaise sauce, cooked then chilled and topped with plain mayo, or lightly sautéed and tossed with some butter, lemon, vinegar and Parmesan cheese.

No. 3: Cherimoya

Cherimoya

This heart-shaped “dragon-scaled” tropical fruit has a sweet, buttery inside. Select specimens that are hard and green. As avocados, cherimoyas ripen quickly on the counter. Once the skin turns a bronze color and feels soft to the touch, it’s ready to eat. Simply peel and slice. Their flavor has been likened to a combination of banana, papaya and pineapple. Pureed, they can also be added to smoothies.

A single fruit contains approximately 60 percent of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C and a third of your vitamin B6 needs. In Mexico, the fruit has traditionally been used to ease anxiety, thanks to the presence of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which has mild antidepressive effects.

It’s also high in fiber, iron and niacin, and contain powerful compounds shown to combat cancer, malaria and human parasites. Cherimoya provides high amounts of potassium that help control heart rate and blood pressure. Furthermore, it contains more minerals weight per weight than a lot of more common fruits, including apples.

No. 4: Sorrel

Sorrel

Sorrel, also known as spinach dock or narrow-leaved dock, is a perennial leafy herb cultivated around the world. Packed with health benefits and a tangy, lemony flavor, it adds a bit of zing to just about any salad or dish, including creamy soups.

One cup of sorrel provides more than your daily requirement of vitamins A and C, along with high amounts of potassium and iron. Keep in mind that sorrel contains oxalic acid, which is contraindicated for those struggling with or prone to oxalate kidney stones. For most people, small quantities are completely safe and provide valuable health benefits. According to Organic Facts:9

The health benefits of sorrel include its ability to improve eyesight, slow the aging process, reduce skin infections, strengthen the immune system, and improve digestion. It also builds strong bones, increases circulation, increases energy levels, helps prevent cancer, lowers blood pressure, increases appetite, protects against diabetes, strengthens heart health and improves kidney health.”

No. 5: Stinging Nettles

Stinging Nettles

While typically considered a pesky and painful weed, stinging nettles10 have unique health benefits. (On a side note, should you have them growing in your yard, they’re actually a sign of rich, healthy soil.) Just make sure you use gloves during handling until they’ve been cooked, to avoid a painful rash.

Once blanched or sautéed, they can be safely consumed, providing healthy amounts of vitamin K and calcium. Traditionally, nettles have been valued for its blood purifying properties, and can also be made into tea, said to ease congestion and soothe allergies and asthma.

Nettle tea may also boost milk production if you’re nursing, and helps stimulate your digestive glands, including your intestines, liver, pancreas and gallbladder. To learn more about the health benefits of stinging nettles and the various ways you can use it (including instructions for making nettle tea), see “Nettle: The Stinging Weed That Can Help You Detoxify.”

No. 6: Purslane

Purslane

Purslane11 (also called duckweed, fatweed, pigweed, pusley, verdolaga, ma chi xian in Chinese, munyeroo or wild portulaca), is the omega-3 powerhouse of the vegetation kingdom, and there’s a high probability it’s growing in your yard right now. According to Mother Earth News, it’s the most reported weed species in the world.12

Purslane looks very much like a miniature jade plant, with fleshy succulent leaves and reddish stems. The stems grow flat to the ground and radiate outward from a single taproot, sometimes forming large, flat circular mats up to 16 inches across. In about mid-July, it develops tiny yellow flowers about one-quarter inch in diameter.

Seeds of purslane are extremely tough, some remaining viable in the soil for 40 years, and it can grow in almost anything, from fertile garden loam to the most arid desert soil — even in your rock driveway. Just be very careful not to confuse purslane with spurge, because they can look similar, and spurge will make you sick. The following video shows how to tell them apart.

Purslane has a stellar omega-3 fatty acid profile, compared to other vegetables, containing anywhere from 300 to 400 milligrams (mg) of omega-3 per cup. It also contains six times more vitamin E than spinach, seven times more beta carotene than carrots, providing about 44 percent of your daily vitamin A needs per 100 grams,13 25 mg of vitamin C per cup, plus magnesium, calcium, iron, riboflavin, potassium, phosphorous and manganese.

Purslane can be eaten either raw or cooked. If you’re planning on eating raw purslane, make sure no pesticides or herbicides have been used nearby. If you’ve been spraying Roundup in your yard, never eat weeds collected from the area. Also avoid them if your neighbor has used Roundup in their yard, as the chemicals can easily drift across property lines.

As a precaution, wash the leaves and stems thoroughly before consuming. Typically, people eat the young purslane leaves and stems to avoid the tougher parts of the plant. For cooked purslane, there are numerous ways to incorporate this herb in your favorite dishes. You can boil it in water for 10 minutes and drain, or simply add it to other recipes to give the dish an added crunch.

No. 7: Ramps

Ramps

Ramps is a type of wild leek, featuring small white bulbs with hairy roots. While resembling green onions in appearance, their flavor is more akin to garlic. If you’re lucky enough to find them, be sure to get some. Ramps are exceedingly scarce as they’re a slow grower, and are only in season for a few weeks in spring.

Look for specimens that are firm, with bright green leaves. Don’t buy or use them if you notice brown spots or slimy areas. Unwashed and wrapped in a plastic bag, ramps can be refrigerated for up to a week. Ramps are a good source of vitamins A and C, selenium and chromium, the latter of which helps stabilize blood sugar. As for how to use them in your cooking, Organic Authority suggests:14

“[U]se ramps as you would scallions, green onions or leeks. Anything that would pair well with garlic or leeks will love the ramp. Slice them thinly and use sparingly, and also handle them gently, adding them at the end of the cooking process. Think simple to allow ramps to shine: Scrambled into eggs, garnished alongside seafood, mixed into big bowls of pasta, or oven roasted or grilled to perfection.”

How to Find Locally-Grown Food That Is in Season

When you eat locally grown foods, the contents of your shopping bag inevitably change with each passing season. In other words, adjusting what you eat to what’s in season becomes an inescapable fact if you’re going to eat locally-grown foods, and if you keep this in mind, it can become a pleasurable part of your culinary experimentation. Here are some tips for tracking down locally-grown foods that are in season:

  1. If you’re lucky enough to have a local farmers market, that’s the way to go. For a listing of national farmers markets and local food directories, see the USDA’s website. Another great resource is www.localharvest.org.
  2. Another good route for finding local food is to subscribe to a community supported agriculture program (CSA). Some are seasonal while others offer year-round programs. Once you subscribe, many will drop affordable, high quality locally-grown produce right at your door step. For a comprehensive list of CSA’s and a host of other sustainable agriculture programs, check out my Sustainable Agriculture page.
  3. Local farmers are perhaps your best source for seasonal produce. You can search for local farms on www.localharvest.org.
  4. Shop at your local natural food store or health co-op, as many of them get their produce from local farmers.
  5. If everything else fails, shop at your locally owned grocers rather than large chain supermarkets. Many small private grocers also supply produce from local sources.

Eight Signs of High-Quality Food

Last but not least, here are some general tips on what to look for when trying to determine the healthiest foods possible, no matter where you shop. You’ll want to look for foods that are:

  1. Grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers (organic foods fit this description, but so do some nonorganic foods). If harvesting edible weeds or plants from your garden, make sure no pesticides or herbicides have been applied in the area
  2. Not genetically modified
  3. Contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics or other drugs
  4. Does not contain artificial anything, nor any preservatives
  5. Fresh (if you have to choose between wilted organic produce or fresh conventional produce, the latter may be the better option)
  6. Did not come from a factory farm
  7. Grown with the laws of nature in mind (meaning animals are fed their native diets, not a mix of grains and animal byproducts, and have free-range access to the outdoors)
  8. Grown in a sustainable way (using minimal amounts of water, protecting the soil from burnout, and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants)

from:    https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/03/26/superfoods-for-spring.aspx

Dealing with Depression & Pain

13 Mind-Body Techniques That Can Help Ease Pain and Depression

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Many aches and pains are rooted in brain processes that can be affected by your mental attitude and emotions. While the mechanics of these mind-body links are still being unraveled, what is known is that your brain, and consequently your thoughts and emotions, do play a role in your experience of physical pain.

For instance, meditation appears to work for pain relief because it reduces brain activity in your primary somatosensory cortex, an area that helps create the feeling of where and how intense a painful stimulus is. Laughter is also known to relieve pain because it releases endorphins that activate brain receptors that produce pain-killing and euphoria-producing effects.

This line of communication between mind and body runs both ways though, and physical pain, especially if it’s chronic, is a well-known trigger for depression. According to psychologist Rex Schmidt at the Nebraska Medical Center Pain Management:[1] “Depression and pain happen to share a part of the brain that’s involved in both conditions, which means that mind-body techniques that affect those areas can be efficacious for both.”

Meditation and laughter are just two examples of a burgeoning new field of science that looks at mind-body therapies to address depression and chronic pain. Here are 13 such strategies…

#1: Add EFT to Your Self-Help Toolkit

The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a form of psychological acupressure based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over 5,000 years, but without the invasiveness of needles.

Instead, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to transfer kinetic energy onto specific meridians on your head and chest while you think about your specific problem — whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, anxiety, etc. — and voice positive affirmations.

This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the “short-circuit” — the emotional block — from your body’s bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body’s balance, which is essential for optimal health and the healing of physical disease.

Some people are initially wary of these principles that EFT is based on — the electromagnetic energy that flows through the body and regulates our health is only recently becoming recognized in the West. Others are initially taken aback by (and sometimes amused by) the EFT tapping and affirmation methodology.

But believe me when I say that, more than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, EFT has the most potential to literally work magic. Clinical trials have shown that EFT is able to rapidly reduce the emotional impact of memories and incidents that trigger emotional distress. Once the distress is reduced or removed, the body can often rebalance itself, and accelerate healing.

In the videos below, EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman shows how you can use EFT to relieve your physical pain and depression.

You can also learn more here: A Comprehensive Guide to the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

#2: Massage the Pain Away

Massage offers real health benefits, so much so that some conventional hospitals are making it a standard therapy for surgery patients and others. Along with promoting relaxation and improving your sense of well-being, getting a massage has been shown to:

  • Relieve pain (from migraines, labor, fibromyalgia and even cancer)
  • Reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and ease insomnia
  • Decrease symptoms of PMS
  • Relax and soften injured and overused muscles, reducing spasms and cramping.
  • Provide arthritis relief by increasing joint flexibility.

Massage affects your nervous system through nerve endings in your skin, stimulating the release of endorphins, which are natural “feel good” chemicals. Endorphins help induce relaxation and a sense of well-being, relieve pain and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline — reversing the damaging effects of stress by slowing heart rate, respiration and metabolism and lowering raised blood pressure.

Stronger massage stimulates blood circulation to improve the supply of oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and helps the lymphatic system to flush away waste products. It eases tense and knotted muscles and stiff joints, improving mobility and flexibility. Massage is said to increase activity of the vagus nerve, one of 10 cranial nerves, that affects the secretion of food absorption hormones, heart rate and respiration. It has proven to be an effective therapy for a variety of health conditions — particularly stress-related tension, which experts believe accounts for as much as 80 percent to 90 percent of disease.

As reported by iVillage.com:[2]

“[A] new study from Thailand suggests that traditional Thai massage can decrease pain intensity, muscle tension and anxiety among people with shoulder pain. Meanwhile, research from the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami in Florida found that when adults with hand pain had four weeks of massage therapy, they reported a lot less pain, anxiety and depression.

Another study at the Touch Research Institute found that when pregnant women who were depressed received massages from their partners twice a week, they had much less leg and back pain and fewer symptoms of depression during the second half of their pregnancies.”

#3: Remain in the Now…

Practicing “mindfulness” means that you’re actively paying attention to the moment you’re in right now. Rather than letting your mind wander, when you’re mindful you’re living in the moment and letting distracting thoughts pass through your mind without getting caught up in their emotional implications. Though it sounds simple, it often takes a concerted effort to remain in a mindful state, especially if it’s new to you. But doing so can offer some very significant benefits to both your mental and physical health.

For example, mindfulness training has been found to reduce levels of stress-induced inflammation, which could benefit people suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma.

This makes sense, since chronic stress heightens the inflammatory response, and mindfulness is likely to help you relieve feelings of stress and anxiety. In one eight-week study,[3] people who received mindfulness training had smaller inflammatory responses than those who received a control intervention, which focused on healthy activities to reduce psychological stress but without particular instruction on mindfulness. Similarly, according to iVillage.com:[2]

“Mindfulness meditation — focusing on your breath and each present moment — can lessen cancer pain, low back pain and migraine headaches. Researchers at Brown University in Providence, R.I., found that when women with chronic pelvic pain participated in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program, their pain decreased and their mood improved.”

In many ways, mindfulness is similar to transcendental meditation, the idea of which is to reach a place of “restful” or “concentrated” alertness, which enables you to let negative thoughts and distractions pass by you without upsetting your calm and balance. This type of meditation is easy to try at home: simply sit quietly, perhaps with some soothing music, breathe rhythmically and focus on something such as your breathing, a flower, an image, a candle, a mantra or even just being there, fully aware, in the moment.

Researchers report that practicing mindfulness meditation for just four days affects pain responses in your brain. Brain activity decreases in areas devoted to monitoring a painful body part, and also in areas responsible for relaying sensory information.

For more information, please see: Why We Get Held Hostage by Our Emotions – and How Mindfulness Can Help

#4: Take Control with Biofeedback

In biofeedback, electrical sensors attached to your skin allow you to monitor your biological changes, such as heart rate, and this feedback can help you achieve a deeper state of relaxation. It can also teach you to control your heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension through your mind. According to psychologist Rex Schmidt:

“Through focus and mental strategies, biofeedback induces the relaxation response and gives you a greater sense of control.”

Biofeedback is often used for stress-related conditions, such as:

  • Migraines and tension-type headaches
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Back pain
  • Depression and anxiety

#5: Free Yourself from Tension with Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is achieved by tensing and relaxing all the major muscle groups, one at a time, from head to toe. By learning to feel the difference between tension and relaxation, you can more actively disengage your body’s fight-or-flight response, which underlies most pain, depression and stress. As reported by iVillage.com:[2]

“Studies show that whether PMR is used on its own or with guided imagery, it helps ease emotional distress and pain from cancer, osteoarthritis, surgery and other conditions.”

#6: Harness Relaxation with Tai Chi

The 2,000-year-old Chinese practice of tai chi is a branch of Qigong — exercises that harness the qi (life energy). It’s been linked to numerous health benefits, including improvements in the quality of life of breast cancer patients and Parkinson’s sufferers, and has shown promise in treating sleep problems and high blood pressure.

Often described as “meditation in motion” or “moving meditation,” the activity takes your body through a specific set of graceful movements. Your body is constantly in motion and each movement flows right into the next. While practicing tai chi, your mind is meant to stay focused on your movements, relaxation and deep breathing, while distracting thoughts are ignored.

Part of the allure is that it’s so gentle, it’s an ideal form of activity for people with pain or other conditions that prevent more vigorous exercise. You can even do tai chi if you’re confined to a wheelchair. Even respected conventional health institutions such as the Mayo Clinic[4] and Harvard Medical School[5] recommend tai chi for its health benefits, especially as a stress-reduction tool. However, there are more studies available than you might think; suggesting tai chi has an impressive range of health benefits. To browse through them, please see the WorldTaiChiDay.org[6] web site. According to the study, A Randomized Trial of Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia:

“In a recent study at the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, researchers found that when people with fibromyalgia participated in 60-minute tai chi sessions twice a week for 12 weeks, they had much less physical and mental discomfort. The researchers also reviewed the medical literature on tai chi’s effect on psychological well-being and concluded that it reduces depression, anxiety and stress.”

#7: Breathe Easy…

Deep breathing activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which induces the relaxation response. There are many different breathing practices that you can try, but here I’m going to share two that are both powerful and very easy to perform. The first one I learned when I attended a presentation by Dr. Andrew Weil at the 2009 Expo West in California. The key to this exercise is to remember the numbers 4, 7 and 8. It’s not important to focus on how much time you spend in each phase of the breathing activity, but rather that you get the ratio correct. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Sit up straight
  2. Place the tip of your tongue up against the back of your front teeth. Keep it there through the entire breathing process
  3. Breathe in silently through your nose to the count of four
  4. Hold your breath to the count of seven
  5. Exhale through your mouth to the count of eight, making an audible “woosh” sound
  6. That completes one full breath. Repeat the cycle another three times, for a total of four breaths

You can do this 4-7-8 exercise as frequently as you want throughout the day, but it’s recommended you don’t do more than four full breaths during the first month or so of practice. Later, you may work your way up to eight full breath cycles at a time. The benefits of this simple practice are enormous and work as a natural tranquilizer for your nervous system.

The second is known as the Buteyko Breathing Method, which is a powerful approach for reversing health problems associated with improper breathing, the most common of which are overbreathing and mouthbreathing. When you stop mouth breathing and learn to bring your breathing volume toward normal, you have better oxygenation of your tissues and organs, including your brain.

Factors of modern life, including stress and lack of exercise, all increase your everyday breathing. Typical characteristics of overbreathing include mouth breathing, upper chest breathing, sighing, noticeable breathing during rest, and taking large breaths prior to talking.

Controlling anxiety and quelling panic attacks is one of the areas where the Buteyko Method can be quite useful. If you’re experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, or if you feel very stressed and your mind can’t stop racing, try the following breathing technique. This sequence helps retain and gently accumulate carbon dioxide, leading to calmer breathing and reduces anxiety. In other words, the urge to breathe will decline as you go into a more relaxed state:

  1. Take a small breath into your nose, followed by a small breath out
  2. Then hold your nose for five seconds in order to hold your breath, and then release your nose to resume breathing
  3. Breathe normally for 10 seconds
  4. Repeat the sequence

To learn more, see: The Buteyko Method: How This Simple Breathing Technique Can Radically Transform Health

#8: Hypnosis for Pain Management

Hypnosis, which is a trance-like state in which you experience heightened focus and concentration, can help decrease pain by altering your emotional responses to your body’s pain signals and your thoughts about the pain. Contrary to popular belief, you do not relinquish control over your behavior while under hypnosis, but it does render you more open to suggestions from the hypnotherapist. As reported by iVillage.com:

“Studies show that hypnosis can help manage the pain from childbirth and metastatic breast cancer as well as chronic low back pain. What’s more, cognitive hypnotherapy can lead to less depression, anxiety and hopelessness among depressed people than cognitive behavioral therapy does, according to research from the University of Calgary in Canada.”

#9: Soothe Your Mind and Body Through the Power of Music

If you’re a music lover, you already know that turning on the tunes can help calm your nerves, make stress disappear, pump up your energy level during a workout, bring back old memories, as well as prompt countless other emotions. When you listen to music, much more is happening in your body than simple auditory processing.

Music triggers activity in the nucleus accumbens, a part of your brain that releases the feel-good chemical dopamine and is involved in forming expectations. At the same time, the amygdala, which is involved in processing emotion, and the prefrontal cortex, which makes possible abstract decision-making, are also activated, according to recent research published in the journal Science.[7] Other research[8] revealed listening to music resulted in less anxiety and lower cortisol levels among patients about to undergo surgery than taking anti-anxiety drugs. As reported by iVillage.com:

“…[R]esearchers in Cleveland found that when [burn] patients listened to music and used visual imagery as a distraction when their wound dressings were being changed, they experienced significantly less pain, anxiety and muscle tension. In a study in Norway, depressed people who had music therapy plus psychotherapy were less depressed and anxious and more functional than those who just did regular therapy.”

Musical preference varies widely between individuals, so only you can decide what will effectively put you in a particular mood. Overall, classical music tends to be among the most calming, so may be worth a try. To incorporate music into a busy schedule, try playing CDs while driving, or put on some tunes while you’re getting ready for work in the morning. You can also take portable music with you when walking the dog, or turn on the stereo instead of watching TV in the evening.

For more information, please see: How Music Benefits The Brain

#10: Take Up Yoga

Yoga has been proven to be particularly beneficial if you suffer with back pain, but recent research also suggests it can also be of tremendous benefit for your mental health. Duke University researchers recently published a review[9] of more than 100 studies looking at the effect of yoga on mental health, and according to lead author Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center:[10]

“Most individuals already know that yoga produces some kind of a calming effect. Individually, people feel better after doing the physical exercise. Mentally, people feel calmer, sharper, maybe more content. We thought it’s time to see if we could pull all [the literature] together… to see if there’s enough evidence that the benefits individual people notice can be used to help people with mental illness.”

According to their findings, yoga appears to have a positive effect on:

  • Mild depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Schizophrenia (among patients using medication)
  • ADHD (among patients using medication)

Some of the studies suggest yoga can have a similar effect to antidepressants and psychotherapy, by influencing neurotransmitters and boosting serotonin. Yoga was also found to reduce levels of inflammation, oxidative stress, blood lipids and growth factors.

For more information, please see: Modern Science Confirms Yoga’s Many Health Benefits

#11: Visualization and Guided Imagery

According to iVillage.com, visualization techniques or guided imagery can serve as an important tool to combat both physical pain and depression by imagining being in “a better place.”

“Research shows it can help with pain from cancer, osteoarthritis and childbirth by providing distraction and promoting a state of relaxation. In addition, a study from Portugal found that when people hospitalized for depressive disorders listened to a guided imagery CD once a day for 10 days, they were less depressed, anxious and stressed over time, compared to peers who didn’t use visualization.”

Ideally, you’ll want to immerse yourself as fully as you possibly into your visualization, using all your senses: seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, and feeling. According to Dr. Schmidt:

“Using all your senses changes levels of brain chemicals such as serotonin, epinephrine and endorphins, and with regular practice you’ll gain more of a sense of control, which is often lacking when you’re in pain or depressed.”

#12: Repeat a Calming Mantra

The repeated incantation of a mantra — a soothing or uplifting word or phrase of your choice — in a rhythmic fashion can help you relax in a similar way as mindfulness training. The focused repetition, also called autogenic training, helps keep your mind from wandering and worrying, and engages your body’s relaxation response.

“A study at the University of Manchester in the U.K. found that autogenic training helped female migraine sufferers decrease the frequency and intensity of their headaches. And research from the University of Melbourne in Australia suggests that autogenic training may provide ‘helpful longer-term effects’ on symptoms of depression,” according to iVillage.com.

#13: Remove Pain and Dysfunctional Psychological Conditions with the Neurostructural Integration Technique

The Neurostructural Integration Technique (NST) is an amazing innovative technique developed in Australia. Using a series of gentle moves on specific muscles or at precise points on your body creates an energy flow and vibrations between these points. This allows your body to communicate better with itself and balance the other tissues, muscles and organs. The method of action is likely through your autonomic nervous system (ANS), allowing your body to better carry out its many functions the way it was designed to.

The main objective is to remove pain and dysfunctional physiological conditions by restoring the structural integrity of the body. In essence, NST provides the body with an opportunity to reintegrate on many levels, and thus return to and maintain normal homeostatic limits on a daily basis.

NST is done with a light touch and can be done through clothing. There are pauses between sets of moves to allow your body to assimilate the energy and vibrations. To learn more, please review the article, Gentle Hands Can Restore Your Health, by Micheal Nixon Levy who developed the technique.

Sources and References:

Heart Health, Statins, Fats, etc.

Great Britain’s Most Outspoken Cardiologist Sets the Record Straight on Saturated Fats

June 05, 2016

By Dr. Mercola

Is saturated fat really the health hazard it’s been made out to be? Dr. Aseem Malhotra is an interventional cardiologist consultant in London, U.K., who gained quite a bit of publicity after the publication of his peer-reviewed editorial1 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2013.

In it, he seriously challenges the conventional view on saturated fats, and reviews how recent studies have failed to find any significant association between saturated fat and cardiovascular risk.

In fact, Malhotra reports that two-thirds of people admitted to hospitals with acute myocardial infarction have completely normal cholesterol levels. Malhotra, founder of Action on Sugar, also works as an adviser to the U.K.’s National Obesity Forum.

“My focus has been, ‘what can we do as individuals collectively (the medical profession) to help curb demand on the health system?’” he says. “A lot of that is being driven by diet-related diseases.

According to the Lancet Global Burden of Disease Reports, poor diets now contribute to more disease and death than physical activities — smoking and alcohol combined …

As an interventional cardiologist, we can do life-saving procedures with people who have heart attacks through heart surgery. But to be honest, rather than saving them from drowning, I’d rather they wouldn’t be thrown into the river in the first place. This is really where my focus has shifted.

I think for many of us, as clinicians moving more towards intervention, I think the realization that what we can do in medicine is really quite limited at the treatment end and actually the whole ‘prevention is better than cure’ phrase is very true.”

Hospitals and Medical Personnel Are Far From Paragons of Health

Malhotra’s epiphany that something was wrong with the system came rather early. While working as a resident in cardiology, he performed an emergency stenting procedure on a man in his 50s who’d recently suffered a heart attack.

The following morning, Malhotra spoke to the man, giving him the usual advice about quitting smoking and improving his diet.

“Just when I was telling about healthy diet, how important that was, he was actually served burger and fries by the hospital. He said to me, ‘Doctor, how do you expect me to change my lifestyle when you’re serving me the same crap that brought me in here in the first place?’”

Looking around, he realized that a lot of healthcare professionals are overweight or obese, and hospitals serve sick patients junk food. He believes one of the first things that really needs to happen is to set a good example in hospitals.

“The hospital environment should be one that promotes good health, not exacerbates bad health,” he says. His journey began with an email to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who did a lot of work campaigning for improved food in school canteens. Malhotra asked Oliver for ideas on how to improve hospital food.

“A couple of years later, I ended up going to the British Medical Association Annual Conference. I put a motion forward saying there should be a policy from the BMA to ban the selling of junk food in hospitals. It got an overwhelming majority vote.”

Diet and lifestyle changes are particularly important in light of the fact that medical errors and properly prescribed medications are the third most common cause of death after heart disease and cancer. Overmedication is a particularly serious problem among the elderly, who tend to suffer more side effects.

“Part of that is because there are very powerful vested interests that push drugs,” Malhotra says. “They even coax academic institutions and guideline bodies. People aren’t getting all the information to make decisions, whether or not they should take medications …

This is a major problem, especially [since] we’ve neglected or detracted from lifestyle changes, which are going to be much more impactful on your health and without side effects.”

For Past 60 Years, the Wrong Fats Have Been Vilified

For the past 60 years, the conventional wisdom has dictated that saturated fat is dangerous and should be avoided. This flawed notion was originally promoted by Dr. Ancel Keys, whose Seven Countries Study laid the groundwork for the myth that saturated fat caused heart disease.

It’s true that heart disease rates began spiking in the beginning of the 20th century, and for 50 years, heart disease has been progressively increasing. It really wasn’t an issue prior to the 20th century. But were saturated fats really to blame?

My belief is that it was in fact due to fats, but contrary to popular belief, saturated fat wasn’t the problem. It was all the other harmful fats people were eating.

In the 20th century, the average person probably had less than 1 pound a year of refined, processed omega-6 vegetable oils. By the 1950s, probably about 50 pounds a year, and by year 2000, it increased at about 75 pounds a year. It seems “fat” in itself isn’t the issue; it’s the type of fat that’s crucial.

This massive amount of highly refined polyunsaturated fat is far in excess of what we were designed to eat for optimal health. And I suspect that’s what catalyzed Keys to devise his research to come up with a justification for his recommendation to lower fat intake.

“What’s interesting is if you look in the United States, between 1961 and 2011, 90 percent of the calorie intake has been carbohydrates and refined industrial vegetable oils,” Malhotra says. “I think you’re absolutely correct.

The heart disease epidemic peaked between 1960 and 1970. It started to rise about 1920. When we look at our data, it’s quite clear that the so-called fats responsible for that are trans fats and very likely polyunsaturated vegetable oils high in omega-6 fatty acids.

We know now that they oxidize LDL and are pro-inflammatory. The other issue was smoking. Smoking was very high. When smoking reduction occurred from regulatory efforts, heart attack admissions dropped very rapidly. That’s because just 30 minutes after smoking, platelet activity increases.

A quick example: Helena, Montana 2002 brought in a public smoking ban. Within six months, there was a 40 percent reduction in hospital admissions for heart attack. When the law was rescinded, the hospital admissions came back to preceding levels.

When you combine all those things, it’s very clear. The dietary factors — trans fats, refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils, and smoking — are probably the three most important factors.”

What Are the Real Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

By failing to differentiate between trans fats and saturated fats, massive confusion has arisen. There’s also confusion about the relationship between saturated fat and cholesterol. Adding to the complexity, there are also different types of saturated fats, which may have different biological effects.

Many saturated fats will raise LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol. But LDLs come in various sizes. Large type A particles are less atherogenic and are influenced by saturated fat. Saturated fat also increases HDL, the “good” cholesterol.

“What’s interesting is the saturated fat, even though it may raise LDL, your lipid profile may actually improve [when you eat more saturated fat], especially when you cut the carbs. On top of that, LDL has been grossly exaggerated as a risk factor for heart disease, with the exception of people who have a genetic abnormality (familial hypercholesterolemia),” Malhotra says.

“Certainly when you get over the age of 60, the cardiovascular association between LDL cholesterol and cardiovascular mortality diminishes. It becomes almost negligible. For overall mortality, there is an inverse association with LDL. The higher your LDL, if you’re over 60, the less likely you are to die.

So what is the major issue when you look at heart disease and heart attacks? Insulin resistance … The reason it’s being neglected is partly this flawed science on cholesterol. But also because there’s never been any effective drugs that target insulin resistance.

Therefore, because [there isn’t a] big market around something to sell, there aren’t many people that know about it. As you and I know, if you target insulin resistance through the right kind of diet and lifestyle changes, stress reduction, right kind of exercise, that’s going to have the biggest impacts on your health.”

Gauging Your Heart Disease Risk

Factors that can help gauge your heart disease risk include:

If you have 3 out of the following 5 indications of metabolic syndrome: insulin resistance, high triglycerides, low HDL, hypertension and increased waist circumference, then you are at high risk for heart disease. Another major risk factor for heart disease that receives virtually no attention is high iron levels.

In menstruating women, this is not an issue since they lose blood on a monthly basis. This is actually part of why premenopausal women have a decreased risk of heart disease.

In men, iron levels can rise to dangerously high levels. In my experience, the majority of adult males and postmenopausal women have elevated levels that put their health at risk. Checking your iron levels is easy and can be done with a simple blood test called a serum ferritin test.

I believe this is one of the most important tests that everyone should have done on a regular basis as part of a preventive, proactive health screen. If your levels are high, all you have to do is donate blood a few times a year.

The Connection Between Saturated Fats and Diabetes

Malhotra cites a 2014 Lancet study looking at the association between dietary saturated fat, plasma saturated fat and type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, while dietary saturated fats found in dairy products were strongly inversely associated with the development of type 2 diabetes (meaning it was protective), endogenously-synthesized plasma-saturated fat was strongly associated with an increased risk.

Endogenously-synthesized plasma-saturated fats are fatty acids produced by your liver in response to net carbohydrates, sugar and alcohol. These findings suggest eating full-fat dairy products may protect you against type 2 diabetes, whereas consuming too many net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) will increase your risk of type 2 diabetes — in part by raising the saturated fat levels in your bloodstream.

That said, I believe a caution may be warranted. Milk, even raw milk, is actually high in net carbs, which your body converts to glucose. So as a general rule, I recommend avoiding milk. Butter is an exception, as it’s almost pure fat and has virtually no net carbs.

Healthy Fat Tips

Here are a few tips to help ensure you’re eating the right fats for your health:

  • Use organic butter made from raw grass-fed milk instead of margarines and vegetable oil spreads.
  • Use coconut oil for cooking. It is primarily a saturated fat and more resistant to heat damage than other cooking oils. It will also help improve your ability to burn fat and serve as a great source of energy to help you make the transition to burning fat for fuel.
  • Sardines and anchovies are an excellent source of beneficial omega-3 fats and are also very low in toxins that are present in most other fish.
  • To round out your healthy fat intake, be sure to eat raw fats, such as those from avocados, raw dairy products, and olive oil, and also take a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fat, such as krill oil.

Why Statins Are a Bad Idea for Most People

In addition to the recommendation to follow a low-fat diet, many doctors are still avid prescribers of statins, which help lower your cholesterol. In fact, 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 40 are on these drugs; soon to be 1 in 3. Malhotra is greatly troubled by these kinds of statistics.

“This is a drug that was marketed over the last three decades as being a wonder drug. It’s driven a multi-trillion dollar industry. We’re only now realizing that the benefits of statins have been grossly exaggerated and the side effects underplayed. One of the reasons for that is that most if not all of the studies that drove the guidelines, and the information around statin prescription, were industry-sponsored studies.

One of the things we have neglected in medicine is this issue around absolute risk and relative risk. The reality is if you look at the published data … if you have heart disease and you’ve had a heart attack, then taking a statin every day for five years, there’s a 1 in 83 chance that [statin] will save your life.

That means in 82 of 83 cases, it’s not going to save your life. That information isn’t given to patients, but it’s really important. Actually that’s a much more informative and transparent way to understand the benefit they’re going to get.

On top of that when you look at people with lower risk, otherwise healthy people, there is no mortality benefit. People should know that if they haven’t had a heart attack, according to the published literature, they are not high risk and they’re going to live one day longer from taking statins.”

Statins Are Associated With Serious Side Effects

Then there’s the issue of side effects. According to Malhotra, between 1 in 3 and 1 in 5 patients suffer unacceptable side effects (which he qualifies as side effects that interfere with or diminish the quality of your life). Muscle pain is the most significant side effect reported followed by fatigue (mostly in women). This isn’t very surprising, considering the fact that statins are essentially a metabolic blocker and mitochondrial poison.

They inhibit an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. This is how they lower cholesterol. But that same enzyme is also responsible for a number of other things like making coenzyme Q10, which is why muscle pain and fatigue are so common. This is in fact a sign that your CoQ10 is being depleted, and you don’t have enough cellular energy.

Statins also block the formation of ketones, which are an essential part of mitochondrial nutrition and overall health. If you can’t make ketones, you impair the metabolism in your entire body, including your heart, thereby raising your risk for heart problems and a variety of other diseases. It’s also recently been established that within a few years of taking statins, the drug causes type 2 diabetes in one out of 100 patients.

That too can be a significant tradeoff that needs to be taken into account, as diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease and other chronic diseases. Dr. Michel De Lorgeril, a well-respected French cardiologist at Grenoble University recently reopened the debate about statins after publishing a review in which he questions whether statins actually have any benefit at all.

“He pointed out several discrepancies in the original trials … statistical manipulation, conflict of interest … ” Malhotra says. ”He’s actually suggested that maybe nobody benefits from statins; even people on statins for prevention.

He says that unless we get access to the raw data, independent analysis, the actual claims about the benefits of statins are not evidence-based. Now, I’m not personally saying that. I’m saying this is really intriguing and certainly raises as many questions … This is something that people need to know about. Even if we use the published literature at face value properly, people would be better informed. That’s the way forward in my view.”

More Information

Malhotra is currently finalizing a film called “The Big Fat Fix,” which will present a dietary protocol that incorporates many of the components of the Mediterranean lifestyle to help you reduce your risk of obesity, reverse type 2 diabetes and improve your cardiovascular health.

“We went to visit the village where Ancel Keys spent six months each year for 30 years doing his research. They had very high longevity. We try and find out what the secrets were and how things got misinterpreted,” Malhotra says. “This is really what the film will show. Where did things go wrong and where do we go from here?”

For more information, please visit Malhotra’s website, DoctorAseem.com, where you can find his blog, academic publications, newspaper articles and interviews.

from:     http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/06/05/saturated-fat-heart-disease-risk.aspx

Importance of Vitamin D & The Sun

How Dermatologists Fuel Chronic Disease Rates With Their Flawed Sun Exposure Guidelines

Story at-a-glance

  • The U.S. Surgeon General, the American Academy of Dermatology, and The Skin Cancer Foundation all view sunlight irrationally as a dangerous skin cancer risk
  • Sun avoidance fuels health problems associated with vitamin D deficiency, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, and poses special health risks to pregnant mothers and their children
  • The evidence supporting sensible sun exposure is strong and clear, while there’s little evidence that sunscreen use protects against skin cancer, or that vitamin D supplements are bioequivalent to sunshine

By Dr. Mercola

In July 2014, the interim U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak, who is also a dermatologist, issued a “Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer,”1,2 in which he declared UV radiation harmful and said sun exposure should be avoided altogether.

The American Academy of Dermatology and The Skin Cancer Foundation also advocate avoiding all sun exposure — regardless of the color of your skin — saying vitamin D supplementation can address any deficiencies.

This is an irrational and shortsighted position that lacks any credibility. The scientific evidence, now running in excess of 34,000 studies, detail that UV exposure is essential, both for vitamin D production and other benefits unrelated to vitamin D.

The color of your skin is a significant factor to determine appropriate exposure times and any advice that does not take this into consideration is illogical.  We are not nocturnal beings, avoiding the sun entirely is horrible advice that should not be followed.

Dermatologists’ Position on Sun Exposure Riddled With Fatal Flaws

Let’s remember that, because of their irrational concern, they were able to convince public health officials and media to convince people to use sunscreens.

What happened as a result of the public adopting this proactive “preventive” approach? Skin cancers actually increased.

Why? Because the dermatologists did not do their homework. Most sunscreens blocked UVB, which causes vitamin D levels to increase and lower cancer rates, but they let UVA, which can cause skin cancer when excessively exposed, to shine right through like a hot knife through butter.

What’s worse, they never admitted to their egregious mistake. Ironically,  the only location dermatologists approve of UV light treatment is in their office under costly supervision.

Avoiding Sun Exposure Radically Worsens Disease Rates

Advocating abstinence from UV light is undoubtedly fueling many health problems associated with vitamin D deficiency, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases and depression.

UVB exposure is essential for optimal health, and any risks of exposure are related to over exposure and burning. Research shows vitamin D is involved in the biochemical regulation of nearly every cell in your body, including your immune system.

Vitamin D deficiency can deteriorate your health in a number of different ways, as your cells need the active form of vitamin D to optimally regulate genetic expression.

As noted by William Grant, Ph.D., head of the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center (SUNARC), staying indoors to avoid sun exposure is “not particularly good advice,” adding that:3

“There are several papers indicating that occupational exposure to sunlight reduces the risk of melanoma. It is having fair skin, a high-fat, low fruit and vegetable diet, sunburning, etc., that are more linked to melanoma than total UV exposure.”

Vitamin D Is Crucial for Pregnant Women

Vitamin D is particularly important for pregnant women, as deficiency affects both the mother and her child in the short and long term, including raising the child’s long-term risk for diabetes, allergic rhinitis,4 arthritis, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.Recent research shows that raising maternal vitamin D levels helps children born in winter months develop stronger, healthier bones.5 Lead researcher Professor Nicholas Harvey, Ph.D., of the University of Southampton, also notes that sun exposure is the most important source of vitamin D.

Health initiatives such as GrassrootsHealth D*Action study,6 and the Protect Our Children NOW! campaign are both based on these fundamental and scientifically proven facts.

Dermatologists Ignore Skin Color

The fact that the American Academy of Dermatology issues the same recommendations for everyone, without regard for skin type, is telling. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they view sun exposure as nothing but a dangerous cancer risk to be avoided at all costs.

This is a really nonsensical, and most definitively nonscientific, stance. According to their advice, even if you have the darkest skin, you should always seek shade and wear protective clothing and/or sunscreen when outdoors.

The notion that supplements are bioequivalent to sunshine is lacking.  While I recommend supplements if UVB exposure is not available, to suggest that vitamin D can replace all the benefits of sun exposure is ridiculous.

In fact, each of us responds quite differently to vitamin D supplementation – there is a 6 to 10 times difference in dosage response between individuals.   If you are supplementing with vitamin D, you should have your levels checked twice per year to ensure you stay above 40ng/ml.

Because of this, vitamin D experts such as Grant and Dr. Michael F. Holick note that sensible sun exposure is far preferable to vitamin D supplementation.

Oversimplifying the Issue Is Not a Good Public Health Policy

The Skin Cancer Foundation echoes the American Academy of Dermatology’s recommendations.

When questioned about this philosophy and asked why the recommendations fail to take into account skin type and color, Dr. Henry Lim, who sits on The Skin Cancer Foundation’s photobiology committee, replied that such information is irrelevant because vitamin D supplements can address deficiency.

According to Lim:7

“We want to make it simple as a public health message — as to what the public should reasonably be able to absorb and understand. To fine tune it is just too complicated we feel.”

But by oversimplifying the matter, dermatologists place a great number of people at grave risk for vitamin D deficiency, which may not be identified until health problems have already set in. Moreover, the advice to use sunscreen is also on shaky scientific ground.

According to an analysis by epidemiologist Marianne Berwick, Ph.D., there’s very little evidence to suggest that sunscreen use will prevent skin cancer.

After analyzing a dozen studies on basal cell carcinoma, which is typically non-lethal, and the more deadly melanoma, Berwick found that people who use sunscreen tend to be more likely to develop both of these conditions.

Only 2 of 10 melanoma studies found that sunscreen was protective against this condition; three found no association either way. None found sunscreen use protected against basal cell carcinoma.8

Your Body Is Designed to Optimize Health Effects of Sun Exposure

While you certainly need to avoid the skin damage associated with sunburn, sun exposure is required for optimal health, and your skin type plays a major role in how much UVB exposure you need and can safely tolerate.

Darker-skinned people not only need more sun exposure to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D, they’re also more protected from skin cancer due to their skin pigmentation. Yet this important reality is simply ignored by dermatologists, resulting in most African Americans being at a radically increased risk of cancers and heart disease from vitamin D deficiency.

As noted in a previous article by Nautilus:9

“How the sun affects you depends on your complexion, the shade of which is determined by melanin … The anti-oxidizing molecule is so versatile at protecting and repairing DNA from UV solar radiation that creatures from humans to fungi deploy it … [T]he melanin sits atop cellular DNA like tiny umbrellas pointed … out to shield from incoming rays …

[T]he same ultraviolet wavelengths in the 290 to 400 nanometers range that trigger melanin production also spark vitamin D creation. You cannot make one without the other.

Humans evolved to produce two kinds of melanin … The MC1R gene determines the type of melanin the body produces. In the mid-zone such as the Mediterranean region, people … produce eumelanin, the pigment responsible for brown or black hair and for dark skin that tans easily …

[I]n far northern Europe, humans paled, adapting to lower light … with a different type of melanin, called pheomelanin, associated with fair skin and blonde and red hair with minimal protective value, but allowing more UV to penetrate to make vitamin D. ”

Sun Avoidance Raises Risk of Internal Cancers

Dermatology is focused on one primary outcome — avoiding skin damage and skin cancer. But by focusing on just one side of the UV exposure issue, they’re actually promoting a lifestyle that may raise your risk of other lethal cancers and chronic diseases. Not only have higher vitamin D levels been shown to offer significant protection against a number of internal cancers, there’s also evidence showing higher levels offer protection against melanoma.

In fact, higher rates of melanoma are found among those who have low vitamin D levels; among indoor occupations; and in areas of the body that rarely or never see the light of day. In short, the vitamin D your body produces in response to UVB radiation is protective against skin cancer. As noted in The Lancet:10

“Paradoxically, outdoor workers have a decreased risk of melanoma compared with indoor workers, suggesting that chronic sunlight exposure can have a protective effect.”

Even more importantly, vitamin D has been shown to significantly reduce internal cancers, along with chronic diseases such as heart disease, which kill far more people than melanoma does. Breast11 and prostate12,13 cancers are just two examples where low vitamin D renders you more vulnerable to more aggressive forms of the disease. Recent research14 has also found that low vitamin D levels are associated with more severe peripheral neuropathy in cancer patients.

Reporting on recent research linking low vitamin D levels to an increased risk for aggressive breast cancer, Medical Daily writes:15

“The researchers linked vitamin D levels to the ID1 gene, which at high levels of expression is associated with breast cancer tumor growth. Past studies have shown that vitamin D is linked to inhibiting the expression of this gene, and that low vitamin D levels have been associated with more aggressive tumors. ”

Public Health Messages Should Be Based on All-Cause Mortality Reduction

TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE & VIEW THE VIDEOS< GO TO:    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/03/14/vitamin-d-sun-exposure-guidelines

Nutrition Tips to Fight Colds

Foods That Fight the Common Cold

October 26, 2015

Story at-a-glance

  • Since colds are viral in nature, antibiotics are completely useless and should be avoided, unless your physician diagnoses a serious secondary bacterial infection
  • Vitamin C is known for its benefits for infectious diseases. Kiwi fruits are exceptionally high in vitamin C, and research suggests kiwis may help reduce duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections
  • Research shows chicken soup — especially when made from homemade bone broth — has medicinal qualities that significantly mitigate infection

By Dr. Mercola

The common cold is the most common infectious disease in the US and many other areas of the world.

Cold symptoms are triggered by hundreds of different viruses — not bacteria — and infection is typically spread by hand-to-hand contact between people, or by touching objects that harbor the pathogens.

Since colds are viral in nature, antibiotics are completely useless and should be avoided, unless your physician diagnoses a serious secondary bacterial infection. Using antibiotics when no bacterial pathogen is present simply contributes to the problem of antibiotic-resistant disease.

The key to preventing colds and recovering from them quickly is to maintain a strong immune system, which includes: optimizing your diet, avoiding sugar, optimizing your vitamin D level, getting enough sleep and exercise, managing your stress, and practicing good hand washing technique.

Just being exposed to a cold virus does not automatically mean you’ll catch a cold. If your immune system is operating at its peak, your body will be able to fend off the virus without ever getting sick, even if you’re exposed to it.

A number of foods, herbs, and supplements can be particularly helpful for promoting strong immune function1,2,3 which is the focus of this article.

Boost Your Immune Function with Vitamin C-Rich Foods

Some health experts, such as Dr. Ronald Hunninghake, believe vitamin C is one of the nutrients you need whenever something ails you, be it the common cold or cancer. Vitamin C is best known for its benefits for infectious diseases though.

A perfect example of the healing power of this antioxidant vitamin is the dramatic case of Allan Smith, who contracted a serious case of swine flu, and was brought back from the brink of death using a combination of IV and oral vitamin C.

Research4 published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2013 found that regular supplementation with vitamin C had a “modest but consistent effect in reducing the duration of common cold symptoms.”

Endurance athletes who took vitamin C supplements also halved their risk for the common cold.

Kiwi fruits are exceptionally high in vitamin C, along with vitamin E, folate, polyphenols, and carotenoids, and research5 published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a kiwi-packed diet reduced the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections symptoms in older individuals.

Other foods high in vitamin C include: citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, papaya, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Your Risk of Catching a Cold

Vitamin D is another nutrient that tends to play a role in most diseases, especially infectious ones. It’s a potent antimicrobial agent, producing 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Suboptimal vitamin D levels will significantly impair your immune response and make you far more susceptible to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.

The research is quite clear on this point: The higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections.

In the largest and most nationally representative study6 of its kind, involving about 19,000 Americans, those with the lowest vitamin D levels reported having significantly more colds or cases of the flu.

At least five additional studies also show an inverse association between lower respiratory tract infections and vitamin D levels.

The best source for vitamin D is direct sun (UVB) exposure. If neither natural nor artificial sunlight is an option, then using an oral vitamin D3 supplement is recommended. Just remember you also need to increase your vitamin K2 when taking high doses of vitamin D3.

Based on the latest research from GrassrootsHealth, the average adult dose required to reach vitamin D levels of about 40 ng/ml is around 8,000 IUs of vitamin D3 per day. For children, many experts agree they need about 35 IUs of vitamin D per pound of body weight.

These are very general guidelines though. The only way to determine your optimal dose is to get your blood tested. Ideally, you’ll want to maintain a vitamin D level of 50 to 70 ng/ml year-round.

Chicken Soup Really Is a Valid Cold Remedy

Poor immune function tends to be rooted in an unbalanced mix of microorganisms in your digestive system, courtesy of an inappropriate and unbalanced diet that is too high in sugars and too low in healthful fats and beneficial bacteria. Homemade bone broth or “stock” is a valuable remedy, as it’s easily digestible and contains many valuable nutrients that help heal the lining of your intestines. This includes:

  • Easily absorbable minerals, including magnesium, phosphorous, silicon, sulfur, and trace minerals
  • Chondroitin sulfates, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage, which helps reduce joint pain and inflammation
  • Amino acids such as glycine, proline, and arginine — all of which have anti-inflammatory effects.

Arginine, for example, has been found to be particularly beneficial for the treatment of sepsis7 (whole-body inflammation). Glycine also has calming effects, which may help you sleep better

Chicken soup made with homemade bone broth is excellent for speeding healing and recuperation from illness. You’ve undoubtedly heard the old adage that chicken soup will help cure a cold, and there’s scientific support8 for such a statement. A study9 published over a decade ago found that chicken soup indeed has medicinal qualities, significantly mitigating infection.

In addition to the anti-inflammatory benefits of bone broth, chicken contains a natural amino acid called cysteine, which can thin the mucus in your lungs and make it less sticky so you can expel it more easily. Keep in mind that processed, canned soups will not work as well as the homemade version made from slow-cooked bone broth.

If combating a cold, make the soup hot and spicy with plenty of pepper. The spices will trigger a sudden release of watery fluids in your mouth, throat, and lungs, which will help thin down the respiratory mucus so it’s easier to expel. Black peppercorns also contain high amounts of piperine, a compound with fever-reducing and pain-relieving properties.

Other Foods That Help Strengthen Immune Function

Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle year-round is the long-term solution to making it through cold and flu season unscathed. Detailed instructions that will help set you the right path can be found in my optimized nutrition and lifestyle plan, which is focused around real food. Importantly, if you feel yourself coming down with a cold or flu, AVOID all sugar, grains, artificial sweeteners, or processed foods.

Sugar is particularly damaging to your immune system — which needs to be ramped up, not suppressed, in order to combat an emerging infection. Other foods besides those mentioned above that can help strengthen your immune response include the following:

Fermented foods help “reseed” your gut with beneficial bacteria (examples include raw kefir, kimchee, miso, pickles, and sauerkraut). Coconut oil contains lauric acid that your body converts into monolaurin, a monoglyceride with the ability to destroy lipid-coated viruses, including influenza, HIV, herpes, and measles, as well as gram-negative bacteria
Raw organic eggs from pastured chickens Apple cider vinegar has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. It may also help boost your immune function by raising alkalinity in your body.
Organic grass-fed beef is high in vitamins A and E, omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, zinc, and CLA. CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid), an immune enhancer, is three to five times higher in grass-fed animals than grain-fed animals. Garlic is a potent antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal agent. Ideally consume it raw, and crush it just before eating. A previous article by PreventDisease.com10 gives instructions for a garlic soup that can help destroy most viruses and help you recover a little quicker.
Raw, grass-fed organic milk contains beneficial bacteria and fats that prime your immune system. It’s also a good source of vitamin A and zinc. Pasteurized dairy products are best avoided, as they may actually promote respiratory problems such a recurring colds, congestion, and bronchitis.11 Organic vegetables. Dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collard greens, and Swiss chard contain powerful antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C — all of which help protect against infections. Ideally, opt for organic locally grown veggies that are in season, and consider eating a fair amount of them raw. Juicing is an excellent way to get more greens into your diet.

Immune-Boosting Herbs and Supplements

At first signs of a cold, you could also boost your immune function by taking a supplement or extract. The following are examples of immune-boosting herbs and supplements that may be helpful:

Zinc: Research on zinc has shown that when taken within one day of the first symptoms, zinc can cut down the time you have a cold by about 24 hours. Zinc was also found to greatly reduce the severity of symptoms. Suggested dosage: up to 50 mg/day. Zinc was not recommended for anyone with an underlying health condition, like lowered immune function, asthma, or chronic illness. Curcumin, the pigment that gives turmeric its yellow-orange color, is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Olive leaf extract: Ancient Egyptians and Mediterranean cultures used it for a variety of health-promoting uses and it is widely known as a natural, non-toxic immune system builder. Propolis: A bee resin and one of the most broad-spectrum antimicrobial compounds in the world; propolis is also the richest source of caffeic acid and apigenin, two very important compounds that aid in immune response.
Oregano Oil: The higher the carvacrol concentration, the more effective it is. Carvacrol is the most active antimicrobial agent in oregano oil. Medicinal mushrooms, such as shiitake, reishi, and turkey tail have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
A tea made from a combination of elderflower, yarrow, boneset, linden, peppermint, and ginger; drink it hot and often for combating a cold or flu. It causes you to sweat, which is helpful for eradicating a virus from your system. Echinacea is one of the most widely used herbal medications in Europe to combat colds and infections. One review of more than 700 studies found that using Echinacea can reduce your risk of catching cold by as much as 58 percent.
Elder flower extract: Rich in vitamin C and a wide range of valuable flavonoids, including anthocyanins and quercetin, elder flower has been traditionally used as a tonic to boost immunity. It is also widely known to promote lung and bronchial tract health. Elderberry: In one study,12 elderberry syrup reduced the severity of flu symptoms and shortened their duration by about four days. Elderberry extract is also known for inducing sweating, and helps relieve congestion.

Another Trick to Beat a Cold: Hydrogen Peroxide

Generally speaking, unless you have a complication like pneumonia, medical care is not necessary for the common cold. Definitely avoid antibiotics, as they do not work on viral infections. Rest and attention to your diet — particularly the admonition to avoid sugar and the advice to cook up a batch of homemade chicken soup instead — will help you recover as quickly as possible. If you stick to these recommendations long-term, it will significantly reduce your chances of catching another cold in the future.

I don’t advise over-the-counter medications for the common cold, but one simple treatment you can try that is surprisingly effective against upper respiratory infections is hydrogen peroxide. Below is one of my first videos that is nearly 10 years old now that discusses using peroxide for colds.

While I was in practice, many patients at my Natural Health Center reported curing colds and flu within 12 to 14 hours simply by administering a few drops of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into each ear. A bottle of hydrogen peroxide in 3 percent solution is available at any drug store for a couple of dollars or less. You will hear some bubbling, which is completely normal, and possibly feel a slight stinging sensation. Wait until the bubbling and stinging subside (usually 5 to 10 minutes), then drain onto a tissue and repeat with the other ear.

from:    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/10/26/vitamin-c-foods-fight-common-cold.aspx