In a June 22, 2020, Orthomolecular Medicine News Service press release,1 Damien Downing, president of the British Society for Ecological Medicine, outlines how we could resolve the COVID-19 pandemic in 30 days for about $2 per person, simply by taking affirmative action to raise vitamin D levels. The downside or risk of doing this is basically nil, while the potential gain could be avoiding another COVID-19 spike altogether.

"If we could arrange to give everyone vitamin D, and it failed to protect them, so what? The risk from not acting is much greater than the risk from acting," Downing says, adding: "If you caught the COVID19 virus right now, having a good vitamin D status (from already having taken a supplement) would

  • Reduce your risk of the disease becoming severe by 90%
  • Reduce your risk of dying by 96%

This is not 'proven' or 'evidence-based' until we have done controlled trials comparing it to placebo … But the data, already strong, has been pouring in since the start of the pandemic."

Although the required prospective randomized controlled trials using vitamin D have not yet been completed, they are indeed underway and results from many will be in before year's end. You can visit the clinical trials registry to review the current state of these trials.2,3 As of June 2020, there were over 20 studies in progress on the use of vitamin D in COVID-19.

Vitamin D and COVID-19

Downing goes on to cite research and supporting data. Among them is a study4 from the Philippines, which found that for each standard deviation increase in serum vitamin D, the odds of experiencing only mild disease rather than severe illness was 7.94 times greater, and the odds of having a mild clinical outcome rather than a critical outcome was 19.61 times greater. According to the author:

"The results suggest that an increase in serum 25(OH)D level in the body could either improve clinical outcomes or mitigate worst (severe to critical) outcomes, while a decrease in serum 25(OH)D level in the body could worsen clinical outcomes of COVID-2019 patients."

Another study5 from Indonesia, which looked at data from 780 COVID-19 patients, found those with a vitamin D level between 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L) and 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) had a sevenfold higher risk of death than those with a level above 30 ng/mL. Having a level below 20 ng/mL was associated with a 12 times higher risk of death. As noted by Downing:6

"With a deficient vitamin D status (<50nmol/L) the mortality rate from COVID-19 was 98.8% against 4.1% with adequate vitamin D (>75nmol/L). The Hazard Ratio is 24.1 … A Hazard Ratio of 4 means that in one condition, for instance vitamin D deficiency, you are 4 times more likely to suffer the 'hazard' than in another condition, say vitamin D adequacy."

A third paper,7 which provides data from 20 European countries, also found that "the probability of developing COVID-19, and of dying from it, is negatively correlated with mean population vitamin D status, with both probabilities reaching zero above about 75 nmol/L," (30 ng/mL) Downing notes.8

In their preprint submission of this paper,9 the authors concluded, "We believe that we can advise vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection." Downing created the following graph10 to illustrate the data in that paper.

vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2

Vitamin D Level Above 30 ng/mL Protects You Against COVID-19

Downing also addresses the issue of dosage and safety, highlighting how warnings about "excessive vitamin D intakes" being dangerous are very misleading and unwarranted, as toxicity has not been demonstrated until you hit blood levels above 200 ng/mL (500 nmol/L).

The recommended blood level for optimal health is currently between 60 ng/mL (150 nmol/L) and 80 ng/mL (200 nmol/L). In other words, there's a significant margin of safety, even if you manage to exceed the optimal range.

"The three papers11,12,13 mentioned above show that a vitamin D3 blood level of at least 75 nmol/L (30 ng/ml) is needed for protection against COVID-19," Downing writes.14

"Government recommendations for vitamin D intake — 400 IU/day for the UK and 600 IU/day for the USA (800 IU for >70 years) and the EU — are based primarily on bone health. This is woefully inadequate in the pandemic context.

An adult will need to take 4,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 for three months to reliably achieve a 75 nmol/L level.15 Persons of color may need twice as much.16 These doses can reduce the risk of infection, but are not for treatment of an acute viral infection.

And since vitamin D is fat-soluble and its level in the body rises slowly, for those with a deficiency, taking an initial dose of 5-fold the normal dose (20,000 IU/day) for two weeks can help to raise the level up to an adequate level to lower infection risk."

Become Metabolically Flexible and Insulin Sensitive

As discussed in my interview with Dave Asprey, featured in "How Ketones May Be Useful Against COVID-19," being metabolically flexible is another important lifestyle component. The reason for this is because insulin resistance makes you more susceptible to cytokine storm, a primary cause of death among COVID-19 patients.

The single most important step you can take to attain metabolic flexibility is to cut down the hours during which you eat. More than 90% of people eat for more than 12 hours a day, and more than half eat for more than 16 hours a day. The key is to reduce your eating window to six to eight hours, making sure the last food you eat is at least three hours before you go to bed.

When you restrict your eating window you will decrease insulin resistance, become more metabolically flexible and able to seamlessly switch back and forth between burning fat or carbs as your primary fuel. I wrote an entire book on how to become metabolically flexible, "Fat for Fuel," but a simple summary is as follows:

  • Time-restrict your eating window to six to eight hours
  • Eliminate all industrially processed vegetable oils
  • Limit carbs to 50 grams a day until metabolically flexible and then increase to 150 grams of healthy carbs twice a week

This strategy is absolutely vital in light of the prevalence of insulin resistance. Over 90% of the U.S. is vitamin D deficient; 90% of the population is also insulin resistant. Research17 published in Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders in February 2019 concluded that 87.8% of the U.S. adults sampled were metabolically inflexible, which means they cannot efficiently burn fat for fuel.

Ketones May Also Be Useful Against COVID-19

When you are insulin sensitive, metabolically flexible and eating a cyclical low-carb diet, you will be able to generate healthy ketone levels. Remember that constant ketosis and low-carb is an unhealthy strategy. It is fine to go low-carb for a few months, but for optimal health you need to cycle healthy carbs back in once or twice a week, ideally when you are doing your hardest exercise or resistance training of the week.

When you burn sugar for fuel, you need to break glucose down to two molecules of 3 carbon pyruvate. Pyruvate is then used by your mitochondria after it is converted to acetyl CoA. Insulin resistance, in turn, can impair the enzyme that converts a breakdown product of glucose into pyruvate so it can be shuttled and burned as energy in your mitochondria.

diagnosis of covid-19

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

The problem with COVID-19 is that the cytokine storm inhibits the enzyme converting pyruvate to acetyl CoA, which radically limits your mitochondrial ATP production. An additional consequence of this is that it also reduces NADPH.

NADPH is the battery of your cell, the reservoir of electrons that actually cause endogenous antioxidants like glutathione, vitamin E and C to be recharged so they can continue to work and mitigate against the free radical damage resulting from all this oxidative stress. One way to compensate is to make sure you have enough NADPH, and ketones radically upregulate NADPH.

thioredoxin reductase

NADPH also turns off NLRP3 inflammasome that produces cytokines like TNF alpha, NF Kappa B, IL1B, IL6 and IL18 (interleukins) that are causing all the damage.

nadph protects from free radical damage

All of that said, it's important to realize that ketone esters will not treat the primary cause of the disease, which is an impaired immune system, typically due to insulin resistance. Ketone esters can, however, be used acutely, as they've been shown to provide rapid improvement in some patients with COVID-19. For an illustration of this, see the video above.

To address insulin resistance and metabolic inflexibility in the long term, your best bet is to implement a cyclical ketogenic diet, described in my book "Fat for Fuel," as well as many previous articles that you can find by using the search bar on my site.

Molecular Hydrogen

Molecular hydrogen (H2 gas) has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects,18 making it useful for COVID-19 by reducing inflammatory cytokines, as explained in this video by Tyler W. LeBaron, founder of the science-based nonprofit Molecular Hydrogen Institute.

In his video, LeBaron reviews the pathophysiology of COVID-19 and explains why H2 is being clinically investigated by discussing the proposed mechanisms of how molecular hydrogen might ameliorate this particular disease.

Molecular hydrogen or H2 has the ability to activate the Nrf2/keap1 pathway, thereby replenishing your endogenous antioxidants. In so doing, H2 helps regulate and maintain homeostasis in the whole system, preventing the infection from getting out of control and causing cell death.

Hydrogen can also downregulate NOX and NOS enzymes, thus lowering superoxide and nitric oxide production respectively. This is good, as when these two molecules are increased too much they instantly combine to create the pernicious peroxynitrite molecule. H2 also supports your mitochondrial function. Importantly, H2 selectively reduces peroxynitrites and hydroxyl radicals.

H2 also steps in to prevent a cytokine storm from occurring. For a written summary of LeBaron's video lecture, see "How Molecular Hydrogen Can Help Against COVID-19." H2 will also help improve NADPH, and works synergistically with time-restricted eating and cyclical ketosis.

Quercetin Plus Zinc May Lower COVID-19 Risk Further

In addition to vitamin D optimization, quercetin — which acts similarly to the drug hydroxychloroquine — and zinc19 may further lower your risk of COVID-19. Compelling evidence suggests the reason hydroxychloroquine appears so useful in the treatment of COVID-19 is a zinc ionophore, meaning it improves zinc uptake into the cell.

Quercetin has the same effect. In fact, one study20 has suggested the biological actions — which include antiviral effects — of quercetin may in fact be related to its ability to increase cellular zinc uptake.

Zinc is vital for healthy immune function21 and a combination of zinc with a zinc ionophore (zinc transport molecule) was in 2010 shown to inhibit SARS coronavirus in vitro. In cell culture, it also blocked viral replication within minutes.22 Conversely, zinc deficiency has been shown to impair immune function.23 As noted in a 2013 paper on zinc deficiency:24

"Zinc is a second messenger of immune cells, and intracellular free zinc in these cells participate in signaling events. Zinc … is very effective in decreasing the incidence of infection in the elderly. Zinc not only modulates cell-mediated immunity but is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent."

The problem is that zinc is largely insoluble and cannot easily enter through the fatty wall of your cells. Getting all the way into the cell is crucial, as this is where the viral replication occurs. This is where zinc ionophores such as quercetin come in.

Quercetin is also a potent antiviral in its own right, and has the added advantage of inhibiting the 3CL protease25 — an enzyme used by SARS coronaviruses to infect healthy cells.26 According to one 2020 study,27 the ability of quercetin to inhibit SARS coronaviruses "is presumed to be directly linked to suppress the activity of SARS-CoV 3CLpro in some cases."

To this you could also add pryidoxine (vitamin B6) and selenium, as both play a role in the absorption and bioavailability of zinc in the body. For example, a study28 published in 1991 demonstrated that when young women were on a vitamin B6-deficient diet, their serum zinc declined, suggesting B6 deficiency affected zinc metabolism such that "absorbed zinc was not available for utilization."

A more in-depth exploration and explanation of both niacin and selenium's relationship to zinc is provided in the 2008 paper, "Zinc, Metallothioneins and Longevity: Interrelationships With Niacin and Selenium."29

The MATH Protocol

If you are hospitalized with COVID-19, early treatment becomes paramount. While there's a great deal of controversy over which treatment is best, clinical evidence clearly suggests mechanical ventilation should be avoided at all costs. I discussed the reasons for this in "Ventilators May Increase Risk of Death From COVID-19."

Furthermore, while hydroxychloroquine combined with zinc appears effective, I believe one of the best treatments suggested so far is the MATH+ Protocol. The protocol was developed by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group,30 which includes Dr. Paul Marik, chief of the Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School Norfolk, and boasts a near-100% effectiveness rate.

The MATH+ Protocol is designed to treat the second phase of COVID-19 infection — the stage when the hyperinflammatory immune response sets in. For best results, it must be administered early enough, though. The MATH+ protocol31 calls for the use of the following three medicines, all of which need to be started within six hours of hospital admission:

  • Intravenous methylprednisolone, to suppress the immune system and prevent organ damage from cytokine storms — For mild hypoxia, 40 milligrams (mg) daily until off oxygen; moderate to severe illness, 80 mg bolus followed by 20 mg per day for seven days. On Day 8, switch to oral prednisone and taper down over the next six days.
  • Intravenous ascorbic acid (vitamin C), to control inflammation and prevent the development of leaky blood vessels in the lungs — 3 grams/100 ml every six hours for up to seven days.
  • Subcutaneous heparin (enoxaparin), to thin the blood and prevent blood clots — For mild to moderate illness, 40 mg to 60 mg daily until discharged.

Optional additions include thiamine, zinc and vitamin D. In addition to these medications, the protocol calls for high-flow nasal oxygen to avoid mechanical ventilation that can damage the lungs.

Together, this approach addresses the three core pathological processes seen in COVID-19, namely hyperinflammation, hypercoagulability of the blood, and hypoxia (shortness of breath due to low oxygenation).

COVID-19 Doesn't Have to Remain a Crisis

Health experts are warning we're likely to see a second wave of COVID-19 this fall. I believe the strategies reviewed in this article can go a long way toward minimizing fatalities.

The first thing I recommend everyone do is to optimize your vitamin D this summer. Again, the optimal blood level for health and disease prevention is between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL. (In Europe, the measurements you're looking for are 150 to 200 nmol/L and 100 nmol/L respectively.)

However, simply getting above 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) may dramatically reduce your risk of serious infection and death, and doing so is both easy and inexpensive. As stated by Downing, we could fix the COVID-19 pandemic in as little as 30 days simply by making sure everyone is taking vitamin D in sufficiently large doses.

More detailed information about how vitamin D works and why it's so important against COVID-19 can be found in my Vitamin D Report. Download and share! You can also find a summary of the key steps you need to take to optimize your level in this previous vitamin D article. Here is the link to my comprehensive science report.

dr. mercola's report

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<

I want to thank those of you who read the above report and provided constructive feedback. I want you to know that I did read those suggestions. I had already planned on writing a short summary, but the responses were nearly universal in support of that.

So, when you click the button below, you will get the condensed report that you can send to your friends and family and get them on board with the Vitamin D Campaign, which not only can save many lives, but can help prevent the country from shutting down again and worsening our already damaged economy.

Taking quercetin and zinc is another preventive strategy worth remembering, as is the advice to implement cyclical nutritional ketosis to make sure you're metabolically flexible and not insulin resistant. Again, you can do this by following three powerful strategies:

  • Time-restricted eating window of six to eight hours
  • Eliminating all industrially processed vegetable oils
  • Limiting carbs to 50 grams a day until metabolically flexible and then increasing to 150 grams of healthy carbs twice a week

More acutely, ketone esters may offer rapid relief of COVID-19-related symptoms such as shortness of breath, and the MATH+ Protocol, administered within six hours of hospitalization, could be a life saver.

While the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group has been struggling to get the word out to doctors and hospitals, you could (at bare minimum) request your doctor contact them and urge them to implement the protocol should you or someone you love get ill and need hospitalization.

Source: mercola rss

Rosemary is an evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean that’s revered for its culinary and therapeutic uses alike. Its pungent aroma and sharp lemon-pine flavor make it popular in French, Italian and other cuisines, and it’s been used for centuries as a tool to strengthen memory.1

A member of the mint family along with oregano and basil, rosemary is as versatile in medicine as it is in cooking. With potent antibacterial and antioxidant properties, rosemary is often used to help extend the shelf life of perishable foods, and rosemary extract is approved as a natural antioxidant for food preservation in the European Union.2

Among its many other pharmacologically validated uses in medicine are anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective properties, but it’s also notable for its ability to improve cognitive function.3 In fact, it’s said that in ancient Greece, students would wear rosemary garlands while studying and would eat the herb to improve memory.

“Herball,” a classic plant reference written by English botanist John Gerard and published in 1597, even described rosemary as a “comfort” to the brain useful for improving memory and inward senses while being “especially good for infirmities of the head and brain.”4 Numerous modern studies support rosemary’s brain-boosting potential, courtesy of polyphenolic diterpenes such as carnosic acid.

Small Amounts of Rosemary Yield Cognitive Benefits

What is perhaps most exciting about rosemary is that benefits have been demonstrated at very low amounts, such as those you might use while cooking. In a study of 28 adults with a mean age of 75 years, dried rosemary leaf powder was blended with tomato juice in order to study its effects on cognitive function in older people.5 The subjects received juice with either no rosemary, which served as a placebo, or a dose of:

  • 750 milligrams (mg) (0.15 teaspoons)
  • 1,500 mg (0.3 teaspoons)
  • 3,000 mg (0.6 teaspoons)
  • 6,000 mg (1.2 teaspoons)

The lowest dose led to improvements in speed of memory, which may be a predictor of cognitive function during aging, compared to placebo, while the highest dose led to a memory impairment. This suggests that using rosemary at “culinary” doses may be best for your brain.

“In conclusion, rosemary powder at the dose nearest normal culinary consumption demonstrated positive effects on speed of memory … The result points to the value of future studies on effects of low doses of rosemary on memory and cognition over the longer term,” the researchers noted.6

What’s more, the subjects also subjectively reported “significantly less impairment to their alertness compared with placebo” at the lowest dose, which the researchers said “strengthens the findings, particularly as there is research suggesting that mood is an underlying driver of cognitive function.”7

Rosemary Protects the Brain From Free Radicals

Carnosic acid is one of the active ingredients in rosemary, and researchers believe it helps protect the brain by staving off free radical damage that may lead to stroke and neurodegenerative conditions.

In fact, researchers from Iwate University in Japan and colleagues found that carnosic acid activates a signaling pathway that protects brain cells from free radicals and is activated by the free radical damage, which means it’s innocuous until it’s needed.8,9 Researchers detailed this impressive process in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology:10

“Carnosic acid, one of the major phenolic constituents of rosemary, is a pro-electrophile specifically activated by the oxidative stress pathological state resulting in its conversion from the hydroquinone to the oxidized quinone form, before it activates the Keap1/Nrf2 pathway leading to gene induction of the antioxidant response element (ARE) and gene products that protect against oxidative stress.”

Rosemary diterpenes are also known to inhibit neuronal cell death and are multifunctional in nature, offering antioxidant-driven neuronal protection against brain inflammation and amyloid beta formation, which may be implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.11

The amount of carnosic acid in dried leaves is thought to range from 1.5% to 2.5%, although higher amounts have been recorded. Environmental factors, including sunlight and water exposure, are known to affect the concentration of carnosic acid and other diterpenes in rosemary.12

Could Rosemary Help Prevent or Treat Alzheimer’s?

Drug companies have promoted off-label usage of anti-inflammatory COX-2 inhibitor drugs for treating Alzheimer’s, but rosemary does this naturally. "If a synthetic COX-2 inhibitor could prevent Alzheimer's disease, so could a natural COX-2 inhibitor," said the late Jim Duke, an emeritus member of the American Botanical Council Board of Trustees.13 Rosemary contains numerous natural COX-2 inhibitors, including:14




Oleanolic acid


Ursolic acid

A 2011 review also concluded that "carnosic acid [in rosemary] may be useful in protecting against beta amyloid-induced neurodegeneration in the hippocampus" and reduced cellular death in certain brain regions.15

It’s possible that rosemary compounds, including not only carnosic acid but also carnosol and rosmarinic acid, could be protective against a range of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and migraines, wrote researchers in Natural Bio-active Compounds, who noted:16

“… R. officinalis L. [rosemary] and its bio-active metabolites [have a protective role] against various neurological disorders via targeting amyloid-beta (A-β) aggregation, neuronal cell death, acetylcholinesterase (AChE), neuroinflammation, β-secretase (BACE-1) activity, mitochondrial redox status, etc.

Based on the multifunctional nature due to effective bio-active secondary metabolites, R. officinalis can be a terrific alternative therapeutic source against many neurodegenerative diseases.”

Speaking of migraines, a 2013 study published in Food Chemistry points to rosemary as having a long history in tradition for treating headaches due to the potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving compounds it contains.17

To use rosemary essential oil for migraine headache relief, try adding one or two drops to a cup of tea, water or soup and drinking it. You can also mix two drops of rosemary oil with two drops of peppermint oil and a teaspoon of coconut oil to massage your forehead, temples and the back of your neck.

Healthy Adults May Benefit From Rosemary’s Brain Boost

Rosemary may also be useful for improving cognitive function in healthy adults. In one example, eight healthy adults consumed either 250 milliliters (8.4 ounces) of rosemary water or plain mineral water, then completed a series of cognitive tasks.

Multiple statistically significant beneficial effects were noted among those who drank the rosemary water, including increased levels of deoxygenated blood in the brain, an indication that rosemary may facilitate oxygen extraction during times of cognitive demand — a previously unknown finding.18

In addition, those who consumed rosemary had a 15% average boost compared to the placebo group when it came to performing working memory tasks. The benefits were described as similar to those previously demonstrated via the inhalation of the aroma of rosemary essential oil. Study author Mark Moss of the U.K.’s Northumbria University said in a news release:19

"[R]osemary offers a number of interesting possible health promoting applications, from antioxidant and antimicrobial to hepatoprotective and antitumorigenic activity …

The results of this research show there are statistically reliable improvements in memory function thanks to the ingestion of … Rosemary Water. In fact, I'd say that the shots act like a turbo charger for the brain."

Even Smelling Rosemary May Improve Cognition

If you’re not fond of rosemary’s flavor, you can still get a quick boost simply by inhaling its scent. The aroma of rosemary essential oil led to a significant enhancement of performance in memory quality and secondary memory factors in a study of 144 people.20

Rosemary’s characteristic scent comes from 1,8-cineole, which is also found in bay leaves, wormwood, sage and eucalyptus. It’s possible that 1,8-cineole, a common monoterpene found in many essential oils, is responsible for some of its aroma benefits, as its been linked to performance on cognitive tasks.

When 20 volunteers performed a series of math problems and other cognitive tasks while in a cubicle diffused with the aroma of rosemary, their performance improved in relation to higher concentrations of 1,8-cineole, levels of which were measured via blood testing. Both speed and accuracy improved in association with 1,8-cineole concentrations.

“These findings suggest that compounds absorbed from rosemary aroma affect cognition and subjective state independently through different neurochemical pathways,” the researchers, which included Moss, explained.21

A small study in 2009 also found that 28 days of aromatherapy involving rosemary, lemon, lavender and orange essential oils helped enhance cognitive function, especially in Alzheimer's patients, with no side effects.22

What Else Is Rosemary Good For?

Beyond your brain, rosemary also offers a host of additional benefits that extend bodywide. This powerful herb may help heart health, including after a heart attack, while favorably affecting body weight and dyslipidemia. Rosemary also offers pain-relieving qualities and the potential to fight infection, while also protecting your liver, fighting the proliferation of tumor cells and even reducing stress and anxiety.23

Rosemary, in fact, “may control physiological disorders similar to or superior to the usual medications,” according to a review in the Journal of Biomedical Science.24 While you can find rosemary in a variety of forms, from extracts and supplements to teas and essential oils, one of the best ways to enjoy the benefits of this perennial plant is to grow it in your own garden. Then, you’ll have access to fresh rosemary whenever you need it.

Fortunately, rosemary is easy to grow and thrives on little care. In warmer climates it grows quicker, so you'll want to plant them at least 3 feet apart to allow ample room for growth. If you live in northern climates and commonly experience freezing weather lower than 15 degrees F, you'll want to grow your rosemary in a pot and bring it in during the winter months.

When harvesting rosemary, snip the tender end shoots that aren't woody, as they’re best for cooking. It’s simple to strip the leaves once the stems are dry simply by running your fingers along the stem. Feel free to use rosemary generously in your cooking, as well as diffuse the essential oil around your home, especially when you feel like you need a brain boost.

Source: mercola rss

This summer is all about laying back, soaking in the beautiful sunshine, and enjoying everything summer has to offer. For […]

The post Sunshine Summer Slime DIY appeared first on Naturally Blended.

Source: plant therapy Blog

lavender and cedarwood essential oils with a spray bottle on a clean and bright surface

From loose waves to tightly coiled locks, your mom was right—naturally curly hair is a gorgeous gift. Instead of wishing away your wild mane with heat and chemicals, make it the envy of everyone you meet with a moisture-adding regimen.

Whether you’re letting your locks flow or you’re styling with braids, twists, and bantu knots, curly hair needs more moisture more often. With a DIY leave-in conditioner full of thirst-quenching ingredients, you’ll get the refreshing routine your hair needs. For another bump of hair hydration, pair with Mirah Lustrous Hair Oil.

Battling straight hair that is parched too? This recipe is for you!

1 cup aloe vera juice
2 tablespoons favorite conditioner
2 tablespoons avocado oil
5 drops Lavender essential oil
5 drops Cedarwood essential oil

1. Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake gently to combine.
2. Spray onto wet or dry hair that needs extra moisture.

What is the best natural leave-in hair conditioner?

Ours, of course! Young Living’s commitment to toxin-free beauty knows no bounds. Not only does this homemade product boast clean, wonder-working ingredients, but it’s also a break for the ol’ wallet. Don’t waste money on store-bought picks full of who knows what; instead, make this leave-in conditioner recipe and get ready for the compliments that are coming your way!

DIY leave in conditioner with aloe on countertop

Why is our DIY leave-in conditioner so dang good?

It’s all about those wonder-working ingredients! Dry hair doesn’t stand a chance against the lock-loving benefits of aloe vera juice, avocado oil, and pure essential oils.

  • Aloe vera juice comes from the same plant aloe vera gel does. Think of how you hydrate and soothe parched skin with aloe gel. You get a similar effect with aloe vera juice in your hair and on your scalp.
  • Diluting your go-to conditioner with the aloe juice makes it easier to spray on hydration without weighing hair down. May we suggest switching to Copaiba Vanilla Conditioner to boost those hair care benefits?
  •  Avocado oil contains vitamins A, B, D, E, and beta carotene. It is deeply moisturizing for your hair and scalp. Change the amount of avocado oil in the recipe to suit your hair’s needs.
  • Essential oils—although we may be biased—are the real winner here! You can tailor which scents you love with benefits that will suit your specific hair needs. As far as our formula goes, Cedarwood helps you show off healthy-looking hair, while Lavender helps cleanse when used on your mane.

What other hair care needs can we help with? How about getting major hold without sacrificing hydration and taming your frizzy tresses?

Any other essential oils you’re eager to add to your DIY leave-in conditioner?

Share in the comments below.

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Everyone has the potential to catch the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.1 You can significantly affect your risk of infection and severity of disease by taking simple steps. Symptoms for COVID-19 can range from mild to devastating.

There are factors that increase the risk a person may experience severe disease. These include underlying medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.2

In one evaluation of COVID-19 patients from six hospitals in Atlanta, researchers found independent factors that raised the risk of hospitalization included being male, smoking, having Type 2 diabetes, being of advanced age and being obese.3

The data also showed that African-Americans had a higher incidence of hospitalization, which correlates with lower levels of vitamin D, a significant risk factor for COVID-19 severity.4 In one estimation published just months before the announcement of COVID-19, researchers found that 40% of U.S. adults are deficient in the vitamin. However, that number rose to 76% for black Americans.5

There are also factors that may reduce your risk of severe disease. These can include maintaining your vitamin D level at 60 ng/mL to 80 ng/mL, addressing any underlying medical conditions, getting plenty of quality sleep, exercising and staying hydrated.

Clotting Complications With COVID-19 Raises Risk of Severity

James DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D, and Mark McCarty published a follow-up to a paper they released February 12, 2020. DiNicolantonio is a cardiovascular research scientist;6 McCarty is a biomedical theoretician and an applied nutritionist.7

In the first article, published in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, they made an argument for specific nutraceuticals that may provide relief for those infected with COVID-19.8,9 The second paper was recently published in Open Heart BMJ.10 In it, proposed a pathway that may result in severe disease.

The essay, which they clearly expressed as a hypothesis they believed to be credible, was intended to stimulate conversation and propose studies of the interactions between the virus and vascular endothelial cells.

The basis of the proposal focused on the high rate of clotting complications in those with severe COVID-19. DiNicolantonio and McCarty believe the pathway seems to reflect infection of the vascular endothelial cells. These cells have a high expression of ACE2 protein, which the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses to invade.

Patients with severe COVID-19 demonstrate hypercoagulability, which leads to acute respiratory failure. In one study, patients who were admitted to Padova University Hospital in Italy for acute respiratory failure showed "markedly hypercoagulable thromboelastometry profiles." The researchers concluded:11

"In conclusion, COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory failure present a severe hypercoagulability rather than consumptive coagulopathy. Fibrin formation and polymerization may predispose to thrombosis and correlate with a worse outcome."

There is some evidence that infection of the endothelial cells by SARS-CoV-2 virus leads to cell injury, which plays a role in organ failure.12

Pathogenic Role of NADPH

According to DiNicolantonio and McCarty, "It has been suggested that the thrombotic diathesis associated with COVID-19 reflects an endotheliopathy induced by viral infection of endothelial cells."13

He proposes the clotting complications in a COVID-19 infection may be triggered when infected cells use the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate hydrogen (NADPH) signaling pathway. That's a mouthful to read, but NADPH is a key factor in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced during oxygen metabolism.14

It's also an active communication component during viral and bacterial infections. The key takeaway here is that intracellular buildup of reactive oxygen species may inhibit viral replication. However, an excess amount increases cellular stress, which may lead to cell death.

Before SARS-CoV-2, researchers had demonstrated how some RNA viruses activate NADPH oxidase.15 COVID-19 is also a single strand RNA virus with intracellular uptake. DiNicolantonio and McCarty hypothesized that after being incorporated into endosomes in the endothelial cells, SARS-CoV-2 could also activate NADPH.

This would result in an increased local production of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide. Superoxide is a reactive oxygen species in which an electron is added to an oxygen molecule. The addition of another electron results in hydrogen peroxide.

As I've written before, superoxide plays a crucial role in the oxidative stress that occurs in chronic illnesses identified as comorbidities for COVID-19, such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Pulmonologist Dr. Roger Seheult from MedCram.com hypothesizes that when SARS-CoV-2 attaches to and reduces an ACE2 receptor, it increases the amount of superoxide produced, which in turn causes oxidative stress leading to endothelial cell dysfunction and thrombosis.16

Selenium May Reduce Oxidative Stress and Cytokine Storm

DiNicolantonio and McCarty wrote that it was difficult to locate clinical studies measuring biomarkers of oxidative stress in patients with SARS-CoV-2. However, they noted that "provinces of China where soil selenium is deficient is compatible with the view that oxidant stress plays a key pathogenic role in this syndrome, and selenium is required for function of multiple antioxidant enzymes, including glutathione peroxidases and thioredoxin reductases."17

DiNicolantonio suggests that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), which is commonly used for systemic lupus erythematosus, may help reduce the clotting risk with COVID-19 as it does with systemic lupus erythematosus. He postulates:18

"… that HCQ can likewise prevent endosomal NADPH oxidase activation in SARS-CoV-2-exposed endothelial cells, thereby reducing risk for the thrombotic complications associated with COVID-19 infection.

This is of particular interest in light of the ability of HCQ to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, and of preliminary evidence that administration of HCQ early in the course of COVID-19 may improve therapeutic outcomes, likely by slowing cell-to-cell spread of the virus."

A potential nutraceutical with a powerful effect on reducing NADPH is spirulina, which he writes may explain the effect on reducing inflammation in animals when administered by mouth:

"In addition, phycocyanobilin (PCB), a biliverdin metabolite prominently expressed as a light-absorbing chromophore in cyanobacteria (such as spirulina) and many blue-green algae, has been found to mimic the ability of its chemical relative unconjugated bilirubin to inhibit NADPH oxidase complexes."

Others have contemplated that spirulina may also support the type 1 interferon response and thus lower the potential for a cytokine storm, which is the hallmark symptom of severe COVID-19. Raising levels of glycine may also help suppress NADPH. Glycine may also help control thrombotic complications as it has a direct effect on platelets.

The authors hypothesize that using glutathione may help mediate the expression of enzymes that reverse cysteine oxidation. The expectation would be that this reaction would counteract the hydrogen peroxide signaling. The benefits could also be achieved using sulforaphane, lipoic acid or ferulic acid plus N-acetylcysteine (NAC):

"Measures that quell endothelial oxidative stress while supporting effective eNOS activity might not only help to control the thrombotic complications of COVID-19, but also be expected to blunt the exuberant influx of neutrophils that promote respiratory distress in this syndrome."

Nutraceutical Therapeutic Interventions Lower Severity

The biochemical reactions leading the authors to these conclusions can get a little confusing. For a quick primer, see "Potential Roles of NAC and Glutathione in COVID-19 Treatment." In that article, I go on to explain how NAC has antiviral properties and how it can help with acute respiratory distress syndrome. This is a serious complication associated with lung injury.

I also list some studies that have shown how NAC is beneficial to the treatment of lung-related problems and how it can protect against blood clots and strokes. Each of these factors play a significant role in the treatment of COVID-19.

DiNicolantonio and McCarty give specific recommendations for supplements that may help reduce thrombotic effects and subsequently reduce the severity of disease. These include:

Molecular Hydrogen — This is one of the absolute best strategies to improve pathology in diseases like COVID-19 as it selectively decreases oxidative stress if it is needed. One of the routes is by inhibiting NOX which subsequently decreases NADPH consumption thus increase NADPH.

Spirulina — This is a form of blue-green algae that grows in freshwater and saltwater. It's a simple, one-celled organism that is technically a form of cyanobacteria that offers a number of health benefits.

Spirulina may help fight inflammation, provide allergy relief, enhance brain health and control high blood pressure. It comes in capsules, tablets, powders and flakes. DiNicolantonio recommends 15 g (rounded tablespoon of powder), one time per day.

Glycine powder — DiNicolantonio and McCarty write that "Supplemental glycine … has been found to exert anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, cytoprotective, platelet-stabilizing and antiangiogenic effects in rodent studies that may be of clinical relevance."19

The powder is "inexpensive, highly soluble and has a pleasant sweet flavor"20 DiNicolantonio recommends taking 5 g, two to three times per day. You can use it as a healthy sweetener in tea or coffee.

Lipoic acid — This is a naturally occurring compound and a direct antioxidant. Some evidence suggests it can help with glucose utilization and IV administration may help reduce diabetic peripheral neuropathy.21 He recommends taking 600 mg, two to three times per day.

Broccoli sprout powder — This delivers sulforaphane, a compound that augments glutathione.22 DiNicolantonio recommends 5 g, one to two times per day.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) — This has been described as "a precursor to glutathione."23 It is a powerful antioxidant and is used in IV to treat acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose. As an inhalant, it helps break up mucus obstructions in the bronchial tree.

Orally, it can help preserve kidney function and has been used to treat psychiatric disorders and substance abuse. He recommends taking 600 mg, two to three times per day.

Source: mercola rss

The respected medical journal The Lancet was found to have published a study on the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 that was based on such shockingly fraudulent data it was retracted.1 The paper, which ran on May 22, 2020, concluded that the malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine had no benefit when used in COVID-19 cases and actually increased death rates.2

The retracted study, "Hydroxychloroquine or Chloroquine With or Without a Macrolide for Treatment of COVID-19: A Multinational Registry Analysis," also concluded that hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine increased the frequency of ventricular arrhythmias, which are abnormal heartbeats that can cause cardiac arrest by interrupting blood circulation to the brain and body.3

Before its retraction, The Lancet study caused swift termination of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in the COVID-19 protocols of the World Health Organization and different nations and an end to the drugs' trials. They have since been reinstated.4

Researchers Doubted the Study From the Beginning

Because of the study's alarming findings, researchers carefully scrutinized its findings. Within a week of publication, 100 researchers sent a letter to The Lancet’s editor, Dr. Richard Horton, conveying their concerns about the origins and validity of the database that the study was based on.5 According to The New York Times:

"The experts who wrote The Lancet also criticized the study’s methodology and the authors’ refusal to identify any of the hospitals that contributed patient data, or to name the countries where they were located. The company that owns the database is Surgisphere, based in Chicago."

According to the Times, the researchers wrote in the letter:

“Data from Africa indicate that nearly 25 percent of all Covid-19 cases and 40 percent of all deaths in the continent occurred in Surgisphere-associated hospitals which had sophisticated electronic patient data recording ... Both the numbers of cases and deaths, and the detailed data collection, seem unlikely."

Other researchers also voiced doubt that Surgisphere, a very small company,6 could assemble the massive database it claimed to have in a short period of time including from countries where electronic medical records may not exist.7 According to the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, Surgisphere also used a fraudulent database to promote the anti-parasite drug ivermectin for COVID-19 in Latin America.8

A quick look at the retracted Lancet study verifies the concerns of the letter writers. For example, would records from countries with less developed health care systems like Africa and so few electronic records really include pre-existing conditions like cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, histories of congestive heart failure and arrhythmias like U.S. records would be more likely to do?9

Would such records show patients' comorbidities like hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as The Lancet study displays, and even obesity and BMI data?10 It is also unlikely that patients living in poor countries with few drug supplies would have been given antivirals like lopinavir, ritonavir, ribavirin and oseltamivir as the paper says. As the letter writers suggest, the data look too good to be true.

Researchers Had More Concerns About the Study

Researchers who wrote to Horton had additional concerns besides the implausibility of the patient database. According to the Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP), researchers in their letter to The Lancet's editor also cite:11

A range of gross deviations from standard research and clinical practices, such as: Patients were prescribed inexplicably high daily doses of hydroxychloroquine — far higher than the FDA-recommended doses.

There was no ethics review.

The number of patients reportedly from Australia far exceeded the number of patients in the Australian government database.

Gross misrepresentation of the numbers of deaths in Australia.

Refusal to identify the hospitals that contributed patient data.

The ratios of patients who received chloroquine (49%) to those who received hydroxychloroquine (50%) are implausible; in Australia chloroquine is not available without special government authorization.

One signatory of the letter, James Watson, senior scientist at the MORU-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Thailand, said he doubted that any research organization could have obtained such detailed massive records that quickly. "I just find it very hard to believe," he said.12

Dr. Anthony Etyang, a clinical epidemiologist with the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya13 and a signatory to the letter, also doubted the study. He noted that even private hospitals can have poor medical records making the data very implausible, according to AHRP.14 The Guardian confirmed that the hospital data contained major inaccuracies:15

"Guardian Australia revealed glaring errors in the Australian data included in the study ... data from Johns Hopkins University shows only 67 deaths from Covid-19 had been recorded in Australia by 21 April. The number did not rise to 73 until 23 April [as the study states] ...

The Guardian has since contacted five hospitals in Melbourne and two in Sydney, whose cooperation would have been essential for the Australian patient numbers in the database to be reached. All denied any role in such a database, and said they had never heard of Surgisphere."

The Lancet Study Retracted 

The alarming findings of The Lancet study had an immediate chilling effect. WHO and national governments immediately deleted the drugs from their COVID-19 policies and drug trials were stopped.16 If a drug does more harm than good, a clinical trial would be immediately terminated.

However, the situation quickly changed when Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the institution of the lead author, Dr. Mandeep Mehra, issued this statement soon after the controversy began:17

"Independent of Surgisphere, the remaining co-authors of the recent studies published in The Lancet ... have initiated independent reviews of the data used ... after learning of the concerns that have been raised about the reliability of the database."

Mehra stated that he "eagerly await[ed] word from the independent audits, the results of which will inform any further action" and that such information would be necessary "before any conclusions could be reached."

Soon the researchers discovered that Surgisphere would not be forthcoming with the audits. That moved three of the paper's authors — Mehra, Dr. Frank Ruschitzka of the University Heart Center at the University Hospital Zurich and Dr. Amit Patel of the University of Utah and HCA Research Institute in Nashville18 — to ask The Lancet for a retraction. They issued this statement.19

"After publication of our Lancet Article several concerns were raised with respect to the veracity of the data and analyses conducted by Surgisphere Corporation and its founder and our co-author, Sapan Desai, in our publication.

We launched an independent third-party peer review of Surgisphere with the consent of Sapan Desai to evaluate the origination of the database elements, to confirm the completeness of the database, and to replicate the analyses presented in the paper.

Our independent peer reviewers informed us that Surgisphere would not transfer the full dataset, client contracts, and the full ISO audit report to their servers for analysis as such transfer would violate client agreements and confidentiality requirements."

After the Lancet retraction and the fraudulent database was exposed, WHO director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.20

"On the basis of the available mortality data, the members of the committee recommended that there are no reasons to modify the trial protocol. The executive group received this recommendation and endorsed continuation of all arms of the Solidarity trial, including hydroxychloroquine."

The Solidarity trial, consisting of 3,500 patients, is investigating a number of possible COVID-19 treatments.21

Studies Show Malaria Drugs' Promise Against COVID-19

The retractions restored hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to a place in treatment protocols and investigative trials to determine their usefulness in treating COVID-19. Several scientific studies have suggested the value of the malaria drugs against COVID-19. A 2020 letter in the journal Nature states:22

"Chloroquine is known to block virus infection by increasing endosomal pH required for virus/cell fusion, as well as interfering with the glycosylation of cellular receptors of SARS-CoV.

Our time-of-addition assay demonstrated that chloroquine functioned at both entry, and at post-entry stages of the 2019-nCoV infection in Vero E6 cells. Besides its antiviral activity, chloroquine has an immune-modulating activity, which may synergistically enhance its antiviral effect in vivo.

Chloroquine is widely distributed in the whole body, including lung, after oral administration."

A 2020 study in the journal European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences states:23

"Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have antiviral characteristics in vitro. The findings support the hypothesis that these drugs have efficacy in the treatment of COVID-19.

People are currently using these drugs for malaria. It is reasonable, given the hypothetical benefit of these two drugs, that they are now being tested in clinical trials to assess their effectiveness to combat this global health crisis."

A 2020 paper in the Journal of Clinical Medicine states:24

"[T]he mechanism of action of some antimalarial drugs, e.g., the antiviral function, suggests their potential role in the chemoprophylaxis of coronavirus epidemics, despite possible adverse effects (e.g., retinal toxicity).

All these data provide important insights to understand the spreading mechanisms of COVID-19, and to direct scientific research toward the study of some currently available medications."

Antimalarial Drugs Are Not Without Risks

As the Journal of Clinical Medicine paper states, antimalarial drugs are not without risks. Chloroquine raises the pH of vesicles in the cells that are hijacked by the virus. The normally slightly acidic environment facilitates the viral infection.

Both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have the side effect of elongating your QT wave in an electrocardiogram. This means the electrical activity in the heart is altered. The most common symptoms of this condition can be seizure, fainting and even sudden death, so the drugs are certainly not risk free.

The Lancet Retraction Is Not an Isolated Instance

Retractions of scientific papers are not rare. According to Science magazine:25

"Nearly a decade ago, headlines highlighted a disturbing trend in science: The number of articles retracted by journals had increased 10-fold during the previous 10 years. Fraud accounted for some 60% of those retractions;

one offender, anesthesiologist Joachim Boldt, had racked up almost 90 retractions after investigators concluded he had fabricated data and committed other ethical violations ... the surge in retractions led many observers to call on publishers, editors, and other gatekeepers to make greater efforts to stamp out bad science."

Sometimes the retractions stem from medical journals publishing research revealed to have been funded and written by drug makers or authors they pay. Such publications carry a built-in bias because they are skewed toward positive results and are usually thinly disguised sales pieces.

Such Pharma-supplied studies can be lucrative to medical journals because they often sell reprints of the articles, which pharmaceutical salespeople use in marketing to doctors.26 A study published in a reputable journal provides instant credibility in sales efforts.

In recent years, journals have instituted disclosure policies wherein authors must reveal any financial links they have to drug makers, including stock holdings. Unfortunately, the disclosures are almost always hidden behind pay walls so that only subscribers to the journals can see them. Furthering the opacity, the authors are often only referred to by their initials and it is difficult to determine who is who.

What was the motive of Surgisphere in its deliberate and brazen tarnishing of possible hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine treatments for COVID-19 through a fraudulent database leading to The Lancet retraction? The Alliance for Human Research Protection speculates the Surgisphere scheme was all about money:27

"Why are very powerful corporate-government stakeholders so intent on killing a drug with a 70 year track record? Because the drug works against the pandemic; it is readily available, and costs very little.

Therefore, it poses a financial threat to both pharma companies and their partners in government and academia, those who are intent on profiting from the COVID-19 pandemic."

The authors are no doubt right. A readily available, low-priced medication already approved and in use will not make the billions a new COVID-19 vaccine or treatment would — for example, Gilead’s answer to hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, can cost up to $4,460 per patient,28 while a generic version of hydroxychloroquine is around $20.29

Source: mercola rss

The fact that most olive oils on the market are fraudulently diluted with less expensive (and more harmful) oils has been known for years. Now, a report1,2,3 in the journal Food Control warns that the purity and quality of avocado oil sold in the U.S. is questionable at best, and that standards to protect consumers and genuine producers are urgently needed.

Adulterated Avocado Oil Is Commonplace

According to the Food Control report,4 a vast majority of commercially available avocado oils labeled as “extra virgin” and “refined” are in fact adulterated and of poor quality; 82% were found to have gone rancid before their expiration date.5

Three of 22 oils were not even avocado oil but something else entirely (likely soybean oil). Co-author Selina Wang told Olive Oil Times6 that while she expected “some percentage of adulterants,” she was shocked to find several cases of 100% adulteration.
As noted in the report:7

“This study analyzed avocado oils currently on the market in the US to evaluate their quality (e.g., free fatty acidity, peroxide value, UV absorbances, vitamin E) and purity (e.g., fatty acids, sterols, triacylglycerols).

Our results showed that the majority of commercial samples were oxidized before reaching the expiration date listed on the bottle. In addition, adulteration with soybean oil at levels near 100% was confirmed in two ‘extra virgin’ and one ‘refined’ sample.”

How Purity and Quality Are Assessed

As explained in the Food Control report,8 an oil is considered authentic and pure when no additives or other oils have been added, and when the content matches that listed on the label.

Quality includes consideration of the raw material (the quality of the avocado used), the extraction process used and storage, but is “mostly related to the level of hydrolysis of the fruit and oxidation of the oil.” With this report, the authors have begun compiling a database “to support standards development for this industry.”

In all, 22 avocado oil samples were obtained from six grocery stores and two online sources, covering the major brands and types of oils, which include extra virgin/unrefined and refined. Countries of origin included California, Mexico, Brazil and Spain.

While previous researchers have proposed a healthy level of free fatty acidity (FFA) should be between 0.1% and 0.55% for refined avocado oils, three of the 22 samples had FFA values close to 2.5%. Extra virgin avocado oils had an FFA range between 0.03% and 2.69%, with an overall average of 1.31%. 

According to the authors, these elevated FFA levels may be due to poor-quality fruit and/or poor handling during processing.9

“Unhealthy fruits that are damaged, bruised, overripe, insect infested; prolonged time between harvest and processing; overheating during processing are all factors that can contribute to a rise in FFA,” the authors note.

To put this into an easier to understand perspective for you, I am sure you have opened an overripe avocado in the past to see the ripe green avocado color turn to very dark, nearly black. Can you imagine the entire avocado being black when you open it up and processing it and turning it into oil? Well, that is precisely what you do when you purchase rancid avocado oil.

High Oxidation Is Common

When an oil is exposed to oxygen, peroxides and other oxidation products form, thereby giving the oil undesirable odors and flavors. While not as conspicuous as the FFA values, the trend toward high oxidation was also evident. In other words, many of the oils were rancid well before their “best by” date.

Extra virgin avocado oil had the highest oxidation values, which is expected, as the refining process removes peroxides. Still, many of the refined oils also had higher than expected peroxide levels. In fact, all but three samples were above Mexico’s CODEX cap.

Not surprisingly, the three samples with the highest peroxide levels were stored in clear, rather than tinted, packaging. This makes sense, as tinted bottles protect against photooxidation.

Storage time also contributes to higher oxidation. The longer the oil sits, the more likely it is to be oxidized, so always be sure to check the best by date. Sadly, higher price does not guarantee quality, as the most expensive oil assessed in this review also had the highest peroxidation value.

Exaggerated Vitamin E Content Suggests Adulteration

The vitamin E content was also measured, and exaggerated levels in some of the samples suggest adulteration with cheap soybean oil. As explained in the Food Control report:10

“There are eight compounds that make up vitamin E content, four tocopherols (ɑ-tocopherol, β-tocopherol, γ-tocopherol, δ-tocopherol) and four tocotrienols …

This study shows multiple samples (EV3, EV6, R1, U4, U5, U6) had total tocopherol contents over 400 mg/kg, which is interesting as the highest documented total tocopherol content in literature, to our knowledge, is 282 mg/kg.

In particular, there are three samples with a notably high total tocopherol content, EV3, EV6 and U6 at 645.4 mg/kg, 906.2 mg/kg, and 692.9 mg/kg, respectively. These samples had significantly higher levels of gamma and delta tocopherols compared to the other samples in this study and to values seen in literature for avocado oils.

A study that reported on the tocopherol content in fruits and vegetables, showed soybean oil has similar tocopherol levels and distributions to those seen in EV3, EV6 and U6, therefore, it is possible these samples contain soybean or had soybean tocopherols added after processing for preservation.”

Industry Standards Are Urgently Needed

The Food Control report is the first to demonstrate there are serious problems in the avocado oil industry. Just like olive oil, much of what’s being sold is adulterated and of inferior quality. As concluded by the authors:11

“The majority of the samples were of low quality with five of the seven oils labeled as ‘extra virgin’ having high FFA values and six of the nine ‘refined’ oils had high PV [peroxidation value]. FFA, PV, and specific extinction in UV data demonstrated that these oils have undergone lipolysis and oxidation, respectively.

This likely resulted from improper or prolonged storage, using damaged or rotten fruits, or extreme and harsh processing conditions. Extra virgin oils often are more expensive and distinguished from lower grades such as virgin or crude oils using the above quality parameters.

Adulteration with soybean oil was found in two samples labeled as ‘extra virgin’ avocado oil (EV3 and EV6) and one labeled as ‘pure’ avocado oil (U6).

Tocopherol, fatty acid, sterols, and TAGs data show this adulteration is occurring at or near 100% for all three samples. This not only is a potential health hazard for consumers but creates unfair competition in the market …

In the case of samples EV3, EV6, and U6 the adulteration was confirmed in addition to the adulteration percent and adulterant oil. However, the need for standards is also demonstrated by the samples R1, U4, and U5.

The variance seen in their fatty acid, sterols, TAGs, and tocopherols profiles could be due to natural variance of the avocado fruits, processing conditions, or unnaturally, economic adulteration with high oleic sunflower or safflower oils.”

Benefits of Authentic Avocado Oil

avocado uses and health benefits

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I personally have never used avocado oil as I typically avoid processed oils, with the exception of our own Solspring biodynamic olive oil. I think it is far better to eat the whole food. That is precisely what I do — I have half an avocado every day in each of my collagen protein powder smoothies.

As detailed in “An Avocado a Day Keeps the Doctor Away,” avocados are loaded with healthy fats your body can easily use for energy. They’re also rich in fiber, protein and essential vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, potassium, folate and vitamin K, and have been shown to counteract metabolic syndrome.

Considering the excellent nutritional profile of avocados, it’s no wonder avocado oil has risen in popularity in recent years. However, extracting the oil and putting it into a bottle allows plenty of opportunity for fraud, as the Food Control report demonstrates.

Unfortunately, the report does not specify the brands investigated, so it cannot be used as a guide when shopping. Provided you can actually find authentic avocado oil, it can be a very healthy addition to your diet. Health benefits of authentic avocado oil include:12,13,14

  • Normalizing blood pressure, thanks to its high potassium and vitamin E content that supports healthy blood vessel function and combats free radicals15
  • Anti-inflammatory effects, which help lower your risk of heart disease, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions16
  • Detoxification, thanks to its high chlorophyll content (which is also a natural source of magnesium) and glutathione17
  • Enhancing collagen production, thanks to vitamins A and D. High protein and amino acid levels also aids tissue regeneration and cellular renewal18
  • Supporting healthy vision, thanks to the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin19

Should You Cook With Avocado Oil?

Avocado oil is typically said to have a high smoke point, although just how high differs depending on the source. Masterclass.com cites it between 375 degrees Fahrenheit and 400 degrees F in one chart, while listing it at 480 degrees F for unrefined and 520 degrees F for refined in another.20

Australian researchers, meanwhile, cite a smoke point of about 386 degrees F (196.67 degrees Celsius plus or minus 0.577 degrees C).21 Either way, the higher smoke point of avocado oil has been relied on by many for the recommendation to use it during high-heat cooking, baking and frying.

However, the Australian researchers present evidence suggesting this might not be such a good idea after all. The study,22 published in 2018, assessed the correlation between various oils’ smoke point and other chemical characteristics associated with stability and safety.

Importantly, they found that “smoke point does not predict oil performance when heated.” Avocado oil was one of 10 cooking oils investigated. Paradoxically, they found that oils with higher smoke points, such as avocado oil, actually tended to produce higher levels of harmful compounds during heating — including trans fats.

For this reason, I don’t recommend avocado oil for cooking. Chances are, you’re better off using it cold. Without a doubt, your best alternatives for high-heat cooking, baking and frying include lard, grass fed butter and organic ghee. Coconut oil may also be a healthier alternative when cooking than avocado oil, as it’s known to be quite stable at high temperatures. The Australian study appears to support this as well.

Source: mercola rss

In May 2020, the U.S. unemployment rate was 13.3%,1 which means 21 million Americans were unemployed. Not surprisingly, financial stress is a major concern, with 88% of Americans surveyed by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) saying that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating stress for their personal financial situation.2

Fifty-four percent were particularly worried about having enough money saved for emergency savings or retirement, while another 48% were worried about paying bills.

A report by the Well Being Trust (WBT) and the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care that up to 75,000 people may die during the COVID-19 pandemic from drug or alcohol misuse and suicide, which they deemed "deaths of despair" caused, in part, by unprecedented economic failure paired with massive unemployment.3

This experience of scarcity and financial uncertainty is not being felt by all, however. In stark contrast, many of the richest among us — particularly health care and biotech billionaires — have gotten even richer due to COVID-19, profiting handsomely off the pandemic that's left the general public financially reeling.

Pandemic Propels Moderna CEO to the Billionaire's Club

Forbes compiled a list of 10 health care billionaires who collectively raked in more than $7 billion since March 11, 2020 — the day the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.4 Topping the list is Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, the biotech firm that's seen as the frontrunner for developing a COVID-19 vaccine. According to Forbes:5

"When the WHO declared a pandemic, Bancel's estimated net worth was some $720 million. Since then, Moderna's stock has rallied more than 103%, lifting his fortune to an estimated $1.5 billion. A French citizen, Bancel first joined the billionaire ranks on April 2, when Moderna's stock rose on the news that the firm was planning to begin phase two trials of its vaccine."

Moderna partnered with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci to create the vaccine. In February 2020, its stock price increased 78.1% when it announced that its messenger RNA vaccine was ready for clinical trials.6 "The company's CEO has become a new billionaire overnight," wrote Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC).7

Moderna began human trials of its experimental mRNA vaccine in March 2020, and its stock soared again in May, hitting $29 billion, even though the company currently doesn't sell any products,8 when it released early results from its Phase 1 study of 45 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55 — the first released from a study involving human volunteers.

Moderna's press release9 stated that 25 participants who received two doses of its low or medium dose vaccine had levels of binding antibodies — the type that are used by the immune system to fight the virus but do not prevent viral infections — at levels approximating or exceeding those found in the blood of patients who recovered from COVID-19.10

Data for the more significant neutralizing antibodies, which stop viruses from entering cells, was reported for only eight people, with Moderna stating that levels in each of these initial participants met or exceeded antibody levels seen in recovered COVID-19 patients.

Four study subjects experienced a "Grade 3" adverse event, which is described by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as "severe or medically significant but not immediately life-threatening; hospitalization or prolongation of hospitalization indicated; limiting self-care" such as "bathing, dressing and undressing, feeding self, using the toilet, taking medications."11

During Phase 2 trials, 600 people will receive the vaccine, while a Phase 3 trial is expected to start in July 2020 — an unprecedented move in terms of typical vaccine development timelines. Bancel owns a 9% stake in the company, which received a grant of up to $483 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to accelerate its COVID-19 vaccine development.12

Nine More COVID-19 Billionaires

Making up the rest of Forbes' list is a mix of entrepreneurs, biotech executives and diagnostic test makers, which come from seven different countries:13

1. Gustavo Denegri — With a net worth of $4.5 billion, which is up 32% since the beginning of the pandemic, Denegri has a 45% stake in DiaSorin, a biotech company based in Italy. DiaSorin makes swab-based diagnostic tests for COVID-19 as well as antibody blood testing kits for the virus.

2. Seo Jung-Jin — Jung-Jin co-founded Celltrion, a biopharma company in Seoul. Jung-Jin's net worth is $8.4 billion, up 22% thanks to the company's experimental antiviral treatment for COVID-19, along with a self-administered diagnostic test that gives results in 15 minutes, which is expected to come to the market this summer.

3. Alain Mérieux — Mérieux's $7.6 billion net worth is tied to BioMérieux, the diagnostic testing company he founded in 1963. It's a branch of Institut Mérieux, a medical company founded by his grandfather in 1897. BioMérieux developed a faster version of a COVID-19 diagnostic test kit that was released in March 2020.

4. Maja Oeri — Oeri is a descendent of Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche, the founder of pharmaceutical giant Roche. She owns about 5% of Roche's shares, with a net worth of $3.2 billion; Roche has clinical trials ongoing for its arthritis drug tocilizumab, which it is hoping to transition to a COVID-19 treatment, as well as a serology test to detect antibodies in people who have had COVID-19.

5. Leonard Schleifer — His net worth is $2.2 billion, a rise of 11% due to the pandemic. He founded Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which is conducting clinical trials of its rheumatoid arthritis drug sarilumab on COVID-19 patients.

6. George Yancopoulos — Yancopoulos is Regeneron's chief scientific officer; his net worth is $1.2 billion (up 14% since the beginning of the pandemic).

7. and 8. Thomas and Andreas Struengmann — The Struengmann twins have a net worth of $6.9 billion. They first made their fortune by selling generic drug company Hexal to Novartis in 2005, and they invest in biotech and health care companies. One of their investments is BioNTech, which partnered with Pfizer and Fosun Pharmaceuticals on a COVID-19 vaccine that's currently in human trials.

9. Li Xiting — Xiting cofounded Mindray Medical International, China's largest medical equipment producer. It tripled its production capacity of ventilators since the start of the pandemic. Xiting's net worth is $12.6 billion, which is up 1% due to COVID-19.

US Billionaires $584 Billion Richer Thanks to COVID-19

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), in partnership with Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), published a report highlighting what they call America's "pre-existing condition": extreme wealth inequality.14 IPS is regularly updating U.S. unemployment and billionaire wealth during the pandemic, which shows the great divide among the wealthy and the majority of Americans.

As of June 18, 2020, U.S. billionaire wealth increased $584 billion, or 20%, since the start of the pandemic.15 Meanwhile, since March 18, the number of U.S. billionaires increased from 614 to 643; during the same period, more than 45.5 million Americans filed for unemployment. Other striking inequalities revealed by the report include:16

  • Jeff Bezos's fortune increased by $25 billion from January 1, 2020, to April 15, 2020; the wealth surge alone is greater than Honduras' Gross Domestic Product, which was $23.9 billion in 2018
  • From January 1, 2020 to April 10, 2020, the wealth of 34 of the richest U.S. billionaires increased tens of millions of dollars; eight of them had their net worth rise by more than $1 billion
  • From March 18 to April 10, 2020, U.S. billionaire wealth surged by nearly 10%, rising $282 billion; during the same period, more than 22 million Americans lost their jobs
  • U.S. billionaire wealth increased 1,130% from 1990 to 2020; U.S. median wealth grew by 5.37% during the same period
  • The tax obligations of U.S. billionaires decreased 79% between 1980 and 2018, when measured as a percentage of wealth

As noted by Inequality.org, IPS' sister site:

"The top five billionaires — Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison — saw their wealth grow by a total of $101.7 billion, or 26%. They captured 17.4% of the total wealth growth of all 600-plus billionaires in the last three months. The fortunes of Bezos and Zuckerberg together grew by nearly $76 billion, or 13% of the $584 billion total.

'This orgy of wealth shows how fundamentally flawed our economic system is,' said Frank Clemente, ATF's executive director. 'In three months about 600 billionaires increased their wealth by far more than the nation's governors say their states need in fiscal assistance to keep delivering services to 330 million residents.

Their wealth increased twice as much as the federal government paid out in one-time checks to more than 150 million Americans. If this pandemic reveals anything, it's how unequal our society has become and how drastically it must change."17

'One of the Greatest Wealth Transfers of History'

CNBC's Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's Mad Money and a former hedge fund manager, said the pandemic and resulting lockdown paved the way for "one of the greatest wealth transfers in history."18 While many experts are predicting a V-shaped recovery for the stock market, which has been quickly rebounding, "that has almost nothing to do with a V-shaped recovery in the economy," Cramer said.

While most big businesses are coming out of the state-ordered lockdowns largely unscathed, many small businesses have closed their doors. Already, Chapter 11 bankruptcies are up 48% compared to 2019, and the worst may be yet to come. Even as businesses are increasingly allowed to open for business, lower occupancy limits will continue financial hardships, despite relief funds provided by the government.

"… [I]n the end, the stimulus package probably won't be enough, for one simple reason," Cramer said. "It's not going to work because of social distancing."19 Meanwhile, big business will continue to thrive. "The bigger the business, the more it moves the major averages, and that matters because this is the first recession where big business … is coming through virtually unscathed, if not going for the gold."20

The transfer of wealth from average people to the richest through a planned economic collapse is ongoing, and something that's slated to get even more severe if a COVID-19 vaccine is released. In an article positing the question, "Is It Too Late to Buy Moderna Stock?" The Motley Fool suggested:21

"Let's assume that Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine proves to be successful and wins regulatory approvals in the U.S. and other major markets. If the company was able to price its coronavirus vaccine similarly to flu vaccines currently on the market, its list price would probably be in the ballpark of at least $40.

If we also assume at least 2 billion doses of the vaccine would be given per year, Moderna could be looking at annual revenue of $80 billion."

Source: mercola rss

Water fluoridation is one of the biggest public health failures of the 20th century. Despite solid scientific evidence of harm, politics and public relations have kept the practice alive.

Proponents, including the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Oral Health Division of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), have spent millions of dollars on promotion and public relations to sell fluoridation using half-truths, convincing talking points, and diversions. 

But fluoridation is also one of the most widely rejected health interventions on Earth, with 95% of the world's population consuming water from systems that are not fluoridated. 

For the past decade, the trend has moved in the direction of communities ending the practice, not starting it. And now, due to an abundance of new research, a landmark lawsuit and the sustained advocacy and education efforts of the Fluoride Action Network and its supporters like you, the practice could be on the brink of extinction.

The Evidence of Harm Is Too Great To Be Ignored

All tissues are important, but the most important organ to protect during fetal and infant development is the brain. Damage occurring to this organ during these early stages of life is permanent and cannot be undone later in life. 

The evidence of neurotoxic harm from water fluoridation has been mounting at an unprecedented rate in recent years, and has quickly become the most urgent reason to end the practice as soon as possible. A cavity can easily be filled, but damage to a child's brain is permanent.

A large body of government-funded research now indicates that fluoride is neurotoxic and is associated with lowered IQ in children and a significant increase in ADHD diagnosis and related behaviors in children at doses experienced in fluoridated communities. Experts in the field have likened the size of the effect to that from lead.

This includes over 200 animal studies showing that prolonged exposure to varying levels of fluoride can damage the brain, 65 human studies linking moderately high fluoride exposures with reduced intelligence, three human studies linking fluoride exposure with impaired fetal brain development, and seven Mother-Offspring studies linking fluoride exposure during pregnancy to reduced IQ in offspring. 

Over the past year, we've also seen unprecedented new science from Canada and the USA showing fluoride harms the developing brain from exposures due primarily to artificial water fluoridation at the "optimal level." Several of these high-quality studies were funded by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (formerly the National Institutes of Health).

Strongest Studies Published Over the Past Year

Seven studies published in 2019 and 2020 are among the strongest yet, and are obviously relevant to water fluoridation as they were conducted in communities with what the ADA considers the "optimal level" of fluoride in drinking water. These include:

  1. Green 2019 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association's journal on Pediatrics. It reported substantial IQ loss in Canadian children from prenatal exposure to fluoride from water fluoridation.
  2. Riddell 2019 published in Environment International. It found a shocking 284% increase in the prevalence of ADHD among children in fluoridated communities in Canada compared to nonfluoridated ones.
  3. Till 2020 published in Environment International. It reported that children who were bottle-fed in Canadian fluoridated communities lost up to 9 IQ points compared to those in nonfluoridated communities.
  4. Uyghurturk 2020 published in Environmental Health. It found that pregnant women in fluoridated communities in California had significantly higher levels of fluoride in their urine than those in nonfluoridated communities. The levels found in their urine were the same as those found to lower the IQ of the fetus in Green et al, 2019 and Bashash et al, 2017.
  5. Malin 2019 published in Environmental Health. It linked a doubling of symptoms indicative of sleep apnea in adolescents in the U.S. to levels of fluoride in the drinking water. The link between fluoride and sleep disturbances may be through fluoride's effect on the pineal gland.
  6. Malin 2019 published in Environment International. It reported that exposure to fluoridated water led to a reduction in kidney and liver function among adolescents in the U.S., and suggested those with poorer kidney or liver function may absorb more fluoride bodies. The CDC funded this study.

The claims made by proponents of fluoridation that there is only "one or two studies" finding harm, or that they are only from areas with naturally high fluoride levels, are no longer relevant. The scientific evidence can now be considered overwhelming and undeniable. In fact, the level of evidence that fluoride is neurotoxic now far exceeds the evidence that was in place when lead was banned from gasoline.

A recent review by Danish scientist, Harvard professor and neurotoxicity expert Philippe Grandjean, MD, DMSc, also concluded that:

"… there is little doubt that developmental neurotoxicity is a serious risk associated with elevated fluoride exposure, whether due to community water fluoridation, natural fluoride release from soil minerals, or tea consumption, especially when the exposure occurs during early development."

It should come as no surprise then, that a draft systematic review published in 2020 by the National Toxicology Program of human studies of fluoride's neurotoxicity concluded that fluoride was a "presumed" neurotoxin based on the large number, quality and consistency of brain studies. 

The review identified 149 human studies and 339 animal studies, but did not include the three most recent neurotoxicity-related studies from the York University group (Till 2019; Riddell 2019), or the study showing that women in the U.S. had levels of fluoride in urine high enough to cause damage to the brain of the fetus (Uyghurturk 2020).

While the draft NTP review is equivocal about effects at low exposures, these newest high-quality mother-child studies support a conclusion that artificially fluoridated water causes substantial IQ reductions. This fact was recently echoed in a letter published in Pediatric Research by the co-authors of the JAMA Pediatrics fluoride/IQ study, which said:

"Over the past 75 years, health authorities have declared that community water fluoridation-a practice that reaches over 400 million worldwide-is safe. Yet, studies conducted in North America examining the safety of fluoride exposure in pregnancy were nonexistent.

When a Canadian study reported that higher fluoride exposure in pregnant women was associated with lower IQ scores in young children, critics attacked the methodology of the study and discounted the significance of the results.

Health authorities continued to conclude that fluoride is unequivocally safe, despite four well-conducted studies over the last 3 years consistently linking fluoride exposure in pregnancy with adverse neurodevelopmental effects in offspring …

The tendency to ignore new evidence that does not conform to widespread beliefs impedes the response to early warnings about fluoride as a potential developmental neurotoxin. Evolving evidence should inspire scientists and health authorities to re-evaluate claims about the safety of fluoride, especially for the fetus and infant for whom there is no benefit."

FAN Leads the Fight Against Neurotoxins

Since 2000, the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) has been committed to reducing exposure to fluoride, and even with all of the science firmly on our side, we couldn't wait for legislators and public health officials to cast aside their entrenched dogma in favor of fluoridation and catch up on the science. Instead, we initiated the legal process to end the practice that today affects more than 200 million Americans.

A little-known provision of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) gave us our opportunity. It offers citizens a way to circumvent the corruption and force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prohibit or limit the use of toxic substances. 

Watchdog groups no longer have to convince the EPA of unreasonable risk; they can now have an objective judge decide based on an independent review of the evidence.

We are also laying the foundation for future TSCA challenges by citizens and environmental groups. For example, because of Judge Edward Chen's ruling to deny the EPA's motion to dismiss our case, TSCA law will now be interpreted to allow the EPA to be petitioned to regulate single uses of substances, rather all uses, which was the EPA's position. This change will make it easier for activists to force the EPA to review the risks of specific chemicals used commercially.

While it has been four years since this effort began in November of 2016 — when the Fluoride Action Network, together with a coalition of nonprofits and individual citizens, presented a petition to the EPA to end the deliberate addition of fluoridation chemicals to the public's drinking water — it has actually taken 20 years of effort by FAN to bring us to this point.

It took the development of our extensive website in the early days. It took the creation of our comprehensive health database (larger than any government had put together on fluoride's toxicity).

It took countless submissions to government agencies and the translation of many Chinese neurotoxicity studies and much more. And, after much delay due to government shut downs and Covid-19, our day in court finally arrived.

Trial of the Century

The trial began with an opening statement from the attorney for the plaintiffs, Michael Connett. He made the succinct but powerful case that fluoride presents a hazard (threat to the brain); that this hazard is a risk at the doses experienced in fluoridated communities; and that it is an unreasonable risk.

The EPA, represented by lawyers from the Department of Justice, argued that establishing fluoride as a neurotoxic hazard requires a systematic review, which they claimed FAN's experts didn't perform.

They also argued that the evidence showing harm from fluoride at the levels found in communities that practice fluoridation wasn't strong enough to yield action from the EPA. Both of these claims would be disproven by FAN's experts and attorney during the trial.

This was followed by three days of testimony from FAN's expert witnesses, all independent and leading scientists whose world-class expertise includes fluoride, neurotoxicity and risk assessments, and whose expertise the EPA has relied on in the past on other toxicants like lead and mercury. The witnesses included (click on links to see their declarations and resumes):

Their testimony was followed by the EPA's witnesses, two of which were experts-for-hire from the corporate consulting firm Exponent, and one was a risk assessment expert from the EPA.

It was revealed that the EPA paid Exponent approximately $350,000 for their testimony, which was focused primarily on claiming that there was insufficient evidence of harm — something they're known for doing in every trial, no matter who they're representing or how strong the science is.

One of their witnesses, Dr. Ellen Chang, has a long history of defending and producing systematic reviews for corporate polluters, including for DOW Chemical's Agent Orange, Monsanto's glyphosate, 3M's PFOAs, and pesticides from Syngenta and Croplife. She also worked for the American Chemistry Council, American Petroleum Institute, and the Manganese Interest Group.

Several paragraphs here couldn't possibly do the in-depth proceedings of the trial justice, or highlight all of the shocking and incredible statements that were made. I would urge you to read our detailed summaries for each of the trial days. 

I would also urge you to visit our TSCA trial overview page, where you can find the basic facts, a timeline of all actions and rulings, links to all of the submissions made by FAN, links to all of the media coverage, and links to the studies we relied upon to make our case. You can also visit our Twitter page, where we provided live tweet coverage of days 3 through 7.

The Judge's Reaction

After seven days of trial and closing statements from both parties, the judge held off on making a final ruling, but he did make it fairly obvious that he was convinced that FAN fluoride was a neurotoxin and likely posed an unreasonable risk. He said that the EPA had failed to properly assess that risk, and illegitimately turned down FAN's 2016 petition for TSCA action.

The judge urged the parties to spend the next few weeks discussing the possibility of an amended TSCA petition and assessment by the EPA, or start a new petition and have the EPA conduct a proper review, and leave his final ruling until that is complete. Both parties expressed doubt that such an arrangement would be fruitful, but ultimately agreed to move forward with it and update the court on their progress in the beginning of August. 

We Expect the EPA Could Continue to Delay

We don't expect the overzealous proponents of the fluoridation, including the EPA, CDC and ADA, to roll over without using every avenue possible to save their credibility by protecting fluoridation. They've already proven time and again, they have deep pockets and no shame.

Proponents don't seem to realize that continued promotion will cause an ever-increasing loss of the public's trust in the agencies that are meant to protect them. Continuing this practice in the absence of sound science — and investing millions of dollars in PR to cover up that fact — will further erode the public's trust in public health programs.

Right now, the only thing being protected is a failed policy and the reputation of those who refuse to accept that this program has been a massive failure both ethically and scientifically.

Before the trial the EPA had already intimated that they could appeal a ruling in our favor, and that even if we win the appeal the rulemaking process to end fluoridation's neurotoxic harm could take up to three years. This would mean tens of thousands more children permanently harmed by fluoridation.

This is why, regardless of the ultimate verdict, FAN will continue to need your support. We have forged this precedent-setting path together. Your support, contributions and sharing of our cause and legal case have played a critical role in making this happen, and we thank you. Whether we win or lose this trial, our important education efforts will have to continue.

Please consider investing in an end to fluoridation by making a tax-deductible donation to our work.

Also, please consider signing-up to receive FAN's email bulletins and following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. We will keep you informed about the latest fluoride research and news, plus give you opportunities help influence fluoride policy in your area and throughout the world.

New Tools and Resources to Educate Leaders About Neurotoxicity

While FAN is taking the lead in court at the federal and state level, and helping campaigners at the local level to educate decision-makers and public health officials, we need your help to spread this educational campaign to every community, including yours. To make the task easier, we have created a number of new educational materials.

First, is our handout on neurotoxicity. We have both a color version along with a black and white version for cheaper bulk printing, as well as a list of the references for this handout that you can combine to make a nice double-sided handout if you so choose. You can also check out our other handouts here.

Second, FAN's Research Director, Chris Neurath, filmed a Zoom webinar in which he presented detailed evidence that fluoride is a developmental neurotoxin.

He described the rapidly accumulating peer-reviewed science showing that fluoride lowers the IQ of children and increases their risk of neurobehavioral problems like ADHD. He put those studies into perspective in ways we can all understand.

This video a powerful tool for campaigners and parents looking to learn the science and to share it with decision-makers. Neurath's presentation is about 50 minutes and includes a 30-minute question and answer session that took place at the end. Click here to access the PowerPoint slides used in this presentation.

Help educate your state-level decision makers about the neurotoxic harm caused by water fluoridation. Use our simple automated email system to send Neurath's presentation to your state legislators and urge them to introduce a bill next session to end the practice throughout your state: Educate Your Legislators NOW.

FAN has also produced a new video series entitled, "Four Game-Changing Studies," explaining the science behind fluoridation's neurotoxicity in four short videos featuring Paul Connett, Ph.D. The shorter format makes the content easier to share on social media and easier for local authorities to digest incrementally.

Source: mercola rss

In the video above, you can watch the first public conversation between social psychologist and Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff and Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president of the European Union (EU) regarding the European way to shape the digital age.

In February 2020, the EU announced a new digital strategy — “Europe Fit for the Digital Age” — that’s intended to ensure technology serves the people and adds value to their lives.1

Privacy is a major concern in a digital era and, according to the EU, their “strategies for artificial intelligence (AI) and data aim to encourage businesses to work with, and develop, these new technologies, while at the same time making sure that they earn citizens’ trust.”2

With Vestager in charge of setting the strategic direction for this new initiative, a conversation with Zuboff is exciting. Her book, "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism," is one of the best books I have read in the last few years. It's an absolute must-read if you have any interest in this topic and want to understand how Google and Facebook have obtained such massive control of your life.

Her book reveals how the biggest tech companies in the world have hijacked our personal data — so-called "behavioral surplus data streams" — without our knowledge or consent and are using it against us to generate profits for themselves. She’s uniquely poised to help guide the EU and any nation looking out for personal privacy.

Why Privacy Matters Even if You ‘Have Nothing to Hide’

Mikkel Flyverbom, professor at Copenhagen Business School, who’s the moderator in the video above, asks an important question in that, when speaking about privacy, some people respond that certain forms of surveillance aren’t a big deal because they have nothing to hide.

It’s a mistake to give over your privacy to this thought process, though, and, as Zuboff explains, it is a sign that you’ve succumbed to a kind of authoritarian propaganda.

The propaganda is the notion that “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” from their sensors, their devices and their surveillance. But at the very foundation, losing your privacy means giving up your right to an inner life — a fundamental change to the society we live in. Zuboff says:

“If everything is transparent and there is no privacy we have fundamentally changed the kind of society that we live in — a society that cherishes privacy is a society that cherishes freedom and autonomy and democracy. What we see is that when we succumb to this idea of total transparency they take our faces, they take our bodies, they take our bloodstreams, they take whatever they want.

These are used for data sets. As we've seen in facial recognition, they take our faces; they put them into data sets. Ultimately, we've seen as in the case with Microsoft, their facial recognition training data set sold to military divisions, including military divisions in China.

… We need an inner life. We need sanctuary to be a democracy and we need societies that are structured by that respect for the individual if we are to have a free democratic society and a free world.”

Digital Strategy Differences Between the EU, US and China

China, led by the Chinese Communist Party, has been intentionally crafting their vision of a digital future since at least 2010 — something the U.S. and the EU have failed to do.

In China’s case, Zuboff notes, “Their vision is one specifically that is to advance their form of government, which is an authoritarian state. They advanced their form of government domestically and they create the technologies and the training systems and value systems to support those technologies, which they export.”

At least 36 countries are now using these authoritarian training systems and surveillance technologies. The U.S. and the EU will now have to work to advance a digital age that will also advance democratic government. If they don’t, Zuboff says, “Our century will not remain democratic.”

At present, we’re “walking naked” into the digital future, and when asked how much progress the EU has made, Vestager says, “Well, I’m afraid we only have a thong on. We still have so far to go.” The EU enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, which is designed to increase the protection of personal data and acts as a sort of digital citizen’s rights.

However, even with these rights in place, Vestager says, “we still need to go further to enforce them.” The COVID-19 pandemic offered a crash course of sorts in doing everything digital, which has shown the urgency in the need to ensure a safe digital future.

9/11 Terrorist Attacks Eroded Privacy Conversations

When asked whether European initiatives will be able to address privacy concerns, Zuboff states that steps are being made, even in the U.S., which has lagged behind but has recently had 29 key bills come out that are trying to tackle these important issues.

There are no laws in place to curtail this brand-new type of surveillance capitalism, and the only reason it has been able to flourish over the past 20 years is because there's been an absence of laws against it, primarily because it has never previously existed. Surveillance has become the biggest for-profit industry on the planet, and your entire existence is now being targeted for profit.

But in order to really come to grips with the facts surrounding surveillance capitalism, Zuboff says, it’s necessary to understand how we got into this place to begin with:

“This goes back to a specific moment in history. This goes back to the day that the twin towers fell because in the United States on September 11th the conversation about the internet and the digital future changed dramatically. People were poised to be considering comprehensive federal privacy legislation on that day.

We see terrorist attacks and that conversation changed very, very quickly to one called Total Information Awareness, and this new obsession altered the way that Washington looked at these fledgling internet companies in Silicon Valley.

Google, right at the forefront, was already on record with the Federal Trade Commission as violating privacy rights with the cookies and the web bugs and the various early tracking procedures that they were implementing.

As a result of the so-called war on terror, Washington developed an unwritten doctrine that I've called surveillance exceptionalism — the idea that these budding tech companies would be allowed to develop their surveillance capabilities outside of democratic oversight, outside of constitutional constraints, and that ultimately these massive oceans of human-generated information that the tech companies would provide would be available to the state when they needed to avail themselves …

[This] allowed the state to pursue surveillance and allow the companies to develop and amplify, root and elaborate a complex economic logic called surveillance capitalism, which has now become the dominant economic logic.

So, what we have is for these last two decades our democracies chose to be surveillance societies instead of choosing to be democratic societies with the digital underneath that umbrella of democracy … and constrained by democratic constitutional constraints.”

Now, we’re at a point where the once fledgling startups have morphed into immense information empires, and control of our information and our privacy is in their hands.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear how valuable digital technologies are acting as a safety net to allow many activities to continue, but because governments haven’t dealt with fundamental issues to protect privacy and digital rights, these information empires continue to own and operate the internet and global means of communication.

These monopolies lead to uncontrolled power that, in turn, leads the people to be even more constrained and living in a society based increasingly on surveillance. “When a human is seen as a resource and not as a citizen,” Vestager said, “well then democracy is undermined.”

COVID-19 Triggered a Rapid Digital Transformation

It’s likely that, in 20 years, we’ll look back at the pandemic as another pivotal point in the digital age, as it triggered one of the most rapid digital transformations in history. One thing it’s made clear is the many nuances that are lost during digital communication, leading Vestager to point out that the point of technology is not to become full-scale but to be used only when it’s useful.

“Humans, in order to stay human, we need to come together, because we educate each other, we develop together and we need each other in order to do that,” she said. “So, my hope over the next 20 years is that we will keep technology in its place as a tool and that we will stay proud and vigilant.”

What we’re seeing now, however, is a society with no escape from surveillance capitalism. From getting medical test results to making dinner plans with friends or relaxing at home with your smart TV, you’re encountering various surveillance capitalism supply chains. Google has also infiltrated education with its Google classrooms, usage of which has skyrocketed during the pandemic.

About 80% of students globally are now doing some type of remote learning, and many of them are using Google classroom or other platforms that also have surveillance capabilities. The Attorney General of New Mexico filed a suit against Google for its educational tools in its classroom suite, helping to “break through the fog,” Zuboff says, but many aren’t aware that even their children are being tracked:

“[The suit is bringing to light how they’re] identifying the huge amounts of data that they're taking about kids, how they track them across the internet and integrate it with all the other Google streams of information and have it as a foundation for tracking those children all the way through their adulthood.”

The Digital Silver Lining

The silver lining is that many are beginning to realize that this is intolerable and something that citizens of democratic societies shouldn’t have to face. As a result, Zuboff says she believes the pandemic will mark the time of democratic resurgence.

“This is going to operate like the Great Depression. The Great Depression was a terrible crisis but it brought forth a sense that, no more, we must create the institutions, the laws and the rights that will protect us from this ever happening again.”

As it stands, there’s an unacceptable concentration of power in a handful of companies that are controlling the information empire, and the global data they’ve amassed is not being used for the public good but, rather, to advance the financial interests of surveillance capitalists and their clients.

By interrupting this “rogue economic logic,” Zuboff explains, the data can be freed for public uses, for those who want to use it to solve problems for the public good, while at the same time building trust and confidence toward a different, better kind of digital future. To get to this point, we need epistemic rights. Zuboff says:

“Part of the big picture is we need to be working on the charters of rights that are necessary in this historical moment — rights that never came under fire before but are now under attack. I call these to begin with epistemic rights.

[They are] the rights to know who gets to know about my life, who decides who gets to know, who decides who decides who gets to know. These issues of knowledge, authority and power need to be translated into rights as we begin to identify these rights.

We have the tools to truly interrupt and outlaw surveillance capitalism, because taking my face is an act of theft and it should be a criminal act. If I'm going to give my face for an enterprise that's collecting data maybe for this treatment, maybe for improving some other aspect of public health, then this is my choice …

I do it transparently, and I do it understanding what my data will be used for, how it will be used, how it will be shared and so on and so forth. So, from these rights we can develop the tools the laws and the institutions that we need to fundamentally change.”

Source: mercola rss