Since 1961, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended that all newborns receive a vitamin K1 injection to prevent uncontrolled bleeding caused by vitamin K deficiency.1,2
Vitamin K1 is required for proper blood clotting, and newborns tend to have low levels due to the fact that vitamin K doesn't cross the placenta very well. Deficiency can result in sudden internal bleeding — typically in the brain or intestines. This is referred to as "vitamin K deficiency bleeding" or VKDB, and can be life-threatening.
Research published in 20143,4 in the journal Pediatrics found the number of parents declining the vitamin K shot for their newborn babies was on the rise, increasing from 0.21% in 2006 to 0.39% in 2012.5
The data were based on infants born in Alberta, Canada. In the U.S., data6 presented at the 2014 CSTE conference reported the refusal rate at two Nashville, Tennessee, hospitals ranged from 2.3% to 3.7% in 2013.
A second 2014 study7 also concluded vitamin K refusal was on the rise, and with it, an increase in late onset vitamin K deficiency bleeding in infants. Of seven infants with confirmed vitamin K deficiency, five developed vitamin K deficiency bleeding.
A 2017 poll8 found the most common reasons given by parents for refusing the vitamin K shot were "perceptions of parents that the injection was unnecessary, lack of knowledge about vitamin K deficiency bleeding, and concern about preservatives."
As reported by Scientific American,9 the 2014 Pediatrics paper10 found that children who did not receive the vitamin K shot at birth were also 14.6 times more likely to be unvaccinated at the age of 15 months. According to the authors:11
"This is the first population-based study to characterize parents who are likely to decline vitamin K for their infants and whose children are likely to be unimmunized. These findings enable earlier identification of high-risk parents and provide an opportunity to enact strategies to increase uptake of vitamin K and childhood immunizations."
Senior author Shannon MacDonald told Scientific American:12
"Our finding of a link between vitamin K refusal and vaccine refusal was very concerning. We had expected a correlation between the two but had not expected the association to be so high."
The correlation between vitamin K shot refusal and vaccine avoidance is turning out to have severe ramifications for many parents. In short, by saying no to the vitamin K shot, some hospitals are automatically labeling you a negligent parent and a dreaded anti-vaxxer in the making, so to speak.
A number of stories have emerged detailing how parents have had their newborn babies taken from them by simply because they declined the vitamin K injection. In a September 2019 article,13 The Daily Citizen describes the harrowing ordeal of Angela and Brian Bougher:
"The Christian couple believes that 'God's creation isn't automatically deficient or flawed at birth' and the shot is unnecessary. The Boughers have a right to their beliefs, and if they were fully informed of the risks then they should be able to decline. The state of Illinois didn't see it that way.
Instead, in the moments after birth, a nurse told the Boughers that their newborn daughter was being taken away and they were being investigated for 'medical neglect.' It took 12 hours to get their daughter back.
It's debatable whether the logic of Boughers' decision is sound — however, medical professionals should know that the first moments of life are crucial to both mother and child. To remove a child for such a reason is a severe overreach of the state's responsibility to protect children from neglectful parents.
The family's pain did not stop there. Later the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) had law enforcement officers make an unannounced visit the Boughers' home to investigate and determine if any of their other four children were being 'neglected.'"
The Boughers and several other Illinois families who experienced harassment and investigation by the DCFS over refusal of the vitamin K shot have filed a class action lawsuit against local hospitals (Silver Cross Hospital, Advocate Christ Medical Center and the University of Chicago Medical Center), the AAP, the DCFS and several pediatricians. As reported by CBS September 24, 2019:14
"They want a compensation and a court-enforced guarantee that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services won't be called if parents refuse to give their babies a Vitamin K shot."
In 2010, I interviewed Cees Vermeer, Ph.D., an associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands,15 and one of the world's leading specialist in vitamin K.16 I've included it above for your convenience.
According to Vermeer, while vitamin K1 is necessary for newborns, the shot is not. There are far safer and noninvasive ways to normalize your baby's vitamin K1 level. He points out several areas of risk associated with the vitamin K injection:
• The amount of vitamin K injected into newborns (0.5 to 1 milligram17) is far greater than needed
• The injection may contain benzyl alcohol,18 a preservative that may be toxic for the baby's delicate immune system.
Preservative-free shots may contain a combination of polysorbate 8019 and propylene glycol20 instead,21 but these ingredients also have a questionable safety profile. For polysorbate 80, hypersensitivity and possible death are among the known risks22
• An injection creates an additional opportunity for infection in an environment that contains some of the most dangerous germs, at a time when your baby's immune system is still immature
Perhaps most importantly, though, inflicting pain immediately after birth causes psycho-emotional damage and trauma to a newborn, which is both inappropriate and unnecessary.
In his 1999 paper, "Babies Don't Feel Pain: A Century of Denial in Medicine," David B. Chamberlain, Ph.D., a psychologist and co-founder of the Association of Pre-and Perinatal Psychology and Health, wrote:23
"The earlier an infant is subjected to pain, the greater the potential for harm … We must alert the medical community to the psychological hazards of early pain and call for the removal of all man-made pain surrounding birth."
A 2004 study24 found that very early pain or stress experiences have long-lasting adverse consequences for newborns, including changes in the central nervous system and changes in responsiveness of the neuroendocrine and immune systems at maturity. Similarly, a 2008 study25 concluded:
"Healthy newborns routinely experience acute pain during blood sampling for metabolic screening, injection of vitamin K or hepatitis vaccine, or circumcision.
Acute pain caused by skin-breaking procedures can lead to physiologic instability and behavioral distress, and it has downstream effects on subsequent pain processing, development and stress responsivity. Because of these detrimental effects, reduction and prevention of pain are worthy clinical goals that are also expected by most parents."
The good news is there's a completely noninvasive and pain free way to ensure your baby gets the vitamin K1 it needs: oral vitamin K drops, which are readily available for hospitals to purchase26 if they do not routinely stock it.
Oral vitamin K1 is absorbed less efficiently than vitamin K1 that is injected. However, this can easily be compensated for by adjusting the dose. And, since vitamin K1 itself is nontoxic, there is no danger of a bad reaction.
One reason oral vitamin K is not routinely used is because it requires multiple doses, and it's feared new parents will forget to comply with the dosing. There are many variations in recommendations for the oral dosing. Among them:
Six-month weekly regimen — One 2-mg oral dose at birth, followed by a once-weekly dose of 1 mg for the first six months of life, provided they're breastfed at least half of the time. This regimen was found to be as effective as the vitamin K shot, Evidence Based Birth reports.27
Three-month weekly regimen — 2 mg at birth, followed by once weekly dose of 1 mg for the first three months was found to be "an efficient prophylaxis against VKBD."28
Three-month daily or weekly regimen — 1 mg dose at birth followed by 25 micrograms per day for 13 weeks, or 2 mg at birth followed by 1 mg per week for three months was found to provide the lowest risk of VKDB.29
Three-dose regimen — 1 mg by mouth at birth, 1 mg at 1 week of age, and a third 1 mg dose at 4 to 6 months of age.30
Three-dose regimen — 2 mg four hours after birth, 2 mg on day four, and a third 2-mg dose in the fourth week was found to "adequately" protect infants from VKDB.31 (Omitting the third dose was shown to provide inadequate protection).
Single dose — A single oral dose of 1 mg may protect against early VKDB in exclusively breastfed babies but not late VKDB.32
As noted by Vermeer, you can also increase your infant's vitamin K level naturally if you are breastfeeding by increasing your own vitamin K level. The milk of lactating women has been tested, and most is low in vitamin K because the women themselves are vitamin K deficient.
If you take a vitamin K1 supplement, your milk also becomes richer in vitamin K, as you would expect. However, prudence is required — you need to make sure your vitamin K level is truly optimized, and for most women, the vitamin K absorbed from foods won't be enough, so supplementation might be needed.
Ultimately, the choice about whether or not to consent for your baby to be given a vitamin K shot is yours. For some, eliminating a source of avoidable pain right after birth is worth the extra work required to make sure your baby's vitamin K level is optimized.
If you choose to not expose your child to a vitamin K shot and would prefer to have it given orally, you will have to make it very clear not only to your obstetrician but also the nursing staff, as they would be the ones who actually administer the shot.
The time to do this is well before your baby is born, to avoid getting into a nasty argument right after delivery. That way, you can make sure the hospital has oral drops on hand on the day of delivery, and for you to take home with you to continue the dosing.
Source: mercola rss
During a six-week period every summer, fishermen head out to Bristol Bay, Alaska, to catch their share of wild sockeye salmon. An estimated 38 million of the fish return to the bay each year, supporting a brief economy that creates 14,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in revenue.1
In a report prepared for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, it’s noted that the area is the world’s most valuable wild salmon fishery, supplying nearly half the global supply of wild sockeye salmon.2 Even as other Alaskan fisheries have suffered — due to pollution, deforestation, dams, toxic algae and sometimes reasons unknown3 — Bristol Bay’s salmon have remained plentiful.
In 2018, 232 million pounds of salmon were harvested in Bristol Bay, a catch worth about $281 million.4 Its success, according to Tom Quinn, a University of Washington professor of aquatic and fishery sciences who spoke with The Nation, is owed to its unique geography and topography, which so far has staved off pollution and dams, along with good management by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.5
Threats are looming, however, that could change the future of Bristol Bay, putting what is close to the world’s most nutritious food at risk. Chief among them is Pebble Mine, a copper, gold and molybdenum open pit mine that’s slated to open in the area.
The proposed mine would radically change the environment in Bristol Bay. In addition to an open-pit mine, the project includes tailings storage facilities, water management ponds, a mill facility, a natural gas fired power plant and other mine facilities. The facility is estimated to span 8,086 acres, including a 608-acre pit that would reach 1,970 feet deep.6
The mine has a proposed operating life of 20 years, during which 1.3 billion tons of ore would be processed at a rate of 180,000 tons of ore per day.
Acidic waste from the mining operations, along with other waste products, are set to be disposed of in two facilities covering about 3,867 acres, while the U.S. EPA noted, “Water discharges from the pit lake following mine closure would require water treatment in perpetuity.”7 Environmentalists are understandably concerned. The Nation reported:8
“The process of extraction would generate a massive amount of acidic toxic water that must be kept out of the larger ecosystem.
The mine development would require building roads, power lines, pipelines and ports on undeveloped land, putting new stressors on fish habitat, says Lindsey Bloom, a longtime fisherwoman and a strategist with Salmon State, a political advocacy group opposed to the mine.
‘It directly impacts thousands of years of subsistence relationships with the landscape, tens of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars a year in economic activity at regional, state and global networks,’ she adds.”
The EPA, in 2014, stalled the mine proposal after stating it would “pose significant risks to the unparalleled ecosystem.” But Northern Dynasty Minerals, the company trying to open the mine, has moved through the political red tape, prompting the EPA to reverse their position in July 2019.
The mine, in a revised, smaller form, is moving forward once again, though according to The Nation, “EPA scientists still object. They’ve submitted over 100 pages of comments critical of the newest plan, saying that substantial concerns remain about adverse effects on the ecosystem.”9
Opponents have raised concerns that the dam meant to hold toxic mine tailings could fail, and even though the mine is slated to be smaller than before, operations could expand once it’s opened. Mine catastrophes that contaminate lakes and rivers, and take hundreds of human lives, are not unheard of, and even in the best-case scenario, experts suggest pollution in the area would be inevitable.
“They can’t capture and treat all their contaminated water ... It is not a stretch to say mines always leak. Water quality downstream of mines is never what it was before you built the mine,” geomorphologist Cameron Wobus told The Nation.10
The National Resources Defense Council has also spoken out against the mine, with senior attorney Joel Reynolds stating about the EPA’s about-face, “This outrageous move is the … Administration’s gift to a foreign mining corporation at the expense of Bristol Bay’s fish, aquatic resources and community. Yet again, the agency charged with protecting our public health and environment is abandoning science — and the public — in order to advance the interests of a wealthy few.”11
In a Draft Environmental Impact Statement released by the Army Corps of Engineers, it’s estimated that Pebble Mine would destroy more than 3,500 acres of wetlands and 80 miles of stream. Still, even this is a gross underestimate, according to Save Bristol Bay, a group of individuals, organizations and businesses dedicated to protecting Bristol Bay.12
Along with threatening Bristol Bay’s sockeye salmon and the region’s related economy, more than 30 Alaska Native Tribes depend on the area’s salmon to support their traditional ways of life. “If the Pebble mine is developed, the subsistence culture of thousands of people who live in the Bristol Bay region will be threatened,” Save Bristol Bay explains.13
After the EPA’s initial decision about the mine was released in 2014, more than 670,000 Americans voiced their opinions during the 60-day public comment period, with 99% of them in favor of strong protections for the area’s watershed.14 Still, the proposal is moving forward, despite the grave risks it poses to one of the most important salmon habitats on the planet. Save Bristol Bay detailed what’s at stake:15
“In southwest Alaska, rivers, lakes and wetlands combine to provide some of the best wild salmon habitat on earth. An hour and a-half flight from Anchorage, the Bristol Bay watershed, an area roughly the size of West Virginia, is nestled between two national parks (Katmai and Lake Clark), and the nation's largest state park.
The area hosts three active volcanoes and Lake Iliamna, the 8th largest lake in the United States. Bristol Bay and its watershed are famous for their beauty and bounty of fish and wildlife.
With wild salmon runs disappearing from the planet, Bristol Bay is a place of international importance because of the salmon runs and the economies they support. All of this is risked by the Pebble mine and large-scale hard rock mining on adjacent public land.”
Wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, with its rich concentration of beneficial omega-3 fats, is close to a perfect food. People with the highest levels of omega-3 fats lived for 2.22 more years after age 65 than those with the lowest, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.16
None of the study participants took omega-3 supplements, so the omega-3 is presumed to have come from eating oily fish like salmon. The researchers suggested eating one to two servings of fatty fish per week could lead to health benefits, such as extended life span and a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.17
Salmon also contains beneficial B vitamins, which are important for energy production and have anti-inflammatory benefits, and the trace mineral selenium, which has antioxidant properties. Phosphorus and magnesium — important for bone health — can also be found in salmon, as can astaxanthin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that’s beneficial for heart and immune system health and has anticancer properties.18
Eating salmon regularly may reduce your risk of heart disease by increasing your omega-3 levels,19 support healthy weight loss20 and protect your brain health, even leading to slower cognitive decline with age.21 It’s important to understand, however, that not all salmon is created equal, and if you eat the wrong kind, it may harm your health more than it helps it.
Farmed salmon is presented as a sustainable seafood solution, but it carries many of the same problems posed by concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) on land. Farmed salmon may be raised in crowded pens in the ocean, where their excrement and food residues are disrupting local marine life. The potential for escape is also high, and farmed salmon is high in pollutants.22
In a global assessment of farmed salmon published in the journal Science, cancer-causing PCB concentrations in farmed salmon were found to be significantly higher than in wild salmon.23 Similarly, when the Environmental Working Group tested farmed salmon from U.S. grocery stores, they found farmed salmon had, on average:24
Even land-based salmon aquaculture is problematic, according to research published in Scientific Reports, which performed an analysis of four salmon aquacultures in Chile.25 The facilities pump water from rivers into their hatcheries, then pump it back out to the river once it’s no longer clean.
As a result, the water is often contaminated with dissolved organic matter (DOM) — a mixture of liquid excrement, food residue and other salmon excretions, along with disinfectants and antibiotics.
The release of DOM into Chile’s rivers is causing significant ramifications for the entire ecosystem. Upstream of the fish farms, the researchers detected higher amounts of natural algae biofilms on rocks, which help to produce oxygen and provide food for organisms that fish later eat.
Downstream, however, biofilms had a greater abundance of bacteria, which use up oxygen and may lead to low-oxygen environments that could threaten many species. The researchers suggested that no additional fish farms should be installed on Chilean rivers, noting, “[R]ivers should not be misused as natural sewage treatment plants.”26
Further, since farmed salmon pens are often placed along wild salmon runs, they pose a severe threat to wild salmon stocks that pass by, exposing wild fish to diseases that run rampant among the confined fish, such as sea lice, pancreas disease, infectious salmon anemia virus and piscine reovirus, a highly contagious blood virus that causes heart disease in the affected fish.
Be aware, also, that salmon genetically engineered (GE) to grow unnaturally fast is being raised in Indiana and will soon be available, sold under a “bioengineered” label. However, the labeling isn’t mandatory until 2022, may be hidden behind a scannable code and isn’t required at all for GE salmon sold by restaurants and other food service locations.
You can often distinguish wild Alaskan salmon from farmed varieties just by looking at it. The flesh of wild sockeye salmon is bright red, courtesy of its natural astaxanthin content. It's also very lean, so the fat marks, those white stripes you see in the meat, are very thin. If the fish is pale pink with wide fat marks, the salmon is farmed.
When choosing salmon at the grocery store, avoid Atlantic salmon, as typically salmon labeled "Atlantic Salmon" comes from fish farms. The two designations you want to look for are "Alaskan salmon" and "sockeye salmon," as Alaskan sockeye is not allowed to be farmed. Canned salmon labeled "Alaskan Salmon" is a good, more affordable option, and if you find sockeye salmon, it's also wild.
To avoid GE salmon, avoid any products labeled “bioengineered” and check any QR codes necessary to find out additional information. If you order salmon in a restaurant and it doesn’t specify that it’s wild caught, avoid it — or at least ask the restaurant directly whether it’s genetically engineered or not.
This is why the introduction of Pebble Mine to Bristol Bay is such a travesty. Protecting one of the world’s most important sources of wild Alaskan sockeye salmon — one of the world’s healthiest foods — is imperative. If industry is allowed to destruct this pristine habitat, our access to this priceless food source could forever be lost.
Source: mercola rss
Avocados not only are one of the world’s healthiest fruits, they’re also among the most economically important, representing a $13 billion market in 2017.1 Avocados have been enjoyed since ancient times, but their DNA has been largely foreign — until now. A group of U.S. and Mexican scientists have sequenced the genomes of Mexican and well-known Hass avocados.
Their study, published in PNAS,2 reveals “ancient evolutionary relationships” that give clues to the fruit’s origins but also opens the floodgates to future genetic modification of this already perfect food. Indeed, as The New York Times put it, the research is “likely to become the foundation for breeding techniques and genetic modifications designed to produce avocados that can resist disease or survive in drier conditions.”3
In 2018, scientists released a report detailing changing temperatures in California, along with changes in precipitation patterns, that could change agriculture significantly in the state. Avocados were one of the crops cited as being particularly vulnerable to temperature changes, such that the researchers estimated avocado production in California could decrease by 40% as a result.4,5
Luis Herrera-Estrella of Texas Tech University, who led the study, likewise stated that their research to sequence the avocado genome was necessary in order to make the plants “accessible to modern genomic-assisted breeding efforts.”6 He told The New York Times:7
“Because of climate change, temperature might not be the same, humidity might not be the same, the soil might be different, new insects will come and diseases will come … We need to be prepared to contend with all these inevitable challenges.”
Genetic engineering (GE) could be used to “fight threatening avocado diseases, and to optimize growth and desirable phenotypic traits,” the researchers concluded,8 but it will likely be years before a GE avocado is created, as the plant takes years to mature. Still, this is where the research is headed in creating “avocados for the future.” Herrera-Estrella continued:9
“There are avocados that grow in very hot places with little water, and there are avocados that grow more in rainy places … If we can identify genes that confer heat tolerance and drought tolerance, then we can engineer the avocados for the future.”
Other fruits, including apples and tomatoes, have also had their genomes sequenced, which led to the creation of GE varieties. Apples genetically engineered to resist browning when sliced or bruised appeared in select grocery stores in the U.S. Midwest in 2017. Developed by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the apples are engineered to suppress the production of the enzyme — polyphenol oxidase (PPO) — that causes browning.
The first two varieties of the so-named Arctic Apple — Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny — were deregulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2015. A third variety, Arctic Fuji, joined the mix in 2016,10 while in 2019 the company announced Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny fresh slices, which they’re suggesting is the perfect option to get kids to eat more apples.11
Packaging presliced apples raises a couple of immediate concerns, like increased packaging waste for a product that’s already perfect portable, as well as contamination risks, since the more you process a food — prepeeling and slicing it, for instance — the more the risk of contamination increases.
Will nonbrowning GE avocados also become a thing? Only time will tell, but it’s likely biotech companies will pounce on this opportunity to create a new, entirely unnecessary, GE product. Browning in avocados occurs through the same process that causes browning in apples, and both are completely harmless.
Cutting an apple or avocado exposes the cells to oxygen, which allows the PPO enzymes to rapidly oxidize the phenolic compounds in the fruit’s tissues into ortho-quinones (o-quinones). O-quinones form a natural antiseptic that helps protect the fruit from bacteria and fungi. While o-quinones have no color, they react with oxygen and amino acids to produce melanin, which turns the fruit brown.
By 2022, the USDA will require GMOs to carry labels, but it will only be in the form of a green circle with the words “derived from bioengineering.” However, the label only applies to a food that has had another organism’s genes spliced into it by a process called transgenesis. Other types of genetic engineering, such as CRISPR gene editing, do not need to be labeled at all.12
As noted by The Non-GMO Project executive director Megan Westgate, the USDA’s GMO labeling law “jeopardizes GMO transparency for Americans”:13
“In its current form, categorical exemptions prevent this law from delivering the meaningful protections Americans deserve. Highly processed ingredients, many products of new genetic engineering techniques such as CRISPR and TALEN, and many meat and dairy products will not require disclosure.”
This means that if avocados are genetically edited using CRISPR or similar technologies, it won’t be noted on the label and you’ll have no way of knowing whether the avocado you’re eating is a traditionally grown variety or one that has had its genes tweaked.
One possibility the featured study researchers are considering to make the idea of GE avocados more “tolerable” is making the rootstock, which is a tree stump used to graft branches onto, GE, rather than modifying the fruit itself.
Victor Albert, one of the study’s authors, told The New York Times, “That’s one big possibility to make G.M. tolerable to people that really care about it … You don’t have to make G.M. avocados, and even if you do G.M., you don’t have to make the avocados themselves G.M.”14 He continued in a University at Buffalo news release:15
“If you have an interesting tree that looks like it’s good at resisting fungus, you can go in and look for genes that are particularly active in this avocado. If you can identify the genes that control resistance, and if you know where they are in the genome, you can try to change their regulation. There’s major interest in developing disease-resistant rootstock on which elite cultivars are grafted.”
Already, however, the team has faced challenges as opposition to GMOs surfaces, including in Mexico. The Mexican agriculture ministry initially contributed a $2.5 million grant for the project, but didn’t renew the funding after three years, forcing the team to find money elsewhere.16
Most avocado lovers are familiar with the Hass variety, which makes up 90% of cultivated avocados.17 One way to protect crops from pests and disease naturally would be to diversify and expand crops of the many different varieties of avocados available.
There are hundreds of varieties of avocados but, for comparison, only seven are grown commercially in California, and 95% of the total crop is the Hass variety.18 Some of the more unusual varieties listed by the California Avocados website include:19
Bacon — A green-skinned, oval-shaped avocado.
Fuerte — A pear-shaped fruit with smooth skin.
Gwen — This avocado has pebbly skin and is slightly larger than the Hass variety.
Pinkerton — Known for their long pear shape and small seed, which yields more fruit per tree.
Reed — A large round fruit with slight pebbling on the skin.
Zutano — A pear-shaped avocado with shiny yellow-green skin.
It’s believed that avocados originated in Africa before traveling to North America and Central America, and may have been enjoyed in Mexico as far back as 10,000 years ago.20 The genome study revealed that Hass avocado DNA is 61% Mexican and 39% Guatemalan,21 which suggests it has a more recent origin. Herrera-Estrella told the University at Buffalo:22
“Immediately after hybridization, you get these giant blocks of DNA from the parent plants. These blocks break up over many generations as you have more reproductive events that scramble the chromosomes.
But we don’t see this scrambling in the Hass avocado. On chromosome 4, one whole arm appears to be Guatemalan, while the other is Mexican. We see big chunks of DNA in the Hass avocado that reflect its heritage.”
Hass avocados are prized for their flavorful flesh and skin that turns from green to dark purple as it ripens. However, avocados differ not only in their size and skin color but also in their taste, texture and nutritional makeup. According to Food Republic:23
“Florida’s small [avocado] industry is focused on varieties like Choquette, Hall and Lulu — large, smooth-skinned fruits with juicy, sweet flesh popular among populations of Caribbean immigrants …
Many Florida avocado lovers, in fact, dislike the California-grown varieties, sometimes describing them as ‘oily.’ Californians, though, may backpedal from the taste and texture of the low-fat Florida avocados — and call them ‘watery.’”
One avocado variety, Choquette, can weigh up to 2 pounds and releases green juice when you cut it, as it’s high in water content. The Daily 11 is even larger, coming in at 5 pounds or more, while the Tonnage variety is smaller with a lower oil content of 8% to 10% (the Hass variety can have 20% oil content or more).24
There’s even the Mexicola Grande variety, which is a small, black plum-like fruit with black, papery skin. The skin is so thin you can bite right through it — it’s edible — and the flesh has a unique anise-like flavor.25
Avocados are worthy of their superfood status. With nearly 20 vitamins and minerals and healthy monounsaturated fat, they’re a nutrient-dense food that can also help your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients from other foods in your diet.26
Further, eating one-half of a fresh medium Hass avocado with a significantly inhibited the production of the inflammatory compound Interleukin-6 (IL-6), compared to eating a burger without fresh avocado, suggesting they have anti-inflammatory effects.27
Avocados are also a good source of antioxidants, including carotenoids, tocopherols and polyphenols, and may have cancer-fighting properties.28 Research also suggests that eating avocados is beneficial for cardiovascular health and may support weight management and healthy aging.29
When choosing avocados, these are among the cleanest fruits in terms of pesticide residues,30 so they’re one type of produce you can opt to buy conventionally grown if need be. However, if GE avocados are introduced, choosing organic will be important to ensure that your avocado is not one of them.
Source: mercola rss
It’s time for some tough love. Sure, your eyes are sparkling, and you’ve got that blush on your cheeks, but you’re in a toxic relationship. You’re so much better than the fake and harmful stuff you’re putting up with. We’re calling it: It’s time to break up with your toxic makeup!
But don’t worry—this is one breakup you can smile about. You won’t be left weeping, binging on chocolate, and watching teen romcom reruns. Instead, you’ll be radiant, glowing, and wishing that every breakup could be just as clean.
You use essential oils in your skin care routine to keep your skin healthy, gorgeous, and full of Mother Nature’s best. Don’t rebound with toxins by using makeup full of parabens, talc, and coal tar. Let clean beauty and natural makeup help you feel your best inside and out!
Even though the packaging may look sleek, cool, and totally irresistible, lots of commercial makeup—even the expensive, luxury brands—is full of ingredients you wouldn’t want near your face. Remember, it’s what’s on the inside that counts! Which ingredients should you never have to put up with or apologize for?
We thought you’d never ask! Savvy Minerals by Young Living® is our first love when it comes to clean beauty. Full of high-impact ingredients and pro-quality formulas, our makeup is responsibly sourced, plant based, and cruelty free. Savvy Minerals® eyeshadows, lipsticks, foundations, and more come in brilliant shades and work around the clock to enhance your natural beauty.
You’re ready! Kick toxic makeup to the curb, get back in the game, and let clean makeup become your new bae. Here’s a list of suitors we think are worthy of your time, attention, and love!
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Now that you’ve mourned your toxic highlighter and have had your first glimpse of true makeup love, Veil—Diamond Dust will have you glowing in no time! But it’s not just here to accentuate the high points of your face, this feature-enhancing product is really reliable too. It will set your look, absorb oil, and leave you with fairy princess vibes!
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Handy, dependable, and always there: the Essential Brush Set will check all your boxes. This set can do just about anything, with five brushes that can contour, swipe on blush, blend in your foundation, and create the ultimate smoky eye. Made with high-quality synthetic fibers and designed with optimal application in mind, these soft brushes will be your new favorite makeup tool. And trust us—this is one tool you’ll want to keep around!
We may be stereotyping here, but mascara can be the worst offender when it comes to toxic behavior. Most mascaras on the market contain coal tar for an inky black color, but we’re here to say no thank you! Enter: Savvy Minerals Mascara. We switched nasty ingredients for the good ones, including Lavender essential oil, so you can be sure that your mascara is a little less bad boy and a little more good guy!
Not only is this pick good enough for you, but it also feels incredible on your lips *wink, wink.* Our Poppy Seed Lip Scrub gently exfoliates to condition and moisturize so that when true love’s first kiss comes knocking, you’ll be ready! Just how your soul mate erases all the bad from past relationships, this lip scrub will buff away dry or dead skin using gentle, plant-based ingredients.
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Source: Young Living Blog
1 Recent research suggests many nutrient deficiencies around the world could be effectively addressed and resolved by:
2 Which of the following is a reason sometimes given to be granted a religious belief exemption to vaccination?
3 Legionnaire's disease is:
4 Which of the following has been shown to be a useful tool to distinguish between two similar types of dementia — Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer's disease?
5 The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA):
6 Saturated fat and cholesterol…
7 Which of the following holistic therapies is sometimes recommended for cancer patients as it stimulates your immune system and works like a chemo drug?
Source: mercola rss
Mitochondria are the power generators of your cells. These small structures, located within each cell, transfer electrons from fat and sugars to oxygen and generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the energy "currency" of your body.1 Mitochondria have two ATP-producing membranes that allow the storage of energy as ATP like batteries and are literally where we get our vim and vigor.
The well-being of your whole mitochondria system can determine whether or not you develop many chronic diseases, including cancer. As I have often noted, your mitochondrial function can be improved through ketogenic diets that force your body to burn fat as its primary fuel rather than sugars. Additionally, there is now fascinating research suggesting that the herb astragalus can also have a protective role in the health of your mitochondria.
Astragalus membranaceus, also called Huang Qi, ogi, hwanggi and milk vetch, is a perennial flowering legume prevalent in northern China, Mongolia and Korea.2 It contains polysaccharides, saponins, flavonoids and other components.3 Astragalus has been used medicinally for centuries in China for many conditions, yet its positive health uses have been slower to be recognized in Western medicine.
Researchers writing in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences note that astragalus polysaccharides (APS):4
" … protects mitochondria by scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS), inhibiting mitochondrial PT and increasing the activities of antioxidases. Therefore, APS has the effect of promoting health."
Harm that was sustained in the mitochondria of mice with ferrous ion (Fe2+) was reversed through the application of APS, write the researchers.
"In the current investigation we have incubated the mouse liver and brain mitochondria with or without the presence of Fe2+, and examined their effects on mitochondria by measuring the absorbance at 532 nm.
The current results show that formation of TBARS in mitochondria, which was enhanced significantly following treatment with Fe2+–Vitamin C, was inhibited in a concentration-dependent manner in presence of APS which indicates that APS possess the antioxidant activity."
Researchers writing in a 2018 issue of the Dove journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity found the mitochondria protection of astragalus polysaccharides (APS) likely also has implications in the abnormal cardiac structure known as diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM).5 Oxidative stress and apoptosis (cell death) which harm the mitochondria, contribute to the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy, and APS inhibits such processes write the researchers.
"Our findings indicated the beneficial effect of APS on high glucose-challenged H9C2 cells, which was associated with inhibition of oxidative stress in vitro.
Recent investigations have demonstrated that the major causes of DCM are activated oxidative stress, which enhances the formation of mitochondrial ROS, and the subsequent oxidation-mediated apoptosis by hyperglycemia."
Astragalus polysaccharides contain manganese superoxide (SOD), an important detoxifying enzyme6 and it contributes to the mitochondria protection:7
"Due to the localization within mitochondria, manganese SOD (Mn-SOD, coded by the SOD2 gene) is the most effective member of the SOD enzyme family which protects the mitochondria from oxidation. Astragalus polysaccharides (APS) are the main bioactive hydrosoluble heterosaccharide component of Astragalus."
Diabetic retinopathy (DR), is the leading cause8 of adult blindness in the world caused by hyperglycemia, a primary long-term vascular complication of diabetes which causes gradual alterations of retinal microvasculature.
Even after the hyperglycemia that drives the DR is normalized, this progressive condition can persist in what is called metabolic memory.9 Yet astragalus may present encouraging possibilities here too. Scientists writing in a 2019 article in the journal Molecular Medicine report on research that suggests that:
"The function of APS in metabolic memory is still unknown. Previous reports found APS ameliorated the mitochondrial dysfunction through Sirtunin1 pathway in chronic fatigue. Furthermore, studies showed mitochondrial damage also occurred in metabolic memory rat model. So we hypothesized APS could control the metabolic memory via regulating mitochondrial dysfunction …
… APS suppressed high glucose-induced metabolic memory in retinal pigment epithelial cells through inhibiting mitochondrial dysfunction-induced apoptosis by regulating miR-195."
The Molecular Medicine scientists found that astragalus APS had a reciprocal role with oxidative stress: They arrested cell degradation and death or apoptosis from the stress and their positive effects were reversed by the oxidative stress exerted by MicroRNA (called miR-195, a substance linked to cancer and other diseases).10
"APS alleviated the oxidative stress, mitochondrial damage and cell apoptosis induced by HG and HG + NG treatments in RPE cells via regulating miR-195. Furthermore, we found overexpression of miR-195 abolished the alleviated effects of APS on the HG-treated RPE cells."11
In addition to protecting your mitochondria, other exciting uses of astragalus are under investigation. The legume may have value in combating the bacterium E.Coli12, leukemia,13 acute respiratory infection in children,14 chronic fatigue,15 liver,16 bladder,17 lung,18 nasopharyngeal19 and gastric cancers,20 post-stroke fatigue21 and estrogen-related bone22 and hearing23 loss.
Thanks to its anticancer properties, the role of astragalus in enhancing chemotherapy is now also under investigation. Researchers writing in the International Journal of Medical Sciences this year stated:24
"Astragalus membranaceus has been shown to possess anti-inflammation and antitumor properties. Several studies have indicated that extracts of Astragalus membranaceus (PG2) have growth inhibitory effects on tumor. However, the effect of PG2 on enhancing the chemotherapy, modulating tumor immune escape and their mechanism of action is unknown and need further investigation.
Herein, we provide evidence that the treatment of PG2 induced Cx43 expression, decreases IDO expression and enhances the distribution of chemotherapeutic drug.
However, the effects of combination therapy (PG2 plus cisplatin) in animal models significantly retarded tumor growth and prolonged the survival. We believe that the information provided in this study may aid in the design of future therapy of PG2, suggest suitable combinations with chemotherapies."
Astragalus grows well in zones 6 through 11 with the flowering season running from midsummer through late fall. Plants can reach up to 4 feet and will produce flowers that turn into egg-shaped beans. Astragalus seeds will germinate in three to 10 days after a three-weeklong cold period — though germination rates can be low so retain your seeds. After seeds have been cold stratified, rub them with fine sandpaper to abrade the outer shell and boost the germination rate.
Soak your seeds in water for a few hours or overnight and place them in a small pot or starter tray with a high quality seed starting mix. Press the seeds about one-quarter inch to 1 inch into the soil and cover them up.
Keep the soil moist but not soggy until seeds start to sprout. Place your pots or starter tray on a window sill or in an area that receives morning sun. Once the seedlings have grown to a few inches, transfer them to larger pots or, if you like, straight into your garden, if there's no risk of frost.
Whether you're growing your astragalus in a pot or in the ground, make sure the root ball stays moist, especially during summer. Every few months, apply compost or rotted manure around the plant. If you intend to use the root medicinally, obviously avoid all synthetic, inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. Prune the plant annually.
After two to three years, the astragalus root can be harvested. Use a garden fork or needle-nose spade to loosen the soil around the plant so you can extract the taproot. Two years is considered the minimum of maturity for an astragalus plant; before that, the rootstock will be too small to you to use for medicinal purposes.
With all the interesting medicinal astragalus uses, you can grow and continue to grow this versatile plant yourself.
Source: mercola rss
Sulfur is a somewhat "forgotten" nutrient you don't hear mentioned very often, but it's very important for optimal body function and health. You get most of your sulfur from certain proteins in your diet, specifically the amino acids methionine, cysteine, cystine, homocysteine, homocystine and taurine.1
Of these, the two most important sources are methionine and cysteine. Methionine is an essential amino acid, which means it cannot be synthesized by your body and must be supplied through your diet. Cysteine is conditionally essential, because it can be synthesized from methionine but not from inorganic forms of sulfur.2
Neither of these primary sulfur-containing amino acids is stored in your body per se, although glutathione is a key storage form for sulfur.3 Glutathione is composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate and glycine, and is your body's most potent antioxidant.
Glutathione also keeps many other antioxidants performing at peak levels, and cysteine availability is thought to be a rate-limiting factor for glutathione synthesis.4
While sulfur is found in many foods, sulfur deficiency may still be quite common5 — in part due to sulfur deficiency in crops,6 and in part due to low consumption of sulfur-rich foods7 such as leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, alliums8 such as garlic and onions, seafood, grass fed meats and organic pastured eggs.
Frequent use of drugs that require sulfur for excretion and/or detoxification can also contribute to an inadequate sulfur status. Acetaminophen is one such example.9 A vegan diet can also put you at increased risk for sulfur deficiency, because plant-based foods contain fewer sulfur-containing amino acids than animal-based foods.10
According to Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., who has written several papers11,12,13,14 on sulfur and sulfur metabolism and its role in human disease, sulfur plays a role in many biological processes, including metabolism15 and the sulfonation of hormones,16 and deficiency appears to play a role in a wide range of health problems and diseases, including:
Required in the creation of connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments, sulfur is also essential for healthy joints, and deficiency has been linked to joint pain and joint-related diseases.18 Other benefits, uses and sources are also noted in the paper "Sulfur in Human Nutrition and Applications in Medicine":19
"Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a volatile component in the sulfur cycle, is another source of sulfur found in the human diet ... Organic sulfur, as SAAs [sulfur-containing amino acids], can be used to increase synthesis of S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), glutathione (GSH), taurine, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC).
MSM may be effective for the treatment of allergy, pain syndromes, athletic injuries, and bladder disorders.
Other sulfur compounds such as SAMe … taurine, glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate, and reduced glutathione may also have clinical applications in the treatment of a number of conditions such as depression, fibromyalgia, arthritis, interstitial cystitis, athletic injuries, congestive heart failure, diabetes, cancer, and AIDS."
As explained by the featured study above, sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in your body, based on percentage of total body weight.20 Sulfur bonds are required for proteins to maintain their shape, and these bonds determine the biological activity of the proteins.
For example, hair and nails consist of a tough protein called keratin, which is high in sulfur, whereas connective tissue and cartilage contain proteins with flexible sulfur bonds, giving the structure its flexibility.
With age, the flexible tissues in your body tend to lose their elasticity, leading to sagging and wrinkling of skin, stiff muscles and painful joints. A shortage of sulfur likely contributes to these age-related problems.
In addition to bonding proteins, sulfur is also required for the proper structure and biological activity of enzymes. If you don't have sufficient amounts of sulfur in your body, enzymes cannot function properly.
A cascade of health problems may thus ensue, since your metabolic processes rely on biologically active enzymes. You can learn more about this in "Enzyme Fundamentals." Sulfur also plays an important role in:
Your body's electron transport system, as part of iron/sulfur proteins in mitochondria, the energy factories of your cells21
Synthesizing important metabolic intermediates, such as glutathione — one of the most important antioxidants that your body produces — SAMe, taurine and NAC22
Detoxification23 — Without sulfur, glutathione (your body's built-in detoxifier) is rendered ineffective
Thiamine (vitamin B1) and biotin (B7) conversion, which in turn are essential for converting carbohydrates into energy
Proper insulin function24 — The insulin molecule consists of two amino acid chains connected to each other by sulfur bridges, without which the insulin cannot perform its biological activity25
Glucose metabolism — One hypothesis26 is that if a sufficient amount of sulfur is available, it will act as a decoy to glucose, effectively diverting it to reduce the sulfur rather than glycating and causing damage. This would have the beneficial effect of reducing chronic inflammation, as sugar (glucose) is highly inflammatory and wreaks havoc in your body
Sulfur is also crucial for healthy liver function and the prevention of liver disease. As noted in one study,27 "a derangement in sulfur amino acid metabolism, possibly located at various steps along the trans-sulfuration pathway" is found even in mild forms of liver disease.
Part of its influence on your liver has to do with its influence over glutathione. As noted in the 2015 paper,28 "Metabolism of Sulfur-Containing Amino Acids in the Liver: A Link Between Hepatic Injury and Recovery":
"The transsulfuration pathway is connected to the production of glutathione (GSH), which has potent antioxidant capacity in the liver. Accumulating data show that GSH depletion renders the liver vulnerable to oxidative stress and prone to progression of liver disease."
Similarly, the journal Nutrients reports that MSM has been shown to attenuate "cytokine expression in vivo for induced colitis … and liver injury," and that MSM has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on liver cancer.29
Another crucial nutrient for liver health and the prevention of chronic liver disease, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, is choline,30 detailed in "Choline Is Crucial for Liver Health."
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is known as a sulfur donor, being 34% elemental sulfur by weight.31 Many of the benefits of MSM supplementation are related to its ability to reduce inflammation, regulate the balance of reactive oxygen species and antioxidant enzymes,32 and modulate your immune response.33
As a supplement, MSM is widely used in the treatment of pain, especially pain associated with arthritic conditions. One clinical trial34 found that people with osteoarthritis of the knee who took 3 grams of MSM twice a day for 12 weeks experienced significantly decreased pain and improved physical function, compared to a placebo.
Another randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study35 found patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis benefited from oral glucosamine and MSM, both individually and in combination. Here, the treatment groups received 500 milligrams (mg) of glucosamine and/or 500 mg of MSM three times a day for 12 weeks. According to the authors:36
"Glucosamine, MSM and their combination produced an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect in osteoarthritis. Combination therapy showed better efficacy in reducing pain and swelling and in improving the functional ability of joints than the individual agents.
All the treatments were well tolerated. The onset of analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity was found to be more rapid with the combination than with glucosamine. It can be concluded that the combination of MSM with glucosamine provides better and more rapid improvement in patients with osteoarthritis."
In 2011, I interviewed Seneff about the influence of sulfur on health and disease. I've included that interview above for your convenience. In it, Seneff discusses the crucial connections between sulfur, cholesterol and vitamin D.
Her research suggests heart disease may actually be related to cholesterol sulfate deficiency, and in the interview, she explains how elevated LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is a sign of this deficiency.
To summarize, high levels of LDL cholesterol is your body's way of compensating for cholesterol sulfate deficiency. When LDL is turned into plaque, blood platelets inside the plaque produce cholesterol sulfate, which your heart and brain need for optimal function.
Seneff also explains why lowering LDL with statins can lead to heart failure. Essentially, by elevating LDL, your body is protecting itself from the harmful effects of cholesterol sulfate deficiency. When you simply remove the LDL, you remove this "backup" mechanism aimed at keeping your heart going strong. As a result, heart failure becomes a distinct possibility.
That said, high LDL is correlated with cardiovascular disease, so the question then becomes: How can your body produce cholesterol sulfate without having to create harmful LDL?
Under normal, healthy conditions, your skin synthesizes both cholesterol sulfate and vitamin D3 sulfate when exposed to sunlight. These two sulfated sterols are water soluble and can travel freely in your bloodstream.
If you have sufficient amounts of cholesterol sulfate in circulation, your body does not need to produce more cholesterol-transporting LDL. This results in less plaque buildup in the arteries of the heart, because cholesterol sulfate is plentiful.
In essence, sensible sun exposure may be an important part of heart and cardiovascular health. In fact, studies have shown that those who live in countries with abundant sunlight have a lower risk to heart disease. Vitamin D3 supplements, on the other hand, are unsulfated. This is a significant drawback, as the unsulfated form needs LDL as a vehicle of transport.
Seneff believes that vitamin D is basically a signaling molecule that informs the tissues that there is an abundant supply of cholesterol sulfate, and cholesterol sulfate is the real beneficial product of sunlight exposure to the skin. Her suspicion is that the oral nonsulfated form of vitamin D is unlikely to provide the same benefits as the vitamin D created in your skin from sun exposure, since it is not accompanied by cholesterol sulfate, and therefore provides a false signal.
As mentioned earlier, sulfur-rich foods37 include leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, alliums,38 seafood, grass fed meats and organic pastured eggs. Another excellent source, and perhaps the best one, is homemade bone broth made from organically raised animals.
Either drink the broth regularly, or use it for soups and stews. Connective tissues are sulfur-rich, and when you slow-cook the bones, you dissolve these nutrients out of the bone and into the water.
If you have poor tolerance for foods high in sulfur, it may be an indication of an overgrowth of sulfur-reducing bacteria in your gut. These bacteria, such as Desoulfovibrio and Bilophila wadsworthia, produce hydrogen sulfide gas from sulfur-based food sources, which can destroy the gut lining and cause gastrointestinal discomfort.
A defect in the enzyme that oxidizes sulfur to sulfate, called sulfite oxidase, will lead to an overgrowth of these sulfur-reducing bacteria, and toxic chemical exposures may disrupt sulfite oxidase.
Furthermore, these bacteria also convert mercury to a toxic organic form called methyl mercury. When sulfite oxidase is deficient, mercury cannot be converted to mercury sulfate, which is the nontoxic form of mercury that can be excreted by the body. Thus, disruption of sulfite oxidase results in impaired sulfation capacity and increased mercury toxicity.
Other food additives such as food dyes can also exacerbate problems in your phenol sulfur-transferase (PST) sulfation pathway by suppressing PST enzyme activity. Sulfation is a critical step in detoxification of toxic phenols.
To address this situation, it's recommended you initially go on a low-sulfur diet and reduce your toxic exposure by eating organic and avoiding household toxins of all kinds.
As your toxicity level is reduced, you can start adding sulfur-rich foods back into your diet, one at a time. Next, it's important to enhance your body's detoxification process by supplying more sulfate, either through diet or supplementation.
Aside from sulfur-rich foods, sulfur can also be obtained through supplementation with MSM. You can learn more about MSM in my interview with Rod Benjamin.
Benjamin is the director of technical development for Bergstrom Nutrition, the largest producer of the highest quality MSM produced by distillation purification. In his interview, we discuss suggested dosages and how to identify a high-quality supplement.
The sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine and taurine can also be used, both of which are available in supplement form. The supplement form of cysteine is NAC, the benefits of which I expounded on in "The Many Benefits of NAC — One of the Most Important Supplements You've Likely Never Heard Of."
Another excellent source of sulfur is taking regular Epsom salt baths. Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is made up of magnesium, sulfur and oxygen. While most of the benefits associated with Epsom salt baths relates to magnesium39 — such as improved sleep, stress reduction and reduced pain and muscle cramping — its sulfur content is also important for health.
Epsom salt baths are often preferable if you're toxic, as the sulfur in Epsom salt is readily available to your body without having to be converted. As a general recommendation, use 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt to a tub of water. The warmer the water, the more of the salt will be dissolved, and the more your body will be able to absorb as the heat opens your pores.
If you experience a negative reaction, such as irritability or hyperactivity, decrease the amount used and incrementally increase the amount based on your tolerance. Alternatively, use 1 part Epsom salt to 2 parts water for a foot bath. Soak your feet for about 30 minutes.
Toxicity data shows MSM is extremely safe and can be taken at high doses. As noted in the journal Nutrients, "As a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) approved substance, MSM is well-tolerated by most individuals at dosages of up to 4 grams daily,"40 although toxicity studies have reported no observed adverse effects up to a level of 5 grams per kilo per day.41
That said, potential side effects at higher doses include intestinal discomfort, ankle swelling and skin rashes. These are likely detoxifying effects that can typically be mitigated or minimized by cutting back on the initial dosage and slowly working your way up.
Source: mercola rss
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer found in the U.S., and the most common of those are basal and squamous cell cancers.1 Although death from these types is uncommon,2,3 the consequences of treatment may be disfiguring.
Despite recommendations for people to stay out of the sun and use sunscreen, current estimates4 are that the lifetime risk for skin cancer is 20% for Americans. Approximately 9,500 skin cancers are diagnosed every day. But, sensible sun exposure, while taking care to avoid getting burned, is one of the best ways to optimize your vitamin D level.
Researchers estimate 85% of children living in urban areas, and half of all adults and the elderly suffer from vitamin D deficiency.5 This is in spite of the fact that Americans are used to eating fortified foods.
Vitamin D deficiencies may be due in part from recommendations by dermatologists to avoid sun exposure6,7 as they attempt to curb the rising number who suffer from skin cancer. As researchers have found,8 it is UVA rays that trigger cell damage that leads to skin cancer. You can be exposed to UVA rays both inside and outdoors.
Nonmelanoma types of skin cancer, including squamous cell and basal cell, affect more than 3 million people in the U.S. each year, demonstrating the need for more effective preventive strategies to be used.
In a recent study9 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association it was reported that researchers sought to find out whether vitamin A was associated with a reduction in the incidence of squamous cell skin cancer. The team enrolled 123,570 men and women and followed them for more than 26 years, evaluating their dietary intake of vitamin A.
Any incidence of skin cancer was confirmed by pathology reports. The researchers believe the data suggest increasing your dietary intake of vitamin A reduces your risk of squamous cell carcinoma. This team, from Brown University, was led by Eunyoung Cho, who commented on the results:10
"Our study provides another reason to eat lots of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma, is hard to prevent, but this study suggests that eating a healthy diet rich in vitamin A may be a way to reduce your risk, in addition to wearing sunscreen and reducing sun exposure."
The researchers accounted for factors such as hair color, number of severe burns participants may have experienced and family history.11 Participants were not asked about their exposure to the sun during the middle of the day.
Participants who ate the highest amount of vitamin A consumed the equivalent of two large carrots each day. Those who ate the least amount had the equivalent of one small carrot, which the researchers note is well within the U.S. recommended dietary allowance.
Data indicate that those who ate the highest amount of vitamin A during the day had a 17% reduction in the potential for skin cancer, as compared to those who consumed the lowest. Evaluation of dietary intake also showed vitamin A from the group eating the most came from fruits and vegetables rather than animal-based foods or supplements.12
Vitamin A plays an important role in regulating cell growth and differentiation. Thus, it participates in mitigation of the development of cancer and modulates age-related macular degeneration and vision loss.13 Although frank deficiency is rare in the U.S., it is not uncommon in developing countries where people have limited access to vitamin A rich foods.14
Two other vitamins important in the prevention of skin cancer include vitamin B3 (nicotinamide) and vitamin D, metabolized in your skin during exposure to the sun. In the third phase of an Australian study15 evaluating the effect of vitamin B3 in individuals with nonmelanoma skin cancers, researchers enrolled participants who had at least two nonmelanoma skin cancers in the past five years.
They assigned participants to receive either 500 mg of vitamin B3 twice a day or a placebo over the course of the following 12 months. The data showed no side effects with the placebo or vitamin B3. In the 12-month study, those taking vitamin B3 experienced a 23% lower rate of new skin cancers. However, once the vitamin B3 was discontinued, there was no continued benefit.
Sunburns, especially when you're young, are associated with an increased risk of melanoma. Yet, melanomas often appear in areas of the body rarely exposed to the sun. Also noteworthy, though, is that a lack of exposure to the sun reduces the amount of vitamin D your body produces, which is protective against melanoma. In a study published in the Lancet, researchers wrote:16
"Paradoxically, outdoor workers have a decreased risk of melanoma compared with indoor workers, suggesting that chronic sunlight exposure can have a protective effect. Further, some melanomas form on sun-exposed regions; others do not. Although some melanomas arise from pre-existing melanocytic naevi (moles), many arise de novo."
Evidence suggests it is wise to get sensible unprotected sun exposure on a large amount of skin to a point just short of your skin turning pink. Then, cover up with a thin layer of clothing to protect your skin from burns. If you're outdoors for long periods of time, wear a wide-brimmed hat since the skin on your face is more prone to damage but does not add much to the manufacture of vitamin D.
Avoiding the sun may be dangerous to your health as a Swedish study17 demonstrated. The researchers looked at sun avoidance as a risk factor for all-cause mortality in 29,518 women over a 20-year period. They concluded that avoiding sun exposure is a risk for all-cause mortality and restricting exposure in countries with low solar intensity may be harmful.
The American Academy of Dermatology18 recommends staying out of tanning beds and protecting your skin by "seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher."
As you consider the recommendations for sun exposure, it's important to remember that avoiding it altogether places you at greater risk for several internal cancers, which I discussed in my past article, "Vitamins That Reduce Your Risk of Skin Cancer."
It is also important to avoid sunburn, since overexposure can result in cell damage and raise your risk of skin cancer. If you plan on spending a day at the beach or engaging in outdoor activities for long hours, you'll need some form of sun protection. Light clothing is the ideal choice, but most people still opt for sunscreen.
Unfortunately, many sunscreen products contain toxic ingredients. The 2018 Sunscreen Buying Guide from Consumer Reports19 notes that many products did not provide the level of UVB protection printed on the label.
As a result, you may be exposed to toxic chemicals and end up getting sunburned anyway. For a more thorough discussion of the toxins found in, and the effectiveness of, sunscreens see my past articles:
Increasing your food sources of vitamin A is the most effective means of achieving optimal levels. Foods high in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, cantaloupe and mangoes.20 Other vegetables that offer this same benefit include kale, mustard greens, collard greens and turnip greens.21
Vitamin A is a group of nutrients that falls into two different categories: retinoids found in animal foods and carotenoids found in plant foods. The two are chemically different and provide different health benefits, but both are necessary for optimal health.
Most carotenoids function as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents while retinoids are important for red blood cell production. They're especially necessary during pregnancy and in helping the body resist infections.
Astaxanthin is a part of the carotenoid family and may be one of the most potent antioxidants. It's produced by microalgae as a protective mechanism to shield it from ultraviolet light and other environmental stressors.22 It has a unique molecular structure that helps protect your skin from the inside out.
Specifically, it helps protect against UV-induced cell death. Unlike topical sunblock, it does not block UV rays, so it doesn't prevent the conversion of vitamin D in your skin. In addition, it increases your skin's elasticity and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant exhibiting neuroprotective effects. It benefits your cardiovascular system and also protects your vision. It can help reduce post-exercise recovery time and soreness and is being considered by NASA to offset the damage from radiation exposure in space. Read more about the rising number of benefits researchers have discovered that are associated with astaxanthin in these articles:
Source: mercola rss
Dr. Thomas Cowan is a practicing physician, founding board member and vice president of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
I've previously interviewed Cowan on a number of different topics, including the link between vaccines and autoimmune disease, the use of low-dose naltrexone for autoimmune disease and novel treatments for heart disease. Here, we discuss his latest book, "Cancer and the New Biology of Water."
"I wrote a series of three books. The first one on the heart, the second one on vaccines and autoimmunity and then this one on cancer. As I got into it, I realized it was all about water," Cowan says.
"The first book was basically two premises: One is that the heart doesn't pump the blood. The reason for the movement of the blood in your body is not because there's a propulsion by the heart [but] because of the dynamics of water …
Then I got into the vaccine book and what childhood illness means. That took me deeper into what cells are made of. Somehow it hit me that the whole problem of cancer is a cytoplasmic, i.e., water problem.
It became like the culmination of this series of writing and thinking about human biology, biology in general, and how wrong we have the whole thing, basically."
In 1971, President Nixon declared war on cancer. As noted by Cowan, we had just discovered the oncogene at that time, which was thought to be the reason for why people had cancer.
In the decades since, vast sums of money have been spent on cancer research. Were oncogenes the correct target, the war on cancer should have been won by now, yet we're no closer to a cure today than we were back then. Cowan cites research by the Australian government, which concluded that improvement in cancer statistics as a result of chemotherapy is 2.3%.
"That's an abysmal return on a $500 billion investment … Probably the costliest endeavor humans have ever undertaken, except maybe war," Cowan says. "What's the problem? The problem I submitted in the book is that cancer is not a problem of oncogenes. It isn't even a problem of the DNA. It isn't even a problem of the nucleus …
There have been a number of studies over the years where they transplant the nucleus from a healthy cell into another healthy cell and the progeny are normal, as you would expect.
But then they take the nucleus out of a cancer cell, where these oncogenes [are], the DNA that supposedly cause cancer, and put that into a healthy cytoplasm, the progeny are normal. When they take a normal nucleus and put it into the cytoplasm of a cancer cell, it turns the progeny cancerous.
That simple experiment tells you exactly where in the cell the problem of cancer lies, which is in the cytoplasm. The cell has two parts. Basically, it's a lipid biomembrane that has a nucleus and a cytoplasm. The cytoplasm is basically structured water or a gel.
Now we know that the cytoplasm is the site of cancer. The events in the nucleus are a consequence of degeneration of the cytoplasm, not the other way around.
When these researchers did this, and identified clearly that the site of the cancer problem is in the cytoplasm, they postulated that something in healthy cytoplasm must be able to heal the mutations of the DNA in the nucleus, which there's no evidence for."
Cowan argues that the real problem in cancer lies in the structured water of the cell, i.e., the cytoplasm. Similarly, Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D., whom I've interviewed on this topic as well, believes the studies Cowan mentioned above reveal the problem is rooted in the mitochondria, which also reside in the cytoplasm.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is certainly one aspect, Cowan admits, but more specifically, he believes mitochondrial defects are an integral part of the breakdown of the structure in the water, which then triggers the formation of cancer.
"When you look at what the function of the mitochondria is — which is essentially to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) — and you see what the role of ATP is and how integral ATP is to the structuring of the water in the cytoplasm, then you begin to see the connections between the mitochondrial dysfunction … [and the] deterioration of the cytoplasmic water that leads to cancer."
Oftentimes, cancer can be palpated (provided the tumor is large enough). The tumor turns into a palpable lump because the density of the cells is too high, Cowan says. The cells are essentially clumped together, and they've lost their normal spatial orientation.
All cells have a certain spatial orientation because there's an electrical charge around the cell. When two cells start coming together, the charge repels them apart. This allows all the cells to remain at an appropriate distance from each other. This distance varies depending on the cells and organs in question, but all tissues have a spatial orientation that allows the tissue to remain healthy and normal.
Conventional medicine says that the charge around each cell comes from the distribution of sodium and potassium across the cell membrane. However, Cowan points out that experiments by cell physiologist and biochemist Gilbert Ling, performed more than three decades ago, showed that for the sodium-potassium pump to be responsible for the creation of this charge, the cell would need about 30 times the energy at its disposal.
So, according to Cowan, this belief, while being a cornerstone of modern biology, is little more than a myth. Something else causes the charge, but what? Cowan answers that question with the following explanation:
"It comes about because in the cytoplasm is a mesh network of water, which, by some genius of nature, is so constituted that it, by itself, it traps potassium and excludes sodium … The proper healthy grid, mesh or structuring of the water, in itself, is the pump. No energy needed, just like the heart.
The whole idea of a stupid pump pushing is ridiculous. It's done by the miracle of water. The charge distribution, the spatial orientation of a cell, is because of the structuring of the water. That's one.
The second thing is the other hallmark of cancer cells: They all have an abnormal number of chromosomes. It's called aneuploidy, as opposed to a diploid cell, which means humans have 46 chromosomes. If you get an abnormal number, that's an abnormal cell we call cancer.
How does that happen? It happens because of events in the cytoplasm, which pulls the two chromosomes apart and makes new copies of mitosis. It doesn't happen properly because the milieu in the cytoplasm, that structured water, is disturbed.
Therefore, you get all these errors of mitosis, and the energy used for mitosis is deficient. That's because of the mitochondrial problem. You get errors in chromosome replication called aneuploidy. When you get an aneuploid cell that has an abnormal spatial orientation, that's called a cancer cell."
Once you understand the importance and influence of the cytoplasm, the structured water inside your cells, in the development of cancer, the next question becomes: How do you restructure that water? A significant portion of Cowan's book covers this important topic.
To illustrate how structured water is made, he compares it to Jell-O. Jell-O is made by mixing gelatin proteins with water and then adding heat. The heat unfolds the proteins, exposing their hydrophilic surfaces, which then grab onto the water.
As the mixture cools, it forms a gel, "which is basically identical to the state that the cytoplasm is in," Cowan says. To structure the water in your cells and basically mimic this Jell-O making procedure, you can:
Now, ATP is instrumental for protein unfolding — which is an integral part of the process of creating structured water — and if you have an ATP deficiency, "as happens when you have mitochondrial disease, it's like trying to make Jell-O without heat," Cowan says.
"You get clumps of dysfunctional proteins with water that can't be structured. That's what you see with cancer cells … If you want to have properly structured water, which then creates healthy cell division and healthy spatial orientation in the cells, you need sunlight, earth and human touch — the biofields of other biological entities, especially those who wish you well, so to speak, like your dog."
Another alternative is hyperbaric oxygen therapy, although this is not something most people will be able to do at home. By providing more oxygen to the tissues at increased partial pressure, the oxygen is pushed into the mitochondria, allowing them to generate more ATP, which in turn allows your cells to create more structured water.
In his book, Cowan also discusses mistletoe therapy, which he recommends almost universally for his cancer patients. He expounds on the benefits of this therapy as follows:
"Cancer is growing and parasitizing you, sucking your nutrients, just like the mistletoe sucks the nutrients from the oak tree. But there's a central difference, which is the mistletoe has learned to cooperate with the oak tree, and so each do better together than they would do alone, whereas in cancer, the tumor has parasitized you and you do worse.
What we need is a situation where we bring back that cooperation … This is not a survival of the fittest … That's not how it works in nature. Nature is a cooperative venture … Mistletoe tells you to see it like that. Now, that's the metaphor.
[Mistletoe] stimulates fever response, so it is an immunostimulating medicine. It stimulates white blood cells. It stimulates all these aspects of immune response. It stops cells from growing, so it works like a chemo drug, as well … We want the simulation, the purification, the detoxification that happens with fever therapy. Mistletoe does that."
The idea that fever is a healing aid goes back to a cancer treatment developed in the 1890s by William Coley, a bone surgeon. The treatment, which involves giving isolated proteins from the erysipelas bacteria at a specific dose to induce a fever, is known as "Coley's toxin."1
"Around 1989, for I don't know what reason, I get in the mail a book from Coley's granddaughter about 2,000 cases he treated and the results — about 60% of them, stage 4. All different kinds of cancer were cured by Coley's toxins. It's very well documented.
It was the main adjunct of cancer therapy in the United States for a couple of decades. It was used up until the '60s. Many, many papers written about it, peer-reviewed journals. There's no doubt that it was more effective than any adjunctive therapy for cancer we have today.
In a sense though, it's a blueprint. When you talk about hyperthermia, the problem is it doesn't work as well as Coley's toxins. I think the reason for that is [hyperthermia] doesn't turn on your innate cellular immune system. It's just heating up your cells.
I'm not saying that something good doesn't happen from heating up your cells, but it's not the same. Coley's was a way of internally generating the temperature, and so is mistletoe, although mistletoe isn't as dramatic as Coley's toxins …
[Today, Coley's toxin] is not available anywhere. It's very sad. There should be a way of stimulating fever. I had occasion to use it a little bit years ago. You could basically generate any temperature you want. It's pretty rigorous therapy. You get shakes and chills and not everyone wants to do that. But if you do that, you have a dramatic detoxification-purification response …
None of these strategies are a magic bullet. The point I'm trying to make is that healthy cytoplasm, which is basically a structured water gel, that's the key focus … All those [factors discussed earlier] contribute to the quality of the gels that you're going to produce. That's what good health is."
Cowan's book ends with the story of Sleeping Beauty. "It's what we tell children to teach them how the world works," he says. Sleeping Beauty, a princess, is bewitched by an evil witch, which in fairytales always illustrates the materialistic side of life.
"When you're bewitched by materialism … you fall into chaos and disrepair has happened in the story. Something has to come along to wake you up, not to a new way of seeing, as they say in the story, but to your true nature.
That's where we're at now. We're living out the story of Sleeping Beauty. We're bewitched by materialism and we can't see our true nature. That's become a real problem. [Getting out of that matrix involves] an interesting combination of all these techniques that we're talking about …
Cyclical ketosis, sunlight, walking in the ocean, infrared saunas … fever therapy, bringing back therapies like Coley's toxins. There's another side too, which is to change our minds … Somehow, we have to change our mind and … see the world as it is.
I often tell people and patients, 'If you see the world from a materialistic point of view and you realize that the matter we're talking about is made of atoms, which are, themselves, 99% space, just empty, so how does that work? It's an illusion.' Once we see that we're essentially crystallized energy, then you start to wake up.
The most hopeful thing I think I can tell people is that once you begin to open your mind, there's more out there than was taught in school or that your doctors tell you. Somehow the world seems to feed you information or give you clues as to where to go next.
You don't need me to tell you what to do or where to go next. Somehow it just happens. I don't know if you would agree, but in my life, once you open yourself to this possibility, to me, it's like the spiritual world comes in to offer a hand. The next thing you know, you meet this person. Next thing you know, you [learn] things that you didn't know before.
You just keep opening your mind. If we keep doing that, we can build a different world. You don't have to do anything. You just have to stop not doing things, believing that there's nothing there."
To learn more, be sure to pick up a copy of Cowan's book, "Cancer and the New Biology of Water." I definitely recommend it and all the resources in there. It's a great read. Cowan tells a good story, which makes his books easy to digest. "I hope that it catalyzes some institution, some person — somebody — to say, 'We've got to do things differently because this isn't working," Cowan says.
Source: mercola rss
By Dr. Mercola
Many people, especially those who follow busy schedules, prefer preparing and eating their meals as quickly as they can. But did you know that there’s an advantage — and a whole lot of flavor — when you cook your food slowly? One way to do this is to use a slow cooker.
There’s a lot you can do with a slow cooker, and there are numerous recipes out there that can help put this handy cooking equipment to good use. If you’ve got the time and the patience, here are a few slow-cooked recipes that you can try to make. They’re certainly worth the wait!
According to The Kitchn, a slow cooker is an electric appliance that “makes use of moist heat to cook food over a long period of time.” A slow cooker comes with three parts: a heating element, a pot and a lid, usually made of glass.
To use a slow cooker, you need to put all the ingredients in the pot, set it to the correct time and leave the food to cook slowly. This is one of the best advantages of a slow cooker — since you’re dumping all of the ingredients in one pot, it cuts down on preparation time and makes cleaning up easy as well.
Another advantage is slow cooking brings out the flavor in foods. What’s more, if you’re using cheaper cuts of protein like beef chuck roast, which tends to be tougher, slow cooking can help tenderize the meat, so it becomes moist and soft. Lastly, it’s energy efficient — despite the long cooking time, the amount of electricity it uses is lower than what you’d use when you cook with an oven.
Slow cookers are often called Crock-Pots, but these terms are actually not interchangeable, as a Crock-Pot is a type of slow cooker. It was a brand name used by Rival Manufacturing Company to market their slow cooker. Today, many other brands have appeared, and the word “crockpot” has become a generic term used by many to refer to slow cookers.
A slow cooker is among the most versatile appliances you can have at home. It’s not just for making stews or soups — in fact, there are countless recipes you can make using a slow cooker. Want to make poached eggs for brunch? Here’s a handy recipe from She Knows. Want to make gluten-free slow cooker bread? It’s possible! Craving dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth? Check out this creamy lemon custard recipe — it’s low-carb and gluten-free.
Of course, to fully take advantage of slow cookers, you need to know how to use them correctly — otherwise, you will end up messing up the recipe and wasting your time (and ingredients). To help you out, the University of Pennsylvania shares some helpful tips for using a slow cooker, such as:
Finally, never ever cook raw beans in a slow cooker. Aside from increasing their lectin content because of the low temperatures used, slow cooking beans can also make them toxic. According to Good Housekeeping, here’s what you should do if you need to add beans to a slow cooker recipe:
“Lots of types of dried beans, especially kidney beans, contain a toxic substance that needs to be destroyed first by cooking them at a high temperature to make them safe to eat. Most crockpots cook too gently to do this, so briskly boil the beans first for 10 minutes on the hob, drain, rinse, then add to your slow cooker.”
You can also presoak the beans overnight and then use a pressure cooker to cook them the next day.
Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Slow Cooker Poached Salmon With Lemons and Fresh Herbs Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Slow Cooker Stuffed Taco Peppers
The USDA notes that it’s safe to cook food in a slow cooker, as the direct heat emanating from the pot, the steam that rises within the covered container and the prolonged cooking time all help to effectively eliminate bacteria. However, proper use is still crucial to ensure the safety of your slow cooker. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Lastly, make sure to store leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours. Consume them as soon as you can, so you can reduce your risk of food poisoning. Leftovers should be placed in shallow containers and refrigerated two hours after they are removed from the pot.
Source: mercola rss