DIY spring blends

Out with winter! Spring has arrived! This is one of our favorite times of year, and we are celebrating with four DIY spring-themed blends that everyone can enjoy. Follow the recipes to create your own springy atmosphere, no matter where you are!

Spring Garden diffuser blend

Nothing alerts the senses that spring has finally sprung like the scent of a lovely flower garden. Three florals—Lavender, Ylang Ylang, and Geranium essential oils—take the lead on this blend while earthy Elemi essential oil offers a grounding note. The result? A blend that infuses your space with the scent of a garden in bloom.

Spring garden diffuser blend

Morning Meadow diffuser blend

The crispness of dawn, the freshness of the earth, and the sweetness of nature come to life in this blend of Purification, Pine, Eucalyptus Globulus, and Ravintsara. Diffuse this blend and pretend that you are frolicking through a meadow while you go about your daily tasks. We can’t promise it will make doing the dishes or writing out the budget any easier, but at least you’ll be surrounded by the smell of spring air!

Morning meadow diffuser blend

Fresh Perspective diffuser blend

Spring brings rebirth, new beginnings, and a fresh perspective, which is what inspired this clarifying diffuser blend. Frankincense is the heart of the aroma, complemented by sweet Tangerine and woodsy Cedarwood and Hinoki. Diffuse this blend when you want to feel inspired to get work done or make a change in your life.

Fresh Perspective diffuser blend

Woodsy Wandering diffuser blend

Take a walk in the woods when you diffuse the refreshing blend of Tsuga, Joy, and Spearmint! This blend is reminiscent of the first hike of spring, when the wildflowers start blooming and the trees are starting to warm up in the sun. If your diffuser is tired of wintry blends, refresh it with this scent that is crisp, fresh, slightly floral, and undeniably springy.

Woodsy Wandering diffuser blend

What are some of your favorite essential oil diffuser blends to welcome back spring?

Let us know in the comments below!

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You know what time it is—Springtime! And we all know what happens in Springtime. No, it’s not Easter, it’s not […]

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Vitamin B12 side effects - Dr. Axe

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an important water-soluble vitamin that plays a central role in several aspects of health, including brain function, red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis. It’s also considered an “essential nutrient” because your body is unable to produce it on its own and needs to obtain it from food sources or supplementation. In recent years, research has unearthed a number of vitamin B12 side effects, including positive effects, such as its ability to improve energy levels, enhance mood and keep your heart healthy.

Although incorporating a good variety of vitamin B12 foods in the diet can help most people meet their needs for cobalamin, supplementation is sometimes necessary for those who may have underlying health conditions or take certain medications. Like all supplements, however, there are several vitamin B12 benefits and side effects to consider.

So what are the side effects of vitamin B12? How can you minimize these potential vitamin B12 side effects while maximizing the benefits? Here’s what you need to know.

Positive Vitamin B12 Side Effects

Does B12 have side effects? What does B12 do for your body? Here are a few of the top vitamin B12 benefits for men and women:

1. Prevents Deficiency

Taking a vitamin B12 supplement is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent a vitamin B12 deficiency, especially if you don’t regularly consume foods high in this important water-soluble vitamin. Some of the most common side effects of vitamin B12 deficiency include weakness, anemia, constipation, decreased appetite and unintentional weight loss.

2. May Boost Energy Levels

Vitamin B12 plays an integral role in energy production and is essential for converting the foods that you eat into a form of  energy that can be used by the body. It’s also necessary for the formation of red blood cells, which help supply the cells with oxygen so they can function properly. While research is lacking on whether taking a vitamin B12 supplement can improve energy levels on its own, it can aid in energy production and may be especially beneficial for boosting energy levels if you’re lacking in this key micronutrient.

3. Supports Growth and Development

Vitamin B12 is absolutely essential during pregnancy for ensuring healthy fetal growth and development. Not only is vitamin B12 crucial for preventing birth defects, but a deficiency may also increase the risk of miscarriage or premature birth. For this reason, vitamin B12 is a common component of most prenatal vitamins and can also be found in many fortified foods.

4. Keeps Skin, Hair and Nails Healthy

Some of the most visible signs of vitamin B12 deficiency can be spotted right in your hair, skin and nails. In fact, some of the most common symptoms of deficiency include hyperpigmentation of  the skin and nails, hair changes, vitiligo, and angular stomatitis, which is a condition that causes cracks and inflammation in the corners of the mouth. Fortunately, several case reports have found that these changes may be reversible by correcting the deficiency with supplementation.

5. Improves Mood

One of the most surprising vitamin B12 injections side effects is the ability to improve mood and mental health. This is because vitamin B12 acts as a cofactor for neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, both of which are key regulators of mood and emotion. Preliminary research also shows that pairing vitamin B12 supplementation with antidepressants could help significantly reduce symptoms of major depressive disorder to a greater extent than treatment with an antidepressant alone.

6. Promotes Heart Health

Vitamin B12 is important for the metabolism of homocysteine, a type of amino acid in the blood that may be tied to a higher risk of heart disease. In addition to decreasing homocysteine levels, which could potentially help reduce the risk of heart disease. Some research also indicates that higher vitamin B12 levels could be linked to improved outcomes for those who have suffered from an ischemic stroke and may be associated with a lower risk of coronary artery disease.

Negative Vitamin B12 Side Effects

Despite the multitude of benefits associated with vitamin B12, can too much vitamin B12 be harmful? What happens when you have too much vitamin B12 in your body? Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that excess amounts are flushed out of the body through the urine, making a vitamin B12 overdose nearly impossible.

However, while vitamin B12 is safe when used as recommended, there are several vitamin B12 injection side effects to consider as well. Some of the most common vitamin B12 shot side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Rash
  • Itchy skin
  • Facial flushing
  • Skin redness
  • Cold symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Swelling
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Numbness
  • High blood pressure

How to Prevent Vitamin B12 Side Effects

The best way to avoid the potential side effects of too much vitamin B12 is to get the majority of your vitamin B12 from nutrient-rich food sources, including meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products. Enjoying these foods alongside a variety of other healthy ingredients as part of a balanced diet can help ensure you meet your needs and reduce the risk of too much vitamin B12 side effects.

In some cases, supplementation may be necessary, especially if you don’t regularly consume foods high in vitamin B12 or have issues with vitamin absorption. In that case, be sure to stick to the recommended vitamin B12 dosage and use only as directed. If negative vitamin B12 supplement side effects persist, consider decreasing your dosage or consult with your doctor.


Supplementing with vitamin B12 may not be right for everyone and can even be contraindicated in some cases due to the potential vitamin B12 side effects. For example, those with high blood pressure, heart problems, skin conditions, blood disorders, gout and low potassium levels should use vitamin B12 with caution and may want to consider talking to a trusted health care practitioner before starting supplementation.

Certain medications or supplements can also interfere with vitamin B12 supplements. What medications should not be taken with B12? Folic acid, potassium, vitamin C and chloramphenicol, a type of broad-spectrum antibiotic, may all interfere with vitamin B12 in the body.

In order to minimize vitamin B12 supplements side effects, it’s best to stick to the recommended dosage and use as directed. If you experience any persistent vitamin B12 tablets side effects or serious symptoms, talk to your doctor to determine the best course of treatment for you.

Read Next: Vitamin B: Top 6 Benefits of B Vitamins & How to Get More in Your Diet

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Black Pepper Latin name: Piper nigrum Aroma Description: Warm and fresh, dry-woody scent Therapeutic benefits Helps reduce occasional discomfort after […]

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Type 2 diabetes is curable and the cure is free. According to a January 2019 update by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 114 million American adults live with diabetes or prediabetes.1 Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2015, and continues as seventh in 2019. In a 2017 press release, then-CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald stated:2

"Although these findings reveal some progress in diabetes management and prevention, there are still too many Americans with diabetes and prediabetes. More than a third of U.S. adults have prediabetes, and the majority don't know it. Now, more than ever, we must step up our efforts to reduce the burden of this serious disease."

While a commendable goal, the reality is the disease is rooted in insulin resistance and a faulty leptin signaling system.3,4 In other words, it's triggered by your diet and the cure is readily available to anyone willing to change their eating habits.

Unfortunately, a cure is not usually a consideration after a diagnosis with diabetes, which is why the medical community begins treatment with medication. Conventionally trained physicians continue to pass along flawed nutritional information pulled from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ChooseMyPlate program5 or the equally flawed U.K. Eatwell Guide.6

In a 12-minute presentation before the U.K. Parliament, Zoe Harcombe, Ph.D., succinctly demonstrates how bad science supports rising rates of diabetes and other nutritionally triggered diseases.7

The Bad Science Behind Food Guidelines

The consequences faced by those who follow published dietary recommendations is tragic, as bad science has twisted information and triggered a global epidemic. As Harcombe discusses in her presentation before the U.K. Parliament, the human body is unable to produce essential proteins and fats on its own. However, there are no essential carbohydrates.

A statement from Chapter 6 of the Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids,8 reads:9 "The lower limit of dietary carbohydrates compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed."

Harcombe has spent years investigating and researching dietary guidelines as they relate to nutrition and obesity.10 In her presentation she discusses the results of her Ph.D. thesis examining randomized control trials prompting the introduction of dietary fat recommendations in the U.S. and U.K.

She makes the point that when a natural diet tends to be 15 percent protein and recommendations limit total fat to 30 percent, by definition the remainder are carbohydrates.

When your body requires essential nutrients from proteins and fats but not from carbohydrates, the question becomes, why would Mother Nature put essential fats and proteins, not produced in the body, in the same foods that are trying to kill us?

Analysis of Findings Shows No Evidence for Dietary Recommendations

Harcombe studied the trials prompting our dietary recommendations and asked the question: If those trials were re-evaluated today, would the same recommendations be made? She and her team found no difference for putting people on any dietary fat intervention against the impact of all-cause mortality or coronary heart disease.

Interestingly, the team also found that all of the trials involved fewer than 2,500 men who had already had a heart attack. The trials included no women and no healthy individuals. Yet the results of these trials changed nutritional guidelines for more than 220 million Americans and over 55 million residents of the UK.11

She and her team then asked what the data revealed in research performed after 1977, and found there continues to be no evidence for introducing guidelines that limit dietary fat. Some of the same research was also being done by seven other teams around the world.12,13,14,15,16,17,18

These teams evaluated 40 separate studies. Only three of the 40 studies revealed any negative results from eating fat. Of those three, one determined trans-fat had a negative impact and two were from the same team who essentially reviewed their own findings.

However, after the two studies were subjected to a sensitivity test, the results did not stand up. Essentially, none of the 40 studies evaluated showed that total or saturated fat was associated with cardiovascular disease, mortality or heart events.19

The U.K. Eatwell Guide website states:20 "The Eatwell Guide shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet. You do not need to achieve this balance with every meal, but try to get the balance right over a day or even a week."

In Harcombe's analysis of the new guidelines,21 she found when calories were assigned to the portions demonstrated in the guide and to the menus published, the diet was nutritionally deficient and the percentages of carbohydrates skewed even further than past recommendations, rising from 55 percent to 65 percent of daily intake.22

Understand Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome

Before going further, it's helpful to briefly clarify the differences between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes, and the terms metabolic syndrome and prediabetes. Although the dietary changes to reverse all but Type 1 diabetes are similar, it helps to understand the process. The effect of glucose intolerance may be measured through fasting blood glucose, oral glucose tolerance or an A1c.

Prediabetes — There are no clear symptoms of prediabetes so you may not even know you have it. It's a term used to describe an early state of insulin resistance known as impaired glucose tolerance. Conventionally, prediabetes is diagnosed with a fasting blood sugar between 100 and 125 milligrams per deciliter.23

Metabolic syndrome — As insulin resistance progresses, if you suffer from three or more of a group of symptoms triggered by insulin and leptin resistance, it leads to a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. These symptoms include high triglycerides, low HDL, higher blood glucose, elevated blood pressure and an increased amount of belly fat.

Type 1 diabetes — The majority with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.24 Only about 5 percent have Type 1 diabetes, which can occur at any age. Previously called juvenile diabetes, there are actually more adults with Type 1 diabetes than there are children with the condition. In Type 1 diabetes your body does not produce insulin.

Type 1 diabetes may be triggered by an autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the cells producing insulin in your pancreas. Often called insulin-dependent diabetes, new research has achieved a cure several times in animal studies. However, work in humans has not been as successful and several options are under clinical trial.25

Type 2 diabetes — Also called noninsulin dependent diabetes, your pancreas continues to produce insulin but is unable to use it properly. In fact, this is an advanced stage of insulin resistance typically triggered by a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates.

Although anyone can develop Type 2 diabetes, you are at higher risk of it when you're overweight, sedentary, have family members with Type 2 diabetes, have a history of metabolic syndrome or are a woman who has had gestational diabetes.26

Type 2 Diabetes Is Not Just a Chronic Disease

Although millions suffer from the condition, diabetes must not be considered an inevitable risk of life. There are significant short- and long-term risks with diabetes, but the good news is that with the correct treatment you can avoid them completely.

Although conventional medicine focuses on administration of medications, simple lifestyle changes may be all you need to get your diabetes under control. Since diabetes often develops slowly, you may not realize you have high blood glucose and this can cause some serious damage. Short- and long-term complications may include:27,28,29

Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS)

Diabetic neuropathy: peripheral, autonomic, proximal and focal

Retinopathy leading to blindness

Alzheimer's disease (Type 3 diabetes)



Bacterial and fungal skin infections

Peripheral vascular disease

Hearing impairment


Diabetic nephropathy

Kidney failure

High blood pressure


Heart disease


Insulin May Accelerate Your Risk of Death

In an effort to control high blood sugar, insulin therapy may actually be doing more harm than good. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine30 concluded insulin therapy in Type 2 diabetic patients, particularly in people over age 50, may not always outweigh the negatives. Reported in Medical News Today, study co-author Dr. John S. Yudkin, emeritus professor of medicine at University College London, commented:31

"If people feel that insulin therapy reduces their quality of life by anything more than around 3 to 4 percent, this will outweigh any potential benefits gained by treatment in almost anyone with Type 2 diabetes over around 50 years old."

Medical News Today32 gave this example of what the author meant. If a person with Type 2 diabetes begins insulin at age 45 and lowers their A1c by 1 percent, they could experience an extra 10 months of healthy life. But for someone beginning treatment at age 75, the authors estimate therapy may give the patient an additional three weeks of life.

The researchers believe this prompts the question, is 10 to 15 years of pills or injections with possible side effects worth it? Another recent study prompted researchers to question if insulin therapy may be outdated, saying:33

"Although several old studies provided conflicting results, the majority of large observational studies show strong dose-dependent associations for injected insulin with increased CV [cardiovascular] risk and worsened mortality. Insulin clearly causes weight gain, recurrent hypoglycemia, and, other potential adverse effects, including iatrogenic hyperinsulinemia.

This overinsulinization with use of injected insulin predisposes to inflammation, atherosclerosis, hypertension, dyslipidemia, heart failure (HF) and arrhythmias. These associations support the findings of large-scale evaluations strongly suggesting insulin therapy has a poorer short- and long-term safety profile than that found in many other anti-T2D therapies."

Science Has the Answer to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

In Harcombe's presentation to the U.K. Parliament, she points out Public Health England put together a panel to recommend what would be in the Eatwell Guide, and of the 11 representatives, only one had no conflict of interest. Several organizations represented included the Institute of Grocery Distribution, the British Nutrition Foundation and the Association of Convenience Stores.

Some of the members of the British Nutrition Foundation include Nestle, Kellogg's, PepsiCo, McDonald's and British Sugar. In her plea to Parliament, Harcombe makes two requests for the future of the Eatwell Guide and another for patients, asking:34

  • Don't base the guidelines on the one macronutrient we don't need and diabetics can't handle.
  • Don't allow the fake food industry to set our guidelines.
  • Offer patients choice. There are three evidence-based ways to put Type 2 diabetes into remission. Patients should be offered both dietary options — low-carb and low-calorie.

Prevention and treatment of insulin/leptin resistance and Type 2 diabetes requires a little care in your food choices and your nutritional planning. However, done slowly, these habits are tasty and satisfying, and lead to increasing energy and easier weight management.

You'll find explanations about fats, proteins, exercise and how sleep and intermittent fasting may be the simple choices you've been searching for in my previous article, "How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes, Why Insulin May Actually Accelerate Death, and Other Ignored Facts."

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Mandatory use of the first vaccine — the smallpox vaccine — became common in the 19th century because that infection had a mortality rate of 30 percent.1 Measles is not and was never as deadly as smallpox. In 1962, a year before the measles vaccine was licensed in the U.S., the measles death rate was reported to be 1 in 1,000 cases.2

However, that 20th century death rate has been challenged by Physicians for Informed Consent arguing that the case fatality figures are based on reported cases and most cases of measles are benign and go unreported.3

Recovery from measles confers lifelong naturally acquired immunity. There is evidence that whatever immunity the measles vaccine provides can wane over time and wear off completely within a decade4 or two.5,6

The answer, we're told, is booster shots, and making sure every single individual is vaccinated in order to ensure "herd immunity" — a concept that historically applies to naturally-acquired immunity following the recovery from the disease.

Measles infection in developed countries like the U.S. very rarely involves complications that lead to injury or death. If you're over 50, you might recall a time when measles was a common childhood illness, and most children experienced it and were immune by age 15.7

Parents were not extremely fearful of measles before the vaccine was widely used because, like chickenpox, it was accepted as a childhood rite of passage and complications were rare.

However, measles does have more serious complications for older children and adults, which is why parents in the past wanted their children to get the disease when they were young. Authors of a recent study8 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases reported that when measles infection is delayed, negative outcomes are 4.5 times worse "than would be expected in a prevaccine era in which the average age at infection would have been lower."

Measles Statistics

According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data9 published in 2018, the annual number of reported measles cases since 2000 has ranged from a low of 37 in 2004 to a high of 667 in 2014. As of March 7, 2019, a total of 228 measles cases have been reported across the U.S.10

You can see a graph of the exact number of measles cases for each year going back to 2010 on the CDC's website.11 The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) also has a page detailing the history of measles in the U.S. and other countries with accompanying statistics and references.12

According to the CDC, the last recorded measles-associated death in the U.S. occurred in 2015.13 But even before the measles vaccine was introduced and given to children in the early 1960s, the annual death toll from measles in the U.S. was between 450 and 500,14 and never approached the high death rate of smallpox, which was a far more deadly disease, and which prompted calls for states to pass mandatory smallpox vaccination laws for children.15

While any death, for any reason, is tragic, it is reasonable to ask whether it makes sense to mandate that children receive vaccines for diseases with low mortality rates when there are many other causes of death that are not only easier to prevent but would save far more lives.

According to a special report16,17 on child mortality published 2018 in The New England Journal of Medicine, 20,360 children aged 1 to 19 died in 2016; it goes on to list the top 10 causes of death in this age group.

Twenty percent of deaths (4,074 children) were caused by motor vehicle crashes, which came in at No. 1, followed by firearm-related injuries at 15 percent (3,143 deaths). In terms of disease, cancer was the primary cause of death (1,853 deaths), followed by suffocation (1,430 deaths) and drowning (995 deaths). A total of 982 children died from drug overdoses. Heart disease killed 599 children and chronic lower respiratory disease took the lives of 274.

Where is the evidence that measles is a catastrophic public health concern comparable to smallpox that warrants forcing all children to get vaccinated or be barred from getting a school education?

Senators Paid by Big Pharma Lead Fight for Mandatory Vaccinations

The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing March 5, 2019 titled "Vaccines Save Lives: What Is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?" 18 The entire hearing centered around the testimony of five witnesses, all of whom were in favor of vaccines.

Meanwhile, more than 500 people, a majority of them mothers of vaccine-injured children, remained unheard in a crowded hallway or overflow rooms, unable to enter the small hearing room.19 According to The Washington Post, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was the only senator or witness who made a statement questioning vaccine mandates and the threat they pose to autonomy and liberty.20

It's worth noting that two of the most impassioned senators advocating for mandatory vaccinations and the elimination of vaccine exemptions, Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Bob Casey, D-Pa., have also received the largest payments from the drug industry.21 Cassidy received $156,000 from the pharmaceutical industry in 2018, and Casey received $532,859 that year.

Fourteen other Republicans and 12 Democrats also received tens of thousands of dollars apiece from Big Pharma last year. For a complete listing of each member and the exact amount, see Matt Novak's February 26, 2019, article in Gizmodo.22 Many other members of Congress have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Big Pharma.23

How can we expect impartiality from lawmakers advocating that everyone should be forced to buy and use vaccines when so many members of Congress have financial conflicts of interest with Big Pharma?

Ironically, while defending the absolute safety of vaccines, Casey and Cassidy are cosponsors of the Vaccine Access Improvement Act (S.3253), introduced in 2018-2018.

This legislation aimed to streamline the taxation for new vaccines eligible for coverage under the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which was created by Congress in the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury and expanded under the 21st Century Cures Act enacted in 2016. Cosponsor senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., commented on the bill in July 2018:24

"The Vaccine Access Improvement Act offers a commonsense solution to get vaccines to patients more quickly, helping to protect Americans against life-threatening diseases while ensuring that the small number of patients who experience side effects get the care they need."

The Acts passed by Congress in 1986 and 2016, as well as the Vaccine Access Improvement Act (which died in committee in July 2018),25 acknowledge that damage occurs from FDA licensed and CDC recommended vaccines and that injured children and adults should receive financial aid. So why were no individuals who have been personally affected by vaccine injuries and deaths allowed to speak at the hearing?

Healthy Eighteen-Year-Old Complains About Mother's Decision to Not Vaccinate Him

One of the five witnesses was 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger, whose mother made an informed decision and did not vaccinate him as a child. After doing his own online research, when he turned 18 he made the choice to get vaccinated. In his testimony, a transcript26 of which can be found on the U.S. Senate website, he talks about his mother's views, saying:

"These beliefs were met with strong criticism, and over the course of my life seeds of doubt were planted and questions arose because of the backlash my mother received when sharing her views on vaccines. These questions and doubts were minor and never led to a serious realization of how misinformed my mother was."

Repeating identical talking points offered by all of the invited witnesses and all but one senator on the committee, Ethan also stated confidently, "In its essence, there is no debate. Vaccinations are proven to be a medical miracle, stopping the spread of numerous diseases and therefore saving countless lives."

"There is no debate?" Typically, only talking heads paid by industry take a denialist position like that. A rationally thinking person who has taken the time to look at all of the evidence quickly realizes that the debate is far from over and vaccine science is nowhere near settled.

House Hearing on Measles Outbreak

The week before the senate's hearing on vaccines, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing on the measles outbreak and response efforts.27 This hearing can be viewed in its entirety on C-SPAN's website.28

As expected, the witnesses and members of the committee denied there are serious vaccine risks — or if there are, they are almost nonexistent — and pointed the finger at parents with unvaccinated children attending school as the reason for measles outbreaks.

However, according to the CDC, over 94 percent of kindergarten children nationwide have received two doses of measles-containing MMR vaccine and only about 2 percent of children attend school with vaccine exemptions.29

The herd immunity threshold for vaccine-acquired artificial immunity is thought to be between 80 and 95 percent,30 depending on the disease in question. For measles, it's between 90 and 95 percent. Yet, the high vaccination rate in the U.S. isn't enough to thwart outbreaks, and evidence suggest they would probably continue to occur even if vaccine coverage was at 100 percent.

Measles Outbreaks Repeatedly Occur in Highly Vaccinated Populations

One of the problems is that measles outbreaks occur even in highly-vaccinated populations.31,32,33,34,35,36 A 1994 study37 looking at measles incidence in Cape Town, Africa, indicated that as vaccination rates increased, measles became a disease in populations where the majority of children had been vaccinated. The immunization coverage was 91 percent and vaccine efficacy was estimated to be 79 percent.

According to the authors, "The epidemiology of measles in Cape Town has thus changed as evinced in this epidemic, with an increase in the number of cases occurring in older, previously vaccinated children. The possible reasons for this include both primary and secondary vaccine failure."

By the early 1980s, about 95 percent of children entering kindergarten in the U.S. had received a dose of measles-containing vaccine but, in 1989-1990, there were outbreaks of measles among school-age children and college students.

Public health officials responded by recommending a second dose of MMR vaccine for all children. In an article published in Clinical Microbiology Reviews in 1995, researchers stated:38

"Measles, which was targeted for elimination from the United States in 1979, persisted at low incidence until 1989, when an epidemic swept the country. Cases occurred among appropriately vaccinated school-age populations and among unimmunized, inner-city preschool children.

In response to the epidemic, measles immunization recommendations have been modified. To prevent spread among school-age populations, a second dose of MMR vaccine is recommended at 5 to 6 or 11 to 12 years of age."

Today, measles outbreaks are occurring even in populations that have received two or more doses of measles vaccine, and/or where vaccination rates are above the "herd immunity" threshold. Examples include:

A 2017 measles outbreak in a highly vaccinated military population in Israel, ranging in age from 19 to 37. The first two patients identified had both received two doses of measles vaccine. Patient zero, a 21-year-old soldier, had documentation of having received three doses.39

A 2014 study40 conducted in the Zhejiang province in China found that populations that have achieved a measles vaccination rate of 99 percent through mandatory vaccination programs are still experiencing consistent outbreaks far beyond what the World Health Organization expects.

What's more, 93.6 percent of the 1,015 participants in this study tested seropositive for measles antibodies, which theoretically means they should have been protected against the disease.

Ignoring Vaccine Injuries Is What Causes Mounting Public Distrust

Parents who have experienced the pain of watching a perfectly healthy child decline shortly following vaccination, or who die or are left with disabilities and chronic poor health, are legitimately crying foul for being left out of congressional hearings that called for stricter mandatory vaccination laws, and which criticized parents of unvaccinated children while suggesting vaccine conversations about vaccine risks should be censored on social media.

Public concern about the safety of vaccines is indeed growing. There is a growing distrust of federal health agencies responsible for regulating the safety of vaccines and making vaccine policy, and it's because Big Pharma and the government are trying to bury the evidence.

Where are the scientifically sound studies comparing the health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals?

When government officials flat-out deny the obvious, the seeds of public mistrust are planted. Today, many of us know someone who has been injured by a vaccine, and more and more people are sharing their stories in an effort to prevent others from having to live through the same pain. It is a reality that simply cannot be denied any longer. To learn more about vaccine injury reports, visit:

  • The NVIC International Memorial for Vaccine Victims,41 where you can search for vaccine injury reports by state and by vaccine or post a vaccine injury report yourself. You can also record your own video reporting a vaccine injury or death and post.
  • Vaccine Injury Stories on Vaxxed.com.42 Here, you can find nearly 7,000 written and recorded stories detailing people's vaccine injuries, sorted by state or by vaccine. To submit your own story, use this online submission form.43
  • MedAlerts is a searchable database of vaccine injury reports made to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) and can be accessed through the website of the National Vaccine Information Center at NVIC.org

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It may start as a tickle in the back of your throat, or a full throttled bark as you try to clear a growing amount of secretions in your upper respiratory tract. But, however it begins, most would like the coughing to stop.

Usually a cough will accompany a cold, beginning as a runny nose, scratchy throat and sneezing. A cold is caused by a virus, the most common of which is the rhinovirus. It may be responsible for up to 50 percent of all colds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),1 most get colds in the winter and spring, but it is possible to experience a cold anytime of the year.

Although you're likely to recover from most symptoms within 10 days, your cough may continue for several weeks. Each year, millions in the U.S. get the common cold. The CDC estimates2 the average adult will have two to three colds per year and children tend to have even more bouts. It is the main reason children miss school and adults miss work.

Socioeconomic Burden of Coughing

Coughing is one of the most common reasons for medical consultation, both among children and adults. In a study3 evaluating the impact of coughing in an employee population in Finland, researchers found coughing decreased the quality of life for the adults and had a socioeconomic impact by increasing doctor's office visits and sick days.

Research published in PLOS ONE4 evaluated data based on how coughing varied by age and sex in a pediatric population. In a group of over 7,500 children, 10 percent of the children coughed more than others and 69 percent coughed when they had a cold.

Coughing was more common in boys than girls in the first decade of life, but the differences were not statistically significant in the early teens, eventually reversing by age 14. The researchers suggested5 meta-analyses of multiple studies are only valid when similar questions and age groups are compared.

As most parents can likely attest, coughing disturbs sleep in children and parents alike. In one study,6 researchers found it disturbed sleep in 88 percent of children and 72 percent of parents. Another study7 found a cough is the most common reason children are brought to their physicians and are more common in preschoolers than older children.

Upper respiratory tract infection or acute bronchitis are two diagnoses representing at least 75 percent of all reasons for a cough seen in the doctor's office.8 Symptom relief is often what drives people to see their doctor or health care provider when they have a cold and cough.

However, over-the-counter (OTC) cough suppressants have been found to be ineffective and may even be dangerous. Despite such evidence, cough medicines are still commonly given to children.9

There's No Proof OTC Cough Medications Work

According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association,10 the number of allergy sufferers using OTC medications has risen from 66 percent to 75 percent, and nearly 70 percent of parents have given their child an OTC medicine at night to ease a sudden medical symptom.

Data also shows colds cost the U.S. economy nearly $40 billion each year, substantially more than other chronic health conditions, such as heart failure and emphysema.11 Researchers have also found the average consumer spends $338 per household each year on OTC medications.12

With all this money spent on OTC medications to provide symptom relief, you might have assumed what was being purchased is effective and safe. However, there is a lack of evidence for value in any of the OTC remedies often used to treat cough.

Dr. Norman Edelman, pulmonologist at Stony Brook University School of Medicine and scientific adviser at the American Lung Association, spoke to a New York Times13 reporter suggesting people anxious for relief are convinced cough medicines work. Although he didn't state cough medicines don't work, he commented that, as yet, there is no proof they do.

Pediatricians Recommend You Don't Use Cough Medicine in Young Children

Unfortunately, there is proof they can have significant side effects and may be hazardous for children and those who suffer from high blood pressure or congestive heart failure. For instance, a common ingredient found in cough syrups, dextromethorphan, has had a history of drug abuse since the 1960s.14

In high doses, the drug can cause abnormal heartbeat and sedation, but it also creates a sense of euphoria and can lead to hallucinations. Misuse of dextromethorphan is responsible for an estimated 6,000 visits to the emergency room by teens every year.15

The drug can also negatively affect those suffering from asthma, diabetes, liver disease, chronic bronchitis or emphysema. Additionally, there is a long list of medications with which dextromethorphan will interact.16

Promethazine, an antihistamine used to block allergic reactions, sometimes found in cough medicines, has a direct central effect and comes with side effects such as sedation, disorientation, hallucinations, muscle spasms and catatonic states.17

The American Academy of Pediatrics18 says cold and cough medicines should not be recommended, prescribed or used for respiratory illnesses in young children, as research demonstrates very little benefit and potentially serious side effects.

What's in Cough and Cold Medicines?

Medications commonly recommended for cough and cold in children fall into four categories — decongestants, cough suppressants, antihistamines and expectorants. Collectively, these are known as cold medications and are often combined in products, increasing the risk for overdose when more than one medication is used.

Decongestants — Decongestants include the active ingredients pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, which work by shrinking the lining of your nose and decreasing secretions. However, they also raise your heart rate and blood pressure, and can trigger hyperactivity, agitation and sleeplessness in children.19

Cough suppressants — A common active ingredient in cough suppressants is dextromethorphan, but evidence of its effectiveness is weak.20

Studies evaluating the combination of codeine and dextromethorphan in children has not been found effective,21 and in one study comparing codeine, dextromethorphan and a combination of codeine and dextromethorphan against a placebo, researchers found none was significantly more effective than a placebo.22

Antihistamines — Research has found that while antihistamines may help reduce symptoms, the risks far outweigh the benefits.23

Expectorants — The fourth type of cough and cold medications are expectorants that are supposed to thin mucus to make it easier to expel. The active ingredient in expectorants, guaifenesin, is marketed under the brand name Robitussin. According to the American Family Physician, despite broad use, studies have been inconsistent in supporting the effectiveness as an expectorant.24

In one study published in Respiratory Care,25 researchers reported the results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial examining the effects on volume and physical properties of sputum. The researchers found guaifenesin did not work as an expectorant, and did not increase the volume of sputum, compared to placebo.

Beware of Codeine

It's important to remember to never give your child a cough suppressant containing codeine, as it is a habit-forming opiate. As noted in Medline:26

"Codeine may cause serious or life-threatening breathing problems, especially during the first 24 to 72 hours of your treatment and any time your dose is increased …

When codeine was used in children, serious and life-threatening breathing problems such as slow or difficulty breathing and deaths were reported. Codeine should never be used to treat pain or a cough in children younger than 18 years of age. If your child is currently prescribed a cough and cold medicine containing codeine, talk to your child's doctor about other treatments."

Coughing — Healthy But Irritating

Coughing is a normal reflex your body uses to clear airways of small particles, mucus or microorganisms. However, as described by researchers,27 the common form of cough caused by an upper respiratory tract infection is actually a natural defense mechanism hijacked by a virus in order to infect others.

Despite the resolution of the majority of your cold symptoms within 10 days to two weeks, your cough may persist for several weeks afterward. In fact, 1 in 10 children will be coughing well past three weeks after their cold began, and while irritating to child and parent, the cough does not need medical treatment.28

Instead, consider the natural cough remedies below to help calm the cough and get some rest. Researchers29 are studying how the virus hijacks your coughing reflex long after the original infection has been cleared in order to help reduce the spread of colds and the socioeconomic impact it has on society.

The virus increases mucus production along your respiratory tree, extending from your nose to deep in your lungs. If the mucus remains, it attracts bacteria that may eventually trigger more inflammation, mucus and a bacterial infection.30

Coughing helps your body get rid of the mucus before bacteria has a chance to replicate. Your coughing reflex brings the mucus out of the lungs and agitates the mucus, preventing bacteria from replicating and developing biofilm. As such, coughing is actually helping prevent more serious illness.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While common after a cold, not all coughing is benign. It's important to recognize the differences and know when you can treat a cough at home using natural remedies and when it's important to seek medical attention.

If your child has not had a recent cold or has additional symptoms, such a fever, listlessness, blood in the sputum, difficulty breathing and mood changes, it is time to seek medical attention. Aside from a cold, coughing may be triggered by:31,32

Bronchitis and pneumonia

Chronic obstructive lung disease

Exposure to very dry, cold air

Gastroesophageal reflux


Post nasal drip

Medication side-effect

Whooping cough

Inhaled foreign object


Fungal infection

Sinus infection

Lung cancer



Airborne irritant

Steer Clear of Antibiotics

It's also important to steer clear of antibiotics as they are effective only against bacteria and not against viruses that cause the common cold. Overuse of antibiotics worldwide has led to a global crisis of antibiotic resistance, which the CDC33 calls "one of the most urgent threats to public health."

Every year at least 2 million Americans are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and according to the most recent calculations, multidrug-resistant infections are now killing anywhere from 82,276 to 91,207 people per year.34 Antibiotics do save lives, but 30 percent are prescribed unnecessarily in the doctor's office and emergency departments.35

According to the CDC,36 antibiotics are not effective against health conditions caused by viruses, such as the cold, flu, bronchitis and runny noses. Despite what you may have heard, even when mucus is thick, yellow or green you may still have a viral infection.

While antibiotics can save lives, when used unnecessarily, the risks outweigh the benefits. Some of the common side effects can include rash, dizziness, nausea and yeast infections. Another long-term side effect is the damage done to your gut microbiome. Find more information in my previous article, "Antibiotics Send 70,000 Kids to the ER."

Help Is as Close as Your Kitchen

Prevention is the best medicine. In my previous article, "How Long Does a Cold Last?" I discuss several strategies you may use to help support your immune system and prevent contracting a viral illness. Calming your cough may be as close as your kitchen cabinet. Consider trying the following natural remedies to soothe your cough:

Apple cider vinegar — The antibacterial properties in apple cider vinegar may help your sore throat and soothe your cough. Gargle with a mixture of one-third cup apple cider vinegar with warm water as needed.

Herbal remedies — Herbs such as eucalyptus, peppermint, anise, slippery elm and fennel (and their oils) act as cough suppressants. One study found an echinacea/sage throat spray worked just as well as a chlorhexidine/lidocaine spray in relieving sore throats in children.37

Raw honey — Raw honey has antiviral and antibacterial properties, and may also support your immune system. It has also been found to relieve symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection in children38 and is as effective as dextromethorphan at relieving a cough without the side effects.39

Salt water — One of the simplest ways to soothe a sore throat often associated with a cough is to gargle with natural salt, which helps kill bacteria, ease sore throat pain and prevent upper respiratory tract infections.40 Salt water may also reduce the buildup of phlegm at the back of the throat, reducing your cough trigger.41 Try a solution of one-half teaspoon salt in one-half cup of warm water.

A nasal saline rinse can also effective in treating viral infections and recurrences. It may also help thin mucus secretions. These should only be done with sterile normal saline water as tap water may increase the inflammatory response and carries parasites.42,43

Source: mercola rss

Best foods for hair care - Dr. Axe

We’ve all wondered about the secret to luscious, shining hair. Perhaps we’ve even tried to emulate shiny haired models by trying specially formulated shampoos for our exact hair type and texture, with little effect.

Instead of spending money on haircare products that produce lackluster results, consider how your overall health impacts the quality of your hair. Following a healthy hair diet can help you grow thicker, more lustrous tresses. What we eat impacts every aspect of our health, including the top of our heads.

Best Foods for Healthy Hair Growth and Thickness

Hair loss or thinning can be a distressing prospect, and it results from a variety of factors. The natural hormonal changes that occur as we age, for example, can lead to hair thinning. Certain medications and treatments can also contribute to balding or alopecia. Stress and nutritional deficiencies also play a role in our hair’s quality and thickness.

Knowing what food helps grow hair can improve your hair’s overall health and condition. Consider adding these foods to your diet to stimulate hair growth, strengthen your hair follicles, and improve the overall quality and health of your tresses. Adding some of these foods to your diet can also help address the root causes of your hair loss, such as nutrient deficiencies or even hormonal imbalances.

1. Seek Out Antioxidant-Rich Foods 

Antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are the perfect food for growing hair. Antioxidants fight inflammation and boost red blood cell production, all of which help facilitate repair in the body. Strengthening hair follicles through diet can help promote hair growth and prevent further loss.


Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are among the most nutrient-dense fruit, prized for their antioxidant profile. Vitamin C naturally boosts collagen and aids in the absorption of iron, a must for red blood cell production. With increased circulation to the scalp, follicles remain strong and reduce the risk of damage and balding. A handful of berries each day can help keep thinning at bay.


Avocados have an excellent reputation as a health food for good reason. A rare source of natural vitamin E, they help prevent free radical damage and improve the way your body uses oxygen, which can increase circulation to your scalp. A dash of B vitamins and omega 9 fatty acids also help provide luster. Aim for 1 medium avocado 2–4 times a week — tossed in salads, sandwiches or crushed as guacamole.

Leafy Greens 

Veggies such as Swiss chard, spinach, kale and cabbage are high in vitamins A, C, and K – musts for hair growth. Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting and circulation, promoting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your tissues. Snack on kale chips, eat a salad with Swiss chard, or whip up a crunchy coleslaw with apple cider vinegar for a hair healthy boost.

Related: Top 6 Vitamins for Hair Growth (#2 Is Essential)

2. Embrace Food Containing Natural Silica

You may notice that many shampoos are silicone-based, as it coats the hair and makes it appear shiny. However, this only adds protection to the shaft of the hair. Eating foods that have natural silica compounds can help strengthen the follicle, prevent breakage and promote wellness from within.


The orange flesh of this tropical fruit is abundant in the mineral silica, an essential part of a diet for hair growth. Try slicing and eating the mango whole as a sweet after-dinner snack, or blending into a green smoothie for breakfast.

Whole Grains 

Grains such as wheat, barley, oats and brown rice all contain silica, a natural building block of collagen. Enjoy slices of whole wheat toast, overnight oatmeal with berries, or a stir fry with brown rice and veggies to compound the effects of food for strong hair.

3. Don’t Be Afraid of Healthy Fats 

Last but not least, a diet rich in omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids helps increase hair strength. A study of 120 women found that incorporating more omega 3 fatty acids combined with increased antioxidants improved hair density.


High in protein and an unrivaled source of omega 3s, this superfood really is an essential part of a healthy diet. Opt for wild-caught salmon varieties and mix with a green salad with berries.


An underrated fish, herring is a great source of lean protein and is good for more than just pickling. Try sautéing, coating in lime juice and folding into tacos.


A plant-based, vegan friendly option for nutritious fats, certain healthy nuts like walnuts, almonds and pecans pack a nutrient-heavy punch. Process them with lentils to make burgers and sauté to make sandwiches with a satisfying crunch.

Cooking Oils 

The preparation of foods can add essential fats and nutrients to your diet that create a synergistic effect promoting hair growth. Canola oil and avocado oil are both nutrient-dense sources of essential fatty acids. Sautéing vegetables or scrambling eggs in them can give you an extra nutrient boost and promote a diet that strengthens your hair from within.

Combating Hair Loss with Diet the Natural Way 

We can’t always prevent hair loss or thinning from happening. A number of factors — such as genetic disposition, medical conditions, treatments such as chemotherapy, or hormonal imbalances — can all contribute to alopecia.

However, taking a holistic approach by eating healthy foods can help improve hair health and promote growth. Try incorporating some of these hair superfoods into your wellness plan.

Dr. Maggie Gama founded Synergy Lifestyle Medicine to reflect values of unparalleled comprehensive and personalized patient care that focuses on understanding and addressing each patient’s unique healthcare needs. Her greatest passion is in disease prevention. Many of today’s chronic diseases are associated with poor lifestyle choices, environmental toxins, and various infectious diseases that can wreak havoc on our bodies, even years later. Dr. Gama believes that wellness is the result of a synergy between the mind, body, and spirit, which can only be established through genuine, compassionate, and unbreakable bonds established through compassionate care and genuine patient partnership.

The post What Are the Best Foods for Your Hair Care Routine? appeared first on Dr. Axe.

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Spring is upon us! It’s time to open the windows, shake out the dust accumulating in the corners, and make […]

The post Spring Cleaning with Our Deodorizing Blend appeared first on Plant Therapy Blog.

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Commentary by Ronnie Cummins, International Director of Organic Consumers Association

"The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself."
Franklin D. Roosevelt 19431

Welcome to Degeneration Nation 2019. The frightening truth is that genetically engineered foods and crops, toxic chemicals and factory farms — the unholy trinity of industrial food and farming — are undermining our very survival. Public health and the health of the living Earth — our soils, forests, wetlands, watersheds, oceans and climate — are rapidly being destroyed, collateral damage arising from the "profit at any cost" ethos of corporate agribusiness, Big Biotech, Big Pharma and Big Food.

Cancer, chronic disease, obesity, loss of fertility, mass depression, learning disabilities and reproductive disorders have now become the norm, along with environmental degradation. The rhythms and cycles of nature — the atmosphere, the soil carbon cycle, the water cycle, biodiversity, the climate and even the integrity of our DNA — are unraveling.

Unless we can turn things around, shut down the factory farms, rebuild our soils, restore our watersheds and forests, and get rid of the toxins, GMOs and greenhouse gases contaminating our bodies and our environment, mounting evidence suggests that we may soon, perhaps in the space of one generation, pass the point of no return.

Hijacked System Threatens Environment and Health

Despite all of our efforts in terms of public education and mobilization, corrupt government officials, regulatory agencies and international trade bureaucrats have allowed Monsanto/Bayer, Syngenta/ChemChina, Dow/Dupont and a cabal of multinational agribusiness, chemical, seed and GMO corporations, aided and abetted by Madison Avenue, Wall Street and the mass media, to hijack our food and farming system and slowly but surely undermine our health, degrade the soil, pollute the environment and destabilize the climate.

Although Big Food, the Gene Giants and the Factory Farm lobby have managed to derail our efforts so far to ban GMOs, toxic chemicals and factory farms, people in the U.S. and all over the world are starting to wake up.

After several decades of pressure from consumer activists, and a seemingly unending stream of food safety scandals, Big Food Inc. has continued to lose credibility and market share. Backed by corrupt politicians and powerful trade organizations such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the majority of large food corporations alienated millions of consumers by fighting against mandatory "country of origin" and GMO labeling of foods.

Watching consumers turn away from their products, large multinational food and beverage corporations such as General Mills, Nestle, Campbell's, Coca-Cola, Cargill, Pepsi, Kellogg's, Danone, Perdue, Unilever and others have been forced to try to shore up their reputations and market share by buying up every sizeable organic brand willing to sell out.2

At the same time, giant supermarket chains in North America and across the world, including Walmart, Kroger, Safeway and Amazon/Whole Foods, have been forced by consumer demand to increase the sales and marketing of their store-brand private-label organic and "natural" products as well.

Even fast food chains such as McDonald's, Burger King and Subway, pressured by sagging sales among millennials and competition from natural/non-GMO food upstarts like Chipotle and Panera, have expanded their menus and put more emphasis on nutrition.

Having failed to shore up their sagging profits with organic acquisitions alone, the food giants have hired an army of PR firms and political lobbyists to help them fraudulently "greenwash" and market billions of dollars of their conventional (GMO-tainted, chemical and factory-farmed) products as "natural," "all natural" or "ecofriendly."

In response, groups including the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), Beyond Pesticides and Food & Water Watch have launched numerous lawsuits, suing companies for fraudulently labeling their products as natural, pasture-raised, ecofriendly or U.S.-made, when in fact they are not.

Despite all their money and power, Big Food Inc. still finds itself on the defensive, desperately trying to reach out to evermore conscious and savvy consumers, and to counteract what OCA and allied food activists have been telling consumers for 25 years: Industrial, GMO-tainted, pesticide-laden, factory-farmed foods are bad for your health, bad for farm animals, bad for small farmers and farmworkers, bad for the environment, and as more and more people are starting to understand, bad for the climate.

GMOs, Industrial Agriculture and Toxic Chemicals

A growing corps of conscious consumers is starting to understand the dangers of pesticide and drug residues in our food and water, and the threat of toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products, including clothing, body care products, cosmetics, plastics, laundry and cleaning ingredients, mattresses, bedding, cellphones and computer devices.

America's growing health awareness is a major driver of the growth in the organic, grass fed, natural health and green products sectors. But compounding the industrial and agritoxic pollution of our food, water and environment we have now, over the past several decades, we have been dragged into the Brave New World of Genetic Engineering and Frankenfoods as well.

Genetic engineers, chemical companies and Big Pharma have begun to implement a radical and haphazard reprogramming — with little or no foresight, safeguards or precautions — of the very blueprints of life. They are genetically altering bacteria, viruses, seeds, plants, animals, foods, trees, drugs and now humans.

Almost half of America's cropland is devoted to GMO crops, including over 140 million acres of GE corn, soybeans, and cotton. Seventy to 80 percent of supermarket, restaurant and school cafeteria processed foods are contaminated with genetically engineered corn, soy, canola, high fructose corn syrup and cotton seed/vegetable oil.3

Meanwhile, 90 percent of our meat and animal products are coming out of factory farms, where livestock are stuffed with GMO animal feed (corn and soy), and recklessly dosed with Big Pharma animal drugs and growth promoters.

And, of course, it is not just the genetic engineering, foreign DNA, antibiotic marker genes and viral promoters in these everyday (nonorganic) Frankenfoods and crops that we need to worry about.

We also have to contend with the fact that these gene foods and animal feeds have been doused with poisonous pesticides, insecticides and fungicides. After 30 years of force feeding the public a vast array of untested, unlabeled GMOs and low-grade, nutritionally deficient "commodity" foods and crops laced with pesticides like Roundup, dicamba, 2,4-D, chlorpyrifos, atrazine, malathion, neonicotinoids and Bt, it is no wonder that public health is steadily degenerating.

The impact on the environment of GMOs, chemical-intensive industrial agriculture and factory farms is equally devastating. They are responsible for water pollution, aquatic dead zones, aquifer depletion, degradation of the soil's ability to absorb and hold water, air pollution, destruction of grasslands and wetlands, loss of biodiversity, killing off wildlife, insects and pollinators, and causing soil erosion and massive climate-disrupting emissions of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide.

Perhaps most dangerous of all is the impact of industrial agriculture on the loss of soil fertility and soil carbon, which has degraded the natural ability of healthy soil, plants, grasses and trees to effectively carry out photosynthesis and drawdown, thus impairing their ability to sequester excess CO2 from our supersaturated atmosphere, into our soils and biota.

Factory Farms, GMO Animal Feed and Pharma Drugs

Ninety percent of the meat, dairy, and poultry consumed by the average (malnourished, supersized) American consumer today comes from crowded, filthy, hellish factory farms and feedlots, euphemistically called CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations).

The daily diet of the hapless creatures in these animal prisons typically consists of pesticide-drenched GMO grains, antibiotics, growth promoters and a mind-boggling range of other Big Pharma animal drugs. The meat, dairy and poultry coming out of these animal factories is low in nutrition, routinely contaminated with harmful bacteria, pathogens and animal drugs, and loaded with artery-clogging bad fats (low in omega-3 and high in omega-6).

Study after study links the nation's deteriorating health, including the chronic health epidemic of our children, to the increasing amounts of toxic chemicals and GMOs (essentially pesticide delivery systems) dumped into our environment and laced into our food.

Although approximately 12 percent of American consumers today, according to the latest surveys, are trying to protect ourselves and our families by always buying organic foods, and 47 percent occasionally do so, most of us are exposed day after day to a barrage of toxic, carcinogenic, hormone-disruptive chemicals and GMOs.

The average American diet, as Mercola.com and others have pointed out, is now mainly composed of highly processed junk foods (70 percent) and beverages, along with factory-farmed meat and animal products — in other words, the types of foods you can purchase at your local gas station, fast food restaurant or convenience store.

What are some of the health consequences of this toxic assault? A recent Rand Corporation study4 found that 60 percent of Americans suffer from at least one chronic health condition such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and arthritis; and 42 percent have two or more of these illnesses.

Chronic diseases now account for more than 40 percent of the $3.5 trillion that people are handing over to Big Pharma and the medical industrial complex. Scientific studies indicate that the overwhelming majority of these chronic diseases are caused by environmental and dietary toxins, rather than hereditary factors.

Half of all Americans are now expected to come down with cancer at least once in their lifetime. According to recent research, U.S. men born in 1960 have a lifetime cancer risk of 53.5 percent. For or women it's 47.5 percent.5 Seventy percent of U.S. drinking water is now contaminated with Monsanto's toxic herbicide, Roundup,6 while 93 percent of consumers now have traces of Monsanto's poison (active ingredient glyphosate) in our urine.7

Today, 1 in 13 U.S. children has serious food allergies; 6 to 24 percent have serious intestinal problems; 20 percent are obese; 60 percent have chronic headaches and 20 percent suffer from mental disorders and depression. One in every 41 boys and 1 in every 68 girls is now diagnosed with autism.8

Deteriorating public health is not just a problem in the U.S. It's also a global crisis. Of the toxic stew of GMOs and chemicals dumped into the environment or laced into food or other consumer products, 99 percent or more have never been individually tested for their toxicity on animals or other living organisms, much less in combination with other synthetic chemicals, which is how most humans and animals ingest or come in contact with them.9

As a result, the overwhelming majority of us are exposed every day to literally hundreds of different toxins, whether we're talking about our food, water, air, home and work environment, medical drugs, or everyday consumer products. As longtime Australian organic farm leader and pesticide expert Andrew Leu points out:10

"Regulatory authorities are ignoring a large body of peer-reviewed science showing the harm caused by pesticides and they are making decisions on data-free assumptions … A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found a cocktail of many toxic chemicals in the blood and urine of most Americans."

Soil Degeneration

Genetically engineered (GE) crops, toxic agrichemicals, industrial monocultures and factory farms are steadily degenerating not just our health and our air and water, but our soils as well. Erosion, compaction, loss of nutrients and salinization are now widespread.

Healthy soils, rich in carbon organic matter and microorganisms, and the plants, trees, and animals that depend upon a carbon rich soils, are the key to human health and nutrition. Our soils are the foundation for global biodiversity. They are also the most important factor in maintaining a climate-stabilizing balance between the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere and oceans, and the amount of carbon in our soils and biota.

Soils also regulate the flow of water from rainfall or snowmelt, and filter or reduce toxic pollutants, whether from industrial, agricultural or municipal sources. GMOs and industrial commodity crops cannot grow without the massive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

In fact, GMO seeds are explicitly designed and patented by corporations such as Monsanto in order to maximize sales of their proprietary pesticides such as Roundup. Unfortunately, spraying pesticides and dumping enormous amounts of chemical fertilizers on farmland kills the soil, eliminating soil organic matter and the microorganisms that give rise to soil fertility and nutritious food.

Under the impact of degenerative food, farming and land-use practices, which include deforestation, heavy plowing, monocropping (growing the same crop every year) and the heavy use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, most agricultural soils have lost 30 to 75 percent of their original soil organic carbon.11

Seventy-five billion tons of topsoil, with a market value of $400 billion are lost every year to wind and water erosion, mainly from farms and ranches utilizing chemical-intensive, soil-degenerating farming methods.12

Before carbon-sequestering forests, mixed traditional cropping and grasslands were ravaged by chemical-intensive and now GMO and factory-farmed industrial agriculture (and industrial forestry), global soil organic matter generally comprised 6 to 10 percent of the soil volume — three to six times the 1 to 3 percent levels typical of today's industrial agriculture soils.

In other words, taxpayer-subsidized, chemical-based industrial agriculture, factory farms and unrestricted grazing (along with industrial forestry) have turned the earth's soil (which still contains three times as much carbon as the entire amount of CO2 in the atmosphere) from being a major climate-stabilizing carbon sink into a massive and dangerous source of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

Forty percent of the world's agricultural soil is now classified as degraded or seriously degraded. That means that up to 70 percent of the topsoil is gone.13

Unless soils are regenerated and forests and wetlands are restored, billions of small farmers and rural villagers will lose their livelihoods and be driven off the land. In the meantime, billions of urban consumers will suffer the consequences of eating nutrient-deficient, chemical- and GMO-contaminated foods.

Healthy soil is also a key factor in determining whether the world's three billion farmers and rural villagers can make a living off the land, or whether they are forced to migrate to large cities or foreign countries in search of a job and a decent standard of living. According to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification:14

"The Earth is the fundamental pillar of civilization … The erosion of soil, desertification and the shortage of water contribute to the stress and rupture of society. In this sense, the degradation of the soil can be considered as a 'threat amplifier,' especially because it gradually reduces the capacity of people to utilize the land for the production of food, the procurement of water and other vital ecosystem services."

The destruction of soil carbon (and soil fertility), via degenerative farming, grazing and improper land use, is disturbing given that the top 3 feet of the world's soil holds three times as much carbon as the entire atmosphere.15 This makes the soil a major repository for carbon (along with forests and oceans) and therefore a major factor in maintaining climate stability.

Deforestation and destructive agricultural practices over the past 10,000 years have released 320 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. Burning fossil fuels has released another 292 billion tons.16 Over time, this steady loss of soil carbon (and soil biodiversity and fertility) released into the atmosphere has not only changed the climate, but has also affected the quality of our foods.

Today's nonorganic foods have lost 25 to 75 percent of the essential nutrients and trace minerals compared with 50 years ago.

As the journal Scientific American points out, "… fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. The main culprit in this disturbing nutritional trend is soil depletion: Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows."17

Massive soil degradation has taken place in every nation, not just the U.S. In a recent news report,18 scientists point out that that the U.K. appears to be 30 to 40 years away from the "eradication of soil fertility."

From Degeneration to Regeneration: Five Steps

OK. Enough of the bad news. What do we do about all this? How do we move from degeneration to regeneration? How do we defeat Bayer/Monsanto, Big Food and Big Pharma? How do we take back control of our health and our diets, clean up the environment, and join in the global effort to reestablish a stable climate?

Fortunately, millions of us are already rejecting GMOs, pesticides and factory farms, and embracing organic food and natural health practices and lifestyles. Here are some things all of us can do:

  1. Stay informed and spread the message of organic, biodynamic and regenerative food, farming and natural health among your family, friends and neighbors. Some of the best newsletters, websites, social media and sources of information include Mercola.com, OrganicConsumers.org and RegenerationInternational.org.
  2. Boycott GMOs, toxic pesticides and factory-farmed meat, dairy and poultry — today and every day.
  3. Buy organic, biodynamic, 100 percent grass fed, pasture-raised and other regenerative foods and consumer products.
  4. Get involved with other natural health activists and regenerators in changing public policy at the local, state and national levels. Become a grassroots citizen lobbyist with the Organic Consumers Association or OCA's grassroots lobbying arm, the Citizens Regeneration Lobby.
  5. Make a tax-deductible donation to the Organic Consumers Association or Regeneration International to support our ongoing campaigns against Monsanto, GMOs and factory farms.

Source: mercola rss