It’s that time of year when the new year has finally set in, and with it comes the urge to […]
Source: plant therapy Blog
By Dr. Mercola
The film, “A Quest for Meaning” follows two childhood friends as they travel the globe in search for the meaning of life. Questions about the collective beliefs that have shaped Western civilization are investigated, as are the changes in consciousness we now see as more and more people are becoming inspired to live more in harmony with themselves, each other, and the natural world.
Where do we, as humans, belong, if we’re not part of the natural world? And if we’re part of the natural world, how can we survive its destruction?
Marc, a bottled water salesman in New York City, was living the American dream. His job — convincing Americans that bottled water was a worthy luxury — paid well; he had everything he thought he wanted. After a 10-year separation, Nathanael (the film’s director and cameraman) visits Marc in New York City. Thinking Marc seemed a bit out of place in this “high-life,” Nathanael left him with several environmental documentaries “to shake him up a little bit.”
Marc admits he had no intention of watching any of them. But, as fate would have it, a broken foot left him with little else to do. Right after that, the financial melt-down of 2008 hit and, along with the rest of us, he realized that the greed of a few had placed the future of the entire planet in jeopardy. “I was now convinced that the system was incapable of providing a solution to the problems it had created,” he says. “And as a water salesman in Manhattan, I was also part of the problem.”
To ward off cynicism and depression, Marc left everything behind and began to search for the answers to his questions. On the way, he convinced Nathanael to join him and record their travels, and together they set off on a journey that shook the foundations of their beliefs and the principles by which they lived.
In the film, their journey takes them to India, where locals have managed to revitalize the economy following the closing of mines by investing in agricultural education and tools. As followers of Gandhi, they promote the concept of “swaraj,” which is the idea that you are responsible for yourself and the world around you. You must be a good steward. To learn more about Gandhi and his views on economy, they attend a seminar on “Gandhi and Globalization” held by Dr. Vandana Shiva.
Originally trained as a physicist, Shiva became involved in a movement to protect the forests of the Himalayas. She began writing about ecological problems, and the rest, as they say, is history. Shiva is now one of the most well-recognized faces of the organic farming movement.
“Things are changing,” she says, “but they’re changing in the wrong direction because the most prominent change is driven by giant corporations [that] are turning everything into a commodity. There’s no people, no nature, no culture, no values. The change we need is a change that helps us recognize that if we continue on this present path … humanity will annihilate the conditions for its living on this planet.”
As noted by Shiva, large corporations are very good at eliminating small farmers, but they have no viable plan for how to feed the world once all small farmers are gone. “Recognition that nature is the condition of our being alive is the shift we need to make. We have to stop thinking about nature as wilderness, and think of it as the condition for life,” she says.
For many, the way they reconnect with nature is through food — planting, tending, harvesting and eating what they’ve grown. Or, at the very least, it’s knowing where the food comes from and how it was grown, “making sure nature’s contribution has not been abused by corporate greed.” In other words, it’s about making sure the food you buy has not been genetically engineered (GE) or doused with chemicals that destroy the environment and harm wildlife and the farmers themselves.
One of the most harmful effects of GE seeds is often overlooked. By making seed sharing illegal, large GE seed corporations have made farmers completely dependent on their GE seeds — and the chemicals designed to accompany them.
The financial strain has led to an epidemic of farmer suicides in India, as crop failures can quickly lead to financial ruin, burying the farmers in debt they cannot pay off. Historically, you could always trade seeds with your neighbors, but patented seeds must be bought anew each year, and prices just keep going up.
As noted in the film, “You cannot have unlimited economic growth on a limited planet. You cannot have infinite growth in a finite world.” The current system cannot be fixed; it must be replaced with a new system that takes only that which is required, and returns to the earth something that supports the continued cycle of growth.
Shiva notes that nowadays we hear a lot about “green consumerism,” but what needs to be questioned is the very idea of consumerism itself. “The reduction of our identities to that of consumers is part of the problem,” she says. “Recovery of our identities — as creators, users and makers of things — is part of the solution.” Part of this also involves regaining respect for physical work, which you gain when working in the fields or in your garden, growing your food.
The common view that corporations are our sole means of support is equally fallacious. We don’t need corporations to live, eat and put a roof over our head. Nature — fields, forests, plants, rivers, rain — and human communities working together, are what provide lasting security and generate livelihood. “Money is just a means of exchange, it’s not real security. So, people don’t need to fear.” Shiva adds:
“Overall, my vision of another economy is, in every place, people producing in sustainable ways, generating livelihoods and meeting their needs. Decentralized economies everywhere … [not this] crazy world where everything has to be manufactured in China, and everywhere else people sit unemployed.
And because they’re unemployed and have no money, the only place they can shop is at a Walmart, because they bring their stuff from China and sell cheap. What we need is a shift from this idea of false cheapness that has a very high cost for the planet and people, to an idea of authentic affordability [with] low cost for the planet and low cost for the people.”
While Marc set out to make a film about alternative lifestyles, just a few days at Shiva’s ashram completely changed how he viewed the world. “It completely reformatted my hard drive,” he says. “Blinded by progress and technology, [the Western world] has completely lost touch with the essential things in life.” These essentials include not only respect for the natural world, but also the spiritual world.
An Indian yoga teacher stresses the idea that modern science and spiritual science are not mutually exclusive, but need to be balanced because, while you can buy the things you need, you cannot buy happiness. That you must find and generate from within, and there are spiritual principles, spiritual sciences, that can help you find what you’re looking for.
From India, the journey continues to France, where they interview a farmer who again stresses the importance of reconnecting with nature. They also talk to a sociologist who reviews the history of human connection to nature. While man’s fate used to be closely intertwined with nature and hinged on the ability to live in harmony with natural laws, over time we learned to dominate nature, and our dominance eventually led to our becoming disconnected from it.
In Mexico, the pair investigate Central American culture and spirituality, and talk to a medicine man who points out that societal change always begins with individual change. We have become indoctrinated by corporate advertising and have largely forgotten how to think properly. For example, if you do not want to be ill, you must stop thinking about how to treat disease and start thinking about what it takes to be healthy. Thoughts are a creative force, so be mindful of where you place your focus.
The investigation into consciousness and self-awareness continues in Guatemala, where they speak to Chaty Secaira, a meditation instructor and mystic, about the nature of reality. “We see only one side of creation,” she says. “We see only what is visible. But there’s a whole other side that is invisible, that can only be seen with the eyes of the soul. You have to open your heart and open your mind in order to allow this level of perception.”
Meditation is one way of connecting with your authentic self and the invisible part of creation, and the filmmakers set out on a rigorous spiritual program of meditation and fasting in the Guatemalan jungle. “Inside every person, there is some of [the] divine element,” Secaira says. “Our mission is to unify ourselves with this divine element.”
Back in San Francisco, the pair follow the path of reason, searching for answers in modern science. Astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan agrees to answer a few of their questions. “Twentieth-century science has only just discovered, or rediscovered, what Buddhism has been telling us for 2,500 years, namely the concept of interdependence,” Thuan says. “Everything is connected.”
Ever since the 1950s, scientists have increasingly been confronted with evidence that we are “made of stardust; we are children of the stars.” The atoms that make up your body “are made from the nuclear reactions of the stars.” According to Thuan, “If it weren’t for the stars, we wouldn’t even exist.” What this means is that we’re not only interdependent with nature here on planet Earth, we’re also interdependent with the universe as a whole.
Quantum mechanics also tells us that there’s no way of breaking this intrinsic unity. Once two particles have interacted, you cannot break their connection. Separate them by millions of light years, and they still respond in tandem; what happens to one happens to the other — instantaneously, and without any information transfer between them.
In other words, there is only one thing in this universe, and we are all “it.” “The conclusion I draw from this is that science is not the only way to observe reality,” Thuan says. “There are other windows into reality.”
Cassandra Vieten, director of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, adds, “Many of the problems we face … are grounded in limitations in our human consciousness.” While egotism is rampant, we’ve not taken it to the next logical step, which is to realize that self-preservation demands that we include everyone, not just a few that we deem worthy.
“Inequity of resources, violence, war, climate change — they spring from the way we view the world,” Vieten says. She also points out that we typically don’t realize we’re looking at the world through our own filter, our own world view; we simply believe we’re seeing the truth. One of the things contemplative practices such as meditation allows us to do is recognize that “thoughts are just thoughts, beliefs are just beliefs, and they’re not truly who we are. They’re just … working hypotheses.”
She gives the following example: During meditation, you may come to realize that you view the world as a dangerous place, and that this view has colored your actions since childhood. This insight then offers you the opportunity to choose to see differently; to shift your world view. What if the world isn’t a dangerous place? Then what would I see, think and do?
This kind of self-awareness automatically leads to shifts in thought patterns and behavior. Values change, and along with it, your relationship to yourself and others change too. “Listening to Cassandra … I realized the beliefs I had built my life on had totally collapsed during this trip,” Marc says.
“They had been replaced by new hypotheses, like the gut feeling that the world is not just made of matter, [and] that chasing after money and social status leads us away from what is really important.” However, the world around him didn’t conform to these new ways of looking at the world. Everywhere he looked, he saw messages “inciting people to consume and pollute.”
The next stop on their journey is a visit to Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., who discusses how collective beliefs emerge and take shape. In a nutshell, there are three perennial questions that drive collective world views:
When the population accepts the answers to these questions provided by some authority, that authority by default becomes the “truth provider” to all other worldly questions as well. The church was the truth provider for a long time, and the spiritual reality was paramount. Once science began providing the answers, the spiritual world was relegated to the proverbial broom closet.
Science said, you don’t need spirituality because the world is just a big machine. There’s no evidence “spirit” is anywhere to be found. We got here through random mutations, and there’s no purpose for our being here since the whole of creation was a big accident. To top it off, we were given the evolutionary theory of “survival of the fittest.” It’s a tough, mean world out there and you have to fight to survive. So, life became all about the struggle to get to the top and stay there. The world of today is the end result of these beliefs.
Fortunately, these beliefs are now changing. We’re starting to see that we got here through adaptive mutations — the ability of an organism to adapt to its environment. Since we’re an interdependent part of nature, it becomes obvious that, as creative thinkers, we are here to create and maintain harmony, and that the only way we can survive is through cooperation. Competition and separatism is what’s killing us, both individually and as a collective.
We still live in an oligarchy where a few people make a lot of important decisions, most if not all of which are driven by capitalism. These rulers naturally promote their own continuation, but their days are numbered. Slowly but surely, we’re starting to transition into a whole new world view built on cooperation and interdependence. It’s up to you to be this change. As Marc says, “To change the world, you have to change your vision of it. And in order for this change to take place, we are all called to evolve.”
Source: mercola rss
By Dr. Mercola
Dry skin, or other skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, may prompt you to purchase heavy emollient creams to take care of the problem. Aside from feeling tight, itchy and generally uncomfortable, the most disquieting symptom of these skin conditions is often a cosmetic one. Your skin may be flaking, scaling and peeling, or it may feel rough and have the appearance of fine lines and cracks. While you may find this unsightly, cracked skin also makes a good entryway for germs.
Bacteria can cause infection both on your skin and elsewhere in your body. For this reason, tending to skin conditions goes beyond cosmetic concerns; it's a matter of your health and safety. The products you choose have a significant impact on your skin and your overall health. While many personal care products contain toxins and chemicals you wouldn't want to use, some have carry acute risks.
Heavy emollient creams, sometimes prescribed for eczema and psoriasis, have been linked to a number of deaths by the London Fire Brigade.1 An investigation by the BBC uncovered 37 deaths linked to skin creams in England since 2010. However, firefighter Chris Bell, watch commander with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, believes that number may be much higher.2 “Hundreds of thousands of people use them; we're not sure how many fire deaths might have occurred but it could be into the hundreds,” he says.
The offending ingredient is paraffin, frequently added to creams as an inexpensive means of softening skin. Skin creams are usually used consistently by consumers, without a change of clothes or bedding. Paraffin residue can then soak into the fabric, making it flammable.3 Many of these deaths have been traced back to smoking, where an open flame or ash blew onto their clothing.4 Darren Munro, borough commander for London's Wandsworth Fire Station commented:5
“In four of the last six fatalities that I've personally attended, I would say the emollient cream has had a direct result in the flame spread and the speed at which the fire took hold.”
Regular washing of your night clothes and bedding may not eliminate the problem since paraffin is invisible, can accumulate over time and often soaks into the fabric. Monroe believes the true scale of the number of fires related to skin creams has not been tallied:6
“One of the fatalities that we dealt with, unfortunately, the individual had had a previous fire, which wasn't reported. The carers or a neighbor had put the fire out, so therefore the London Fire Brigade weren't called. I would imagine that there have been numerous other instances where people have been injured, but because the flames have been extinguished, people haven't called the fire brigade.”
England’s 5 Live Investigates approached 53 fire brigades in the U.K. to determine the number of deaths associated with paraffin-based creams, but only six of the firehouses provided the information.7 Last year, Britain's Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency requested manufacturers who had products containing paraffin carry a fire-risk warning on the packaging. To date, an investigation revealed only seven of the 38 products sold in Great Britain contained warnings.8
If paraffin wax is so flammable, why is it used in beauty products? If you've ever had a manicure or pedicure, you may have had a hot wax treatment. The liquid is commonly used to soften and smooth skin and sometimes found in face creams and body lotions. Since the product is inexpensive, manufacturers find it improves their bottom line and helps your skin “feel” moisturized.9
Paraffin wax was originally called petroleum wax.10 Discovered in 1830, paraffin wax is a petroleum byproduct from waste when crude oil is refined into gasoline. During the 1850s chemists were able to separate the natural waxy substance from the petroleum into what is now called paraffin.
Unfortunately, this refinement does not improve the safety of it.11 Quite the contrary. During the first step in the refining process the wax is bleached in order to change the color from black sludge to snow white. Bleaching the wax12 increases the risk of dioxin production, associated with a number of health conditions, including reproductive and developmental problems, damaged immune systems and cancer.13
In the past, paraffin wax treatments have been used to increase blood flow, reduce joint stiffness and help reduce pain in skin and joint areas, especially for those suffering from arthritis. Today, wax treatments on your hands and feet are used by manicurists to help you relax and soften your skin. However while your skin may feel softer, paraffin wax actually clogs your pores and doesn't hydrate or repair your skin.14
Although cosmetic companies make their living convincing you to purchase creams and lotions to smooth your skin and look younger, the most effective way of getting younger looking skin is by taking care of it from the inside out. Certainly, external variables will contribute to dry skin. Weather is a major factor, as is your occupation. For instance, jobs where you must wash your hands multiple times a day will effectively remove much of the natural oils and cause the skin to become dry and cracked.
A significant factor is your diet. When you provide your body with vital nutrients to keep your skin supple, you'll reduce the need for external moisturizing. Chief among those nutrients are animal-based omega-3 fats that help normalize the fats in your skin and prevent dehydration in your cells. Fatty acid deficiency can manifest in a variety of ways, but externally you often notice eczema, cracked heels and dry irritated skin.
Your body functions optimally when there’s a healthy balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fats.15 Unfortunately, the standard American diet is often too high in damaged omega-6 fats, which increase the inflammatory response in your body. The addition of omega-3 fats has an anti-inflammatory effect that may help soothe irritated skin and help give you a clearer and smoother complexion. Omega-3 fat deficiency is quite common in the U.S. as foods high in omega-3 fats are not widely consumed.
The best sources of the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA are fatty fish. But, as levels of water pollution have increased, the availability of healthy animal-based omega-3 fat has become challenging. A general guideline is to eat fish that are smaller and closer to the bottom of the food chain as they often contain less contamination and pollution stored in their body. These include sardines, anchovies and herring.
Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is another healthy option as these fish come from areas of the ocean that tend to be less polluted. They also have a shorter life cycle. Look for salmon that is labeled “wild-caught” or sockeye salmon.
If these fish are unavailable, and you're suffering from dry skin, an omega-3 supplement such as krill oil is recommended. Steroid creams or heavy emollient creams may be recommended for treating inflammation that underlies an eczema flare up, but omega-3 fats may be as effective without the side effects.
Skin creams are not just flammable, but most also contain toxins. Of the nearly 13,000 chemicals in personal care products on the shelves today, only 10 percent have been tested for safety. The U.S. does not require chemicals to be proven safe before being sold. Only after a product has demonstrated harm, has been misbranded or adulterated, may the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) take action. According to the FDA’s description of their authority over cosmetics:16
“FDA's legal authority over cosmetics is different from our authority over other products we regulate, such as drugs, biologics and medical devices. Under the law, cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA premarket approval, with the exception of color additives. However, FDA can pursue enforcement action against products on the market that are not in compliance with the law, or against firms or individuals who violate the law.”
The average woman in the U.S. uses 12 personal care products each day, containing nearly 168 different chemicals.17 While the European Union (EU) has been more proactive in regulating chemicals used in cosmetics, the U.S. has not.
As noted by Dr. Steve Xu, dermatologist from McGaw Medical Center at Northwestern University,18 "[The EU] banned more than 1,000 chemicals. We've only banned 10. They've been very proactive about looking at chemical safety and putting the burden on manufacturers to prove their cosmetic products are safe."
In the Environmental Defense report, “Heavy Metal Hazard: The Health Risks of Hidden Heavy Metals in Face Makeup,”19 researchers shared results from testing 49 different makeup items. The testing revealed serious heavy metal contamination in virtually all of the products:
In addition to increasing your intake of animal-based omega-3 fats, consider eliminating sugars and supporting your immune system. Research suggests limiting sugar and supplementing your diet with fermented foods or probiotic bacteria can cut your risk of developing eczema by one-third.20 Beneficial bacteria in your gut may also prevent the development of allergies by helping your immune system to identify the difference between pathogens and nonharmful antigens and respond appropriately.
Using moisturizers with chemical ingredients further irritates your skin and increases the likelihood you’ll experience symptoms. Pure emu oil or coconut oil are alternatives that provide your skin moisture and nutrients without chemical additives. Other suggestions to reduce flare-ups of eczema include:
Coconut oil offers a wide variety of health benefits including improved brain function, stimulating your metabolism and providing energy. The benefits are not limited to internal functions. You likely have virgin coconut oil in your kitchen that may provide you with nearly everything you need to take care of your skin. The oil is a powerful antibacterial, destroying some of the common pathogens living on your skin that may contribute to the development of acne, and in your mouth that contribute to the development of cavities.
Coconut oil can also be used in lieu of deodorant, and will soften the skin under your arms at the same time. The oil can be used to protect your skin while shaving, and after shaving to moisturize all over your body, from your face to your toes. While scientific research is ongoing, there is some case evidence to suggest that coconut oil may help reduce the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.21
Unlike paraffin wax, coconut oil does the work of actually moisturizing your skin, and provides anti-aging benefits as well. Rubbed on your skin, it penetrates deeply and attracts protein molecules.22 This helps to maintain or build collagen under your skin that reduces the signs of wrinkles.23 The oil helps prevent premature aging as it is gentle on your skin, can be a physical barrier to environmental pollutants and reduces oxidative damage.
Since coconut oil has nothing harsh to harm your skin, many women are also using it as a makeup and eye makeup remover. Natural makeup brands incorporate coconut oil into their base as it has the effect of highlighting your skin and giving you a healthy glow.24 The oil is also a healthy deep conditioner for your hair. It penetrates your hair shaft and prevents protein loss. Comb a dollop of the oil through your hair and cover with a shower cap; sleep and wash your hair normally in the morning.
Source: mercola rss
There’s little worse than watching your furry friends in pain. After hikes, playdates in the snow or on hot pavement, and daily walks with the family, your dog or cat might need some TLC. When they spend all day on their precious paws, this homemade ointment is sure to do the trick. Try this DIY paw balm to keep your pet’s paws happy all year round.
*If your pet or animal has a known health issue, please consult your veterinarian before administering essential oils.
Interested in learning more about how to use essential oils around beloved animals? Check out this post for tips and tricks for animals small to large.
Source: Young Living Blog
Let’s face it, hair care is essential to our daily lives, so it only seems natural to include essential oils […]
Source: plant therapy Blog
By Dr. Mercola
Alzheimer’s disease — for which conventional medicine believes there is no effective treatment or cure — currently affects an estimated 5.4 million Americans1 and prevalence is projected to triple by 2050.2,3 Within the next two decades, this severe and lethal form of dementia may affect as much as one-quarter of the U.S. population. Already, more than half a million Americans die from the disease each year, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S., right behind heart disease and cancer.4,5
The good news is that lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise and sleep can have a significant impact on your risk. As previously noted by Dr. Richard Lipton6 of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where they study healthy aging, lifestyle changes “look more promising than the drug studies so far.” As with health in general, your diet plays a crucial role. Processed foods tend to be nearly devoid of healthy fat while being excessive in refined sugars, and this combination appears to be at the heart of the problem.
One of the most striking studies7 on carbohydrates and brain health revealed that high-carb diets increase your risk of dementia by a whopping 89 percent, while high-fat diets lower it by 44 percent. According to the authors, “A dietary pattern with relatively high caloric intake from carbohydrates and low caloric intake from fat and proteins may increase the risk of mild cognitive impairment or dementia in elderly persons.”
Studies also strongly suggest Alzheimer’s disease is intricately connected to insulin resistance;8 even mild elevation of blood sugar is associated with an elevated risk for dementia.9 Diabetes and heart disease10 are also known to elevate your risk, and both are rooted in insulin resistance.
This connection between high-sugar diets and Alzheimer’s was again highlighted in a longitudinal study published in the journal Diabetologia in January 2018.11 Nearly 5,190 individuals were followed over a decade, and the results showed that the higher an individual’s blood sugar, the faster their rate of cognitive decline.
The connection between sugar and Alzheimer’s was first broached in 2005, when the disease was tentatively dubbed "Type 3 diabetes.” At that time researchers discovered that your brain produces insulin necessary for the survival of your brain cells.12 A toxic protein called ADDL removes insulin receptors from nerve cells, thereby rendering those neurons insulin resistant, and as ADDLs accumulate, your memory begins to deteriorate.
Curiously, while low insulin levels in your body are associated with improved health, the opposite appears to be true when it comes to the insulin produced in your brain. Reduced brain insulin actually contributes to the degeneration of brain cells, and studies have found that people with lower levels of insulin and insulin receptors in their brain often have Alzheimer’s disease.
According to researchers,13 "These abnormalities do not correspond to Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, but reflect a different and more complex disease process that originates in the central nervous system.”
In 2016, researchers at John’s Hopkins department of biology discovered that nerve growth factor, a protein found in your nervous system that is involved in the growth of neurons, also triggers insulin release in your pancreas.14 So there appears to be a rather complex relationship between body insulin, brain insulin and brain function, and we’ve probably only begun to tease out all of these connections.
Case in point, even Type 1 diabetics are at increased risk for Alzheimer’s, even though their bodies don’t produce insulin at all. Melissa Schilling, a professor at New York University, investigated this paradox in 2016. As reported by The Atlantic:15
“Schilling posits this happens because of the insulin-degrading enzyme, a product of insulin that breaks down both insulin and amyloid proteins in the brain — the same proteins that clump up and lead to Alzheimer’s disease. People who don’t have enough insulin, like those whose bodies’ ability to produce insulin has been tapped out by diabetes, aren’t going to make enough of this enzyme to break up those brain clumps.
Meanwhile, in people who use insulin to treat their diabetes and end up with a surplus of insulin, most of this enzyme gets used up breaking that insulin down, leaving not enough enzyme to address those amyloid brain clumps. According to Schilling, this can happen even in people who don’t have diabetes yet — who are in a state known as ‘prediabetes.’”
Research16 published in 2013 showed that sugar and other carbohydrates can disrupt your brain function even if you’re not diabetic or have any signs of dementia. Here, short- and long-term glucose markers were evaluated in healthy, nondiabetic, nondemented seniors. Memory tests and brain imaging were also used to assess brain function and the actual structure of their hippocampus.
The findings revealed that the higher the two blood glucose measures, the smaller the hippocampus, the more compromised its structure, and the worse the individual’s memory was. According to the authors, the structural changes in the hippocampus alone can partially account for the statistical link we see between glucose and memory, as your hippocampus is involved with the formation, organization and storage of memories.
The results suggest glucose directly contributes to atrophy of the hippocampus, which means that even if you’re not insulin resistant or diabetic, excess sugar can still hamper your memory. The authors suggest that “strategies aimed at lowering glucose levels even in the normal range may beneficially influence cognition in the older population.”
A similar study17 published in 2014 found that Type 2 diabetics lose more gray matter with age than expected, and this brain atrophy also helps explain why diabetics have a higher risk for dementia, and have earlier onset of dementia than nondiabetics.
As noted by Dr. Sam Gandy, director of the Center for Cognitive Health at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, these findings “suggest that chronic high levels of insulin and sugar may be directly toxic to brain cells” adding that “This would definitely be a potential cause of dementia.”18
A study19 published just last year also confirmed the link between insulin resistance and dementia, particularly among those with existing heart disease. Nearly 490 seniors were followed for two decades, and as in other studies, those with the highest levels of insulin resistance scored the worst on cognitive tests, especially tests for memory and executive function.
A take-home message here is that you don’t have to be a diabetic to be at increased risk. As noted by senior study author Dr. David Tanne, a faculty member of Tel Aviv University in Israel, "Even people with mild or moderate insulin resistance … are at increased risk over time … Exercising, maintaining a balanced and healthy diet and watching your weight will help you prevent insulin resistance and, as a result, protect your brain as you get older.”
In related news, researchers have announced great strides being made in the development of a blood test to detect Alzheimer’s.20 The test is designed to detect amyloid beta, the toxic protein known to accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. In a recent trial,21 the test was 90 percent accurate in detecting the disease in a pool of 370 participants.
At present, the only way to measure amyloid beta is by brain scan or a spinal tap, both of which are invasive and expensive, and can only detect the disease once it has sufficiently progressed. While promising, further trials must be done to confirm the diagnostic accuracy of the blood test before it can be released and used in medical practice.
One of the most comprehensive assessments of Alzheimer’s risk is Dr. Dale Bredesen's ReCODE protocol, which evaluates 150 factors known to contribute to the disease. This protocol also identifies your disease subtype or combination of subtypes so that an effective treatment protocol can be devised.
You can learn more about this in “ReCODE: The Reversal of Cognitive Decline,” which is my interview with him. In his book, you will also find a list of suggested screening tests and the recommended ranges for each test, along with some of Bredesen’s treatment suggestions. The full protocol is described in Bredesen’s book, “The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline.”22
Other recent developments include a study showing curcumin supplementation may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s by improving memory and focus.23 The double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry,24 included 40 adults between the ages of 50 and 90 who reported mild memory lapses. None had a diagnosis of dementia at the time of their enrollment. Participants randomly received either 90 milligrams of curcumin (Theracurmin supplement) twice a day for 18 months, or a placebo.
A standardized cognitive assessment was administered at the start of the study and at six-month intervals thereafter, and the level of curcumin in their blood was measured at the beginning and end of the study. Thirty of the participants also underwent positron emission tomography (PET) scans to assess their level of amyloid and tau deposits before and after treatment, both of which are strongly associated with Alzheimer’s risk.
Those who received curcumin saw significant improvements in memory and concentration, while the control group experienced no improvement. PET scans confirmed the treatment group had significantly less amyloid and tau buildup in areas of the brain that control memory, compared to controls. Overall, the curcumin group improved their memory by 28 percent over the year-and-a-half-long treatment period.
Curcumin has also been shown to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF),25 and reduced levels of BDNF have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Yet another way curcumin may benefit your brain and lower your risk of dementia is by affecting pathways that help reverse insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia and other symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome and obesity.26
According to Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist and author of “Grain Brain” and “Brain Maker,” anything that promotes insulin resistance will ultimately also raise your risk of Alzheimer’s. To this I would add that any strategy that enhances your mitochondrial function will lower your risk. Considering the lack of effective treatments, prevention really cannot be stressed strongly enough.
In 2014, Bredesen published a paper that demonstrates the power of lifestyle choices for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s. By leveraging 36 healthy lifestyle parameters, he was able to reverse Alzheimer’s in 9 out of 10 patients.
This included the use of exercise, ketogenic diet, optimizing vitamin D and other hormones, increasing sleep, meditation, detoxification and eliminating gluten and processed food. You can download Bredesen’s full-text case paper online, which details the full program.27 Following are some of the lifestyle strategies I believe to be the most helpful and important:
Eat real food, ideally organic
Avoid processed foods of all kinds, as they contain a number of ingredients harmful to your brain, including refined sugar, processed fructose, grains (particularly gluten), vegetable oils, genetically engineered ingredients and pesticides. Ideally, keep your added sugar to a minimum and your total fructose below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams per day if you already have insulin/leptin resistance or any related disorders.
Opting for organic produce will help you avoid synthetic pesticides and herbicides. Most will also benefit from a gluten-free diet, as gluten makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream where they sensitize your immune system and promote inflammation and autoimmunity, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.
Replace refined carbs with healthy fats
Diet is paramount, and the beauty of following my optimized nutrition plan is that it helps prevent and treat virtually all chronic degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's. It’s important to realize that your brain actually does not need carbs and sugars; healthy fats such as saturated animal fats and animal-based omega-3 are far more critical for optimal brain function.
A cyclical ketogenic diet has the double advantage of both improving your insulin sensitivity and lowering your Alzheimer’s risk. As noted by Perlmutter, lifestyle strategies such as a ketogenic diet can even offset the risk associated with genetic predisposition. (Estimates suggest genetics account for less than 5 percent of Alzheimer’s cases.
An estimated 75 million Americans have the single allele for ApoE4. Those who are ApoE4 positive have a 30 percent lifetime risk of developing the disease. Approximately 7 million have two copies of the gene, which puts them at a 50 percent lifetime risk. It's unknown how many Americans have the TOMM40 gene or others that may affect your risk.)
When your body burns fat as its primary fuel, ketones are created, which not only burn very efficiently and are a superior fuel for your brain, but also generate fewer reactive oxygen species and less free radical damage. A ketone called beta hydroxybutyrate is also a major epigenetic player, stimulating beneficial changes in DNA expression, thereby reducing inflammation and increasing detoxification and antioxidant production.
I explain the ins and outs of implementing this kind of diet, and its many health benefits, in my new book “Fat for Fuel.” In it, I also explain why cycling through stages of feast and famine, opposed to continuously remaining in nutritional ketosis, is so important.
Pay close attention to the kinds of fats you eat — avoid all trans fats or hydrogenated fats that have been modified in such a way to extend their longevity on the grocery store shelf. This includes margarine, vegetable oils and various butter-like spreads.
Healthy fats to add to your diet include avocados, butter, organic pastured egg yolks, coconuts and coconut oil, grass fed meats and raw nuts such as pecans and macadamia. MCT oil is also a great source of ketone bodies.
Keep your fasting insulin levels below 3
Lowering your insulin will also help lower leptin levels which is another factor for Alzheimer’s. If your insulin is high, you’re likely consuming too much sugar and need to cut back.
Optimize your omega-3 level
Also make sure you're getting enough animal-based omega-3 fats. High intake of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA help by preventing cell damage caused by Alzheimer's disease, thereby slowing down its progression and lowering your risk of developing the disorder. Ideally, get an omega-3 index test done once a year to make sure you’re in a healthy range. Your omega-3 index should be above 8 percent and your omega 6-to-3 ratio between 0.5 and 3.0.
Optimize your gut flora
To do this, avoid processed foods, antibiotics and antibacterial products, fluoridated and chlorinated water, and be sure to eat traditionally fermented and cultured foods, along with a high-quality probiotic if needed. Dr. Steven Gundry does an excellent job of expanding on this in his new book “The Plant Paradox.”
Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool to jump-start your body into remembering how to burn fat and repair the insulin/leptin resistance that is a primary contributing factor for Alzheimer’s. Once you have worked your way up to where you’ve been doing 20-hour daily intermittent fasting for a month, are metabolically flexible and can burn fat as your primary fuel, you can progress to the far more powerful five-day water fasts.
Move regularly and consistently throughout the day
It's been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized,28 thus, slowing down the onset and progression of Alzheimer's. Exercise also increases levels of the protein PGC-1 alpha. Research has shown that people with Alzheimer's have less PGC-1 alpha in their brains and cells that contain more of the protein produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer's.
Optimize your magnesium levels
Preliminary research strongly suggests a decrease in Alzheimer symptoms with increased levels of magnesium in the brain. Keep in mind that the only magnesium supplement that appears to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier is magnesium threonate.
Optimize your vitamin D, ideally through sensible sun exposure
Sufficient vitamin D is imperative for proper functioning of your immune system to combat inflammation associated with Alzheimer's and, indeed, research shows people living in northern latitudes have higher rates of death from dementia and Alzheimer's than those living in sunnier areas, suggesting vitamin D and/or sun exposure are important factors.29
If you are unable to get sufficient amounts of sun exposure, take daily supplemental vitamin D3 to reach and maintain a blood level of 60 to 80 ng/ml. That said, it’s important to recognize that sun exposure is important for reasons unrelated to vitamin D.
Your brain responds to the near-infrared light in sunlight in a process called photobiomodulation. Research shows near-infrared stimulation of the brain boosts cognition and reduces symptoms of Alzheimer’s, including more advanced stages of the disease.
Delivering near-infrared light to the compromised mitochondria synthesizes gene transcription factors that trigger cellular repair, and your brain is one of the most mitochondrial-dense organs in your body.
Avoid and eliminate mercury from your body
Dental amalgam fillings are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity, however you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my optimized nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.
Avoid and eliminate aluminum from your body
Common sources of aluminum include antiperspirants, nonstick cookware and vaccine adjuvants. For tips on how to detox aluminum, please see my article, “First Case Study to Show Direct Link between Alzheimer’s and Aluminum Toxicity.” There is some suggestion that certain mineral waters high in silicic acid may help your body eliminate aluminum.
Avoid flu vaccinations
Most flu vaccines contain both mercury and aluminum.
Avoid statins and anticholinergic drugs
Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence and certain narcotic pain relievers.
Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10, vitamin K2 and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein.
Limit your exposure to non-native electromagnetic fields (cellphones, Wi-Fi routers and modems)
Radiation from cellphones and other wireless technologies trigger excessive production of peroxynitrites,30 a highly damaging reactive nitrogen species. Increased peroxynitrites from cellphone exposure will damage your mitochondria, 31,32 and your brain is the most mitochondrial-dense organ in your body.
Increased peroxynitrite generation has also been associated with increased levels of systemic inflammation by triggering cytokine storms and autonomic hormonal dysfunction.
Optimize your sleep
Sleep is necessary for maintaining metabolic homeostasis in your brain. Without sufficient sleep, neuron degeneration sets in, and catching up on sleep during weekends will not prevent this damage.33,34,35 Sleep deprivation causes disruption of certain synaptic connections that can impair your brain's ability for learning, memory formation and other cognitive functions. Poor sleep also accelerates the onset of Alzheimer's disease.36
Most adults need seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Deep sleep is the most important, as this is when your brain’s glymphatic system performs its cleanout functions, eliminating toxic waste from your brain, including amyloid beta. For a comprehensive sleep guide, see “33 Secret's to a Good Night's Sleep.”
Challenge your mind daily
Mental stimulation, especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language, is associated with a decreased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Source: mercola rss
By Dr. Mercola
A polyphenol preparation made from Concord grape juice, grape seed extract and trans-resveratrol has shown promise for treating depression, according to an animal study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.1 Two phytochemicals in particular — dihydrocaffeic acid (DHCA) and malvidin-3'-O-glucoside (Mal-gluc) — appeared to be responsible for the beneficial effects, which included modulating inflammation and synaptic plasticity, essentially increasing resilience against stress-induced depression in mice.2
Previous research has found that a single dose of resveratrol can improve blood flow to your brain and may enhance several aspects of brain function, including lowered inflammation that may extend to protection again depression.3 The featured study revealed that the grape-derived compounds target cellular and molecular pathways associated with inflammation while modulating synaptic plasticity, disruptions of which have been linked to depression.
DHCA was found to reduce a pro-inflammatory compound called interleukin 6 (IL-6) while Mal-gluc modulates synaptic plasticity, a fundamental brain function that controls your ability to sense and store complex information and respond to external stimuli.
With chronic stress (or acute traumatic stress) acting as the most significant factor in a person’s susceptibility to depression,4 the fact that the specialized grape preparation promoted resilience against stress in mice was also highly notable. Study author Giulio Maria Pasinetti, Ph.D., professor of neurology, said in a news release:5
"Our approach to use a combination treatment of DHCA and Mal-gluc to simultaneously inhibit peripheral inflammation and modulate synaptic plasticity in the brain works synergistically to optimize resilience against chronic stress-induced depression-like phenotypes …
The discovery of these new, natural grape-derived polyphenol compounds targeting cellular and molecular pathways associated with inflammation may provide an effective way to treat a subset of people with depression and anxiety, a condition that affects so many people."
Nearly 7 percent of U.S adults suffered from a depressive episode in the past year6 while, worldwide, 350 million people suffer from depression, making it a leading cause of disability.7 Despite this, only about one-third of Americans with depression get treated,8 which puts the remaining two-thirds left untreated at increased risk of suicide and with a lower quality of life.
Yet, major problems exist with conventional depression treatments, which typically center on antidepressants. For starters, the side effects can be serious. Antidepressant users have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes,9 even after adjusting for other risk factors, like body mass index (BMI).10 Antidepressant use has also been linked to thicker arteries, which could contribute to the risk of heart disease and stroke,11 along with increased risk of heart attack12 and, ironically, suicidal thoughts.
The drugs are also linked to dementia, with researchers noting “treatment with SSRIs, MAOIs, heterocyclic antidepressants, and other antidepressants was associated with an increased risk of dementia,” and as the dose increased, so too did the risk.13 Importantly, the drugs are also known to deplete various nutrients from your body, including coenzyme Q10 and vitamin B12 — in the case of tricyclic antidepressants — which are needed for proper mitochondrial function. SSRIs may deplete iodine and folate.14
Importantly, studies have repeatedly shown antidepressants work no better than placebo for mild to moderate depression.15 In fact, Irving Kirsch, associate director of the Program in Placebo Studies at Harvard Medical School, has conducted meta-analyses of antidepressants in comparison to placebo and has concluded that there’s virtually no difference in their effectiveness, noting, “The difference is so small, it’s not of any clinical importance.”16
What is different, however, is the potential for side effects, which is far greater among antidepressants than placebos. Not to mention, the widely-held belief that depression is due to low levels of serotonin or other chemicals in your brain is only a theory — one that’s been largely disproven. Antidepressants targeting the chemical imbalance theory remain the go-to treatment for this condition nonetheless. As the grape compound researchers wrote in Nature Communications:17
“Currently available treatments for major depressive disorder (MDD) mainly target neurochemical or neurobiological mechanisms. Conventional pharmacological treatments produce temporary remission in <50 percent of patients. Thus, there is an urgent need for a wider spectrum of novel therapeutics to target newly discovered underlying disease mechanisms.”
As mentioned, the grape compound resveratrol, also found in raspberries, mulberries and other dark berries, pomegranates, red wine and dark chocolate, has previously been shown to have antidepressant effects in mice and rats. In one study, resveratrol showed “antidepressant-like effect[s],” possibly due to activation of hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).18 BDNF promotes healthy brain neurons and levels tend to be low in people with depression.
Yet, grapes are just one natural source of compounds that may give your mental health a boost. The psychedelic drug psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms, is another that continues to show promise for treating depression. In a small study of 19 patients with treatment-resistant depression, all of them experienced improvements in symptoms one week after receiving a single dose of psilocybin, and half of them were no longer depressed five weeks post-treatment.19
Brain scans showed actual brain changes occurred in areas involved in depression, including less activity in the amygdala, which is involved in processing emotions, and more stable activity in the default-mode network (links between activity in the network and depression have been found).20 The researchers suggested the participants’ brains may have been “reset” in a sense, helping them to overcome depression.
Unfortunately, psilocybin is a Schedule 1 drug, like marijuana, so trials cost about 10 times that for other legal drugs, and in order to take the research to the level where it could potentially be turned into a psychiatric treatment, phase 3 clinical trials are needed with thousands of participants. For that to occur, psilocybin would need to be rescheduled. Light exposure is another way nature provides for your mental health.
Exposure to sunlight will help optimize your vitamin D levels (another factor linked to depression21) as well as influence your mental state via other mechanisms, like regulating your circadian rhythm and production of serotonin, which is released in response to sunlight exposure. If you don’t have access to regular sunlight, full-spectrum light therapy can be a useful alternative. Light therapy alone and placebo were both more effective than Prozac for the treatment of moderate to severe depression in an eight-week-long study.22
Other proven mood boosters are readily available via the food you eat or, alternatively, in the supplement aisle. These include:
Other options include SAMe, an amino acid derivative that occurs naturally in all cells. It plays a role in many biological reactions by transferring its methyl group to DNA, proteins, phospholipids and biogenic amines. Several scientific studies indicate that SAMe may be useful in the treatment of depression.28
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), a serotonin precursor, is another natural alternative that outperforms a placebo when it comes to alleviating depression29 — more than can be said about antidepressants. St. John's Wort has also been shown to provide similar relief to mild or moderate depression as antidepressants but with fewer side effects.30
Depression is a complex condition with varied causes that requires a similarly varied approach in treatment. What works to cure your depression may be different from what works for your neighbor’s. However, in addition to the supplements above, one strategy that will benefit most everyone is regular exercise.
Even a minimal amount of exercise may be enough to combat depression in some people — as minimal as one hour a week, according to an 11-year study in which people who engaged in regular leisure-time exercise for one hour a week were less likely to become depressed. On the flipside, those who didn’t exercise were 44 percent more likely to become depressed compared to those who did so for at least one to two hours a week.31
Please keep in mind that physical activity should include not just “exercise” but also plenty of nonexercise daily movements, such that you’re in motion more so than not (except while you’re sleeping). Spending time in nature — gardening, hiking or visiting a park — may also help to relieve anxiety and depressive symptoms, as can practicing mindfulness meditation32 and the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).33 Attention to your diet is also crucial, particularly in limiting the amount of processed foods and sugars you’re eating.
On the other hand, foods that are good for your mood include dark chocolate, bananas, turmeric and even organic black coffee. Taking care of yourself by leading a healthy lifestyle (eating right, getting high-quality sleep, exercising and relieving stress regularly) is a crucial element to fighting and recovering from depression. However, if you’re in the throes of a depressive episode, it’s difficult to focus on making long-term plans or lifestyle changes.
In this case, reach out for help from a health care provider, close friend or family member, and if you are feeling desperate or having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a toll-free number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
Source: mercola rss
With its narrow frame and sparse appearance, botanists consider spruce lagging behind its other conifer counterparts from the Pinacea plant family in terms of splendor. However, what spruce lacks in appearance, it makes up for with its wide array of impressive healing properties. Discover more about this essential oil.
Spruce oil is derived from the bristly, needlelike, and blue-green leaves and twigs of spruce trees, which are cousins to other ornamental conifers like cedars, firs, and pine. Spruce have reddish brown trunks that initially grow anywhere from 12 to 18 inches until they reach their maximum peak of 35 feet.
There are different species of spruce aside from the most common black spruce (Picea mariana), but not all of them produce healthy essential oils. Some other oil-bearing spruce species include:
Spruce thrives in the cold, wet climate of North America. It is commonly found in Canada from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast, in some of the northern states of the continental U.S., and in Alaska, Labrador, and Newfoundland.
Native Americans used to concoct their own ointment, salves and lotion with spruce, honey and alum to treat skin problems such as boils, burns, skin inflammation, sores and wounds. They also used the balsam of spruce as a chewing gum and spread it as caulking or glue. They even ate the inner bark and shoots of the tree.
Spruce oil is frequently added in soap, air fresheners and household cleaner formulations to lend its fresh scent and act as a disinfecting agent. Because of its pleasant earthy scent, its calming effects and its ability to ease anxiety and stress, spruce oil is also a favorite in meditation rituals like grounding.1
For pet care, combine spruce oil with cedarwood oil. Apply it on your pet's coat, use in bath preparations, or use as a spray to get rid of fleas and ticks.2
Spruce oil smells sweet, soft, warm and inviting, similar to fir or pine, yet much smoother and milder. It is viscously thin and has a crystal clear to pale yellow color. In terms of its chemical constituents, spruce oil contains 55 percent monoterpenes — including camphene, α-Pinene and y-3-Carene — y-Bornyl acetate, and sesquiterpenes. Spruce oil has hormone-and cortisone-like properties that stimulate the thymus gland and the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA).3
Spruce oil has potent antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiviral, antiseptic, disinfectant, expectorant and stimulant properties. It works wonders for respiratory ailments, wound healing, viral infections, arthritis, rheumatism and other forms of muscle aches and pains.
Since spruce oil positively affects many systems in the body, particularly the endocrine system, it's no surprise that it can deliver a wide range of well-documented health benefits, which include helping in:4
Stimulating and fortifying the immune system
Controlling some cases of hyperthyroidism
Regulating the adrenal hormone to help the body deal with stress and "fight-or-flight" situations
Relieving respiratory tract infections like asthma or bronchitis
Working as an expectorant to relieve mucus
Fighting off fatigue, including nervous exhaustion and chronic fatigue
Soothing skin conditions, such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and seborrhea dermatitis
Calming skin outbreaks triggered by hormonal imbalance or stress
Spruce oil is extracted through steam distillation from its leaves, which are usually harvested between the months of January and April when essential oil levels are at their highest. Branches that are exposed in the sun yield more spruce oil compared to the ones hidden in thick, dense forests. The 25-year-old spruce trees are known to produce twice as much essential oil than those 45 years and older.
During the steam distillation process, the botanical material is placed in a still and is subjected to extremely high temperatures in order to extract the essential oil.5
Because of its soothing components, spruce oil is frequently used in massages, saunas, and steam baths. Spruce oil may be used topically, inhaled directly through aromatherapy or as a tonic. Some oils that complement spruce oil well include cedarwood, clary sage, galbanum, lavender, oakmoss, pine and rosemary.6
In cases when you or someone in your family is suffering from muscle aches, painful joints, poor circulation, strains and sprains, I highly recommend that you use spruce oil topically with a milder carrier oil. Combining spruce oil with helichrysum oil, which is known for its toning properties, is suggested to help soothe injuries to the muscles, ligaments and tendons while speeding up healing and preventing the formation of unsightly scars. 7
Spruce oil is generally regarded as safe. However, any application without prior dilution to a gentler carrier oil may cause skin irritation in some individuals.8
To prevent this from occurring, one practical precautionary measure I advise when using essential oils for the first time is performing a skin patch test. Simply apply a tiny drop of spruce oil on a small portion of your skin and wait for at least 24 hours. If any reaction comes up, discontinue use.
On the other hand, if you're pregnant or a nursing mother, I advise you not to use spruce oil — or any other essential oil for that matter — without your physician's recommendation, to avoid any complications. This caveat is the same if you have any medical condition and are currently taking prescription medication.
Apart from the possibility of skin irritation or skin sensitizing, spruce oil currently has no known side effects. Nevertheless, always err on the side of caution. Consult a natural holistic practitioner or an aromatherapy specialist before incorporating any herbal oil into your supplement or treatment regimen.
Source: mercola rss
By Dr. Mercola
According to a survey conducted by Consumer Reports,1 you may be in the minority if you don't regularly take a prescription drug. In a sample of nearly 2,000 American adults, more than half regularly took prescription medications and the average adult took four. The total number of prescriptions filled by Americans increased by 85 percent from 1997 to 2016. However, the total population increased by only 21 percent during that same period.
Every age group is at risk for being diagnosed with a condition they may not actually have, and subsequently being prescribed medications they do not need. Many choose an over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medication to feel better. You might assume that OTC drugs are safe, but availability does not equate to being risk-free. Some current OTC medications were once available by prescription only.
In an increasingly litigiousness environment, and under a very real fear of medical malpractice lawsuits, physicians often feel pressured to prescribe medications designed to relieve symptoms, but not seek the foundational cause of your condition. When physicians do not follow published standards of care and instead seek to provide individualized care to their patients, they may be publicly criticized by colleagues and potentially rebuked by their professional organization.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and irreversible neurological disorder that slowly destroys memory and cognitive functioning. Eventually, the individual is unable to carry out even some of the simplest tasks and cannot remember people in their lives who were once very important. Although estimates vary, many experts suggest that more than 5 million Americans may have Alzheimer's disease3 and it is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Some of the first signs of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are memory problems.4 Early symptoms do not often interfere with everyday life, but as the disease progresses, symptoms continue with a decline in cognition and impaired reasoning or judgment. Ultimately, changes occur throughout the brain leading to difficulty communicating and a complete dependence on others.
In a study published in Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology,5 researchers concluded patients with Alzheimer's disease experience emotions that persist well beyond their memory of what happened to cause the emotion. This has important implications in management and care, and may offer an explanation for behavioral changes that occur as the disease progresses.
Alzheimer’s disease can trigger sudden changes in mood or behavior6 for no apparent reason, and changes in personality, including extremely confused, suspicious or fearful behavior. These emotions lead to significant changes in behavior, during which individuals may become violent or attempt to flee their environment.
In an effort to control difficult behaviors common with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, it has not been uncommon for physicians to prescribe antipsychotic drugs to individuals in nursing home facilities, even when there is no diagnosis of schizophrenia or other serious mental illness for which these drugs are intended. In essence, the medications are being used as a chemical restraint.
In a 2018 study published by the Human Rights Watch,7 researchers found approximately 179,000 nursing home residents were being given antipsychotic drugs with the intent to control their behavior. Although the use of antipsychotic drugs has dropped by approximately 30 percent since 2012 when the government began a national partnership with nursing homes8 to reduce the use, a significant number of residents continue to receive prescription medications for which there is no medical cause.
Medicare and Medicaid Services have requested an additional 15 percent reduction by 2019, but Human Rights Watch contends this is not nearly enough.9 The study also strongly suggests informed consent procedures should be strengthened and nursing homes should have established minimum staffing levels in order to reduce the use of sedation to make it easier for the staff.
While the need to reduce risk of harm to an individual with dementia is real, the use of antipsychotic medications comes with a black box warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), stating:10 “Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death.”
The Alzheimer’s Association11 suggests drugs to control behavior needs to be minimized, and only be used when the patient is at risk of harming themselves or others. The dosage should also be tailored to the individual’s symptoms and circumstances, and the physician must account for the underlying medical cause of dementia, as this may influence the selection of any medications chosen.
For instance, it is inadvisable for individuals with dementia with Lewy bodies (abnormal proteins inside nerve cells of Parkinson’s patients) to take antipsychotic drugs.12
The study from the Human Rights Watch underscores the necessity for greater control over prescription medications in the elderly population. Nearly 25 percent of people ages 65 to 69 are taking at least five prescription medications each day to treat chronic health conditions.13 That figure increases to nearly 46 percent among those aged 70 to 79. While the overuse of painkillers has received national attention, the problem with multiple specialists and pharmacy use, and over prescription in the elderly, has not.
Adverse drug events occur in at least 15 percent of seniors, and in nearly half of those cases the problem may have been prevented with greater communication between physicians and pharmacies treating the same patient.14 Taking multiple prescriptions often result in side effects that may be misinterpreted as a new problem and thus trigger the prescription of yet another medication. This can be a gradual journey, occurring over several years.
Additional medications are often prescribed following hospitalization and many times are not communicated to the individuals’ primary care physician. The elderly are at risk of overmedication and suffering side effects that can be life-threatening. A study published in 2015 showed Americans of all ages who took at least five prescription drugs had nearly doubled between 2000 and 2012.15
Another study from the University of Michigan reported those older than 65 taking at least three psychiatric medications had doubled between 1995 and 2004.16
University of Michigan geriatric psychiatrist Dr. Donovan Maust commented on a phenomenon he calls “clinical inertia,” which he describes as a reluctance to change the status quo on patient medications or treatments that originated with another practitioner.17 For instance, when a physician inherits a new patient, the doctor often assumes drugs were prescribed for a good reason, even if that reason is not documented in the medical record.
Another study18 documented the overprescription of antidepressants in older adults, even in the absence of a major depressive disorder. In comparing emotional distress between two groups of older adults prescribed with antidepressants, the researchers found those who had better emotional health were prescribed antidepressants in the absence of major depressive disorder, suggesting further research is needed into the effectiveness of antidepressant medications in the elderly.
The heroin and opioid epidemic is killing an ever-increasing number of Americans at an astonishing rate. In 2014, nearly 30,000 people died from opioids, known as narcotic prescription painkillers, and heroin.19 This number exceeded those who died from car accidents in the same year. Prescriptions for these medications has risen by 300 percent over the last 10 years, feeding a heroin epidemic when addicts are no longer allowed to refill prescriptions or surpass their tolerance for their prescription dosage.
In 2009, the American Geriatrics Society changed guidelines to recommend “that over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, be used rarely and that doctors instead consider prescribing opioids for all patients with moderate-to-severe pain.”20 Recommendations such as this are driving the rise in prescription medications, especially narcotic painkillers.
The focus of these recommendations is not reduction of pain in the elderly, but rather the experts’ financial ties to drug companies as paid speakers, consultants and advisers.21 According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), spending on opioids within the Medicare system has grown at a rate faster than spending on all drugs.22
The report clearly demonstrates Medicare recipients receive multiple prescriptions for opioids that are prescribed for reasons other than cancer pain or terminal illness (the traditional use of these strong medicines).23 Some states report prescription rates of over 40 percent in Medicare patients.24 Despite the number of opioids prescribed, there is no scientific evidence of long-term benefits from the use of these drugs.25
Cardiologist Dr. Rita Redberg, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, is working with other physicians trying to reverse the trend of overprescription using a grassroots movement they call “deprescribing.”28
This is a process of systematically discontinuing medications that either are duplicates of other medications the patient is already taking, or are unnecessary for care. The idea originally began in Canada and Australia, but is growing in the U.S., with the hope of reducing the number of drugs unnecessarily prescribed to seniors.
Dr. Ranit Mishori, professor of family medicine at Georgetown University, describes the challenges, saying:29 “That's what we're taught as physicians: to prescribe drugs. We are definitely not taught how to take people off meds.” While support is growing for reducing the number of medications seniors are taking, the difficulty lies in understanding how best to do this safely.
Supporters are also facing advertising campaigns that encourage consumers to request medications and a strong inclination for physicians to continue treatment protocols established by their colleagues.
It is vital to the protection of your health and the health of your family that you speak openly with your physician and health care providers. Make sure you understand the side effects of medications, the necessity of the medication and whether there is potential for addiction. Also, inform your physician of other medications you use, and use one pharmacy to fill your prescriptions so the pharmacist is able to track potential drug interactions and adverse effects you may experience.
Before accepting a prescribed medication, speak with your physician about potential changes to lifestyle choices that may reduce your need for medication and improve your health. Consider alternative pain treatments that don't require medication and seek out a diet filled with organically grown, nongenetically modified whole foods. To help reduce your pain naturally and discover more about what you can do to prevent health problems, see my previous articles:
Source: mercola rss
By Dr. Mercola
Mounting evidence suggests electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from cellphones can trigger abnormal cell growth and cancer.1,2 As early as 2011, the evidence was strong enough for the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization, to declare cellphones a Group 2B “possible carcinogen.”3 Two government-funded studies4 bring renewed attention to this link.5,6,7,8
The $25 million research conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) — an interagency research program started by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 1978 and now housed at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) — includes two separate studies: one on mice and one on rats. The studies, in which 3,000 animals were exposed to the type of radiation emitted by 2G and 3G cellphones, are said to be the most extensive to date.
The researchers found male rats were more likely to develop heart tumors, while female rats and newborns exposed to high levels of radiation during pregnancy and lactation were more likely to have low body weight. DNA damage and damage to heart tissue was also observed in both male and female rats, but not mice.
Other types of tumors did occur in both types of animals, though, including brain, prostate, liver and pancreatic tumors. According to the researchers, if these results can be confirmed, then cellphone radiation may indeed be a “weak” carcinogen.
The animals in these studies were exposed to cellphone radiation for nine hours a day for two years (basically the full life span of a rat). According to the researchers, this level of exposure is far greater than what humans are exposed to, making it difficult to extrapolate the impact cellphone radiation might have on humans.
Personally, I disagree with this view, as many people, especially the younger generation, have their cellphones turned on and near their body 24/7. Many are literally sleeping with their phone beneath their pillow. Unless your phone is in a faraday bag, airplane mode or turned off completely, it is still emitting radiation, so you’re still exposing yourself to microwave radiation even when you’re not talking on the phone. I believe the fact that this reality is completely ignored is a serious oversight.
As noted by The New York Times,9 the heart tumors (malignant schwannomas) found in male rats are “similar to acoustic neuromas, a benign tumor in people involving the nerve that connects the ear to the brain, which some studies have linked to cellphone use.” The scientists also expressed surprise at the finding of DNA damage, as the conventional belief is that nonionizing radiofrequency radiation cannot harm DNA.
“We don’t feel like we understand enough about the results to be able to place a huge degree of confidence in the findings,” John Bucher, Ph.D.,10 senior scientist at the National Toxicology Program told reporters. Bucher also noted that “The patterns of damage to brain tissues in these animals are not particularly consistent with tumor outcomes.” To me, this statement offers no comfort whatsoever. Brain damage is brain damage, even if it doesn’t specifically lead to cancer!
In fact, the primary hazard of cellphone radiation is not brain cancer per se but rather systemic cellular and mitochondrial damage, which is harmful to health in general and can contribute to any number of health problems and chronic diseases. An estimated 80,000 U.S. men, women and children are diagnosed with a brain tumor each year.11 Meanwhile, 787,000 people die each year from heart disease.12 The relative rarity of brain cancer may lead you to believe that your cellphone is safe.
After all, when 91 percent of the adult population of the U.S. carries a cellphone13 and less than 0.02 percent14 develop a brain tumor, it may appear that using a cellphone is benign. The evidence shows it’s not. Even these NIH studies reveal DNA and cellular damage, even though the researchers insist there’s no explanation as to why. This, despite the fact that a number of other scientists and EMF specialists have presented evidence for a number of different mechanisms of harm.
For example, research15 by Allan Frey, Office of Naval Research, reveals cellphone radiation weakens cell membranes and your blood-brain barrier. Some of his experiments showed that dye injected into animals was able to penetrate into the brain when exposed to pulsed digital signals from microwaves. This research was done in the 1960s, before the introduction of cellphones. At the time, radar and microwaves were the main focus.
Today, these findings are particularly notable since cellphones are held close to the brain. The take-home message is that radiation from your cellphone weakens your blood-brain barrier, allowing toxins in your blood to enter your brain, and into the cells of your entire body. But that’s not all. Following I will summarize evidence produced by a number of other experts in the field, who claim to have identified one or more mechanisms of harm.
Before I get into the mechanisms, it’s worth noting that when partial results from the (National Toxicology Program’s NTP) animal studies were initially released two years ago, the findings were followed by a public health warning. In fact, the preliminary findings were released early because the researchers deemed it too important to wait.
Christopher Portier, Ph.D., retired head of the NTP who was involved in the launch of the study, insisted the findings showed clear causation. “I would call it a causative study, absolutely,” he told Scientific American.16 “They controlled everything in the study. It’s [the cancer] because of the exposure.”
In November 2016, David McCormick, Ph.D., director of the Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute where the study was conducted, was equally clear, telling reporters,17 “What we are saying here is that based on the animal studies, there is a possible risk cellphone RF [radio frequency] is potentially carcinogenic in humans. These are uncommon lesions in rodents, so it is our conclusion that they are exposure related."
As noted by Microwave News,18 while some of the pathology data was updated since the initial release in 2016, the changes are minor. The interpretation, however, has changed rather dramatically. Now, even though the findings haven’t changed, the NTP insists it’s “not a high-risk situation” and that the risk to human health is negligible.
Microwave News lists a number of possible political reasons for the sudden turnaround, including new NTP leadership, the current White House administration’s disdain for science that threatens big business, and the fact that the major telecommunications players today are Apple, Google and Microsoft — all major Wall Street darlings. Whatever the reason, it’s clear the NTP is now downplaying findings that, just two years ago, were considered of significant importance for public health.
Remember that you have power and can make a difference. You have done it in the past and can do it again. Let's rise up in mass and express the massive whitewashing that is being catalyzed by the telecommunications industry to suppress the truth and expose you and your family to dangerous levels of EMF so they can increase their profits. You can simply send an email by MARCH 12 to Canden Byrd email@example.com. I am confident that with your support we can start to make a difference.
Martin Pall, Ph.D., has identified and published research describing the likely molecular mechanisms of how EMFs from cellphones and wireless technologies damage plants, animals and humans.19,20,21,22 The process begins when low−frequency microwave radiation activates voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs)23 — channels in the outer membrane of your cells. Once activated, the VGCCs open up, allowing an abnormal influx of calcium ions into the cell.
This increased intracellular calcium and the accompanying increase in calcium signaling appears to be responsible for a majority of the damage that occurs.
The excess calcium activates nitric oxide, and while nitric oxide has many health benefits, massively excessive nitric oxide reacts with superoxide, producing peroxynitrites, extremely potent oxidant stressors believed to be a root cause for many of today’s chronic diseases.24 Nitric oxide is the only molecule in your body produced at high enough concentrations to outcompete other molecules for superoxide and is a precursor for peroxynitrite.25
Inside your body, peroxynitrites modify tyrosine molecules in proteins to create a new substance, nitrotyrosine and nitration of structural protein.26 Changes from nitration are visible in human biopsy of atherosclerosis, myocardial ischemia, inflammatory bowel disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and septic lung disease.27
Significant oxidative stress from peroxynitrites may also result in single-strand breaks of DNA.28 This pathway of oxidative destruction — triggered by low−frequency radiation emitted from mobile devices — may partially explain the unprecedented growth rate of chronic disease since 1990,29 and is a far greater concern than brain tumors.
According to Pall’s theory, the physical locations where VGCCs are the densest are indicative of the diseases you might expect from chronic excessive exposure to EMFs. As it turns out, the highest density of VGCCs are found in your nervous system, the pacemaker in your heart and in male testes. As a result, EMFs are likely to contribute to neurological and neuropsychiatric problems, heart and reproductive problems.
Indeed, studies dating back to the 1950s and ‘60s show the nervous system is the organ most sensitive to EMFs. Some of these studies show massive changes in the structure of neurons, including cell death and synaptic dysfunction. When the VGCCs are activated in the brain they release neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine hormones.
In animals exposed to EMFs there are massive, cumulative effects in the brain. Genetic polymorphism studies also show that elevated VGCC activity in certain parts of the brain produces a variety of neuropsychiatric effects.
Hence, consequences of chronic EMF exposure to the brain include anxiety, depression, autism and Alzheimer’s disease, which Pall details in a 2016 paper.30 Research also suggests excessive EMF exposure is contributing to reproductive problems in both sexes.
Most recently, researchers showed prenatal exposure to power-frequency fields can nearly triple a pregnant woman’s risk of miscarriage.31 According to lead author and senior research scientist at Kaiser Permanente’s research division, Dr. De-Kun Li,32 “This study provides fresh evidence, directly from a human population, that magnetic field exposure in daily life could have adverse health impacts,” adding his findings “should bring attention to this potentially important environmental hazard to pregnant women.”
According to Li, there are at least six other studies, in addition to two of his own, showing this link.33,34,35,36,37 EMF exposure may also play a significant role in testicular cancer and male infertility. Studies have linked low-level electromagnetic radiation exposure from cellphones to an 8 percent reduction in sperm motility and a 9 percent reduction in sperm viability.38,39 Wi-Fi equipped laptop computers have also been linked to decreased sperm motility and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation after just four hours of use.40
Alasdair Philips, founder of the Power Watch41 — a British organization committed to uncovering EMFs’ effects on health — believes there’s even more to it than what Pall has discovered. He references Gerald Pollack’s work on the fourth phase of water, so-called exclusion zone (EZ) water, which is the kind of water you have in your body.
“It's a completely different model of how the cell functions,” Philips says. “The cell functions as a gel, if you like, held together by electric charge. The calcium-gated channel is part of that, but actually, it isn't a membrane with a few things sticking through it.
It's actually … electric charges on molecules. Yes, Pall's [hypothesis] is very important and it's probably one of the key mechanisms, but there's a whole lot of things … [T]he cell is just malfunctioning because it's got so much charge… [I]t’s an enormous incoming stream of electrons, and that changes completely what the cells are doing.”
Paul Héroux, Ph.D., professor of toxicology and health effects of electromagnetism at the faculty of medicine at McGill University in Montreal, also stresses the impact EMFs have on the water in your body. The mechanism of action proposed by Héroux involves the enzyme ATP synthase, which passes currents of protons through a water channel (similar to current passing through a wire).
The protons have to go through about 20 molecules of water to get through this channel. ATP synthase is extremely ancient and common to all living systems. It basically generates energy in the form ATP from ADP, using this flow of protons.
Magnetic fields can change the transparency of the water channel to protons, thereby reducing the current. As a result, you get less ATP, which can have system wide consequences, from promoting chronic disease and infertility to lowering intelligence.
“When you impair the flow of protons to ATP synthase, you increase mitochondrial membrane polarization … If you increase the polarization of the mitochondria by 14 percent, you will have a 70 percent increase in the reactive oxygen species coming out of complex one, which is the leading edge of the oxidative phosphorylation chain.
Essentially, my explanation is that by physical action on water, you can change the transparency of the most critical enzyme in the human body, modulate the amount of ATP, increase the escape of electrons from complex one; thereby explaining practically all of the observations related to EMF. Of course, the moment ATP is perturbed in a cell, there are calcium signals being emitted all over the place, because calcium is possibly the most critical intracellular messenger.”
While Pall’s work focuses on EMFs’ effects on calcium ions, Héroux focuses on its impact on electrons and protons, which are far more sensitive to magnetic fields. But although the mechanisms of action are slightly different, the end result is more or less identical and hinges on the fact that EMFs increase oxidative stress and decrease ATP.
In a nutshell, what we’re talking about here is the creation of excess oxidative stress, which in turn can damage cell membranes and proteins, and break DNA bonds. Interviews with Philips and Héroux should be released shortly, so keep your eyes open for them to learn more.
As you can see, a number of different mechanisms of harm have already been proposed, so the claim that there’s “no evidence” of harm, and that scientists have “no idea” of how harmful effects such as those found by the NIH might occur, simply isn’t true. There’s even evidence suggesting that radiation affects your microbiome, turning what might otherwise be beneficial microbes pathogenic. This too can have far-ranging health effects, since we now know your microbiome plays an important role in health.
France is imposing a complete ban on cellphone use by students during school hours.42 The ban, which takes effect in September 2018, will affect primary and secondary schools. Students will not be permitted to use their phones even at breaks, lunch or between classes. California also recently issued consumer guidance on how to lower cellphone radiation exposure (after initially trying to cover up the hazards).43
There’s no doubt in my mind that EMF exposure is a significant health hazard that needs to be addressed if you’re concerned about your health. Here are several suggestions that will help reduce your EMF exposure:
Connect your desktop computer to the internet via a wired Ethernet connection and be sure to put your desktop in airplane mode. Also avoid wireless keyboards, trackballs, mice, game systems, printers and portable house phones. Opt for the wired versions.
If you must use Wi-Fi, shut it off when not in use, especially at night when you are sleeping. Ideally, work toward hardwiring your house so you can eliminate Wi-Fi altogether. If you have a notebook without any Ethernet ports, a USB Ethernet adapter will allow you to connect to the internet with a wired connection.
Shut off the electricity to your bedroom at night. This typically works to reduce electrical fields from the wires in your wall unless there is an adjoining room next to your bedroom. If that is the case you will need to use a meter to determine if you also need to turn off power in the adjacent room.
Use a battery-powered alarm clock, ideally one without any light. I use a talking clock for the visually impaired.44
If you still use a microwave oven, consider replacing it with a steam convection oven, which will heat your food as quickly and far more safely.
Avoid using “smart” appliances and thermostats that depend on wireless signaling. This would include all new “smart” TVs. They are called smart because they emit a Wi-Fi signal, and unlike your computer, you cannot shut the Wi-Fi signal off. Consider using a large computer monitor as your TV instead, as they don’t emit Wi-Fi.
Refuse smart meters as long as you can, or add a shield to an existing smart meter, some of which have been shown to reduce radiation by 98 to 99 percent.45
Consider moving your baby’s bed into your room instead of using a wireless baby monitor. Alternatively, use a hard-wired monitor.
Replace CFL bulbs with incandescent bulbs. Ideally remove all fluorescent lights from your house. Not only do they emit unhealthy light, but more importantly, they will actually transfer current to your body just being close to the bulbs.
Avoid carrying your cellphone on your body unless in airplane mode and never sleep with it in your bedroom unless it is in airplane mode. Even in airplane mode it can emit signals, which is why I put my phone in a Faraday bag.46
When using your cellphone, use the speaker phone and hold the phone at least 3 feet away from you. Seek to radically decrease your time on the cellphone. I typically use my cellphone less than 30 minutes a month, and mostly when traveling. Instead, use VoIP software phones that you can use while connected to the internet via a wired connection.
Source: mercola rss