three bottles of infused olive oil

Looking to take the go-to dishes in your cooking arsenal from can-do to can’t live without? Elevate your basic cooking ingredients with our Vitality™ essential oil line!

We’ve got recipes to help turn standard ingredients like olive oil and vinegar into superstar bases that’ll make your dishes a home run! Simply add Vitality essential oils, herbs, and spices to olive oil and vinegar and get mixing.

Lemon herb olive oil

Rosemary, Basil, and Lemon—oh, yes! This trio adds the right amount of tart, fresh flavors to enhance your favorite dishes.


How to make lemon herb olive oil

1. Pour the olive oil into a pot or saucepan. Keep on low heat until it starts to bubble.
2. Mix in the herbs.
3. Let it simmer until the oil is fragrant. Be sure not to let the herbs brown.
4. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.
5. Add drops of Vitality oil into the mixture. Remember, less is more. Start with fewer drops, then add more to taste if desired.
6. Funnel the mixture into bottles.

Essential oil infused oils and vinegars

Chili herb olive oil

Boost your finger-lickin’ foods with a flavor kick that’ll have the whole family coming back for seconds! The chili peppers and Black Pepper Vitality spark a hint of spice, while a variety of herbs round out the over all flavor.

YL tip: Add additional herbs you have on hand like cilantro, thyme, or basil.


  • 10 ounces olive oil
  • 5 dried chilies or a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Handful of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 4 drops Oregano Vitality
  • 3 drops Black Pepper Vitality 

How to make chili herb-infused oil

1. Pour the olive oil into a pot or saucepan. Keep on low heat until it starts to bubble.
2. Mix in the herbs.
3. Let it simmer until the oil is fragrant. Be sure not to let the herbs brown.
4. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.
5. Add drops of Vitality oil into the mixture. Remember, less is more. Start with fewer drops, then add more to taste if desired.
6. Funnel the mixture into bottles.

Citrus vinegar

Vinegar is a tangy topping that can pair well with desserts or entrees. Sweeten your vinegar with citrus favorites that’ll up the ante on your favorite dishes.

YL tip: Substitute balsamic vinegar to satisfy your sweet tooth.


How to make Citrus vinegar

1. Slice fruit and put in a 16-ounce bottle or jar.
2. Pour vinegar into a saucepan and bring to a simmer on the stove.
3. Add vinegar to your bottle or jar over the fruit. Let stand at room temperature for 8 hours.
4. Add Vitality oils.
5. Shake well before using because oil and vinegar don’t mix.

Essential oil infused vinegars and oils

How to use Vitality-infused oil

Oil and vinegar are starting points for many dishes, but their uses are endless. Here’s how to use these flavor-bursting recipes:

  • Drizzle over salad on their own or use as a base for homemade salad dressing.
  • Marinate meats, tofu, or veggies.
  • Pour onto a small plate and use as a dip for bread as an appetizer for parties.
  • Pour over warm brie and serve with crackers.
  • Trickle over flatbread pizzas.
  • Swap bland oil and vinegar in your go-to sauces like pad thai, pasta, or enchilada sauce.

Tips for infusing olive oil at home

  • Wash and thoroughly dry all herbs to keep fresh
  • Place in a glass jar with a tightly sealed lid and store in the refrigerator.
  • for an intense fusion of flavor, prepare a few days in advance and let the ingredients marinate in the refrigerator before use.
  • Use dried herbs instead of fresh ones for a longer-lasting oil.
  • When using Vitality oils, start with a small dose and add more drops for a more intense flavor.

Swap to satisfy

Want to tailor your olive oil and vinegar to your taste buds’ liking? These recipes are easily customizable with your favorite flavor combinations. Simply swap out the herbs, fruit, and oils to create endless flavor options. Here are some Vitality oils you can use:


  • How long do infused oils last? Use within two weeks. If you refrigerate your infused olive oils, they should stay good for up to a month. If the additives start showing signs of wilting/spoiling, discard the rest of the oil.
  • Why is my infused olive oil cloudy? When refrigerated, olive oil starts to solidify, which makes it appear opaque. It will look clearer at room temperature. If its cloudy at room temperature, that is a sign that the herbs are starting to spoil. 

Want more ideas to up your culinary skills? Check out cooking with essential oils and discover which Vitality oils you need on The Lavender Life. 

How will you use these new flavor-popping recipes?

Tell us in the comments!

The post Whip up mouthwatering dishes with Vitality oil-infused olive oil and vinegar! appeared first on Young Living Blog.

Source: Young Living Blog

Our Oil of the Month Club is back with another amazing and completely unique essential oil! Woodland Co-Extraction is made […]

The post January Oil of the Month Reveal: Woodland Co-Extraction appeared first on Naturally Blended.

Source: plant therapy Blog

There have been rapid changes when it comes to the embracing of psychedelic and hallucinogenic substances by mainstream medicine and municipalities. Marijuana, despite its longtime federal classification as a Schedule I drug, the FDA's most restricted class, is now legal in many U.S. states for medical purposes.1 States are also increasingly legalizing marijuana for recreational use, as Illinois did in 2020.2

Ketamine, a rapid acting anesthetic and established street drug sometimes called "Special K," was approved by the FDA for treating depression last year.3 And now there are signs that psilocybin, the ingredient in so-called "magic" mushrooms and also classified as a Schedule I drug,4 may soon be used medically for depression.

Psilocybin has already been decriminalized in Denver,5 Oakland6 and Chicago,7 perhaps paving the way for its consideration in medical uses. Now, in the largest controlled study of psilocybin to date, conducted at Kings College London, the "magic mushroom" substance was found safe for human consumption.8

The Largest Controlled Study of Psilocybin

In 2018, the FDA authorized Compass Pathways, a life sciences firm founded in London, England, to conduct initial clinical trials with psilocybin for possible use in treatment-resistant depression.9 The Phase I trials, as they are called, were designed to test the safety of Compass Pathways' psilocybin preparation, COMP360, not its effectiveness.10

Eighty-nine healthy volunteers who did not suffer from depression were given a 10- or 25-milligram (mg) dose of psilocybin or a placebo and followed up with therapy sessions to assess for adverse effects for up to 12 weeks.11

While some minor adverse effects of a psychedelic nature occurred,12 the effects resolved swiftly within hours,13 and the participants did not suffer residual cognitive or emotional effects or hallucinatory flashbacks in the weeks after taking psilocybin, said the researchers.14

The King's College London researchers and Compass Pathways representatives announced the results at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in December 2019. The results establish the feasibility of using psilocybin to treat chronic depression, said the researchers.

The Next Step in Psilocybin Trials

Having established COMP360 to be well tolerated, Compass is now running a Phase II b clinical trial with 216 patients diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression to determine clinical efficacy of COMP360 and the correct therapeutic dose range.15

If the Phase II b clinical trial proves successful, Phase III studies will follow, which will compare the psilocybin preparation with conventional treatments, such as antidepressants.16

In 2018, the FDA designated Compass' psilocybin treatment as a "breakthrough therapy," a vote of confidence label that can fast track a drug's review and approval and usually means the drug is thought to have benefits over existing treatments.17 In January 2020, Compass announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had granted it a patent for its synthesized investigational psilocybin formulation.18

"Too many people are suffering with treatment resistant depression," said CEO and co-founder of Compass George Goldsmith.19 "We are committed to developing innovations, such as psilocybin therapy, to address this rapidly growing problem."

More Psilocybin Clinical Trials Are in Progress

The Compass trials are not the only studies to look at the possible effects of psilocybin on human conditions. A Phase II clinical trial with 80 participants at seven different U.S. sites is also planned by the Usona Institute, a Madison, Wisconsin-based nonprofit medical research organization.20

The group says it is "dedicated to supporting and conducting preclinical and clinical research to further the understanding of the therapeutic effects of psilocybin and other consciousness-expanding medicines."21

Like the drug used in the Compass trials, the Usona psilocybin compound has been granted "breakthrough therapy" status by the FDA.22 Unlike the Compass trials, however, which address treatment-resistant depression, the Usona trial will examine psilocybin's use in major depressive disorder (MDD).23

Usona's director of clinical and translational research Charles Raison said that MDD represents a much larger group of sufferers with an "unmet medical need" and that "psilocybin may offer a substantial clinical improvement over existing therapies."

While it is certainly true that many people suffer from sad and depressed moods, antidepressants including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac and antipsychotics like Seroquel are not always the best option. Simple, healthy lifestyle practices can often lift depression.

Antidepressant drugs may not work at all and can cause serious and paradoxical side effects. If a natural substance such as psilocybin could help people avoid these strong psychiatric drugs, it is certainly a good a thing. Here is how the British paper, Independent, casts the issue:24

"UK is undergoing a burgeoning mental health crisis, which has created an urgent unmet need for the development of new treatments. Prescriptions for antidepressants more than doubled between 2006-2016 … and distressingly, suicide is now the leading cause of death among the young (with psychedelic usage linked to lower suicide risk).

Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy can provide … a new approach to treating mental illness. Rather than putting the patient on a daily drip of SSRIs, which like a plaster hopefully suppresses the symptoms but leaves the root-causes unaddressed, psychedelics can increase neuroplasticity and reset the brain, so that maladaptive thought … patterns can be unlearned."

A Psilocybin Clinical Trial at a Psychedelic Research Center

Before the Compass trial, there have been several studies that support psilocybin benefits, some at Imperial College London, which launched the first formal center for psychedelic research in the world — the Imperial Centre for Psychedelic Research — in 2019.25

Imperial was the first research center to investigate the effects of psilocybin on severe depression and, using modern brain imaging, the effects of LSD on the brain.26

In a psilocybin study led by Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research at Imperial, 20 participants who were suffering from severe depression were treated with the compound. After three months, they experienced greater antidepressant effects than from typical antidepressants and therapy, said reports.27,28

"Patients said they went from feeling 'totally disconnected' with themselves and the world to 'connected', and from repressing and avoiding emotions and memories to accepting them."29

The new connectedness sensations are thought to come from deactivation of the default mode network (DMN) of the brain that is active when not focused on the outside world. Here is how Carhart-Harris' study, published in Scientific Reports, explains the DMN phenomenon apparently induced by psilocybin:30

"Much recent research has focused on the involvement of the default-mode network in psychiatric disorders, and particularly depression. We previously observed decreased DMN functional integrity under psilocybin and LSD, and others have with ayahuasca.

Here however, increased DMN integrity was observed one-day post treatment with psilocybin, both via seed and network-based approaches. Previous work has suggested that increased DMN integrity may be a marker of depressed mood and specifically, depressive rumination.

On this basis, increased DMN integrity post psilocybin may be surprising. The post-treatment increases in within-DMN RSFC and sgACC-PCC RSFC did not relate to symptom improvements but vmPFC-ilPC RSFC did. This apparent divergence from previous findings is intriguing, and deserves further discussion."

Putting the research in laypeople's terms, Carhart-Harris says, "If you ask people who are taking SSRIs chronically, they often say 'I feel blunted.' With psilocybin therapy they say the opposite, they talk about an emotional release, a reconnection, and this key emotional center being more responsive."31

More Theories About Psilocybin Effects

The actions behind the apparent benefits of psilocybin may involve the same neurotransmitters that traditional SSRIs are said to affect, but possibly in different ways. Says Newsweek:32

"Psilocybin is known to bind to a receptor normally used by serotonin, one of the brain's most important neurotransmitters, which is involved in everything from mood to perception to sleep.

MRI studies done at Imperial College London show that this activity changes the activity of neurons throughout the brain, allowing different regions to communicate that aren't usually connected. This is thought to help facilitate breakthroughs that people report while under its spell."

Research published in Biological Psychiatry further analyzes the apparent ability of psilocybin to dramatically change behavior:33

"Psilocybin reduced associative, but concurrently increased sensory brain-wide connectivity. This pattern emerged over time from administration to peak-effects. Furthermore, we show that baseline connectivity is associated with the extent of Psilocybin-induced changes in functional connectivity …

These results suggest that the integration of functional connectivity in sensory and the disintegration in associative regions may underlie the psychedelic state and pinpoint the critical role of the serotonin 2A and 1A receptor systems.

Furthermore, baseline connectivity may represent a predictive marker of the magnitude of changes induced by psilocybin and may therefore contribute to a personalized medicine approach within the potential framework of psychedelic treatment."

More Encouraging Psilocybin Studies

Smaller studies than the large Compass study have also yielded encouraging results. A 2006 study at the University of Arizona found that psilocybin helped temporarily reduce symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder in nine subjects.34

A 2016 study by New York University and Johns Hopkins University researchers published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found a single dose of psilocybin decreased symptoms of anxiety in cancer patients for eight months when compared to a placebo.35 Testing psilocybin on those with eating disorders is also being planned at London's Imperial College.36

A kind of "psychedelic renaissance"37 is occurring in which hallucinogenic compounds like psilocybin are viewed as potential therapeutic agents to treat serious mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and eating disorders as well as depression and anxiety.

Hopefully, psilocybin will continue to prove its safety and become more widely accepted and available for relieving the symptoms with which many suffer and freeing them from harsh medications.

Source: mercola rss

Quercetin1 is an antioxidant flavonol found naturally in foods such as apples, plums, red grapes, green tea, elder flower and onions, just to name a few.2 According to a 2019 Market Watch report,3 the quercetin market is growing rapidly as its health benefits are becoming more widely known.

Quercetin has been shown to combat inflammation and acts as a natural antihistamine. In fact, its antiviral capacity appears to be the primary focus of many studies looking at quercetin's benefits, and a number of studies have highlighted quercetin's ability to prevent and treat both the common cold and influenza.4,5,6,7

But there are also other, less known benefits and uses for this supplement, including the prevention and/or treatment of:8

High blood pressure9

Cardiovascular disease10

Metabolic syndrome11

Certain kinds of cancer12

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)13



Mood disorders16

Longevity, thanks to its senolytic benefits (clearing out damaged and worn-out cells)17,18

Additionally, quercetin is also helpful for aluminum-induced neurodegenerative changes, such as those seen in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As noted in a 2016 study:19

"Administration of quercetin (10 mg/kg body wt/day) reduced aluminum (10 mg/kg body wt/day)-induced oxidative stress (decreased ROS production, increased mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) activity).

In addition, quercetin also prevents aluminum-induced translocation of cyt-c, and up-regulates Bcl-2, down-regulates Bax, p53, caspase-3 activation and reduces DNA fragmentation …

Further electron microscopic studies revealed that quercetin attenuates aluminum-induced mitochondrial swelling, loss of cristae and chromatin condensation. These results indicate that treatment with quercetin may represent a therapeutic strategy to attenuate the neuronal death against aluminum-induced neurodegeneration."

Quercetin Improves Metabolic Syndrome Traits

Among the most recent papers on this powerful antioxidant is a review20 published in the March 2019 issue of Phytotherapy Research, which looked at nine randomized controlled trials investigating quercetin's effect on metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of conditions (including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglyceride levels and fat accumulation around the waist) that raise your risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

While pooled findings found no effect on fasting plasma glucose, insulin resistance or hemoglobin A1c levels, further subgroup analyses revealed quercetin supplementation "significantly reduced" fasting plasma glucose in studies lasting at least eight weeks and in which dosages of at least 500 milligrams (mg) per day were used.

In studies that included people over the age of 45, "significant" reductions in insulin were also found when using a dosage of 500 mg per day or more. An earlier study,21 published in 2011, looked at quercetin's effects on certain traits of metabolic syndrome.

This study focused specifically atherosclerosis and inflammation in men with the APOE genotype 3/3, 3/4 and 4/4, and found quercetin significantly decreased waist circumference, postprandial systolic blood pressure, postprandial triacylglycerol, and increased HDL-cholesterol compared to placebo. Here, participants were given 150 mg of quercetin per day for eight weeks.

Research22 on obese rats published in 2008 also found that quercetin supplementation at doses of 2 mg per kilo or 10 mg/kg of body weight for 10 weeks improved systolic blood pressure, triglyceride, total cholesterol and free fatty acid levels. The 10 mg/kg dose also improved the animals' inflammation status. As noted by the authors:

"In conclusion, both doses of quercetin improved dyslipidemia, hypertension, and hyperinsulinemia in obese Zucker rats, but only the high dose produced antiinflammatory effects in VAT together with a reduction in body weight gain."

One of the first studies23 to demonstrate quercetin's beneficial effects on blood pressure was published in 2007. As reported by the authors:

"Epidemiological studies report that quercetin … is associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke … Men and women with prehypertension and stage 1 hypertension were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study to test the efficacy of 730 mg quercetin/d for 28 d[ays] vs. placebo.

Blood pressure at enrollment was ... 148 +/- 2/96 +/- 1 in stage 1 hypertensive subjects … Reductions in systolic (-7 +/- 2 mm Hg), diastolic (-5 +/- 2 mm Hg), and mean arterial pressures (-5 +/- 2 mm Hg) were observed in stage 1 hypertensive patients after quercetin treatment … These data are the first to our knowledge to show that quercetin supplementation reduces blood pressure in hypertensive subjects."

Similarly, a January 2020 systematic review24 of 17 studies concluded quercetin "significantly decreased" blood pressure in human subjects. Those who took it for eight weeks or more also had "significantly" improved high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides.

Quercetin Improves Diabetes-Induced NAFLD

Other recent research25 published in the August 2019 issue of Phytotherapy Research concluded quercetin has a beneficial impact on NAFLD "by ameliorating inflammation, oxidative stress and lipid metabolism."

Diabetes can play a role in NAFLD as well, showing just how influential insulin resistance is in the development of chronic diseases of all kinds. As explained in the abstract:

"Multiphase pathological processes involve in Type 2 diabetes (T2DM)‐induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, the therapies are quite limited. In the present study, the hepatoprotective effects and underlying mechanisms of quercetin in T2DM‐induced NAFLD were investigated …

The results revealed that quercetin alleviated serum transaminase levels and markedly reduced T2DM‐induced histological alterations of livers. Additionally, quercetin restored superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione content in livers.

Not only that, quercetin markedly attenuated T2DM‐induced production of interleukin 1 beta, interleukin 6, and TNF‐α. Accompanied by the restoration of the increased serum total bile acid and the decreased liver total bile acid, quercetin could reduce lipid accumulation in the liver … These findings suggested that quercetin might be a potentially effective drug for the treatment of T2DM‐induced NAFLD."

Quercetin Helps Modulate Gene Expression

According to research26 published in 2016, quercetin even has the ability to trigger tumor regression by interacting with your DNA and activating the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis (the programmed cell death of damaged cells).

Quercetin was found to induce cytotoxicity in leukemic cells, and the effect was dose-dependent. Limited cytotoxic effects were also found in breast cancer cells. Overall, quercetin increased the life span in cancer-ridden mice fivefold compared to untreated controls.

The authors attributed these effects to quercetin's direct interaction with DNA and its activation of the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis, and suggested quercetin's potential use as a cancer therapy adjunct deserves further exploration.

More recent research27 in the journal Molecules also highlights quercetin's epigenetic influence and ability to:

  • Interact with cell-signaling pathways
  • Modulate gene expression
  • Influence the activity of transcription factors
  • Modulate microRNAs

MicroRNAs used to be considered "junk" DNA. Far from being useless, research has now revealed that "junk" DNA is actually microRNA and plays a crucial role in regulating genes that make the proteins that build your body.

The microRNA function as "on/off" switches for the genes. Depending on the microRNA input, a single gene can code for any of more than 200 protein products. Quercetin's ability to module microRNA may also help explain its cytotoxic effects, and why it appears to improve cancer survival (at least in mice).

Quercetin Is a Powerful Antiviral

As mentioned, one of the most well-studied attributes of quercetin is its antiviral capacity, which have been attributed to three main mechanisms of action:

  1. Inhibiting the virus' ability to infect cells
  2. Inhibiting replication of already infected cells
  3. Reducing infected cells' resistance to treatment with antiviral medication

For example, research28 funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, published in 2007, found it lowers your risk of viral illness and boosts mental performance following extreme physical stress, which might otherwise undermine your immune function and render you more susceptible to infections.

Here, cyclists who received a daily dose of 1,000 mg of quercetin in combination with vitamin C (which enhances plasma quercetin levels29,30) and niacin (to improve absorption) for five weeks were significantly less likely to contract a viral illness after bicycling three hours a day for three consecutive days, compared to untreated controls. While 45% of the placebo group got sick, only 5% of the treatment group did.

In another study31 funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), published in 2008, animals treated with quercetin were challenged with a highly pathogenic H1N1 influenza virus. Again, the treatment group had significantly lower morbidity and mortality than the placebo group. A number of other studies have also confirmed quercetin's effectiveness against a variety of viruses, including the following:

A 1985 study found quercetin inhibits infectivity and replication of herpes simplex virus type 1, polio-virus type 1, parainfluenza virus type 3 and respiratory syncytial virus.32

A 2010 animal study found that quercetin inhibits both influenza A and B viruses. Two other important discoveries were made. Firstly, the viruses were unable to develop resistance to quercetin, and secondly, when used concomitant with antiviral drugs (amantadine or oseltamivir), the effect was significantly amplified — and it prevented drug-resistance from developing.33

A 2004 animal study investigating quercetin's effect on influenza used a strain of the H3N2 virus. According to the authors:34

"During influenza virus infection, there is 'oxidative stress.' Because quercetin restored the concentrations of many antioxidants, it is proposed that it may be useful as a drug in protecting the lung from the deleterious effects of oxygen derived free radicals released during influenza virus infection."

Another 2016 study found quercetin offered protection against influenza A virus H1N1 by modulating protein expression. More specifically, the regulation of heat shock proteins, fibronectin 1 and prohibitin was instrumental in reducing viral replication.35

A third study published in 2016 found quercetin inhibited a wide spectrum of influenza strains, including H1N1, H3N2 and H5N1. According to the authors, "This study indicates that quercetin showing inhibitory activity in the early stage of influenza infection provides a future therapeutic option to develop effective, safe and affordable natural products for the treatment and prophylaxis of [influenza A viruses] infections."36

In 2014, researchers noted that quercetin appears to be "a promising treatment for the common cold," caused by the rhinovirus, adding that "Quercetin has been shown to reduce viral internalization and replication in vitro, and viral load, lung inflammation and airways hyper-responsiveness in vivo."37

By attenuating oxidative damage, it also lowers your risk of secondary bacterial infections, which is actually the primary cause of influenza-related deaths. Importantly, quercetin increases mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle, which suggests part of its antiviral effects are due to enhanced mitochondrial antiviral signaling.

A 2016 animal study38 found quercetin inhibited mouse dengue virus and hepatitis virus. Other studies have confirmed quercetin's power to inhibit both hepatitis B39 and C40 infection.

Most recently, a March 2020 study41 in the Microbial Pathogenesis journal found quercetin "provides comprehensive protection against Streptococcus pneumoniae infection," both in vitro and in vivo, primarily by neutralizing pneumolysin (PLY),42 one of the toxins released from pneumococci that encourages S. pneumoniae infection to blossom in the first place. As reported by the authors in Microbial Pathogenesis:

"The results indicated that quercetin significantly reduced PLY-induced hemolytic activity and cytotoxicity via repressing the formation of oligomers.

In addition, treatment with quercetin can reduce PLY-mediated cell injury, improve the survival rate of mice infected with a lethal dose of S. pneumoniae, alleviate the pathological damage of lung tissue and inhibit the release of cytokines (IL-1β and TNF-α) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.

Considering the importance of these events in antimicrobial resistant S. pneumoniae pathogenesis, our results indicated that quercetin may be a novel potential drug candidate for the treatment of clinical pneumococcal infections."

Quercetin Combats Inflammation and Boosts Immunity

Aside from its antiviral activity, quercetin is also known for boosting immunity and combating inflammation. As noted in a 2016 study43 in the journal Nutrients, mechanisms of action include (but is not limited to) the inhibition of:44

Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) production in macrophages. TNF-α is a cytokine involved in systemic inflammation, secreted by activated macrophages, a type of immune cell that digests foreign substances, microbes and other harmful or damaged components

LPS-induced mRNA levels of TNF-α and interleukin (IL)-1α in glial cells, which results in "diminished apoptotic neuronal cell death"

The production of inflammation-producing enzymes

Calcium influx into the cell, which in turn inhibits:

Pro-inflammatory cytokine release

Histamine and serotonin release from intestinal mast cells release45

According to this paper, quercetin also stabilizes mast cells, has cytoprotective activity in the gastrointestinal tract, and "a direct regulatory effect on basic functional properties of immune cells," which allows it to inhibit "a huge panoply of molecular targets in the micromolar concentration range, either by down-regulating or suppressing many inflammatory pathways and functions."46

Quercetin May Be a Useful Supplement for Many

Considering its wide-ranging benefits, quercetin may be a useful supplement for many, either acutely or more long-term. It's one of the supplements I recommend keeping in your medicine chest for times when you feel you're "coming down" with something, be it the common cold or influenza.

If you're prone to colds and flu, you could consider taking it for a couple of months before cold and flu season hits to boost your immune system. More long-term, it appears useful for those with metabolic syndrome, although it would be foolish to rely on any given supplement without also addressing more fundamental strategies such as diet and exercise.

As explained in my 2015 interview with Dr. Robert Lustig, sugar has been shown to be a causative factor in insulin resistance, which is a hallmark of metabolic syndrome and a risk factor for virtually all chronic disease.

If you have one or more of the conditions that make up metabolic syndrome, you'd be wise to limit your total sugar consumption to 15 grams per day. If you're healthy, and want to stay that way, your daily sugar limit would be around 25 grams. You can learn more about this and related treatment strategies in "Vitamin D Can Significantly Lower Your Risk of Metabolic Syndrome."

Source: mercola rss

While irritable bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have similar names, they are two different conditions with a few similar symptoms. IBD is an umbrella term, under which are several gastrointestinal diseases including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

The severity of IBD can depend on genetic markers and the effect of microbes on your immune system.1 The most common symptom of both IBS and IBD is diarrhea. Those suffering with IBD may also experience anemia, fever, extreme weight loss and bloody stool.

IBS can cause constipation, diarrhea or both. Some have complained of being gassy or bloated and 70% diagnosed with IBS report having suffered severe food poisoning.

The intensity and severity can vary and is often induced by specific foods, the size of a meal or even stress. Currently, treatment methodologies are focused on diet, lifestyle and stress reduction as the symptoms frequently disrupt life and social interactions.

Each year IBS accounts for up to 12% of the total number of primary care visits and the financial burden is estimated to start at $21 billion, including direct and indirect medical costs as well as loss of productivity and work performance.2

An Elimination Diet May Reduce Your Symptoms

Symptoms of IBS include depression and anxiety.3 Many find these symptoms are reduced or avoided through eliminating specific foods from their diet. Discovering which foods should be excluded is most easily done using an elimination diet.

The premise of an elimination diet is to exclude foods that negatively affect the gastrointestinal system. Once your symptoms have subsided, it’s safe to begin adding foods back slowly, one group at a time. If symptoms recur, then eliminate the food group that was just added. Try adding just one new group a week so it will be clear what’s causing the problem.

It’s best to start with foods that are known suspects, such as dairy and gluten. However, it turns out there are several foods you may not be aware of that trigger symptoms.4 Each of the culprits have carbohydrates that are difficult to digest and that ferment rapidly in the gut, producing CO2.

The four groups of carbohydrates that meet these criteria are fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, more commonly known as FODMAPs.

These foods don’t cause issues in everyone but they do create problems in those who have an intolerance that may be related to a different microbial environment in their gut. The list of short-chain FODMAPs foods you may not have considered include:5

  • Oligosaccharides — This group contains galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) and fructans. Foods containing GOS include lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas and soy, while fructans are in broccoli, asparagus, garlic and onions as well as wheat and rye.
  • Disaccharides — Lactose containing foods such as those made with cow's milk are part of this group; these include cheese (including mascarpone), yogurt, ice cream and custard to name a few.
  • Monosaccharides — These are fructose-containing foods such as fruit, honey and high fructose corn syrup.
  • Polyols — Apples, apricots, pears, peaches and blackberries contain polyols, as well as products made with sweeteners found in gum, cough drops and mints. These are sometimes listed as xylitol, isomalt, sorbitol and mannitol.

Not all foods high in FODMAPs will trigger symptoms. Adding some back to the diet will be less restrictive and add a greater range of nutrients from whole foods as you watch for recurring symptoms. Many who have tried the diet end up sticking with it since it improves their quality of life. According to Harvard Publishing, some of the foods known to trigger symptoms of IBS are on the FODMAP list, including:6






Fatty foods




Wheat and rye products

Dairy products


Carbonated beverages

Orange and Grapefruit Juices

Products sweetened with fructose or sorbitol

Gut Dysfunction and System-Wide Inflammation

Researchers have found a correlation between gut inflammation and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, especially in those with IBS. The authors of one study found a high prevalence of anxiety and depression in those with IBS;7 as noted in another, researchers theorized alterations in the gut-brain axis may be involved in the association between IBS and depression.8

Results from a meta-analysis demonstrated “depression and anxiety levels to be higher in IBS patients than in healthy controls, regardless of the IBS-subtype.”9 Gut dysfunction is also associated with system-wide inflammation, affecting more than just mental health.

An increased number of inflammatory cytokines released throughout the body with gut inflammation may affect numerous aspects of your health. They are involved in a spectrum of autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.10 Cells involved in the process and development of atherosclerosis are activated by cytokines.11

In my article, "Healthy Gut, Healthy You: A Personalized Plan to Transform Your Health," Dr. Michael Ruscio, author and clinical investigator who focuses on gastrointestinal (GI) health, explains development of the connection between the gut and system-wide inflammation.

Think of your gut as a tube running through the inside of your body that starts at your mouth. This may help you may visualize how the gastrointestinal system is central to supporting the entire body.

Since the largest density of immune cells in your body are living in your small intestines and the small intestines are a selective barrier between the outside world and the inside of your body, when this barrier malfunctions you may experience symptoms of inflammation.

You may have "neurological, rheumatological or even dermatological reactions from foods that don't agree with your gut, because of this very broad-acting inflammatory impact," according to Ruscio.

Histamine Food Intolerance May Trigger Symptoms

Another trigger for gut dysfunction is histamine-rich foods. Histamine is a neurotransmitter like serotonin, epinephrine and dopamine.12 There is always a small amount circulating throughout your body helping to regulate sleep and physiological functions in the gut.

Your body balances ingested histamine by using diamine oxidase (DAO), an enzyme in the gut that breaks it down.13 If you have a DAO deficiency it can allow histamine to build up in the body. Histamine also plays a role in the secretion of acid in the stomach. Excess levels can result in dizziness, headaches, sleep dysfunction, high blood pressure and fatigue.

Researchers believe the wide variety of symptoms may mask the extent of histamine intolerance in the general population. Foods rich in histamine and those that liberate it include:







Citrus fruit



Red wine vinegar

Frozen or smoked fish

Fermented foods such as aged cheese, cured meat and yeast products

Personalize a Plan to Heal Your Gut

Your first step to a personalized plan is to eliminate all FODMAP foods for two to six weeks, or at least until most of your symptoms have resolved.14 Since it’s not likely all FODMAP foods are triggering symptoms, it’s now time to add one group of FODMAPs to your diet.

By the end of testing you should be able to identify the groups that trigger the most severe symptoms and those you might be able to eat in small amounts. Your goal is to test slowly and in increments to learn your limits and then test more strategies to reduce symptoms of IBS. The process of eliminating foods from your diet may be overwhelming but there are a few things you may consider to make the journey a little easier:

  • Keep a food diary and log your symptoms as you go through the process, so you aren’t relying on memory.
  • Gather recipes before starting the elimination diet so you have some go-to meals and won’t have to expend energy after work trying to think of something to make.
  • Keep FODMAP friendly foods in the homes of people you spend a lot of time with, such as your parents or your partner. Include snacks and ingredients for a meal or two. Pack healthy snacks you can bring with you or keep at work.
  • Remember, while it may be next to impossible to eat out in the beginning, the process will get easier and you’ll start to feel better, which is a powerful motivator.

Source: mercola rss

1 Why might hard water be healthier for your heart than soft water?

  • Because hard water is more acidic
  • Because hard water contains higher levels of zinc and calcium
  • Because hard water contains higher levels of magnesium

    Research has shown people drinking soft water on a regular basis are more susceptible to lethal arrhythmias than those drinking hard water. One hypothesis that can account for this is magnesium deficiency, as hard water contains higher levels of magnesium than soft water. Learn more.

  • Because soft water is less hydrating

2 Research shows long-term annual vaccination may render young children who have not previously been infected with an influenza virus:

  • Immune to infection with a pandemic influenza virus of a novel subtype
  • Less likely to contract a novel pandemic influenza virus
  • Guaranteed to contract a novel pandemic influenza virus
  • More susceptible to infection with a pandemic influenza virus of a novel subtype

    Research shows long-term annual vaccination may render young children who have not previously been infected with an influenza virus more susceptible to infection with a pandemic influenza virus of a novel subtype. Learn more.

3 Which of the following has been identified as the driving mechanism of harm behind electromagnetic field (EMF) damage to human health?

  • Oxidative stress triggered by the production of peroxynitrites

    The primary danger of EMFs — and what drives the processes of chronic disease — is the mitochondrial damage triggered by peroxynitrites, one of the most damaging types of reactive nitrogen species. Learn more.

  • Exaggerated antioxidant response triggered by overproduction of glutathione
  • Ionizing damage similar to that of X-rays
  • Lowered immune defense by inhibiting vaccine effectiveness

4 Research shows drinking fluoridated water during pregnancy has which of the following health effects on offspring?

  • Raises children's IQ
  • Lowers children's IQ

    One of the most recent studies highlighting the dangers of fluoride was a U.S. and Canadian government-funded observational study published in JAMA Pediatrics, which found that drinking fluoridated water during pregnancy lowers children's IQ. Learn more.

  • Improves math scores
  • Raises risk of sudden infant death syndome

5 The lead investor among a group of 18 that helped make NewsGuard a reality is:

  • The Grocery Manufacturer's Association of America (GMA), a lobbying group for junk food makers
  • Drug company Eli Lilly
  • Publicis Groupe, a giant global communications group with strong ties to Big Pharma

    While Publicis has been busy solidifying its strong ties with Big Pharma, it was also the lead investor among a group of 18 that helped make NewsGuard a reality. Learn more.

  • The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), a nonprofit organization that's really an industry front group

6 The major drawback to the world popularity of avocados is:

  • Their high cholesterol
  • The high calories found in the fruit
  • Their high price at grocery stores
  • The tremendous amount of water required to grow them

    Avocados require so much water to produce, compared to other crops, that their plantations have led to severe water shortages in Chile. Some local people now have to have their water trucked in because of the plantations. Learn more.

7 What percentage of national elections in the world has been determined by biased Google search results and biased search suggestions, according to research by Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist for the American Institute of Behavioral Research and Technology?

  • 100%

    Robert Epstein has shown biased web searches can shift the opinion of 48% to 63% of undecided voters toward or against a particular political candidate. Search suggestions is another powerful manipulation tool capable of turning a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split. Because more than 90% of searches worldwide are conducted on Google, the company has likely determined the outcomes of 25% of the national elections in the world. Learn more.

  • 75%
  • 50%
  • 25%


Source: mercola rss

Robert Epstein, who received his Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard in 1981 and served as the former editor in chief at Psychology Today, is now a senior research psychologist for the American Institute of Behavioral Research and Technology, where for the last decade he has helped expose Google's manipulative and deceptive practices. He explains what got him interested in investigating the internet search monopoly in the first place:

"In 2012, January 1st, I received some emails from Google saying my website contained malware and that they were somehow blocking access. This means I had gotten onto one of Google's blacklists.

My website did contain some malware. It was pretty easy to get rid of, but it turns out it's hard to get off of a Google blacklist. That's a big problem. I started looking at Google just a little bit differently.

I wondered, first of all, why they were notifying me about this rather than some government agency or some nonprofit organization? Why was a private company notifying me?

In other words, who made Google sheriff of the internet? Second, I learned they had no customer service department, which seemed very strange, so if you have a problem with Google, then you have a problem because they don't help you solve the problem.

I learned also that although you can get onto a blacklist in a split second, it can take weeks to get off a blacklist. There have been businesses that have gotten onto their blacklists and have gone out of business while they're trying to straighten out the problem.

The thing that really caught my eye — because I've been a programmer my whole life — was I couldn't figure out how they were blocking access to my website, not just through their own products … Google.com, the search engine, or through Chrome, which is their browser, but through Safari, which is an Apple product, through Firefox, which is a browser run by Mozilla, a nonprofit organization.

How was Google blocking access through so many different means? The point is I just started to get more curious about the company, and later in 2012, I happened to be looking at a growing literature, which was about the power of search rankings to impact sales.

This was in the marketing field and it just was astonishing. In other words, if you could push yourself up one more notch in their search results, that could make the difference between success or failure for your company; it could mean a lot more income.

It turns out that this initial research was saying that people really trust those higher ranked search results. I simply asked a question. I wondered whether, if people trust those higher rank search results, I could use search results to influence people's opinions, maybe even their votes."

What Epstein discovered through his subsequent research, which began in 2013, is that yes, biased search results can indeed be used to influence public opinion and sway undecided voters. What's more, the strength of that influence was shocking.

He also eventually discovered how Google is able to block website access on browsers other than their own. His findings were published in 2016 in U.S. News & World Report.1

Google's Powers Pose Serious Threats to Society

Google's powers pose three specific threats to society:

1. They're a surveillance agency with significant yet hidden surveillance powers. As noted by Epstein:

"The search engine … Google Wallet, Google Docs, Google Drive, YouTube, these are surveillance platforms. In other words, from their perspective, the value these tools have is they give them more information about you. Surveillance is what they do."

2. They're a censoring agency with the ability to restrict or block access to websites across the internet, thus deciding what people can and cannot see. They even have the ability to block access to entire countries and the internet as a whole.

The most crushing problem with this kind of internet censorship is that you don't know what you don't know. If a certain type of information is removed from search, and you don't know it should exist somewhere, you'll never go looking for it. And, when searching for information online, how would you know that certain websites or pages have been removed from the search results in the first place? The answer is, you don't.

For example, Google has been investing in DNA repositories for quite a long time, and are adding DNA information to our profiles. According to Epstein, Google has taken over the national DNA repository, but articles about that — which he has cited in his own writings — have all vanished.

3. They have the power to manipulate public opinion through search rankings and other means.

"To me, that's the scariest area," Epstein says, "because Google is shaping the opinions, thinking, beliefs, attitudes, purchases and votes of billions of people around the world without anyone knowing that they're doing so … and perhaps even more shocking, without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace.

They're using new techniques of manipulation that have never existed before in human history and they are for the most part, subliminal … but they don't produce tiny shifts.

They produce enormous shifts in people's thinking, very rapidly. Some of the techniques I've discovered are among the largest behavioral effects ever discovered in the behavioral sciences."

While surveillance is Google's primary business, their revenue — which exceeds $130 billion a year — comes almost exclusively from advertising. All that personal information you've provided them through their various products is sold to advertisers looking for a specific target audience.

How Google Can Shift Your Perception Without Your Knowledge

Epstein's controlled, randomized, double-blind and counterbalanced experiments have revealed a number of different ways in which Google can shift public perception. The first effect he discovered is called SEME, which stands for search engine manipulation effect. For a full description of the basic experiment used to identify this effect, please listen to the interview.

In summary, the aim of his experiment was to see whether search results biased toward a particular political candidate would be capable of shifting users' political opinion and leanings.

"I had predicted, when we first did this, that we would get a shift," Epstein says, "because … people do trust higher ranked search results, and of course we had biased the search results so that, if in that first group, someone was clicking on a high-ranking search result, that would connect them to a webpage which made one candidate look much better than the other …

I predicted we could get a shift in voting preferences of 2% to 3%. I was way off. We got … a shift of 48%, which I thought must be an error because that's crazy …

I should note that in almost all of our experiments, especially those early ones, we deliberately used undecided voters. That's the key. You can't easily push the opinions or voting preferences of people who are partisan, who are strongly committed to one party or another, but people who are undecided, those are the people who are very vulnerable. In our experiments, we always find a way to use undecided voters.

In these early experiments, the way we guaranteed that our voters were undecided was by using people from the U.S. as our participants, but the election we chose was the 2010 election for the prime minister of Australia.

They're real candidates, a real election, real search results, real webpages, and of course, because our participants were from the U.S. they were not familiar with the candidates.

In fact, that's why, before they do the search, we get this almost perfect 50/50 split regarding who they're going to vote for, because they don't know these candidates. The information they're getting from the search, that, presumably, is why we get a shift."

Simple Trick Effectively Masks Search Bias

Another thing Epstein noticed was that very few seemed to realize they were seeing biased search results. In other words, the manipulation went virtually undetected.

In a second experiment, they were able to achieve a 63% shift in voter preference, and by masking the bias — simply by inserting a pro-opponent result here and there — they were able to hide the bias from almost everyone.

"In other words, we could get enormous shifts in opinions and voting preferences with no one being able to detect the bias in the search results we were showing them," Epstein says. "This is where, again, it starts to get scary. Scarier still is when we moved on to do a national study of more than 2,000 people in all 50 states."

What this large-scale investigation revealed is that the few who actually notice the bias are not protected from its effects. Curiously, they actually shift even further toward the bias, rather than away from it.

As evidenced by other studies, the pattern of clicks is a key factor that makes search bias so powerful: 50% of all search selections go to the top two items and 95% of all clicks go to the first page of search results.

"In other words, people spend most of their time clicking on and reading content that comes from high-ranking search results. If those high-ranking search results favor one candidate, that's pretty much all they see and that impacts their opinions and their voting preferences," Epstein says.

Subsequent experiments revealed that this click pattern is the result of conditioning. Most of the things people search for are simple matters such as local weather or the capital of a country. The most appropriate and correct answer is always at the very top. This conditions them to assume that the best and truest answer is always the most high-ranked listing.

Google May Have Shifted Millions of Votes in 2016 Elections

The ramifications of the search engine manipulation effect can be immense. Of course, having power to shift public opinion is one thing; actually using that power is another. So, Epstein's next target was to determine whether Google is using its power of influence or not.

"Early 2016, I set up the first-ever monitoring system, which allowed me to look over the shoulders of people as they were conducting election-related searches on Google, Bing and Yahoo in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election. I had 95 field agents (as we call them), in 24 states.

We kept their identities secret, which took a lot of work. And this is exactly, by the way, what the Nielsen company does to generate ratings for television shows. They have several thousand families. Their identities are secret. They equip the families with special boxes, which allow Nielsen to tabulate what programs they're watching …

Inspired by the Nielsen model, we recruited our field agents, we equipped them with custom passive software. In other words, no one could detect the fact that they have the software in their computers. But that software allowed us to look over their shoulders as they conducted election related searches …

We ended up preserving 13,207 election-related searches and the nearly 100,000 webpages to which the search results linked … After the election, we rated the webpages for bias, either pro-Clinton or pro-Trump … and then we did an analysis to see whether there was any bias in the search results people were seeing.

The results we got were crystal clear, highly significant statistically … at the 0.001 level. What that says is we can be confident the bias we were seeing was real, and it didn't occur because of some random factors. We found a pro-Clinton bias in all 10 search positions on the first page of Google search results, but not on Bing or Yahoo.

That's very important. So, there was a significant pro-Clinton bias on Google. Because of the experiments I had been doing since 2013, I was also able to calculate how many votes could have been shifted with that level of bias… At bare minimum, about 2.6 million [undecided] votes would have shifted to Hillary Clinton."

On the high end, Google's biased search results may have shifted as many as 10.4 million undecided voters toward Clinton, which is no small feat — all without anyone realizing they'd been influenced, and without leaving a trace for the authorities to follow.

According to Epstein's calculations, tech companies, Google being the main one, can shift 15 million votes leading up to the 2020 election, which means they have the potential to select the next president of United States.

Google Has the Power to Determine 25% of Global Elections

Many who look at Epstein's work end up focusing on Google's ability to influence U.S. politics, but the problem is much bigger than that.

"As I explained when I testified before Congress, the reason why I'm speaking out about these issues is because, first of all, I … think it's important that we preserve democracy and preserve the free and fair election. To me, it's pretty straight forward.

But the problem is much bigger than elections or democracy or the United States. Because I calculated back in 2015 that … Google's search engine — because more than 90% of searches worldwide are conducted on Google — was determining the outcomes of upwards of 25% of the national elections in the world.

How can that be? Well, it's because a lot of elections are very close. And that's the key to understanding this. In other words, we actually looked at the win margins in national elections around the world, which tend to be very close. In that 2010 Australian election, for example, the win margin was something like 0.2% …

If the results they're getting on Google are biased toward one candidate, that shifts a lot of votes among undecided people. And it's very, very simple for them to flip an election or … rig an election … It's very, very simple for Google to do that.

They can do it deliberately, which is kind of scary. In other words, some top executives at Google could decide who they want to win an election in South Africa or the U.K. or anywhere. It could be just a rogue employee at Google who does it. You may think that's impossible … [but] it's incredibly simple …

[A] senior software engineer at Google, Shumeet Baluja, who's been at Google almost since the very beginning, published a novel that no one's ever heard of called 'The Silicon Jungle' … It's fictional, but it's about Google, and the power that individual employees at Google have to make or break any company or any individual.

It's a fantastic novel. I asked Baluja how Google let him get away with publishing it and he said, 'Well, they made me promise I would never promote it.' That's why no one's ever heard of this book."

A Dictator Unlike Anything the World Has Ever Known

Another, and even more frightening possibility, is that Google could allow its biased algorithm to favor one candidate over another without caring about which candidate is being favored.

"That's the scariest possibility," Epstein says, "because now you've got an algorithm, a computer program, which is an idiot … deciding who rules us. It's crazy."

While this sounds like it should be illegal, it's not, because there are no laws or regulations that restrict or dictate how Google must rank its search results. Courts have actually concluded that Google is simply exercising its right to free speech, even if that means destroying the businesses they demote in their search listings or black listings.

The only way to protect ourselves from this kind of hidden influence is by setting up monitoring programs such as Epstein's all over the world. "As a species, it's the only way we can protect ourselves from new types of online technologies that can be used to influence us," he says. "No dictator anywhere has ever had even a tiny fraction of the power that this company has."

Epstein is also pushing for government to make the Google search index a public commons, which would allow other companies to create competing search platforms using Google's database. While Google's search engine cannot be broken up, its monopoly would be thwarted by forcing it to hand over its index to other search platform developers.

The Influence of Search Suggestions

In 2016, Epstein also discovered the remarkable influence of search suggestions — the suggested searches shown in a drop-down menu when you begin to type a search term. This effect is now known as the search suggestion effect or SSE. Epstein explains:

"Initially the idea was they were going to save you time. That's the way they presented this new feature. They were going to anticipate, based on your history, or based on what other people are searching for, what it is you're looking for so you don't have to type the whole thing. Just click on one of the suggestions. But then it changed into something else. It changed into a tool for manipulation.

In June 2016, a small news organization … discovered that it was virtually impossible to get negative search suggestions related to Hillary Clinton, but easy to get them for other people including Donald Trump. They were very concerned about this because maybe that could influence people somehow.

So, I tried this myself, and I have a wonderful image that I preserved showing this. I typed in 'Hillary Clinton is' on Bing and on Yahoo, and I got those long lists, eight and 10 items, saying, 'Hillary Clinton is the devil. Hillary Clinton is sick' … all negative things that people were actually searching for.

How do I know that? Because we checked Google trends. Google trends shows you what people are actually searching for. Sure enough, people were actually searching for all these negative things related to Hillary Clinton. Those [were] the most popular search terms.

So, we tried it on Google and we got, 'Hillary Clinton is winning, Hillary Clinton is awesome.' Now you check those phrases on Google trends and you find no one is searching for 'Hillary Clinton is awesome.' Nobody. Not one. But that's what they're showing you in their search suggestions.

That again got my research gears running. I started doing experiments because I said, 'Wait a minute, why would they do this? What is the point?'

Here's what I found in a series of experiments: Just by manipulating search suggestions, I could turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split — with no one having the slightest idea that they've been manipulated."

YouTube's Up Next Algorithm

YouTube, which is owned by Google, also has enormous influence on public opinion. According to Epstein, 70% of the videos people view on YouTube are suggested by Google's top secret Up Next algorithm, which recommends videos for you to view whenever you're watching a video.

Just like the search suggestions, this is a phenomenally effective ephemeral manipulation tool. There's no record of the videos recommended by the algorithm, yet it can take you down the proverbial rabbit hole by feeding you one video after another.

"There are documented cases now in which people have been converted to extreme Islam or to white supremacy, literally because they'd been pulled down a rabbit hole by a sequence of videos on YouTube," Epstein says.

"Think of that power. Again, it's not powerful for people who already have strong opinions. It's powerful for the people who don't, the people who are vulnerable, the people who are undecided or uncommitted. And that's a lot of people."

The Creepy Line

Most people now have Amazon Prime. If you are one of those who do, you can watch the following documentary for free on Prime. It is well worth your time to do so. Epstein and many other experts provide a very compelling overview of the dangers that we discuss in our interview. In my view, this is a must-watch and one to recommend to your friends and family.

A question Epstein raises is, "Who gave this private company, which is not accountable to any of us, the ability to determine what billions of people around the world will see or will not see?"

That is perhaps one of the biggest issues. Epstein and others attempt to answer this question in this documentary, "The Creepy Line," which is a direct quote from Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt.

"Traditional media have very serious constraints placed on them, but Google, which is far more penetrating and far more effective at influencing people, has none of these constraints," Epstein says.

"There are lots of good people in ['The Creepy Line'], lots of good data, and it explains my research very clearly, which is wonderful. It explains my research better than I explain my research. 'The Creepy Line' is available on iTunes and on Amazon. I think it costs $3 or $4 to watch … If you're an Amazon Prime Member it's free. It's an excellent film."

Google Runs a Total Surveillance State

In his article2 "Seven Simple Steps Toward Online Privacy," Epstein outlines his recommendations for protecting your privacy while surfing the web, most of which don't cost anything. You can access the article at: MySevenSimpleSteps.com

"My first sentence is 'I have not received a targeted ad on my computer or mobile phone since 2014.' Most people are shocked by that because they're bombarded with targeted ads constantly.

More and more people are telling me that they're just having a conversation with someone, so they're not even doing anything online per se, but their phone is nearby — or they're having a conversation in their home and they have Amazon Alexa or Google Home, these personal assistants — and the next thing they know they start getting targeted ads related to what they were talking about.

This is the surveillance problem … The point is that there are ways to use the internet, tablets and mobile phones, to preserve or protect your privacy, but almost no one does that. So, the fact is that we're now being surveilled 24/7, generally speaking, with no awareness that we're even being surveilled.

Maybe some people are aware that when they do searches on Google the search history is preserved forever … But it goes so far beyond that because now we're being surveilled through personal assistants, so that when we speak, we're being [surveilled].

It goes even beyond that, because a few years ago Google bought the Nest company, which makes a smart thermostat. After they bought the company, they put microphones into the smart thermostats, and the latest versions of the smart thermostats have microphones and cameras.

Google has been issued patents in recent years, which give them, basically, ownership rights over ways of analyzing sounds that are picked up by microphones in people's homes.

They can hook you up with dentists, they can hook you up with sex therapists, with mental health services, relationship coaches, et cetera. So, there's that. Location tracking has also gotten completely out of hand. We've learned in recent months that even when you disable location tracking … on your mobile phone, you're still being tracked."

This is one of the reasons I strongly recommend that you use a VPN on your cellphone and computer, as this will prevent virtually anyone from tracking and targeting you. There are many out there but I am using the one Epstein recommends, Nord VPN, which is only about $3 per month and you can use it on up to six devices. In my view, this is a must if you seek to preserve your privacy.

How Google Tracks You Even When You're Offline

You can learn a lot about a person by tracking their movements and whereabouts. Most of us are very naïve about these things. As explained by Epstein, location tracking technology has become incredibly sophisticated and aggressive.

Android cellphones, for example, which are a Google-owned operating system, can track you even when you're not connected to the internet, whether you have geo tracking enabled or not.

"It just gets creepier and creepier," Epstein says. "Let's say you pull out your SIM card. Let's say you disconnect from your mobile service provider, so you're absolutely isolated. You're not connected to the internet. Guess what? Your phone is still tracking everything you do on that phone and it's still tracking your location."

As soon as you reconnect to the internet, all that information stored in your phone is sent to Google. So, even though you may think you've just spent the day incognito, the moment you reconnect, every step you've made is shared (provided you had your phone with you).

In terms of online tracking, it's also important to realize that Google is tracking your movements online even if you're not using their products, because most websites use Google Analytics, which tracks everything you do on that website. And, you have no way of knowing whether a website uses Google Analytics or not.

Steps to Protect Your Online Privacy

To protect your privacy, Epstein recommends taking the following steps, seven of which are outlined in "Seven Simple Steps Toward Online Privacy." The last one, Fitbit, is a more recent concern.

Use a virtual private network (VPN) such as Nord, which is only about $3 per month and can be used on up to six devices. In my view, this is a must if you seek to preserve your privacy. Epstein explains:

"When you use your mobile phone, laptop or desktop in the usual way, your identity is very easy for Google and other companies to see. They can see it via your IP address, but more and more, there are much more sophisticated ways now that they know it's you. One is called browser fingerprinting.

This is something that is so disturbing. Basically, the kind of browser you have and the way you use your browser is like a fingerprint. You use your browser in a unique way, and just by the way you type, these companies now can instantly identify you.

Brave has some protection against a browser fingerprinting, but you really need to be using a VPN. What a VPN does is it routes whatever you're doing through some other computer somewhere else. It can be anywhere in the world, and there are hundreds of companies offering VPN services. The one I like the best right now is called Nord VPN.

You download the software, install it, just like you install any software. It's incredibly easy to use. You do not have to be a techie to use Nord, and it shows you a map of the world and you basically just click on a country.

The VPN basically makes it appear as though your computer is not your computer. It basically creates a kind of fake identity for you, and that's a good thing. Now, very often I will go through Nord's computers in the United States. Sometimes you have to do that, or you can't get certain things done. PayPal doesn't like you to be in a foreign country for example."

Nord, when used on your cellphone, will also mask your identity when using apps like Google Maps.

Do not use Gmail, as every email you write is permanently stored. It becomes part of your profile and is used to build digital models of you, which allows them to make predictions about your line of thinking and every want and desire.

Many other older email systems such as AOL and Yahoo are also being used as surveillance platforms in the same way as Gmail. ProtonMail.com, which uses end-to-end encryption, is a great alternative and the basic account is free.

Don't use Google's Chrome browser, as everything you do on there is surveilled, including keystrokes and every web page you've ever visited. Brave is a great alternative that takes privacy seriously.

Brave is also faster than Chrome, and suppresses ads. It's based on Chromium, the same software infrastructure that Chrome is based on, so you can easily transfer your extensions, favorites and bookmarks.

Don't use Google as your search engine, or any extension of Google, such as Bing or Yahoo, both of which draw search results from Google. The same goes for the iPhone's personal assistant Siri, which draws all of its answers from Google.

Alternative search engines suggested by Epstein include SwissCows and Qwant. He recommends avoiding StartPage, as it was recently bought by an aggressive online marketing company, which, like Google, depends on surveillance.

Don't use an Android cellphone, for all the reasons discussed earlier. Epstein uses a Blackberry, which is more secure than Android phones or the iPhone. Blackberry's upcoming model, the Key3, will be one of the most secure cellphones in the world, he says.

Don't use Google Home devices in your house or apartment. These devices record everything that occurs in your home, both speech and sounds such as brushing your teeth and boiling water, even when they appear to be inactive, and send that information back to Google. Android phones are also always listening and recording, as are Google's home thermostat Nest, and Amazon's Alexa.

Clear your cache and cookies. As Epstein explains in his article:3

"Companies and hackers of all sorts are constantly installing invasive computer code on your computers and mobile devices, mainly to keep an eye on you but sometimes for more nefarious purposes.

On a mobile device, you can clear out most of this garbage by going to the settings menu of your browser, selecting the 'privacy and security' option and then clicking on the icon that clears your cache and cookies.

With most laptop and desktop browsers, holding down three keys simultaneously — CTRL, SHIFT and DEL — takes you directly to the relevant menu; I use this technique multiple times a day without even thinking about it. You can also configure the Brave and Firefox browsers to erase your cache and cookies automatically every time you close your browser."

Don't use Fitbit, as it was recently purchased by Google and will provide them with all your physiological information and activity levels, in addition to everything else that Google already has on you.

Source: mercola rss

Not only do your teeth fill out your face and enable you to eat, they also help maintain the bone structure of your jaw. Your teeth are made of four types of tissue, but only the center, or pulp, is not hard. Inside the pulp are blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that provide nutrients to the tooth.1

The outside of the tooth is called the enamel, which has no way to reverse damage from wear and tear (decay) since it contains no living cells. Your gums are responsible for protecting your roots as well as teeth that have not yet come in. Consistent brushing helps reduce the risk of getting cavities, which permanently damage tooth enamel.

Symptoms of cavities will depend on the depth and location of the decay.2 You might experience spontaneous pain without any apparent cause or find you have sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and foods. Although the enamel is hard it may develop small, diffuse cracks that disperse the stress on the tooth and help prevent it from breaking.

Taking care of your teeth is important since periodontitis — gum disease — can lead to significant health problems and difficulty eating.

The Importance of Proper Teeth Brushing Technique

Tooth decay is almost as pervasive3 as the common cold, in terms of how many people are affected by it. As the bacteria in your mouth dissolve food, a sticky substance called plaque is formed on your teeth. This happens more often on the back molars just above the gum line.

When it's allowed to stay, plaque forms tartar that ultimately results in gingivitis and leads to periodontitis. Plaque begins forming on the teeth in as little as 20 minutes after you've taken your last bite of a meal. Using proper brushing techniques and caring for your teeth reduces your risk of painful cavities and the need for dental procedures.

Brushing removes the plaque and only takes a couple of minutes each day. The American Dental Association (ADA)4 warns against these common mistakes:

Brushing hard — Using too much pressure on your teeth doesn’t clean off more plaque, but instead may damage your enamel.

Not brushing long enough — The average person spends 45 seconds brushing their teeth, but to do a good job you should brush for two minutes. This may feel like a long time when you’re in a rush, but for healthy teeth and gums, slow down to achieve the best results.

Using a hard bristle brush — Look for a brush with soft bristles to avoid damage to your teeth and gums that may cause sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks.

Using your toothbrush too long — If you’re keeping your toothbrush longer than three or four months, then you’re keeping it too long. Put a reminder on your calendar and watch for worn down bristles that tell you it’s time to replace it.

Brushing immediately after a meal — While you might be tempted to brush right after you eat, it’s wise to wait 30 minutes.

Storing your toothbrush improperly — Your toothbrush should be stored upright and open to air so it can dry completely. When a toothbrush is kept in a closed container it offers the opportunity for bacterial growth.

Focus on your brushing technique to get the most positive effect. The ADA recommends holding your brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth and gum line. Move it in short strokes, using a gentle back and forth motion across one tooth at a time. To clean the backside of your upper teeth, hold the brush vertically and gently move it up and down.

Choose the Right Instruments

You have several options to help keep your teeth and gums clean. Many dentists recommend that their patients use electric toothbrushes for several reasons, including that many will brush longer with an electric toothbrush, which is small enough to get into hard-to-reach areas.

Researchers from the Cochrane Oral Health Group5 performed a review of the literature published in the years 1964 through 2011, including 56 studies with 5,068 participants. Most studies included adults who were offered the use of a power brush or manual toothbrush.

In more than half the studies, scientists found that the power brushes used a rotational action in which the brush rotated in one direction and then reversed. Their data supported the use of a power brush over a manual toothbrush as there was an 11% reduction in plaque in those using it over one to three months. After three months plaque reduced by 21%.

The participants also enjoyed a reduction in gingivitis, with a 6% reduction over one to three months and an 11% reduction at the end of three months. Any reported side effects were temporary and localized.

After a choice of brushing, you may also consider the addition of a water flosser, a device used to spray a powerful jet of water into your mouth. While many choose a water flosser over floss, your best option may be to learn how to use both.

Researchers enrolled 70 adults in a study designed to compare the effectiveness of using a water flosser to that of using floss in combination with a manual brush.6 Both groups were trained and watched while using the water flosser with a manual toothbrush, or floss and a manual brush. Those using the water flosser showed a 74.4% reduction in plaque throughout the mouth compared to 57.5% reduction in those who used floss.

They concluded that using “The Waterpik Water Flosser and manual toothbrush is significantly more effective than a manual brush and string floss in removing plaque from tooth surfaces.” However, while traveling it may not be practical to bring an electric water flosser, so being adept at using string floss is important.

Steer Clear of Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride has been added to water supplies in most cities and to many store-bought toothpaste brands. Your dentist may offer a fluoride treatment as an option to help stop cavities and tooth decay. However, scientific evidence demonstrates this is likely not effective and may be dangerous.

Data from 2017 indicate that unfortunately, cavity rates in children have continued to rise even though more than half are getting so much fluoride that their teeth are permanently discolored from the exposure.7

Swallowing fluoride, including that which comes from fluoridated tap water, is detrimental to health as it is a toxin that accumulates in tissue, changing your enzymes and producing serious neurological and endocrine dysfunction. Children are especially vulnerable.8

If you have young children at home, it’s recommended that you use non-fluoride toothpaste or teach children to use homemade toothpaste made with coconut oil. Since fluoride builds up over time, it’s a good idea to also use a non-fluoride toothpaste or coconut oil to clean your teeth and gums.

Research presented at the 2017 National Oral Health Conference showed that from 2011 to 2012, 57% of U.S. youth had dental fluorosis;9 this is a 37% increase over that reported from 1999 to 2004. Dental fluorosis is a condition in which the enamel becomes progressively discolored and mottled, usually caused by excessive fluoride in the water.

Analysis of the same data by the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) showed that 58.3% of adolescents had fluorosis: 21.2% were moderately affected and 2% had a severe form of the condition.10

Researchers have linked fluorosis in children with cognitive impairment; those with higher levels of fluorosis have more cavities. Results from some studies11 show that lower IQ scores may result from fluoride exposure and may co-occur with fluorosis.

Periodontal Disease May Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease

Research from the CDC shows that nearly half of all American adults ages 30 and older have periodontal disease.12 They estimate 47.2% have mild, moderate or severe forms of the disease. In those who are 65 or older, the rate increases to 70.1%.

The authors of several studies have produced data that links periodontal disease with heart disease. The studies have not demonstrated a cause-and-effect relationship but an association between gum disease and an increased risk of heart disease that may be related to an increase in inflammation.13

Those who have heart valve disease may be at higher risk when they also have periodontal disease because bacteria in the mouth can make its way through the body and infect the heart valves.14

Oil Pulling Is a Simple Strategy for a Healthy Mouth

One simple strategy for improving your oral health is incorporating oil pulling into your daily routine. The history of pulling dates back nearly 3,000 years, used in traditional Indian folk medicine to strengthen teeth and gums and prevent tooth decay, bad breath and bleeding gums.15

I have used pulling consistently since 2011 and find it is an effective method for mechanical cleaning among the small crevices where the bristles of the brush cannot reach. Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil is my choice for a couple of reasons. Researchers have demonstrated that pulling oil improves the saponification, or breakdown of bacterial membranes.16

Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid found to inhibit Streptococcus mutans, the primary bacteria responsible for cavities.17 It also offers a level of protection against yeast infections in the mouth, which occur more commonly if the immune system is compromised.

The process is easy to start. Coconut oil is solid below 76 degrees Fahrenheit (24.4 degrees Celsius) but quickly liquifies once it's in your mouth. Take between a teaspoon and tablespoon to start. Swish it around using your tongue and cheeks to pull it through your teeth. Try to relax your jaw muscles to avoid fatigue.

You do not want to gargle or swallow the oil that you've been pulling as it breaks down bacteria. Instead, if you feel the urge to swallow, spit it out in the garbage and begin again.

After about 20 minutes it begins to get thick and milky white. Spit this into the garbage can so it does not cause a blockage in the plumbing. This strategy increases the pH in your mouth, which can potentially reduce bacterial growth.

Source: mercola rss

Avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Rich in monounsaturated fat, fiber, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin E and carotenoids, they not only reduce hunger and fight obesity but also contain avocatin B, a molecule with cancer-fighting properties. Studies have found avocatin B fights acute myeloid leukemia by targeting leukemia stem cells.1

But a 2018 documentary, "Avocado — A Positive Superfood Trend?,"2 from the German public broadcast company DW, reveals a side to avocados that is underreported: environmental destruction. The super fruit that has become so popular in the last decades is a water hog.

Each avocado requires 70 liters (18.49 gallons) of water to produce compared to an average of 22 liters (5.8 gallons) to grow an orange and only 5 (1.32 gallons) to grow a tomato.3

In drought-prone areas like Chile’s Petorca province in the Valparaíso region, a three-hour drive north of the capital Santiago, such water requirements from large-scale avocado operations have caused environmental destruction and impoverished local farmers.

While many countries in the world have a love affair with the avocado, "Avocado — A Positive Superfood Trend?"4 shows an unethical and environmentally destructive side to the crop that may make you think long and hard about where your avocados come from.

Scarce Water From Chile Shipped to Europe as Avocados

Chile’s Petorca province in the Valparaíso region has always been a dry area. In fact, in the summer drought is so severe that a state of emergency is often declared.5 Still, until the mass growing of hundreds of hectares of avocados by rich exporters, poor farmers could still make a living raising their crops and keeping livestock. (One hectare is 2.47 acres.)

Only since huge avocado plantations invaded the Chilean region have the streams that poor farmers and rural people relied on for water dried up, forcing them to rely on trucked in water to survive, says the film.

How have rich avocado exporters diverted and sometimes unabashedly stolen the water from the poor people? They have done it in two ways, the film explains. First, Carlos Estevez, director of the Chilean Water Authority, admits that state-issued water licenses are essentially auctioned and "can be resold to whoever is offering the most money."

He adds that they are lifelong rights. Secondly, in addition to the state authorized auctioning of water rights, avocado tycoons divert water from illegal underground channels. At least 65 such underground channels were found by the Water Authority’s own report to siphon water from rivers to avocado plantations.6 But, when water thieves are caught, the penalties they receive are trifling, says the film.

To demonstrate the illegal practice, Rodrigo Mundaca, a water conservation activist who appears in the film, surreptitiously enters an area where one such illegal underground channel is located. A pipe can be seen directly flowing toward the avocado growers' lands. Mundaca throws a rock into the well it pulls from and it splashed as it hits the stolen water.

A Mayor and Activists Resist the Water Theft

Gustavo Valdenegro Rubillo, the mayor of Petorca, says the avocado industry settling in the area initially looked fortuitous but not for long:7

"When the big avocado firms appeared, starting around 2006, the 'green gold' they cultivated initially was seen as a potential boom for Petorca, the three-time mayor said. 'It was going to be the panacea. We were going to have a better life and better jobs,' he said ...

But residents in the region’s hard-scrabble towns said it is mainly the avocado producers who have grown richer, and that many of the jobs they have created are short-term employment, not the steady work locals had hoped for."

The mayor supports local water conservation activists but says his hands are tied when it comes to mediating with the massive avocado growers. In a meeting, he tells local Petorca citizens that he approached them and asked if they would be willing to share water in times of drought. They unequivocally said no; profits were their only interest.

Meanwhile, water conservation activists receive threats and, says Mundaca, they are called "ecoterrorists" and "revolutionaries." Veronica Vilches, president of the nonprofit San Jose Water Cooperative, which provides water to 1,000 people from a well close to the avocado growers, says her group has experienced government reprisals.

"It's because we resisted when they tried to force us to give our water to a private company," she says, adding, "Our water is for the people, the community."

Blight Exists Next to Booming Agriculture

The images of barren, drought-blighted land coexisting next to lush avocado farms in "Avocado — A Positive Superfood Trend?" is striking: An area where one stream once flowed is now desiccated land with a garbage dump.

In 2019, the agriculture ministry reported that 106,000 animals have died from lack of water and food and about 37,000 farmers are at risk from the drought.8 While the avocado farms bloom, surrounding areas are desolate, reports KCET:9

"As residents’ demands have not been met, many have been forced to rely on water brought to them in cistern trucks twice a week. Each individual has the right to 13 gallons per day, and according to Mundaca more than 60% of the population of Petorca relies on such deliveries – which are often dirty or heavily chlorinated.

Carolina Vilches, who manages the water resources division of Petorca’s municipal government, believes the answer lies in addressing the root of the issue rather than allaying it further with short-term measures: 'It is important to monitor water levels, democratize resource management and prioritize its uses.'"

Before the mega avocado farms, Zoila Quiroz, a farmer in the film, had 300 avocado trees, apple and apricot trees and enough water to raise cows and goats for milk and cheese. Now, her land is barren. With water trucked in twice a week, showering is a luxury in the summer and laundry can only be done once a month, she says.

Vilches agrees about the hardships. "People get sick because of the drought — we find ourselves having to choose between cooking and washing, going to the bathroom in holes in the ground or in plastic bags, while big agri-businesses earn more and more.”

In addition to the water abrogation, there are two other negative environmental effects of the avocado boom. Avocados are shipped in special air-conditioned containers, which take a further environmental toll. And, since consumers want ready-to-eat avocados, they are ripened in "huge temperature controlled warehouses that simulate the humidity and heat of their natural environment."

Images of row upon row of warehoused, ripening avocados show one of the pitfalls of the Chilean avocado industry — along with the fact that there’s nothing natural about growing hundreds of hectares of only one crop, a practice called monoculture.

Gourmet Heaven for the Instagram Generation

Avocados have gone from a very popular food that is also good for you to almost a cult. Sales have soared in Europe, the U.S. and China.10 Here is how Vice's Munchies describe the near obsession, especially among the young:11

"Is it possible to remember a time before full avocado saturation? From the piles of guac that crown our nachos to the toasts that crowd our Instagram feeds, the beguiling green fruit has become as ubiquitous on our grocery lists as eggs and milk.

Hell, people are even using avocados to hide engagement rings and propose to their partners — people we don’t know and wouldn’t willingly fraternize with, just to clarify."

There are now avocado-themed restaurants where all dishes include the popular fruit. One of the first, run by Dutch marketing experts, is found in Amsterdam, according to the film. "We didn't want to open another burger place or another pizza place," says Ron Simpson, owner of the new restaurant chain The Avocado Show.

"We are ready to develop the entire franchise formula" and many more restaurants are in the pipeline, he says. But one news outlet, the Independent, cautions against blaming a particular, in vogue, food or young people's eating habits for the environmental destruction seen with avocados:12

"The tone is reminiscent of a 2013 debate about quinoa, when reports surfaced that demand for quinoa was driving up prices in its native Andean region, raising concerns about whether poor Peruvians and Bolivians could afford to eat it.

‘Can vegans stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa?' demanded one indignant op-ed ... but the criticisms don’t always stand up to scrutiny. Studies later found the suggestion that rising quinoa prices were starving poor farmers was wrong."

Clearly, most of the fault lies with unethical agricultural practices.

Avocado Growers and Marketers Defend Their Business

When asked by filmmakers if his Petorca operations are causing water shortages among the poor, Matias Schmidt, one of Chile's biggest avocado exporters, says he doesn't know "to what extent" there really exists a water shortage. He also admits he has to drill down 120 meters (393.7 feet) into the ground to get water for his avocados.

Francisco Contardo-Sfeir, an avocado marketing manager, takes the denials a step further. The producers always strive to make sure there is plenty of water "left over," he says.

"For one, they save money if they use the least possible water per plantation and per tree." The myth that ethical practices are in food producers' interests so they will self-police is used with many egregious industries including animal-abusing concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

The film ends at a produce trade show in Germany. Ethical avocado buyers and traders like Jan Willem Verloop of Nature's Pride tell filmmakers that they avoid the fruits when they are sourced from Petorca because of the water issues.

But Chilean exporter Diego Torres from ProChile Germany, after claiming that all exports are sustainable and ethical, fumbles when asked by filmmakers about the sustainability of exporting avocados from Petorca. "I don't know about that," he says dismissively.

Avocado Problems in Another Country

Chile is not the only country where the growing of avocados has produced social upheaval and suffering. Episode 1, "The Avocado War," in season 2 of the Netflix series Rotten,13 shows how the success of avocado plantations in Mexico — the world's top grower — led to its infiltration by organized crime. Here is some history from a Canadian journalist:14

"For a long time, high tariffs kept Mexican avocados out of the United States. But with the passage of the free trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico in the early 1990s, avocados by the ton began pouring into American marketplace ...

... When a local drug cartel tried to muscle in on the trade, the Mexican government intervened, but ineffectively. Criminals forced farmers to establish protective self-defence forces, but the struggle continues and Michoacan is still considered a dangerous area. As a result, the U.S. State Department advises travelers to avoid it."

In the state of Michoacan, where 80% of Mexico’s avocados are produced, as many as four truckloads of avocados are stolen every day because cartels consider the fruit as lucrative as drugs, and invade into the trade.15 "The Avocado War" shows how avocado farmers have been forced to establish their own protective "police" forces to defend themselves against the cartels and reveals the efforts have not always been successful.

Locals often cannot tell who the "good” or “bad” guys are, as the difference between police and criminals blurs.16 It is sad to think such a healthful and delicious food can bring such suffering and environmental destruction. On a personal note, it’s important to keep your habits in line with what these informative documentaries are trying to tell you.

Further, when purchasing avocados, seek sources that are producing the fruit responsibly, and encourage your friends, family and local restaurants to do the same. You can even learn how to grow avocados in your own backyard.

Source: mercola rss

illustration of people

2019 was a landmark year for Young Living! We celebrated our 25th anniversary, sent essential oils into space with NASA, and donated nearly 12,000 acres of land. No biggie.

From zero-waste efforts to more than 20 corporate and partner farms, this infographic covers all Young Living’s exciting accomplishments in 2019. We are excited to see what happens in 2020!

2019’s memorable moments and milestones

Walk down memory lane with us—revisit 2018’s memorable moments and milestones.

What was your most memorable moment of 2019?

Tell us about it in the comments!

The post 2019 memorable moments and milestones appeared first on Young Living Blog.

Source: Young Living Blog