Until a few years ago, research had pointed to resveratrol's neuroprotective effects against Alzheimer's, but not against other types of dementia. However, a Chinese study with rats in 2013 found that resveratrol may also lower the risk for vascular dementia.1
Other studies since then not only support this research,2 but show that resveratrol also activates autophagy and inhibits neuronal apoptosis, and works to improve cognitive function.3 Even more promising, a human study just published in March 20204 showed that "regular consumption of resveratrol can enhance cognitive and cerebrovascular functions in postmenopausal women, with the potential to slow cognitive decline due to ageing and menopause."
Resveratrol is a natural phytoestrogen and antioxidant probably best known for its benefits in red wine and grapes, and may help protect your brain from neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's, while also minimizing their damage.5
In the featured studies, resveratrol improved learning and memory in rats and humans with vascular dementia by reducing oxidative stress in their brains. This form of dementia is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer's.6
Vascular dementia is caused by conditions that block or reduce cerebral blood flow, resulting in your brain cells being chronically deprived of oxygen and vital nutrients. Inadequate blood flow can damage and eventually kill cells anywhere in your body, and your brain is particularly vulnerable as it has one of the richest blood supplies.
When the blood vessels in your brain become obstructed, you can experience repeated "mini-strokes," which result in cumulative tissue damage. This leads to cognitive impairments that typically worsen over time.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, "A growing number of experts prefer the term 'vascular cognitive impairment' (VCI) to 'vascular dementia,' because they feel it better expresses the concept that vascular thinking changes can range from mild to severe."7
Resveratrol does much more than just protect your brain — it offers benefits for practically every system in your body. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties that are well established by science. The compound is produced by plants to increase their survival and resistance to disease during times of stress, such as excessive ultraviolet light, infections and climate changes.
When you consume these plants, they pass on these protections to you. Resveratrol is present in a number of plant foods, including but not limited to the following:
As of March 25, 2020, the National Institutes of Health's PubMed8 lists 621 articles showing the benefits of resveratrol. In addition to being neuroprotective, resveratrol can reverse oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, normalize your lipids, protect your heart, stabilize your insulin and fight several types of cancer, along with a host of other health benefits.9
Resveratrol is also unique in that it can make some cancers more vulnerable to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.10,11 Many tumors develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs, known as chemoresistance. Researchers are always on the lookout for effective "chemosensitizers" that can help overcome such resistance, and resveratrol has been shown to have that capability with certain chemicals and radiotherapy.
One of the special properties of resveratrol is its ability to cross your blood-brain barrier, which allows it to moderate inflammation in your central nervous system. This is significant because CNS inflammation plays an important role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases.
In a 2010 study,12 resveratrol was found to suppress inflammatory effects in certain brain cells (microglia and astrocytes) by inhibiting different proinflammatory cytokines and key signaling molecules. In a later study, scientists confirmed that the anti-inflammatory properties of resveratrol have neuroprotective effects.13
There is also solid scientific data that resveratrol helps clear out the plaque in your brain that leads to Alzheimer's disease. A study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry14 found resveratrol to exert "potent anti-amyloidogenic activity."
However, unlike Alzheimer's, vascular dementia is not a product of plaque formation, but instead results from impaired blood flow. As it turns out, resveratrol has also been shown to improve cerebral blood flow. A study in 2010 found that even one single dose of resveratrol can improve blood flow to your brain,15 which has obvious implications for vascular dementia and stroke. In a 2017 study, scientists said:16
" … resveratrol suppresses vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, promotes autophagy, and has been investigated in the context of vascular senescence. Pre-clinical models unambiguously demonstrated numerous vasculoprotective effects of resveratrol. In clinical trials, resveratrol moderately diminished systolic blood pressure in hypertensive patients, as well as blood glucose in patients with diabetes mellitus."
Its benefits may also be related to its ability to activate a particular gene, causing beneficial epigenetic effects.17
In 2013 researchers discovered that resveratrol may have antiaging benefits due to its ability to "mimic the beneficial effects of chronic and moderate calorie restriction."18 A 2017 demonstrated that resveratrol alleviates cardiac dysfunction by flipping on a gene that stimulates production of a protein called SIRT1, preventing disease by recharging your mitochondria.19
Interestingly, calorie restriction and resveratrol exert the same effect on the SIRT1 protein. People who intentionally keep themselves hungry by restricting their caloric intake or, preferably through fasting, seem to be flipping a "genetic survival switch."
In fact, calorie-restricted mice live longer and are healthier than nonrestricted mice,20,21 showing lower rates of age-related diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, arthritis and cognitive impairment.
A hungry life seems to lead to a longer life, for mice and for humans — at least that's the direction science seems to be pointing. Moreover, new research is showing that a ketogenic diet also extends longevity and good health22 — which is good news if you practice KetoFasting, where you practice a cyclical ketogenic diet and partial fasting.
The potential to capitalize on an antiaging drug is incredibly seductive to Big Pharma. After all, a "wonder drug" promising to add additional healthy years to your life would be a big seller. Not surprisingly, SIRT1 genetic studies done at Harvard led to the formation of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, whose primary function was to turn resveratrol into a patentable drug. In 2008, Sirtris was purchased by drug behemoth GlaxoSmithKline for $720 million.23
But, as Harvard Health reported a few years later, hopes for such a wonder drug longevity pill fell flat when patients in the clinical trial reported kidney damage.24 One problem was that the bioavailability of it in humans isn't all that great — "Most of it exits via your bladder," The New Republic explained.25 On top of that, even though several clinical trials were ongoing during that time, they were dropped one by one as "unexpected side effects" popped up.
In late 2019, one of those Harvard researchers, David Sinclair, reported that he's still searching for a resveratrol-based wonder drug.26 But buyers beware: Whenever you give your body a synthetic version of a natural agent, or an isolated agent, you rarely get good results, and you should expect the unexpected in terms of detrimental effects.
It's always better to consume food the way nature prepared it, with its full complement of naturally occurring, synergistic phytonutrients. Boosting your resveratrol intake would be better accomplished by consuming whole foods rich in that compound, such as grapes, berries and minimally processed raw cacao. If you choose to take a supplement, make sure it contains the whole food form.
And, Sinclair himself admits that, for now, that's the way he lives. He exercises, practices calorie restriction, avoids carbs and sugar and indulges in sauna bathing, he told Boston Wellness. He also takes vitamin D and vitamin K2 regularly.
So, remember, there is no "magic bullet" for living longer and healthier — it requires a multipronged approach. Wise lifestyle choices can't be replaced by a pill, although the drug industry never tires of making that promise.
Even overdoing natural supplements can backfire, such as taking excessive amounts of antioxidants. Your body needs some degree of oxidative stress for optimal function and adaptation. Vigorous exercise, for example, creates a high degree of oxidative stress, but without it, your body would not become stronger.
In other words, if the stress on your body were to be removed from exercise, so would the benefit. This is precisely what the University of Copenhagen27 discovered in a study involving older men taking resveratrol. According to Science Daily, researchers said:28
"We found that exercise training was highly effective in improving cardiovascular health parameters, but resveratrol supplementation attenuated the positive effects of training on several parameters including blood pressure, plasma lipid concentrations and maximal oxygen uptake."
This finding took researchers by surprise. They noted that the quantities of resveratrol given to the men in this study (250mg) were much higher than what they would have received from natural foods.
The take-away message is that antioxidants are not a fix for everything; it's more about finding balance. Focusing on a healthy diet that optimizes your insulin levels and minimizes inflammation will reduce your risk for all types of dementia, as well as heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic degenerative conditions, as they all share the same underlying causes.
The best approach to antioxidants is to consume a wide variety instead of large amounts of just one. These elements work together synergistically, all performing different roles in your body, similar to an orchestra performing a symphony: The music falls short if only one or two instruments are playing.
Resveratrol can be a powerful addition to your diet, but not without a solid nutritional foundation. The first step is making sure you're covering the basics, which is why I offer my complete nutrition plan. This comprehensive guide addresses the factors underlying all chronic degenerative diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and all types of dementia — including vascular dementia.
This plan is available to you, completely free of charge. For additional guidance about how to modify your diet for brain health, refer to my article and interview with neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter. Be sure you specifically address the following:
Avoid gluten and casein (primarily wheat and pasteurized dairy, but not dairy fat, such as butter)
Increase consumption of healthful fats, such as organic butter from raw milk, clarified butter called organic grass fed raw butter, olives, organic virgin olive oil and coconut oil, nuts like pecans and macadamia, free-range eggs, wild Alaskan salmon, and avocado
Keep your fasting insulin levels below 3 (following the nutrition plan will help you do this); if your fasting insulin level is above three, consider limiting or eliminating your intake of grains and sugars until you optimize your insulin level
Exercise regularly, including high-intensity interval training like the Peak Fitness Technique
Optimize your vitamin D levels with safe sun exposure
Optimize your gut flora by regularly consuming fermented foods or taking a high quality probiotics supplement
Consume enough high-quality animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil
Contrary to popular belief, the ideal fuel for your brain is not glucose but ketones, chemicals that your body mobilizes when you stop feeding it carbs and introduce coconut oil and other sources of healthy fats into your diet. A one-day fast can help your body to "reset" itself, and start to burn fat instead of sugar.
While the research supporting calorie restriction is compelling, it's not a very popular dietary strategy for most people, because many simply are not willing to deprive themselves of calories to the extent needed to achieve the therapeutic effects.
An alternative approach that is easier to implement is intermittent fasting, which can be as simple as restricting your daily eating to a narrower window of time, say six to eight hours (this equates to 16 to18 hours' worth of fasting each and every day).
Recent research suggests that sudden and intermittent calorie restriction appears to provide many of the same health benefits as constant calorie restriction, including extending lifespan and protecting against disease.
Unless you have a serious illness, I believe it's best for most people to implement intermittent fasting slowly, over the course of six to eight weeks. You begin by not eating for three hours before bed, and then gradually extend the time you eat breakfast until you have skipped breakfast entirely and your first meal of the day is at lunchtime.
And, as I mentioned earlier, you can also incorporate my KetoFasting plan for a healthy approach to calorie restriction.
Be sure that you are only consuming non-starchy vegetables for carbs, low to moderate protein and plenty of high-quality fats. Most people would benefit from upward of 50% to 70% of their daily calories in the form of fats.
One of the things I've noticed is that once you've shifted your metabolic engine from carb-burning to fat-burning, your desire for sugar and junk food will gradually or rapidly disappear. It typically takes a few weeks for this to occur, but once it does, you'll be easily able to fast for 18 hours without feeling hungry.
Source: mercola rss
1 Which of the following is currently the most effective way to protect yourself against coronavirus and prevent its spread?
2 The nationwide federally funded Electronic Health Records system captures the details of all your health care visits, medical diagnoses, drug prescriptions and vaccine records, and can be accessed by:
3 Which of the following disinfectants is thought to be the most effective against viral contaminants?
4 To dampen the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), governments around the world are recommending:
5 Which of the following strategies may be helpful in reducing your risk of coronavirus infection?
6 The data collected about you by Google, Facebook and other multinational tech companies is:
7 Which of the following strategies has been shown to effectively boost immune function and/or kill viruses outright, thus lowering your risk of infection such as COVID-19?
Source: mercola rss
The outbreak of the most recent iteration of coronavirus — COVID-19 — has experts scrambling to find effective methods of delivering supportive care and minimizing the effect of the illness. As Dr. Roger Seheult, co-founder of MedCram.com, explains in this short video, several factors have been responsible for the rapid spread.
One of the drugs currently under investigation is chloroquine, a treatment commonly used to keep malaria in check. Chloroquine is a synthetic derivative of quinine, which was once the only treatment for malaria. However, quinine is bitter and has significant side effects.1
Legend has it that to make it easier to drink, the British living in India mixed it with gin and lemon or lime.2 The British colonials grew to enjoy the taste, and soon afterward tonic water was granted a patent in 1858. Schweppes introduced tonic water in the U.S. nearly 100 years later and the gin and tonic has remained an integral part of British and American history.
However, while tonic water is flavored with quinine, it doesn't contain nearly as much as the medicine. Tonic water contains no more than 83 milligrams per 1-liter bottle (33.8 ounces), but the therapeutic dose of quinine is 500 mg to 1,000 mg.3
In remarks in a press briefing,4 President Trump said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved use of the malaria drug chloroquine — which is not the same as quinine — to treat coronavirus. However, on the same day the FDA5 released a statement saying they were only “investigating” the drug “to determine whether it can be used to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19.”
“Studies are underway to determine the efficacy in using chloroquine to treat COVID-19,” the statement continued, with FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn adding:
“At the same time, we will engage with domestic manufacturers to ramp up production of this product to mitigate any potential supply chain pressures. If clinical data suggests this product may be promising in treating COVID-19, we know there will be increased demand for it. We will take all steps to ensure chloroquine remains available for patients who take it to treat severe and life-threatening illnesses such as lupus.”
However, as one blogger website pointed out, “MDs can prescribe chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for Covid 19 right now. The FDA doesn’t and can’t regulate off-label prescriptions.”6 And, apparently, many doctors not only know that, but are taking advantage of that loophole, according to The New York Times:7
"None of the drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for that use. Some of them — including chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — are commonly used to treat malaria, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions …
‘I have multiple prescribers calling in prescriptions for Plaquenil for themselves and their family members as a precaution. Is this ethical?' one person wrote on Sunday in a Facebook group for pharmacists, referring to a brand name of hydroxychloroquine.”
Out of concern that doctors not only might be jumping the gun on whether the malaria drugs actually work for COVID-19, but also are denying patients who actually need it for chronic conditions like lupus and arthritis, state pharmacy boards are urging their members to restrict prescriptions for the drugs. Besides, these drugs also can have serious side effects, NPR notes:8
"Our members are definitely seeing more demand for this medication and possibly some people trying to hoard the medication," says Todd Brown, executive director of the Massachusetts Independent Pharmacists Association … Pharmacists are seeing an increase in requests and prescriptions for them in instances where it's not clear why the patient needs it at this time’ …
Brown is suggesting that pharmacists restrict prescription quantities and fill prescriptions only for patients with an active need for hydroxychloroquine … Michael Barnett, a primary care physician and assistant professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says that even if the drug turns out, from the clinical studies now in progress, to be effective against COVID-19, it must be saved for those most in need.
Barnett is sympathetic [to those who want to try everything they can to cure COVID-19], but he points out that this powerful medicine has serious side effects, so it should not be taken unless there's a known benefit.”
On a bizarre side note, another consumer warning made headlines after a husband and wife in their 60s decided to self-medicate with an aquarium cleaner that has a different form of chloroquine in it. Both were hospitalized within 30 minutes of ingesting the toxic substance, The Sacramento Bee reported;9 the husband later died.
The fish tank cleaner “has the same active ingredient as the drug chloroquine phosphate, which is used to treat malaria, but is formulated differently,” the medical director from a local poison control center explained. Unfortunately, at least three others made the same mistake in Nigeria, so it’s important to remember that you should not take any drug without your physician’s express direction.
Historically, there is strong evidence that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are effective in the lab against the SARS coronavirus that appeared in 2003.10,11,12 Laboratory testing also reveals chloroquine is effective in cell cultures against COVID-19 when combined with an antiviral drug, remdesivir.13 Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) uses the same pathway as chloroquine, but with a safer side effect profile.14
These and other results have prompted scientists to call for further research into the use of the antimalarial drugs to stem the tide of COVID-19 infection.15 Recently, results of a very small clinical trial using Plaquenil alone for the infection have been announced in China, but access to the data was not initially released to other scientists for review,16 and then when it was the data showed very little difference between the drug and the control group.17
Similar studies have been ongoing for several years. For example, in 2009,18 one study evaluated the use of chloroquine in human coronavirus subtype OC43, known to cause severe lower lung infections.19 The researchers used an animal model and found pretreatment demonstrated the drug was highly effective against this subtype. Interest in antimalarial drugs highlights a unique distribution of the virus.
As noted in a preliminary paper currently undergoing peer-review, “Global Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Malaria: An Epidemiological Paradox”:20
“From the analysis of distribution data, the endemic presence of malaria seems to protect some populations from COVID-19 outbreak, particularly in the least developed countries. Of note, the mechanism of action of some antimalarial drugs (e.g. antiviral function) suggests their potential role in the chemoprophylaxis of the epidemic.”
Malaria is caused by a parasite passed to humans by infected Anopheles mosquitoes. The World Health Organization’s African region21 experiences a large proportion of the burden, with 93% of all cases worldwide and 94% of deaths related to malaria.
When you consult the Johns Hopkins Medicine’s22 user-friendly, interactive map to track the outbreak worldwide, it’s apparent the only other large land mass with fewer cases than Africa is Russia23 — which is indeed intriguing, if nothing else.
In light of past results and current data, one clinical trial24 underway is enrolling 1,000 workers who have a higher potential to become infected based on their exposure. The University of Oxford is beginning the trial in May 2020 and anticipates closing it in May 2022.
The researchers are using a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study design to evaluate the use of chloroquine versus a placebo taken over three months or until they are diagnosed with COVID-19. The researchers are measuring the severity of respiratory illness and clinical outcomes.
One recently released study had encouraging results using hydroxychloroquine.25 Infection control specialist Dr. Didier Raoult from France enrolled 24 patients who had confirmed COVID-19. The patients received 600 mg of hydroxychloroquine each day and their viral load was monitored in a hospital setting.
Depending upon the clinical presentation, researchers added azithromycin to the treatment protocol. Patients from another hospital who refused the protocol were used as a negative control. The scientists concluded that despite the small sample size, the survey “shows that hydroxychloroquine treatment is significantly associated with viral load reduction/disappearance in COVID-19 patients and its effect is reinforced by azithromycin.”
Another physician shared his positive results using a similar protocol with a small group of patients.26 Dr. Vladimir Zelenko treats a close knit Jewish population of 35,000 in Kiryas Joel, Monroe, New York. Zelenko posted a video of himself addressing Trump about the treatment he’d developed, and asked Trump to use it nationwide.
He told radio host Sean Hannity that he’d had 100% success rate with patients by using hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc sulfate for five days. “I’ve seen remarkable results; it really prevents progression of disease, and patients get better,” he said.
In response, county health officials said it was “unsubstantiated” and “highly irresponsible” for Zelenko to apply his patients’ outcomes to the entire community, and urged residents to listen to public health officials and continue with recommended social distancing and other prevention methods.27
Chloroquine raises the pH of vesicles in the cells that are hijacked by the virus. The normally slightly acidic environment facilitates the viral infection. Jeremy Rossman at the University of Kent expects positive lab results, but notes28 “there’s often a huge gap between how it works in the lab cells and how it works in the body.” One gap includes the potentially deadly side effects.
While results are hopeful, it is important to note, as Seheult points out, both drugs have the side effect of elongating your QT wave in an electrocardiogram. This means the electrical activity in the heart is altered. The most common symptoms of the condition are seizure, fainting and sudden death.29
These side effects are not minimal. Just two days after China issued a treatment guideline to use chloroquine, it sent a warning to closely monitor adverse side effects and limit use to those without heart, liver or kidney disease and those who are not taking antibiotics such as azithromycin or prescribed steroids.30
Although malaria and coronavirus don’t appear to have much in common, the drug is effective against malaria and may reduce the symptoms of coronavirus. Seheult explains a potential mechanism:31
“When the coronavirus infects your cell it's going to dump into your cell a messenger RNA that's going to be translated using ribosomes. Those ribosomes, the first thing they are going to do is translate that RNA molecule into a protein called RNA dependent RNA polymerase, or replicase. And, it is this enzyme that is … inhibited by high intracellular concentrations of zinc.
Well, as it turns out, chloroquine is a zinc ionophore, as is hydroxychloroquine. Zinc ionophore is just basically a protein or a gate that allows zinc to come into the cells. We don't know if that is the actual way it is working in this case, but it does seem to lend credence to the mechanism of action that zinc does inhibit replicase and that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine increase the intracellular concentration of zinc.”
Evidence shows zinc gluconate and zinc acetate effectively reduce the severity and duration of viral infections. Zinc is crucial to the effectiveness of your immune system, enzyme function, protein synthesis and cell division. Studies demonstrate using zinc lozenges reduces the duration of a cold by 33% and lessens the severity of your symptoms.32
Zinc is a necessary component of zinc finger antiviral proteins shown to33 "inhibit the replication of certain viruses by repressing the translation and promoting the degradation of the viral mRNAs." This activity demonstrates a similar inhibition against influenza A virus.34
However, not all zinc products yield the same results. When the lozenge contains more than zinc, it may interfere with the process. Multiple ingredients have a way of interacting with each other, even when they are safe and effective when used on their own.
For instance, there is evidence citric acid, mannitol and sorbitol bind with zinc and reduce your absorption. For more on how to use zinc during a cold or flu see "When Should You Take Zinc to Shorten Your Cold?"
Currently embroiled in litigation35,36 over the manufacture and distribution of their herbicide Roundup, Bayer announced it would donate 3 million tablets of chloroquine phosphate (Resochin), a drug the company discovered in 1934.37
Resochin is used for malaria prevention and treatment in Europe38 but hasn’t been approved for use by the FDA. This donation to the medical effort to diminish the effects of COVID-19 may offer Bayer a path to drug approval in the U.S.
However, while the offer has garnered media attention and the company may hope it softens public opinion, the drug is chloroquine-based, as opposed to the current FDA approved drug Plaquenil,39 which uses the better tolerated hydroxychloroquine.
In the featured video, Seheult describes the results of a study published in Science in March 2020.40 The researchers used a mathematical model to determine how the disease spread before and after the travel ban in China went into effect January 23, 2020.
They found 86% of people were undiagnosed on that date, which means they didn't get tested for the virus, so they didn't know they had it. The authors of the study point out that those who are undiagnosed often have mild or no symptoms of a viral infection and thus are unaware of the need to be tested.
The mathematical model used in the study revealed these undocumented cases were responsible for 79% of all documented cases in China. This meant if the undocumented cases of COVID-19 had been identified, the number of known infections would have dropped by 79%, and as Seheult describes, the number infected in Wuhan would have dropped by 66%.
According to the researchers, those who were undiagnosed, with mild to no symptoms, were 55% as contagious as those with symptoms. However, the sheer number of undiagnosed cases contributed to the rapid spread of the virus through China. The researchers wrote:41
“Our findings also indicate that a radical increase in the identification and isolation of currently undocumented infections would be needed to fully control SARS-CoV2. Increased news coverage and awareness of the virus in the general population have already likely prompted increased rates of seeking medical care for respiratory symptoms.”
As the researchers point out, it takes a combination of identification using thorough testing strategies and subsequent isolation of those who have the virus to fully contain and control the spread.
However, while public knowledge of the first cases in China occurred on December 31, 2019,42 it wasn’t until February 3, 2020, that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention43 announced the development of a laboratory test kit available in the U.S.
Once the genetic sequence was available for COVID-19 in January, German researchers quickly developed a PCR test for the virus. The New York Times44 reported the initial test kits developed by the CDC were flawed and testing snafus were the result of policy makers, not science. The Verge reported:45
“That test became the basis for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) test used in countries around the world, including South Korea, but which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declined to use.
PCR tests are, in theory, fairly simple to create: scientists pick snippets of the virus’s gene and use a series of chemicals to look for that gene snippet in the sample. If they find the snippet, it means the patient has the virus.”
South Korea is one country that took rapid action on two fronts. As Seheult mentions at the end of the video, the country began using the antimalarial drug early. Data collected by Johns Hopkins Medicine46 show that while South Korea is in the top 10 countries with the virus, the number who have died are near the numbers commonly attributed to flu — 1.16% as of March 22, 2020.
As Science Magazine reports,47 all of this has been accomplished without massive citywide lockdowns. Instead, the country instituted necessary populationwide testing with extensive efforts to trace contacts so those carrying the virus or who had been exposed were quarantined to isolate the virus.
In all, by March 17, 2020, South Korea had "tested more than 270,000 people, which amounts to more than 5,200 tests per million inhabitants … The United States [had] so far carried out 74 tests per 1 million inhabitants, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show."48
In Italy the spread of the virus had different results. The reports of illness and death have shocked the world, driving fear that the same infection rate and mortality will spread worldwide. However, it’s important to note that situations between countries differ. Where South Korea began volume testing to isolate asymptomatic people and treatment in January, Italy struggled with political arguments.49
One Italian town undertook populationwide testing and has reportedly been able to contain the outbreak in their town. These results underscore the recommendations of researchers to identify and isolate those infected. A professor of clinical immunology at the University of Florence commented in a letter to authorities:50
“The percentage of infected people, even if asymptomatic, in the population is very high. The isolation of asymptomatics is essential to be able to control the spread of the virus and the severity of the disease.”
The second part of the equation in Italy is related to the higher rate of death than most other countries. This increased rate has also been identified during flu season,51 as Italy’s mortality attributed to the flu is higher than other European countries, especially in the senior population.
Wired52 reveals 23% of the Italian population are seniors, as compared to 16% in the U.S. Italian young people also tend to maintain close relationships with the elderly, increasing the risk that an asymptomatic young person could spread the virus to a senior. The scientists involved in the recent research evaluating the spread of the virus concluded:53
“The 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza virus also caused many mild cases, quickly spread globally, and eventually became endemic. Presently, there are four, endemic, coronavirus strains currently circulating in human populations (229E, HKU1, NL63, OC43). If the novel coronavirus follows the pattern of 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza, it will also spread globally and become a fifth endemic coronavirus within the human population.”
As this story unfolds, I am committed to bringing you viable prevention and treatment options you can use at home. A recently published article54 by Mark McCarty and James DiNicolantonio, PharmD, proposes there are nutraceuticals that may help reduce symptoms and severity of influenza and coronaviruses.55 According to the authors, these viruses:
"… cause an inflammatory storm in the lungs and it is this inflammatory storm that leads to acute respiratory distress, organ failure, and death. Certain nutraceuticals may help to reduce the inflammation in the lungs from RNA viruses and others may also help boost type 1 interferon response to these viruses, which is the body's primary way to help create antiviral antibodies to fight off viral infections."
From the conclusions of several randomized clinical studies, DiNicolantonio and McCarty believe the antiviral effects of some nutraceuticals are quite clear, and hope these benefits will encourage further research to test this strategy.
You'll discover how some cost-effective supplements may reduce the severity and duration of your symptoms of colds, flu or COVID-19 in "Quercetin and Vitamin D — Allies Against Coronavirus?"
Remember to stay away from others when you are sick to avoid spreading any virus you may be carrying, and to seek medical attention as you would if you were sick with a bad flu. Difficulty breathing is a clear indicator that medical attention may be required. This is particularly true if you are pregnant, have a weakened immune system or a chronic medical condition that may place you in a higher risk category for severe COVID-19 infection.56
Source: mercola rss
In this interview, repeat guest Dr. Andrew Saul, editor-in-chief of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, reviews what we currently know about vitamin C (ascorbic acid) for the prevention and treatment of novel coronavirus COVID-19.
As noted by Saul, much of the information about vitamin C for the coronavirus is currently coming out of China. Meanwhile, in the U.S., a lot of nutritional advice is being censored and tagged as “fake news.”
At the time of this interview, March 17, 2020, COVID-19 has triggered mass hysteria — in the United States at least. Countries around the world, including the U.S., are also quarantining, closing down borders, implementing curfews and generally recommending or enforcing isolation of the populace.
But this is all for the most part a preventive strategy. Are people infected? Yes. Are people dying? Yes. But we’re talking about deaths in the thousands, not hundreds of thousands or millions, as in pandemics of the past (think the 1918 flu pandemic, for example, which killed tens of millions around the world).
I've spent hours each day for the past few weeks reading articles and listening to podcasts about the pandemic, and what hardly is ever mentioned — other than a tiny blurb — is that a massive part of the equation is the need for testing. Testing is the central core of a strategy aimed at flattening the curve, i.e., preventing or slowing the spread of the virus.
Why? Because testing would give you a more accurate account of how many are actually infected. At present, mortality rates simply aren’t accurate, and may appear far more severe than they are. We’re being told what the mortality rate is based only on confirmed or suspected cases.
When I interviewed Francis Boyle — whose background includes an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, a juris doctor (lawyer) degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. in political science — he said the mortality rate could be as high as 17%, whereas conventional estimates now say it’s between 2% and 3%.
I believe all of these are wrong, and probably wrong by two or three orders of magnitude. The reason I say this is because there are a limited number of tests and very few people have been tested.
Hundreds of millions of tests are needed to get a real idea of how many people are infected, which would then give us a better understanding of the mortality rate, meaning how many of those who get infected actually die. At present, they’re only testing those who present symptoms, which automatically skews the mortality statistics, giving us a falsely elevated mortality rate.
As noted by Saul, “We may have a very large number of people … that are carrying the COVID-19 virus and having no symptoms whatsoever. And I would argue that if they eat right and take their vitamins, that's going to stop it from spreading.”
There is not even a micro doubt in my mind that, by the time everything is said and done, more people will have died from car accidents than will die from COVID-19 in the U.S. this year.
In my view, the media have presented a shockingly distorted view of this pandemic, creating unnecessary fear. The entire world is now rapidly heading toward economic collapse, and the question is why, seeing how the death toll doesn’t seem to warrant it.
More than likely, we’ll end up with a COVID-19 vaccine that will be added to the list of mandated annual inoculations. The problem with that is that even if the vaccine works well, it will only confer limited immunity to a virus that's going to mutate anyway. Developing natural immunity is far more ideal. As noted by Saul:
“When you have natural exposure, whether you get sick or you don’t, you have not only immunity to that [viral strain], but you have an applicable broad immunity to more viruses in general. There's nothing like being sick to keep you from getting sick, which sounds a little bit weird but that's the way the human body works.
When we were children we got measles, mumps, chicken pox — you name it, we got it. We were home for two weeks, we watched daytime TV, we went back to school and we have lifetime immunity …
The fact of the matter is that natural immunity really does protect you very well, and your own immune system is the only way you fight any virus. And, the way to make your immune system strong is not, unfortunately, by vaccinating or taking a drug.”
The reason for why recovering from infection confers lifelong immunity while vaccination does not has to do with the fact that your immune system has two branches — the cellular (T-cells) and the humoral (B-cells) — and both need to be activated for long-term immunity to be secured.
When you get a vaccine, you only stimulate your humoral immunity, the B-cells. The T-cells are not stimulated. So, scary as it may sound, the best thing is to get the infection, and have a strong immune system to defend against it so you won’t even display any symptoms.
While COVID-19 is a very nasty virus that can do a lot of damage, most people, and I’m thinking probably more than 98% of infected people, will not die or suffer long-term damage from it.
“I agree with that,” Saul says, “because we're automatically going to be exposed to it and a lot of people aren't going to show symptoms. Some people will have a light case; in fact quite a few people who get it will have a very light case … The danger is the escalation to SARS and pneumonia, and this is the biggest threat for immune-compromised people and the elderly. This is where we have the fatalities; this is the biggest concern.”
With everything that’s currently happening, and media increasing readership and profits by blowing things out of proportion, it’s very easy, even rational, to be afraid and anxious, which will dysregulate your autonomic nervous system.
A simple technique that can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, thus calming you down, is the Neuro-Emotional Technique’s First Aid Stress Tool, or NET FAST, demonstrated in the video above. Firstaidstresstool.com also provides an excellent printable summary with visuals of the technique,1 which even a young child can do. Here is a summary of the FAST procedure:
Saul offers another free and simple stress-reducing technique he learned from a Native American. Simply go out, sit on the ground and lean against a pine tree.
For now, the only real defense against COVID-19 is your own immune system. There’s no vaccine, and even if one is fast-tracked, there would be cause for caution, as we’d have no proof of effectiveness or safety.
“Your immune system is infinitely adaptable. This is how nature made us,” Saul notes. “However, your immune system works better when it's fed right.” While changing your diet is a more long-term solution, a rapid-response strategy would be to use vitamin C.
“Vitamin C is going to strengthen your immune system. This is in every nutrition textbook ever written, so we start with that,” Saul says. “The RDA in the United States is about 90 milligrams; in Korea and China it's 100 mg; in the United Kingdom it's a miserable 40 mg a day and we are sometimes not even getting that.
Studies have shown that even 200 mg of vitamin C a day will reduce the death rate in elderly people with severe pneumonia by 80%. Studies have shown babies with pneumonia, when they get 200 milligrams of vitamin C — the adult equivalent of about 2,000 to 3,000 mg — they have an improvement in their oxygen levels in less than a day. The mortality goes down and the duration and severity of the illness is less.
Now, it is not coronavirus per se that actually kills people, it is the pneumonia and the SARS, the severe acute respiratory syndrome, that can follow it. Most people that get coronavirus will have a mild case; some will have the virus and not have any symptoms at all. We don't even know how many those people are because they have no symptoms.
Those who get COVID-19 that actually are sick are going to have the flu and it's going to be a nasty flu — it's going to be miserable. People will be sick for a week or two. The people at risk of dying tend to be the elderly and those that are immune-compromised.
The media sort of skirts around this but this is where we have to start because the fear is based on dying. And when we have even a small amount of vitamin C, our risk of dying — even in the most severe cases — goes down.
It is pneumonia and SARS that kills people and vitamin C has been known to be effective against viral pneumonia since the 1940s when Dr. Frederick Robert Klenner published a series of papers and was able to reverse viral pneumonia in 72 hours. Now, Klenner was a board-certified chest physician. He was a specialist and he published over 20 papers on this. The media has been silent on this therapy.”
More recently, Dr. Paul Marik has shown a protocol of intravenous (IV) vitamin C with hydrocortisone and thiamine (vitamin B1) dramatically improves survival rates in patients with sepsis. Since sepsis is one of the reasons people die from COVID-19 infection, Marik’s vitamin C protocol may go a long way toward saving people’s lives in this pandemic.
That protocol calls for 1,500 mg of ascorbic acid every six hours, and appears radically effective. However, I would recommend taking even higher doses using liposomal vitamin C if you’re taking it orally. Liposomal vitamin C will allow you to take much higher dosages without getting loose stools.
You can take up to 100 grams of liposomal vitamin C without problems and get really high blood levels, equivalent to or higher than intravenous vitamin C. I view that as an acute treatment, however.
I discourage people from taking mega doses of vitamin C on a regular basis if they’re not actually sick, because it is essentially a drug — or at least it works like one. Saul adds:
“What I suggest, and have for some 44 years of professional life, is to take enough vitamin C to be symptom free, and when you're well, that isn't very much. I knew one lady who would take 500 mg of vitamin C a day and she was just fine. [Another person] with multiple chemical sensitivity, she needed 35,000 mg a day. Any less and she wasn't fine …
And, while we're [on this topic], a nice little charitable uplifting note is that Dutch State Mines or DSM of the Netherlands has donated 50 tons of vitamin C to [the city of] Wuhan [in China] — 106 million vitamin C tablets. And in China they are running three studies on using high-dose vitamin C as therapy, focusing primarily on people in intensive care.
I'm in contact with Dr. Richard Chang. Chang is a Chinese American physician … He was in Shanghai for Chinese New Year visiting his family when all of this exploded.
So, Chang has stayed in China and has been talking to hospitals and Chinese physicians who are showing tremendous interest in using vitamin C as prevention and cure. He’s been so effective that the government of Shanghai has issued official recommendations that vitamin C should be used for treating COVID-19.
They are testing up to 24,000 mg a day by IV. Some of us think that's a little on the low side for people that are in the ICU. I would like to see 50,000 mg a day and there is a doctor … who has used 50,000 mg [on] quite a few people and we're getting more reports as we go.
The updates will be at my Facebook page, The MegaVitamin Man. As they come in I put them up there. We can't get this into the mainstream media quite yet, but it's probably going to break and possibly by the time this report airs, it'll be all over the U.S media. Editor’s note: The New York Post, the fourth-largest newspaper2 in the U.S., broke this news March 24, 2020.3
I would like to see that, but real doctors are using vitamin C right now. They're also doing it in Korea. Right in the center of the outbreak in Korea we're in contact with a doctor who has a small hospital and he has given a single shot of vitamin D — a big shot of about 100,000 units to each patient and every staff member — and also about 20 to 24 grams (24,000 mg) of vitamin C by IV. And he's reporting that these people are getting well in a matter of days.”
The Chinese researchers are also using other traditional Chinese medicines in addition to vitamin C, as well as conventional treatments you would expect to be done for anyone having breathing issues or pneumonia.
For more information, Saul suggests perusing the Shanghai government's website using an online translator (as the website is in Chinese). You can find pertinent web links on the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service website,4 which has published 12 reports on various research findings in the past six weeks.
“We're constantly updating and we have references to the literature and also links to the studies in China, and the names of the doctors doing this. If you go to my website, doctoryourself.com, you can click over and sign up for a free subscription to the peer-reviewed, noncommercial Orthomolecular Medicine News Service ...
We even have the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service releases on this available now in French and Italian … and German, and some are now available in Korean and Chinese and Japanese. It’s also available in Spanish. So, this information is worldwide and it's been everywhere except on the United States television set,” Saul says.
According to Saul, vitamin C at extremely high doses is an antiviral, it actually kills viruses, but to get that amount, you typically need an IV. So, just how does it kill viruses? Some believe vitamin C’s antiviral potential is the result of its anti-inflammatory activity.
Inflammation contributes to the massive cytokine cascade that can ultimately be lethal. However, that’s not the whole story. Saul explains:
“Dr. Robert Fulton Cathcart, a physician in California, is much more knowledgeable about this than I ever will be, so I always go to him. And Cathcart wrote in his papers — a number of which I have at doctoryourself.com so people can read them — [that] vitamin C is a non-rate-limited free radical scavenger …
He and Dr. Thomas E. Levy also emphasize … that vitamin C is donating electrons and reducing free radicals, and this is primarily what's going on. Now, there are exceptions to that. When vitamin C gets into a cancer cell, it actually acts as if it were a pro-oxidant and that's because of the Fenton reaction. Checked; it is.
And vitamin C will kill a cancer cell because cancer cells are different. They absorb vitamin C because it's very similar to glucose, it's almost the same size … With viruses, it's the same idea. Cathcart’s view is that you simply push in vitamin C to provide the electrons to reduce the free radicals, and this is the way Cathcart and Levy look at vitamin C's function (at very high doses) as an antiviral.
At modest doses, normal supplemental doses … vitamin C strengthens the immune system because the white blood cells need it to work. White blood cells carry around in them a lot of vitamin C … So, vitamin C is very well-known to directly beef up the immune system through the white blood cells.”
Personally, I don’t think this is the whole story, either, as vitamin C is a relatively weak electron donor. I’ll be interviewing Levy about this shortly. But, in my view, the top electron donor of the body is NADPH.
So, boosting your NAD+ and NADPH levels is really important for health, as is inhibiting NADH oxidase (known as NOX). You can learn more about this in “Glycine Quells Oxidative Damage by Inhibiting NOX and Boosting NADPH.”
NOX is what the enzyme in your lysosomes inside your white blood cells use to generate chemicals that actually kill viruses and bacteria. In the process, NADPH is being used up, so while inhibiting NOX is useful, increasing NADPH is key.
If you have a genetic disorder known as G6PD deficiency, it means the pathway your body uses to make NADPH is impaired and, in this case, you have to be careful taking high-dose vitamin C.
“At the Riordan Clinic, founded by Dr. Hugh Riordan, one of my mentors some years ago, they do screen for this,” Saul says.
“And the Riordan clinic has actually said in their protocol — which I have in its entirely as a free download at doctoryourself.com, that People who have G6PD [deficiency syndrome] can take some vitamin C, and they have had safe success at around 15,000 mg a day. Dr. Suzanne Humphries, a nephrologist and internist, has also said that for short periods of time it's not an issue.”
Another crucial nutrient that may be even more important than vitamin C is vitamin D. The required dosage will vary from person to person here as well, and largely has to do with how much sun exposure you get on a regular basis.
I’ve not taken oral vitamin D for over a decade, yet my level is right around 70 nanograms per milliliter, thanks to daily walks in the sun wearing nothing but a hat and shorts. So, the best way to determine your personal dosage is to get tested and to take whatever dosage you need to maintain a vitamin D level between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL year-round.
In the video above, pulmonologist Dr. Roger Seheult discusses the importance of vitamin D for the prevention of COVID-19. While there are no clinical trials investigating vitamin D for coronavirus specifically, there’s plenty of data showing it’s an important component in the prevention and treatment of influenza5 and upper respiratory tract infections.6
As noted by Seheult, while vitamin D does not appear to have a direct effect on the virus itself, it strengthens immune function, thus allowing the host body to combat the virus more effectively.7 It also suppresses inflammatory processes. Taken together, this might make vitamin D quite useful against COVID-19.
As explained by Seheult, robust immune function is required for your body to combat the virus, but an overactivated immune system is also responsible for the cytokine storm we see in COVID-19 infection that can lead to death.
“What we want is a smart immune system — an immune system that takes care of the virus but doesn’t put us into an inflammatory condition that could put us on a ventilator,” Seheult says.
He goes on to cite research8 published in 2017 — a meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials — which confirmed that vitamin D supplementation helps protect against acute respiratory infections.
Studies have also shown there’s an apparent association between low vitamin D levels and susceptibility to viral infections such as influenza. In one GrassrootsHealth analysis,9 those with a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/mL reduced their risk of colds by 15% and flu by 41%, compared to those with a level below 20 ng/mL.
Magnesium is another important immune booster. In addition to taking oral magnesium or eating lots of vegetables that contain it, another way to increase your magnesium level is to take Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths.
“This is a wonderful way to relax,” Saul says. “At the end of the day, have a nice hot Epsom salts bath. You do get absorption through the skin. Plus, it feels good, calms you down, it's inexpensive, and no one can tell you that you're going to overdose on Epsom salt [through bathing] … So, an Epsom salts bath is a very pleasant way to get some magnesium.”
Yet another little-known way to get magnesium is through molecular hydrogen tablets. The tablets contain metallic magnesium and when you put them in water, they dissociate into ionic elemental magnesium and form molecular hydrogen gas (which you then drink).
You can get about 80 mg of ionic elemental magnesium from each tablet, which is a considerable amount. For comparison, taking 400 mg of an oral magnesium supplement might only give you 40 mg due to their poor absorption. Magnesium oxide has the lowest absorption rate at only 5% or so, which is why Saul recommends avoiding this form of magnesium.
Chances are, you know zinc lozenges are recommended when you have a cold or sore throat.
“Just last night — again, this is the 17th of March — CBS Evening News in Chicago, Illinois, had a short segment on nutritional prevention of coronavirus, recommending you take vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc. So, we have finally, after seven weeks, gotten past the accusation of false information and fake news, and now it is on CBS.”
Remarkably, prominent physicians have been paraded in the media saying it's impossible to strengthen your immune system to beat this virus. It’s hard to fathom this kind of ignorance still pervades our medical system — and that they can get away with criticizing people who offer proof to the contrary.
Aside from nutrients, if you own a sauna, now’s the time to put it to regular use. By increasing your core body temperature, which is what happens when you have a fever, your body becomes more efficient at killing pathogens.
So, by taking a daily sauna, you can preventatively treat any lingering pathogens in your system. That’s a very useful strategy and something I do pretty much every day I am home. Saul agrees, saying:
“Nearly 100 years ago, Jethro Kloss, who wrote ‘Back to Eden,’ one of the early health nut books, recommended artificial fevers. They would bundle people up and put them in a hot bath … because fever can be that beneficial.
Or you can do what the native Americans did and do … a sweat lodge, kind of the genuine American version of a sauna. Just one suggestion. When you pick the rocks that you're going to superheat, make sure they are all igneous rocks and not sedimentary rocks, because if they have the layered sediment, they will explode, and that is bad!
So, make sure you have volcanic rocks, igneous rocks … they glow a nice red. It takes a long time to get the glow going, but then it lasts a long time as well. And while they are heating, you can build the lodge. This is a group activity. You're going to need help to build the lodge.”
If you’re in the market for an electric sauna, do your research, as many (if not most) emit very high electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Unfortunately, many advertised as low-EMF saunas still have high magnetic fields, which are just as bad.
I agree with Saul when he says “We have to get the word out to people that prevention is working; vitamin C is working and we haven't heard about it.” For example, in Korea, where the death rate for the COVID-19 virus is below 1%, they’ve disseminated information about vitamin C.
So, part of your preventive measures is to educate yourself about simple measures you can take from the comfort of your own home. Resources where you can find more information include Saul’s website, doctoryourself.com, which is free, noncommercial and peer-reviewed.
“It's been up for 21 years now,” Saul says. “Doctoryourself.com has a very good search engine and it is not a Google search engine. You can use it as a site search and find whatever you're looking for. Without even scrolling down, the screen will show you a series of articles on COVID-19 — nutritional protocols with references to the doctors and the parts of the world where this is being used successfully right now.
You can also go to Andrewsaul.com which is my commercial site. That's where I have my tuition-based courses that I offer, called the Megavitamin Formula Course. And you can go to the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service … and sign up free of charge.
This is peer-reviewed, and I'm happy to say that Dr. Mercola is a member of our 42-member editorial review board. So, when I say peer-reviewed, we really mean it and I love having association with doctors who use, recommend and live good nutrition.
For the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 situation and nutritional therapies, see my Facebook page. But that will not come to you because it's restricted by Facebook, so you have to go to The Megavitamin Man or my name on Facebook. We have updates several times a day.”
Source: mercola rss
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that is predicted to affect 930,000 people by the end of 2020 and 1.2 million by 2030.1 The disease triggers tremors, slowing movements, balance problems and rigidity. There is no known cause or cure and the first line of treatment usually involves drugs that don't slow the associated neurodegeneration.2
About 60,000 are diagnosed in the U.S. each year and to date there are more than 10 million with the disease worldwide.3 The Parkinson's Foundation Prevalence Project also finds men are more likely to be diagnosed than women and the number who develop PD rises with age, regardless of gender.
Researchers have found that being around any number of toxins may increase the risk by 80% in some cases.4 Pesticides are an example; exposure can result in mitochondrial dysfunction that may be responsible for some of the damage. As noted in Environmental Health Perspectives:5
"In experimental models, the pesticides paraquat, which causes oxidative stress, and rotenone, which inhibits mitochondrial complex I, both induce loss of nigral dopaminergic neurons and behavioral changes associated with human PD."
People with a genetic mutation in the synuclein gene, associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's, may be more susceptible to the damaging effects of pesticides. Misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins may cause nerve cell damage leading to dead brain matter called Lewy bodies.6
These are associated with the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, including problems with movement and speech. As you can imagine, PD affects the quality of life.
Unfortunately, depression is common in patients with PD; this influences functional disability, cognitive deficits and other comorbid psychiatric disorders.7 Reducing the symptoms of PD not only may enhance the quality of life and levels of independence, but it may also alleviate symptoms of depression.
Many of us think of actor Michael J. Fox when we think about Parkinson’s disease. His foundation funds research aimed at improving the lives of people with the disease.8
The challenges of living with PD can sometimes feel overwhelming, but researchers from Fukuoka, Japan, have discovered that seniors can manage their symptoms more effectively when they play ping pong. The game is otherwise known as table tennis and can be challenging for anyone, but even more so for those who live with a movement disorder.
However, those who took part in a study over six months experienced improvements in their symptoms.9 The researchers engaged 12 patients with an average age of 73 whose Parkinson's disease had been diagnosed within the past seven years.
The results of the study10 are to be presented at the 2020 American Academy of Neurology 72nd annual meeting in Toronto.11 The participants were tested at the start of the study, after three months and again at the end for the number and severity of symptoms.
Activities in the program, developed by experienced players, improved the participants’ speech, handwriting, walking and ability to get out of bed. In the beginning it took participants an average of more than two tries to get out of bed; by the end of the study the average participant could get out of bed on the first try. In a press release one researcher was quoted as saying:12
“Pingpong, which is also called table tennis, is a form of aerobic exercise that has been shown in the general population to improve hand-eye coordination, sharpen reflexes, and stimulate the brain. We wanted to examine if people with Parkinson’s disease would see similar benefits that may in turn reduce some of their symptoms.
While this study is small, the results are encouraging because they show pingpong, a relatively inexpensive form of therapy, may improve some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. A much larger study is now being planned to confirm these findings.”
Balance issues are common in those with PD. One treatment option has been the use of vestibular rehabilitation therapy; ping pong is one suggested balance training sport.13 Head movements and visual stimulation are important to the rehabilitation process.
The authors of one 2016 case study14 found that using a caloric vestibular stimulation (CVS)15 in an individual with Parkinson's disease helped with motor and non-motor symptoms.
In another study involving 33 people who received CVS at home twice a day for eight weeks, scientists found greater reductions in motor and non-motor symptoms than those in the placebo group.16 The improvements lasted for five weeks after the last treatment. Ear stimulation appears to be an effective and safe form of treatment, which may also have been triggered in those playing ping pong.
Unfortunately, diagnosis usually happens after symptoms occur and brain cells have died. Researchers have been studying ways to detect the condition earlier, which may positively impact treatment and prevention. The known link between the gut microbiome and Parkinson's disease may be an important factor.
An animal study17 from Johns Hopkins Medicine was built on observations made in 2003 showing an accumulation of alpha synuclein proteins were appearing in parts of the brain that control the gut.
Interested in whether these proteins could travel along the vagal nerve, the researchers used an animal model over 10 months and demonstrated when the vagal nerve connection had been cut there was no cell death in the brain. It appeared that severing the vagal nerve could stop the advance of misfolded proteins and thus the development of Parkinson's disease.
Levodopa is a drug often used to help reduce symptoms in those with Parkinson's disease as it acts as a precursor to dopamine. However, researchers have found it's not effective for everyone and may depend on the composition of your gut microbiome. Some microorganisms may metabolize the medication and therefore render it ineffective.
Researchers have identified a specific enzyme produced in the microbiome that works to metabolize levodopa. By blocking one or both enzymes, the drug's effectiveness could be improved.18
In addition to the impact the microbiome has on drug effectiveness, it may also regulate movement disorders through changes to alpha-synuclein protein folding.19 The connection makes sense, as gastrointestinal symptoms, such as constipation, may begin decades before the onset of symptoms in Parkinson’s disease.
The communication between your gut and brain is bidirectional, and it appears the misfolded proteins triggering neuron cell death in the brain may travel in both directions. While it may contribute to symptoms in several ways, the aberrant alpha-synuclein cells are toxic to cellular homeostasis, triggering neuronal death and affecting synaptic function.
Using an animal model, one group of researchers found there was an increasing expression of alpha-synuclein inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters, which essentially produced Parkinson-type symptoms.20 Researchers were then able to identify the specific protein transmitted from the brain to the gut,21 demonstrating the bidirectional communication.
As described in this short video, compounds found in certain nightshade vegetables in the Solanaceae family, specifically bell peppers, may help inhibit the development of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers theorize it may be the nicotine that helps reduce your risk. Of course, the risks associated with smoking are not enough to justify taking up the habit to lower your potential risk of Parkinson’s.
In one study22 researchers enrolled 490 newly diagnosed people with Parkinson's disease against another 644 people without the disease. At the end of the study they found eating vegetables in the Solanaceae family was inversely related to the risk of developing Parkinson's disease.
The study’s authors found no other food had a higher positive relationship, which suggested eating these vegetables two to four times per week may provide a protective effect. A second plant that may help battle the effects of Parkinson’s disease is the climbing legume, M. pruriens.
In tropical areas of the world they are a well-known protein source but also used as medicine. The plant contains levodopa, the precursor to dopamine found in medications used to treat Parkinson's disease. Without sufficient amounts of dopamine, you may feel lethargic, unfocused and potentially depressed.
Karen Kurtak, department head of longevity nutrition at Grossman Wellness Institute in Denver, says, "M. pruriens has an almost magical ability to improve motivation, well-being, energy and sex drive, along with decreasing the tendency to overeat."23
Evidence from clinical trials24 has demonstrated that the legume produces equivalent or better results than L-dopa medications, and without the side effects. However, Western medicine practitioners continue to use and promote the synthetic form to boost dopamine levels in your brain and reduce the effects of Parkinson's disease.
Beyond Parkinson's treatment, Ayurvedic medicine practitioners use it as an aphrodisiac, and to reduce nervous disorders and infertility.25 If you have the disease and would like to investigate this, consult with your doctor or an Ayurvedic medicine practitioner before taking M. pruriens, especially if you are currently taking prescription medication, to ensure this remedy is right for you.
It may also be possible to prevent neurodegenerative diseases or reduce symptoms by naturally addressing your gut permeability and autophagy dysfunction. Improve the health of your gut microbiome through small lifestyle changes such as eliminating sugar, using a cyclical ketogenic diet and eating fiber-rich foods.
For a more complete list, see my article, "Gut Microbiome May Be a Game-Changer for Cancer Prevention and Treatment."
The combination of these strategies and improving autophagy through cycles of feast and famine may help reduce your risk and improve genetic repair and longevity. Fasting also has a beneficial impact on your brain and boosts brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).26 This protein may help protect brain cells from changes that are associated with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
If you are under the care of a physician or on medication, you need to work with your doctor to ensure safety since some medications need to be taken with food. Diabetics on medication also need to use caution and work with a health care professional to adjust medication dosage.
Activating adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) through proper diet and nutritional supplements also supports natural autophagy. You can learn more about this process in my previous article, “Autophagy Finally Considered for Disease Treatment.”
Source: mercola rss
"In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot." ~ Czesław Miłosz1
In recent years, a number of brave individuals have alerted us to the fact that we're all being monitored and manipulated by big data gatherers such as Google and Facebook, and shed light on the depth and breadth of this ongoing surveillance. Among them is social psychologist and Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff.
Her book, "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism," is one of the best books I have read in the last few years. It's an absolute must-read if you have any interest in this topic and want to understand how Google and Facebook have obtained such massive control of your life.
Her book reveals how the biggest tech companies in the world have hijacked our personal data — so-called "behavioral surplus data streams" — without our knowledge or consent and are using it against us to generate profits for themselves. WE have become the product. WE are the real revenue stream in this digital economy.
"The term 'surveillance capitalism' is not an arbitrary term," Zuboff says in the featured VPRO Backlight documentary. "Why 'surveillance'? Because it must be operations that are engineered as undetectable, indecipherable, cloaked in rhetoric that aims to misdirect, obfuscate and downright bamboozle all of us, all the time."
In the featured video, Zuboff "reveals a merciless form of capitalism in which no natural resources, but the citizen itself, serves are a raw material."2 She also explains how this surveillance capitalism came about in the first place.
As most revolutionary inventions, chance played a role. After the 2000 dot.com crisis that burst the internet bubble, a startup company named Google struggled to survive. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin appeared to be looking at the beginning of the end for their company.
By chance, they discovered that "residual data" left behind by users during their internet searchers had tremendous value. They could trade this data; they could sell it. By compiling this residual data, they could predict the behavior of any given internet user and thus guarantee advertisers a more targeted audience. And so, surveillance capitalism was born.
Comments such as "I have nothing to hide, so I don't care if they track me," or "I like targeted ads because they make my shopping easier" reveal our ignorance about what's really going on. We believe we understand what kind of information is being collected about us. For example, you might not care that Google knows you bought a particular kind of shoe, or a particular book.
However, the information we freely hand over is the least important of the personal information actually being gathered about us, Zuboff notes. Tech companies tell us the data collected is being used to improve services, and indeed, some of it is.
But it is also being used to model human behavior by analyzing the patterns of behavior of hundreds of millions of people. Once you have a large enough training model, you can begin to accurately predict how different types of individuals will behave over time.
The data gathered is also being used to predict a whole host of individual attributes about you, such as personality quirks, sexual orientation, political orientation — "a whole range of things we never ever intended to disclose," Zuboff says.
All sorts of predictive data are handed over with each photo you upload to social media. For example, it's not just that tech companies can see your photos. Your face is being used without your knowledge or consent to train facial recognition software, and none of us is told how that software is intended to be used.
As just one example, the Chinese government is using facial recognition software to track and monitor minority groups and advocates for democracy, and that could happen elsewhere as well, at any time.
So that photo you uploaded of yourself at a party provides a range of valuable information — from the types of people you're most likely to spend your time with and where you're likely to go to have a good time, to information about how the muscles in your face move and alter the shape of your features when you're in a good mood.
By gathering a staggering amount of data points on each person, minute by minute, Big Data can make very accurate predictions about human behavior, and these predictions are then "sold to business customers who want to maximize our value to their business," Zuboff says.
Your entire existence — even your shifting moods, deciphered by facial recognition software — has become a source of revenue for many tech corporations. You might think you have free will but, in reality, you're being cleverly maneuvered and funneled into doing (and typically buying) or thinking something you may not have done, bought or thought otherwise. And, "our ignorance is their bliss," Zuboff says.
In the documentary, Zuboff highlights Facebook's massive "contagion experiments,"3,4 in which they used subliminal cues and language manipulation to see if they could make people feel happier or sadder and affect real-world behavior offline. As it turns out, they can. Two key findings from those experiments were:
In the video, Zuboff also explains how the Pokemon Go online game — which was actually created by Google — was engineered to manipulate real-world behavior and activity for profit. She also describes the scheme in her New York Times article, saying:
"Game players did not know that they were pawns in the real game of behavior modification for profit, as the rewards and punishments of hunting imaginary creatures were used to herd people to the McDonald's, Starbucks and local pizza joints that were paying the company for 'footfall,' in exactly the same way that online advertisers pay for 'click through' to their websites."
Zuboff also reviews what we learned from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Cambridge Analytica is a political marketing business that, in 2018, used the Facebook data of 80 million Americans to determine the best strategies for manipulating American voters.
Christopher Wylie, now-former director of research at Cambridge Analytica, blew the whistle on the company's methods. According to Wylie, they had so much data on people, they knew exactly how to trigger fear, rage and paranoia in any given individual. And, by triggering those emotions, they could manipulate them into looking at a certain website, joining a certain group, and voting for a certain candidate.
So, the reality now is, companies like Facebook, Google and third parties of all kinds, have the power — and are using that power — to target your personal inner demons, to trigger you, and to take advantage of you when you're at your weakest or most vulnerable to entice you into action that serves them, commercially or politically. It's certainly something to keep in mind while you surf the web and social media sites.
"It was only a minute ago that we didn't have many of these tools, and we were fine," Zuboff says in the film. "We lived rich and full lives. We had close connections with friends and family.
Having said that, I want to recognize that there's a lot that the digital world brings to our lives, and we deserve to have all of that. But we deserve to have it without paying the price of surveillance capitalism.
Right now, we are in that classic Faustian bargain; 21st century citizens should not have to make the choice of either going analog or living in a world where our self-determination and our privacy are destroyed for the sake of this market logic. That is unacceptable.
Let's also not be naïve. You get the wrong people involved in our government, at any moment, and they look over their shoulders at the rich control possibilities offered by these new systems.
There will come a time when, even in the West, even in our democratic societies, our government will be tempted to annex these capabilities and use them over us and against us. Let's not be naïve about that.
When we decide to resist surveillance capitalism — right now when it is in the market dynamic — we are also preserving our democratic future, and the kinds of checks and balances that we will need going forward in an information civilization if we are to preserve freedom and democracy for another generation."
But the surveillance and data collection doesn't end with what you do online. Big Data also wants access to your most intimate moments — what you do and how you behave in the privacy of your own home, for example, or in your car. Zuboff recounts how the Google Nest security system was found to have a hidden microphone built into it that isn't featured in any of the schematics for the device.
"Voices are what everybody are after, just like faces," Zuboff says. Voice data, and all the information delivered through your daily conversations, is tremendously valuable to Big Data, and add to their ever-expanding predictive modeling capabilities.
She also discusses how these kinds of data-collecting devices force consent from users by holding the functionality of the device "hostage" if you don't want your data collected and shared.
For example, Google's Nest thermostats will collect data about your usage and share it with third parties, that share it with third parties and so on ad infinitum — and Google takes no responsibility for what any of these third parties might do with your data.
You can decline this data collection and third party sharing, but if you do, Google will no longer support the functionality of the thermostat; it will no longer update your software and may affect the functionality of other linked devices such as smoke detectors.
Two scholars who analyzed the Google Nest thermostat contract concluded that a consumer who is even a little bit vigilant about how their consumption data is being used would have to review 1,000 privacy contracts before installing a single thermostat in their home.
Modern cars are also being equipped with multiple cameras that feed Big Data. As noted in the film, the average new car has 15 cameras, and if you have access to the data of a mere 1% of all cars, you have "knowledge of everything happening in the world."
Of course, those cameras are sold to you as being integral to novel safety features, but you're paying for this added safety with your privacy, and the privacy of everyone around you.
The current coronavirus pandemic is also using “safety” as a means to dismantle personal privacy. As reported by The New York Times, March 23, 2020:5
“In South Korea, government agencies are harnessing surveillance-camera footage, smartphone location data and credit card purchase records to help trace the recent movements of coronavirus patients and establish virus transmission chains.
In Lombardy, Italy, the authorities are analyzing location data transmitted by citizens’ mobile phones to determine how many people are obeying a government lockdown order and the typical distances they move every day. About 40 percent are moving around “too much,” an official recently said.
In Israel, the country’s internal security agency is poised to start using a cache of mobile phone location data — originally intended for counterterrorism operations — to try to pinpoint citizens who may have been exposed to the virus.
As countries around the world race to contain the pandemic, many are deploying digital surveillance tools as a means to exert social control, even turning security agency technologies on their own civilians …
Yet ratcheting up surveillance to combat the pandemic now could permanently open the doors to more invasive forms of snooping later. It is a lesson Americans learned after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, civil liberties experts say.
Nearly two decades later, law enforcement agencies have access to higher-powered surveillance systems, like fine-grained location tracking and facial recognition — technologies that may be repurposed to further political agendas …
‘We could so easily end up in a situation where we empower local, state or federal government to take measures in response to this pandemic that fundamentally change the scope of American civil rights,’ said Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, a nonprofit organization in Manhattan.”
Zuboff also discusses her work in a January 24, 2020, op-ed in The New York Times.6,7 "You are now remotely controlled. Surveillance capitalists control the science and the scientists, the secrets and the truth," she writes, continuing:
"We thought that we search Google, but now we understand that Google searches us. We assumed that we use social media to connect, but we learned that connection is how social media uses us.
Our digital century was to have been democracy's Golden Age. Instead, we enter its third decade marked by a stark new form of social inequality best understood as 'epistemic inequality' … extreme asymmetries of knowledge and the power that accrues to such knowledge, as the tech giants seize control of information and learning itself …
Surveillance capitalists exploit the widening inequity of knowledge for the sake of profits. They manipulate the economy, our society and even our lives with impunity, endangering not just individual privacy but democracy itself …
Still, the winds appear to have finally shifted. A fragile new awareness is dawning … Surveillance capitalists are fast because they seek neither genuine consent nor consensus. They rely on psychic numbing and messages of inevitability to conjure the helplessness, resignation and confusion that paralyze their prey.
Democracy is slow, and that's a good thing. Its pace reflects the tens of millions of conversations that occur … gradually stirring the sleeping giant of democracy to action.
These conversations are occurring now, and there are many indications that lawmakers are ready to join and to lead. This third decade is likely to decide our fate. Will we make the digital future better, or will it make us worse?"8,9
Epistemic inequality refers to inequality in what you're able to learn. "It is defined as unequal access to learning imposed by private commercial mechanisms of information capture, production, analysis and sales. It is best exemplified in the fast-growing abyss between what we know and what is known about us," Zuboff writes in her New York Times op-ed.10
Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft have spearheaded the surveillance market transformation, placing themselves at the top tier of the epistemic hierarchy. They know everything about you and you know nothing about them. You don't even know what they know about you.
"They operated in the shadows to amass huge knowledge monopolies by taking without asking, a maneuver that every child recognizes as theft," Zuboff writes.
"Surveillance capitalism begins by unilaterally staking a claim to private human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data. Our lives are rendered as data flows."
These data flows are about you, but not for you. All of it is used against you — to separate you from your money, or to make you act in a way that is in some way profitable for a company or a political agenda. So, ask yourself, where is your freedom in all of this?
If a company can cause you to buy stuff you don't need by sticking an enticing, personalized ad for something they know will boost your confidence at the exact moment you're feeling insecure or worthless (a tactic that has been tested and perfected11), are you really acting through free will?
If an artificial intelligence using predictive modeling senses you're getting hungry (based on a variety of cues such as your location, facial expressions and verbal expressions) and launches an ad from a local restaurant to you in the very moment you're deciding to get something to eat, are you really making conscious, self-driven, value-based life choices? As noted by Zuboff in her article:12
"Unequal knowledge about us produces unequal power over us, and so epistemic inequality widens to include the distance between what we can do and what can be done to us. Data scientists describe this as the shift from monitoring to actuation, in which a critical mass of knowledge about a machine system enables the remote control of that system.
Now people have become targets for remote control, as surveillance capitalists discovered that the most predictive data come from intervening in behavior to tune, herd and modify action in the direction of commercial objectives.
This third imperative, 'economies of action,' has become an arena of intense experimentation. 'We are learning how to write the music,' one scientist said, 'and then we let the music make them dance' …
The fact is that in the absence of corporate transparency and democratic oversight, epistemic inequality rules. They know. They decide who knows. They decide who decides. The public's intolerable knowledge disadvantage is deepened by surveillance capitalists' perfection of mass communications as gaslighting …
On April 30, 2019 Mark Zuckerberg made a dramatic announcement at the company's annual developer conference, declaring, 'The future is private.' A few weeks later, a Facebook litigator appeared before a federal district judge in California to thwart a user lawsuit over privacy invasion, arguing that the very act of using Facebook negates any reasonable expectation of privacy 'as a matter of law.'"
In the video, Zuboff points out that there are no laws in place to curtail this brand-new type of surveillance capitalism, and the only reason it has been able to flourish over the past 20 years is because there's been an absence of laws against it, primarily because it has never previously existed.
That's the problem with epistemic inequality. Google and Facebook were the only ones who knew what they were doing. The surveillance network grew in the shadows, unbeknownst to the public or lawmakers. Had we fought against it for two decades, then we might have had to resign ourselves to defeat, but as it stands, we've never even tried to regulate it.
This, Zuboff says, should give us all hope. We can turn this around and take back our privacy, but we need legislation that addresses the actual reality of the entire breadth and depth of the data collection system. It's not enough to address just the data that we know that we're giving when we go online. Zuboff writes:13
"These contests of the 21st century demand a framework of epistemic rights enshrined in law and subject to democratic governance. Such rights would interrupt data supply chains by safeguarding the boundaries of human experience before they come under assault from the forces of datafication.
The choice to turn any aspect of one's life into data must belong to individuals by virtue of their rights in a democratic society. This means, for example, that companies cannot claim the right to your face, or use your face as free raw material for analysis, or own and sell any computational products that derive from your face …
Anything made by humans can be unmade by humans. Surveillance capitalism is young, barely 20 years in the making, but democracy is old, rooted in generations of hope and contest.
Surveillance capitalists are rich and powerful, but they are not invulnerable. They have an Achilles heel: fear. They fear lawmakers who do not fear them. They fear citizens who demand a new road forward as they insist on new answers to old questions: Who will know? Who will decide who knows? Who will decide who decides? Who will write the music, and who will dance?"
While there's no doubt we need a whole new legislative framework to curtail surveillance capitalism, in the meantime, there are ways you can protect your privacy online and limit the "behavioral surplus data" collected about you.
Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist for the American Institute of Behavioral Research and Technology, recommends taking the following steps to protect your privacy:14
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:
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 webpage 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:15/span>
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.
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Springtime is always a good time to do some deep cleaning, but especially now when cleanliness is so very important. […]
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Decalepis Hamiltonii is March’s Oil of the Month! Also known as Swallow Root and Vanipotent, this is a truly unique […]
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A recently released survey from Mattress Firm revealed some disturbing facts about sleep patterns in America, as shown in this short video. This is important since the effects of sleep deprivation can range from mild to devastating.
For instance, the Anchorage Daily News1 recounts the story of third mate Gregory Cousins, who had slept a mere six hours between 8 p.m. on March 22, 1989, until just after midnight on March 24, when he ran the supertanker Exxon Valdez aground.
The accident devastated 23 species of wildlife and nearly 1,300 miles of coastline habitat. Many people may remember that the skipper of the ship was allegedly drunk (a jury later acquitted him of the charge), but what most don’t know is that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that sleep deprivation was an important factor in this accident. In fact, it not only was a known issue on the Valdez, but across the board in the shipping industry.
As it turned out, several of the Valdez’s crew members were sleep-deprived, and the oil spill was an accident waiting to happen. The problem was a direct result of Exxon trying to save money by not providing enough crew to provide breaks for sleep. In its report the NTSB said:2
“The mates on the Exxon Valdez were usually fatigued after cargo operations in Valdez, and the vessel usually put to sea with a fatigued crew … The financial advantage from eliminating officers and crew from each vessel does not seem to justify incurring the foreseeable risks of serious accidents.”
Unfortunately, sleep deprivation isn’t limited to sea vessel crews. According to the American Sleep Association,3 37.9% of people report inadvertently dropping off to sleep during the day at least once a month, and 4.7% have nodded off while driving.
Most people cut their sleep hours short because they feel the need to "get things done" — not unlike the Valdez situation. However, like the Valdez, the evidence clearly shows that you are not productive when sleep-deprived.
For several years Mattress Firm has commissioned a survey on sleep habits and the number of hours people are sleeping each night. This year, results show Americans are sleeping less and less. They asked 3,000 adults about their sleep habits, how satisfied they were with their sleep and about the frequency of sleeping and naps. They compared those results to those from 2018.4
What they found was a sad commentary on the speed at which modern society has chosen to live. It seems that getting at least six hours has become more challenging with each passing year. In 2018 results from the survey showed the average person asked was sleeping six hours and 17 minutes each night, but by 2019 that had dropped to 5.5 hours.5
Experts currently recommend adults from 18 to 65 years sleep consistently from 7 to 9 hours each night.6 In other words, most people are sleeping at least one- and one-half hours less each night than the minimum that experts think is important for optimal health.
While the number of hours you sleep is important, so is the quality. So, it’s even more disheartening to read that 25% of the respondents reported they also “consistently slept poorly in 2019.”7 Since the amount of quality sleep at night was on the decline, it makes sense the respondents reported they took more naps in 2019 than 2018. But, while more were taken, survey findings indicate there were many planned naps that didn’t get taken.
The survey defined a “great night’s sleep” as “quickly falling asleep and staying that way until morning.'' There were about 120 nights fitting that criteria. Americans are so desperate for a good night of sleep they said they were willing to “pay $316.61 for just one night of perfect sleep.” This was $26.16 more than in 2018.8
Interestingly, the people who reported the best sleep were those who slept on their back or slept with a pet in their bed. While side sleeping was the more common position reported in the survey, these were the same respondents who had the most difficult time getting to sleep.
The survey also asked about bedtime rituals that respondents used to help them fall asleep. The top rituals included reading, taking a bath, drinking warm milk, meditating and having sex.9
Sleep is an important foundation to your health and wellness and yet a significant number of people are having trouble accomplishing this seemingly simple task. A separate survey10 asked 2,000 British adults about their habits and found many reported being too tired to do everyday tasks.
The results showed the top two activities that respondents avoided when they were tired were house cleaning and working out. Half of those asked ordered their dinner out and 25% of women said they went to bed with their makeup on because washing their face before bed required more energy than they felt they had.
Of the 2,000 asked, 30% had canceled social plans and many reported avoiding grocery shopping, reading, driving and having sex because they were too tired. While Americans planned naps that weren’t taken,11 Brits were taking three naps a week and still reported feeling “as though they have ‘no energy at all’ four times” every week.12
In Britain, energy levels were at their highest mid-morning and their lowest midafternoon. As the authors of other studies have found13 more were the most tired on Mondays. Researchers have theorized a lack of sleep is one of the reasons there are more heart attacks on Mondays than other days of the week.14
In addition to these details, 25% of survey respondents thought their lethargy was related to long working hours, stress or depressing weather.15 They also found 20% had visited their doctor with complaints of sleepiness and more than 50% felt their exhaustion affected their mood. These results are discouraging since the effects of sleep deprivation are significant.
Both the quantity and quality of your sleep are important to your health and safety — indeed, the safety of others as well. Not getting enough sleep slows your reaction time and leaves you cognitively impaired. In 2013, drowsy driving caused 72,000 car accidents, killing 800 people and injuring 44,000.16
In one study17 from 2018 a researcher found that sleeping less than four hours in the previous 24 hours increased the odds of having a car accident by 15.1 times, compared to those who slept seven to nine hours in the previous 24. Statistically:18
"Drivers who slept for less than 4 hr were found to have crash risk comparable to that reported in previous studies for drivers with blood alcohol concentration roughly 1.5 times the legal limit effective in all US states."
The researcher explained:19
"Being awake isn't the same as being alert. Falling asleep isn't the only risk. Even if they manage to stay awake, sleep-deprived drivers are still at increased risk of making mistakes — like failing to notice something important, or misjudging a gap in traffic — which can have tragic consequences."
Despite these statistics, many say they push through their sleepiness to complete what needs to be done. One significant problem is when construction workers, medical professionals and pilots decide to “push through” — like the Valdez, it can have lethal consequences.
Other research shows that sleeping less than six hours a night will also dramatically increase your risk of insulin resistance, which is at the core of many chronic diseases.20 And, the list of health problems related to poor sleep continues to grow. The results of one study21 linked poor sleep with excessive aging of your heart; less than seven hours a night was enough to trigger that.
The lead researcher on the study from the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said:22
“Prolonged periods of insufficient sleep have negative effects on multiple body systems including the cardiovascular system. Studies have shown significant relationships between sleep duration and heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.
The difference between a person’s estimated heart age and his or her chronological age is ‘excess heart age.’ Higher excess heart age indicates a higher risk of developing heart disease."
However, sleeping a healthy number of hours may not protect you if the quality of your sleep is poor. Sleep quality has a significant impact on your risk of high blood pressure and inflammation of your blood vessels, also associated with heart disease.23 The researchers found “Systolic blood pressure was associated directly with poor sleep quality … "
They believed the findings demonstrated direct evidence neglecting sleep problems could increase your blood pressure and blood vessel inflammation even if you get adequate amounts of sleep.
One factor affecting sleep quality is your exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and heavy metal toxicity associated with it. As Wendy Myers, functional diagnostic nutritionist, and I discuss in this short video, heavy metals are particularly detrimental to your mitochondrial function and when you have heavy metal toxicity you attract more EMF.
It’s a vicious cycle that ultimately damages your health. It also increases your levels of fatigue. In this short clip we talked about the interaction between fatigue, mitochondrial dysfunction and heavy metal toxicity.
In her research she discovered studies demonstrating how a variety of metals could affect the ability of the mitochondria to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of the body. There are several heavy metals Myers finds are of particular concern, including aluminum, arsenic, tin and thallium.
You can test for heavy metal toxicity using hair, urine or stool samples. Myers typically begins with a hair analysis as it’s easy, inexpensive and provides significant information. However, no one test is perfect, so I recommend doing all three. No one is exempt from heavy metal exposure as I found out when I tested positive for each of these metals in 2018.
Sleep has been a great mystery. It was once thought to be a waste of time, but as researchers discover more about how the brain functions, it’s become apparent sleep is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle. Sleep deprivation can affect people of all ages, and unfortunately the effects are cumulative.24
By maintaining a natural rhythm of exposure to daylight and darkness you affect the quality of your sleep. Light helps synchronize your biological master clock in your brain that helps wake you in the morning and improves your sleep at night.25 Going outside in the morning hours and at lunch can help provide you with the light needed to anchor a healthy circadian rhythm.
However, just as important is the other end of the day. By using digital equipment after sunset, you stop the production of melatonin, important in getting quality sleep.26 In one study27 researchers found 99% of participants exposed to room light before bed produced melatonin later than expected.
In addition, light exposure during your usual hours of sleep can also suppress production by 50%. You’ll experience the greatest benefit by dimming your lights after sunset, using incandescent light bulbs and wearing blue blocker sunglasses indoors that help block blue light most responsible for blocking melatonin production.
While the list of health challenges associated with sleep loss is significant, you have options to help you improve the quantity and quality of your sleep. See “Top 33 Tips to Optimize Your Sleep Routine” for how to make a real difference in your overall health.
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In an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, many schools, offices and social venues have shut down, and many governments have issued more or less strict “social distancing” recommendations.1 As a result, people around the world are faced with the prospect of having very limited human interactions for a period of time.
While introverts may be silently celebrating, many others may struggle with feelings of isolation and loneliness. On top of that, many are feeling worried and anxious about getting infected,2 or worry about the health of immune-compromised or elderly family members3 who are at greatest risk for serious infection and complications.
In the video above, Julie Schiffman demonstrates how to use the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to relieve anxiety and other challenging emotions brought on by news and uncertainty about this pandemic and/or self-quarantining.
Another easy alternative is the Neuro-Emotional Technique’s First Aid Stress Tool, or NET FAST, demonstrated in the video above. Firstaidstresstool.com also provides an excellent printable summary with visuals of the technique,4 which even a young child can do. Here is a summary of the FAST procedure:
Even without social distancing and self-quarantining requirements, a staggering number of people report feeling lonely. According to a 2018 Cigna insurance health survey5,6,7 of Americans aged 18 and over, 46% report sometimes or always feeling lonely, 47% say they do not have meaningful in-person social interactions or extended conversations on a daily basis and 43% report feeling isolated.
Self-quarantining will likely worsen these sentiments and drive percentages up even higher. Remarkably, in Cigna’s survey, young adults between the ages of 18 and 22 were the loneliest. Even the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) acknowledges8 there’s an “epidemic” of loneliness in the U.S. and that it’s taking a mounting toll on public health.
According to HRSA,9 a panel presentation by the National Institute for Health Care Management — a nonprofit research firm for the health insurance industry — revealed social isolation among seniors is costing the federal government $6.7 billion each year in added health care spending, as “poor social relationships” are associated with a 29% higher risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
The aggressive social isolation approaches currently being advocated for COVID-19 will only worsen this scenario for seniors. Research by the AARP Foundation — an organization dedicated to empowering American seniors — presents a similar picture. In its 2018 survey,10 “Loneliness and Social Connections,” the AARP reports that 35% of adults over 45 struggle with loneliness.
Seniors making less than $25,000 a year have an even greater loneliness ratio — 1 in 2 — according to the AARP.11 Considering stock markets are crashing all around us and store shelves are emptying of necessities, the financial and emotional disparities between the rich and the poor may widen even further.
Working adults who are in financial dire straits may also end up promoting the spread of infectious disease. As noted by Josephine Tovey in an article for The Guardian:12
“In the U.S., where there is no guaranteed sick leave, experts have warned many workers will defy pleas to stay home during the current outbreak, even if ill, out of pure economic necessity.”
Amid a growing financial recession, Vox13 rightfully points out that the implementation of social distancing will also cause “what we might call a ‘social recession’: a collapse in social contact that is particularly hard on the populations most vulnerable to isolation and loneliness …”
The true cost of “social recession” could be enormous, as lack of social contact and loneliness are drivers of ill health, both mentally and physically, and early death, both from disease and suicide. In “Work and the Loneliness Epidemic: Reducing Isolation at Work Is Good for Business,” Vivek Murthy writes:14,15
“Over thousands of years, the value of social connection has become baked into our nervous system such that the absence of such a protective force creates a stress state in the body.
Loneliness causes stress, and long-term or chronic stress leads to more frequent elevations of a key stress hormone, cortisol. It is also linked to higher levels of inflammation in the body.
This in turn damages blood vessels and other tissues, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, joint disease, depression, obesity, and premature death.”
If you’re currently self-isolating, what can you do to ease the pain? In her article, Tovey addresses the issue of loneliness brought on by the current outbreak, highlighting some emerging coping trends:16
“Nicole Gadon, an American woman forced into lengthy home quarantine by tuberculosis in 2014, told the New York Times the loneliness was palpable …
Looking back, she wished she had said yes when her brother offered to simply stand outside on her lawn and keep her company. Her two pieces of advice? ‘Ask for help’ and ‘get an indoor pet.’
Already in China during this outbreak, we have heard stories about the most dire consequences of social isolation17 — but so too we have seen a wellspring of creativity as people stay connected however they can.
Live-streamed DJ sets to turn apartments into satellite nightclubs, online book clubs and recipe forums where millennials can learn to cook together are some of the ways people are not just fighting boredom but are staying tethered to the outside world and each other.”
In a BBC News article,18 Nuala McCann writes about her two-week long self-isolation two decades ago, noting that while not joyful, a couple of weeks did pass rather quickly.
Ian Pannell, a senior foreign correspondent for ABC News also writes about what it’s like living in isolation.19 After spending two days on assignment in Daegu, South Korea, where coronavirus infection was rampant, he had to self-quarantine for 14 days. Pannell writes:20
“Think of all the things you could do — reading, writing, studying, watching, listening. All the things you never normally have time to do, right? Wrong.
I am now convinced that there is some unwritten mathematical equation or scientific law that proves an inverse relationship between time and achievement. The more of one we have, the less of the other we accomplish, and vice versa.
The other fallacy is that peace and quiet will be a welcome relief from the incessant noise of 24/7 modern life. Again, I can report this is also wrong.
It is an unusual and sometimes lonely sensation being entirely on your own … It is also sometimes claustrophobic not being able to just step outside the front door … And the silence can be uncomfortable … It is surprising what you do hear when there's nothing to listen to.”
Time will tell whether people will learn a truly valuable lesson from the current bout of self-isolation. In the future, will you perhaps be more mindful to look out for people who are isolated?
Will you call an aging parent or elderly grandparent more often? Will you check on a neighbor or co-worker who strikes you as lonely and a bit forlorn? Empathy often grows from personal experience and, globally, we’re now getting a taste of what it’s like for some people every day.
While making full use of technology during this time is being stressed by most experts, for those who were already isolated to begin with, the recommendation to Facetime with family and friends won’t help much since they lack that social network.
Many of the most vulnerable, such as the elderly and disabled, also lack the technical know-how. For these individuals in particular, the answer really lies in a compassionate reaching out by others, perhaps complete strangers — perhaps by you.
“This is an area where government can help by funding and supercharging community organizations,” sociologist Eric Klinenberg tells Vox.21
“A lot of my work is premised on the idea that extreme situations like the one we’re in now allow us to see conditions that are always present but difficult to perceive. We’re going to learn a lot about who we are and what we value in the next few months.”
Again, if you struggle with worry or anxiety, please check out Schiffman’s video and the FAST technique at the top of this article. If you’re worried about getting sick, remember that your immune system is your first line of defense. This is true for all infections.
While proper handwashing, masks, hand sanitizers and social distancing will all help to limit the spread of the virus (and are ways to protect others as well as yourself), keeping your immune system strong needs to be at the top of your list of personal prevention methods. To boost and support healthy immune function, consider:
Cutting out sugar and avoiding processed foods — Replace these with real (unprocessed or minimally processed) foods.
Getting enough sleep each night — It's well-known that lack of sleep can increase your chances of getting sick, and research22 has shown approximately 10% of your genome is under circadian control, including genes that influence your immune function. Your immune cells are also under circadian control.
Taking a high-quality probiotic — The health benefits derived from probiotics are rooted in the balancing of your intestinal bacteria. One of the easiest and quickest ways to do that is by eating fermented vegetables. Other beneficial fermented foods include kefir, natto, kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and yogurt made from raw grass fed milk (avoid commercial yogurt as most are loaded with added sugar).
Increasing your fiber intake — Not only does fiber help balance your gut microbiome, it also helps improve your immune system, as resistant starches act as prebiotics that feed healthy bacteria in your gut.
Taking one or more immune-boosting supplements — While a healthy whole food diet is foundational for health, you may in some cases need a supplement or two. Nutrients that are important for healthy immune function include vitamins A, C, D3, K1, K2, zinc, selenium and B vitamins. Quercetin is another supplement that appears particularly promising for the prevention of viral illnesses, including COVID-19.
Drinking chaga tea — The high antioxidant levels in chaga tea may help boost your immune function. Chaga mushrooms are also chockful of beta-d-glucans that increase macrophage and killer cell efficiency.
Source: mercola rss