You’re Still Told Fluoridation Prevents Tooth Decay, but Science Proves Otherwise

By Dr. Mercola

Despite widespread public health adoption, water fluoridation has come under close scrutiny over the past quarter century. Time has stripped away fluoridation’s rosy glow. Once touted as the magic solution to dental caries, fluoride’s benefit for your teeth – IF there is any, which is still debatable – comes with overshadowing downsides.

No matter which scientific studies you examine, or which population trends you view, the only rational conclusion is that fluoride’s health dangers far outweigh the marginal dental benefits it might offer. The science is very clear about the following:

  • Fluoride is a toxic industrial waste product that is a poison to your body and in no way a “nutrient,” offering no benefits at all to the human body. The fluoride added to water supplies can be contaminated with lead, arsenic, radionucleotides, aluminum and other industrial contaminants. Additionally, the fluoride added to municipal water supplies is not pharmaceutical grade.
  • Fluoride exposure comes from tap water, most toothpaste and many antibiotics, including ones given to farm animals. There is a large variation in exposure levels, making it impossible to accurately predict these variables for any person, family or community.
  • Fluoride exposure for many can easily reach toxic levels. For example, poison control should be called if you swallow a quarter milligram of fluoride from toothpaste. Meanwhile just ONE glass of water can contain this amount of fluoride.
  • Fluoride is a cumulative poison that has been proven to cause wide-ranging, serious health problems, such as damage to your bones, brain and endocrine system.
  • Dental caries can be prevented with means other than fluoridation, thereby avoiding the adverse effects of fluoride.

Fluoride is Found in More than Just Your Drinking Water

Fluoride is found in all natural waters to some degree. It can be extremely high in groundwater, depending on a number of factors, such as the types of rocks and minerals of that region. Drinking water is the largest fluoride source, adding to your exposure from dental products. But you may not be aware that fluoride is also present in some surprising places:

  • A variety of vegetables and fruits, grains, taro, yams, cassava, meat, poultry and fish (especially canned fish), milk and tea; most natural foods have only minor levels of fluoride, but there are a few exceptions. Tea leaves, for example, tend to concentrate fluoride from the soil; deboned meat and poultry can be very high in fluoride due to contamination from bone particles during processing.
  • Processed foods and beverages such as sodas, juices, sports drinks, baby foods, etc., are often high in fluoride.
  • Air can be tainted with fluoride, particularly in areas with greater industrial pollution from coal burning and phosphate fertilizer production; fluoride exposure can also be a problem after volcanic eruptions, as was discovered in southern Iceland.
  • Pesticides and cryolite,1 a fluoride-containing mineral used as a pesticide on dozens of food products in the U.S.
  • Non-stick pans emit a fluoride gas when heated.

Summary of Fluoride’s Potential Health Hazards

It’s important to realize that fluoride is a cumulative toxin, which over time can lead to more serious health concerns than dental fluorosis (spotting on your teeth). Skeletal fluorosis from fluoride toxicity can be crippling and even deadly. The neurological effects are also quite disturbing. There are now 25 studies showing fluoride is associated with diminished IQ, even at levels as low as 0.3 to 3 parts per million, which overlaps the range in many American communities (0.7 to 1.2 ppm). Studies have shown fluoride toxicity can lead to the wide-ranging problems listed below.

Causes of Dental Caries

Dental caries are caused by demineralization of your teeth (enamel and dentin) by the acids formed during the bacterial fermentation of dietary sugars. Demineralization is countered by the deposit of minerals from your saliva, or remineralization, which is a slow process. Enthusiasts report that fluoride prevents dental caries by enhancing mineralization.2 However, dental caries are not caused by a lack of fluoride, just as depression is not caused by a lack of Prozac. Some of the primary causes of tooth decay cited in the literature include:

  • Consistent use of refined sugar, sugary soft drinks, and processed foods in general
  • Children going to bed with a bottle of sweetened drink in their mouth, or sucking at will from such a bottle during the day
  • Poor dental hygiene and poor access to and utilization of dental health services, usually related to socioeconomic status
  • Mineral deficiencies, like magnesium, which can weaken bones and teeth3
  • More than 600 medications promote tooth decay by inhibiting saliva4

By far, excess dietary sugar is the most significant factor. The World Health Organization (WHO)5 and most dental experts agree upon this fact. The evidence for dental caries being a function of social class is weak,6 at best. The massive consumption of sugar in the Western diet, particularly fructose in high fructose corn syrup, fuels the fire of tooth decay.

Does Fluoride Help Prevent Tooth Decay?

Fluoride advocates often claim that the reduction in tooth decay that’s occurred since the 1950s is a benefit of fluoridated water, but the facts just don’t add up. For example, in 1999 the CDC claimed that dental caries declined precipitously during the second half of the 20th Century. But what they failed to mention is that tooth decay rates “precipitously declined” in ALL Western nations, regardless of whether or not fluoridation was used – and most of those countries did NOT fluoridate!7

The American Dental Association (ADA) has helped the CDC in trying to pull the wool over your eyes. For years, the ADA has warned that if you stop fluoridating your water, your rates of tooth decay will increase. Indeed, if fluoride were effective in preventing caries, you would expect to see an increase in tooth decay when fluoridation is stopped. Yet, this is NOT what we see!

This makes it rather ridiculous to argue that water fluoridation is having any sort of health benefit. The science should be as obvious to these government agencies as it is to us, yet they continue to deny and misrepresent the truth, under the pressure of powerful lobbyists holding the purse strings for the “fluoride industry.” When we examine the trend of dental caries over time, comparing those who are fluoridated to those who are not, it’s easy to understand why so many people are now against fluoridation – including me. I have long advocated against the use of fluoride, as I believe there are far better – SAFER ways to improve your family’s dental health.

Scientific Studies You Can’t Ignore

The following demographic studies and fluoridation trends make it clear that fluoridation has very little to do with whether or not you develop cavities.

  • In Japan, fluoridation has been virtually nonexistent since the 1970s, yet rates of dental caries have declined since that time – in spite of their increased sugar consumption.8
  • In the town of Tiel in the Netherlands, water fluoridation was discontinued in 1973, and by 1993, rates of dental caries had declined.9
  • In the town of Kuopio, Finland, water fluoridation was stopped after 1992. In 1995 and 1998, dental caries had either decreased or stayed the same.10
  • In two towns in former East Germany, a significant fall in the prevalence of dental caries was seen in the twenty years following cessation of water fluoridation.11
  • In Cuba, water fluoridation was discontinued in 1990, and in March of 1997, dental caries had significantly trended downward.12
  • In Canada, “the prevalence of caries decreased over time in the fluoridation-ended community while remaining unchanged in the fluoridated community.”13

Excessive Fluoride Negates Any Potential Benefit

Bill Osmunson is a full-time dentist with a Masters Degree in Public Health. According to Dr. Osmunson, some studies suggest, when viewed in isolation, that fluoride may offer a minor benefit to your teeth. However, when you factor in the excessive amounts of fluoride we’re ingesting from multiple sources, any small benefit is lost under the weight of fluoride’s toxic effects.

Remember, fluoride is a cumulative poison.

When authorities try to determine the safety and efficacy of fluoride in drinking water, they calculate estimated water consumption based on a location’s average temperature, humidity, geology, and the “average” health status of the people living there – all factors that are so highly variable that any effort to estimate them are little more than a wild guess. How can a decision about “dosing” fluoride in your water be even remotely scientific. Dr. Osmunson explains:

“Is it appropriate to put in a substance into water, where some people may drink less than a liter a day and others drink up to 19 liters a day? That’s a huge difference in the dosage amount of fluoride that they are getting. And what about the other sources?

Once fluoride became accepted as wonderful, we started putting it in toothpaste and of course there are the pesticides, the cryolite, and the post-harvest fumigants. And then there are the dental fillings, the dental topical treatment, the fluoride varnishes in the medical products, and the Teflon pans… I started to look at how much we are getting. We’re getting much more – two to three times more than when they started fluoridation.”

Early on, there were some convincing studies showing fluoride made teeth harder and more able to withstand acids. However, when Dr. Osmunson delved deeper into the literature, he found that the evidence supporting fluoride really wasn’t as strong as it first seemed, and fluoride didn’t appear to reduce tooth decay to any significant degree. In fact, there’s even substantial evidence that populations with less fluoride have less decay. If you would like to hear more from Dr. Osmunson, I invite you to watch our 2011 interview on this topic.

Click HERE to watch the full interview!

Download Interview Transcript

Top Ten Ways to Avoid Fluoride

F.A.N. is one of the leading organizations that is working feverishly to eliminate fluoride from the water supply. Dr. Paul Connett is one of our Health Liberty partners and we deeply appreciate and applaud all his organization’s hard efforts. We have reprinted their excellent recommendations on how to decrease your fluoride exposure below.

1) Stop Drinking Fluoridated Water:

Tap water consumption is, on average, the largest daily source of fluoride exposure for people who live in areas that add fluoride to the water. Avoiding consumption of fluoridated water is especially critical for infants. If you live in area which fluoridates its water, you can avoid drinking the fluoride in one of three ways:

  1. Water Filters: One way of avoiding the fluoride from tap water is to purchase a water filter. Not all water filters, however, remove fluoride. The three types of filters that can remove fluoride are reverse osmosis, deionizers (which use ion-exchange resins), and activated alumina. Each of these filters should be able to remove about 90% of the fluoride. By contrast, “activated carbon” filters (e.g., Brita Pur) do not remove fluoride. For more information on water filters, click here.
  2. Spring Water: Another way to avoid fluoride from tap water is to purchase spring water. Most brands of spring water contain very low levels of fluoride. Some brands, however, do contain high levels (e.g., Trinity Springs). Before consuming any bottled water on a consistent basis, therefore, you should verify that the fluoride content is less than 0.2 ppm, and ideally less than 0.1 ppm. You can find out the level of fluoride level in some of the popular brands here. You can also find out the fluoride level by calling the number on the water label. (Most companies have this information readily available.)
  3. Water Distillation: A third way to avoid fluoride from the tap is to purchase a distillation unit. Water distillation will remove most, if not all, of the fluoride. The price for a distillation units varies widely depending on the size. Small counter-top units cost as little as $200, while large units can exceed $1,000.

If you don’t know if your area is fluoridated, you can find out by contacting your local water department. If you live in the U.S., you can also find out by going to FAN’s State Fluoride Database.

2) Don’t Let Your Child Swallow Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride toothpaste is often the largest single source of fluoride intake for young children, and is a major risk factor for disfiguring dental fluorosis. This is because children swallow a large amount of the paste that they put in their mouth. In fact, research has shown that it is not uncommon for young children to swallow more fluoride from toothpaste alone than is recommended as an entire day’s ingestion from all sources.

If you have a young child, therefore, we recommend that you use a non-fluoride toothpaste. If, however, you do use fluoride toothpaste, it’s very important that you supervise your children while they brush to make sure they use no more than a “pea-sized amount” of paste, and that they fully rinse and spit and after they finish. And, lastly, do not purchase candy flavored toothpaste (e.g., bubble-gum and watermelon) as these toothpastes (which still contain adult-strength concentrations of fluoride) increase the risk that your children will swallow it (and actually want to swallow it).

3) Do NOT Get Fluoride Gel Treatments at the Dentist

Although dental researchers have stated on numerous occasions that fluoride gel treatment should ONLY be used for patients at highest risk of cavities, many dentists continue to apply fluoride gels irrespective of the patient’s cavity risk. The fluoride gel procedure requires the patient to clamp down on a tray for 4 minutes and uses an extremely concentrated, acidic fluoride gel (12,300 ppm). Because of the fluoride gel’s high acidity, the saliva glands produce a large amount of saliva during the treatment, which makes it extremely difficult (both for children and adults) to avoid swallowing the gel.

Even when dentists use precautionary measures such as suction devices, children and adults still ingest significant quantities of the paste, which can cause incredibly high spikes of fluoride in the blood (for up to 15 hours). These fluoride levels place patients, particularly children, at risk for stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, and places a person at risk for short-term kidney damage, harm to the reproductive system, and impairment to glucose metabolism. The next time your dentist asks you whether you want a fluoride gel treatment, say NO.

4) Eat More Fresh, Less Processed Food

When water is fluoridated, it is not just the water that is fluoridated, but all beverages and foods that are made with the water. As a general rule, therefore, the more processed a food is, the more fluoride it has. The good news is that the naturally occurring levels of fluoride in most fresh water (e.g., spring water) and most fresh food (e.g., fruits, vegetables, grain, eggs, milk) is very low. Use this fact to your advantage by trying to shift as much as you can from processed foods to fresh. Also, since processed beverages (e.g., sodas, reconstituted juices, sports drinks) contribute far more to fluoride intake than processed foods, it is most important to focus on reducing your consumption of processed beverages. For more detailed information on how you can cut down on your fluoride intake from processed foods, see FAN’s Grocery Store Guide: 7 Ways to Avoid Fluoride in Beverages and Food.

5) Buy Organic Grape Juice and Wine

In the United States, many vineyards use a fluoride pesticide called cryolite. As a result, the levels of fluoride in U.S. grape juice and wine (particularly white grape juice and white wine) are consistently elevated. Indeed, in 2005, the USDA reported that the average level of fluoride exceeded 2 ppm for both white wine and white grape. The levels of fluoride in red wine are also elevated (1 ppm), and so are raisins (2.3 ppm). If you buy grape juice and wine, or if you are a heavy consumer of raisins, buy organic. In the case of wine, if don’t want to spend the extra money on organic, consider purchasing a European brand, as Europe uses far less cryolite than the U.S.

6) Reduce Your Tea Consumption (and/or Drink Tea with Younger Leaves)

Be careful of drinking too much tea, particularly bottled and instant varieties. The tea plant accumulates high levels of fluoride, and excess intake of tea is known to cause a painful bone disease called skeletal fluorosis. Some teas though contain high levels of health-boosting antioxidants. Not only are antioxidants good for health in general, they also help to protect you from fluoride toxicity.

In the ideal scenario, one could drink tea with high levels of antioxidants but low levels of fluoride. Recent research suggests that this might be a somewhat obtainable goal. It has recently been shown that the antioxidant levels in tea are far higher in young leaves, than old leaves. This is important because young leaves also happen to have lower levels of fluoride. Indeed, it has been proposed that the fluoride content of tea is an indicator of its quality: the higher the fluoride, the lower the quality, and vice versa.

If you love tea, therefore, try to purchase varieties that are made from young leaves (e.g., “White tea”). This will allow you to maximize tea’s known benefits, while reducing its known harm.

Towards this end, avoid bottled and instant teas as they have been to contain low-quality leaves that have very low levels of antioxidants. With bottled and instant tea, therefore, you get the risk (fluoride) without the benefit (antioxidants).

Another option is to drink yerba matte – a caffeinated herbal tea from South America that contains very low levels of fluoride ( 0.2 ppm).

7) Avoid Cooking with Non-Stick Pans

Some research has found that cooking with non-stick-coated pans can significantly increase the fluoride content of food. If you have non-stick pans, consider switching to ceramic or another type of safe pan.

8) Don’t Take Cipro and Be Mindful of Other Fluorinated Pharmaceuticals

Many pharmaceuticals are fluorinated, which means they contain something called a “carbon-fluorine bond.” Although the carbon-fluoride bond is strong enough to resist breaking down within the body, this is not always the case.

Some fluorinated drugs have been found to metabolize into fluoride within the body and this greatly increases a person’s exposure to fluoride. The most notable example is Cipro. Other fluorinated chemicals that are currently known to break down into fluoride include fluorinated anesthetics (Isoflurane Sevoflurane), Niflumic acid, Flecainide, and Voriconazole. If you are taking any of these drugs, find out if there are any safer alternatives available.

9) Minimize Consumption of Mechanically-Deboned Chicken:

Most meats that are pulverized into a pulp form (e.g., chicken fingers, chicken nuggets) are made using a mechanical deboning processes. This mechanical deboning process increases the quantity of bone particles in the meat. Since bone is the main site of fluoride accumulation in the body, the higher levels of bone particle in mechanically deboned meat results in significantly elevated fluoride levels. Of all the meats that are mechanically deboned, chicken meat has consistently been found to have the highest levels. Thus, minimize consumption of mechanically-deboned chicken.

10) Avoid Fluoridated Salt

If you live in a country which allows fluoridated salt to be sold, make sure that the salt you buy is unfluoridated. Consumption of fluoridated salt can greatly increase a person’s fluoride exposure. To see a list of countries that allow fluoridated salt, click here. (From: www.fluoridealert.org)

If Water Fluoridation Doesn’t Prevent Tooth Decay, Then What Does?

Many of the researchers who found decreased rates of dental caries after cessation of water fluoridation credited fluoridated dental products (such as toothpaste) and fluoridized salt. Many researchers seem to be unable to believe your dental health could be independent of fluoride, in some form or another. The WHO even recommends fluoridating milk! Researchers also credit improved dental hygiene, increased awareness of the importance of dental health, dental health plans, fissure sealants, and better nutrition as potential factors.

I’m not a fan of fluoridated toothpaste or fluoridated anything else – in order to remain within the “safe limits,” you’d have to use such a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste that one tube would last you several years. But I AM a strong advocate of proper nutrition and good dental hygiene.

Tooth decay is generally believed to be caused by acids in your mouth, typically created from sugar being metabolized by bacteria (Streptococcus mutans). You typically don’t find dental caries in primitive societies that don’t consume excessive sugar. Environmental chemist and anti-fluoridation activist Dr. Paul Connett agrees that sugar is a huge problem, stating:

“We need education, not fluoridation. That education would have a double dividend. By avoiding high fructose sugar, we’ll not only score a huge benefit with dental decay but also with obesity and health.”

Dr. Osmunson has some interesting insights on the cause of tooth decay as well. He explains how historic studies on fluoridation showed that naturally occurring fluoride also happens to be found in areas rich in calcium and other minerals. This higher mineral content, as opposed to higher fluoride, might be the real reason some people have lower levels of tooth decay.

Preventing Tooth Decay, Safely and Naturally

The evidence for fluoridation is based on misused and misinterpreted data. Fluoridation is ineffective and may offer no benefit at all for your teeth, not to mention placing your overall health in jeopardy. Here are my basic guidelines for optimizing your dental health, safely and naturally:

  • Avoid fluoridated water and fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Minimize your sugar and grain consumption. Keep your fructose intake to less than 25 grams per day. Avoid processed foods.
  • Make sure you consume a diet rich in fresh, whole foods, fermented vegetables, and grass-fed meats, which will ensure you’re getting plenty of the minerals that are so important for strong bones and teeth.
  • Practice good oral hygiene, as explained by Dr. Osmunson in the interview above; get regular cleanings from a mercury-free natural dentist.
  • Consider oil pulling with coconut oil, which is a powerful inhibitor of a large variety of pathogenic organisms.

‘Consider the Fork’ Chronicles Evolution of Eating

By Dr. Mercola

First came the discovery of fire, which eventually lead to a shift to the cooked-food diet. This, so the theory goes, gave humans the extra calories they needed to allow their brains to get bigger.

In other words, human brains “smartened up” – allowing for the use of tools and the creation of art and religion – due to the extra calories that became available when cooked food became widespread.1

From there another culinary change took place that revolutionized not only the way in which we eat, but also may have altered the structure of the human jaw itself, taking us one step further from our ancient primate ancestors and one step closer to what we regard today as “modern man.”

How the Fork Changed Modern Man

In the NPR audio clip above, British food writer Bee Wilson, author of Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, explains that the relatively new invention of the fork altered the way we eat and chew our food, such that it changed the structure of the human jaw. Wilson explained:

“…the fork is, in historic times, extremely recent, and now, arguably, it’s the most universal utensil …And yet, it encountered huge resistance when it was first introduced. And for a long time in Europe, it was only the Italians who used forks.

The reason being pasta, as we all know, forks are the perfect implement for twizzling long strands of noodles or spaghetti.

But in the rest of Europe, particularly Britain, they thought that forks were just these weird, effeminate, unnecessary objects, which we could do fine without. And this whole question of cutlery,

It seems rather irrelevant compared to what we eat, and yet, if anthropologist called C. Loring Brace is correct, the adoption of the knife and fork at table, which happened roughly 250 years ago in society at large in Europe and then in the States — if he is right, then the adoption of the knife and fork actually had these profound implications on the structure of the human jaw.”

According to Brace, humans used to have an edge-to-edge bite, like apes and chimpanzees. But in the last 200 years or so, it changed into an overbite, with the top layer of teeth fitting over the bottom layer. His research suggests that the only change that happened during this time period that might account for the new jaw structure was the switch to cutting our food into smaller pieces, and eating them with a fork.2

“…it was through the process of cutting food into small morsels from childhood onwards that we actually change the way that our jaws work. And the real clincher was that he found this change 900 years earlier in China, the reason being chopsticks,” Wilson said.

Our Cooking and Eating Habits Are Constantly Evolving

While the fork, the knife and the spoon have proven to have staying power in the kitchen, along with other essentials that have been around for thousands of years — like the pot, the frying pan and the colander — other everyday culinary items have only recently become mainstays.

Microwave ovens, for instance, were first introduced to consumers just 40 or so years ago, and although Wilson describes it as an “astonishing invention,” it’s an example of a culinary tool that might be exchanging convenience for health. Microwaves heat food by causing water molecules in it to resonate at very high frequencies and eventually turn to steam, which heats your food. While this can rapidly heat your food, what most people fail to realize is that it also causes a change in your food’s chemical structure.

Other even more recent cooking trends include the use of non-stick cookware, which again puts convenience, in this case ease of cleanup, ahead of your health. The majority of non-stick cookware in the United States contains PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and other perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which have been linked to health problems like hypothyroidism, infertility and cancer. Still other inventions, like the food processor, reduce our need to chew our food as thoroughly, atrophying and/or changing the biomechanics of our jaw, in addition to having digestive and metabolic consequences.

Interestingly, one of the most common kitchen tools found in the vast majority of kitchens remains one of the oldest and, arguably, the safest: the wooden spoon. In Consider the Fork, Wilson writes:3

The wooden spoon does not look particularly sophisticated — traditionally, it was given as a booby prize to the loser of a competition — but it has science on its side. Wood is nonabrasive and therefore gentle on pans — you can scrape away without fear of scarring the metal surface. It is nonreactive: you need not worry that it will leave a metallic taste or that its surface will degrade on contact with acidic citrus or tomatoes. It is also a poor conductor of heat, which is why you can stir hot soup with a wooden spoon without burning your hand.

Above and beyond its functionality, however, we cook with wooden spoons because we always have. They are part of our civilization. Tools are first adopted because they meet a certain need or solve a particular problem, but over time the utensils we feel happy using are mainly determined by culture.”

Tapping Into the Culinary Wisdom of Generations Past

You may have certain recipes and other culinary traditions that you learned from your mother and grandmother, which you plan to pass on to your children, too. This is important, as often these traditions rely on traditional cooking methods and real, whole foods – not the processed convenience foods that are so common today.

If you are seeking to use food to optimize your health it is helpful to pay attention not only to the food quality but also how you prepare it, being careful to use methods that do not seriously impair its quality. Seek to get back to the basics of cooking — using the bones from a roast chicken to make stock for a pot of soup, extending a Sunday roast to use for weekday dinners, learning how to make hearty stews from inexpensive cuts of meat, using up leftovers and so on.

Learning how to ferment your own vegetables – a common practice since ancient times – is another age-old culinary skill worth learning, not only for the tasty vegetables but also because they’re phenomenal for your health. At the very least, the next time you walk into your kitchen and get out a fork to use with dinner, it’s interesting to think about how this simple tool may have changed the very face of humankind … and how other culinary tools and techniques may be changing the face of the future. As Wilson said:

“Although many tools have disappeared from the modern kitchen, they have left us with traditions, tastes, and even physical characteristics that we would never have possessed otherwise.”

Case Dismissed! Texas Ends 15-Year Fight Against Cancer Doctor Burzynski

By Dr. Mercola

After a grueling 15-year long battle, the Texas Medical Board has officially ended its crusade to revoke Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s medical license in an effort to end his use of Antineoplastons, as well as his combination gene-targeted therapy for cancer.

The Texas Medical Board’s case against him was dismissed1 on November 19, 2012, just in time for Thanksgiving. According to Dr. Burzynski’s attorney, Richard A. Jaffe, Esq:2

“Early on, two medical board informal settlement panels found that the use of these combination drugs on the advanced cancer patients involved was within the standard of care.

However, the Texas Medical Board refused to drop the case and instead filed a formal complaint3 against Dr. Burzynski alleging the same standard of care violations previously rejected by the board settlement panels.

After two years of intense litigation, the case was set for trial in April 2012. However, a week before trial, the administrative law judges dismissed most of the charges against Dr. Burzynski which forced the Board to seek to adjourn the case to do some reevaluation.

After the judges denied the Board’s attempt to reverse the previous partial dismissal of the case, the Board did more reevaluation and moved to dismiss the entire case.”

In 2010, Texas Medical Board staff charged4 Dr. Burzynski with prescribing and administering drugs not yet approved by the FDA for the treatment of cancer in two patients. They also claimed he had overcharged for the drugs, and, in one case, that he had failed to inform the patient that the treatment was having an insignificant impact on her cancer, delaying her ability to make an informed decision about whether to continue her treatment.

On both counts, the Board determined that the treatments did not violate the standard of care, and that patients had been appropriately billed. They did however agree he failed to inform the patient that the treatment was ineffective, and in the other case, they determined he had failed to maintain adequate medical records.

Dr. Burzynski to Make History Yet Again

Dr. Burzynski received much-needed publicity two years ago with the release of Burzynski — The Movie, a documentary about Dr. Burzynski’s remarkable cancer discovery, and how he won the largest and possibly the most convoluted and intriguing legal battle against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in American history.

This year, a second film detailing his continued struggles, and victories, is scheduled to be released. As announced in the trailer (see above), Dr. Burzynski is now doing the unthinkable… He is “the first and only scientist in United States history to enter the federal drug approval process for a proprietary cancer therapy without any financial support from the American government, the pharmaceutical industry, or the cancer establishment.”

After it was revealed that the FDA had pressured the Texas medical board to revoke Dr. Burzynski’s medical license — despite the fact that no laws were broken, and his treatment was proven safe and effective — the obvious question was “why?” In 1982, Dr. Richard Crout, Director of the FDA Bureau of Drugs, wrote:

“I never have and never will approve a new drug to an individual, but only to a large pharmaceutical firm with unlimited finances.”

The answer to this has to do with money. Lots and lots of money… See, Dr. Burzynski owns the patent for this treatment, and should it actually gain FDA approval, not only would it threaten conventional chemotherapy and radiation, it would also result in billions of dollars of cancer research funds being funneled over to the one single scientist who has exclusive patent rights — Dr. Burzynski.

When Medical Harassment Becomes Standard Practice

As Burzynski — The Movie revealed, it became clear that ever since 1977, when Dr. Burzynski first tried to get antineoplastons approved, the FDA had begun scheming to eliminate the threat he and his discovery posed to the cancer industry. With that in mind, the mistreatment dished out by the Texas Medical Board (TMB) against Dr. Burzynski becomes easier to understand.

The situation becomes even more enlightening once you take into account the fact that, for years, the TMB has cultivated intimidation and harassment of doctors to the point that the entire Board was sued by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) in 2007, citing an “institutional culture of retaliation and intimidation.” The suit specifically pointed out misconduct by then Board president, Roberta Kalafut, who was accused of enlisting her husband to file anonymous complaints against targeted doctors, including her own competitors, who then faced losing their license and other punitive disciplinary actions based on fraudulent charges. (She resigned from her post in December 2008.)5

The situation was so bad that legislation was drafted in 2009 in an effort to clamp down on the abuses by the TMB.6 Unfortunately, the bill, HB3816, failed to get a House vote and didn’t make it into law. The bill would have prevented anonymous, unsworn complaints from ruining the careers of doctors, and given physicians a right to jury trial before license revocation, among other things. It seems not much has changed in the years since. In an AAPS blog dated September 22, 2011, Jane M. Orient, MD, Executive Director of AAPS stated:7

“Complaints from our members have identified the TMB as probably the worst in the country. It’s bad for patients when their doctors are afraid that doing the right thing could result in licensure action.”

Summary of Dr. Burzynski’s Cancer Treatment

Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, a Polish immigrant, was trained as both a biochemist and a physician. He’s spent the last 35 years developing and successfully treating cancer patients suffering with some of the most lethal forms of cancer at his clinic in Houston, Texas. The treatment he developed involves a gene-targeted approach using non-toxic peptides and amino acids, known as antineoplastons. I personally interviewed Dr. Burzynski about his treatment in the summer of 2011.

His strategy includes studying the patient’s entire cancerous genome; analyzing some 24,000 genes in each cancer patient, in order to identify the abnormal genes. Once they’ve determined which genes are involved in the cancer, drugs and supplements are identified to target those genes. Antineoplastons work on approximately 100 cancer-causing genes, but traditional oncology agents (including chemotherapy) may also be used, typically in combination with antineoplastons.

Antineoplastons are peptides and derivatives of amino acids that act as molecular switches. However, as genome research blossomed and science progressed, Dr. Burzynski discovered that antineoplastons also work as genetic switches. They turn off the oncogenes that cause cancer, and turn on or activate tumor suppressor genes — genes that fight cancer. The antineoplastons were initially obtained from blood. For a time they were then extracted from urine, but they’ve now been using synthetic antineoplastons since 1980.

Burzynski — The Movie features several case stories of people who were successfully cured of cancer, and reveals for example clinical trial data of conventional therapies versus antineoplastons in Phase II FDA-sanctioned clinical trials for a type of brain cancer called Anaplastic Astrocytoma, Grade III. When stacked against each other, the benefits of antineoplastons become quite obvious:

Gene Targeted Cancer Therapy is the Future

In recent years, the focus for cancer therapy has increasingly shifted toward individualized gene-targeted cancer treatment — such as that provided by Dr. Burzynski for the past 10 years. A description of how the patient’s individualized treatment plan is devised is given in the second video above, starting three minutes into the video. So, is it any wonder the industry wants to get rid of him in order to protect their own profits and access to research funds?

As an example, in January 2011, the Khalifa Foundation gave a $150 million grant to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center8 “to support genetic-analysis based research, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.” In short, personalized cancer treatment is the future of oncology, and the US government has spared no expense in trying to make eliminate Dr. Burzynski from the race — including patent theft…

In October 1991, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) conducted a site visit to Dr. Burzynski’s clinic and verified that “anti-tumor activity was documented by the use of antineoplastons.”9 Seventeen days after this visit, the United States of America as represented by “The Department of Health and Human Services,” filed a patent for antineoplastons AS2-1 — one of the two antineoplastons Dr. Burzynski had already patented. The inventor listed on the copycat patent was Dr. Dvorit Samid, a former research consultant of Dr. Burzynski’s. The patent states:

“The invention described herein may be manufactured, used and licensed by or for the government, for governmental purposes, without the payment to us of any royalties thereon.”

In November of 1995, the US Patent office approved the first US Government patent for antineoplastons. Between 1995 and 2000, the US Patent office approved 11 copycat patents on antineoplastons AS2-1. Incredibly, In August of 2012, America’s National Cancer Institute has begun to finally acknowledge and cite some of Burzynski’s peer-reviewed Antineoplaston studies, as well as Japan’s studies who have been independently reproducing Antineoplaston clinical trials studies since the 1980’s. One of the most remarkable admissions by The National Cancer Institute is where they quote10:

“A Phase II study also conducted by the developer and his associates at his clinic reported on 12 patients with recurrent diffuse intrinsic brainstem glioma. Of the ten patients who were evaluable, two achieved complete tumor response, three had partial tumor response, three had stable disease, and two had progressive disease.”

A brainstem glioma has simply never been cured before in the history of medicine — Antineoplastons hold the first cures ever. Kudos to the National cancer Institute for finally giving credit where credit is due!

Is the Cancer Industry Really Interested in Finding Cancer Cures?

To summarize Dr. Burzynski’s story: He developed a cancer treatment that surpassed all other treatments on the market, and the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry knew it. They also knew he was the sole owner of the patents for this therapy, and these two facts combined, threatened the entire paradigm of the cancer industry.

So they decided to steal his invention. The problem is, they cannot actually use the stolen patents as long as Dr. Burzynski walks free and has the ability to defend his rights to them.

So, for the past 15 years, they’ve thrown everything but the kitchen sink at him in an effort to tuck him away in jail for the remainder of his life, or at the very least, make sure he doesn’t have a license with which to practice any kind of medicine. Without a profitable career, making and raising the needed cash for patent defense would be tricky. Sadly, you and I have all been paying for the brutal opposition to his cancer treatment this whole time. The US government spent $60 million on legal fees for just one of his trials alone…

Still, Dr. Burzynski has prevailed against enormous forces so many times it’s enough to make one believe in a higher power. Certainly, many of his patients would call him a God-send. Now, with the TMB finally dismissing their case against him, let’s hope that’s the end of the absurd witch hunt against Dr. Burzynski.

Part 2 of the documentary will be released sometime this year. Until then, you can show support for Eric Merola and his film by purchasing the first one, Burzynski: The Movie.

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Worms Produce Another Kind of Gold for Farmers

By Dr. Mercola

We’re living in an era where the largest food producers in the United States operate more like factories than farms, complete with industrial farming practices that produce obscene amounts of waste and threaten to completely deplete what was once rich and fertile soil.

With each harvest, the land is stripped of vital nutrients plants need to grow, and so synthetic fertilizers and other chemicals are added back into the land out of necessity.

The Problem with Synthetic and Other Toxic Fertilizers

There are problems with trying to synthetically fertilize the land, as restoring soil to its original grandeur – a complex ecosystem teeming with microbes and nutrients – is not as simple as adding back in various concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK, a common synthetic fertilizer).

Aside from often leading to imbalances in the soil that can harm plant growth, synthetic fertilizers contribute to environmental contamination, and there is even concern that the natural deposits of phosphorus and potassium – two elements necessary for plants to grow – are being rapidly depleted.1

Sewage sludge, or “biosolids” – as they’re referred to with a PR spin – is another type of fertilizer that began being “recycled” into food crops when, ironically, it was realized that dumping them into rivers, lakes and bays was an environmental disaster. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that about 50 percent of all biosolids are recycled to land.2 This sludge is what’s leftover after sewage is treated and processed.

Your first thought may be the “yuck factor” of human waste being used to fertilize your food, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Every time a paintbrush gets rinsed, an old bottle of medications flushed, or solvents are hosed off a factory floor, it ends up in the sewage system. So it’s not surprising that a past analysis of sewage sludge by the Environmental Working Group found:3

  • Over 100 synthetic organic compounds including phthalates, toluene, and chlorobenzene
  • Dioxins in sludge from 179 out of 208 systems (80%)
  • 42 different pesticides – at least one in almost every sample, with an average of almost 2 pesticides per survey sample
  • Nine heavy metals, often at high concentrations

Worm Farms May Hold the Secret to Restoring Soil Health, Naturally

A small but growing group of farmers are tending not to corn or cattle, but to worms. These intriguing creatures’ digestive process naturally excretes beneficial microbes into the soil, which drastically alter the soil’s composition. These worm farmers are creating a natural product known as “vermicompost,” which is said to improve plant growth and make plants more resistant to disease and insects than plants grown with other composts and fertilizers.4, 5 As the New York Times reported, Dr. Norman Arancon, an assistant professor of horticulture at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, said:6

“…soil that has been heavily exposed to synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides lacks microbial richness and diversity, qualities that can be restored naturally by adding the microbes from worms.”

What makes vermicompost so exciting is not only its ability to help plants thrive naturally, it’s also showing promise as a solution for the millions of pounds of manure waste put out by industrial concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). At one worm farm, worms are able to transform 10 million pounds of manure from a dairy farm into 2.5 million pounds of beneficial vermicompost.7

In addition to helping create a valuable compost to help plants grow, worms have also been singled out for their ability to break down toxins like cadmium, lead and other heavy metals, helping to detoxify soil. They do this by optimizing the bacterial content of the soil. Worms also can even break down cardboard waste fibers, making them a potential recycling tool.

Natural “Worm” Composts May Help Protect the Future Food Supply

Many are not aware that one of the reasons why the conventional agribusiness food system has emerged as a major threat to your health is because it is contributing to the destruction of the world’s topsoil. According to an article in Time World,8 soil erosion and degradation rates suggest we have only about 60 remaining years of topsoil. Forty percent of the world’s agricultural soil is now classified as either degraded or seriously degraded; the latter means that 70 percent of the topsoil is gone.

Our soil is being lost at 10 to 40 times the rate it can be replenished, and our food production systems are to blame, which epitomizes the term “unsustainable.” It takes decades or even centuries to regenerate significant levels of soil.

Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of our fresh water use. When the soil is unfit, water is wasted – it washes right through the soil and past the plant’s root system. We already have a global water shortage that’s projected to worsen over the next 20 to 30 years, so this is the last thing we need. Soil degradation is projected to cause a 30 percent loss in food production over the next 20 to 50 years – while our global food demands are expected to increase by 50 percent over this span of time.

Many don’t realize that soil is alive and has an incredible diversity of microorganisms. One handful of soil contains more microbes than the number of people who have ever lived on our planet. Just as we are beginning to more fully appreciate the importance of beneficial bacteria in our gut in our own health, there is emerging evidence that beneficial bacteria in the soil are crucial to break down nutrients and make them available to the plants so they can be optimally healthy and resist disease and pests.

These organisms create a powerful synergy with the plants and recycle organic material, making the soil more resilient and better at holding water and nutrients, and better at nurturing plants. Microbes need carbon for food, and we’re depleting our soil of this element by using chemical fertilizers, overgrazing, over-ploughing, and burning stubble in fields to accelerate crop turnover.

Genetically Modified Crops Further Depleting the Soil

Add to this genetically modified (GM) crops, and our soil (and future food supply) is dealt another deathblow, as the latest science seems to suggest GM plant cultivation may seriously disrupt soil ecology by reducing microbial diversity, which decreases soil fertility over time – possibly irreversibly.Until the industrial farming complex reverts back to a traditional model that works with the laws of nature instead of against them, more natural solutions for soil restoration, like vermicompost, are urgently needed.

Yet Another Reason for Buying Organic…

Organic agricultural practices promote ideal soil conditions, while conventional farming methods threaten to completely deplete our soils worldwide, which will only worsen nutrition as time goes on. This is vital, since the continued destruction of our soils will ultimately lead to the demise of the entire food system.

In order to qualify as certified organic, a product must be grown and processed using organic farming methods that recycle resources and promote biodiversity. Crops must be grown without synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes, petroleum-based fertilizers, or sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Eating organically and supporting farms whose practices are sustainable is currently one of the best ways to protect your health, the environment and the very future of our food supply.

As an aside, if you do decide to give vermicompost a try, either in your own garden or by purchasing products grown with it, be sure it is from a reputable company. The market is currently unregulated and no industry standards exist, so product quality varies widely.

Cholesterol Plays Key Role in Cell Signaling

By Dr. Mercola

Are you still under the impression that cholesterol is a dietary villain and a primary cause of heart disease? And do you avoid eating healthy animal foods like eggs, butter and grass-fed beef because of “high-cholesterol” fears?

It’s time for these pervasive myths to be laid to rest, as when you understand the truth about how cholesterol works in your body you’ll realize it’s not an enemy to your health, but instead plays an essential role in keeping your body functioning optimally.

Cholesterol Crucial for Healthy Cell Functioning

Cholesterol has been demonized since the early 1950’s, following the popularization of Ancel Keys’ flawed research. As a result, people now spend tens of billions of dollars on cholesterol-reducing drugs each year, thinking they have to lower this “dangerous” molecule lest they keel over from a heart attack.

But cholesterol has many health benefits. Recent research revealed, for instance, that cholesterol plays a key role in regulating protein pathways involved in cell signaling and may also regulate other cellular processes.1

It’s already known that cholesterol plays a critical role within your cell membranes, but this new research suggests cholesterol also interacts with proteins inside your cells, adding even more importance.

Your body is composed of trillions of cells that need to interact with each other. Cholesterol is one of the molecules that allow for these interactions to take place. For example, cholesterol is the precursor to bile acids, so without sufficient amounts of cholesterol, your digestive system can be adversely affected.

It also plays an essential role in your brain, which contains about 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body. It is critical for synapse formation, i.e. the connections between your neurons, which allow you to think, learn new things, and form memories.

In fact, there’s reason to believe that low-fat diets and/or cholesterol-lowering drugs may cause or contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. Low cholesterol levels have also been linked to violent behavior, due to adverse changes in brain chemistry, particularly a reduction in serotonin activity Furthermore, you need cholesterol to produce steroid hormones, including your sex hormones. Vitamin D is also synthesized from a close relative of cholesterol: 7-dehydrocholesterol.

Cholesterol is Necessary for Life Itself

Considering the fact that conventional medicine has been telling us that heart disease is due to elevated cholesterol and recommends lowering cholesterol levels as much as possible, it may come as a shock to learn that having too little cholesterol is actually a verifiable risk to your health. As Chris Masterjohn, who recently received his PhD in nutritional sciences from the University of Connecticut, explained, to get an idea of the importance of cholesterol you only need to look at what happens if you don’t have it…

“If we want to understand why cholesterol is really an incredibly important molecule and is really our friend rather than our enemy, I think what we should look at is the question, ‘What happens without cholesterol?’ he says.

…[L]ook at Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome or SLOS, which is a symptom of genetic deficiency in cholesterol. It’s when people can’t make enough cholesterol on their own. In order to actually have this full-blown syndrome, it’s a recessive trait, which means you need a defective gene for cholesterol synthesis from your father, and you need one from your mother as well. Now, the number of people who carry this defective gene in the population is about one to three percent of the population.

However, the number of babies who are born with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome is far lower than we would expect. …It turns out that if [the fetus] has both of these genes and the unborn child can’t synthesize its own cholesterol, then this usually results in spontaneous abortion. So right away we see that cholesterol is needed for life itself…”

In those rare cases where a baby is born with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, the child is susceptible to and can present a wide range of defects, such as:

Heart Disease May Even be Caused by a Cholesterol Deficiency

According to Dr. Stephanie Seneff:

Heart disease, I think, is a cholesterol deficiency problem, and in particular a cholesterol sulfate deficiency problem…”

Through her research, she has developed a theory in which the mechanism we call “cardiovascular disease” (of which arterial plaque is a hallmark) is actually your body’s way to compensate for not having enough cholesterol sulfate. She believes that cholesterol combines with sulfur to form cholesterol sulfate, and this cholesterol sulfate helps thin your blood by serving as a reservoir for the electron donations you receive when walking barefoot on the earth (also called grounding). She believes that, via this blood-thinning mechanism, cholesterol sulfate may provide natural protection against heart disease. In fact, she goes so far as to hypothesize that heart disease is likely the result of cholesterol deficiency — which of course is diametrically opposed to the conventional view.

Total Cholesterol Level is Not a Reliable Indicator of Your Heart Disease Risk

As the the leading causes of death in the United States, it’s important to monitor your risk factors for heart disease and make changes to your lifestyle accordingly. However, total cholesterol will tell you virtually nothing about your disease risk, unless it’s exceptionally elevated (above 330 or so, which would be suggestive of familial hypercholesterolemia, and is, in my view, about the only time a cholesterol-lowering drug would be appropriate). Two ratios that are far better indicators of heart disease risk are:

  1. Your HDL/total cholesterol ratio: HDL percentage is a very potent indicator of your heart disease risk. Just divide your HDL level by your total cholesterol. This percentage should ideally be above 24 percent. Below 10 percent, it’s a significant indicator of risk for heart disease
  2. Your triglyceride/HDL ratios: This percentage should ideally be below 2

Four additional risk factors for heart disease are:

  1. Your fasting insulin level: Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates like fructose and refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose and then insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar. The insulin released from eating too many carbs promotes fat and makes it more difficult for your body to shed excess weight, and excess fat, particularly around your belly, is one of the major contributors to heart disease.
  2. Your fasting insulin level can be determined by a simple, inexpensive blood test. A normal fasting blood insulin level is below 5, but ideally you’ll want it below 3. If your insulin level is higher than 3 to 5, the most effective way to optimize it is to reduce or eliminate all forms of dietary sugar, particularly fructose, from your diet.

  3. Your fasting blood sugar level: Studies have shown that people with a fasting blood sugar level of 100-125 mg/dl had a nearly 300 percent higher risk of having coronary heart disease than people with a level below 79 mg/dl.
  4. Your waist circumference: Visceral fat, the type of fat that collects around your internal organs, is a well-recognized risk factor for heart disease. The simplest way to evaluate your risk here is by simply measuring your waist circumference. For further instructions, please see my previous article, Your Waist Size Can Be a Powerful Predictor of Hypertension and Other Chronic Diseases.
  5. Your iron level: Iron can be a very potent cause of oxidative stress, so if you have excess iron levels you can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease. Ideally, you should monitor your ferritin levels and make sure they are not much above 80 ng/ml. The simplest way to lower them if they are elevated is to donate your blood. If that is not possible you can have a therapeutic phlebotomy and that will effectively eliminate the excess iron from your body.

Do You Need to Monitor Your Dietary Cholesterol Intake?

About 80-90 percent of the cholesterol in your body is produced by your liver, which has led to the faulty assumption that cholesterol from dietary sources can, and should, be avoided. Dr. Seneff actually believes it’s difficult to get “too much” cholesterol in your diet, particularly in the standard American diet. But you may very well be getting too little, and that can cause serious problems. She points to the research by Weston A. Price, a dentist by profession who traveled all around the world studying the health effects of indigenous diets. Interestingly enough, many indigenous diets are shockingly high in dietary cholesterol based on today’s conventional medical standards.

Cholesterol-rich foods like caviar, liver and the adrenal glands of bears were highly valued in some cultures that also had very low rates of heart disease and other modern diseases.

Dr. Seneff believes, as do I, that placing an upper limit on dietary cholesterol, especially such a LOW upper limit as is now recommended, is likely causing far more harm than good. You can get an idea of what types of cholesterol-rich foods to include in your diet by following my nutrition plan. As Masterjohn further pointed out:2

“Since we cannot possibly eat enough cholesterol to use for our bodies’ daily functions, our bodies make their own. When we eat more foods rich in this compound, our bodies make less. If we deprive ourselves of foods high in cholesterol — such as eggs, butter, and liver — our body revs up its cholesterol synthesis. The end result is that, for most of us, eating foods high in cholesterol has very little impact on our blood cholesterol levels.

In seventy percent of the population, foods rich in cholesterol such as eggs cause only a subtle increase in cholesterol levels or none at all. In the other thirty percent, these foods do cause a rise in blood cholesterol levels. Despite this, research has never established any clear relationship between the consumption of dietary cholesterol and the risk for heart disease… Raising cholesterol levels is not necessarily a bad thing either.”

How to Optimize Your Cholesterol Levels Naturally

The goal of the guidelines below is not to lower your cholesterol as low as it can go, but rather to optimize your levels so they’re working in the proper balance with your body. Again, the majority of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol. This is why my primary recommendations for safely regulating your cholesterol have to do with modifying your diet and lifestyle as follows:

  • Reduce, with the plan of eliminating, grains and sugars in your diet. It is vitally important to eliminate gluten-containing grains and dangerous sugars especially fructose.
  • Consume a good portion of your food raw.
  • Make sure you are getting plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega 3 fats, such as krill oil. Research suggests that as little as 500 mg of krill per day may improve your total cholesterol and triglycerides and will likely increase your HDL cholesterol.
  • Replace harmful vegetable oils and synthetic trans fats with healthful fats, such as olive oil, butter and coconut oil (remember olive oil should be used cold only, use coconut oil for cooking and baking).
  • Include fermented foods in your daily diet. This will not only optimize your intestinal microflora, which will boost your overall immunity, it will also introduce beneficial bacteria into your mouth. Poor oral health is another powerful indicator of increased heart disease risk.
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels, ideally through appropriate sun exposure as this will allow your body to also create vitamin D sulfate—another factor that may play a crucial role in preventing the formation of arterial plaque.
  • Exercise regularly. Make sure you incorporate high-intensity interval exercises, which also optimize your human growth hormone (HGH) production.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
  • Be sure to get plenty of high-quality, restorative sleep.

The Unsavory Truth of the McRib and Other Fake Foods, and Why Russia Banned US-Raised Meat

By Dr. Mercola

Over the past couple of years, we’ve learned the unsavory truth about “pink slime,” reconstituted meat, and how the use of meat glue cheats you out of your hard-earned money at the grocery store and threatens your health.

We’ve also learned that fast food fare such as McDonald’s hamburgers contain so many chemicals and so few real food ingredients that a burger fails to show signs of decomposition after more than a decade

The famous McDonald’s McRib also came under closer scrutiny, and turned out to be something less than mouthwatering. The McRib sandwich is a non-standard item on the fast food restaurant’s menu;1 its annual return is always advertised with great fanfare — last year it even made the headlines on ABC News.2

The pork sandwich is described as a tasty fan favorite slathered in tangy barbecue sauce, slivered onions and tart pickles, served on a hoagie style bun. Sounds perfectly normal, but what’s it made of, really? In a November 2011 article, CBS Chicago news3 spilled the beans on this seasonal favorite:

“More than 70 ingredients make up the McRib and, yes, one of them is pork. But as CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, there’s also an ingredient that can be found in shoes… [Registered dietician Cassie] Vanderwall gave the McRib a closer look and found the McRib has azodicarbonamide, which is used to bleach the flour in bread. It has other uses. ‘It could be on your yoga mat, in your gym shoes, in your anything that’s rubbery,’ Vanderwall said…


Then there’s the pork – which is really restructured meat product. In other words, it’s made from all the less expensive innards and castoffs from the pig…
Vanderwall said the McRib ingredient list ‘reminds me of a chemistry lab.’”

To see pictures of a ‘deconstructed’ McRib sandwich, check out foodfacts.info’s McRib page.4 It sure doesn’t look so appetizing anymore once the sauce is washed off and the meat sliced in half. In fact, it can barely pass meat, which was the point CBS news tried to make in the first place.

What is “Food” Anyway?

Two years ago, the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine singled out McDonald’s in their advertisement against obesity-related deaths. As the ad claimed, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and heart attacks are hallmark diseases associated with a fast food diet – a clear indication that it does not provide the appropriate nutrition for your body.

So, is McDonald’s fare really food?

When you consider the fact that a large number of the ingredients in a fast food meal exist nowhere in nature, but are rather concocted in a lab, the answer would have to be ‘no.’ Unfortunately, and to our severe detriment, ever since the advent of the so-called TV dinner back in the 1950’s, the concept of “food” has expanded from meat, vegetables, raw dairy products, fruit and other such natural items to include the highly processed, preserved, artificially flavored and often brightly colored chemical concoctions. But man simply was NOT designed to thrive on man-made chemicals.

Sadly, store-bought foods you might not recognize as processed, such as ground beef, are oftentimes no better. As reported last year, approximately 70 percent of the ground beef sold in U.S. supermarkets contains “pink slime” added in as a cheap filler.

The Pepto-Bismol-colored concoction consists of beef scraps and cow connective tissues, which has been treated with ammonium hydroxide (basically a solution of ammonia in water). It can legally make up 15 percent of any given beef product, which shaves about three cents off the cost for a pound of ground beef. The trimmings used come from parts of the cow that are most likely to be contaminated with dangerous bacteria like E. coli — which is why it must be treated with ammonia to kill off the pathogens in the first place. It’s really industrial food practices like this that pose very real threats to your health, not raw unpasteurized dairy products and other non-processed whole foods…

Russia Throws Poisonous Meat Back to U.S.

In related “questionable food” news, Russia has recently banned U.S. meat supplies after discovering it contains ractopamine — a beta agonist drug that increases protein synthesis, thereby making the animal more muscular. This reduces the fat content of the meat. As reported by Pravda,5 Russia is the fourth largest importer of US meats, purchasing about $500 million-worth of beef and pork annually.

The drug is banned for use in 160 countries, including China and Russia, but allowed in 24 countries, including Canada and the United States. According to the New York Times,6 the ban took effect as of December 7, 2012, and Russian health regulators stated that while they will initially conduct their own testing, foreign countries will soon be required to certify their meat as ractopamine-free if they want to export it to Russia. While the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers ractopamine safe and doesn’t test for it, Russia’s chief health inspector, Gennady Onishchenko, claims there are “serious questions” about the safety of the drug. He told the New York Times:

“For instance, use of ractopamine is accompanied by a reduction in body mass, suppression of reproductive function, increase of mastitis in dairy herds, which leads to a steep decline in the quality and safety of milk.”

Ractopamine is also known to affect the human cardiovascular system, and may cause food poisoning, according to Pravda.7 It’s also thought to be responsible for hyperactivity, muscle breakdown, and increased death and disability in livestock. While other drugs require a clearance period of around two weeks to help ensure the compounds are flushed from the meat prior to slaughter (and therefore reduce residues leftover for human consumption), there is no clearance period for ractopamine. In fact, livestock growers intentionally use the drug in the last days before slaughter in order to increase its effectiveness.

According to veterinarian Michael W. Fox, as much as 20 percent of ractopamine remains in the meat you buy from the supermarket. Despite potential health risks, the drug is used in 45 percent of U.S. pigs, 30 percent of ration-fed cattle, and an unknown percentage of turkeys.

Mexico and Brazil have announced that they will comply with Russia’s demand for ractopamine-free meats.8 The US has shown no sign of coming to an agreement, however. Instead the US has accused Russia of violating World Trade Organization (WTO) rules — an accusation Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has dismissed as being part of business as usual, since “all WTO members break these rules.”

How to Identify REAL Food

There are major incentives to center your diet on real foods as opposed to “food-like” products, the primary one being that real food is essential for optimal health. Real foods also taste delicious, and when bought from sustainable sources help to protect the environment. But with all the sneaky tricks being employed, how can you tell the difference? Here’s a listing of the characteristics and traits of real food versus processed “food products.”

Real Food
Processed Food-Like Products
It’s grown, and sold “whole”
Produced, manufactured in a factory, and sold in neat, convenient packages
Variable quality
Always the same (no quality or taste variance)
Spoils fast
Stays “fresh” for extended periods of time
Requires preparation
No preparation required, just heat and serve
Vibrant colors and rich textures
Contains fillers, additives and preservatives to make otherwise dull and bland mixtures appetizing
Authentically flavorful
Artificially flavorful
Strong connection to land and culture
No connection to land or culture

Shopping Guidelines for Real, Health-Promoting Food

As the U.S. agriculture industry now stands, antibiotics, pesticides, genetically engineered ingredients, hormones and countless drugs are fair game for inclusion in your food. So if you purchase your food from a typical supermarket, you’re taking the chance that your food is teeming with chemicals and drugs — even those that have been banned in other countries due to adverse health effects.

So please do your health a favor and support the small family farms in your area. You’ll receive nutritious food from a source that you can trust, and you’ll be supporting the honest work of a real family farm.

It all boils down to this: if you want to optimize your health, you must return to the basics of healthy food choices. Put your focus on WHOLE foods — foods that have not been processed or altered from their original state — food that has been grown or raised as nature intended, without the use of chemical additives, drugs, hormones, pesticides, fertilizers, and “mystery concoctions” of discarded scrap parts.

It’s really as simple as that!

And it’s not nearly as daunting a task as it may seem to find a local farmer that can supply your family with healthy, humanely raised animal products and produce. At LocalHarvest.org, for instance, you can enter your zip code and find farmers’ markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, all with the click of a button. Once you make the switch from supermarket to local farmer, the choice will seem natural, and you can have peace of mind that the food you’re feeding your family is naturally wholesome. That said, regardless of where you do your grocery shopping, these are the signs of high-quality, health-promoting foods you want to look for:

  1. It’s grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers (organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods)
  2. It’s not genetically modified
  3. It contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs
  4. It does not contain any artificial ingredients, including chemical preservatives
  5. It is fresh (keep in mind that if you have to choose between wilted organic produce or fresh conventional produce, the latter may actually be the better option)
  6. It did not come from a factory farm
  7. It is grown with the laws of nature in mind (meaning animals are fed their native diets, not a mix of grains and animal byproducts, and have free-range access to the outdoors)
  8. It is grown in a sustainable way (using minimal amounts of water, protecting the soil from burnout, and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants)

If the food meets these criteria, it is most likely a wise choice, and would fall under the designation of “real food.” Keep in mind that reclaiming your kitchen is part and parcel of healthful living, so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body. If you need help to get started, see Colleen Huber’s helpful tips on how to eat healthier organic food on a budget. And if you’re “hooked” on fast food and other processed foods, please review my article How to Wean Yourself Off Processed Foods in 7 Steps. It’s one of the absolute most positive life changes you could make!

Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Meryl Nass on Vaccine Adaptations

By Dr. Mercola

The average person in the United States and, for that matter, most of the world has been convinced – or a better term might be “manipulated” – that there is an overwhelming benefit received from vaccines.

Most people accept the recommendation to vaccinate from the media, public health agencies and their physicians without question.

But one of the purposes of this site is to encourage you to exercise caution, do your due diligence, and explore all sides of prevailing health issues. This is especially important when it comes to vaccinations, as the media and most physicians will almost universally provide only one side of the equation.

In reality, these medical interventions do have side effects, which are often far more common than the preapproval clinical research revealed … and they are often not nearly as beneficial as they are purported to be by the conventional medical authorities.

Meanwhile, as my interview with Dr. Meryl Nass, a physician in Bar Harbor, Maine, revealed, there are many unforeseen consequences of mass vaccination … consequences that could end up seriously impacting public health in a very negative way.

Vaccines May Trigger Bacterial Adaptations, Strain Replacement and Antibiotic-Resistant Disease

Dr. Nass begins by discussing Prevnar, a vaccine used against pneumonia, meningitis, and deadly bloodstream infections in young children. When the vaccine was first licensed in 2000, it contained seven pneumococcal strains (PCV-7).

While some decreases were initially reported in diseases linked to these seven strains, by 2008 there was evidence that the mass use of the vaccine in U.S. children had “put pressure on some of the 80 other pneumococcal strains to cause invasive disease and was responsible for increasing the rates of otitis media [ear infection], meningitis and pneumonia caused by serotypes not included in the seven-valent vaccine.”1, 2

As a result, in 2010 a new Prevnar vaccine with 13 serotypes instead of seven (PCV-13) was released, in an attempt to stop the newly added pneumococcal strains from causing invasive disease.

Dr. Nass explained:

Now, the reason for [the introduction of new PCV-13 vaccine] was that when Prevnar was originally introduced, it seemed to cause a reduction in cases of meningitis, and possibly pneumonia, due to the bacteria that were included in the vaccine. Subsequently, there was an increase in cases throughout the United States and also in the rest of the world of strains that were not included in the vaccine.

There have been a lot of studies on this. In some places, there are more infections than before. In most places, there seems to be net fewer, but not a lot net fewer. The infections that now occur – not everywhere, but it seems that in the majority of places – are more antibiotic-resistant than they were before.”

Now, in the United States ear infections and sinus infections, many of which are caused by pneumococcal bacteria, have become much harder to treat because of increasing resistance to antibiotics. This is due not only to the overuse of antibiotics in medicine and, more importantly, in agricultural animal feed, but also likely due to the widespread use of the Prevnar vaccine.

Serious Diseases on the Rise Due to Possible Vaccine-Induced Bacterial and Viral Adaptations

It’s not only ear and sinus infections that may be mutating into hard-to-treat strains thanks to the use of vaccinations. Other cases noted in the literature include:

  • Whooping Cough: In Australia, dangerous new strains of whooping cough bacteria were reported in March 2012.3 The vaccine, researchers said, was responsible. The reason for this is because, while whooping cough is primarily attributed to Bordetella pertussis infection, it is also caused by another closely related pathogen called B. parapertussis, which the vaccine does NOT protect against.
  • Two years earlier, scientists at Penn State had already reported that receiving the pertussis vaccine significantly enhanced nasal colonization of B. parapertussis, thereby promoting vaccine-resistant whooping cough outbreaks.4

  • Hepatitis B: In 2007, immunologists discovered mutated vaccine-resistant viruses were causing disease.5
  • Polio: The oral polio vaccine, which is still used in many third-world countries, is made from three live polio viruses, and carries a risk of causing polio. The viruses in the vaccine can also mutate or recombine into a deadlier version, igniting new outbreaks.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) admits that 154 cases of polio in the US that occurred between 1980 and 1999 were vaccine-associated, or on average 8 cases per year in the U.S.6

    According to Nature,7 poliovirus reverts to virulence in 2 to 4 babies per million vaccinated. And, according to an article in Clinical Infectious Diseases,8 the risk of vaccine-associated polio ranged from 0 to 9 per million persons vaccinated for each of the three Sabin strains. The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges:9

    “In very rare cases, the administration of OPV [oral polio vaccine] results in vaccine-associated paralysis associated with a reversion of the vaccine strains to the more neurovirulent profile of wild poliovirus. In a few instances, such vaccine strains have become both neurovirulent and transmissible and have resulted in infectious poliomyelitis.”

    This problem is so significant that oral polio vaccines are no longer used in the developed world. (They were stopped in the U.S. in 2000 and replaced by injected vaccines that were not live.) However, because they are cheaper to produce than injected vaccines, they are still used in the “less developed” world.

In addition, Dr. Nass pointed out:

“…in the literature, it’s been noted that there’s been strain replacement for whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis), Neisseria meningitidis (which is the organism that causes a lot of meningitis), and Haemophilus influenzae. And there have been articles about the potential problems with new vaccines in development for tuberculosis, and whether they will cause strain replacement.

This is a new problem that was identified first in the last 10 years. It’s been studied reasonably well for Prevnar and for Strep pneumoniae… but it hasn’t been studied as well for all the other vaccines and other infections. We can look back and say what happened, but what we can’t do is predict what will happen with the new Prevnar 13 vaccine or other potential pneumococcal conjugate vaccines that are in development. We can bring new vaccines in, but we don’t know what effect they’ll have on the ecology of diseases in the future. And I think it’s something that needs to be looked at much more carefully before we license vaccines.”

Vaccine Effectiveness and Safety Also Called Into Question

There are countless examples of currently recommended vaccinations that have questionable or short-lived effectiveness — flu shots, the MMR vaccine, and the whooping cough vaccine, just to name a few. There are even more examples of vaccines for which the safety profile has never been established.

Prevnar is one such example, as its original approval was based on a clinical trial that compared the Prevnar 7 vaccine to an experimental vaccine. No inert control was used, which means it was impossible to gauge what kinds of side effects were occurring due to Prevnar, since it was being weighed against the side effects being caused by another (experimental meningitis) vaccine. And since the other vaccine was never licensed in the U.S., we don’t really know what side effects it causes. We were only told that Prevnar didn’t cause significantly worse side effects than the other experimental vaccine.

So when you compare the side effects between the experimental vaccine group and the control group, you don’t see a difference, because they’re both being given injections that are potentially toxic, rather than the control group receiving an inert placebo like a saline injection.

Then, when Prevnar 13 came to be licensed, the manufacturer compared it to Prevnar 7 and decided that since the side effects were similar, it meant the newer version was safe to bring to the market. Of course, the true risks of Prevnar 7 had never been fully established, so this comparison, too, was meaningless.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did acknowledge this, and told the vaccine’s maker to conduct an additional six studies on safety and efficacy (after approving the license and use of the vaccine) … but these are being conducted by the drug’s maker, which means they’re highly subject to conflict of interest and bias. Dr. Nass continued:

“This is an example of how little we know… when we bring products into the market. We basically know very little about their safety and their effectiveness when they are first licensed. We learn about them as people use the products. There was an interesting paradox in how the Prevnar vaccine was licensed. When it was originally licensed, it was said that it didn’t really reduce ear infections. It didn’t really reduce sinus infections. But what it did reduce were these invasive, very serious, and life-threatening pneumococcal infections, which were primarily pneumonias, bacteremias (which is bacteria in the bloodstream), and meningitis.

Now, think about that for a minute. How can there be a treatment or a preventive medication such as a vaccine that reduces serious infections caused by certain bacteria but doesn’t reduce the minor infections caused by the identical bacteria? How can that be? …It doesn’t make biological sense.”

Get Informed Before Making Your Vaccination Decisions

There are basic differences between naturally acquired immunity and temporary vaccine-induced antibody production. But few are willing to look at this issue — least of all conventional medicine, which is so dominated by pharmaceutical companies seeking bigger markets and more profits from the investment they make in developing new vaccines.

Unfortunately, if we continue down the road they’re paving for us, and they turn out to be wrong about the effectiveness, safety, and overall long-term side effects of vaccines, then we’re on an extremely dangerous slippery slope.

As Dr. Nass said:

“…many vaccines, hundreds of vaccines, are in development now. It’s possible that huge numbers of vaccines will be brought into clinical practice in the next few years. If that happens, not only do we have no idea how any one individual vaccine may affect the pattern of disease and the pattern of drug resistance, but we have absolutely no idea how the combination of vaccines will affect us. It’s something we really need to be observing and collecting information on, as they come into use.”

This is also why I believe we really need an open and fearless conversation about vaccines; one that addresses the glaring questions about vaccine effectiveness (or lack thereof) and vaccine side effects, and leaves room for real, honest answers, and alternatives to our society’s use of vaccination as the primary disease prevention tool.

Until that happens, however, it is imperative to continue to educate yourself and your family on the issues surrounding vaccinations of all kinds.

To help you locate all the latest vaccine information on my site, I’ve created a dedicated Vaccine News page. Bookmark it and return often. I also recommend you familiarize yourself with the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) web site. As a leader for vaccine safety, the NVIC offers information on everything from vaccine laws to late-breaking vaccine news and how you can get involved to protect vaccine choices in your state.

What You Can Do to Make a Difference

While it seems “old-fashioned,” the only truly effective actions you can take to protect the right to informed consent to vaccination and expand vaccine exemptions, is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.

Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level, and it is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact.

Signing up for NVIC’s free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org not only gives you access to practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community, but when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips to make sure your voice is heard.

So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.

Contact Your Elected Officials

Write or email your elected state representatives and share your concerns. Call them, or better yet, make an appointment to visit them in person in their office. Don’t let them forget you!

It is so important for you to reach out and make sure your concerns get on the radar screen of the leaders and opinion makers in your community, especially the politicians you elect and are directly involved in making vaccine laws in your state. These are your elected representatives, so you have a right and a responsibility to let them know what’s really happening in your life and the lives of people you know when it comes to vaccine mandates. Be sure to share the “real life” experiences that you or people you know have had with vaccination.

Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know

If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, please talk about it. If we don’t share information and experiences with each other, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.

I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the “other side” of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.

We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than “statistically acceptable collateral damage” of national one-size-fits-all mass vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn’t be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

I encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website at www.NVIC.org:

  • NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
  • If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
  • Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment by doctors or government officials for making independent vaccine choices.

Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One that Will Listen and Care

If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don’t want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.

However, there is hope.

At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they’re starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.

So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.

Threats to Your Water Supply Abound — The Devastating Impact of Fertilizers, Fracking, and Water-Hungry GMO’s

By Dr. Mercola

Polluted drinking water is a significant health threat that is sorely underreported and oft-ignored. A recent article in the Star Tribune1 highlights the very real struggle to access clean drinking water right here in the United States.

“Debbie Carlson can laugh at the irony: She’s the wife of a well digger who can’t find good water for his own family. Like one out of three wells in Dakota County, hers is so contaminated with nitrates she won’t let anyone drink from it — especially her 8-year-old granddaughter.

Most likely it comes from nitrogen used as fertilizer on the cornfields surrounding her home,” Josephine Marcotty writes.2 “‘Nitrogen was a great thing for the family farm,’ Carlson said. ‘But I am paying the price.'”

Minnesota Facing Growing Water Contamination Problem

In part due to the fact that Minnesota is prime farm land, many of the state’s inhabitants now face the problem of having elevated levels of nitrogen in their drinking water. The conversion of grasslands and pastures into chemical-driven, industrial crop land has eliminated much of the natural filtering of ground water that such native landscapes typically provide. The areas worst affected include:

  • Dakota county
  • Washington county
  • Central Sands region (14 counties)
  • Karst region

Besides the health risks — which include a potential connection to cancer, as well as thyroid and reproductive problems in both humans and livestock — groundwater contaminated by nitrogen is also a huge financial drain for affected communities.

According to the featured article, about a dozen Minnesota communities so far have spent millions of dollars to clean nitrogen from their water supplies. However, well owners, such as the Carlson’s, are on their own.

Their only alternatives are to pay to dig a new, deeper well, or install their own treatment system. At present, an estimated six percent of private wells are contaminated with nitrogen; this despite the fact that farmers have actually cut their use of the fertilizer quite dramatically.

“Now, through an emerging statewide strategy, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is devising a range of fixes, including more water monitoring and guidance on how communities can restore some of the lost prairie landscape.

In the process, officials and farmers will tackle two thorny questions: How will government use its power to regulate nitrogen use in contaminated areas? And even if every landowner follows the best guidance science can provide, when will they know if it works?

Striking the right balance is crucial because the current approach, said Jill Trescott, Dakota County’s groundwater-protection supervisor, imposes a cost shift from agriculture to taxpayers and homeowners that is ‘just not fair.’ Says Carlson: ‘I think water is one of our most precious resources. What are our grandchildren going to be left with?'”

Is Your Water Safe to Drink?

Unless you are getting your water from a well that is located 800 feet or more below the ground surface, chances are your well water has been contaminated by some, if not many, toxic substances that have been dumped into the ground soil over past decades. Besides fertilizers like nitrogen, other common toxins that are dumped by the millions of pounds into soil every year are:

  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Estrogen-mimicking hormones
  • Drug residues
  • Heavy metals

Many private wells in the United States have been affected by these types of chemical or heavy metal runoff from the surrounding ground soil, and this is to say nothing of the microorganisms living in well water as well. No matter how clean or pure your natural ground water looks, this has nothing to do with potential bacterial contamination or toxic pollution in the water. Many of the offenders in well water are just much too small to be seen with the naked eye.

So, if your home uses well water, you really need to test to see what unwanted contaminants you’re piping into your house, and then filter it accordingly.

If you get municipal water, you should have that tested too. There are more than 140 chemicals in U.S. drinking water supplies that are not regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).3 This includes gasoline, pesticides, rocket fuel, prescription drugs and more. More than 20 percent of U.S. water treatment systems violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act between 2004 and 2009 alone. Since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage.

Fracking — Another Threat to Fresh Water Reserves

Industrial agriculture is not the only threat to our drinking water. Hydraulic fracturing, the method used to drill for natural gas, also known as “fracking,” is becoming yet another major source of groundwater contamination. The documentary Gasland shed much needed light on the environmental destructiveness of the method. Promised Land, a Hollywood production featuring actor Matt Damon premiered on December 28, 2012. According to Reuters:4

“In the film, Damon plays a gas company landman – an agent who buys or leases land – intent on drilling beneath a town where some residents are concerned about the perils of fracking. As the landman gets to know the townspeople, he suffers a crisis of conscience.

…[B]oth industry and anti-fracking camps have mounted major campaigns to sway hearts and minds. ‘It could become the biggest environmental debate of our time,’ said Robert McNally, an energy policy expert and former White House adviser under George W. Bush. ‘Hollywood is taking notice, and the industry will have its work cut out for it to defend fracking.’

Nearly four out of ten Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center early this year said they knew nothing about fracking. Other polls show most Americans familiar with the practice believe fracking offers economic benefits but requires tougher regulation. This year, for the first time, U.S. online searches for the term ‘fracking’ became more popular than ‘climate change,’ Google data showed.”

The primary concern over fracking is its environmental impact, particularly its potential to render water supplies undrinkable. The method entails pumping chemical-laced water and sand at high pressure into shale rock formation, thereby releasing hydrocarbons. The chemicals used in the process have the potential to leak into nearby groundwater, either from the well, or from spills above ground. Yet another concern is fracking-induced earthquakes.

According to Reuters, several drillers have been fined for water contamination due to spilled fracking fluids, and in 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released findings of a potential link between fracking and water contamination after sampling water supplies in Pavillion, Wyoming. The EPA is scheduled to release an in-depth study on fracking’s impact on water supplies in 2014.

Fresh Water Reserves Depleted by Agricultural Irrigation

Besides contamination, fresh water reserves are also being outright depleted by agricultural irrigation. An article in Harper’s Magazine5 published last summer highlighted the rapid depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer — the largest subterranean water supply in the United States.

“Until the Second World War, the Ogallala went almost entirely untapped… It wasn’t until the 1940s, when a variety of new technologies coalesced on the plains, that large-scale irrigation sprang up for the first time — but from there, the transformation was quick. Within a decade thousands of wells were drilled, creating a spike in productivity as unprecedented as it was unsustainable…

Even as the U.S. population surged, with soldiers returning and babies booming, the output of the plains rose fast enough to meet and exceed demand. No one worried about the aquifer. To farmers it seemed a bottomless reserve, generating the same outlandish volume no matter how many straws went in. Soon there were hundreds of thousands of wells producing the same reliable flow, year after year, without any evident stress.

Then, during the early 1990s, farmers throughout the Great Plains began to notice a decline in their wells. Irrigation systems from the Dakotas to Texas dipped, and, in some places, have been abandoned entirely.”

According to Kevin Mulligan, a professor at Texas Tech University who leads the effort to monitor the Ogallala, available water in the aquifer has gone down by about 80-100 feet in just the past 15 years, and none of the water is likely to be replenished. A mere 20 years from now, it’s unlikely that any irrigated agriculture will be possible on the high plains — the water will be all gone… Then what?

Genetically Engineered Crops Compound These Problems

Industrial monoculture farming practices as a whole pose a tremendous threat to water supplies, in multiple ways, whether through contamination or by depleting what little fresh water is available. And far from being a solution, genetically engineered (GE) crops make matters even worse, as they end up needing more agricultural chemicals than other crops, and typically require more water…

India is an agrarian country, populated by 1.1 billion people, about 60 percent of whom are directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. With the introduction of genetically engineered crops, Indian farmers have taken to suicide at alarming rates due to the failure of such crops. There are four primary factors directly related to the use of genetically engineered seed that contribute heavily to this grim situation:

  • Limited water supplies and poor access to irrigation, combined with periodic drought and decreased monsoonal rainfall regularly cause GE crops to fail
  • Compared to traditional seed, GE seeds are very expensive and have to be repurchased every planting season
  • Genetically engineered crops also have much higher requirements for fertilizer and pesticide (in spite of Monsanto’s claims to the contrary) and, in spite of their cost to farmers, provide NO increased yield

What’s the Best Option for Safe, Pure Water?

There’s no doubt about it: Safe, pure water is becoming increasingly difficult to come by, even in otherwise affluent, developed nations. For most people, regardless of where you live, purifying the water you drink is more a necessity than a choice.

By this I do NOT mean resorting to bottled water from your supermarket. Bottled water is typically nothing more than bottled tap water that may or may not have received additional filtration, and the federal testing requirements for bottled water are actually more lax than those for communal water supplies.

One of the best alternatives to the tap may be finding a gravity-fed raw spring in your area — barring contamination from nearby agriculture, that is. Fortunately, natural springs are often monitored by the local municipalities for contaminants.

Natural spring water is naturally filtered by the earth and is “living water,” in the same way that raw food is “living food,” which is why it’s some of the most healthful water on the planet. Before you dismiss this idea because you think there are no such springs in your neck of the woods, there is a Web site called FindaSpring.com that can help you locate springs in your area.

The next best option is to filter the water that comes out of your tap, but there are benefits and drawbacks to virtually every water filtration system on the market. Currently, I use a whole house carbon-based water filtration system. Prior to this I used reverse osmosis (RO) to purify my water. This previous article can help you make a decision about what type of water filtration system will be best for you and your family. Since most water sources are now severely polluted, the issue of water filtration and purification couldn’t be more important.

Confirmed—Fructose Can Increase Your Hunger and Lead to Overeating

By Dr. Mercola

People everywhere are finally waking up to the indisputable fact that all sugars are not created equal when it comes to the physical end results they create.

Scientists using newer functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tests have now shown that fructose, a sugar found in most processed foods (typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup), can in fact trigger changes in your brain that may lead to overeating and weight gain.1

The researchers discovered that when you drink a beverage containing fructose, your brain does not register the feeling of being satiated, as it does when you consume simple glucose. As reported by Yahoo! Health:2

“All sugars are not equal — even though they contain the same amount of calories — because they are metabolized differently in the body.

Table sugar is sucrose, which is half fructose, half glucose. High-fructose corn syrup is 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose. Some nutrition experts say this sweetener may pose special risks, but others and the industry reject that claim. And doctors say we eat too much sugar in all forms.”

Beware: Fructose Can Make You Hungry, Study Finds

Twenty healthy adults were included in the featured study, published in the journal JAMA on January 2.3 fMRI was used to measure the hypothalamus response when the volunteers consumed a beverage containing identical amounts of either fructose or glucose (75 grams). The two drinks were given in random order to all participants during testing sessions spaced eight months apart.

Your hypothalamus helps regulate hunger-related signals involving a number of hormones, including insulin, leptin, and ghrelin. The scans revealed that when drinking glucose, within 15 minutes the activity in the area of the brain involved with reward and desire for food was suppressed, which leads to a feeling of fullness or satiety. According to co-author Dr. Robert Sherwin:4

“With fructose, we don’t see those changes. As a result, the desire to eat continues — it isn’t turned off.”

In fact, fructose not only did not suppress hypothalamic activity, it actually caused a small spike instead. Furthermore, glucose boosted the links between the hypothalamus, thalamus, and striatum, while fructose strengthened the connectivity between the hypothalamus and thalamus, but not the striatum. This is important, as the striatum also deactivates once your body senses it has eaten enough… According to the authors:

“These findings suggest that ingestion of glucose, but not fructose, initiates a coordinated response between the homeostatic-striatal network that regulates feeding behavior.”

What all this means in everyday terms is that when you consume fructose, you may actually be “programming” your body to consume more calories, as fructose fails to trigger that feeling of fullness, and may even trigger continued hunger pangs. Dr. Jonathan Purnell, an endocrinologist at Oregon Health Science University, told Yahoo! Health:

“It implies that fructose, at least with regards to promoting food intake and weight gain, is a bad actor compared to glucose.”

How Your Body Metabolizes Fructose Versus Glucose

Part of what makes fructose so unhealthy is that it is metabolized by your liver to fat in far more rapidly than any other sugar. The entire burden of metabolizing fructose falls on your liver, and it promotes visceral fat.5 This is the type of fat that collects around your organs and in your abdominal region and is associated with a greater risk of heart disease.

Without getting into the complex biochemistry of carbohydrate metabolism, it is important to understand how your body processes fructose versus glucose. Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, has been a pioneer in decoding sugar metabolism. His work has highlighted some major differences in how different sugars are broken down and used. Here’s a summary of the main points:

  • After eating fructose, 100 percent of the metabolic burden rests on your liver. With glucose, your liver has to break down only 20 percent. The metabolism of fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.
  • Every cell in your body, including your brain, utilizes glucose. Therefore, much of it is “burned up” immediately after you consume it. By contrast, fructose is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL (the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which get stored as fat.
  • The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate as fat droplets in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).6 Insulin resistance progresses to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.
  • Fructose is the most lipophilic carbohydrate. In other words, fructose converts to glycerol 3 phosphate (g-3-p), which is directly used to turn FFAs into triglycerides. The more g-3-p you have, the more fat you store. Glucose does not do this.
  • When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat. 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat.
  • Glucose suppresses your hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose has no effect on ghrelin and interferes with your brain’s communication with leptin, resulting in overeating.

Known Health Ramifications of a High-Fructose Diet

Consuming foods that contain high amounts of fructose—even if it’s a natural product—is, to put it bluntly, the fastest way to trash your health. GreenMedInfo.com,7 has collated a number of scientific studies that have linked fructose to about 30 different specific diseases and health problems.

Adding insult to injury, HFCS is most often made from genetically engineered corn, which is fraught with its own well documented side effects and health concerns, from an increased risk of developing food allergies to the risk of increased infertility in future generations, and possibly cancer, according to a recent lifetime feeding study. Select the hyperlinks provided to review how fructose may:

Raise your blood pressure, and cause nocturnal hypertension
Promote insulin resistance / Type 2 Diabetes
Cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
Raise your uric acid levels, which can result in gout and/or metabolic syndrome
Accelerate the progression of chronic kidney disease
Intracranial atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of the arteries in your skull)
Exacerbate cardiac abnormalities if you’re deficient in copper
Have a genotoxic effect on the colon
Promote metastasis in breast cancer patients
Cause tubulointerstitial injury (injury to the tubules and interstitial tissue of your kidney)
Promote obesity and related health problems and diseases
Promote pancreatic cancer growth and feed cancer cells in general
Cause your brain neurons to stagnate
Deplete vitamins and minerals (unbound fructose, found in large quantities in high fructose corn syrup, can interfere with your heart’s use of minerals such as magnesium, copper and chromium)
Promote arthritis and gout

My Recommended Fructose Allowance

With regards to the featured study findings, Scientific American notes:8

“Could fructose consumption alone really be playing such an outsized role in expanding our pant sizes? ‘A common counter argument is that it is the excess calories that are important, not the food. Simply put: just eat less,’ Purnell and Fair noted. ‘The reality, however, is that hunger and fullness are major determinants of how much humans eat, just as thirst determines how much humans drink.

These sensations cannot simply be willed away or ignored.’ In order to eat less (and consume fewer calories overall), they argued, then, one should avoid foods or ingredients that fail to satisfy hunger. And that, according to the results from the new study, would mean those fructose-sweetened foods—and drinks.”

As a standard recommendation, I advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. For most people it would also be wise to limit your fructose from fruit to 15 grams or less, as you’re virtually guaranteed to consume “hidden” sources of fructose if you drink beverages other than water and eat processed food.

Fifteen grams of fructose is not much — it represents two bananas, one-third cup of raisins, or two Medjool dates. Remember, the average 12-ounce can of soda contains 40 grams of sugar, at least half of which is fructose, so one can of soda alone would exceed your daily allotment.

In his book, The Sugar Fix, Dr. Richard Johnson includes detailed tables showing the content of fructose in different foods — an information base that isn’t readily available when you’re trying to find out exactly how much fructose is in various foods. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this excellent resource. You can find an abbreviated listing of the fructose content of common fruits in this previous article.

How Fructose Affects Your “Fat Switch”

Dr. Johnson has also authored another book that is of major importance to anyone who has ever struggled with their weight and/or persistent health issues. According to Dr. Johnson, based on his decades of research:

“Those of us who are obese eat more because of a faulty ‘switch’ and exercise less because of a low energy state. If you can learn how to control the specific ‘switch’ located in the powerhouse of each of your cells – the mitochondria – you hold the key to fighting obesity.”

There are five basic truths that Dr. Johnson explains in detail in his most recently book, The Fat Switch, that overturn current concepts:

  • Large portions of food and too little exercise are NOT solely responsible for why you are gaining weight
  • Metabolic Syndrome is actually a healthy adaptive condition that animals undergo to store fat to help them survive periods of famine. The problems is most all of us are always feasting and never undergo fasting. Our bodies have not adapted to this yet and as a result, this beneficial switch actually causes damage to contemporary man
  • Uric acid is increased by specific foods and causally contributes to obesity and insulin resistance
  • Fructose-containing sugars cause obesity not by calories but by turning on the fat switch
  • Effective treatment of obesity requires turning off your fat switch and improving the function of your cells’ mitochondria

I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book, which is a useful tool for those struggling with their weight. Dietary sugar, and fructose in particular, is a significant “tripper of your fat switch,” so understanding how sugars of all kinds affect your weight and health is imperative.

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Study: Midnight Snacks Can Mess You up on a Molecular Level

I have long advocated that avoiding all food for at least three hours before you go to bed is an exceedingly helpful strategy for those seeking to maintain a healthy weight. This will lower your blood sugar during sleep and help minimize damage from too much sugar floating around. Additionally, It will jump start the glycogen depletion process so you can shift to fat burning mode.

A recent study9 is a powerful confirmation of this recommendation as it has found that the mere act of altering your typical eating habits — such as getting up in the middle of the night for a snack — causes a certain protein to desynchronize your internal food clock, which can throw you off kilter and set a vicious cycle in motion. As reported by The Atlantic:10

“Along with the usual slew of eating-related disorders, like obesity and diabetes, the researchers believe that this molecular understanding for why changing our eating times messes up our food clock might allow them to come up with novel treatments for conditions such as ‘midnight hunger,’ and to make better recommendations for people suffering the consequences of jet lag or working the night shift.”

Your internal body clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, helps regulate the energy levels in your cells, and the proteins involved with your metabolism are intrinsically linked to your circadian rhythms. There’s strong evidence that proper sleep and diet can help maintain or rebuild the balance between your circadian clock and your metabolism, and that lack of rest or disruption of normal sleep patterns can increase hunger, leading to obesity-related illnesses and accelerated aging.

In terms of its effect on your metabolism and weight, lack of sleep has been shown to affect levels of leptin and ghrelin—two of the hormones linked with appetite and eating behavior. When you are sleep deprived, your body decreases production of leptin, the hormone that tells your brain there is no need for more food, while increasing levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger. (These are the same hormones detrimentally affected by a high-fructose diet, as discussed above.)

To keep your circadian clock functioning properly, make sure you’re getting the necessary amount of high quality sleep, during those hours when your body expects to be sleeping. The right amount for you is based on your individual sleep requirements and not on a one-size-fits-all prescribed number of hours. For helpful guidance on how to improve your sleep, please review my 33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep.

The Case for Intermittent Fasting to Optimize Your Circadian Clock

In addition to that, this study offers an indication of how important it is to also maintain a regular eating schedule. Personally, I believe there is good reason to consider an intermittent fasting schedule. There is an emerging consensus that narrowing the window of time that you consume food may have enormous health benefits and also help you reduce your percentage of body fat.

Your suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), located in your hypothalamus, controls your circadian rhythms. It regulates how your autonomic nervous system operates along with your hormones, your wake and sleep pattern, your feeding behavior, and your capacity to digest food, assimilate nutrients, and eliminate toxins.

If you routinely disregard your innate clock – working during sleeping hours, or feeding at the wrong time – you will sooner or later suffer the consequences with symptoms that may include disrupted sleep, agitation, digestive disorders, constipation, chronic fatigue, chronic cravings for sweets and carbs, fat gain, and lower resistance to stress. Chronic disruptions in circadian rhythms have also been linked with increased risk for chronic inflammatory disease and cancer.

As explained by fitness expert Ori Hofmekler, the ideal time to eat is in the evening. Having a large meal during the day will inhibit your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and instead turn on the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), which will make you sleepy and fatigued rather than alert and active. And, instead of spending energy and burning fat during the day, you’ll store energy and gain fat.

The one meal per day plan can accommodate your innate clock and maximize the beneficial effects you get from intermittent fasting on a daily basis. This form of intermittent fasting involves timing your once-daily meal to within a narrow window of time in the evening. However, you don’t have to be that strict if you can’t function without a mid-day meal. I’ve revised my own eating schedule to eliminate breakfast and restrict the time I eat food to a period of about six to seven hours each day, which is typically from noon to 6 or 7 pm. This still gives me a net fasting time of 17-18 hours a day. To learn more, please see my previous article, The Power of Intermittent Fasting.

Aspirin Use Linked to Macular Degeneration

By Dr. Mercola

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the deterioration of your macula (the region in your eye that controls acute vision), which typically occurs later in life.

AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the United States, as it can destroy your central vision, which is necessary for reading, driving and other daily functions. It’s also the leading cause of permanent impairment of close-up vision in those aged 65 and older.

Aspirin Use Linked to the Most Severe Form of AMD

Certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking, are known to increase your risk of AMD, whereas exercising, maintaining normal blood pressure and eating a healthy diet may help prevent it.

With respect to supplements, emerging research strongly suggests that astaxanthin may be the single best supplement for the prevention and treatment of AMD. If you know anyone with this disease it would be helpful if you could share this important new information with them.

When engaging in preventive steps it is also wise to avoid common exposures that can increase your risk of disease. Researchers have now uncovered another potential factor that might actually increase your risk of not only AMD but the most severe form of it, known as neovascular macular degeneration: aspirin use.

As one of the most commonly used pain relievers, and also sometimes routinely prescribed for heart protection, aspirin is often thought of as completely “safe,” despite a laundry list of serious side effects.1

In the latest study, researchers found that regular aspirin use, defined as twice a week for more than three months, for 10 years increased participants’ risk of neovascular AMD. While the increase was relatively small, increasing risk from about 1 in 200 among all older Americans to 1 in 100 among aspirin users, it’s concerning given how widespread aspirin use has become.

Further, a separate study published last year also revealed a connection between frequent aspirin use and the development of AMD, with increasing frequency linked to increased risk.2

Are You Taking Aspirin for Heart Protection or Pain Relief? Try This Instead

If you’re like most people, you probably wear shoes with rubber or plastic soles for the better part of each day. As a society we have been doing this for over 50 years. You probably don’t associate this with your level of pain or your cardiovascular health, but there very well could be a connection.

The problem is that wearing typical insulated shoes blocks your body’s natural connection to the Earth’s store of electrons, which is necessary for optimal health. The concept of earthing, also known as grounding, was initially developed by Clint Ober. Stated in the simplest terms possible, earthing is simply walking barefoot, grounding your body to the Earth.

Grounding or Earthing Has Many Uses

When you’re grounded and directly connected to the earth there’s a transfer of free electrons from the Earth into your body. And these free electrons are probably a very potent antioxidant source, likely far superior to aspirin or Plavix, the other commonly prescribed blood thinner that has also recently been shown to increase the risk of strokes. The electrons from the earth that serve asantioxidants are responsible for the clinical observations from grounding experiments, such as:

  • Thinning of your blood, so much so that if you are on Coumadin and regularly ground you need to lower your dose of Coumadin.
  • Beneficial changes in heart rate
  • Decreased skin resistance
  • Decreased levels of inflammation

It’s thought that the influx of free electrons from the Earth’s surface will help to neutralize free radicals and reduce both acute and chronic inflammation, which is at the root of many health conditions and accelerated aging. Grounding has even been found to provide relief from chronic muscle and joint pain, and other types of pain.3 As written in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine:4

“It is well established, though not widely known, that the surface of the earth possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons as a consequence of a global atmospheric electron circuit. Wearing shoes with insulating soles and/or sleeping in beds that are isolated from the electrical ground plane of the earth have disconnected most people from the earth’s electrical rhythms and free electrons.

… A previous study demonstrated that connecting the human body to the earth during sleep (earthing) normalizes the daily cortisol rhythm and improves sleep. A variety of other benefits were reported, including reductions in pain and inflammation. Subsequent studies have confirmed these earlier findings and documented virtually immediate physiologic and clinical effects of grounding or earthing the body.”

Grounding may even be beneficial after an injury. If you place your feet on the ground after an injury (or on a grounded sheet, or place grounding patches on the balls of your feet), electrons will migrate into your body and spread through your tissues. Any free radicals that leak into the healthy tissue will immediately be electrically neutralized. This occurs because the electrons are negatively charged, while the free radicals are charged positively, so they cancel each other out.

“So really what is happening with grounding or earthing is that you’re protecting your body from — I call it, collateral damage,” Dr. James Oschman, an expert in the field of energy medicine, says. “Damage that was not intended to take place but does take place because we have disconnected ourselves from the Earth by putting rubber and plastic on the bottoms of our shoes.”

Download Interview Transcript

How Grounding Might Benefit Your Heart

It has been more than a decade since I stopped recommending aspirin for the prevention of heart disease. The evidence in support of aspirin’s health benefits outweighing its health risks has always been quite weak, and over the last decade it has become even weaker.

In fact, it looks as though even low-dose aspirin, can do more harm than good because of serious side effects like intestinal injury and bleeding. Interestingly, the reason why aspirin has been recommended for heart attack prevention is because it reduces the clumping action of your blood clotting platelets, possibly preventing a heart attack. Grounding has a similar effect and has recently been discovered to help thin your blood, making it less viscous.

This discovery can have a profound impact on cardiovascular disease, which is now the number one killer in the world. Virtually every aspect of cardiovascular disease has been correlated with elevated blood viscosity.

It turns out that when you ground to the earth, the zeta potential of your red blood cells (a powerful measure of your blood viscosity or “thickness of your blood”) quickly rises, which means your red blood cells have more charge on their surface, which forces them apart from each other. This action causes your blood to thin and flow easier. It also disburdens you heart, causing your blood pressure to drop.

Another obvious implication of this is that by repelling each other, your red blood cells are less inclined to stick together and form a clot. Blood clots don’t have to be very big to form a pulmonary embolus that would kill you instantly, so this is a significant benefit. Additionally, if your zeta potential is high, which grounding can facilitate, you not only decrease your heart disease risk but also your risk of multi-infarct dementias, where you start losing brain tissue due to micro-clotting in your brain.

Getting Yourself Grounded is Easy

The simplest way to ground is to walk barefoot outside. The ideal location for doing so is on the beach, close to or in the water, as seawater is a great conductor. Your body also contains mostly water, so it creates a good connection.

A close second would be a grassy area, especially if it’s covered with dew, which is what you’d find if you walk early in the morning. According to Dr. Oschman, concrete is a good conductor as long as it hasn’t been sealed. Painted concrete does not allow electrons to pass through very well. Materials like asphalt, wood, and typical insulators like plastic or the soles of your shoes, will not allow electrons to pass through and are not suitable for barefoot grounding.

Studies suggest that benefits such as pain relief and stress reduction may occur in just 30-80 minutes of barefoot time a day. This can obviously be a challenge during the winter, or if you live in an urban area without easy access to parks or other barefoot-friendly surfaces, so the other option is to use a grounding or Earthing pad, which allows you to get the benefits of the Earth’s electrons even if you’re indoors, especially when you’re sleeping. I’ve been using one for several months now, especially when I travel by plane, as air travel is a suspected cause of weakening bio-electric currents.

So, like access to regular sun exposure, walking barefoot outside is a grossly neglected foundational practice that you can easily correct, and which will help you reduce your reliance on potentially damaging “alternatives” like regular aspirin use.

Tips for Reducing Your Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

AMD is typically a gradual disease, and the condition may progress so slowly in some cases that you don’t notice your vision worsening until it’s too late. However, your eyesight does not have to worsen with age. Some of the best ways to protect your vision and prevent AMD include:

  • Astaxanthin: This is the ultimate carotenoid for eye health and the prevention of blindness. It’s even more powerful an antioxidant than both lutein and zeaxanthin, and easily crosses into the tissues of the eye and exerts its effects safely and with more potency than any of the other carotenoids. Specifically, astaxanthin may help ameliorate or prevent light-induced damage, photoreceptor cell damage, ganglion cell damage, and damage to the neurons of the inner retinal layers.
  • Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats: Omega-3 fats may help protect and promote healthy retinal function. One type, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is concentrated in your eye’s retina and has been found to be particularly useful in preventing AMD. Further, inflammation is likely involved in AMD progression, and omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory effects. Research has shown those who had the highest intake of animal-based omega-3 fats had a 60 percent lower risk of advanced AMD compared to those who consumed the least.5
  • Vitamin D: After receiving a vitamin D3 supplement for just 6 weeks, mice had improved vision and reductions in retinal inflammation and levels of amyloid beta accumulation, which is a hallmark of aging.6 The findings suggest vitamin D3 may help prevent AMD, and lend further support for optimizing your levels via safe sun exposure.
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Of all the carotenoids, only zeaxanthin and lutein are found in your retina, which has the highest concentration of fatty acids of any tissue in your body. This is because your retina is a highly light and oxygen rich environment, and it needs a large supply of free radical scavengers to prevent oxidative damage there. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, and also in egg yolks.
  • Care for your cardiovascular system: High blood pressure can cause damage to the miniscule blood vessels on your retina, obstructing free blood flow. One of the primary ways to maintain optimal blood pressure is to avoid fructose. Research by Dr. Richard Johnson, chief of the division of kidney disease and hypertension at the University of Colorado, shows that consuming 74 grams or more per day of fructose (equal to 2.5 sugary drinks) increases your risk of having blood pressure levels of 160/100 mmHg by 77 percent!
  • Normalize your blood sugar: Excessive sugar in your blood can pull fluid from the lens of your eye, affecting your ability to focus. And, it can damage the blood vessels in your retina, also obstructing blood flow. To keep your blood sugar in a healthy range, follow my comprehensive nutrition guidelines, exercise and avoid excess sugar, especially fructose.
  • Eat plenty of fresh dark green leafy vegetables, especially kale: Studies have shown that a diet rich in dark leafy greens helps support eye health, and those with the highest consumption of carotenoid-rich vegetables, especially ones rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, had increased vision health.
  • Avoid trans fats: A diet high in trans fat appears to contribute to macular degeneration by interfering with omega-3 fats in your body. Trans fat is found in many processed foods and baked goods, including margarine, shortening, fried foods like French fries, fried chicken and doughnuts, cookies, pastries and crackers.